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YMMV / The Cat in the Hat

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The original book:

  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: "Indulgence is fine, as long as it's Safe, Sane, and Consensual." While the kids do, indeed, have fun with the Cat, he kind of blindsides them too, barging into their house to play games and only stopping when they get angry with him.
  • Applicability: "It's fun to have fun, but you need to know how!" can just as easily apply to things that adults find fun, like alcohol, sex, partying or being frivolous with money. If anything, it's more important that adults know how to have fun responsibly, lest they face consequences a little heavier than a messy house.
  • Epileptic Trees
    • "Freud on Seuss," which ascribes Freudian motivations to everything that happens in the story.
    • In the first book, we see Mom's bed. It's a single bed. In the second book, we see Dad's bed. It's a double bed. Though this has more to do with societal standards circa the late 1950s, which considered any implication that a man and a woman slept in the same bed to be vulgar.
  • Memetic Outfit: The Cat's iconic red-and-white striped stovepipe hat, particularly in late '90s rave culture.
  • Tear Jerker: The Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of "The Cat In The Hat" which was shot in London which has the scene where the boy tells the cat to put Thing 1 and Thing 2 back into the red box. The cat listens and then lets out the Things and one of them gets very excited and wants to have more fun. The cat shakes his head and Thing 1 and Thing 2 respond by crying as they sadly go inside the box and the cat then carries the box and meows in a sad tone.

The animated special:

  • Can't Un-Hear It: Just try to read the original book in any voice other than Allan Sherman's.
  • He Really Can Act: Allan Sherman as The Cat shows off a wide range of emotions in only 20 minutes, despite not being well known as an actor.
  • Memetic Mutation: In the YouTube Poops that have been made out of this, Krinklebine's "Outrageous!" is often repeated for humorous effect.
  • Narm: A minor case. "Chat" in the song is pronounced how an English-speaker might read it ("shat"), but in French the final letter of most words is not pronounced (unless accented or directly preceding a word beginning with a vowel), so the proper way to say it would be "sha." What makes it funny is the fact that, as pronounced, the word does mean something: it refers specifically to a female cat!
  • Popularity Polynomial: Was well-received when it first came out, but fell somewhat into obscurity in the 80s and 90s, overshadowed by the animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (and, to a lesser extent, The Lorax). In 2003 it got a DVD release to cash in on the live-action version, and was widely regarded as a far superior adaptation by comparison.

The live-action film:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Was The Cat originally a cruel saboteur who was perfectly willing to ruin the lives of a family just for fun, only to have a change of heart in the end, or was he ultimately trying to help Sally and Conrad understand their limits to having fun, knowing that the destruction he was causing would help them to learn their lessons?
  • Awesome Art: The Universal/DreamWorks/Imagine logos. All three animated in the style of the original book, with some gags thrown in (Mr. Krinklebine even appears in Imagine's ripples). The movie may be reviled, but most admit the logos were easily the greatest part of it.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The matador scene from the song near the beginning has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the song or the rest of the movie. Arguably the entire song could count as this, but that bit especially. Originally, the matador scene was the setup for a deleted verse which can be heard on the soundtrack CD and accessed on the "Deleted Scenes" feature on the DVD. Needless to say, this BLAM could have been averted if the verse was left in the final cut. Thank goodness that was cut.
    • There's also the Cat's Happy Place sequence after getting hit in the crotch.
    • The whole "Rave" scene as the group are running away from Lawrence - featuring a cameo from Paris Hilton of all people.
    • The scene where Mrs. Kwan watches a brawl break out in the Taiwanese parliament.
    • The Cat pausing the film to advertise Universal Studios.
  • Bile Fascination: It's a Dr. Seuss movie loaded with gags and lines that wouldn't be out of place in an Austin Powers movie. One just has to see why this did not go over well with Seuss' family.
  • Designated Hero:
    • This version of the Cat in the Hat is this. In stark contrast to the somewhat reckless but kindhearted and well-meaning feline in the book, here he's a foul-mouthed, wisecracking Jerkass who admits at the end to planning the whole day and everything that went wrong in it. It isn't hard to not feel sorry for him when Conrad and Sally kick him out.
    • Conrad and Sally are no better either. Conrad is a sociopathic troublemaker who doesn’t listen to the Cat when he warns him about the dangers of opening the crate and Sally is a bossy control freak who bullies her friends. At least they had the common sense to tell the Cat off when he destroyed the house.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Mrs. Kwan has become this due to being one of the film's less annoying characters.
    • Mr. Humberfloob has a following of sorts mainly due to Sean Hayes' energy being put into him and the infamous "You're FIRRRRRRRRRRRRRE-DUH!" meme.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • The reason Cat is threatening violence or planning to threat violence to Nevins is because he's a cat and Nevins is a dog. Cats naturally hate dogs. This is even more prominent in one of the deleted scenes, where he actually jumps into Sally's arms at the first sight of him.
    • While it seems to just be an ironic gag that the Cat is lactose intolerant since people like to give cats milk and/or creme, real life cats actually are lactose intolerant, and it is advised against to give them any.
  • Fridge Logic: Sort of a "blink and you'll miss it" moment, but when the Cat has the kids sign a contract, he pulls out a paper with the words "Spayed and Neutered", which raises the question of how the Groin Attack hurt so much if he was already neutered. Also, how can he be spayed if he's male (the correct term would be "castrated")? Cat implies in the fun song that he was neutered for misbehaving when he was younger or it really was another cat. Cat is also able to get an erection in both his tail and hat.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With EuroTrip, made by the same writers.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The entire Kupkake-inator scene, being a reference to Amazing Discoveries, is a bit awkward when you consider that Mike Levey, the host of AD, died several months before the film's release.
    • In the wake of the 2020 Coronavirus scare, people mass-buying hand sanitizer, and health experts advising against shaking hands, this scene is now being viewed by some as being darkly prophetic, though others instead see it as Hilarious in Hindsight in the vein of Black Comedy.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Rhyming and term "son of a b——"? Well, The Mad Hatter had that in common.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Conrad might be a destructive sociopath, but you can’t help but feel bad for him, since his mom’s boyfriend verbally abuses him behind her back (which is Truth in Television) and towards the end of the film, he nearly loses his sister and actually decides to willingly accept responsibility for wrecking the house.
  • Memetic Molester: The live-action Cat played by Mike Myers, to a degree.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "You're not just wrong, you're stupid!"
      • "And you're ugly, just like your mum!"
    • In early 2017, a screenshot from the movie of The Cat holding a baseball bat became a popular meme, mostly due to its alarming resemblance to the Costanza/"Shiggy Diggy" meme.
    • "Dirty hoe!"note 
    • "CHA-CHING!"note 
    • As of late 2019-early 2020, comparisons between Myers's off-putting costume and the so-called "digital fur technology" of Cats are not uncommon, with some calling this film's cat the less creepy of the two.
    • Hank Humberfloo became one in early 2020 after the spread of coronavirus with the scene when he cleans his hands with hand sanitizer.
  • Memetic Psychopath: In late 2017 and early 2018, Tumblr began to depict The Cat as a murder-obsessed monster wielding a baseball bat. The meme involved photoshopping him in pictures where it looks as though he's about to kill someone.
  • Mis-blamed: Between his Wag the Director antics on previous films, and credited screenwriters Alec Berg, Dave Mandel and Jeff Schaffer (who did the uncredited re-writes for The Grinch) being responsible for the well-received Euro Trip just a few months later, Mike Myers was widely accused of rewriting the screenplay and at the very least having added all the smutty humor, if not outright destroying what had once been a good adaptation. In reality though, Myers' contribution extended to no more than the occasional ad-lib on the set. That said, Berg, Mandel and Schaffer's screenplay apparently was put through the rewrite process, allegedly by studio executives, just not by Myers.
  • Never Live It Down: This movie will forever be remembered as the textbook example on how not to do a family-centered film, especially when it comes to adapting a children’s book. It's also remembered for nearly permanently damaging the reputation of one of Dr. Seuss' most beloved and recognizable icons, even more so than what happened to the Grinch, and being the cause of Seuss's estate allowing his books to be only adapted into animated films from now on. After being nominated for a whopping eight Golden Raspberry Awards, it won that year's one-time category, "Worst Excuse For An Actual Movie".
  • Nightmare Fuel:
  • Signature Scene: The Kupkake-inator scene.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Between the hilariously terrible acting, adult jokes, and disturbingly high number of pop-culture references, it's easy to see why some people view this a Guilty Pleasure.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Some opinions on this movie. As an adaptation, it's not exactly something Dr. Seuss would be proud of (In fact, his Estate was pretty livid over it and prohibited any other live action films of his works). On its own however, it's not that bad of a watch and it has a few good chuckle-worthy moments.
  • The Scrappy: The Cat himself isn't too well-liked, due to being hit with Adaptational Jerkass and for being incredibly annoying and unlikable.
  • Strawman Has a Point: It's not hard to agree with the Fish that the Cat should leave.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: This is natural considering that it is a borderline adult parody of one of the most beloved kids books of all time. Audrey Giesel was so unhappy to the changes that she prevented future live-action movies of her husband's books to be made.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Admittedly, the concept of the Cat's universe existing inside of a sort of Pandora's Box is a fascinating concept that doesn't get nearly the treatment it deserves.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously:
    • It's pretty obvious that poor Mike Myers was trying his best to make this film at least bearable, but there was simply nothing he could do to save the disaster. Same goes for Sean Hayes.
    • One of the common faint praises toward the movie is the cinematography done by Emmanuel Lubezski, who managed to make a child-unfriendly family film look colorful and gorgeous.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The Things. The Nostalgia Critic pointed this out in his review of the movie; in illustrations and animation, you can get away with designing characters without upper-lips since it would look like mustaches or wrinkles, but in live-action doing that only makes characters look downright creepy.
    • The Cat himself is no better; you can see the outline of Mike's head through the makeup.
    • The Fish is pretty creepy-looking, too. It's a little unclear just WHAT they were trying to do with him, but it looks like a cross between the Fish from the book and an actual fish that you'd see in real life. And somewhere along the line, someone decided to give him teeth!
  • Uncertain Audience: The reason why the film failed. It tried to appeal to Dr. Seuss fans but it appealed to fans of raunchy jokes and vice versa. As Smeghead put it:
    "These jokes are too stupid for adults and too dirty for kids. Who the hell was their target audience supposed to be?!"
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • The Cat, despite wanting to "have fun", he has a complete Lack of Empathy towards the destruction he makes and he almost kills Sally and Conrad a few times. He also makes the mess worse, so much he could've crossed the Moral Event Horizon.
    • The kids don’t exactly come across as any better as Conrad repeatedly breaks the rules just for fun, which caused the Mother-of-All-Messes when he breaks the Cat’s one rule of leaving his crate closed at all times. Granted, it turns out the Cat planned for him to disobey the rule, but still. As for Sally, she renounced her friendship with other girls for rather selfish and inconsequential reasons. It’s almost as if the Cat was made to be humorously cruel to the kids in order for them to be better people.
  • Vindicated by History: As outlined elsewhere on this page, the movie was widely hated upon its release. However, similar to what happened with Bee Movie, it later found popularity in the late 2010’s as an internet meme. As a result, many people who've decided to Watch It for the Meme have said that a lot of the jokes in the film are Actually Pretty Funny despite it not being a good adaptation of the book.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The sheer wackiness and colorful portrayal of Anville is about the only thing this film got even close to right, trying its best to mimic Dr. Seuss' trademark style.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: Did you know that both characters portrayed by the Cat in the infomercial were based on real personalities? No? Most probably, none of the kids in the audience for The Cat in the Hat were aware of it either. Mike was parodying Amazing Discoveries, a series of infomercials that aired on late-night TV from 1989 to 1997, and specifically its host, Mike Levey, who always wore sweaters and most often had a British pitchman showing him some "astounding" product which had just come on the market for public consumption, and about which Levey usually asked inane questions. Here's one of those shows. (Sadly, Mike Levey passed away from cancer in August of 2003. The Cat in the Hat was released in November of that year, so Levey never got a chance to see himself being parodied up on the big screen.)
  • What an Idiot!: During the scene where the gang tries to rescue Nevins, Conrad points out that two people cannot drive the same car at the same time (after the Cat gives Sally a steering wheel).
    You'd Expect: That the Cat would catch on and drive the car on his own.
    Instead: He suggests that they should all drive.
    • Despite the Cat’s constant warnings, Conrad still opens the crate and causes the Mother-of-all-Messes.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: This film definitely qualifies: Despite it being based on a book meant for kindergarteners, the movie dealt with a lot of extremely crass humor and rather dirty things that should not be exposed to kids, to the extent that it's almost as though the movie is actually missing a crap detection radar. Dr. Seuss's widow was actually so disgusted by this that she decided not to be a part of any film adaptation of her late husband's works, other than declaring that any future adaptations would only be animated from now on.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: The film got lots of flak for casting Mike Myers as the Cat (after Tim Allen left the film) due to his track record of humor being inappropriate for the typical age demographic of Dr. Seuss readers (although he was notable as another kids' icon, Shrek); both he and director Bo Welch were legally forced into the film due to Universal being angry over Myers cancelling a movie adaptation of Sprockets. Unfortunately, many of the fears from parents ended up being realized once the film came out.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: Even the world of Dr. Seuss could not find a home for The Cat as brought to life by Mike Myers, whose suit and makeup made for some hardcore Uncanny Valley and pales to the Grinch's design when donned by Jim Carrey.

The video game:

  • Author's Saving Throw: The game never has any innuendos whatsoever, to the joy of Dr. Seuss fans.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: While the game is based on the reviled film, it lacks all of the film's innuendos.
  • Player Punch: After defeating Lawrence Quinn in each of his machines, Thing 1 and Thing 2 operate them if the boss battle returns.

The ride:

  • So Okay, It's Average: Though it was met with warm reception when it first opened, opinions over the ride have changed over the years to it just being merely "okay". Most fans seem to agree that it is in desperate need of a good refurbishment/overhaul.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Fans were not pleased to see the spinning in the ride get drastically toned down. While understanding that it was done for safety reasons (as there had been a series of incidents on the ride over the years), they feel it takes a lot away from the experience and renders certain scenes pointless.


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