Hanna-Barbera's first phase was animals in bow ties. Then it moved on to teens + object/animal = mystery. In the late eighties, it moved on to the worst phase ever: this is something you liked before, but with kids. Popeye suddenly got a son, The Flintstones were now children, and a pup named Scooby-Doo came into the world with his burden of never ever being alone. Seriously, was there EVER a time when Scooby was by himself? If he was lost or scared he was always with Shaggy. He sat in the car with everybody else. Why didn't they just leave him at home sometimes? He never did anything to intentionally help, but maybe Freddy believed in chaos theory or something and banked on Scoob tripping over an errant ear of corn or something and crashing into destiny. Anyway, they were all babies suddenly, and it was terrible.
ENTER: Tom and Jerry KIDS. The easiest cartoon to understand motivationally and enjoy is "Tom and Jerry." There is a cat (Tom) who wants to catch and kill a mouse (Jerry). That's it. Tom's in the house, Jerry starts f*cking around, and Tom wants to get him. They run around chasing and being chased, and somebody gets hit in the face with an iron. It's great. It's easy. It's a cat and mouse story. So of course it is crucial to the children of America that they have a KIDS VERSION of a cat and mouse to watch. They should've just strapped "Pocket Rockers" to the characters and had them sip juice boxes for the entire show. whooooaaaa tom is on a skateboard coooooool NO, shut up, he's a cat, stop it.
I can find nothing but fury for the Tom and Jerry Kids. It's an innocent enough idea, I guess, but God, do they HAVE to be kids? Do girls really need girl versions of something to like it? Can't they just like the regular version? It's the same thing here. Can kids not enjoy a cat unless the cat is supposed to be their age? Does the at most five or six year age difference between baby and cat make or break the show? When I was a kid I liked Daffy Duck a lot. Actual Daffy Duck. I don't think Daffy was dealing with any mature themes and adult situations, other than getting shot in the face as a joke or swallowing gasoline and a match to commit suicide. He was funny, and I liked him. I look at Baby Daffy Duck and all I can think of is, "If I'd grown up watching this I would've never stopped sh*tting myself."
The worst part about Tom and Jerry Kids (and re-released original Tom and Jerry cartoons) is the removal of the black maid, Mammy Two Shoes. Okay, she was called "Mammy Two Shoes." That's pretty terrible. But she never really DID anything Mammy, other than being dressed like Aunt Jemima. When I watched her as a kid I didn't think "objectification of black culture," I thought, "that lady lives with Tom." I loved her, and now she's pretty much gone forever. It sucks, too, because I can't think of a good reason to preserve her other than, "please preserve her." She's part of my childhood. And newsflash: mammies existed. They were human beings, too. Just because they didn't have everything in the world doesn't mean we should be ashamed of them and erase them from memory. Tom in blackface? Sure, get rid of that. But don't turn the black lady's legs white to make yourself feel better. I barely even noticed.
Secretly I'm just mad that I lost my teenage ability to argue that Tom himself was black, and use that to make jokes about the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
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