Tom and Jerry TV Poster Image

Tom and Jerry

Cat and mouse face off in classic (but violent) cartoon.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Yes, it's all in fun, but Tom and Jerry do promote unhealthy competition and poke fun at stereotypes. Violence is consequence-free.

Positive role models

Tom and Jerry are very competitive and vindictive, often baiting each other with the intent to harm. It's all played for laughs.

Violence & scariness

Cartoon violence aplenty -- guns, knives, saws, axes, and explosives are used regularly (usually with little to no lasting consequence).

Sexy stuff

In one instance, Jerry uses a bra as a parachute.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Jerry smokes a cigarette; Tom smokes a cigar. The series was made in the 1960s, so this was fairly typical of the time period.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this animated classic is far from educational. Although it's considered a masterpiece, some of the series' content -- particularly the consequence-free cartoon violence -- is iffy for younger viewers. There's also some content that reflects the series' original 1960s' era -- such as the fact that the characters smoke in some episodes.

What's the story?

TOM AND JERRY invented the cat-and-mouse game we all know today. The classic pair have had many incarnations, but everything dates back to the original 1940s MGM series, in which the pair chases, outsmarts, and tortures each other to the max. In each episode, Tom the cat attempts to outsmart Jerry the mouse -- although in most cases Jerry ends up turning the tables on his foe. For example, Tom builds a master mouse trap for Jerry. All is going well until Jerry escapes, leaving Tom to land in the trap himself. Parents can try to use scenarios like this to teach their kids to root for the underdog, but that's about the only positive message you'll get out of this show.

Is it any good?


Tom and Jerry is inarguably one of the most celebrated cartoons of all time. But that doesn't mean it's perfect for young viewers. In most episodes, Tom and Jerry casually smoke some form of tobacco. In the mouse trap episode, for example, Tom gives Jerry a cigarette before his supposed death, and Tom daydreams about smoking a Cuban cigar once Jerry is dead. Mild sexual innuendoes occasionally pop up, too; in one episode, Jerry uses a bra as a parachute to escape explosives.

But parents should be most concerned about the show's constant violence. Examples include Tom hitting a dog with a brick, Jerry blinding Tom with toothpaste, and Pecos the mouse (a guest character) using an ax to tear down a door. Other weapons such as guns, knives, and saws make regular appearances. (Obviously, there's a kernel of accuracy behind The Simpsons' extremely bloody Tom and Jerry parody, Itchy and Scratchy.) It's all played for laughs, but Tom and Jerry's unexplainable motives could prove confusing for younger viewers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why it's important to respect someone else even when competing with them. When does competition become unhealthy?

  • Why is it inappropriate to make fun of someone else?

  • Why can something be funny on TV but dangerous in real life? How does the violence in this show compare to what you've seen in other series?

TV details

Premiere date:September 25, 1965
Genre:Kids' Animation
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Adult Written byrl_ovalle May 30, 2011

Not as bad as people make it out to be

Yes, Tom and Jerry has quite a bit of animated violence. I'm 26 and I grew up on shows like Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes. Now, I never felt the compulsion to hit my younger brother in the head with a frying pan...mainly because I knew it was wrong and also because I knew I would get in a world of trouble for it. T&J is all animated so the violence isn't "real." Yes, kids are imitators, but as long as parents aren't using the TV to babysit their kids and parents actually discipline kids, then the animated violence shouldn't be a problem. Long story short, teach the kids the difference between real and make believe and everything will be ok.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 9 years old June 25, 2013

good show

it is a good show. (p.s I am looking at it now.)
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 15 years old Written byDominicboo1 June 30, 2011

Violent But Classic Cartoons

Tom and Jerry cartoons are very funny, but often violent. In almost every cartoon (with very few exceptions) they're fighting. Jerry doesn't try to escape Tom like Tweety tries to escape Slyvester, but tries to hurt the cat for fun. My main choice for giving this 5+ is that the characters smoke occasionaly, but you hopefully taught your kids from the time they understood what smoking was that they should never do it. I suggest if you have not take an example in Texas Tom where Tom smokes and say" We don't smoke like Tom."
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking