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Western Animation / Blue Cat Blues

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Blue Cat Blues is an animated short released by MGM in 1956, directed and produced by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera with music by Scott Bradley, starring the iconic duo of Tom and Jerry.

Unusual for a Tom and Jerry short, Jerry "speaks" by narrating the story in a voiceover (supplied by Paul Frees); however, since said narration comes via Inner Monologue, the short doesn't break the "cardinal rule" of not having Tom and Jerry physically speaking on screen.

Also unusual for a T&J short is that while pretty much all other shorts for the series have a comical storyline and usually a happy ending (or at least a funny ending), this short is surprisingly sad and the only one to have a truly tragic ending.

Because of this—along with the very heavy implications that the iconic duo ends up committing suicide at the end—this short (which did air a few times in the late 1980s into the 1990s, back when TBS and TNT aired animated shorts, older movies, and general audience programming) rarely, if ever, airs on television (American and otherwise). Good luck trying to find it.

Provides examples of:

  • Absurdly-Long Limousine: When Butch pulls up in his limousine, it takes 10 seconds for the front half to fully be in view and 8 seconds for the limousine to go out of view.
  • Anti-Villain: Butch is seen as constantly one-upping Tom to impress the white cat. But considering that the narrative paints the white cat as the real trouble as a Gold Digger, Butch turns out to be the lesser evil, a potential victim of being dumped by the cat once he fails to impress in the future and most likely even more unaware of his fate since he doesn't even have a Jerry figure advising him.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The cartoon ends with the duo sitting depressed on the train track awaiting their fate. The train whistle blows in the distance just as the cartoon fades out.
  • Comically Lopsided Rivalry: Replacing "Comically" with "Dramatically". Tom loses literally everything — to the point of selling himself into slavery — trying to obtain things that Butch can top a million-fold in the blink of an eye, and decides to kill himself once it's clear it was All for Nothing.
  • Darker and Edgier: Probably the darkest Tom & Jerry short ever, considering it literally ends with the duo completely depressed and waiting for a train to run them over.
  • Despair Event Horizon: By the time Tom has spent literally his entire life savings and sold himself into slavery to appease someone who was never really interested in him in the first place, he's well over the line, to the point that when we see first see him, he's already waiting for a train. Ultimately, Jerry goes through a similar — but much faster — process when he sees his own girlfriend has married someone else behind his back.
    Jerry: Well, that's the story. The story of a cat with a broken heart. Too bad everybody doesn't have a girl like mine... (takes out a photo of Toots, which he kisses) ...a girl that loves me, and only me, with every bit of her true blue, ever-lovin' heart.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: In one of the rare shorts where Tom and Jerry both lose, this happens to them in arguably one of the saddest depictions of this trope in animated history. Especially since it ends with them losing all hope — and in Tom's case, everything else — and joining each other on a railroad bridge as the train approaches.
  • Downer Ending: In the words of Cracked: "Tom & Jerry Get Depressed, Kill Themselves".
  • Driven to Suicide: After their girlfriends leave them for wealthier men, it's very strongly implied that Tom and Jerry end up dying through suicide-by-train at the end of the short. Even worse, Tom knows just from one look why Jerry has come to join him, and sympathetically shifts to one side to make room.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: This is what Tom does after the white cat ultimately chooses Butch over him.
  • Friend Versus Lover: In the beginning, the cat and mouse were friends — sharing a glass of lemonade together and Tom allowing Jerry to have more after accidentally sucking him into his mouth — that is until Tom falls madly in love with the white cat and ignores Jerry throughout the cartoon. Even when Tom has given up hope trying to win over the white cat, he still pushes Jerry away despite his pleas and his saving him from his suicide attempt.
  • Foreshadowing: The white cat stroking Tom's face at the beginning of the short while they're dating — and accordingly molding it into the shape of a jackass — gives an early hint to her true nature as a Manipulative Bitch, as well as to how easily Tom would ultimately be taken in by her.
    Jerry: Poor, simple Tom... he was putty in her hands.
  • Gold Digger:
    • The white cat that Tom falls in love with turns out to be this, blithely leaving Tom for the obscenely wealthy Butch, and not even reacting to Tom going to all kinds of self-destructive lengths to win her back.
    • Jerry's girlfriend Toots (who looks like the mouse version of the white cat) is implied to be such as well, albeit more subtle about it since Jerry didn't know he had competition until he saw Toots get married.
  • Hate Sink: The white cat is clearly written with the allegory of "Beware of Gold Diggers, because they will ruin your life", and even Jerry is aware she's bad news; thus, she is the villain of the short, not Butch, despite him one-upping Tom all the time. She got away with driving Tom to suicide.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The train whistle that can be heard as the cartoon fades out, when Jerry joins Tom on the railroad tracks. With that, you know exactly what's about to happen.
  • How We Got Here: The cartoon opens with an utterly miserable Tom sitting on train tracks, waiting for a train to come and end his life. Jerry, feeling bad for his Friendly Enemy, explains how Tom became the wreck he is now.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Tom first attempts to kill himself when he gets black-out drunk and allows himself to drift down a storm drain to drown, but Jerry rescues him. When it becomes clear that Tom does in fact want to die and goes to the train tracks to kill himself, Jerry is seen sadly contemplating the situation from above... and then ultimately joins him down there when his own girlfriend runs off with another mouse.
  • Jerkass: While it's not Butch's fault that the white cat prefers richer suitors, he goes out of his way to humiliate Tom when he calls him out on stealing his date, closing his parasol on him and running him over with his limousine, all with a smug smirk on his face.
  • Karma Houdini: The white cat faces no consequences for driving Tom to ruin his life in trying to please her.
  • Kick the Dog:
  • Lack of Empathy: The white cat shows absolutely zero regard or remorse toward Tom sacrificing literally everything for her, to the point where he's spent his entire life's savings and willingly sold himself into slavery. She doesn't even flinch when Tom is ran over by Butch. It doesn't even extend to when Tom is on the brink of ending his own life and likewise suffers no consequences for it, which is one of the reasons she ends up being such a loathsome Hate Sink.
  • Leitmotif: A short, minor-key rendition of Felix Mendelssohn's Wedding March accompanies the two big Wham Shots of the duo's respective girlfriends marrying other suitors and driving them to despair.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Part of the reason why the white cat is a Karma Houdini is that love in this episode has made Tom incredibly dumb. Then crazy. And finally, suicidal.
  • Love Triangle:
    • Between Tom, Butch, and the white cat. Being a Gold Digger, the white cat chooses Butch over Tom.
    • Another triangle is revealed to have occurred between Jerry, his girlfriend, and another male mouse. Jerry only learns this when he learns said girlfriend and the other mouse have gotten married.
  • Mad Love: Tom does everything... and we mean everything... to win back the white cat. He spends everything he has and willingly sells himself off to slavery to win her over. The episode makes it clear that the white cat was never really interested in him, and he learns this the hard way when she marries a richer guy.
    Jerry: When the jewellery failed to impress her, he signed away his life to buy a car — 312 monthly payments at 112% interest that cost him an arm and a leg. (bitterly) But he willingly sold himself to slavery. For love.
  • Mood Whiplash: The already melancholy story takes a really dark twist when Jerry discovers his gal has been cheating on him too. In a meta-sense, watching this short alongside pretty much any other short in the Tom & Jerry canon can provoke this in spades.
  • Oddball in the Series:
    • Jerry narrates the short through a Private Eye Monologue (though neither he nor Tom are shown physically speaking).
    • There's little slapstick to be found, and the plot's opening premise is that Tom and Jerry have always been friends; Tom doesn't chase Jerry once!
    • Also out of the ordinary is that Butch is portrayed as being an extremely wealthy playboy cat, whereas almost all his other appearances have shown him to be an alley cat.
  • Perpetual Expression: The female cat, appropriately enough, has a completely still face the entire short.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: This is Played for Drama. Tom's the poor suitor to Butch's rich suitor for the affections of the white cat — whose name has never been revealed, but is confirmed to not be Toodles Galore — and because of his vast wealth, Butch is able to casually get the white cat much larger and more extravagant versions of the gifts that Tom sacrificed literally everything to obtain for her:
    1. While Tom gave her a single purple flower, Butch gave her a large — as in as big as her — pink-and-red floral wreath with "Love From Butch" written on it in yellow.
    2. After Tom gave her a single (and rather small) bottle of perfume, an enormous tanker truck full of perfume (with a "Love From Butch" note attached to it) drove up to the white cat's house.
    3. When Tom presented her with a diamond ring (but one with a diamond so small that you needed a magnifying glass just to see it), the white cat revealed that Butch had already given her a diamond ring of his own, but one with a diamond so big and shiny that you couldn't even look at it without eye protection of some kind; in this case, Tom and the white cat wore welding masks to look at the ring.
    4. Tom's final gift to the white cat was a car that he literally had to give his arm, his leg and had sold himself into slavery for, but the car was an old, outdated jalopy that's ultimately flattened when Butch runs his much longer and more luxurious coupe over it.
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill: The crappy Jalopy that Tom buys to try and impress the white cat is ridiculously expensive for what it is; with Jerry noting that its cost included 312 monthly payments at 112% interest. And that's at the low end of what we see, going by the contracts Tom is seen signing.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Jerry very clearly feels bad for the sorry state his old Friendly Enemy is left in, to the point that he tries to help him at the lowest of times and rescues him from his first suicide attempt.
    Jerry: (in monologue) Poor Tom. In a few minutes, it'll all be over. And for the first time since he met her... he'll be happy. Poor, miserable, lovesick creature... I suppose people will say that I should have helped him. I know. But it's better this way.
  • Tempting Fate: As bad as Jerry feels for Tom, he at least takes comfort in the fact that his girlfriend would never leave him, right? Unfortunately, that's not the case, as she seemingly turns out to be just as much a gold digger as Tom's girlfriend, marrying another mouse instead of Jerry.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: This is Tom's default expression (complete with bloodshot and baggy eyes) as he's sat silently on the railroad tracks, clearly well over the Despair Event Horizon and waiting for the train to come. Jerry gains a similar expression upon finding out his own girlfriend, Toots, has married someone else behind his back, and ultimately joins his long-time Friendly Enemy on the bridge.
  • Too Gruesome for Cartoon Physics: Opens with Tom sitting on a railroad bridge, eyes bloodshot, and fur matted, for reasons unknown. Jerry then offers a Whole Episode Flashback explaining that Tom fell in love with a beautiful white cat that demanded expensive presents, leading him to repeatedly borrow more and more money until he literally sold himself into slavery to appease her, only for the white cat to dump him for someone else. He's now at the end of his rope, and Jerry muses to himself that he'd never allow that to happen to him; and then immediately sees his own mouse girlfriend driving around with another guy. Jerry's appearance becomes just as haggard as Tom's, and he goes and sits next to the cat, with both staring wordlessly off into the horizon. And why are they sitting on the bridge? They've been Driven to Suicide. The final moments of the short have a train's whistle gradually getting louder and louder... and then we cut to black. Talk about your Downer Ending.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: The white cat, who doesn't react in the slightest to Tom sacrificing literally everything he has — to the point of spending his life savings and selling himself into slavery — to appease her. For that matter, she barely even reacts to Butch's much larger, more extravagant gifts, either.
  • Visual Pun: A multi-layered one that overlaps with Visual Metaphors. When the white cat is first seen, Tom goes through the exact motions that Jerry describes to refer to his love for her — literally flipping his lid, sliding towards her like an object being pulled by a magnet when he mentions a "Magnetic Attraction", etc. — and when she is seen affectionately stroking Tom's face near the beginning of the short, Jerry muses that he was "Putty in her hands"... at which point, she sculpts and stretches his headnote  into one of a jackass.
  • Wham Shot: When Jerry's girlfriend Toots drives by with another mouse after Jerry started talking about how his own girlfriend has seemingly remained faithful to him. Unlike Tom, though, Jerry knows better than to spend vastly to win her back. Tragically though, like Tom, Jerry knows he has no hopes of winning her heart, especially since Toots got married to the other mouse; and decides to join Tom on the tracks.