Absurdly Long Limousine: The short, Blue Cat Blues, has Tom competing with a rich cat for a kitty's heart. He eventually pulls up to his love interest's house in an old, broken-down car, only to be driven over by his competitor's limousine. It takes nearly 10 seconds before the front half of the whole thing drives into view (the driver's seat is in the middle), and another 8 before the back half drives out of view.
Accidental Kiss: One of these kickstarts the whole plot of Dog Trouble, when Tom crashes into the sleeping bulldog and ends up locking lips. Needless to say, dog is far from amused.
Jerry engineers one between Tom and the eagle in Flirty Birdy, courtesy of the elastic on Toms party blower beak. Whilst Tom is disgusted, the eagle enjoys it so much he ends up dropping Jerry in celebration.
Accordion Man: Happens to Tom in "Neapolitan Mouse" after the wolf sends him running into the wall. The wolf proceeds to pick him up and play him like an accordion.
All those times Jerry took a hammer to Tom's foot or lit matches beneath his feet when he wasn't paying attention.
Tom was handy at doing this to himself on occasion. If Tom drops something like a bowling ball or a brick just to snatch up Jerry, there's a good chance it'll find one of his feet.
Alcohol Hic: Tom often does this when inebriated. He spends nearly the whole of "Part Time Pal" quite drunk, for example first on hard cider, than some errantly-spilled bay rum. The hiccups actually help him avoid Mammy's swinging broom.
Happens to Tuffy in the 1954 cartoon "Touché, Pussy Cat!", after he breaks open a cask of wine to flood the street and stop Tom from catching him.
Double subverted in "Heavenly Puss". When Tom gets sent back to his body, he's relieved, thinking it was only a dream... until he notices the "Certificate of Forgiveness" in his hand. Then all the drama happening in this short is revealed to be a dream in the end.
Always a Bigger Fish: A pretty literal instance happens in "Cannery Rodent", as not only is Tom chasing Jerry around the titular cannery, but a shark is lurking in the waters below, and understandably out for Tom's blood after he dropped an anchor on its head after it first attacked him.
Amusing Injuries: Major aspect of the series, as it's not only the premise, but wouldn't work without it.
And I Must Scream: At the end of "Mice Follies", Jerry freezes Tom in ice; only Tom's eyes could move.
Averted with the original Hanna-Barbera shorts, with a combination of budget cuts during the late '40s and '50s (owing to changing theater operations and increased TV usage) and competition with studios such as UPA (which utilized a flatter, more stylized visual aesthetic with minimal character animation or motion of the type that the classic Tom and Jerry shorts had previously thrived on) eroding the quality of the shorts' visuals from the detailed, fluidly expressive work of The '40s to a flatter, choppier style (with a conspicuously more garish color palette) by the late '50s. Many fans agree that this played a pivotal role in the series' initial downfall.
Granted, any halfway competent studio could have produced much better animation than what Gene Deitch's team churned out, but Chuck Jones's efforts are light-years ahead of Deitch's work (and even the final few Hanna-Barbera theatrical shorts) in overall animation quality thanks to the involvement of veteran WB animators from Jones's former unit, such as Ben Washam and Ken Harris.
Within the Chuck Jones run, most of the cartoons made in his studio had a style very consistent with his usual, being more stylised and angular than the standard designs for Tom and Jerry. The clip-show shorts such as "Matinee Mouse" and "Shutter Bugged Cat" however, make a greater (but still not seamless) attempt to replicate the style of the Hanna Barbara cartoons, likely to keep them more uniform with the stock footage used.
For an inverted example, Deitch's first Tom and Jerry cartoon, "Switchin' Kitten", has noticeably better animation compared to his later efforts (which isn't really saying that much), due to the fact that Deitch produced that cartoon in the USA with the help of some of his former Terrytoons colleagues, before departing to Czechoslovakia to make the rest of his cartoons with a much less experienced animation team.
Ant Assault: In three shorts (Cat Napping, Pup on a Picnic and Barbecue Brawl), a marching swarm of ants (whose synchronized marching may cause dangerous vibrations) shows up to cause bother. In the first cartoon, they were used by Jerry to ruin Tom's nap by breaking the hammock with their vibrations, while in the latter two cartoons they show up to collect food from Spike and Tyke's picnics.
Tom undergoes this. He looked like a real cat in the first short, but over time the change was striking. He began to walk upright more and more often. Other characters underwent a similar transformation, though Jerry himself changed very little over the course of the series, having always been somewhat humanoid.
Art Evolution: Tom and Jerry looked far different in their first short (with Tom actually looking like a real cat), but over time their designs became far more slick and cartoonish. It then went through a de-evolution in the mid Fifties as the budget became smaller and Limited Animation was used, making them resemble Hanna-Barbera's later TV cartoons. Modern adaptations (and thus the way they're normally pictured these days) tend to give Tom and Jerry the look they had in the late Forties to early Fifties.
Art Shift: The Tom and Jerry Show (2014) has the characters drawn without outlines and a little simpler. Beginning with season 2, the characters gained colored outlines.
Ass in a Lion Skin: Several times, the characters disguise themselves as other animals, such as when Tom disguises himself as a dog to find Jerry in a dog pound in "Puttin' on the Dog".
Babysitting Episode: In the shorts "Busy Buddies" and "Tot Watchers", Tom and Jerry have to continuously chase down and rescue the baby from trouble because the actual babysitter spends her time gossiping on the telephone.
Tom comes out on top in a few shorts, but since these tend to be ones where Jerry was the one harassing him, the "bad guy" part is up for debate.
In "Baby Butch", Butch manages to best Tom and Jerry in the end by swiping the ham that they had been keeping him from getting throughout the episode by making it look like he'll only take a small portion before getting the whole thing and eating it while holding the duo back.
The two occasionally end up trying to save a wandering baby, who's neglected by a bubble-headed teen babysitter.
This is also often the case for Jerry whenever Nibbles is around, and both Tom and Jerry are badly battered when Tom is forced to babysit for three bratty kittens in "Triplet Trouble".
Ball Cannon: "Tennis Chumps" has the opponents Tom and Butch form an alliance against the subversive mouse, Jerry. One of Jerry's defenses is to activate a tennis ball cannon and set it on high, whereupon it buffets Tom repeatedly in the face.
In The Million Dollar Cat, Tom reaches his breaking point with Jerry by the episode's end after the mouse takes far too many liberties, knowing Tom can't retaliate without losing his fortune. Jerry is legitimately scared when Tom finally blows his top before tearing up the contract and forcing Jerry to literally eat his words.
Black Face: Many shorts that still appear on DVDs and television, such as "The Milky Waif" and "Yankee Doodle Mouse"note The blackface gag has been reinstated since 2002, had blackface gags edited out, leaving the resulting cartoon very choppy. In the case of "The Milky Waif", we suddenly jump from Nibbles squirting milk in Tom's face to Tom suddenly being hit in the face with a frying pan. Also occurs in "The Mouse Came to Dinner" where they edit out Mammy's intro... which means Tom is coming out of a potted plant at the start for no reason whatsoever note though this is justified as Jerry roams around the table with an Indian headdress which is considered offensive, but then again, Tom spends nearly the entirety of "The Little Orphan" in one . It's rare to find unedited versions.
When the cartoons came on CBS, Chuck Jones, who was in control of the shorts at the time, and his team reanimated blackface scenes to make it look like nothing happen. In "The Little Orphan", for example, Tom kept his Indian headdress when he was burned by a candle instead of him turning into blackface and gaining pickanny braids.
Tom's owner, MammyTwo Shoes, was considered racist during reruns, and occasionally episodes featuring her recolor her skin white and have a different person dub her voice. It's actually June Foray, speaking in an Irish accent!
Subverted on the versions that come on Cartoon Network and Boomerang. The original Mammy design is still there but her voice is redubbed by Thea Vidale to remove the stereotypical voice. As of 2011, they are mostly absent from regular rotation however.
Cartoon Network and Boomerang subvert this as they leave most of the violence in and keep a handful, though not all, blackface gags. They still edit most gags that are considered racist extending beyond blackface gags.
Less so on Boomerang in the UK, where the episodes are left as they were (though some episodes, like "Texas Tom" and "Tennis Chumps" are edited to remove characters smoking cigarettes and cigars).
Break the Cutie: "Downhearted Duckling" is a huge one for Quacker after he reads the "Ugly Duckling". Since the duckling looks like him, Quacker thinks that he's ugly too.
A rare Show Within a Show version of this marks the end of the short with Jerry's country-singing uncle Pecos, whose guitar strings keep breaking and he plucks Tom's whiskers to replace them. For his big TV debut, the guitar string breaks yet again. Tom (watching it on TV) laughs out loud, only for Pecos to reach out of the TV to pluck one last whisker off his face.
In Neapolitan Mouse, the Italian mouse Topo recognizes Tom and Jerry for their cartoons.
Breakout Character: Spike and Tyke, who even had their own brief role in solo shorts. Some of their later appearances in the Tom and Jerry series also seem to be focused primarily on them, with the title duo's war as more of a side story.
Butt-Monkey: Tom. Jerry isn't immune to moments of this either.
Buffoonish Tomcat: There TONS of cats are prone to slapstick and comical foolery in the film series, the titular Tom is the most well known cat that was prone to this since he is an aforementioned Butt-Monkey who can comically lack some common-sense in his clumsiness or his foolery.
Buzzing the Deck: While Tom is joyriding on the witch's broom in "The Flying Sorceress", he flies past the window of the house where Jerry is contentedly eating a hunk of cheese. Tom's first buzz causes Jerry to blink, but dismiss the sight as an aberration. Tom's second buzz causes Jerry to discard his cheese as "bad."
Buzzsaw Jaw: In "Fit To Be Tied", Tom uses this to carve a baseball bat from Spike's rapidly chomping mouth, only to knock him out to silence the chomping.
Caffeine Failure: On one short, Tom is trying to not get caught sleeping, so he takes pot after pot of coffee. Eventually, he has a Balloon Belly slushing with gallons of coffee, yet is thoroughly exhausted and falls asleep shortly afterwards.
"Carmen Get It", directed by Gene Deitch, takes the "switching sheet music" gag to ridiculous extremes. As Tom tries to conduct an orchestra, he fails to realize that his sheet music is actually a blank page covered by an army of ants. As the ants repeatedly switch into different patterns, the orchestra correspondingly switches to a random song, causing Tom much confusion.
Tom first entered the concert in that cartoon as a musician trying to flush Jerry out of a hole so he can capture him, only to migrate to the conductor's stand later, much to the ire of the actual conductor. Tom actually was employed as a conductor in 1950's Tom And Jerry In The Hollywood Bowl.
At one point, Jerry crawls into the actual conductor's suit, making him dance around in a way vaguely resembling the Twist and causing the orchestra to play in an appropriate tempo.
Cassandra Truth: In "Heavenly Puss", a deceased Tom is given a limited time alive to gain forgiveness from Jerry as a pass into heaven. He desperately pantomimes the situation to Jerry, who gives a very skeptical look.
Chained to a Railway: In "Kitty Foiled", with a model train set. Luckily, the canary acts fast and drops a bowling ball on the tracks moments before Tom is about to kill Jerry.
Character Focus: Spike and Tyke towards the late 50's, perhaps in order to sell the spinoff series Hanna-Barbara was trying to make with them.
Characterization Marches On: In Spike's original appearances, he was more or less an non-anthropomorphic dog and even would attack Tom and Jerry without preference in his debut. Then, in "Quiet Please", the team developed the standard plot for Spike (telling Tom he would pound him if Tom did X, only for Jerry to spend the rest of the short framing Tom for X) and gave him an actual personality. His voice was quite different, too, being voiced by Billy Bletcher. Later on, they gave him his son and the characterization we all know now. In these cartoons, Spike was voiced by Daws Butler, who made Spike sound something like Jimmy Durante.
Chase Scene: Pretty much the entire point of 99% of the shorts.
In "The Bodyguard," the dog catcher's truck drives away with Spike the bulldog penned inside. Jerry Mouse pursues the truck, hoping to free Spike a second time. Tom Cat pursues Jerry Mouse because that's what Tom does.
In "Part Time Pal," a drunken Tom Cat is chased under the moonlight by a vengeful Mammy Twoshoes.
Similarly, "Tee for Two" ends with Tom being chased off the golf course by a swarm of bees towards the sunset, while Jerry whacks a golf ball hard enough to send it flying in Tom's direction. The ball catches up with Tom in the distance and hits him on the head, again knocking him out.
Chekhov's Gun: Literal instance in "Year of the Mouse". Early in the short, Jerry and his nameless partner in crime place a gun in Tom's hand and make him think he's pulled the trigger on himself. At the short's climax, the gun reappears when Tom discovers and captures the mice, first holding them at gunpoint and then rigging a bottle trap so that they'll shoot themselves if they try to escape.
In "Professor Tom", Tom is trying to teach a kitten how to chase mice. Though the kitten chases Jerry around, it's only because that's what he's told to do, and he responds eagerly to Jerry's offers of friendship. Jerry is noticeably much nicer to the kitten than he is to Tom, and gets very upset when he sees Tom spanking the kitten near the end of the short.
Also the plot of "The Unshrinkable Jerry Mouse", where Jerry defends a kitten newcomer from a very jealous Tom.
Reversed around in "The Little School Mouse" when Jerry tries to teach Nibbles how to outsmart a cat. Each of his demonstrations on Tom fail miserably, while Nibbles naively just asks Tom to comply to his requests, and actually succeeds.
The baby in "Tot Watchers" doesn't understand the laws of physics.
Inverted in regard to the three extremely naughty kittens in "Triplet Trouble", who make life miserable for both Tom and Jerry until the two team up to teach them a lesson.
Circling Birdies: One particularly notable example occurs in "The Flying Cat", where Tom uses a girdle tied to his limbs to fly. When he's first starting to get it, he crashes into a mailbox and gets circled by tiny flying Toms.
More so around the time the series began to decline in quality, though Hanna and Barbera managed to keep some of them genuinely entertaining. It required an Art Shift whenever Chuck Jones did one, so their look would match the clips. Tellingly, Tom and Jerry's Art Evolution made the differences between the clips and the Framing Device particularly jarring every time a Clip Show episode was done.
Noticeable in the two clip-show shorts made during the Jones era, Matinee Mouse and Shutter Bugged Cat, both directed by Tom Ray. The most discernible contrast between the new footage and the clips of the H-B shorts is the animation. The originals bristle with life and energy while Ray's looked lethargic by comparison — which isn't really surprising when you consider that Ray had to storyboard and animate the whole thing himself, as opposed to the full team of animators that H-B and Jones normally had.
Cock Fight: Tom and Butch are often in competition over the affection of an attractive female cat.
Come Back, My Pet!: Tom's owner gets annoyed that Tom never tries to catch Jerry anymore, so she replaces him with a robot mouse catcher and Tom is kicked out. Since Jerry can't live in the house due to the robot throwing him out, he and Tom work together, and eventually the robot goes wild and Tom rescues his owner.
Conspicuous Consumption: "Blue Cat Blues", where Tom keeps trying (and failing) to out-spend Butch in order to impress a female cat.
Construction Zone Calamity: The short "Tot Watchers" has the duo try to protect a baby who wanders into a construction zone. A later Chuck Jones short, "Bad Day at Cat Rock", has Tom chasing Jerry through a construction zone.
Convenient Cranny: Jerry tends to run at his mouse hole whenever Tom tries to get him. When Tom tries to reach his hand into the mouse hole, Jerry will usually exit through another way, or play a prank on Tom.
At the end of "The Cat and the Mermouse", Jerry is giving Tom Holger-Nielsen resuscitation (essentially pushing on his back to get him to breathe) when Tom comes to from his Near-Death Experience.
In "Just Ducky", Tom starts drowning in a lake, and Quacker, who thinks he can't swim, initially doesn't help. When Tom goes down, Quacker jumps in, pulls him out, and he and Jerry work his tail like a well handle to get the water out of him. In the next scene, Jerry is helping Tom recover from pneumonia, while Quacker is (literally) swimming with his family.
Dangerous Backswing: In the short "The Truce Hurts", Tom, Jerry and Butch the bulldog are having a three-way battle, in the course of which Tom repeatedly whacks Jerry with a frying pan; Butch, who is standing behind Tom vainly trying to hit him with a baseball bat, gets hit on the head by Tom's frying pan with every of Tom's swings, without Tom even noticing. This repeats no less than seven times in a row.
It's almost never given a sign of death or anything much related to it, since it's a slapstick comedy, but during a time-warp episode, "The Two Mouseketeers", Tom does (supposedly) get guillotined at the end of the episode, which didn't stop him from reappearing in the following shorts in the same setting.
In "Mouse Trouble", Tom's soul is explicitly shown floating up to heaven after he manages to blow up the house and himself along with it. He will be back in the next episode, of course.
In "Blue Cat Blues", both Tom and Jerry are implied to commit suicide by sitting on train tracks.
Delayed Reaction: Happens often with Tom, which makes him realize too late that he's carrying a bomb, about to get hit, or that Jerry is right in front of him.
Denser and Wackier: The scenarios and gags in the earlier shorts were more mundane compared to their later years.
Chuck Jones and Gene Deitch had their own takes on the characters. In some shorts, Tom is a Jerkass; in others he's getting beat up over nothing he actually did (mostly Deitch's, thanks primarily to his owner). Most of the worst examples of Jerry being The Prankster come from the Chuck Jones shorts.
Sometimes, Tom is merely doing his "job" in chasing Jerry, sometimes he is actively tormenting the mouse, and in a few he actually means to eat him.
Sometimes Spike can talk and is pretty docile unless Tom antagonizes him; other times, he attacks Tom solely for being a cat and can only bark or growl.
Butch can be either Tom's rival/enemy or one of his buddies depending on the short.
Dinner Deformation: This happened a lot to Jerry and Nibbles when they ate something larger than themselves, though only occasionally to Tom (either from his Dagwood Sandwich or swallowing something large and inedible like an umbrella).
Disney Death: In "Heavenly Puss", Tom gets hit by a piano and dies, ending up in heaven, but he won't be able to pass through the gates without Jerry's forgiveness. Tom is given a set amount of time to receive Jerry's signature on a certificate of forgiveness, but gets it seconds too late, and falls down to Hell, to the glee of a devilish Spike. It turns out to be All Just a Dream and Tom suddenly hugs a bewildered Jerry.
Domestic Appliance Disaster: In the cartoon "Push Button Kitty", Mammy Two-Shoes purchases Mechano, the Cat of Tomorrow, to replace the ineffective Tom. Against a single mouse, Mechano jettisons Jerry with maximum efficiency and zero damage. However, when presented with a dozen wind-up mice, Mechano goes haywire, turning a row of commemorative plates into a shooting gallery and circular-sawing a mahogany coffee table in two, among other destructive efforts. Mammy is screaming for Tom to return by the cartoon's end.
While most episodes where Tom wins start out with Jerry initiating the conflict, the short Southbound Duckling, where Jerry is trying to help Quackers fly south whilst avoiding being eaten by Tom, ends with Tom sneaking up behind the pair as they relax at Miami beach, trapping them under a bucket, then giving an Evil Laugh to the camera. Whatever he does to them next is up to your imagination.
Draw Aggro: Jerry is frequently left doing this to Tom to protect a smaller animal such as Nibbles or Quacker.
In one episode, Quackers attempts suicide multiple times. His motives are disturbingly realistic, as he even says "I'm useless" and "Nobody loves me" as well as "I'm just ugly". However, once Quackers gets a girlfriend, all suicidal thoughts miraculously disappear!
"Blue Cat Blues" has an utterly heartbroken Tom calmly sitting on a railroad track, waiting for the inevitable train. If that wasn't bad enough, Jerry eventually joins him.
The Dulcinea Effect: Many episodes involve Jerry helping/protecting another animal from Tom. Examples include a goldfish, canary, puppy, elephant, kitten, duckling, lion, seal, and another mouse.
Early Installment Weirdness: The early shorts had a strong Disney influence, undoubtedly a hold-over from Hugh Harman's influence on MGM's cartoon shorts. As such, the earlier shorts are very atmospheric and fluid in their animation, but to a point where it's self-conscious, and as such hampers the timing and pacing of the cartoons. Tom and Jerry also had more of a sibling rivalry than a true cat-eats-mouse rivalry. Once Tex Avery arrived at MGM, his influence started taking hold of the shorts (although he never directed anything on the series), resulting in more streamlined designs, sharper timing, crisper pacing, and the "sibling rivalry" aspect of Tom and Jerry's relationship was abandoned altogether.
Eating Shoes: Tom eats his shoes and shoelaces in "His Mouse Friday".
Eek, a Mouse!!: Numerous times. Invoked by Tom in "Trap Happy" when calling the mouse extermination service.
Played straight and then subverted in an episode where, during the usual chase, Jerry stumbles on a circus elephant weeping from a tack stuck under its foot. Jerry removes the tack and the elephant panics, afraid of Jerry, and desperately tries to hit him with Tom (who happened to be there at that moment). Jerry shows the elephant the tack and, in Androcles' Lion fashion, she hugs Jerry in appreciation. From then on, she treats Jerry like her own child, protecting him from a persistent Tom in addition to giving the cat a good beating.
The Gene Deitch short "Sorry Safari" has the elephant that's carrying Tom and his master getting frightened of Jerry when Tom sticks him in his trunk.
Elongating Arm Gag: The shorts "Busy Buddies" and "Tot Watchers" feature a gag where the babysitter stretches her arm across the room to clutch the phone and is then pulled towards it via Newton's second law.
Enemy Mine: There are times Tom and Jerry are facing a common enemy. The 1975 version had them teamed up in almost every episode; only at least two episodes — a tennis episode and a bowling episode — had them against each other.
Enormous Engagement Ring: In "Blue Cat Blues", Tom and an obscenely rich rival tom-cat are trying to impress their love, a lovely white cat lady. The ring from Tom's rival was so big and bright that you had to put on welder's glasses to look at it. For Tom's ring, however, you needed a magnifying glass. The kitty married Tom's rival.
Epic Fail: Tom is more or less as likely to be hurt by his own hilariously inept attempts at catching Jerry as he is by Jerry. Trap Happy and Mouse Trouble, for instance, pretty much consist entirely of this.
The cartoon "Jerry and The Lion" has a lion escaping from the zoo and Jerry desperately trying to keep him hidden from Tom. In the end, he helps him get back on the boat to Africa.
In "The Little Runaway", a baby seal escapes from the circus and hides with Jerry, while Tom tries to catch him for the reward.
"Jerry and Jumbo" has a baby elephant falling off the circus train and ending up at Jerry and Tom's house. Jerry disguises him as a giant mouse to freak out Tom.
In "Down Beat Bear", it's a circus bear who dances whenever he hears music. Every time Tom tries to report him, Jerry plays music and the bear makes Tom his unwilling dance partner.
In "The Missing Mouse", a white lab mouse escapes after ingesting an experimental explosive. Jerry paints himself white and messes with Tom, but Tom eventually finds out... just as the real lab mouse appears.
Everything Explodes Ending: "The Missing Mouse" has Tom scared by a lab mouse that swallowed a powerful explosive. By the end, a radio announcement declares that the mouse will not explode and Tom gives it a good kick. It explodes anyway.
In context, it's closer to one of Tom's "hero" moments, but anyway, "Timid Tabby" has Tom and his easily-frightened cousin George striking back as an eight-limbed, two-headed monster with a devil of a laugh.
"Solid Serenade" and "Jerry and the Lion" both have Tom laughing evilly when he thinks he's locked Jerry inside a doghouse/closet with himself, only to find out the hard way that there was something bigger and nastier in there. Special mention to the former, which has Spike leading Jerry out of his doghouse and then slinking back inside with a wicked laugh of his own.
"The Bodyguard" has Tom, thinking Spike has been distracted, holding Jerry while laugh evilly and proclaiming "IN ME POWER!". A few moments later Tom is distracted, and Spike goes back.
Jerry gets a devilish chuckle in "The Unshrinkable Jerry Mouse" when Tom manages to get himself trapped in a window, followed by Tom frantically saying his prayers.
Explosive Stupidity: Tom and explosives do not mix. When he shows up with a dynamite stick, you can usually expect him to also be on the receiving end of it.
Expressive Health Bar: The first video game for Game Boy has a picture of Jerry as the health meter. When Jerry is at full health, he is smiling. Each time he is hit with an obstacle, the smile gradually fades to that of a worried expression. By the time he is fully out of health, Jerry is completely petrified.
In the cartoon "Yankee Doodle Mouse", Tom and Jerry throw firecrackers at each other, and at one point Tom fires Roman candles at Jerry.
Also featured heavily in Safety Second.
Filling the Silence: In Japanese dubs, Tom and Jerry are sometimes given voice actors along with a narrator.
Finger in a Barrel: Seen in the short "Quiet, Please!". Jerry tries to wake up Spike by firing a shotgun, and Tom sticks his fingers down both barrels to stop it, leaving him with throbbing, swollen fingers.
There's one episode in which Jerry actually kisses Tom. On the mouth.
In one of the earliest episodes of Tom And Jerry, which was a Christmas Episode, Jerry stops Tom from chasing him by holding up a mistletoe and making a cute smoochy face at him. Tom then blushes and turns away shyly, only to have Jerry kick him in the rear.
Not to mention that whenever one of them (usually Tom) finds a girl, the other seems to get really jealous that they stop paying attention to them (most blatant when Jerry sees Tom with a new girl after failing to get a reaction out of Tom, and his evil angel appears saying "You and him got a sweet thing going on! You gonna let some dame get in the way of that?" before helping Jerry to break them up).
And then there's the end of Heavenly Puss, when Tom (happy that he's still alive and he just had a bad dream) hugs and kisses a confused Jerry.
Foot Bath Treatment: Several of the cat and mouse shorts end up with Tom having nearly drowned, and Jerry or someone else soaking his feet in hot water. In one Chuck Jones directed cartoon, the water is so hot that he launches like a rocket.
Forcibly Formed Physique: One of the series' main calling cards, and almost exclusively happens to Tom as he pursues Jerry.
One notable example occurs in the short the short "Jerry and the Goldfish" (from which the trope illustration is taken). Tom forces himself through a mouse hole and a radiator, and in both cases comes out the wrong shape.
A single-part variation happens twice in "Kitty Foiled", where Tom shoves his muzzle into a mouse hole and finds it shaped like the entrance when he pulls back.
Another instance occurs in "Designs On Jerry." When Tom's Rube-Goldberg mousetrap drops a floor safe on Tom (not Jerry, who'd sabotaged the blueprints while Tom slept), the safe door opens, and Tom steps out. Tom is shaped exactly like the safe's interior.
Another short features a variation: Tom gets his muzzle snapped in a mousetrap, and after he pulls it off, it's flattened to the point that it snaps back into a roll like an old-fashioned window blind.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: In "Saturday Evening Puss", you get to see Mammy Two-Shoes' face very briefly as she charges down the road towards the camera.
Tom and Jerry can actually get along quite well when they're not beating the crap out of each other. Best exemplified in the ending of "Tom-ic Energy", where Tom takes a moment to shake Jerry's hand for saving him from an angry bulldog while chasing him.
Butch is often Tom's rival, though when they aren't competing with each other, they seem to be pretty good friends. This also applies to Meathead and Lightning.
"Guided Mouse-ille" ended with a short Stone Age skit involving Tom & Jerry after an explosion. Even The End is followed by question mark.
Gaslighting: Jerry does this to Tom in "The Year of the Mouse".
Girlish Pigtails: Red Fairy gives herself these before singing "Tell Me a Bedtime Story" in Giant Adventure.
Glove Slap: In "Duel Personality", Jerry slaps Tom with a glove twice while issuing duel challenges. The first time, Tom accepts; the second time, he snatches the glove out of Jerry's hand and chases him with it.
Glowing Gem: In "Blue Cat Blues", Tom's love interest has an enormous diamond (bought for her by her rich boyfriend) — it's about a metre across, and can only be safely viewed through welding goggles.
The ending of "Two Mouseketeers" has Tom getting executed via guillotine, but the event is shown from a distance so that we see the guillotine fall, but we never see Tom.
The ending of "Blue Cat Blues" has Tom and Jerry sitting on train tracks, waiting for a train to kill them. Just as the episode irises out, the sounds of an approaching train can be heard...
The 2000s short "The Karate Guard" has Jerry calls for Momo-sumo (played by Spike) after Tom torments him. What Momo-sumo does is chop Tom's backside. Even though it cuts before we can see it, we can clearly hear something wet impling his insides were falling out. Even Jerry was surprised throughout this whole ordeal.
Gray-and-Grey Morality: Neither Tom nor Jerry are out-and-out innocent characters, and they can be rather vindictive in their feud; however, the shorts alternate with who is the most sympathetic, and they both at the very least have some justified motives (Jerry needs food, Tom — and usually his owner — wants a pest out of his house).
Hammered into the Ground: In one episode, Tom had a nightmare about a giant bulldog pounding him into the ground like a nail.
Heart Beats out of Chest: Occurs twice in "Kitty Foiled" from June 1948. First, Tom Cat captures Jerry Mouse in a goblet. Cornered and facing certain doom, Jerry's heart beats out of the left side of his chest. After using his left hand to push his heart back into place, it begins beating out of the right side. Later, Tom captures a small yellow canary beneath a flower pot. He peers at his prize through the drainage hole in the bottom. The canary's heart beats out of his chest in fear. When the canary turns away from Tom's yellow bloodshot eye, his heart starts beating out of his butt.
HeelFace Turn: Tom in "That's My Mommy"; he starts the episode wanting to eat Quackers (who mistakenly believes that Tom is his mother), but just as Quackers walks up to jump into the pot of boiling water, Tom has a change of heart, rescues him, and accepts his role as his mother.
The Hero: Jerry, at least nominally. Later Hanna-Barbera shorts did try to play this more straight, making Jerry more altrustic and often saving another animal friend from being victimized by Tom. The odd time he strayed from this, he was more likely to suffer Laser-Guided Karma.
It takes about five seconds for Tom to grow his teeth back. And that's just one example among many.
Averted in "Mouse Trouble"; the various Amusing Injuries Tom suffers stick with him as a Running Gag. These include various bandages, a Dodgy Toupee after a shotgun blast takes the top of his scalp off, and a wind-up mechanical mouse still rattling around inside him. He's still sporting all of them when his final plot against Jerry results in him being blown up and ascending in angel form to Fluffy Cloud Heaven.
Hollywood Magnetism: In the episode The Framed Cat, Jerry gets Tom to swallow a magnet and then drills a screw into Spike the bulldog's bone, so the bone flies at Tom from clear across the yard to make it look as if Tom's trying to steal it.
Honorable Elephant: In "Jerry-Go-Round", an elephant loyally defends Jerry from Tom after Jerry pulls a nail from the elephant's foot.
The extent of Mammy Two-Shoes' abusive treatment of Tom (and how justified it is due to the latter's antics) varied Depending on the Writer. Various alternate owners were paired with Tom throughout the franchise's run, their treatment of the cat ranging from lenient or justified to outright psychotic (the latter being Deitch's unnamed owner character).
In "Heavenly Puss", the feline St. Peter sadly shakes his head and mutters "What some people won't do..." when the next "person" in his line is a sack full of kittens who were apparently drowned.
The babysitter from both "Busy Buddies" and "Tot Watchers" takes the cake. She completely ignores the baby to talk on the phone instead. The only time she actually notices the kid is immediately after Tom has rescued the baby from killing itself, at which point she jumps to the conclusion that Tom is attacking the child and beats the stuffing out of him.
In "Baby Puss", there's the little girl who dresses Tom up as a baby and treats him as such, including putting him in a diaper and feeding him castor oil? The latter is particularly grating, since she walks into the room to discover Tom's "friends" mocking and humiliating him and her immediate response is to blame and punish him.
In another cartoon, "Puttin' on the Dog", Tom Cat disguises himself as a dog to infiltrate a dog pound. When Tom is ultimately unmasked, he climbs to the top of a flagpole, and ties his own limbs into knots to keep himself anchored there, beyond the dogs' reach.
Another cartoon, "Sufferin' Cats!", has Jerry being chased by Tom and another cat; by running around both of them, Jerry managed to tie both of them into a knot.
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: In the short "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse", near the end, Tom finally drinks his own power potion which Jerry had been using throughout the short. Instead of growing stronger, however, it backfires, and Tom shrinks until he's as tall to Jerry as Jerry normally is to him. The short ends with Jerry chasing after Tom with a fly swatter.
Hunter of His Own Kind: At the end of "Trap Happy", after Butch has reached his limit with Tom's accidental sabotage of his attempts to exterminate Jerry switches his business to cat extermination, and starts chasing Tom down with a shotgun.
Hurt Foot Hop: Happens with great regularity when Jerry hurts Tom's foot (usually drops something on it or smashes him with something) and Tom does the dance of pain, clutching his poor hurt paw. In one memorable instance, Tom is about to hit Jerry with a hammer when Jerry offers him a much bigger mallet. As Tom takes the mallet, Jerry picks up the first hammer and whacks Tom's foot with it. Cue Stock Scream from Tom and hopping.
In the short "Jerry's Cousin", said cousin, Muscles Mouse, inflates his fist to punch Tom across the room.
"Mouse into Space" has Jerry getting his blood pressure taken, and he inflates instead of the cuff.
In "The Brothers Carry-Mouse-Off", Tom gets Squashed Flat. Jerry offers to use fireplace bellows to restore him back to normal, and over-inflates him instead.
Similarly, in "Tom-ic Energy", Tom gets his foot smashed, and Jerry tries to use a bike pump to help him "regain his shape", then inflates him into a balloon.
Injury Bookend: On one episode, Tom gets a Tap on the Head and thinks he's a mouse. Jerry tries to get Tom hit again to return him to normal, and eventually succeeds. Unfortunately, Mammy has the same idea, and Tom is back as a mouse for the Iris Out.
In the Style of...: "The Karate Guard" was the first theatrical Tom & Jerry short in nearly 40 years, and it used opening & closing graphics from the MGM era... with one tweak: The Vanity Plate used by Warner Bros. was designed to look like the blue-background MGM intro, instead of their usual red-tunnel artwork.
Indestructibility Montage: In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse, Tom's poison to kill Jerry ends up turning him into a super-strong mouse. As he menacingly advances toward Tom, the cat tries to harm with a fire iron and a phone book, but they do no good and he ends up running for his life.
The short "Mouse Cleaning" has Tom threatened with expulsion if he makes one more mess in the house, leading Jerry to attempt to create messes that Tom must clean up before the master gets back.
The cartoon "Slicked-Up Pup" from 1951 has Tyke's father Spike bathe his son. Then Tom comes along, fervently pursuing Jerry. After the cat accidentally pushes Tyke into a mud puddle. Spike seizes the cat, makes him clean the pup up and warns him to keep Tyke clean lest he beat him up. Jerry proceeds to mess up the pup in escalating ways, until Tom cannot hope to clean up the pup in time. Tom resorts to disguising the pup as a chicken, and pretends to keep it company. It backfires when Spike catches him trying to wash Tyke in a washing machine and punishes Tom by stuffing him in it.
"The Invisible Mouse": Jerry hides in a bottle of invisible ink to avoid Tom. Once he jumps out, he sees his lower half gone. After being initially shocked, he realizes the effects of invisible ink and goes to apply more on the rest of his body.
"The Vanishing Duck": the aforementioned duck, along with Jerry, apply vanishing cream, making themselves invisible for most of the short. It ends with Tom having used that same cream on himself, making himself invisible so he can pursue them.
Jerry sometimes gets away with things he shouldn't, specifically in shorts that involve Spike.
There were in fact also rare instances Tom won despite still being the clear instigator.
The babysitter Jeannie in Busy Buddies and Tot Watchers gets away with talking to her friends on the phone instead of looking after the baby. What's worse, in the latter episode, she lied to the cop that she took her off the baby for "one teensy minute" and along with the cops, believes that Tom and Jerry tried to kidnap the baby, even though they were clearly seen going to the house instead of running away from it whilst having the baby with them.
Karmic Trickster: In most shorts, Jerry doesn't start trouble until Tom wrongs him in some way. In some shorts, he skews more towards The Prankster, who attacks Tom without being provoked, but usually Jerry is fighting for his survival, or at least unhappy with the unfair situation Tom is putting him in (i.e. using him as fish bait, dressing him in a bow and giving him to a girl cat as a present, using him as a paddleball, etc.).
Killer Rabbit: Jerry may look adorable, but when threatened? Beware.
Kung-Foley: Some of the most legendary foley work in animation history, in fact.
Laser-Guided Karma: Usually applied to Tom, particularly in episodes with Mammy Two-Shoes involved, but occasionally hits Jerry. Generally, in episodes where Jerry gets just a little bit too vindictive when dealing with Tom, the plot will deal him some kind of misfortune as well, even if Tom doesn't "win" per se.
Later Installment Weirdness: They are most famous for the original shorts done by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera in the 40s and 50s. After they left MGM, the series was sent overseas to cartoonist Gene Deitch, whose often bizarre shorts bordered on Deranged Animation. Later on, Chuck Jones took over the series, giving the characters a redesign, and plot-wise making them more like his Roadrunner cartoons at Warner Bros. Every adaptation since then likely falls under this trope as well.
Laugh of Love: This occurs thrice in the cartoon "Smitten Kitten", namely:
Tom Cat is sitting beside a pretty kitty and whispers something in her ear. She giggles coyly.
Jerry Mouse marches toward Tom, intent on doing him mischief, when he sees a cute girl mouse sitting nearby. Jerry freezes in his tracks, then drops everything to stand beside her. She also giggles coyly.
Beginning with 1949's "Polka-dot Puss", every T&J short opened with one of these composed by Scott Bradley. In the shorts themselves, in the pre-Jones shorts, both Tom and Jerry had themes that would occasionally accompany then — in some shorts more prominently than others (they're both ubiquitous in "The Bowling Alley Cat," for instance).
In "Mouse in Manhattan", most of the music is just variations of a single melody, matched to fit the mood of whatever's currently happening. The Godfather would use some of the music from the short, however.
The Gene Deitch shorts gave a short leitmotif to Jerry, which played in most of the shorts.
Let's Get Dangerous!: If Jerry pushes Tom a little too far, Tom will wear a disgusted, determined face, which usually means Jerry is in for a whole world of hurting. If Tom wears a devious, vengeful grin, Jerry's lost, such as when Tom discovers the Vanishing Creme.
The violence level is decreased in the Chuck Jones era with there being very little episodes with real gun violence and there are several more episodes where both Tom and Jerry win.
The later Hanna Barbara shorts were leaning this direction to a lesser degree. While the slapstick rivalry was still present, it was less brutal in execution, Laser-Guided Karma was more prevalent (which also worked in Tom's favour, he won far more often in this era fact), and there were more frequent instances of the duo being Friendly Enemies or having truces, or focusing on supporting characters who were less adversarial.
Like a Surgeon: In "Baby Puss", Tom is playing baby for a little girl when Butch and the other alley cats show up and decide to make fun of him. When they change Tom's diaper, they treat it as if it were surgery, with Butch as the surgeon and the smallest cat administering "anesthetic" with a mallet to the head.
Lower-Deck Episode: "Mouse in Manhattan" is a Jerry solo short, with Tom only appearing in the opening and ending. The two shorts centered around Spike and Tyke also count.
Made of Iron: Jerry can be amazingly tough at times. For instance, while chasing him, Tom repeatedly hits him with a fireplace poker and finds to his astonishment that not only does he make a exact outline of the mouse's body each time he hits him without apparently hurting him, but each impression has the mouse taunting him by sticking his tongue in the outline as well.
"The Yankee Doodle Mouse" has Tom cornered by a large firecracker. Instead of blowing up, it breaks apart to reveal a smaller firecracker, which then reveals a smaller firecracker, and so on until all that is left is a tiny firecracker. Tom holds it in his hand, laughs in amusement, and then it blows up in a huge explosion.
Similarly, this also happens in "Safety Second", but Tom puts the firework right on his nose before it explodes.
Mama Bear: In "Love Me, Love My Mouse", Tom offers Jerry to a female cat as a present, but Jerry invokes this trope by acting cute, causing her to treat him like her child. It only lasts until she gives him a kiss, at which point she realizes he tastes pretty good.
Mickey Mousing: Very widespread in the Hanna-Barbera shorts, where the music often provides more sound effects for characters' actions than the actual sound effects, especially when walking or running.
In "Timid Tabby", Tom and his cowardly identical cousin pull this on Jerry by switching around and eventually pretending Tom has turned into a two-headed, four-armed-and-legged monstrosity, sending Jerry running to the Home for Mice Suffering from Nervous Breakdowns.
In "Jerry and Jumbo", Jerry colours an elephant calf and its mother to look like him and drives Tom crazy. He breaks down when all three Jerrys jump ahead of him, starts laughing manically, runs through a brick wall, and disappears in the sunset.
Mood Whiplash: The 1956 cartoon "Blue Cat Blues" is rather depressing compared to the rest of the series, as it begins with Tom sitting on a railroad track preparing to commit suicide. Jerry tells us how Tom was driven to this state by a love affair gone sour, and the cartoon ends with Jerry realizing his girlfriend has been unfaithful and joining Tom on the tracks. Cue the sound of a train whistle, iris out.
Motive Decay: Tom originally wanted to eat Jerry. Now he just mostly harasses him.
Mouse Hole: Sometimes Jerry's mouse hole even has a little door, or fancy decorations around it, as if the architects of the house Tom and Jerry are in specifically built the mouse hole into the wall.
Two shorts that qualify on their own: "The Cat Concerto" (based on Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2), and "Cat and Dupli-Cat" (based on the classic Neapolitan song "Santa Lucia").
Music Genre Dissonance: "Rock'n'Rodent" really should've been called "Jazzin' Jerry"; the music in the cartoon sounded closer to upbeat jazz than what rock & roll sounded like when the cartoon was released in 1967.
In "Touché, Pussy Cat!", Nibbles uses an artist brush to paint a caricature of Tom Cat on a wall. When Nibbles realizes that Tom is glaring at him, Nibbles paints spectacles and a mustache on Tom's face.
In "The Lonesome Mouse", Jerry draws a Hitler mustache and comb-over on a picture of Tom, and spits at it.