Abe Divided, An

Directed by:  Jim Gomez
Storyboards by:  Stephen DeStefano
Animation by:  Rough Draft
Music used in the episode.

I won’t beat around the Bush:  “An Abe Divided” is one of my favorite episodes from the Games era, and one of my favorite episodes of the series in general, for no other reason than it’s a fun romp that makes me laugh.

The episode opens with Ren and Stimpy looking for food in the trash, when Ren notices an ad in a discarded newspaper for protecting the president.  At that, he grabs Stimpy and both head for the job interview, led by a hulking man (woman?) named Sergeant Big Butt.  Yeah, the name’s juvenile, but it’s a juvenile I can get behind (who names their child “Big” if their last name is “Butt”?  What cruel parents!).  I also love how we can’t tell what sex this person is; “it” dress like a woman and has boobs and lipstick, but simultaneously has a gruff male voice and a five o’clock shadow.  It’s so surreal.

Anyway, it turns out the job involves Ren and Stimpy guarding the Lincoln Memorial, and if they fail, they get towels.  As in, towel whipped.  Of course, the real punishment for letting anything happen to the memorial is far more severe, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  After receiving instructions on how to clean the memorial, it’s time for opening day, where Ren overhears an old man tell his young relative that there’s a legend of treasure in Lincoln’s head.  At this, Ren pushes all the tourists out so he can ponder how to get to the coveted treasure.  (Nevermind that the real Lincoln Memorial is an open monument without front doors)

Ren’s first attempt involves trying to crawl up Abe’s nose, but he gets stuck.  Luckily, there’s a rescue for just such an emergency:  By inserting five cents into a slot, Lincoln’s arm extends and he picks his nose.  In all honesty, this is the weakest part of the episode, just because of its length, but still, it’s hard not to love such an absurd premise.  Way to honor a historically important president:  By laughing as he picks his nose.  And why would they implement such a feature anyway?

Next, Ren and Stimpy saw off Abe’s head, which recalls a similar situation on The Simpsons‘s “The Telltale Head”.  Unfortunately, the head falls to the floor, shattering into pieces.  And to add insult to injury, the so-called “treasure” in Abe’s head is nothing but caramel corn.  Why caramel corn was in there to begin with, I have no idea, but again, gotta love the absurdity.  Ren has a short laugh until he realizes in horror that Abe’s head needs to be put back together.  Stimpy tries, but he accidentally makes Santa Claus’s head instead (a callback to a great joke from earlier in the episode, when Stimpy sits on Abe’s lap and, when told it’s a memorial, cries, “I didn’t know Santy Claus was dead!”).  He fails again when he sculpts Fidel Castro’s head, and doesn’t get another chance because the rock crumbles into dust, having reassembled and disassembled it too many times.

So the duo have to find a replacement head, which consist of a pile of hot dogs in the shape of Abe’s head (which are instantly eaten by a gang of birds), a penny, a petrified elk head, an Easter Island statue, and the Statue of Liberty’s head.  Are you guys even trying?  (Also, I love how quickly Ren was able to get the Statue of Liberty’s head)  Finally, they agree on a dumpster with Abe’s face drawn on it in chalk, and for hair, Ren simply sets the top on fire.  I just love how they think this will fool everybody.  Their celebration doesn’t last, though, since a fat bum grabs the dumpster and leaves.  In a last ditch attempt to salvage the situation, Ren prays to the spirit of Abe Lincoln to help them, but when he appears, he just repeatedly kicks them.

As expected, Sgt. Big Butt is not pleased (understatement), and as punishment, he forces Ren and Stimpy to take the place of Abe’s head, presumably for the rest of their lives.  Frankly, I don’t see how Big Butt’s solution is any better or worse than the duo’s, but it’s a funny ending nonetheless, particularly with a reprise of the old man talking to Johnny (“A chicken in every garage, mom’s apple pie, and rubber nipples for everyone!  Yep, this is what America is all about!”).

There’s a lot that happens in this episode, and in some ways it seems a little faster-paced than your typical episode.  I don’t have a problem with that, though; it replicates the feel of ’40s cartoons in that sense, which packed in as many set pieces as they could into only seven minutes.  Yeah, Ren’s in greedy mode here, but it’s amusing because his source is some random old man.  And besides, that greed trait’s been part of his character since the beginning (“I’M THE CAT!!!”), so this isn’t something the Games studio made up or something.

[Hmm, what's that?]

Good petrified pose on Ren as Big Butt chews them out.  It’s the kind of pose that says, “Protect me, Stimpy!”

“Towels?!  I like towels…”  Gotta love pervert Stimpy.

“Aten-hut!  Pre-sent, towels!”  I love this.  It’s like these soldiers just stand around all day waiting for Big Butt to order them to remove their towels.

Ren and Stimpy, post towel whippings.  “Gosh… I just LOVE military tradition!”

These salty pigeons are great.  That crap residue on Lincoln’s shoulder just solidifies their douchiness.

Wide-eyed Stimpy imagines Lincoln is Santa.

Again, I appreciate the exaggerated mouth movements.  Makes the cartoon fun to watch.

Stimpy can’t believe Santa’s dead.

“Idiot!  Don’t you recognize President Millard P. Fillmore when you see him?!”  Clearly, -you- don’t, Ren.  I like how much Ren’s slap twists Stimpy.

Ren’s daydream about the treasure in Lincoln’s head is so silly.  Yes, Ren, you’ll be able to drive a fancy car with babes and money out of it.  The jazzy “Swing of the Hills” is a perfect music choice for the brief bit, too.

Ren’s mouth is pretty funny here.  It’s like, “What?  What do you want?!  Can’t you see I’m busy pushing them out?!”

Yet another shout out to squash-and-stretch as Ren realizes he can’t get out of Lincoln’s nose.

Great puzzled mouth on Stimpy.

This drawing of Stimpy describing what’s inside the president’s head cracks me up.

The build-up is so unbearable, Ren can’t contain himself.

“Caramel corn!”

Pfft.  What do you know?

Nice grumpy reaction on Ren, as well as concerned face on Stimpy when he realizes Ren’s going to get in trouble for dropping the president’s head.

Mine!  All mine!  I like how the caramel corn actually glows like gold.

An eye scream on par with any of Spumco’s work, I dare say.

“You nincompoop, that’s the wrong president!”  Do you want to tell him, or should I?

I like Stimpy’s thumb pointing here.  It’s like, “Eh??  Ehh???”

I actually agree with Ren; this is pretty beautiful.  And it comes the closest out of any of their attempts to actually resembling Lincoln.  Too bad you had to make it out of a tasty meat.

The hoodlum birds are back, mugging an innocent squirrel of his nuts.  I’ll resist the obvious joke.

Oooooh, aaaaaaah.

A job well done.  Love Ren’s face here.

Another attempt, failed.

Ren briefly grits his teeth before crying at the futility of their efforts.

Ren prays to Lincoln.  His nose is drawn very oddly here, and his mouth is too, for that matter.  The tearful, big-iris’d eyes are OK, though.

Abe Lincoln:  Idiot Kicker, rated R.  I like how his head is detached here, mirroring the statue in the present day.

“Do you have anything to say… before I KILL YOU?!?!?”  Love the shadows in this scene, and how incredibly miniscule Ren and Stimpy are compared to Big Butt.

Hey, look at it this way, Ren and Stimpy:  It’s job security!

<< Ren’s Pecs

>> Stimpy’s Cartoon Show

4 thoughts on “Abe Divided, An

  1. The Lincoln statue with a big flaming dumpster for a head is the single funniest image in this entire cartoon.

  2. This was one of the first I watched. Given all the bad rap the Games episodes got, this episode was pretty funny, and it remains my favourite from this period.

  3. If every Games episode was of this quality, I’m sure people would be less down on them.

    One of the best post-John K. eps. Too bad Jim Gomez didn’t remain a director.

  4. Don Shank’s layouts for this one are so beautiful! So much emotion and energy in this nutty scenario.