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YMMV / Tom and Jerry

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  • Accidental Aesop:
    • "Blue Cat Blues" has several:
    • "Pet Peeve" can be taken as a lesson about taking long-term costs into account when buying high-maintenance pets while also advocating getting a low-maintenance pet instead if you are already struggling to pay your bills.
  • Accidental Innuendo:
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Several cartoons imply that Tom and Jerry are actually Vitriolic Best Buds who enjoy their game of chase. The comics and The Movie made it pretty explicit.
    • Also, fans who view Jerry as the Villain Protagonist. Of course, in some cartoons, he explicitly is.
    • Does Tom really chase and/or torment Jerry for the heck of it, or is it just a job that he has to do to appease his masters? It's telling that when he gets drunk, he acts friendly towards Jerry and antagonistic towards the maid.
    • Is Spike the world's worst guard dog? He spends more time helping Jerry out than guarding the house like he's supposed to.
  • Archive Panic: The original MGM series lasted for the better part of 20 years, and that's not counting the Deitch and Jones shorts, TV shows, and movies, if you're really a completist.
  • Audience-Alienating Era:
    • The Gene Deitch shorts, which butcher the formula by giving Tom a Jerkass owner who beats the stuffing out of him whenever he slips up, whilst additionally amplifying Jerry's more malicious side to further push Tom into a needlessly tormented Butt-Monkey. Moreover, it suffered a lot of animation errors, incredibly stiff movement and sparse, tinny background music (all immense comedowns from the fluid animation and lush, vibrant score of the MGM shorts) populated by obnoxious electronic sound effects.
    • The 1975 TV series, which suffers from similarly low-budget animation and the show's main premise of Tom and Jerry (thanks to the omnipresent influence of Moral Guardians during production) becoming friends, which surgically removed both the slapstick and conflict from a series formerly devoted almost entirely to slapstick and conflict, which many fans believe left little more than an empty shell of dull shenanigans in its place.
    • The Filmation era tries to bring back the slapstick and conflict, but the extreme reuse of soundboards and repetitive, dull scenes and jokes turn many fans off.
  • Badass Decay: Yes and no. Tom is significantly more threatening in his early appearances. Compare how much of a dominating force Tom is in the first few episodes and how easy he is to beat as time went on. However, by the end of Hanna Barbara's run, Tom has more instances of outright defeating Jerry.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Jerry. Many Tom fans hate him and think he's a jerk who provokes Tom. Other fans, however, prefer Jerry over Tom.
    • The maid, commonly known as Mammy Two Shoes. While she definitely earns Ethnic Scrappy points these days, she is still often considered the most iconic and humorous of Tom's owners due to her matriarchal Sassy Black Woman personality. Generally her character goes down better with those who grew up with redubbed shorts than the originals, given they toned down some of the Values Dissonance of her character.
  • Better on DVD: The Warner Home Video DVDs still have some censored shorts ("His Mouse Friday") and shorts that are missing entirely ("Mouse Cleaning" and "Casanova Cat"), so if you're a classic cartoon purist, then it would be an aversion (unless you like the fact that the Cartoon Network/Boomerang Station ID bug is no longer visible on the screen). But the MGM/UA home video Laserdisc box sets are completely uncensored (sans "His Mouse Friday" which mutes the African Cannibals' (and Jerry's poor imitation) voices). A recent box set contains the uncensored version, however.
  • Broken Base:
    • Depending on who you ask, the short "Baby Puss" (which is almost entirely a Humiliation Conga for Tom) is either a funny episode or an unfunny and mean-spirited one.
    • The Maid's redubs by Thea Vidale. Either you like her less stereotypical voice and mannerisms or dislike Vidale's slightly flat performance.
  • Catharsis Factor: The times Tom defeats Jerry are cathartic for the latter's detractors. Shorts like "The Million Dollar Cat", "Timid Tabby", and "The Year of the Mouse" come to mind immediately.
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • No, the name of the Proto-Jerry from Puss Gets the Boot is not Jinx. The only source claiming it so was an apocryphal claim made by Bill Hanna in his biography (which was disputed by Joe Barbera, who claimed the mouse originally didn't have a name). According to MGM's own press on the cartoon, the actual name of the mouse in the short was Pee-Wee.
    • Also, contrary to popular belief, the black maid's name is not Mammy Two Shoes; absolutely no evidence exists, whether in production art or interviews that the character was ever given a real name in the original theatrical cartoons. The name in fact derives from an almost identical character from the Classic Disney Shorts. That said, "Mammy Two Shoes" still continues to be a popular nickname for the character, to the point where even Wikipedia uses it. This did lean a little into Ascended Fanon in Tom and Jerry Tales, whose Race Lift counterpart was officially dubbed Ms. Two Shoes.
    • Another common misconception is the duo never talk at all in the cartoons. In truth, there are many times where Tom or Jerry spoke actual dialogue, it just happens sporadically enough to allow the series to maintain the image of being pure pantomime slapstick.
    • The already-depressing "Blue Cat Blues" is often cited as the final original Hanna-Barbera short and thus the finale of the series as a whole, given how the short ends with Tom and Jerry being Spurned into Suicide by train. In actuality, there were several more original shorts produced afterwards, and the actual final ''Tom & Jerry" short by Hanna Barbera's unit is "Tot Watchers", which ends with the titular duo being arrested instead, a much more humorous Downer Ending that's Played for Laughs.
    • Many people assumed that Tom's portly and ill-tempered owner in the Gene Deitch-directed shorts was meant to be Clint Clobber, a character Deitch had created earlier for Terrytoons. Deitch himself confirmed they were two different characters, although they look alike enough that you might be forgiven for mixing them up. The main difference between the characters is that Clint Clobber was often portrayed as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, while Tom's owner in these shorts very much isn't.
    • The basic premise of classic Tom & Jerry shorts is that Tom wants to eat Jerry. Actually, in most Tom and Jerry shorts, their relationship is more one of sparring partners — always one-upping another, getting immediate revenge, and fighting over a common goal.
  • Contested Sequel: Enough for its own page.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes gets a pretty noticeable case of this if you happen to be a Sherlock Holmes fan. In one scene, Holmes mentions the case of the Red-Headed League and Watson responds it was a crime perpetrated by Holmes' nemesis, Moriarity. The Red-Headed League caper was actually masterminded by a criminal named John Clay. However, this could be a reference to the 1985 adaption starring Jeremy Brett, where Moriarty was the mastermind, with Clay being his pupil.
    • "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.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: In "Mouse Trouble", when Tom tries to ambush Jerry by hiding inside a package, a suspicious Jerry begins pushing large needles all through the package, eliciting muffled yelps. Jerry then proceeds to saw the package in half. After that, when he takes a glimpse inside the package, he looks up, horrified, gulps, and asks if there's a doctor in the house.
  • Designated Hero: Jerry skirts this line in many cartoons. Nowhere is this worse than in "The Two Mouseketeers", which Tom's death is somehow treated as heroic despite Tom not doing anything heinous and Jerry and Nibbles showing no remorse for him. This title occasionally applies to the Gene Deitch shorts' interpretation of Jerry the most accurately, in which the mouse is exaggerated from a (at least) somewhat sympathetic, if mischievous, character confronting the genuine threat of being eaten by Tom (or another cat) into a quasi-Jerkass who torments Tom for seemingly no reason.
  • Designated Villain: We're almost never meant to be rooting for Tom, even if he didn't actually do anything to provoke Jerry (common in many infamous episodes), or if Jerry doesn't even have the right to be provoked (like when he screws with Tom's golf game, and piano performance because they were disturbing his sleep; never mind that Jerry's the idiot who decided to set up shop in those specific places).
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Both titular characters have received this treatment.
    • Many fans believe Tom did nothing wrong. While he has likable qualities and Unintentionally Sympathetic moments, he still has many villainous actions: framing an innocent Jerry, trying to eat innocent animals (like a new-born Quacker), attempting to shoot Nibbles/Tuffy, etc.
    • While Jerry has good qualities, he can also: be manipulative, commit Disproportionate Retributions, torment Tom unprovoked (e.g. "Fraidy Cat"note ), or steal food. Nevertheless, some viewers think he isn't bad, with his cute appearance probably helping.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Jerry's more consistent family members are often fan favourites:
      • Muscles, Jerry's "tough guy" cousin and one of the most unambiguously badass characters on the show, who also underwent a bit of Memetic Mutation. It's easy to forget that he only appeared in one episode in the original shorts.
      • Uncle Pecos, Jerry's uncle for being The Juggernaut and having a very catchy song. Nothing is going to get in the way of him using Tom's whiskers as replacement guitar strings.
    • The Maid is this to fans who don't see her as an Ethnic Scrappy, due to offering admittedly funny moments.
    • Topo from "Neapolitan Mouse" is also fondly remembered for being a Bully Hunter and a fan of the silent duo.
    • Despite only appearing in one episode each, both Eagle (from "Flirty Birdy") and Lion (from "Jerry and the Lion") were fondly remembered enough to be playable characters in Tom And Jerry: War Of The Whiskers.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: Several candidates, but "Down and Outing" deserves a special mention. It ends with Tom's owner assaulting him so brutally that Jerry, a Heroic Comedic Sociopath who generally hates Tom, actually looked horrified. The owner then ties Tom up, places him in a bucket, and throws any fish he catches at his face while he starts crying... with happy music playing.
    An IMDb Review: [Tom] even cries at the end of the episode and it ends like as if [sic] it's funny. It's not.
  • Ethnic Scrappy: The black maid, commonly (and erroneously) known as Mammy Two Shoes. Later TV airings would dub her with a less "stereotypical" voice, but it didn't last long.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Surprisingly, the allegedly official name for the otherwise unnamed Maid, Mammy Two-Shoes, turned out to be one all along. The misconception stems all the way back to the 1970s and likely stems from a very similar Disney-owned character (from the short "Three Orphan Kittens") having the name Mammy Twoshoes (note spelling), but in truth the Maid was never given an official name in the theatrical cartoons, and no evidence exists in either art or interviews that she was ever intended to have one. The comics only muddle things further, as she alternated between the names Mandy and Dinah in them.
    • Jinx is also one for Jerry's early unnamed form in "Puss Gets the Boot", which stems from an apocryphal statement made by Bill Hanna in his biography. Joe Barbera claimed the mouse originally was nameless, and MGM's press came up with their own name for the mouse, Pee-Wee.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • In an odd example, Tom and Jerry and their fellow MGM characters are in the middle of one. Namely because even though the MGM cartoons are legally Time Warner property (via their acquisition of Turner Broadcasting in 1996), there is next to no use of MGM as a brand (likely because MGM still exists as a separate company). As a result, Warner Bros. and fans tend to lump them either in with Looney Tunes, due to being from the same era and influence of Tex Avery, etc., or with Hanna-Barbera because they created Tom and Jerry and their company and/or the men themselves worked on many of the recurring MGM characters at some point. These two fandoms have some issues regularly but there is some animosity which one Tom and Jerry and friends are better off with.
    • With Harveytoons due to Tom and Jerry fans seeing Herman and Katnip as a cruder ripoff.
    • Warner Bros. originally seemed to split the difference in home media— they put MGM cartoons as extras on Looney Tunes Blu-Rays but also moved their planned DVD releases to the Warner Archive where most of the Hanna-Barbera library was released, likely assuming, one way or another, they'd see which approach worked.note  Presently it seems WB is lumping them more in with Hanna-Barbera, as witnessed by having Tom and Jerry cross over with Jonny Quest and having Tom and Jerry items show up on Wbshop when you select Hanna-Barbera. In mid-2017, they also rebranded the Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection into the Hanna Barbera Diamond Collection.
  • Fanfic Fuel: What would happen if Tom even caught Jerry? The possibilities have been speculated since the beginning.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • Some fans choose to ignore all shorts produced after Fred Quimby's retirement (see reasons under Seasonal Rot), especially the Cinemascope remakes, "Blue Cat Blues", and "Tot Watchers".
    • The Gene Deitch shorts mostly get this treatment from fans (see Audience-Alienating Era above), who instead choose to believe the franchise went straight to Chuck Jones after Hanna and Barbera left. Even then, some people ignore Jones' shorts, too, though nowhere near to the extent of Deitch's works. Chuck Jones himself later said that he didn't really care much for his shorts.
      • That being said, some fans, while having no problem disowning Deitch's works, accept a few of his shortsnote .
    • Many fans go as far as ignoring every post-theatrical era T&J property, especially Filmation's series, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, the 2000s shorts, most of the DTV films and especially the 1975 series. Not even Warner Bros. Animation's generally well-received Tom and Jerry Tales and The Tom and Jerry Show (2014) are safe in some circles.
  • Fetish Retardant: It can be hard to view the dancer in "Carmen Gets It" as a Ms. Fanservice due to the low animation quality and her disturbing face.
  • First Installment Wins: The original MGM series of shorts are usually considered the best of the entire franchise, particularly the first ones made by Hanna-Barbara.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: Despite their famous enmity, some people ship Tom and Jerry themselves. It's likely because of them sometimes being Friendly Enemies and Tom occasionally having The Only One Allowed to Defeat You moments with Jerry. And Jerry has even kissed him many times, just to annoy him.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Tom and Jerry would, in some of the original shorts, be friends and speak, though in sporadic Played for Laughs sequences, several of these episodes end with something always coming between their friendship, making them fight again. These elements are what are most reviled about The Tom And Jerry Show from the 1970's, and Tom and Jerry: The Movie.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Tom and Jerry has always been an incredibly noteworthy part of American animation since its debut, but its liberal use of Mickey Mousing means so little of the series (including its humor) has to be translated into foreign languages. As a result, there are several countries where Tom and Jerry is much more popular and well-known than Looney Tunes.
    • A particular example is the series' popularity in Japan, where (at one point in time) it was not only the only non-anime series to make an audience top-100 list, at #58, it beat out other series like Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- and Ghost in the Shell!
    • In the United Kingdom, they are almost the definition of a classic quality cartoon. For decades, the BBC programmed Tom & Jerry on TV, especially when technical difficulties occurred and they had to broadcast something of general interest to keep their audience watching (like how, in 1993, Noel's House Party had to be taken off-air due to a bomb threat from the IRA, and BBC1 put on Tom & Jerry instead). In the "100 Best Cartoons" list, held by Channel 4 in 2005, Tom & Jerry came in second, only behind The Simpsons (another foreign cartoon, incidentally).
    • It's popular in Iran (of all places) and among the Iranian diaspora.
    • It is quite popular in former USSR countries, probably due to having little dialogue, and resemblance to Soviet cartoons themed around animal rivalries such as Nu, Pogodi! and Leopold the Cat. In fact, the infamous Gene Deitch shorts were produced in the Eastern Bloc (specifically, in Czechoslovakia) and have a cult status in the Czech Republic to this day.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • The earliest cartoons featured Tom and Jerry looking more like a real cat and mouse, and making real animal sounds. Hanna and Barbera soon realized that this made them too much like laughing at animals getting hurt, and anthropomorphized them a little more. The design refinements were also simply a cost factor: It was much more time-consuming and painstaking to draw realistic fur on Tom, so they made his design much cleaner so it would be easier for the animators.
    • The fifties era Hanna-Barbera shorts gained a better grasp of the grey dynamic between the two. The slapstick was more free game, Tom usually avoided being a Designated Villain, with Jerry either having a more benevolent personality or being punished whenever he surpassed Tom's mean streak. Their Friendly Enemy chemistry was also displayed on a more regular basis. Most of the supporting characters had also been fully established and different backdrops from the usual household were frequently used, making for less formulaic scenarios.
    • For some, this even applies to Gene Deitch's shorts, as quite a few fans felt that "Carmen Get It" was where Deitch and the animators finally managed to nail the Tom and Jerry formula. Unfortunately for Deitch, that was the last short he worked on for the series; MGM pulled the plug on his team and gave the series to Chuck Jones immediately afterwards.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Near the end of "The Milky Waif", Jerry, who is absolutely outraged at Tom spanking Nibbles on the rear with a flyswatter, grabs the cat by the tail, slams him on the ground back and forth thrice and swings him around before tossing him away. 50 years later, a certain heroic plumber would do the same to a certain reptilian king.
  • Ho Yay: The 1945 short "Flirty Birdy" revolves around Tom dressing himself in drag to seduce a male hawk who snatched Jerry from him. After much flirtation and shenanigans that would put Pepé Le Pew to shame, the cartoon ends with the two apparently married and Tom (somehow) laying eggs.
  • Hype Backlash: Widely considered to be one of the greatest theatrical cartoon series from The Golden Age of Animation, but in the internet age, a handful of notable animation personalities like John Kricfalusi and Cartoon Brew editor Amid Amidi have criticized the shorts for their formulaic stories and alleged "workman-like" animation. Animation historian Michael Barrier is also not a fan of the series, claiming that nothing actually happens in the cartoons (alternatively describing the majority of the shorts' events as merely distractions from definitive plot, characterization or 'real' gags).
  • It Was His Sled: Some episodes' endings generally aren't treated like spoilers (e.g. the ending of "The Two Mouseketeers").
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: A common criticism of Chuck Jones' shorts. Although the return to the iconic cat-and-mouse slapstick was appreciated by audiences, half of said shorts clocked in at less than six minutes.
  • Jerks Are Worse Than Villains: Guess which character is more disliked by the community—the Dumb Blonde who neglects her duties as a babysitter or the mean cat who has zero qualms against trying to eat other animals? (Granted, the latter is often subjected to Draco in Leather Pants.)
  • Jerkass Woobie: Although he can exemplify Cats Are Mean and he's often (and usually ironically) punished for his own cruelty towards Jerry, there are times where Tom becomes the Jerry's victim without provocation, and Jerry sometimes goes way too far in his retaliations. He's also often mistreated by several other characters (including his owners and Spike) for little to no good reason. "Un-Welcome Home" also implies his brother bullied him since he was little. For the most part, Tom chases Jerry away because he's ordered to do so, rather than any actual malice towards the mouse.
  • Misaimed Marketing: Tom & Jerry baby diapers by Onwards.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The opening theme in the Hanna-Barbera shorts as a whole would fit under this, but it's the conclusion of the theme (as the "Produced by Fred Quimby" title card would appear) that's especially beautiful.
    • One of the best inclusions of the Gene Deitch era was adding a closing fanfare version of the theme when the cartoon ended.
    • Tom's iconic "leather-lunged scream" (as described by The Other Wiki), performed by Hanna himself.
    • The loud rifle crack when someone takes a massive hit from something or a few other instances like a light bulb breaking or an actual gun going off.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games:
    • The House Trap on the PS1, which is a decently fun Spy vs Spy clone with a well-designed home level.
    • Fists of Furry on the N64. A Tom and Jerry fighting game might sound like a recipe for disaster, but the end result is a competent Power Stone clone with the cartoon's slapstick elements mixing into the formula very nicely. It later got a spiritual sequel for the PS2 and Gamecube with War of the Whiskers.
    • Tom and Jerry Chase for mobile devices (Simply titled "猫和老鼠" for the original Chinese Region app). It plays vaguely similarly to NetEase Games' other work, "Identity V", but in 2D and with a more light-hearted tone that fits the source material.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: While the original Hanna and Barbera shorts are generally considered the best, most of the revival projects done under them are just as contentious as those by other creative teams (especially the 1970s TV series). Even within their initial run, some fans are divided whether the series decayed or not when Hanna and Barbera doubled as producer for the series in Fred Quimby's absence.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: Tom and Jerry are named for two characters from a 1932 short story by Damon Runyon, who in turn named his characters after a Christmas-time cocktail, which is itself named for two characters from the 19th century play Tom and Jerry, or Life in London by William Moncrieff which is itself adapted from the novel Life in London by Pierce Egan. Prior to MGM's Tom and Jerry there had been a previous short-lived animated duo, a pair of Mutt and Jeff types, called Tom and Jerry from the early 30's. These days you'd be hard pressed to find many people who, upon hearing the names "Tom and Jerry," wouldn't think of the animated cat and mouse first, if they thought, or even knew, of the names' previous uses at all.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: The SNES game is just another bland platformer, where the player, as Jerry, plays through a series of stages, running around until he hits the end of each stage and fights Tom. Along the way, he can pick up peas that he can use to throw at his enemies. The music is composed of nothing but random beeps. The game's multiplayer aspect is no better; to quote a YouTube commentator:
    So, lemme get this straight, both players, not even playing at the same time, have to complete the level, and if one dies they switch.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Although the titular Tom has gotten this treatment, Jerry gets it more frequently. Yes, he's not a saint in canon, but multiple fans make him out to be an outright malicious monster simply for sometimes going overboard with his retaliations against Tom. Regardless if it was provoked or not. A few people even portray Jerry as a pedophile who molests his underaged cousin/nephew, Nibbles/Tuffy, when he's anything but in canon. Many also claim he's actually the show's true villain and the instigator in all his and Tom's altercations. The truth is that neither him nor Tom are by any means innocent, being victim and provoker in almost equal measure. However, the latter just gets the Draco in Leather Pants pass more often because he's an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain who gets more abuse. And even then there were some occasions Tom won undeserved instead, like "Spike Gets Skooled [sic]".
  • Rooting for the Empire: Tom. This actually made its way in-universe to some extent. Allegedly Hanna and Barbera got several letters from fans rather irked by the heavy punishment Tom suffered in many early shorts. As a result, many more later shorts actually let Tom get the last laugh (most of which were karmic victories due to Jerry starting the feud).
  • The Scrappy:
    • Quacker Duck. Not only does he talk nonstop, but many a viewer has struggled to understand what he's saying. Episodes focusing around him, especially his later appearances, often make him a tagalong who bothers both Tom and Jerry (particularly in "Happy Go Ducky") and an unlikeable Determinator who frequently ignores Jerry's counsel in episodes like "Southbound Duckling" and "That's My Mommy". In "Downhearted Duckling", he resorts to suicide despite Jerry's efforts to snap him out of it.
    • The Clint Clobber-like owner from the Gene Deitch shorts, who lashes out at Tom for simple mistakes and beats him in painful, non-cartoonish ways. It doesn't help that we're supposed to find this funny when it clearly isn't.
    • Jeannie the babysitter—not only does she treat the telephone as more important than the baby, she beats up Tom for "bothering" the baby although he was doing exactly what Jeannie was paid to do. If that didn't solidify her status, then having Tom and Jerry arrested for "kidnapping" the baby certainly did.
  • Seasonal Rot: The original Hanna-Barbera shorts are considered by some to have gone downhill in 1955, around the time Fred Quimby stepped down as producer and Hanna and Barbera themselves took his place. Common points of contention are a notable increase in rehashed plots (e.g. "The Vanishing Duck", which has the same plot as "The Invisible Mouse" a decade earlier), cheaper looking animation/backgrounds, a decline in slapstick, and simplified character designs. Not helping matters is shorts like "Blue Cat Blues" (which is extremely controversial among fans for its depressing tone and ending) and the final short, "Tot Watchers" (which is disowned by fans for being a copy of "Busy Buddies" two years earlier, the lack of Slapstick, and the mean-spirited ending with Tom and Jerry being accused of baby-napping and arrested, plus all their efforts practically being wasted).
  • So Okay, It's Average:
    • Those who don't outright hate or love the Gene Deitch shorts state that, looking past the Deranged Animation, they are pretty decent in their own right, and can actually capture the Tom and Jerry spirit rather well at times.
    • Ditto for the Chuck Jones shorts. While they are nowhere near as beloved as the original Hanna-Barbera directed shorts, they're generally considered to be much better than Gene Deitch's shorts.
  • Squick:
    • "Heavenly Puss": The implied causes of death of the cats in line for the train — most particularly the kittens in a burlap sack.
    • In "The Karate Guard", the samurai bulldog slices through Tom top-to-bottom at one point. Tom is facing the camera and we don't see anything, but we heard this disturbing wet sound of stuff falling out before he faints out of frame. Jerry stares at the audience with a wide-eyed look of shock!
    • The infamous "The Two Mouseketeers" cartoon, in which Tom is beheaded, albeit off-camera for obvious reasons.
  • Stock Parody Jokes:
    • The titular duo had their vocal cords removed at some point.
    • Jerry is an asshole who torments Tom for no reason.
    • Every installment, barring the Gene Deitch shorts, is Strictly Formula to the point of being identical.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • The direct-to-video films (like "Tom & Jerry & The Magic Ring") feature a sound-alike to the classic Tom & Jerry theme. Averted in Spy Quest, which springs for the original theme.
    • In the case of "The Karate Guard", not only does the opening horn fanfare sound similar to the ones in the classic cartoons, but Warner Bros. designed their Vanity Plate to look very identical to MGM's blue-background cartoon intro (they can't use the logo itself because MGM is still a separate company — they just own the pre-1986 stuff thanks to the 1996 merger with Turner Broadcasting, who acquired the library in 1986 after having MGM/UA for 74 days, then returning it).
  • Tough Act to Follow: Like most cartoon series from The Golden Age of Animation, the original shorts are iconic. Any re-imaginings that followed are up for debate.
  • Uncanny Valley: Toodles' design means she barely resembles a cat at all and in "Salt Water Tabby" she essentially has a human woman's body (including breasts) and what can only be described as some kind of human-cat hybrid.
  • Ugly Cute:
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Tom. It's been said that you know you're a grown-up when you watch T&J and start rooting for him. Even in the episodes where Jerry wasn't harassing him, like "Blue Cat Blues" Tom gets sympathy from fans for not winning the affections of a female cat and losing her to Butch. He's even nearly Spurned into Suicide at one point. Worse, you later realize that the female cat Tom was chasing after was a Gold Digger and very shallow which makes Tom's failure to get the girl a blessing of sorts, sure. But it also means he was wasting his time on someone who wouldn't have done right by him even if he succeeded in winning her over, which in some ways makes the episode that much more sadistic.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Jerry, to the point most consider him a Villain Protagonist, as many episodes feature him as the instigator of the conflict. The few that don't, weren't written until he had a long history of brutally harassing and physically harming Tom, in some episodes even getting him killed off-screen. Making this worse, is that even in said episodes, he goes way too far in his retaliations. It doesn't help that he is consistently portrayed as a thief who steals much more food from Tom than he would ordinarily need.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Tom is quite possibly the most despised character on the show, as he is often beaten to a pulp by Spike (and by other dogs in some shorts), is double-teamed by whoever takes Jerry's side of the two's conflicts, and even his owners treat him like garbage. Yet despite all that, he's generally adored by the fans, as most of them even prefer to see him claim a victory against Jerry.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Like many works from The Golden Age of Animation, the theatrical shorts frequently indulge in anti-black jokes, namely through copious use of blackface gags and depicting the Maid as a hapless and brutish servant who speaks in caricatured AAVE. Re-releases typically edit out the blackface bits, while the Maid was first replaced with a white woman before being reinserted and redubbed by Thea Vidale to sound less stereotypical.
    • Viewers outside the USA are absolutely surprised the maid isn't the housewife/owner— she reflects the social values of 1940s America and is a lowly ill-paid black servant.
    • At the end of "Blue Cat Blues", Tom and Jerry's superficial love interests both ditch them for richer suitors, leaving the pair heartbroken, so they both decide to commit suicide and put themselves out of their misery by waiting on train tracks for a train to come and run them over. A train starts to rumble along towards them, comical music starts playing, and the short irises out to the usual MGM logo outro, suggesting the coda was supposed to be another amusing punchline. Suicide as Comedy gags were pretty regular back then (the Looney Tunes has its fair share of them as well), but most modern day viewers find the suicide joke to be more disturbing than anything.
    • As mentioned elsewhere in the entry, some of what seems to be casual animal abuse today was commonplace at the time— drowning a bag of unwanted kittens as seen in "Heavenly Puss" was a normal thing to happen, considered a bit cruel but continuing nonetheless. Likewise, kicking/throwing out a cat if it failed to catch mice, although exaggerated to make the owners Jerkasses (and presumably because Tom is sapient), was more acceptable at the time despite the efforts of many a Kindhearted Cat Lover.
  • Values Resonance: What Jerry does for the Lion in "Jerry and the Lion" is actually a pretty noble thing to do when taking into consideration the modern views of circuses, especially after the calling out of animal abuse found within the likes of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Indeed, lions belong out in the jungle (or savannas) rather than in circuses at the mercy of whips and loud noises.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
  • Viewer Name Confusion:
    • Many people believe the black maid's name is Mammy Two-Shoes. Although there's no evidence she was ever even given a name.
    • A common misconception is that Jerry was originally named Jinx in his debut. However, unless one counts an apocryphal claim from Bill Hanna, there's no evidence suggesting that. Granted, it's debatable exactly what his name was; MGM's press on the short claims he was intially named Pee-Wee while Joe Barbera claimed he was originally nameless.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Thanks to MGM's hefty budgets and the skilled work of several master animators, the original shorts feature some of the best character animation by a non-Disney studio. This is particularly true of the 1940s shorts, when the majority of the shorts' runtime was heavily populated with surprisingly nuanced and expressive character animation from the likes of Ray Patterson, Irv Spence and Ken Muse, in addition to similarly impressive effects work (the effects animation in Heavenly Puss for the hell scenes is still stunning nearly a century later).
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Much like classic Looney Tunes and many other theatrical cartoons of the era, the classic Tom and Jerry shorts were originally made with adult audiences in mind, to be showcased in theatres before the main movie (hence the name "theatrical shorts"). The Moral Guardians who criticize Tom and Jerry for its famously violent Slapstick being unsuitable for children aren't entirely wrong, since the shorts weren't intended to be watched by children. Thanks to the Animation Age Ghetto myth, and the violence in Tom and Jerry being strictly slapstick with no blood or gore, many, many people out there still believe that Tom and Jerry is for kids, so it can still come as quite a shock for Moral Guardians when fans who researched the era tell them, "Tom and Jerry isn't suitable for children, you say? That's because it was originally made for adults".
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