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The Simpsons:Itchy and Scratchy

By Wikipedia

The Itchy & Scratchy Show is a segment of the fictional Krusty the Klown TV show, watched regularly by child characters on the animated series The Simpsons. Itself a cartoon, The Itchy & Scratchy Show depicts a mouse, Itchy, and a cat, Scratchy, who attack and graphically mutilate each other with deadly weapons.

Our main article on The Simpsons is here.

The Itchy & Scratchy Show is primarily a parody of popular culture. On one level, it sends up the violence in children's TV, most obviously spoofing the violent Tom and Jerry cartoons made during World War II). While not usually as openly graphic or bloody as Itchy and Scratchy, these works depicted physical abuse between their characters with no long-term consequences; Itchy and Scratchy take this violence to its logical extreme.

On another level, every Itchy & Scratchy episode satirizes movies, TV shows, music videos or historical events. The fictional series has supposedly been in continuous production since the early 20th century, first for theater release and then for radio and TV. Older Itchy & Scratchy cartoons are occasionally shown which satirize other aspects of early animation; for example, a cartoon called Steamboat Itchy resembles the early Mickey Mouse cartoon Steamboat Willie. Lisa Simpson once mentioned the tasteless and racist Itchy & Sambo cartoons of the 1930s.

The Itchy & Scratchy Show appearing as part of The Krusty the Klown Show could be seen as paralleling The Simpsons when they were on The Tracy Ullman Show. Also, many of the themes explored in The Simpsons episodes are also "explored" in Itchy and Scratchy. Itchy and Scratchy, in one Simpsons episode, star in a feature movie entitled Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie.

The characters of Itchy and Scratchy are voiced (within the reality of The Simpsons) by a woman named June Bellamy (whose physical appearance is said to be based on June Foray, a famous voice actress) who also claims to be the voice of Road Runner. (Apparently, she recorded a lone "meep," and they doubled it so as not to have to pay her for two "meeps.") In reality, Itchy is voiced by Dan Castellaneta and Scratchy is voiced 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. Because of 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 experimental music played.

In the Simpsons episode "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming," 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 scorpion and a battery.

History within The Simpsons

Within the Simpsons universe, the characters were created by Roger Myers, Sr., who built the legacy of Itchy and Scratchy and established Itchy and Scratchy Studios in 1921. It was revealed in the episode "The Day the Violence Died" that Chester J. Lampwick actually invented Itchy in 1919 and owns the rights to that character.

Scratchy starred in his first cartoon in 1928, entitled That Happy Cat. The film, which is ten seconds of animation showing the cat whistling and tipping his hat, did very poorly. Later that year, Itchy and Scratchy starred in their first cartoon together entitled Steamboat Itchy.

Itchy and Scratchy Studios is currently run by Roger Myers, Jr., the son of the cartoon's creator. It is animated in Korea.

Revealed in the episode "Itchy & Scratchy Land" are characters from the short-lived Itchy & Scratchy and Friends Hour: Uncle Ant, Disgruntled Goat, and Ku Klux Klam. These characters lampooned the addition of superfluous, two-dimensional characters to TV shows in an effort to draw viewer interest.

In 1990, The Itchy and Scratchy Show underwent a non-violent retooling following a protest campaign led by Marge Simpson. Simpson was later discredited and the cartoon returned to its original violent format.

In 1993, Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie was released. It received nine Academy Awards.

In 1994, Itchy and Scratchy Land opened, although it was temporarily shut down because of malfunctioning robots (a la Jurassic Park or the movie Westworld). Unfortunately, Euro-Itchy and Scratchy Land apparently failed to match the success of its domestic counterpart, with no visitors upon its opening (in a parody of the early failure of Euro Disneyland theme park).

In 1997, the show began declining in ratings and a third character, Poochie the dog, was added (see below).

Forty years from "now," Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie will be the first-billed film at a "Classics of Animation" screening at the Aztec Theater in Springfield (Beauty and the Beast gets second billing).


Poochie was a dog character added to the Itchy & Scratchy lineup in The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show. According to the show's plot, the producers believed the cartoons were getting stale, and needed a new character to reinvigorate 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 in his second appearance, despite Homer's objections.

Both plots were a reference to TV shows which added new characters purportedly to reinvigorate the show (often in the show's waning years and/or to replace stars who had either departed or grown up, if they were child actors). Famous examples include Scooby-Doo (when his nephew, Scrappy-Doo, was suddenly added); 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 seen as a sign the series is in decline; such changes are regarded by fans to be the defining events in the decline of a TV show. This is itself satirized in the episode, with the mysterious addition of a new character, "Roy," to the Simpson family; Roy leaves the show at the end of the episode.

Many fans of the show also saw Poochie's creation, depiction, and demise as a response to various criticisms of The Simpsons by its viewers. The focus group's desire for a show where its characters solve real-life problems, and simultaneous desire for a show with its characters "getting into far-out situations involving robots and magic powers" reflects the division between fans of earlier episodes of the series, which tended to focus on the family's relationships with each other, and fans of the later episodes, which tended to rely more heavily on sight gags, cameo appearances, and non-sequiturs. Other aspects of the episode also play up this argument, including Bart's declaration that the creators of Itchy and Scratchy are "giving you thousands of hours of entertainment for free" and Lisa's closing lines about how Itchy and Scratchy's viewers "should thank our lucky stars that they're still putting on a program of this caliber after so many years."

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

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.

When Marge protested the cartoon's violence, a cartoonist modeled a squirrel with tall, blue hair after her. The squirrel interrupted a baseball bat fight between the title characters shouting "Don't do that! Hey! Don't do that!" to which Itchy whacked her head off.

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 Elvis' television set a reference to the apocryphal tale of Presley shooting out a picture tube with a pistol when dissatisfied with the program.


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Aired: December 17, 1989 -

Cast: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer

Network: FOX

Genre: Cartoon

Theme songSoundtrack

Spinoff of: The Tracy Ullman Show

Image courtesy of FOX

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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