Do you know what I do sometimes when I want to watch something but don't feel like watching anything too serious, deserving of too much brain power, or too long?
I go on Youtube and I watch old episodes of Tom and Jerry.
It still is by far one of the funniest, most ridiculous, amazing fun television shows to ever make its way into our lives.
But why is it so good? What makes Tom and Jerry so effortlessly funny and relatable to every demographic from little kids to really old grandparents?
Why is this duo so iconic?
A Universal Story
For one thing the Tom and Jerry story is universal. At the heart of the story, it's two people (or in this case, animals) going at it with all they have BUT at the end of the day, still not wanting to cause any real harm to or lose the person they're fighting with. We've all had that kind of love-hate relationship with someone. 9 out of 10 times, if you have a sibling, then that person is your sibling.
When I was younger, my parents used to call me and my sister Tom and Jerry because of the way we would always go at it. From fighting over the remote control to fighting over the last juice pack in the fridge, we constantly went at odds with each other. Yet, at the same time, my sister was and still is one of my best friends and one of the best people in my life. Did that stop the bickering? No. Do I still want to throw an anchor 70 feet down unto her head? Definitely. But do I actually ever want to lose her or see her get hurt? Absolutely not.
And that is the beauty of Tom and Jerry. That is what is reflected in the show. Because you know these are cartoons and are never in any real harm's way, it is funny to laugh at the amount of torture these characters go through and I also like that karma is always at play. In episodes were Tom is the one causing trouble, he gets the brunt of torture. In the episodes were Jerry is the one causing trouble, Jerry is the one who gets the brunt of torture. I love that. The show was successful in not casting either character as the "bad guy" of the show. Obviously, it would have been so easy to make Tom the bad guy because he is in fact the cat, the bigger deadlier animal, but the showrunners didn't and I love them for it. It was an early glimpse into just how complicated we as people are. How we have the ability to hold two emotions at once: love and hate.
That is what is reflected in Tom and Jerry. It is a literal game of cat and mouse and at the heart of their relationship, you know it's all love because Jerry never wants Tom to actually leave the house and as much as Tom would like to eat Jerry, he never does and they always share these very nice cute moments together.
It's the perfect blend of good ol' slapstick humor, love, and revenge.
The Tom and Jerry formula is a formula that has been replicated time and time again. There have been so many different spins on the story in pop culture today. Locally, there is a very explicit example in the Nollywood pair of Aki and Pawpaw who are within Nigerian circles often called Tom and Jerry and even starred in a movie called Tom and Jerry.
This is a very explicit example. Most are more subtle. I'm currently watching AMC's Breaking Bad on Netflix (I know, I'm very late to the party but wow, what a good show!). I love the relationship between Walt and Jesse and I must say, sometimes watching the two men bicker, I find myself laughing and having the same reactions I have when I watch Tom and Jerry re-runs. It's two men going at it, no holds barred, but at the end of the day, always there for each other with so much love between them.
The Timeless Lesson.
I think what makes the show so timeless is that at the heart of it, the message is clear. Go at it with that person, karma is real, revenge can be fun. We are human beings, we will get angry and we will fight sometimes. BUT, after all the fighting is done and all your bowling balls have been dropped on your rival's head and he/she has bitten into the stone you painted to be an orange, there should still always be that unshakeable love that is unwavering and at the heart of it all.
These message of love, duality and laughter are the ultimate and most important messages Tom and Jerry passes and it is one that will live on forever. Plus, the show is just so damn funny! So it will live on forever simply because of that fact.
I really love Tom and Jerry and if you have never seen an episode, which I doubt, then here you go. Also, if you're like me and want to rewatch some old episodes, then here you go as well. This is a playlist of all 409 episodes. You're welcome!
Tom and Jerry is still all these years later the most iconic duo to ever come out of Hollywood. Name a better pairing - I dare you!