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Gerald Jinx "Jerry" Mouse is one of the two titular protagonists (alongside Tom Cat) of American animated franchise, Tom and Jerry. He is Tom's arch-rival, but also his best friend. Normally playing the role of a "victim", bearing the brunt of Tom's aggression, occasionally Jerry had assumed the role of the perpetrator, initiating the aggravation and tormenting Tom. So much like his feline frenemy, Jerry also is not always innocent, as both can play the heroes and/or the villains depending on the storyline.
While Tom is widely considered by default to be the quote unquote "villain" between the two just because of the whole "cats are mean" stereotype without any further elaboration or thinking, many post-modern audiences have taken more and more notice to the brutal injuries that Jerry regularly inflicts on him, and sympathize more with Tom. Indeed, Jerry is technically a pest who shouldn't be living in the house, and Tom, likewise, is simply doing his job as a good pet by trying to get rid of him, and in a number of cases Jerry has arguably been the instigator of their conflicts.
However, these cases are the exception rather than the rule, as both are sometimes shown to be outright antagonistic to each other even for their standards, depending on the episode and whoever writes it. Usually, though, this is because Jerry has been stealing or pestering the homeowners, causing them to order Tom to either catch him or get kicked out, or to pester Tom as he is minding his own business to get a reaction out of him. This puts the poor cat in a lose-lose situation. Overall, the conflict between the two characters is closer to an equally two-sided, active rivalry than anything else.
In other media beside the original shorts by Bill Hanna and Joseph Barbera, Jerry tends to be less villainous, though not always the case. When Chuck Jones took over the series in the 1960s, he admitted that he didn't understand the characters all that well, and Jerry occasionally committed acts that were uncharacteristically cruel, such as the shorts "The Year of the Mouse" and "Love Me, Love My Mouse," both of which involved Jerry acting almost evil in nature. Even in Jerry's young age, his rivalry with Tom (as a kitten) stayed the same, as seen in the early 1990s show Tom and Jerry Kids.
The popular interpretation of Jerry as a villain has famously been parodied on The Simpsons by Itchy, (the rival of Scratchy) who is shown as a psychotic serial killer who kills the friendly Scratchy as well as nearby civilians and children, in contrast to Jerry's generally far more harmless and less malicious mischief, which would never go that far.
Jerry is set to appear as a playable character in the upcoming "platform fighter" video game MultiVersus, appearing as an mage/ranged-type character. In the game, he fights alongside Tom as a "puppet" character, with him being an invincible aid Tom sends out to fight their foes. In the game, he and Tom are voiced by Eric Bauza.
Powers and Abilities
Jerry is shown to be a formidable opponent for Tom. Not only cunning, he also has amazing skill in overcoming and deactivating any kinds of traps and formulating plans aside from using various tools against Tom.
A notable example of his skills is that one numerous occasions, he is able to grab a piece of cheese that's attached to a mousetrap without hurting himself (sometimes, the trap won't be triggered at all until Tom checks the trap himself for comedic effect).
In some ways, Jerry proved to be a foil for Tom: In spite of both of them displayed cunning intelligence and skills in various tools and items, Tom's skills in using various items against Jerry proved to be more poor, so he was far more prone to inflict unnecessary destruction over the course of their fights whereas Jerry, who had better skills, was able to counteract everything Tom throw at him without causing as much damage to their surroundings.
Some shorts open with him tormenting Tom despite never being provoked (sometimes even with Tuffy joining the party).
Jerry pranks Tom in a variety of episodes, and even tricks the traumatized cat into making him think he's dead.
In a number of episodes, Tom is tasked with doing something (or not doing something) by his owner or he will be kicked out of the house. Jerry would take advantage of this and go out of his way to get Tom into trouble, even when Tom has yet to do anything to him in the episode.
In "The Framed Cat" and several episodes, Jerry terrorizes Tom by getting Spike (or another animal) to falsely believe Tom doing something he did not do (or based on something that wasn't his fault or him having no idea of) by hitting them to enrage them, or pairing up with that animal (such as a lion, a baby seal, and a baby elephant) to terrorize the cat in the process.
In "Salt Water Tabby" and numerous other shorts, Jerry can take advantage of Tom by stealing a lot of his food.
He even harasses Spike in, "What a Pain" and a number of episodes. Jerry (and Tuffy) even causes havoc for Tom, Spike and (surprisingly) Tyke in , "Slinging in the Rain."
Jerry is shown to be a hypocrite in "Posse Cat", where he selfishly steals food from Tom and then expects to get more food from him in return for helping Tom get his dinner, when obviously Jerry was the reason he could not get any dinner and steals the food. Tom was famished to the point that he endangered himself, biting the tail of a bull.
In "Cat Napping", Jerry takes advantage of Tom by stealing the hammock he planned to take a catnap on for the day, and then rudely gives Spike the hammock for no reason, allowing Tom to hit the wrong target and get attacked without justice.
In "The Million Dollar Cat", Tom inherited $1 million, but would lose it if he harmed any creature, even a mouse. Jerry brutally exploited this, constantly tormenting Tom and making him utterly miserable solely for his own amusement. Eventually, Tom lost his temper, destroyed the contract and attacked Jerry, remarking (in one of his few speaking roles) "Gee, I'm throwing away a million dollars...BUT I'M HAPPY!!" This is one of the few times where Tom gets the better of Jerry.
In "The Two Mouseketeers", he and Tuffy try to steal a feast that Tom had to guard. He succeeded, this led to Tom being decapitated because of the failure (which both knew already about), and both showed no pity nor remorse.
In "Timid Tabby", he repeatedly finds ways to scare Tom's cousin, George, who is deathly afraid of mice. However, he does this because he mistakenly thinks that he is scaring Tom instead (as Tom and George look exactly alike) and is hoping to exact some revenge on him. When Tom finds out about this, he and George retaliate by teaming up against Jerry and scaring him out of the house by pretending to be a monster with four arms, four legs, and two heads and chasing him out the front door while laughing ghoulishly. This causes Jerry to run to a home for mice with nervous breakdowns.
In "Baby Puss", Jerry witnesses Tom be dressed as a baby and tormented by a little girl named Nancy. Rather than help Tom, he calls over some neighborhood cats, who then ridicule and bully Tom throughout the short. He does get a minor form of punishment at the end, though: after Tom is force-fed castor oil by the girl (with Jerry forcing Tom's mouth open with a pair of pliers), the bottle tips over and a drop of the oil falls into Jerry's mouth as he laughs at Tom's misfortune, causing him to join his nemesis in vomiting over a railing.
In "The Cat Concerto", he repeatedly sabotaged Tom's piano recital, but eventually forcing the cat to pass out from exhaustion before taking unearned credit for the recital; all this because Tom had disturbed his sleep inside the piano, which was a bad place to take up residence anyway and wasn't Tom's fault.
In the Chuck Jones short "The Year of the Mouse", to amuse his mouse friend, Jerry torments an innocent Tom asleep on a pillow, leading Tom to believe he's attempting suicide in his sleep by placing in his hand a loaded revolver and a knife covered in ketchup (mimicking blood), and even setting up a noose around his neck. This short may perhaps portray Jerry at his most villainous. Fortunately, Tom gets the better of them in the end, stuffing them in a bottle rigged at gunpoint after discovering the two's presences.
In another Chuck Jones short "Love Me, Love My Mouse", Jerry frames Tom only to make Toodles come to his "rescue" to sabotage their relationship, with attempts like working his way into Tom's mouth, tickling Tom's foot, hitting it with a mallet and playing a lullaby from a gramophone, enraging Tom to do away with him. Like the previously mentioned Chuck Jones short, Jerry fortunately gets his comeuppance as Toodles finally sides with her boyfriend, has a change of heart, and chases after Jerry, much to his dismay and terror.
For much of the Gene Deitch era, cartoons like "Down and Outing", "High Steaks", and "Sorry Safari" depicted Jerry relentlessly pestering a passive Tom and going out of his way to get his evil owner angry at him.
In "Tall in the Trap", Jerry is depicted as a cheese-stealing outlaw, leading the shopkeeper instructing the sheriff hiring the "fastest trap in the West" to stop him, turning out to be Tom.
In "Reward if Lost", he provokes Tom and even goes as far as slapping a photo of him into the lost and reward-if-found poster to trick people into putting Tom into the neighbor's garden so that the neighbor's dog would assault him.
In the Game Boy Advance game "Tom and Jerry: Infurnal Escape", he assists Spike in imprisoning and enslaving Tom in a boot camp, kidnapping Toodles Galore and tormenting Tom in boiling hot water. He even imprisons and locks up a number of Tom's friends, and possibly family in addition. He quickly redeems himself as Tom comes to the rescue in time for his girlfriend to call Jerry out for his actions.
Jerry once wants to take a photo of Tom in embarrassing situation. He eventually forgets to recharge the batteries, but he still pretends to have the photo. Tom becomes afraid that Jerry will show the photo to his friends, so it is easy for Jerry to exploit him as his body guard, causing Tom to get injured or beaten up several times.
Tom once falls in love with his beautiful neighbor and writes a love letter to her. However, before he can send it, Jerry and Tuffy steal it and threaten Tom to copy it and send it to all his friends.
When Tom gets cold, Jerry visibly torments him. For example, Jerry lays something (peanuts, etc.) in front of Tom, so when Tom sneezes, his head bangs into it.
Tuffy and Jerry once bake a cake from Tom's apples, although Tom forbids them to. While trying to stop them, Tom is insulted many times. He eventually ends up with burned hands. The mice bandage them the way that Tom's hands are tied up together. At the end, they reveal to him that the cake is actually for him. When an excited Tom thanks them, they simply throw the cake at him.
Tom: I'm Tom. Jerry: I'm Jerry BOTH: YOU TALKED!!! Tom: Well, sure, I talk, what do you think I am, a dummy? Jerry: You said it, I didn't. Tom: Hey, you little pipsqueak, I oughtta - Hey! How come you never spoke before? Jerry: I didn't have anything I wanted to say that I thought you'd understand, and there still isn't! Tom: All Right, that does it, you little-- Boy you get me angry!
~ The first time Tom and Jerry ever spoke to each other.
Many critics feel Jerry was out of character in the Gene Deitch era shorts, with Tom being cast as a hapless victim who was never a threat to Jerry. Deitch himself later said this was due to his lack of understanding of the characters at the time. Notably his last few cartoons depicted a more regular rivalry with the titular duo.
Both Tom and Jerry, while usually and generally on the good side, can be classified as anti-heroes as both are abusive, cruel, and villainous at times despite being the main protagonists of the series as they typically antagonize each other.
The scene in from the Tom & Jerry cartoon "The Milky Waif" when Jerry turns around after seeing Tom's milk plate has become a well-known Internet meme in Latin America named "Khe berga?", which is a misspelled Spanish swear expression akin to "What the f*ck?". This is because the face Jerry makes when he turns around in the scene looks odd and funny at the same time.