Tom and Jerry

 
Cat and mouse face off in classic (but violent) cartoon.

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.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
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?

QUALITY
 

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

Network:Boomerang
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Adventures
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Tom and Jerry was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byGlass-Cheshire May 27, 2011
age 3+
 

Lighten up, geez

The more I browse this site, the more I see parents worrying too mcuh. "They solve their problems with violence!" Oh boo hoo. Let your kids have fun. I'm not hitting people with pans for the fun of it, and I loved this show when I was little. And kids are going to try to do it by fighting anyway. You ALSO forget that Tom and Jerry often make up at some point."BUT THEY SMOKE" and they almost always get sick afterwards from taking too much. Your kid is not dumb enough to pick up an actual cigar, light it, and smoke it, unless they see you doing it and learn how. And in such a case, you SHOULD'VE TAUGHT YOUR KID NOT TO DO IT IN THE FIRST PLACE. Make sure your child understands what they do wrong, and make sure they understand it's a cartoon. I really don't think you're giving your kids enough credit. They're not that dumb, and you can't protect them from every little knick and scrape to their body or mind. And from personal experience, the harder you try to do it, the farther your kids get later. I had issues with my grandmother recently because it suddenly dawned on me that she kept me inside my whole life, so I never learned how to play with other kids, I'd never played any games outside, and I'd never played in my own yard without long pants and a sweat shirt on. Whatever happened to kids having fun, anyway? AND WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE FUN OF ANIMATION?
Adult Written byrl_ovalle May 30, 2011
age 4+
 

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
Teen, 15 years old Written byDominicboo1 June 30, 2011
age 5+
 

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

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