They fight, fight, fight; bite, bite, bite and they provide much of the humor on “The Simpsons.” Itchy and Scratchy may be the most unheralded secret to the long term success of the animated classic. Perhaps only the
overlooked brilliance of Marcia Wallace and her tenure as Bart’s teacher is more often forgotten than Itchy and Scratchy. If you have trouble remembering which is the homicidal mouse and which is his feline victim, keep in mind that Cat can be found in Scratchy’s name. Here is the blood pudding on the dessert cart of Itchy and Scratchy’s shorts.
Skinless in Seattle
Skinless in Seattle would not qualify as one of the best of the Itchy and Scratchy shorts on “The Simpsons” were it not for one specific element. The short is only tenuously related to the movie that provides the punny title and some may find the fact that the best joke in the short involves an utter lack of a violent outcome as Itchy’s ammo fails to hit Scratchy waiting down below the Space Needle. When that piece of Pacific Northwest architecture strikes Scratchy right in the eyeball, however, it instantly becomes iconic.
Field of Screams
I don’t know exactly why, but I think Field of Screams is my favorite Itchy and Scratchy short from “The Simpsons” Golden Age. Maybe it is because the sight of Itchy and his son playing catch with Scratchy’s head reminds of me of my baseball–crazed youth.
Bleeder of the Pack
You have to love the idea of sending Itchy and Scratchy back to the 1950s. Can you imagine the reception in America’s living rooms if you could somehow transmit this cartoon into the middle of “The Howdy Doody Show” one afternoon? What makes Bleeder of the Pack such a classic Itchy and Scratchy cartoon is that it tells a story with a little plot and dramatic rise and fall that digs a bit deeper than most. Of course, it also helps that you have to know the story behind a certain ill–fated plane trip taken by Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.
Perhaps Marge doesn’t learn the lesson from Porch Pals that all comedy depends to one extent or another on violence toward a character. Take out that violence and all comedy entities are left with what takes place in Porch Pals: a mouse and cat sharing a glass of lemonade absent any dramatic impact. The paradox is in place, whether you want to misname it irony or not.