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Baby Puss (Tom and Jerry)

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Baby Puss (Tom and Jerry)
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Need a Tom and Jerry cartoon equivalent to the SpongeBob episode "Squid Baby"? The 40s got you covered.
Episode Number: 12
Air Date: December 25, 1943
Writer: William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Previous episode: The Yankee Doodle Mouse
Next episode: The Zoot Cat


Baby Puss is a 1943 Tom and Jerry cartoon. In this cartoon, Nancy the "babysitter" torments Tom by dressing him up as a baby. When Jerry finds out about this, he calls over Butch and his alley cat friends to come over and torment Tom even more. It is the twelfth Tom and Jerry cartoon in the Golden Age to be directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, and produced by Fred Quimby.

Bad Qualities

  1. It's basically an 8 minute-long malicious Tom torture episode.
  2. Nancy is an unlikable character who scolds and manipulates Tom to remain a baby throughout the entire episode, only for Jerry and the alley cats to torment him in the process. She blames Tom for actions that he didn't commit and humiliates him as if he actually was a baby, and still blames him by the end of the episode for being tormented by everyone else. She even goes on to feed Tom castor oil by the infamous ending, which causes him to throw up (along with Jerry), making this borderline animal abuse.
    • Tom wearing baby clothes is creepy and weird because he's an adult cat.
  3. Jerry is also unlikable as he downright humiliates Tom throughout the short rather than actually helping him. It makes him completely out of character, and as much so as in the infamous Gene Deitch-era, since Tom barely even provoked Jerry in the first place.
  4. Butch, Meathead, and Topsy are also unlikable jerks who join in to torment Tom throughout and never get any comeuppance for their actions by the moment they get exposed for it, and yet Tom still gets blamed for it anyway.
    • Given that this is Butch and Topsy's first appearances in Tom and Jerry, this episode is not a good way to start their roles as supporting characters of the Tom and Jerry franchise.
  5. Annoying and predictable plot where Tom gets humiliated by everyone around him, including his own frenemy Jerry, only to still be scolded by Nancy regardless in the process.
  6. Very unfunny, embarrassing, and cruel jokes.
  7. Plot hole: If Tom absolutely hates the idea of being treated like a baby by Nancy, why does he still bother to stick around with the baby getup including drinking milk from the baby bottle which eventually causes the cat to be subjected to various forms of torture and humiliation from both Jerry and the alley cats in the first place?
  8. Overall, this episode would've been great if Jerry actually helped Tom out and saved him from Butch, Meathead, and Topsy instead of teasing him throughout the entire episode, along with the other cats.
    • It also would have been better if Nancy stood up for Tom when he was tormented by other cats.

Good Qualities

  1. Tom, as usual, is still a likable character.
  2. Great animation for its time.
  3. Great music by Scott Bradley.
    • The jazzy-remixed version of "Rock-A-Bye Baby" sounds very catchy.
  4. The song "Mamãe Eu Quero" sung by Butch and the alley cat gang near the end of the short is actually pretty catchy, even though it accompanies the torture sequence which ruins Tom's welfare.
    • And speaking of him, this marks the first time Butch the alley cat appears in a Tom and Jerry short, two years after his first appearance in the 1941 short "The Alley Cat".
    • In fact, Butch would later be recast as a more likable supporting character in subsequent episodes beginning with his next appearance in the 1946 short "Springtime for Thomas" two years later; the same can be said for Topsy beginning with his next appearance in the 1948 short "Professor Tom" five years later.
  5. There still a few funny moments such as Jerry screaming like a girl while taking a shower in the dollhouse.
  6. Even though Nancy and the alley cats never got punished for their actions, Jerry at least got his comeuppance in the end when a bit of castor oil poured onto his mouth, causing him to throw up as well.
  7. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera eventually learned from their mistakes and gave Jerry a valid reason to torment Tom in subsequent episodes of the original Hanna-Barbera era Tom and Jerry cartoons for the most part, except for a few exceptions.
  8. Really, if you ignore Tom's constant abuse, this is a decent Tom and Jerry cartoon.

Reception

While the original Hanna-Barbera era Tom and Jerry cartoons produced between 1940-1955 in general are well-received, this episode however is one of the rare ones which is not well-received by most fans of the series due to the unnecessary Tom torture, the extremely unlikable little girl character Nancy whom is largely responsible for all of Tom's problems, Jerry being out-of-character by tormenting Tom for no particular reason whatsoever, as well as it's overall embarrassing and mean-spirited gags and humor being largely centered around bullying and infant abuse.

Despite Everything, it currently has a 7.4 on IMDb.

Trivia

  • This was the first Tom and Jerry cartoon to have the lost Tom and Jerry 1943-1946 title card in the original 1943 release's opening credits. Since the original negatives were burned in the 1967 MGM Vault fire, none of the current backup prints instead feature this original title card and instead feature the 1946-1954 reissue title card.
    • This is also the first cartoon to use "An MGM Tom and Jerry Cartoon" end title as well as the "The End" which would be used until 1956.
  • This was also the final cartoon to feature Tom drawn in his more cat-like 1940-1943 character design.

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