Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Itchy & Scratchy Show
The Itchy & Scratchy Show is a fictional television cartoon show within the television cartoon show The Simpsons (see show-within-a-show). It depicts a cat (Scratchy) and mouse (Itchy) continually attacking and mutilating each other with a variety of deadly weapons.
The Itchy & Scratchy Show is a parody of the Tom and Jerry cartoon series (especially the very violent ones which were made during World War II), and possibly to another lesser-known cartoon cat-and-mouse duo, Herman and Katnip. It is also a satire on violence in television programmes aimed at children. In addition, every Itchy & Scratchy episode satirizes another films, TV shows, music videos or historical events. Bart and Lisa find the show's extreme violence hilarious, but in one episode their younger sister Maggie imitates the cartoon characters and hits her father Homer on the head with a mallet.
The fictional series has supposedly been in continuous production since early in the 20th century, first for theater release and then for radio and television. Older Itchy & Scratchy cartoons are occasionally shown satirizing other aspects of early animation; for example a cartoon called Steamboat Itchy is shown in one episode of The Simpsons which closely resembles the early Mickey Mouse cartoon Steamboat Willie. Lisa once mentioned the tasteless and racist "Itchy & Sambo" cartoons of the 1930s.
The Itchy & Scratchy Show is a TV show within a TV show (The Krusty the Clown Show) within a TV show (The Simpsons) that itself started as a show within a TV show (The Tracey Ullman Show). From a certain point of view, it can be established that The Itchy & Scratchy Show on The Krusty the Klown Show represents The Simpsons when they were on The Tracy Ullman Show. Itchy and Scratchy also star in a feature film entitled: Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie.
The characters of Itchy and Scratchy are, within the fiction of the Simpsons universe, voiced by a woman named June Bellamy (whose physical appearance is apparently based on June Foray, a famous voice actress). In reality, Itchy is voiced by Dan Castellaneta and Scratchy by Harry Shearer.
Itchy and Scratchy themselves were once replaced by a show called Worker and Parasite, a parody of Soviet-bloc government-made cartoons. Due to licensing restrictions, Krusty could not run Itchy and Scratchy, so he had to show "communist propaganda cartoons" from the 1960s. The resulting cartoon showed a poorly drawn cat and a poorly drawn mouse jumping around inexplicably while random music played. The whole thing ended with the screen reading "Endut! Hoch hech!".
During one episode, Marge launched a campaign against cartoon violence, which resulted in a new series of 'happy' episodes, where Itchy and Scratchy (with enlarged cutish eyes) basically sit around doing nothing much and drinking lemonade. This led to most children getting bored with TV and going outside to play.
During another episode, Sideshow Bob's threat of detonating a nuclear bomb caused all TV to be cancelled. However, Krusty went to a small broadcasting shack in the desert to stay on air. His heavily improvised show contained the Stingy and Battery show, starring a dead scorpion and a battery.
Poochie was a cartoon dog character added to the Itchy & Scratchy lineup in the episode "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" (aired February 9, 1997). According to the show's plot, the producers believed the cartoons were getting stale, and needed a new character to re-invigorate the show. Homer Simpson gets the job of voicing Poochie, who is introduced in the Itchy & Scratchy cartoon "The Beagle Has Landed". A product of marketing department thinking, Poochie was near-universally despised, and was killed off over Homer's objections in his second appearance. (In a parallel plot, a young college-aged student named Roy moves in with the Simpsons, and just as quickly moves out, both without explanation.)
Both plots were a reference to television shows which add new characters purportedly to re-invigorate the show (often in the show's waning years and/or to replace stars who had either departed or child stars were now adults). Famous examples include Scooby Doo (when his nephew, Scrappy Doo, was suddenly added); the The Flintstones, who suddenly found themselves co-starring with The Great Gazoo; and The Brady Bunch, when Cousin Oliver came to live with the Bradys. Quite often, these additions of superfluous characters are part of a phenomenon known as jumping the shark, in which one change ruins a TV show.
Despite being created for a single-episode appearance (and despite a legal document from Krusty stating that he would never reappear), Poochie has appeared in later episodes of the Simpsons, such as the 11th Halloween show, an Itchy & Scratchy episode (Tears of a Clone), and was on a Krusty-Brand show T-Shirt (as well as "Itchy-Poochie").
Other Itchy & Scratchy characters
- Uncle Ant
- Disgruntled Goat
- Ku Klux Klam
The above characters also lampooned the addition of superfluous, two-dimensional characters to TV shows in an effort to draw viewer interest.
There was also a vulture modeled after Mr. Burns — in a cartoon he himself scripted and directed ("Fraudcast News") — who touted the virtues of nuclear power.
Quentin Tarantino guest appears in one episode, supposedly having directed it. He explains his motivation behind the violence in the episode before being brutally attacked by the cat and mouse duo.
Elvis Presley also appears in a cartoon, shooting Scratchy when he gets his head stuck in The King's television — a reference to the apocryphal tale of Presley shooting out a picture tube with a pistol when dissatisfied with the program.
Lyrics to the theme song
They fight and bite and fight!
Fight fight fight, bite bite bite,
The Itchy and Scratchy Show!
They fought and fought and bit!
Fought fought fought, bit bit bit,
It was the Itchy and Scratchy Show!
Opening theme to the short-lived Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show
They fight and bite and bite!
Fight bite bite, woof woof woof,
The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show!
Opening theme during Marge's anti-violence crusade
They share and love and share!
Love love love, share share share,
The Itchy and Scratchy Show!
Opening theme for the Itchy and Scratchy Movie
They fight and bite and fight!
Fight fight fight, Bite bite bite!
The Itchy and Scratchy Movie!
Opening theme for the Stingy and Battery show
They bite and light and
Yadda yadda... you know what I'm talking about.
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