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They fight! They bite!
The Itchy and Scratchy Show is a Show Within a Show Within A Show on The Simpsons. It passes itself off as a cat and mouse chase, based on the old cartoon shorts of Tom and Jerry and Herman and Katnip. The cartoons are usually aired during The Krusty The Klown Show.
The show was part of The Simpsons since the first season, including episodes directly involving the company that makes the cartoons. They even got their own Video Game or two as well as a short comic book series (which crossed over with BartMan in the When Bongos Collide story).
This Show in a Show provides examples of:
- Adolf Hitler: Makes a cameo in a 1940s style War Time Propaganda cartoon
- Amusing Injuries: Especially to the people in "The Simpsons" universe. For us as viewers, the violence is horribly over-the-top and especially unfit for a children's audience.
- Art Shift: The Itchy and Scratchy cartoon "Spherical on 34th Street" is animated differently.
- "Worker and Parasite".
- Asshole Victim: One Wartime Cartoon featuring them has them team up against Nazi Germany
- Auto Cannibalism: In one short, Itchy (disguised as a restaurant employee) serves Scratchy his own belly. The unknowing Scratchy's attempt at eating it only results in the bits of it he swallows popping back out of a hole cut in it.
- Bloody Hilarious
- Cat Stereotype: Scratchy plays the unlucky part of the black cat stereotype.
- The Chew Toy: Scratchy
- Comedic Sociopathy
- Creator's Pet: Poochie, In-Universe. After mountains of hype, his premiere episode is little more than a giant shill of why kids should like him.
- Cross-Dressing Voices: In-story, both Itchy and Scratchy are voiced by an actress, June Bellamy. (In real life, Dan Castellaneta voices Itchy and Harry Shearer voices Scratchy).
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Scratchy suffers one Once an Episode.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: There's often a Shout-Out to another film or cartoon series.
- Early Installment Weirdness: "Manhattan Madness", a cartoon created entirely by Chester J. Lampwick, only features Itchy and had him visiting Manhattan to attack people. "That Happy Cat", meanwhile, is a solo Scratchy effort by Roger Myers Sr. with No Plot, No Problem whatsoever. Then Myers stole Itchy and his formula and used them in "Steamboat Itchy", and the rest is history. Out of universe example: the early shorts seemed to be standard Tom and Jerry clones with no gore and Scratchy as a clear antagonist, before becoming what they are today.
- Exposed Animal Bellybutton
- Eye Scream: Often.
- Flaying Alive
- Fur and Loathing: Itchy steals Scratchy's skin, fur and all. When Scratchy gets it back, and tries to put it back on, fur protesters beat him up for wearing his own fur.
- Game Show Appearance: Itchy and Scratchy appeared on an episode of The Springfield Squares.
- Karma Houdini: Itchy, who never recieves any punishment for his brutal and unprovoked attacks on Scratchy (except for one episode).
- Kill'Em All: One episode ended with Itchy dying of old age.
- Missing Episode: "Burning Down the Mouse", A Day in the Limelight episode where Scratchy kills Itchy for once.
Krusty: Wow! They'll never let us show that again, not in a million years!
- The Movie: In-story, the show had a movie released in theaters and either had a sequel or rerelease at the start of The Simpsons Movie.
- Nice Mice: Averted with Itchy.
- Overly Long Tongue: Scratchy's isn't so much long as stretchy; at one point it gets tied to a rocket which reaches the moon before Scratchy even notices.
- Remember the New Guy?: Poochie. Didn't go without Lampshade Hanging, of course.
- Retool: Into a Lighter and Softer show. It was changed back when Marge Simpson, who protested against the show's violence, had a wholy different opinion on Michelangelo's David (which was on a coast-to-coast tour of the United States at the time).
- The first cartoon in 1928, "That Happy Cat" only showed Scratchy walking down the street and whistling. Unsurprisingly, it wasn't a success, and the series only caught on when Itchy and violence were added (read: stolen from Chester J. Lampwick).
- Retraux: Itchy and Scratchy are obvious homages to the violent cartoons from The Golden Age of Animation like Tom and Jerry and Herman and Katnip.
- Sadist Show
- Screwy Squirrel: Oh, Itchy...
- Shoo Out the New Guy: A character named "Poochie", voiced by Homer, was introduced, gelled horribly with the show, and was dumped hastily out of the show.
- Shoot the Television: The short "Little Barbershop of Horrors", "written" by Abraham Simpson, ends with Scratchy's head (now just a skull) going through a ceiling and into Elvis Presley's television set. Elvis promptly produces a revolver and shoots Scratchy's skull through the TV.
Elvis: Aww, this show ain't no good! *BANG!*
- Shout-Out: Many, to various classic cartoons.
- Spiritual Successor: To Herman and Katnip, rather than Tom and Jerry.
- Subverted Kids Show
- Take That: In response to Marge Simpson's protests on the show, there was an episode featuring a squirrel with Marge's blue Beehive Hairdo trying to break off Itchy and Scratchy's fighting... only to get killed by them.
- Also, the I&S cartoon at the beginning of The Simpsons Movie has Itchy nuking the moon with missiles; the most extreme option is listed as "accidental bombing", with "accidental" in quotation marks. Without going into details, let's just say this is awfully reminiscent of various similar cases in Real Life of making similar atrocities look accidental.
- Team Rocket Wins: The 'lost' episode where Scrachy finally gets revenge on Itchy by running him down with a combine harvester.
- A storyboarded episode had Itchy steal Scratchy's pie, so Scratchy threw him in a vat of acid. Unfortunately, this was during a massive censorship push, so if they went with Marge's suggestion, Itchy would have shared the pie. Which he stole.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill
- They Killed Kenny: Itchy brutally kills Scratchy in every episode, but he's always back for the next one.
- Totally Radical: Parodied with Poochie, who is instantly reviled by Itchy & Scratchy fans.
- Villain Protagonist
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Scratchy continues to hang around with Itchy, regardless of the constant attacks.
- Wartime Cartoon: In one episode, we see a clip of an untitled WWII-era short, where a very Tom and Jerry-esque Itchy and Scratchy team up to torment and kill Hitler. Immediately afterwards, Itchy turns on Scratchy and cuts his head off.
- Then FDR appears and helps Itchy to kick the bodies.
- Roger Myers, Sr.'s other contribution, "Nazi Supermen are Our Superiors", was not liked as well.
- What Do You Mean It's for Kids?: An in-universe example.
- White Gloves
- William Telling: Itchy does it to Scratchy once. He hits the apple, but the arrow punctures a hole into the large tank of carbolic acid that Scratchy was standing right next to.
- ↑ which itself was a Show Within a Show, from The Tracy Ullman Show