A common and successful theme throughout the history of entertainment is “The Odd Couple”—a pair of unlikely friends with opposite personalities that complement each other. It always proves to be entertaining, although it can hinge on having already been done. That’s why creators have to be, well, creative in order to make a new spin on an old concept. At least, that’s what I would assume from my expertise.
Ren and Stimpy are one of my favorite odd couples. Ren Hoek is a feisty Chihuahua and Stimpson J. Cat is a stupid, good hearted cat. Together they became one of the most memorable duos in cartoon history. I made that up. That was super dramatic of me. What I’m trying to say is that they’re really cool. Ren and Stimpy’s unique personalities are what made the show so original. Neither one of them was really that likable. And nothing actually happened on the show either. It was always one of two extremes: Ren yelling “STIMPY YOU IDDDIOT!!” or Ren and Stimpy singing “Happy Happy Joy Joy”. The animation was very studied and creepy at times, especially when they did close ups. As a child I remember thinking, what am I watching?
Things got a little more civilized with Pinky and the Brain. Again, this was another duo with a dimwit and a genius. Both lab rats, Pinky and the Brain reside in a cage. Brain has amazing plans to take over the world while Pinky just likes having someone to talk to. Brain resembles Orson Welles quite a bit, which I didn’t really understand as a kid. Were they suggesting that Orson Welles wanted to take over the world? Meanwhile Pinky is randomly just a cockney mouse. Each episode is wrapped around Brain’s schemes to take over the world and always ends with the two in their cage. Pinky will ask Brain what he wants to do tonight and Brain will no doubt say “What we do every night Pinky—try to take over the world!”
Pinky and the Brain was originally a short featured on the show Animaniacs and I think it should’ve stayed that way. The show was decent, but it wasn’t super funny or original.
One of the most creative takes on the odd couple scenario, and my personal favorite, is CatDog. CatDog is just what the title suggests, a cat and a dog combined. After seeing a picture of CatDog, anyone’s first question would be, “How do they go to the bathroom?” I’ve come to the conclusion that they just don’t. Cat and Dog are very different
people animals. But they’re brothers and joined at the torso so they kind of have to get along. They get into all kinds of adventures and lots of trouble because they have a large amount of enemies. Luckily, they always come away unscathed. They are the perfect odd couple.
One of my favorite things about CatDog is their body. It’s hard for them to both do what they want at the same time. One of them is always walking backwards or dragging the other one around. It’s a pretty great design. I believe there was a CatDog movie where the duo went to look for their parents, but unfortunately I never saw it. Seems like an important piece in the CatDog puzzle.
Can you think of any other kid’s shows with odd couple pairings?