Most of my blogs seem to be about television this week. In fact, this is probably the most I’ve consecutively blogged in months. Once I can sit in a chair properly again my life will go back to being at work and filling out forms for people and things like that… but for now, another post about television.
A couple of weeks ago we were flicking around the cartoon channels, it was a rainy day and we’d no plans, so we were having a lazy day downstairs. Lo and behold, the children’s classic Tom and Jerry is on! “oooh!” I think excitedly, “I used to love them when I was little, let’s try H with them, see how she gets on” – to which she was then exposed to some real OTT violence – and we swiftly changed channel. Tom and Jerry wasn’t like that when I was little (which given would have been 39 years ago means I don’t actually remember it being that bad, which means it probably was?)! I mean, it used to be cat-hates-mouse, mouse-teases-cat, cat-does-mean-thing, mouse-wins-in-the-end sort of stuff. The most violent thing which probably happened would be Tom trying to flatten Jerry with a frying pain (which okay, looking at that sentence alone now sounds kind of dodgy, but I’m overthinking!).
Anyway, I put it out to my Facebook friends, see what they thought – is Tom and Jerry appropriate cartoon material for a two year old? The majority said yes, and how it hadn’t affected them at all – one friend pointed out the Piaget stages which is something I’d never heard of, and I need to read more about, and how maybe it wasn’t suitable just yet.
Given the episode in question had Tom swallow a rocket, the bird in the episode tried to escape in a balloon while Tom fired at it to burst the balloon for said bird not to escape… it all felt a bit much. I can’t remember the rest, but I think Tom in the rocket may have then landed head first into some water.. but what swung it for me is it looked new.
We stumbled across another T&J last weekend on Boomerang and it had the older, grainier look about it – the kind of sort those five minute before John Craven’s Newsround types had, or when TV went down and you’d get an hour of Tom and Jerry in it’s place – in other words, the ones we grew up with. You know what? The story felt SO much more appropriate.. Tom chased Jerry, Jerry pretended to be a chick, Tom took the wrong chick and the Hen told him off… and we sat with H, she asked a few times “what’s that?” “what are they doing” and we explained in a nice simple way “Tom is being very very cheeky!” and giggling, and she giggled along too – and did a few laugh out louds at some of the more obvious silly things – and you know what? It was really nice and I didn’t feel like it would have any adverse effect on her.
So I guess now we just buy a DVD of the early Hanna Barbera ones and maybe stick with those until she’s a bit older.
Then again, Wikipedia tells me this… “The short episodes are infamous for some of the most comically gory gags ever devised in theatrical animation, such as Jerry slicing Tom in half, shutting his head in a window or a door, Tom using everything from axes, firearms, explosives, traps and poison to try to murder Jerry, Jerry stuffing Tom’s tail in a waffle iron and a mangle, kicking him into a refrigerator, plugging his tail into an electric socket, pounding him with a mace, club or mallet, causing a tree or an electric pole to drive him into the ground, sticking matches into his feet and lighting them, tying him to a firework and setting it off, and so on.”
You can’t win!
Does anyone reading have any views on Tom & Jerry and when they feel is age-appropriate for a toddler to watch? It’s not like she’s going to copy any of these, and there’s always a conclusion, I just wish they were a bit less…. violent… maybe? (and for the record she has a Tom & Jerry bath book, so is aware of them anyway)