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"They fight! They bite!
They bite and fight and bite!
Fight, fight, fight! Bite, bite, bite!
The Itchy & Scratchy Show!"

The Itchy and Scratchy Show is a Show Within a Show on The Simpsonsnote . It passes itself off as a cat and mouse chase, based on the old cartoon shorts of Tom and Jerry and Herman and Katnip (mostly the latter). The cartoons are usually aired during The Krusty the Klown Show.

The show was part of The Simpsons since the first season, and since Season 2 there have been episodes directly involving the company that makes the cartoons, establishing a rich history/backstory that starts in The Silent Age of Animation and hits many of the medium's high and low points in the West. They even got their own Video Game or two as well as a short comic book series (which crossed over with BartMan in the When Bongos Collide story).


This Show in a Show provides examples of:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: In a Valentines' Day episode, Itchy rips Scratchy's heart out but the latter remains alive until he reads a newspaper headline saying he needs a heart to live.
  • Amusing Injuries: Especially to the people in "The Simpsons" universe. For us as viewers, the violence is horribly over-the-top and especially unfit for a children's audience.
  • And I Must Scream: If Scratchy isn't killed by Itchy, then he'll wish he had been. For example, in "The Glass Moan-agery," Scratchy is turned into a neon sign that moans in pain every time it lights up.
  • Animated Actors: Except for "It's a Wonderful Knife", all stories in the short-lived comic book series portray Itchy and Scratchy as these.
  • Art Shift:
    • The Itchy and Scratchy cartoon "Spherical on 34th Street" is animated differently.
    • Advertisement:
    • The "Marge-approved" shorts aired during "Itchy & Scratchy & Marge" had a subtle art shift. Itchy and Scratchy's eyes are drawn with a noticeably "softer" feel.
    • The aforementioned wartime cartoon is animated in a style reminiscent of 1940s cartoons. (It also has the closest visual resemblance to classic Tom and Jerry in the show's history.)
    • Itchy & Scratchy Meet Fritz the Cat has an R. Crumb-inspired look.
    • Scratchy's debut cartoon "That Happy Cat" and Itchy's debut "Manhattan Madness" have an art style reminiscent of Disney's early work, especially since the first cartoon in which they're paired together, "Steamboat Itchy", is an obvious parody of "Steamboat Willie".
  • Autocannibalism: In one short, Itchy (disguised as a restaurant employee) serves Scratchy his own belly. The unknowing Scratchy's attempt at eating it only results in the bits of it he swallows popping back out of a hole cut in it.
  • Ass Pull: Played for Laughs. Poochie is sloppily killed off in one cartoon, with a crude movement of cels and stuck on note saying he died on the way to his home planet. Everyone hated Poochie so much they didn't care, erupting into applause. invoked
  • Author Tract: Quentin Tarantino shows up in the episode he guest directed to go on a tirade about how Humans Are Bastards and society's complacency with violence. Itchy and Scratchy promptly kill him to shut him up.
  • Ax-Crazy: Itchy takes sadistic pleasure in killing Scratchy in various creative ways.
  • Barbershop Episode: In "Little Barbershop of Horrors", Itchy runs a barbershop, where Scratchy is his customer. Itchy pours barbecue sauce on Scratchy's head instead of shampoo, then opens a box of flesh-eating ants, which reduce Scratchy's head to a skull.
  • Big "NO!": In The '50s-themed "Bleeder of the Pack," Scratchy (sans his skin) is loaded onto an airplane. But once it takes off, Scratchy is greeted by The Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly. Among realizing who they are, Scratchy cries out "NOOOOOOOOOO!" not because of what happened to the three musicians, but because they are actually vampires that attack him. And then their plane crashes anyways.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Compared to Tom and Jerry.
  • Bloody Hilarious: That cat sure can bleed.
  • Body Horror: "Ain't I a Stinger?" has Scratchy being filled with honeybees to the point where he swells and oozes honey from his mouth, eyes and ears, as the bees colonize his entrails and turn them into a hive. Later on a bear tears him in half and his insides are all honey.
  • Bowling for Ratings: "Kitty-Kitty Bang-Bang" involves Itchy and Scratchy at the bowling alley. Itchy jams Scratchy's tongue in the ball return, then lights a bomb and bowls with it, making a strike. Scratchy tries desperately to saw off his tongue before the bomb can get to him, but the bomb makes it to him and explodes, leaving only his internal organs, which Itchy sells to hungry dogs at the snack bar.
  • Buffoonish Tom Cat: The titular Scratchy, whether he is unlucky in his Butt-Monkey status, goofy-looking, gullible or lacking a ton of common sense in some of his losses.
  • Butt-Monkey: Scratchy just can't catch a break, with him dying nearly every episode.
  • Cat Stereotype: Scratchy plays the unlucky part of the black cat stereotype.
  • The Chew Toy: Scratchy lives through this, sometimes surviving his kills while harmed.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: A lot of the time, the subject of the "Itchy and Scratchy" cartoon will be related to the plot of the accompanying Simpsons episode. Examples include Itchy tricking Scratchy into eating himself in "Lisa the Vegetarian," or the duo engaging in some violent hijinks in outer space in "Deep Space Homer."
  • Comedic Sociopathy: In every episode, Itchy murders Scratchy in some horrible manner just for fun. Viewers in-story invariably find it hilarious.
  • Constantly Lactating Cow: In the episode "Butter Off Dead", Itchy shoves Scratchy into a cow's mouth, and after Scratchy is digested, Itchy is somehow able milk him out through the cow as butter. Not only does the cow not appear to be nursing, but cows don't milk out what they digest in real life.
  • Corrupted Character Copy: Itchy is basically Jerry if he were a violent sociopath.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Scratchy. Even the show's incarnation of God himself sides with Itchy killing him (and even sends him to Hell for the icing on the cake).
  • Creator's Pet: Poochie, In-Universe. After mountains of hype, his premiere episode is little more than a giant shill of why kids should like him.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: In-Universe, both Itchy & Scratchy are voiced by a woman named June Bellamy. In real life, they're voiced by Dan Castellaneta and Harry Shearer, respectively, which makes this an odd double example.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Scratchy suffers one Once per Episode. If he's not being chopped up into pieces, ran over or decapitated. Heck in one short he's made into sushi.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Itchy's real creator Chester J. Lampwick wrote to Scratchy's creator Roger Meyers Sr. that he should "keep drawing. Your moxie more than makes up for your lack of talent." This is one possible reason why Meyers decided to steal Itchy...
  • Darker and Edgier: In The Dark Age of Animation, I&S appeared in the adults-only animated feature Itchy & Scratchy Meet Fritz the Cat.
  • Deader Than Dead: After Poochie is unceremoniously killed off, Krusty gleefully presents a legal affidavit that absolutely prohibits the character from ever appearing on The Itchy & Scratchy Show again.
    Blue-Haired Lawyer: This document conforms to all applicable laws and statutes.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Taken Up to Eleven in Scratchtasia, where after breathing in the powdered remains of Itchies, thousands of microscopic copies of the axe-wielding mouse take form in Scratchy's arteries and hack up his insides en masse. The cat disintegrates in seconds.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: There's often a Shout-Out to another film or cartoon series.
  • The Dog Bites Back: In this case, The Cat Bites Back, since at least once Scratchy finally gets his revenge on Itchy.
  • Doorstop Baby: In "Foster Pussycat. Kill! Kill!", Itchy is left at Scratchy's door. Scratchy adopts Itchy, who kills and robs Scratchy.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Poochie is literally yanked out of the frame under the flimsy pretext that his planet needs him. This is immediately followed by a crudely thrown together screen of text:
  • Dub Name Change: In Brazil, Itchy and Scratchy are known as Comichão e Coçadinha. The translators weren't always consistent on who is who.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Often from Marge, though there are episodes that touch a nerve with even Bart, Lisa, and Homer, albeit usually connected with some dilemma they are undergoing at the time. An example is the episode "Lisa the Vegetarian" where Lisa doesn't laugh along with Bart (as she usually does) because "violence against animals is not funny".
  • Ear Ache: one short (Reservoir Cats) parodies the scene of Reservoir Dogs in which Mr. Blonde (Itchy) tortures the cop (Scratchy) at the rhythm of Stuck in the Middle with You, including to soak Scratchy with gasoline and the Gory Discretion Shot when the former cuts one of the ears of the latter after cutting Scratchy's ear, Quentin Tarantino appears complaining about violence being in everything and gets its head cut by Itchy. The short ends with Itchy and Scratchy parodying one scene of Pulp Fiction, dancing as the protagonists of that movie while one song of its OST plays.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • In the show's history, early cartoons were fairly routine. In their first appearance – in a Tracey Ullman-era short called "The Bart Simpson Show" – Itchy places a firecracker in Scratchy's mouth; in their first series' appearance (Season 1's "There's No Disgrace Like Home"), the show is simply another "place a bomb in Scratchy's mouth and watch the explosion" cartoon. Future cartoons would be more detailed.
    • Add to that in both cartoons, Scratchy actually started the feud chasing Itchy like a traditional cat and mouse cartoon. Episodes afterwards skipped the formalities and just started with Itchy brutalizing Scratchy for kicks.
    • In-universe, "Manhattan Madness", a cartoon created entirely by Chester J. Lampwick, only features Itchy and had him visiting Manhattan to attack people. "That Happy Cat", meanwhile, is a solo Scratchy effort by Roger Myers Sr. with no plot whatsoever. Then Myers stole Itchy and his formula and used them in "Steamboat Itchy", and the rest is history.
  • Either/Or Title: One episode where Itchy hangs up a picture of him and Scratchy in his house (with Scratchy tied to a pole) is entitled "House of Pain, or This Old Mouse".
  • Enemy Mine: The duo brutalized Hitler in one war time cartoon (before Itchy double crossed Scratchy and decapitated him too). Another has them team up against an annoying blue haired squirrel berating their antics (see Take That!).
  • Exposed Animal Bellybutton: Another standard design for Itchy and Scratchy.
  • Expy Coexistence: Itchy and Scratchy Studios is a clear expy for Disney, bearing a lot of similarities with both its founder and its theme parks. However, Disney has also been alluded to in The Simpsons, meaning both companies exist in the same universe.
  • Eye Scream: Scratchy's eyeballs have been cracked open like eggs and used as ice for a drink.
  • Flayed Alive: Happens frequently to Scratchy. Most notable in "Screams from a Mall," where he loses his skin after getting dragged under an escalator and has to take it back from a wealthy woman wearing it as a fur coat.
  • Friendly Enemy: They seem to be friends whenever the brutality is at a brief halt. The Terror of Tiny Toon even revealed that Itchy's brutality is of the Punch-Clock Villain variety, and Scratchy not even holding it against Itchy because it's their job.
  • Fur and Loathing: Parodied. Itchy steals Scratchy's skin, fur and all. When Scratchy gets it back, and tries to put it back on, fur protesters beat him up for wearing his own fur.
  • Furry Female Mane: Many of the female Inexplicably Identical Individuals Itchies and Scratchies have this trait. All of the female Itchies ad Scratchies in "Downton Tabby" have human-style hair, but so do some of the male ones.
  • Game Show Appearance: Itchy and Scratchy appeared on an episode of The Springfield Squares.
  • Gender Flip: Happens to the titular duo in the Season 30 episode "Bart Vs. Itchy & Scratchy", where they're rebooted as females
  • A Good Way to Die: Itchy's scheme in "Four Funerals And A Wedding" has Scratchy live a full and happy romantic life up until he explodes. For an extra insult, the prank also kills Itchy for once.
  • Gorn: Happens in nearly every episode.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Heavily implied when Roger Meyers Sr. stole Itchy from his real creator, Chester J. Lampwick, who said that Meyers had a lot of moxie but not much talent. Meyers was such a hack that Scratchy's only solo outing, "That Happy Cat", is still his best-remembered work from before he stole Itchy despite being an In-Universe Box Office Bomb. Besides Scratchy, the only characters Meyers could come up with were bores like "Sarcastic Horse" and "Manic Mailman". The latter was only notable for the U.S. Postal Service plagarizing it to create their "Mister Zip" mascot.
  • Hollywood Acid: Often employed. Always used to reduce Scratchy to a skeleton. A glaring example of this for those who know chemicals is the one in which Itchy William Tells Scratchy, hits the apple, but the arrow punctures a hole into the large tank labeled "Carbolic Acid" that Scratchy was standing right next to, since carbolic acid is a) solid at room temperature and b) not really all that acidic (it's technically an alcohol).
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Many cartoons end with Itchy cannibalizing Scratchy, by doing everything from feeding Scratchy to a cow, milking it and then churning Scratchy into butter that Itchy put on his toast, to blowing Scratchy up with a bomb and serving his remains to some hungry dogs.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Many of the cartoons do this with both Itchy and Scratchy, including "Downton Tabby". The Inexplicably Identical Individuals of both can be either male or female.
  • Inflating Body Gag: In "Spherical on 34th Street", Itchy inflates Scratchy with a tank of hydrogen. Then he shoots a flaming arrow at the ballooned cat, making him explode in a giant fireball.
  • Invincible Villain: No matter what, the cartoon's physics are set so Itchy will always get the upper hand.
  • Karma Houdini: Itchy, who never receives any punishment for his brutal and unprovoked attacks on Scratchy (except for in "Burning Down the Mouse" and "Four Funerals and a Wedding").
  • Lighter and Softer: After Marge's crusade to tone down the show's violence succeeded, the show went through a phase invoking this trope.
  • Made of Bologna: Played with. The main characters are sometimes depicted made solely of red bologna, sometimes made of red bologna that can bleed, and sometimes actual organs are shown. This depends on how gruesome the scene was scripted.
  • Moral Myopia: Itchy constantly abuses, torments, mutilates, and murders Scratchy and enjoys it all the while. But if someone else takes enjoyment out of watching Scratchy be in pain, he gets all up in arms.
  • The Movie: In-story, the show had a movie released in theaters and either had a sequel or re-release at the start of The Simpsons Movie.
  • Mr. Alt Disney: Itchy and Scratchy's inventornote , Roger Myers Sr, is a thinly disguised spoof of Walt Disney with his theme park and the urban legends surrounding his antisemitism and being cryogenically frozen after his death.
  • The Musical: In-story, the cartoon received a stage adaptation in the form of Stab-A-Lot, a parody of The Lion King.
  • Mutual Kill: In "Four Funerals and a Wedding", Itchy replaces Scratchy's wife with a fake one made of bombs. However, it takes a lifetime for it to explode and by the time it finally kills Scratchy, Itchy dies of a heart attack.
  • Negative Continuity: With how often Scratchy is killed, sometimes in ways that involve fast-forwarding to the future, it's clear there is no real continuity between episodes.
  • Nice Mice: Averted with Itchy and in some episodes, his entire kind.
  • Noisy Duck: The short "To Kill a Talking Bird", is about turning off phones during movies and features a duck talking (read: quacking) nonstop on his phone.
  • Off with His Head!: It might as well be Itchy's favorite method of taking out Scratchy. Although, he sometimes survives it.
  • Oh, Crap!: Several shorts have Scratchy seeing his impending doom coming, and screaming in terror as he hopelessly tries to avoid it.
  • Old Shame: An In-Universe example is heavily implied with the "Itchy And Sambo" cartoons of the late 1930s. They were apparently so racist that even hardcore Itchy And Scratchy fans like Bart and Lisa Simpson hate them.
  • Overly Long Tongue: Scratchy's isn't so much long as stretchy; at one point it gets tied to a rocket which reaches the moon before Scratchy even notices. Though it's also prehensile, as he was also able to intentionally stretch it far enough to unplug a laser Itchy was trying to kill him with a la Goldfinger.
  • Pantsless Males, Fully-Dressed Females: In "Downton Tabby", the female Inexplicably Identical Individuals Scratchies are more fully dressed than the Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal male Scratchies. Inverted slightly with the Inexplicably Identical Individuals Itchies; both are fully dressed, but the female ones are barefoot while the male ones wear shoes.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: A vintage cartoon has Itchy "running afoul of an Irishman" and subsequently running him through a laundry wringer. (Chester J. Lampwick credits himself as the episode's "Ethnographer.")
  • The Prankster: Itchy is a parody of classic prankster cartoon characters - except his pranks are usually far more violent and gory than in those classic cartoons.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The Terror of Tiny Toon revealed that Itchy's brutality towards Scratchy is limited to on-duty moments. When off-duty, they seem to be Friendly Enemies, with Scratchy not holding any grudge against Itchy for all he's done to him, thanks to Toon Physics and all that. Woe to anyone the duo has decided to team up against.
    Itchy, upon accidentally slashing Scratchy's arm with a chainsaw: Sorry!
    Scratchy: *shrugs* It happens.
  • Punny Name: Itchy and Scratchy. The Latin American version of the series localizes their names to Tommy and Daley, which aside from being a more direct Shout-Out to Tom and Jerry, also showcases their pecking order ("Tome y dale" means "Take and Give" — as in "take injuries and give injuries").
  • Retool: Into a Lighter and Softer show. It was changed back when Marge Simpson, who started the protests against the show's violence, had a wholly different opinion on Michelangelo's David (which was on a coast-to-coast tour of the United States at the time) from the rest of the protesters.
    • The first cartoon in 1928, "That Happy Cat" only showed Scratchy walking down the street and whistling. Unsurprisingly, it wasn't a success, and the series only caught on when Itchy and violence were added (read: stolen from Chester J. Lampwick).
    • At some point, the show was briefly expanded into The Itchy and Scratchy and Friends Hour, which featured additional characters Uncle Ant, Disgruntled Goat and Ku Klux Klam. The characters were dropped after the show reverted to a series of shorts, but they were featured as toys in Itchy & Scratchy Land.
  • Retraux: Itchy and Scratchy are obvious homages to the violent cartoons from The Golden Age of Animation like Tom and Jerry and Herman and Katnip.
  • Sadist: Itchy literally can't go through life without killing Scratchy. He'll clone the cat just to kill him if he has to!
  • Sadist Show: It's a show about a mouse brutally massacring a cat and it's a really popular show at that.
  • Shoo Out the New Guy: A character named "Poochie", voiced by Homer, was introduced, gelled horribly with the show, and was dumped hastily.
  • Shoot the Television: The short "Little Barbershop of Horrors", "written" by Abraham Simpson, ends with Scratchy's head (now just a skull) going through a ceiling and into Elvis Presley's television set. Elvis promptly produces a revolver and shoots Scratchy's skull through the TV.note 
    Elvis: Aww, this show ain't no good! *BANG!*
  • Shout-Out: Many, to various classic cartoons. A notable one is Itchy having the subtitle of "The Lucky Mouse" in his first, lost cartoon, referring of course to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
  • The Sociopath: Itchy. He brutally tortures and murders his best friend repeatedly for no other reason than because it amuses him.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Squeak the Mouse and Herman and Katnip, rather than Tom and Jerry.
  • Stock Sound Effects: At times during the early seasons, Scratchy's yells are very similar (if not outright exact) to Homer's.
  • Strictly Formula: Almost every episode involves Itchy killing Scratchy in some elaborate gruesome manner. Parodied several times, whenever the writers are forced to change the formula in any way, their cartoons plummet in quality, unable to utilise anything else competently.
  • Subverted Kids' Show: It's a very violent take on cartoon violence, but still made for kids.
  • Suicide as Comedy: In one episode, rather than Itchy killing Scratchy, we have Scratchy attend a presentation of Cats, where Itchy is an usher. But Scratchy finds it so boring that he ends up blowing his brains out.
  • Take That!: In response to Marge Simpson's protests on the show, there's an episode featuring a squirrel with Marge's blue Beehive Hairdo trying to break off Itchy and Scratchy's fighting... only to get killed by them.
    • Also, the I&S cartoon at the beginning of The Simpsons Movie has Itchy nuking the moon with missiles; the most extreme option is listed as "accidental bombing", with "accidental" in quotation marks.
    • Roger Myers Sr is a very unflattering portrayal of Walt Disney. The backstory of the I&S studio is a mishmash of conspiracy theories about the Disney Company.
  • Team Rocket Wins:
    • The 'lost' episode where Scratchy finally gets revenge on Itchy by running him down with a combine harvester.
    • A storyboarded episode had Itchy steal Scratchy's pie, so Scratchy threw him in a vat of acid. Unfortunately, this was during a massive censorship push, so if they went with Marge's suggestion, Itchy would have shared the pie. Which he stole.
    • "Burning Down The Mouse" (shown as part of "Homer Goes to College") is apparently the only aired episode where Scratchy wins, by blowing Itchy up with a large arsenal of explosives. Unfortunately, the viewers never get to see the end, because one of Homer's college roommates who are crashing at his house unplugs the TV and doesn't plug it back in until it's over, where the TV just turns back on in time to see a huge mushroom cloud and "The End" superimposed over the shot (followed by Krusty declaring that "They'll never let us air that again! Not in a million years!").
    • A Taste of Defeat: Another episode ("Four Funerals and a Wedding", shown as part of "A Star is Burns") still had Itchy kill Scratchy, but lost as well, having set up the prank for so long that when it's over the aged Itchy dies of a heart attack laughing too hard.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: "Spherical on 34th Street" (from "Funeral for a Fiend"), complete with a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade fiasco.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Itchy tends to kill Scratchy in this fashion. One of the most outlandish, even for cartoon standards, is Scratchy getting his eye impaled with the tip of the Space Needle (yes, the restaurant tower in Seattle).
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Itchy brutally kills Scratchy in most episodes, but he's always back for the next one.
    • Averted in "Tears of a Clone" when Scratchy is seemingly Killed Off for Real. Itchy decides to clone him a bunch of times, just so he can kill them.
  • Totally Radical: Parodied with Poochie, who is instantly reviled by Itchy & Scratchy fans.
  • Villain Protagonist: Itchy is not nice if that isn't obvious enough.
  • Vocal Evolution: In the "Marge Simpson approved" episodes, Itchy and Scratchy's goofy voices are converted to affable helium pitched ones.
  • Wartime Cartoon:
    • In one episode, we see a clip of an untitled World War II-era short, where a very Tom and Jerry-esque Itchy and Scratchy team up to torment and kill Adolf Hitler. Immediately afterwards, Itchy turns on Scratchy and cuts his head off, joined by Franklin D. Roosevelt to kick the bodies.
    • Roger Myers, Sr.'s other wartime contribution, "Nazi Supermen are Our Superiors", was not as well received.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: Poochie, a hipster with "attitude" who speaks almost completely in 90s slang, is parody of the trope, and failed miserably In-Universe.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: An in-universe example; the show is about Itchy killing Scratchy in various gruesome ways, but it's aimed at kids and Bart and Lisa watch and laugh at it often.
  • White Gloves: Itchy and Scratchy (as well as any cartoon pedestrians) always wear these.
  • William Telling: Itchy does it to Scratchy once. He hits the apple, but the arrow punctures a hole into the large tank of acid that Scratchy was standing right next to.
  • With Friends Like These...: Scratchy seems to consider Itchy to be his friend, even though all Itchy ever does is torture, mutilate, and outright murder the cat for no reason outside of sadistic amusement. Upon being described in a comic book story as Scratchy's friend, Itchy even thinks to himself that, with friends like him, Scratchy doesn't need enemies.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Itchy will cheerfully slaughter any female cats unlucky enough to be involved with Scratchy.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Itchy is just as willing to massacre Scratchy's children or any other child cats as he is to kill Scratchy.
  • Your Size May Vary: Itchy the mouse is normally half as tall as Scratchy the cat, but in some episodes, particularly in earlier seasons, Itchy is shown to be much smaller, like a typical cartoon mouse.

Alternative Title(s): Itchy And Scratchy, The Itchy And Scratchy Show