Thomas Jasper "Tom" Cat and Gerald Jinx "Jerry" Mouse are fictional characters and the titular main protagonists in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's series of Tom and Jerry theatrical cartoon short films, created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Tom is a blue/grey anthropomorphic domestic short-haired cat and Jerry is a brown anthropomorphic house mouse. They first appeared in the 1940 animated short "Puss Gets the Boot". Tom and Jerry were originally known as "Jasper" and "Jinx" during their debut in that short (Barbera claimed the mouse went unnamed in his first appearance), however, beginning from their next appearance in "The Midnight Snack", Tom and Jerry were referred to by their names.
Why They Are an Iconic Cat and Mouse Duo
- Their popularity became the birthplace of the world's most groundbreaking future cartoon stars.
- They got their own shows ever since the 70s because of their memorability in the 20th century.
- They provided countless memes because of moments of their buffoonery, charm, and expressions by several animation frames in the original shorts.
- Their friendship/rivalry became one of the most iconic relationships in cartoon history.
- On the near-same level of character such as Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Super Mario, Bob the Builder, Pikachu from Pokémon, Hello Kitty, Winnie the Pooh, Homer Simpson from The Simpsons, Thomas the Tank Engine, Sonic the Hedgehog, and SpongeBob SquarePants, they are two of the most iconic cartoon characters of all time.
- Even if the show started to decline during the Cinemascope era, they were still likable.
- Both Richard Kind and Dana Hill (although slightly unfitting) did pretty good jobs voicing Tom and Jerry in the otherwise critically panned Tom and Jerry: The Movie.
- His accident-prone and clownish antics and misfortunes because of how inefficient he is with chasing Jerry are always a blast to watch and his comedy timing with the slapstick being inflicted on him was always done hilariously.
- Even in later adaptions when his incompetence in his rivalry was done right, the comedy timing put into Tom's mishaps is always fun to watch.
- He has a very good and mostly diverse design.
- He is Jerry's (friendly and bitter) rival, and even though he usually fails to get the best of Jerry and loses in the end, his strategies are usually clever, whether they work or not, and some of them can get him to occasionally get the best of Jerry and win in the end.
- Because of his trademark silly comedic personality, he was responsible for one of the many influences for bumbling feline buffoons of Western Animation next to Sylvester.
- Whenever Tom was shown to be remarkably clumsy in the original shorts to Chuck Jones' shorts, he always does this hilariously.
- He has provided tons of memorable scenes in the original shorts whenever he was suddenly voiced for comical effect or for an orchestrated scene like where he was flirting with Toodles Galore with an instrument for example.
- When Tom was given any lines of dialogue or is given a certain voice in the theatrical shorts, they were always done comedically. All thanks to him being greatly voiced by William Hanna.
- While he is a very sympathetic schlemiel whose levels of goofiness, incompetence, and clumsiness are always played for comedic purposes. He is mostly very intelligent, clever, and determined, whether his ideas and plans work or not. In fact, numerous of them even lead to him getting the best of Jerry.
- When Tom was given responsibilities to help his friends (e.g Spike telling Tom to look after his son), he tries his best to help others if clumsily done most of the time.
- Just like many characters like Donald Duck, whenever Tom does make mistakes, he serves as a constant reminder for all of us to be brave, keep searching, hold family close, and never give up no matter how great the odds are against you; in which shows when trying to do his best in old shorts where he is quite unlucky.
- His mean-spirited and mischievous behavior is very hilarious to watch. Especially after Jerry does this all the time, it's refreshing to see Tom's sadistic side outside of being the show's biggest punching bag.
- Although he did get flanderized as the relentless object of ridicule in the Gene Deitch era, he still managed to be a likable and sympathetic character since he wasn't flanderized into being a malicious jerk or an annoying character (unlike Jerry) and he still kept most of his original persona during that era.
- Tom was also shown to be likable and friendly towards other characters like his feline friends in the episode "Saturday Evening Puss" and even his relatives such as Cousin George, and as a result, he and his Cousin had a very likable and entertaining sibling rivalry-esque relationship with Jerry in that episode.
- Tom himself has also brought lots of charm in the original shorts whenever it isn't based only focused on only slapstick, brought rather on comedy itself and the show wouldn't be as memorable if it wasn't for him. These include his playful, wrathful, sneaky, cheeky, arrogant, heartfelt, observant, and sarcastic responses to anything around him (done with little to no words to express his personality), which are not only charming to watch, but hilarious also.
- Unlike every other tomcat in the series of Tom and Jerry, whenever Jerry is in trouble and needs help, Tom saves him because he is genuinely concerned for his safety overall, it is also proven that Tom is sad without Jerry, as evidenced by The Tom and Jerry Show episode "I Quit".
- He is Tom's (friendly and bitter) rival, and his resourceful plans to get the best of him are either devious and/or clever.
- Because of this, this makes him quite intelligent and a good trickster for a small mouse such as him when he is against a big cat.
- He may seem incredibly lucky and flawless with his rivalry with Tom, but he has moments of showing how comically flawed he can be to find him likable as well.
- Cute and nice character design that got better over the years.
- He is usually selfless when it comes to others, such as helping out his friends such as Quacker.
- He is also a good uncle to his nephew Nibbles/Tuffy.
- His friendship/rivalry with Tom became one of the most iconic relationships in cartoon history.
- They have been shoehorned in a lot of bad films and shorts that don't focus on the universally loved skits, with the biggest and worst offender being the infamous "Blue Cat Blues"; which was an episode about Tom's depression.
- Their voices by Richard Kind and Dana Hill (although they gave a good performance) weren't always the best, as they can be slightly unfitting at times, mostly Jerry's voice.
- Despite him being likable and sympathetic in all of his appearances, he has been flanderized into a complete and utter Butt-Monkey in the show's worst episodes (e.g. Blue Cat Blues; this being a far more controversial and depressing example) and/or the worst seasons of Tom and Jerry such as the Gene Deitch era for example (where Tom is treated as a hapless punching-bag whose mishaps and misfortunes go too far, especially caused by Jerry at his worst).
- While the voice acting for him is mostly good (especially from the classic era), some of the other voice acting for him is terrible. For example, Allen Swift and Lou Sheimer do a bad job voicing him, in which the former made Tom Cat's scream as if in actual pain (or just plain creepy in his laughs) while for the latter, it sounds poor. Even Mel Blanc's voicing in Chuck Jones Era of Tom and Jerry, while not as much as bad as the aforementioned voice actors and cleverly the one in the evil laughs mentioned earlier, the screams in the Chuck Jones version aren't as iconic as Hanna's screams, making him sound like a hybrid between Allen Swift and a mute version of Sylvester the Cat.
- Like Tweety, he is often misjudged for his gender, it's actually hard to tell if he is a boy or girl at times mainly due to his feminine eyelashes and his occasionally high-pitched rodent vocal effects, however, the series many times had explicitly stated that Jerry is male.
- He sometimes comes off as a Karma Houdini, especially in the Gene Deitch shorts. Speaking of which, he was badly flanderized in the Gene Deitch era and in The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show, becoming very unlikable. Thankfully, he redeemed himself after the Gene Deitch era ended.
- He can sometimes have too much fun surviving to the point of being somewhat sadistic, especially in later adaptations such as the the 2014 series or even the 2021 movie.
Throughout the years, the term and title Tom and Jerry became practically synonymous with never-ending rivalry, as much as the related "cat and mouse fight" metaphor has. Yet in Tom and Jerry it was not the more powerful Tom who usually came out on top.
In 2005, TV Asahi ranked Tom and Jerry as 58th of the Top 100 Animated TV Series in Japan overall, outranking titles like Rurouni Kenshin, Initial D, and even Macross.
In January 2009, IGN named Tom and Jerry as the 66th best in the Top 100 Animated TV Shows.
Atari named the main pair of chips in the Jaguar's chipset after the duo. The Tom chip is its GPU, while the Jerry chip is the DSP.
- This cat-and-mouse duo made a guest appearance in the film Anchors Aweigh where Jerry is portrayed as the lonesome king in a story created by Joseph Brady just to entertain the children, he even speaks in this movie as well. Tom also appears as the "king's" servant offering him cheese to cheer him up, though he never spoke.