When I was a kid, Mom and Dad tried to ban me from watching The Simpsons because it was often “violent and inappropriate.” (Mom would say: “rude, crude, and socially unacceptable.”) Nonsense, what it was, was brilliant satire. At least until the late nineties. What was violent, however, was The Itchy & Scratchy Show, The Simpsons’ over-the-top show-within-a-show that featured horrendously (and comically) gruesome mouse-on-cat violence.
Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have been watching this when I was six. But The Simpsons made beautiful use of the medium to lampoon cartoons’ increasing tendency to replace clever dialogue and well thought-out story arcs with excessive, senseless violence. In such satire, The Simpsons was able to transcend the conventions and limitations of its animated genre, and be taken seriously as more than a mere cartoon. Or something like that.
But enough philosophical waxing. Itchy & Scratchy is also really, really funny. It takes a certain kind of smart to elevate clichéd cartoon violence to, for instance, a satire of the arms race (e.g. “What’s Nuke, Pussycat?”). Somebody recently took the time to compile all of Itchy and Scratchy’s 15-20 second segments into a single video. I would like to thank you, whoever you are. All together, the show’s “episodes” run more than 48 minutes in length. Have a look for yourself, and have a good Monday:
Hat Tip: The Daily What