Cartoon Reviews

Tom and Jerry: Why is it an ageless timeless entertainer?

Like any other kid, Cartoons were a huge part of my childhood. I was blessed to enjoy some of the finest cartoon shorts ever made like the Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck & Co, Pink Panther, Merry Melodies, Silly Symphonies, Looney Tunes, Popeye, Woody Woodpecker, but none was as interesting or catchy to me as Tom and Jerry.

I was introduced to Tom and Jerry at the age of 4 via a cassette from my Uncle (Dad’s brother) and ever since then, I have never stopped watching the same. I love watching it with my family, have a laugh, and I feel it generates positivity and bonding. My favorite Tom and Jerry shorts were of the Hanna-Barbera era. I personally rooted for Tom most of the time, felt sympathetic as I knew who ends up winning all the time. For me, the naughty Jerry isn’t always innocent, trying to survive, but irritates tom and initiate fights with him as well – Well, they both are sweethearts 🙂

In this era of super special animated cartoons, when I introduced an episode (Heavenly Puss) of Tom and Jerry to my 7-year-old, she was instantly attracted to it and now, one episode a day is mandatory for her. That’s the magic of Tom and Jerry.

Who can forget the roaring lion followed by the title card showing the smiling Tom and Jerry emphasizing the love-hate relationship.

Some of the reasons I feel which makes Tom and Jerry special are: (The views are w.r.t the Hanna-Barbera episodes of Tom and Jerry)

Traditional animation

Tom and Jerry is a great piece of art. Whether you saw it as a child or an adult, the quality is something that’s always striking. As a cartoon historian rightly said ‘A drawing is a drawing’ and like old memorable paintings, it doesn’t fade away. Their rich hand-drawn animation and detailed backdrops has helped them win many academy awards and more importantly fans all over the globe. We have extremely clean bright designs now, but the classic hand-made appeal is lost.

Facial expressions

Facial expressions were a key element in the success of Tom and Jerry. The attention to detail in capturing different emotions of the characters made it more memorable. This is something which is missing in the new animations. The works of art were replaced with static figures and scrappy, minimalistic backgrounds. Instead of seeing facial transition while the character talked or made a gesture, only the lips moved.

Music & Sound effects

Scott Bradley, the man behind the music of Tom and Jerry gave the music it deserved. The absence of dialogues was never felt because of the music. It was perfectly in sync with the story and visuals that we always knew exactly what’s going on. Right from the title card to the end, the music and sound effects played a huge impact in the success of these cartoon shorts. The effective use of classical music, various instruments to different sound effects such as gunshots, explosions, hiccups, ricochet, horn, smash and many more gelled perfectly with the theme of Tom and Jerry. I absolutely love Tom singing “is you is or is you ain’t my baby” in the episode “Solid Serenade” trying to woo the girl cat while constantly trying to escape the angry dog and put up with jerry’s antics. 😛


A simple idea executed extremely well is Tom and Jerry. Nothing complex here – It’s about the cat named Tom who constantly attempts to capture Jerry the mouse and the mayhem that follows.

Visual humor

Tom and Jerry focusses mostly on visual humor allowing the audience to interpret what’s going on. The shorts are lively, colorful and full of details. The Body language, expressions, grumbling, babbling, pranking, are more than enough to get viewers to see what’s happening without directly telling them.


For me, the replayability of Tom and Jerry is second to none. Every single shorts of the Hanna-Barbera team are engaging and re-watchable.  A cat whose life revolves around napping, eating and chasing Jerry. Tom is always coming up with plans to catch Jerry, but the clever little mouse is always one step ahead. People simply love the tantrums they throw at each other and likes to re-watch and enjoy it over and over.


Who can forget Tom’s scream – AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! and Jerry’s gulp. Both rarely talked but the vocalizations did the job. Tom’s screams which were done by Hanna adds a lot to the humour – the screams which is a mix of comical and pain is underrated. The high pitched laughs, squeaks, even the minor little nuances were captured well.


The characters in Tom and Jerry are very lovable and they are like some relationships. They can annoy each other, pull pranks on each other, tease each other, start a fight with each other, but they share a bond and can’t live without each other. It’s like everyday life siblings – fights, friendship, goofing around, destroying everything 😉 . Many episodes (Old Rockin Chair Tom, Push button kitty, Jerry and the Lion, The Lonesome Mouse etc.) show their genuine friendship and care for each other. The later creations of the same didn’t resemble the old lovable Tom and Jerry; their charm, individuality and exuberance were missing.

Effective use of comedy

The beauty of Tom and Jerry was the timing and effective use of comedy. It was Slapstick comedy at its best. The timing and editing of the scenes were precise. The makers knew exactly when to cut a scene and to what extend a particular comedy scene needs to be showed to invoke laughs. The violence is cartoonish, things being implied rather than always shown and the character on the receiving end of the trick doesn’t always see it coming, it could be a surprise.  Most animators nowadays tend to undermine this and end up creating a jokeless mess.


Tom and Jerry relies on the usage of basic utensils, household items etc. that we can relate to, seen in our childhood. Even the interiors, exteriors are relatable which provides a natural attachment to the cartoon.

No language barrier

As mentioned before, Tom and Jerry mostly relies on visual humour. It has very limited to no dialogues which connects with people across the globe. Even when the dialogues are there, it’s used splendidly. Still remember the dialogue from Tom in an episode “One custard pie? Let me have it” and looks at Jerry – Gets creamed by the pie– splat!!! – Angry Tom 😉

Exciting side characters

All the characters had different personalities and they could vary from one episode to another. The cat named Butch can be a rival of Tom or a pal of him; Spike, the dog can be ferocious guard dog or a loving father trying to get some sleep/time with its son and then the gimmicks of the duo ruins everything and Tom gets the punishment; The Mammy character – I bet most would have been curious as to how she looks; The carefree Nibbles whom Jerry has to protect from Tom, The Yellow duck who always runs into trouble – all the characters were fascinating.

Appeals to everyone

The success of Tom and Jerry is the appeal they have on different personalities and all ages groups. It’s the type of comedy that attracts everyone. In the eyes of the kids, Jerry could be seen as an innocent mouse, often doing pranks whereas Tom is the villain cat which Jerry has to conquer. Adults might see both as naughty, pulling pranks on each other. The perceptions could be different, but the levels of enjoyment would be the same.

My favorite episodes

Its extremely hard to pick the best from Tom and Jerry as each and every one of them from the Hanna-Barbera era were special. Some of my personal favorites are: Solid Serenade, The Cat Concerto, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse, Mouse in Manhattan, A Mouse in the House, The Little Orphan, Yankee Doodle Mouse, Springtime for Thomas, Hiccup Pup, Quiet please, Flirty Birdy, Cat Fishin’, Salt water Tabby, Kitty Foiled, Polka-Dot Puss, Heavenly Puss, Tennis Chumps, Texas Tom, The Flying Cat, Two little Indians – and mid-way I realized, I am completely off-target 😀 and how difficult it was to pick and choose from such a fantastic list.

Tom and Jerry is one of those rare piece of gems that’s been passed on from generations to generations. If, by any chance, anyone of you have missed it, what are you waiting for? Give it a go – It can be your perfect quarantine companion. Enjoy! 🙂

Image source: Youtube videos

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