The violent cat and mouse from The Simpsons, Itchy and Scratchy, have been a favorite part of the show ever since their first appearance in the debut season. The cartoon-within-a-cartoon structure is brilliant- using a very violent cartoon show, on a cartoon show, to spoof other violent cartoon shows. As The Simpsons and Itchy and Scratchy grew in popularity, it opened up the possibility to spoof pop culture. Here are ten movies that have been spoofed by Itchy and Scratchy:
1. JFK (1991)
Simple but effective, it pops up in an untitled Itchy and Scratchy episode that’s “directed by guest director Oliver Stone”. It features Scratchy, in black and white footage, being led Lee Harvey Oswald-style through a room full of reporters before Itchy appears just in time to shoot him. It fades to black and someone is overheard saying, “Oh God! Get his gun!” before the end credits are heard. Sadly, Bart can’t be bothered with it because he’s reading Johnny Tremain.
2. Pinocchio (1941)
The Simpsons writers went after Disney this time with an Itchy and Scratchy episode called “Pinitchio”. Scratchy is the puppeteer with the Italian accent who creates a wooden boy/mouse that looks like Itchy. The schtick comes when “Pinitchio”- Itchy- says “I promise I will never hurt you”, which of course is a lie. And his nose grows abnormally long, impaling Scratchy the puppeteer in the eye.
3. Alien (1979)
This spoof worked on two levels. First and foremost, it satires Star Trek by using both the show’s theme music as well as giving the episode the title of “Scar Trek: The Next Laceration”. Alien comes into play when Itchy pops out of Scratchy’s stomach in reference to the famous (infamous?) scene in which one of the extraterrestrials burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach.
4. Fantasia (1940)
I suppose that it’s not out of the ordinary for the writers on The Simpsons to find Disney to be such fertile territory. After all, much of the Itchy and Scratchy backstory is in direct reference to Walt Disney. And “Scratchtasia” appeared in the same episode as “Pinitchio”. In this case, Scratchy is the sorcerer’s apprentice, right down to the hat. And instead of a bewitched broom causing the havoc, it’s an army of miniaturized versions of Itchy, created by Scratchy’s use of an “enchanted” ax.
5. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
In “Reservoir Cats”, a “guest director” take on Quentin Tarantino, the show employs the most notorious Stealer’s Wheel song around (along with Dick Dale and the Del-Tones’ Misirlou) to duplicate the Michael Madsen/ear scene.
6. Field of Dreams (1989)
The title “Field of Screams” has been used twice. My personal favorite is when Scratchy and his son are playing catch out in a field before Itchy (and his son) run them over with a thresher. The clip closes with the, um, “heart warming” scene of Itchy and little Itchy playing catch with Scratchy’s bloody severed head. And then, like everyone who ever sees the real father/son/catch scene from Field of Dreams, Krusty bursts into tears.
7. My Dinner With André (1987)
In “My Dinner with Itchy”, the cat and mouse meet for dinner. Itchy pours a glass of “wine”, which Scratchy then drinks. It turns out that it was actually acid and it eats away the majority of Scratchy’s body. Horrified, and with Itchy reveling in the horror, Scratchy sprints out of the restaurant where he is run over by a bus. Truthfully, if Wallace Shawn had performed this trick on André Gregory in the real movie, I would’ve enjoyed it infinitely more.
8. Little Shop of Horrors (1960 and 1986)
Most of this episode- “Little Barbershop of Horrors”- is seen only via screen stills shown as the credits roll. However, in the bits that are seen, Scratchy goes to Itchy’s barbershop for a trim. Scratchy pours barbecue sauce on his head and flesh-eating ants consume his face. And then Elvis is involved.
9. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
The title, “Skinless in Seattle”, is somewhat misleading, as Scratchy never loses his skin. Instead, Itchy makes multiple failed attempts at murdering Scratchy before finally achieving success by dropping the top of the Space Needle into his face.
10. Planet of the Apes (1968)
In The Simpsons own spoof of Rear Window, Bart is sequestered indoors with a broken leg, and turns to TV to entertain him. He finds Itchy and Scratchy, who supply him with “Planet of the Aches”- a Planet of the Apes spoof that culminates in a futuristic world in which a flock of brainy Itchys use telekinesis to slaughter a centuries-old Scratchy.