Tom and Jerry, the ever-battling animated cat and mouse duo, have been at odds with each other since 1940 and don’t show any signs of stopping. Odds are, both you and your parents grew up watching their antics, whether on the big or small screen. And thanks to Warner Brothers’ constant repackaging of the series, your children and likely your children’s children will continue to enjoy that grey cat and brown mouse beat the living hell out of each other for years to come.
The latest effort that will eventually end up in the $5 bin at your local Target is titled In the Doghouse and puts a spotlight on the bulldog Spike and his son Tyke in 22 delightful shorts. If you’ve ever watched Tom and Jerry, you know how it works: Spike has to paint a fence or take a nap or maybe he’s given Tyke a bath and he needs to keep his little pup clean: Tom and Jerry, doing what they do, wind up getting in the way and getting into trouble. Sometimes Spike is on Jerry’s side, other times he’s out to get them both. But the one thing you can count on is madcap hijinks and hilarity as the trio smash each other with frying pans, drop anvils on their opponents’ heads, and run each other over with lawn mowers.
It can be tricky reviewing a Tom and Jerry DVD release because with 70 years of history behind them, it’s a pretty safe bet that anyone reading this review is already pretty familiar with the cartoons and probably doesn’t really need to read this, right? You already know how much you love them so why would you even bother reading any further? You already know how incredibly awesome and hilarious Tom and Jerry are, right? So you already know you can buy this without hesitation, right?
WRONG! Okay… actually you are right, but there’s a caveat that deserves to be mentioned before you make your purchase. When I sat down to watch this disc with my daughter, I was immediately dismayed by what I saw. These weren’t the classic Tom and Jerry adventures; they were new. Shiny, modern, and a whole lot cleaner-looking than the stuff we grew up with. And I hated them.
This wasn’t the Tom and Jerry I grew up with! This wasn’t the horrifically violent series that offended parents and inspired the Itchy and Scratchy cartoons that Bart and Lisa Simpson are such huge fans of. Well, they were pretty violent, to be honest, but they just weren’t right. The charm and style that has made Tom and Jerry so fantastically entertaining over the years just wasn’t there. And even though the famous cat and mouse (and dog) team was beating the crap out of each other, it didn’t have the same sadistic flair that the stuff we grew up on did. These weren’t cartoon shorts that parents and children could enjoy together, they were just lame.
I began to panic. There was no way I could force myself to watch nearly three hours of this garbage and I certainly couldn’t have my children growing up on this kind of sanitized violence! After sitting through four or five of these horribly un-funny shorts, I briefly considered turning the disc off and putting some pro wrestling on but just as my hand began to reach for the remote, something wonderful happened. The familiar MGM Lion appeared, signaling the beginning of the classic Tom and Jerry we all know and love.
And from that point on, it was gold. Pure, molten, honey-colored gold poured down my throat like sweet nectar of the gods. Tom’s whiskers being used as strings on a bass. Tom serenading that snow white girl cat. Spike being called “Killer” or “Butch” on occasion. Those huge bruises that slowly rise after someone is smashed on the top of the head with a baseball bat. In short, the real Tom and Jerry.
Out of 22 shorts (the DVD clocks in at 162 minutes), I believe only four or five of them were of the modern variety and thankfully, they get them out of the way first. But you had to be told, otherwise you might’ve bought this collection, had the same reaction I did and tossed it in the trash before you made it far enough in to see the good stuff. So at this point, I guess I can wrap up the review. It’s Tom and Jerry - you should know exactly what you’re in for and unless there’s something wrong with you, you should love it.