The characters lived together in Ivy’s home with one bed. They had meals together: languishing in a casual attire of just oversized shirts. Scenes driving in Ivy’s pink convertible drew visual reference to Thelma and Louise.
Ren and Stimpy were not openly recognized as a canon same-sex couple until the Ren & Stimpy Adult Cartoon. This new series targeting adult audiences aired on the new Spike TV. The press release at the time stated: “the duo is back -this time as a gay couple”
In a roundabout way the public outing of Batman and Robin in the 50s legitimized the possibility of gay readings in ambiguous characters.
Krazy Kat was a deeply influential comic strip that started in 1913 and ran for thirty years. It is an embodiment of the ambiguity and social transgression that are seen as staples of animation.
In retrospect, it is almost shocking that a children’s show like Ren and Stimpy was made at all, considering the Care Bear fare of the eighties. But the nineties gave creative freedom back to the animators.
The Japanese and Chinese spin-off shows vaguely tie-in to the original series, but make changes to the world/characters to fit the demographic these new series are targeting.
In the first film they are forced together, and share a mutual dislike, bound together by circumstance. Their overarching character development though the franchise is about their friendship, and building of an ohana (together).
The title characters, particularly Stitch, have products a plenty, and are the focus of the franchise. In many ways, this allowed the supporting characters of Jumba and Pleakley to fly under the radar at a time when Disney would not have considered having an openly LGBTQ character. It would be eight years after the TV show finished airing that an out gay character would finally be shown on the Disney channel.