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YMMV / The Cat in the Hat

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The original book:

  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: "Set boundaries for yourself and others." 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.
  • Iconic 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" shot in London has the scene where the boy tells The Cat to put Thing 1 and Thing 2 back into the red box. He lessons 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 sadly as he leaves.

The animated special:

  • Cant Unhear It: Just try to read the original book in any voice other than Allan Sherman's.
  • Franchise Original Sin: For The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, which came out 25 years later. In said show's second season, the Cat, instead of being the trickster that he was in the 1957 book as well as in Season 1, is nothing more than the host of the show and sounds like he's yelling at the top of his lungs. In this special, however, he is still somewhat of a trickster like his book counterpart.
    • The live-action movie is frequently decried for, among its many other faults, following the original book only in very Broad Strokes. This adaptation actually doesn't follow it very closely either though, which is especially a contrast from the other animated Dr. Seuss specials. It just happened this didn't have any of the other glaring issues the movie had (crass adult humor, the fact it wasn't animated, Uncanny Valley visual effects, and virtually no focus) to bring it down along with it, and as much as it deviated from the source, it still kept true to the Seuss spirit. The latter point was helped no doubt by Ted Geisel himself being involved with its production.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • Values Dissonance: The made-up Eskimo words during "Cat, Hat" were most likely the best that the uninformed creators could do on a TV schedule and budget, and cultural sensitivities at the time most likely wouldn't have cared. From the 90s onward, it would be considered more than a little insensitive and in the age of Google translate, it'd be considered downright lazy, especially since all of the European languages are included without flaw.

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?
  • Author's Saving Throw: Although it doesn’t make the movie any less awful, the tie-in merchandise and storybooks are drawn in the style of the original book, and get rid of the crude jokes, looking like something Dr. Seuss would approve of. It doubles as Misaimed Marketing.
  • 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. What the hell?
    • 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.
  • Can't Un-Hear It: Millennials ironically like to read the Cat's lines from the book in the voice of Mike Myers.
  • "Common Knowledge": A lot of people have given the Cat flack for being a Jerkass (and in all fairness, he is), but when he came into the house, the only jerkish things he did was simply put Mrs. Kwan in the closet and had the Fish thrown into a teapot, but was otherwise rather harmless. He was even willing to leave before the kids begged him to stay.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Fountain of Memes:
    • The Cat is one due to his spewing of adult jokes in a kids movie.
    • Mr. Humberfloob was brilliantly played by Sean Hayes and spawned the "You're FIRRRRRRRRRRRRE-DUH!" meme as well as others since the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 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.
    • As part of their distractions to keep Joan from getting home and discovering the mess, Things 1 and 2 pretend to be motorcycle police officers. One of them begins to choke, and the other begins to perform the Heimlich. When the scene cuts back to them, one has the other in a headlock, and the other's going "Police brutality! Illegal choke hold!" With the death of Eric Garner by exactly the same method (chokehold) and accusations of police brutality (subsequently helping to fuel the Black Lives Matter movement), this really isn't funny anymore.
    • 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 "son of a b——"? Well, The Mad Hatter had that in common.
    • The "love each other very much" bit was re-used in Finding Dory.
    • Also, this, Catwoman (2004) and Garfield are three cat-related films released in the early 2000's and have cat puns in the reviews before Cats came out with similar negative reviews with said puns.
  • 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 Humberfloob 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.
  • Misaimed Marketing: The marketing and tie-in merchandise aside from the trailers averted the dirty jokes showcased throughout the film.
  • 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.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
  • Scapegoat Creator: Those who love Dr. Seuss like to blame Jeff Schaffer, David Mandel and Alec Berg (the screenwriters) for making such a racy film based on a kid's book.
  • Signature Line: "Dirty hoe".
  • 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 at worst a little boring and has at least a few jokes which land.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • Many of the scenes involving glaringly obvious and dated CGI (i.e. the Things running around the house and the "Mother of All Messes") can qualify as this.
    • An odd case with the Cat himself. While many consider the makeup to be Uncanny Valley, it at least looks somewhat faithful to the Cat's appearance in the book, similar to the Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. However, unlike the Grinch, in which the makeup was known to be extremely uncomfortable for Jim Carrey, who practiced stress-relief techniques to focus on his role, there are several moments throughout the movie where Mike Myers visibly struggles with the extreme discomfort of his costume, which really hurts the authenticity of his performance and makeup. Not helping matters is you can easily see where the costume ends and Myers' actual face begins.
  • Squick: Larry sneezing into his hands while covered in slime. Yeah...
  • Strawman Has a Point: It's not hard to agree with the Fish that the Cat should leave. The Cat even agreed with him at the start of the film before the kids begged him not to.
  • Tainted by the Preview: The unintentionally creepy Cat is seen in all the trailers and some of the dirty humor (including the extending hat) is shown.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Conrad and Sally's Get Out! moment is this for anyone who hates this particular version of the Cat.
  • 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; unlike say, The Cowardly Lion, the cat's muzzle was not designed to hide or even obscure his glaringly human lips and teeth, and 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. It also seems they were trying to sneak in a Don Knotts caricature in there, because apparently, he's the "Stop Having Fun Guy" like Squidward. 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?!"
  • 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. This causes the Cat to start losing control of his vehicle, prompting Conrad to ask where the brakes are.
    You'd Then Expect: Since there his one brake pedal per driver, The Cat would tell Conrad where it's located, so he could use it to stop the car.
    Or: He would slam his own brake pedal.
    Instead: He sees it as another occasion to make a dumb joke, and tears the brakes off the car body, even throwing it off the vehicle.
    Predictably: They crash the vehicle and are forced to carry on by foot.
    • The Cat makes it clear to Conrad that his only rule is not to open the crate, and even places a living lock on it.
      You'd Expect: Conrad would figure out that the Cat is not kidding about this and follow his rule.
      Instead: He still picklocks and opens the crate. As a result, he 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. 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 doesn't have any sex jokes or innuendos like the movie does.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The video game is a solid 2.5D platformer that, despite being mainly based on the film, is enjoyable enough on its own.
  • Player Punch: After defeating Lawrence Quinn in each of his machines, Thing 1 and Thing 2 operate them if the boss battle returns.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: There was inexplicably a version of this game released for the original PlayStation in 2003. It is a severely limited and boring "find the hidden object" game with graphics that wouldn't be out of place on a 16-bit console.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: The Cat isn't that annoying in the game and is more likable.
  • Uncanny Valley: The game's character models are based directly off the film's live-action characters and designs, which can cause this effect.

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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