media · slice of life

I forgot how violent “Tom & Jerry” was! 

IMG_0639-0We had a 15 minute break between Isabelle’s speech and OT apponitments this morning.  I offered her a snack and she choose the granola bar option.  I reminded her to sit down to eat it.  I wish she had chosen a different seat.  BUT, she choose the seat in front of the television.  No big deal, she’ll nosh for a few minutes and then we’ll play on the Writing Wizard or Letter School app before her occupational therapist comes out to get her.

That was wishful thinking.

“Tom and Jerry” was on and she was immediately drawn-in as she nibbled at the granola bar.  In fact, she took forever to eat that 90 calorie granola bar because she was transfixed on the screen.

“You know, I used to watch ‘Tom and Jerry’ when I was a kid.”

No response.  She was giggling as I explained who was who and why Jerry Mouse was running away from Tom Cat.

Tom and Jerry were having a sword fight.  No big deal, right?  Well, then Jerry plunged the sword (which looked more like a knife) into Tom’s foot.

“Why’d he do dat?” Isabelle asked me.

“Jerry wanted to hurt Tom because he was chasing him.”

“Did it hurt?” she asked.

“I’m sure it did,” I replied.

“Is he gonna go hospital?  For a needle?”

“He might need a needle, but he looks fine.  Look now!” I pointed towards the screen.  Tom had his sword again and was back on his feet fighting Jerry.  Until —

Jerry took his sword and plunged it into Tom’s groin, which sent Tom down to the ground.


Isabelle kept laughing, but I was horrified. It was at that moment I noticed the logo in the bottom right corner of the screen.  CARTOON NETWORK. I couldn’t even tell you what channel it is on our home television since it’s never been on in our home.  (NOTE: Part of the reason we don’t watch cartoons, other than “Daniel Tiger,” is because kids with Apraxia don’t benefit from the frenetic pace of cartoons.  They need to watch slower paced shows, if they’re watching television, where they can see the characters’ mouths move properly.)  Ususally the Disney Channel is on when we are at therapy, but we’re never out in the waiting room long enough for it to bother me.  But this, this was not making me a happy camper.  I was starting to stew, wondering who decided to put Cartoon Network on this morning.  And why, oh why, is “Tom & Jerry” so violent?  (I’m sure it was like this when I was a kid, but I don’t recall.)

Suddenly, Tom swallowed Jerry.  Jerry couldn’t find a way out of Tom’s mouth.  Isabelle chuckled, but then she clutched her dolly.  “I’m scared,” she told me.

“Of what?” I asked.

“Dis is scary!” she replied.

That’s all I needed to hear.  I really don’t think she was scared by what she was seeing, but there weren’t any other kids watching the television so I did what any rational parent would do.  I turned off the television.

Ahhhh!  Silence.

Until… “He put a knife in his foot?”

“Yes, he did put a sword, which is like a knife, in Tom’s foot.  It’s just pretend.  Grown-ups use knives for eating. We don’t want around with them and we certainly don’t throw them at people.  Do you understand?”

“I understand,” she replied.

Somehow I think this small exposure to “Tom and Jerry” and the Cartoon Network will come up again later.  Funny how we work so hard to shield her from all of these shows on TV and all of that hard work can unravel in less than five minutes.



10 thoughts on “I forgot how violent “Tom & Jerry” was! 

  1. You always do such a good job at capturing Isabelle’s voice. Cartoons are incredibly violent–I’ve been horrified watching them as a mother and thinking back to how much I liked them. Your description…case in point. Great insight about the work we do and the precariousness of it.

  2. Wow! I think I remember hearing that the “Roadrunner” was the most violent cartoon. I was glad that we didn’t have them on our TV at that point and that Disney DVD’s (or VHS tapes) were a better option! Love hearing Isabelle’s voice! Nice to know what a child is thinking as we see these!

  3. You have reminded me of my experiences with movies like “16 Candles” and others where I loved them but didn’t recall their inappropriate content such as a NAKED WOMAN taking a shower as seen in “16 Candles.” Many 80s movies sneak up on me like that.

  4. Such a wise Mama. Cartoon Network is something of a thorn in my side. It’s a no brainer for my 6 year old; but I have this child who is almost 11. Tweens and practicing independence. You’ve inspired some writing about Cartoon Network for me. Thanks.

  5. Like others here, I watched many of these shows as a kid and am now so surprised at the content I see in them now. So many cartoons involve the characters being so mean to each other! Thanks goodness for kinder programming to protect sweet kids like your Isabelle.

  6. It is amazing how those images burn so easily into our brains, and especially into the brain of a child. I don’t own a television, though I borrow DVDs from the library and watch them on my computer. I never watch (or read) anything scary because, as someone who does it so infrequently, I am very sensitive to the images and end up with terrible dreams. It sounds as though your conversations with Isabelle will help her process what she saw in Tom & Jerry.

  7. My husband thought that it was from watching a little of Tom and Jerry at my inlaw’s house that Liam once laughed when a friend tripped and fell. I have also made the huge mistake of thinking an 80’s movie was PG, but was not our “new” interpretation of PG. The language!

  8. My husband turned Scooby Doo on for my kids two weekends ago! My 2.5 year old was scared, and he told us so. I’m particular about what we watch at home, with channels that don’t have commercials getting all the air time in our house. They might not know how inappropriate some of these things are, but I do. And I don’t want them to think it’s not a big deal. Cause it is!

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