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Blue Cat Blues (Tom and Jerry)

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Blue Cat Blues (Tom and Jerry)
Blue Cat Blues Title Card.png
Why would you commit suicide by letting a train run over you on railroad tracks all just because of the loss of your girlfriend or boyfriend?
Episode Number: 103
Air Date: November 16, 1956
Writer: William Hanna

Joseph Barbera

Director: William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Previous episode: "Down Beat Bear"
Next episode: "Barbecue Brawl"


Blue Cat Blues is a 1956 Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is the seventh Tom and Jerry cartoon in the Golden Age to be directed and produced simultaneously by the creators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. It is also the 103rd Tom and Jerry cartoon in the Golden Age overall.

Plot

Tom goes into depression after a tragic love experience gone wrong involving his love for a female cat, turning out to be gold-digger cheating on him for Butch's money. This caused him to contemplate suicide as he waits for a train to run him over, as Jerry narrates the story… until he joins Tom to die from the same experience.

Why It's Depressing

  1. It's a 7-minute-long miserable Tom (and briefly Jerry) torture short.
  2. The concept is way too dark, depressing, and disturbing for a Tom and Jerry cartoon, since Tom (and later Jerry) wants to end his life by getting run over by a train.
    • Even the suicide-themed Looney Tunes cartoon "Life With Feathers" produced 11 years prior, despite its dark themes of suicide due to botched romances, is nowhere near as sad and depressing as this short, that is saying something.
    • Even a similar suicide-themed Tom and Jerry cartoon "Downhearted Duckling" produced two years prior is nowhere near as sad and depressing as this short, and once again, that's also saying something.
  3. The female cat is an atrocious and unlikable golddigger-type character who's careless and selfish towards Tom's affection, only to make him miserable in the process. Just so that Butch becomes aware of this, as she dates and later marries him for his money.
    • In the first scene, she even literally made a jackass out of Tom, complete with Jerry's inner monologue saying "Poor, simple Tom; he was putty in her hands" over that scene.
    • She shows absolutely zero an appreciation for Tom's affections, having rejected Tom's gifts which he sacrificed his blood, sweat, and tears to gift her flowers, perfume, jewelry, and cars (which the latter literally costing him an arm and leg and also involves selling himself to slavery for 20 years) with the measly amount of funds the cat has for love, only for her to outright reject them in favor of Butch's more extravagant gifts, and this is evident when she hardly ever smiles and always has the same annoyed look on her face every time she's around with Tom.
  4. Butch is also unlikeable as he never felt any sign of remorse, nor even respect for his immensely depressed and unlucky rival. This cartoon, unlike his other appearances, portrays Butch at his absolute worst.
    • In Tom's fourth and final attempt to impress the female cat with his recently-purchased jalopy, Butch just runs over and flattens Tom with his much longer, more luxurious coupe when he drives up to the white cat's house to pick her up without even realizing it nor with any sign of remorse, which proved to be the final straw which contributed to Tom's depression. Adding more salt to the wound is after being saved from getting himself washed away into the gutter by Jerry, Butch and the female cat, who had recently married, drive past by in the former's luxurious coupe was laden with luggage and had a "Just Married" sign hanging off the back of it, hence figuratively (and literally) rubbing it in Tom's face for the latter's failures and setbacks, hence making Tom feel even worse than ever before and therefore is what resulted to Tom attempting suicide by getting himself run over by a train in the first place.
  5. Plot hole: It is very strange how Butch is shown as extremely wealthy in this short since throughout the series he has frequently portrayed as a stray or alley cat living outdoors in the garbage alley, while Tom lives in a house with his owners.
  6. At that, this short gives out a horrible and revolting message that suicide is the answer to your problems, even to the worst of your problems, to the point that you're just taking up space if you don't and that your life has overall no meaning (i.e. nihilism). This is a dangerous message to teach people with depression and thoughts of suicide in real life.
  7. Barely any attempts at jokes and slapstick, which is unacceptable since Tom and Jerry are best known for their entertaining slapstick humor. Any limited attempts at humor in this are mostly unfunny, cruel, and it all comes off as depressing.
  8. The animation at this point is subpar at best due to budget cuts in the late-1950s.
    • On that topic, during the first scene showing both Tom and the female cat together, the garden where the female cat resides looks like a poorly-drawn version of Toodles Galore's backyard garden from the Tom and Jerry short "Springtime for Thomas" which was released 10 years earlier.
  9. Jerry's love interest (who resembles a mouse version of the female cat) somehow gets taken by another mouse (who resembles an adult version of Tuffy), which is random and unexplained.
  10. Infamous and Cruel Ending: After Jerry gets unfortunately rejected by his shallow love interest, he then joins Tom sitting on the tracks as they both wait for an incoming train to run over them. The cartoon ends with the sounds of a real-life train getting louder as it fades to black, making it an extremely heartbreaking/tearjerking ending that makes you feel overly remorseful and empathetic for them.
  11. Both Butch and the female cat never receive any comeuppances for their vile actions of inadvertently driving Tom into complete despair. The same can be said for Jerry's girlfriend (who resembles a mouse version of that female cat) and her new love rival (who resembles an adult version of Tuffy) for their vile actions of inadvertently driving Jerry into despair by the cartoon's ending.
  12. Negative Controversy: The oddly-serious and saddening nature of the short caused it to be banned from television over fears of upsetting children, giving children the idea of committing suicide/getting suicidal or nihilistic thoughts, and has also been forbidden on HBO Max too.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. This short does bring a deeper look at Tom and Jerry's true relationship. Demonstrating that both would be there for each other if one of them truly is in danger or in a state of despair.
    • As such, despite the heavy suicidal themes in a kids show like this, it does an exceptionally gutsy job to teach you a lesson about how the dangers of love can lead you to depression, especially from an iconic duo like Tom and Jerry of all cartoon characters. This can be a personal reason why people appreciate this episode for how strongly creative and deep the message was more than the controversy it got.
  2. Great music score from Scott Bradley as always.
  3. In one scene, Tom literally "flips his lid" when he encounters the female cat whom he is smitten, which is arguably the only funny scene from this short, though that wasn't enough to save this awful short sadly enough.
  4. The short's plot and message had the full potential to end up bringing out an entertainingly clever, heartwarming if dark short of Tom and Jerry to challenge its audience while reflecting upon the relationship of the two titular protagonists, but its potential has sadly been wasted due to the reasons above.
  5. Jerry narrating the episode is clever, since he along with Tom, normally doesn't speak.
  6. Fortunately, it was confirmed that Tom and Jerry didn't die (given for how much they already survived from even more dangerous stuff from their previous years to their more recent times).

Reception

Due to references to alcohol and suicide, Cartoon Network and Boomerang rarely aired this short. It aired once on TNT in the 90s and Cartoon Network Asia in 2010, but aside from that, the only way to watch it is on DVD or digitally. It was also not featured on HBO Max but it is featured on Boomerang's streaming app, and never aired on Arabic TV channels (although MBC3 aired it once in 2007). It has aired fully uncut and uncensored on MeTV, as of 2021.

It currently has a 7.2 on IMDb.

Videos

Trivia

  • This is the first cartoon where we hear Jerry speak throughout, but only in narration form.
  • Due to the last scene of the short, in which it is implied that Tom and Jerry decided to commit suicide by waiting for a train to run them over and killing them, the rumor was spread stating that "Blue Cat Blues" was the final Tom and Jerry animated short.
    • Although thought to be the final short, this is simply not the case. Prime examples would be "Tot Watchers", the actual final short, was released in 58, and "Timid Tabby", was released in 1957. In a nutshell, many shorts were released after this one.
  • Since Jerry Mouse is telling the story of "Blue Cat Blues" through inner monologue, the short does not break the "cardinal rule" of Tom or Jerry physically speaking in their cartoons.
  • The score for this cartoon was featured on the audio CD "Tom & Jerry & Tex Avery Too!".
  • While not the last Tom and Jerry cartoon, this was the last cartoon to use the ending quotes "An MGM Tom and Jerry Cartoon. Made in Hollywood, U.S.A.". It wouldn't be used again in the Chuck Jones era title cards, starting in the 1963 short, "Penthouse Mouse".

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