I was having lunch with my mother yesterday, and to avoid the silence, she decided to turn on the TV. I was surprised a little because she stopped at Cartoon Network: and at that moment they were showing episodes from Tom & Jerry. She mentioned she liked the cartoon a lot, and even remembered a few episodes. I guess it’s natural to hear people saying they like Tom & Jerry. I like them too: they show such funny moments and have outstanding sound effects. Never mind all this, I could finally detect a thing that is bugging me about this cartoon.
The episode that was running was about a baby elephant that falls out of a train and ends up in Tom’s house. The elephant drinks all of Tom’s milk, and Tom suspects Jerry of drinking it, and the chasing starts. A little after that, Jerry finds out about the elephant and befriends it. He decides to paint the elephant in order to look like a maximized version of himself. The result is that Tom is thorn apart with dealing with both Jerries, and resorts to using a gun. Eventually the mother of the elephant shows up, and Jerry paints her to look like a mouse as well. Tom is terrified, and is shown to break neighborhood fences while running away from the ‘mice’.
The episode was really fun. The situations and sound effects were great as always, but this very episode demonstrated what I really disliked about the cartoon: Tom almost always ends up being outsmarten.
Some episodes start showing Tom threatening Jerry, or just slightly humiliating him, but that’s only from the start: after that Jerry always pulls worse pranks on Tom. Other episodes start by showing Tom resting on his cat bed, doing nothing: then Jerry shows up and ruins all the harmony and makes Tom chase him. It’s really fun to watch all the face expressions and hyperbolized feelings, but I’m a bit let down because of the usual absence of justice (at least Tom’s justice.)
When I was younger and really eager to watch it, I still was a bit disappointed that Tom almost never ‘wins’, because I liked him better. However, I said to myself “Naah, the producers must have had some reasons to make Tom the usual loser.” A bigger number of the kids I knew liked Jerry better, and back then I started to consider Jerry as a representation of youthfulness and playfulness, and that he usually “won” because the jolly and the free-spirited characters are preferred by the kids.
Now back to the episode with the baby elephant. Why does Tom get his ass kicked by Jerry and the intruder? I can understand that the two might have and advantage over Tom, but at least in the end, I think, Tom should have been victorious. From what I understand from this episode, somebody may enter your house, leave everything in chaos, have fun on your expenses, and then make you the bad guy, just because you wanted to restore the peace that has been ruptured (oh!, and get kicked of your own home in the end.)
So generally this cartoon teaches me that it’s okay to be playful and have fun pulling pranks on others… and expect to get away with it.
Some of my classmates would say “Oh my God, why are so irritated by something so minor? Those are just children, and they don’t care about it. They just have some quality time watching the show.”
As I stated above, I like the show very much: I, kind of, grew up with it in a way or another, but the fact that it irritated me in some little way means that I care. I don’t, in any way, want to say that children should be all serious and not have fun. I merely guess that the exhibited excessive free-mindedness could instill some selfish feelings, for example that pulling pranks on your friends is justified as long as you have fun, no matter if your friend is not having such a nice time.