'Itchy and Scratchy' Spinoff of 'The Simpsons' Was Too Gross for Test Audiences

Too much fight fight fighting and bite bite biting

BY Sydney BrasilPublished Apr 26, 2024

Though a few long-time fans of The Simpsons may be waiting for the show to finally end, some might be surprised to hear the Simpsons cinematic universe almost expanded in an especially cartoonishly violent way.

According to seminal writer and producer Mike Reiss, the possibility of bringing real episodes of The Itchy and Scratchy Show to the small screen was explored — that is until test audiences got "physically ill" due to all that gory exaggeration.

In his book Springfield Confidential, Reiss wrote that a cut of every Itchy and Scratchy sketch was spliced together. "It lasted just 14 minutes — some of those cartoons are only nine seconds long — and contained such concentrated gore and mindless violence that it made people physically ill. Someone compared the assembled footage to the brainwashing films Alex had to watch in A Clockwork Orange," Reiss revealed [via Slashfilm].

Though the Tom and Jerry parodied sketches are cartoonish to the point of absurdity, Reiss's words mirror those of creator Matt Groening in a making-of special. In his eyes, the many layers of satire the show is known for helped audiences digest it.

"I don't think Itchy and Scratchy would have gotten on the air in undiluted format. The fact is, you only see a few seconds of Itchy and Scratchy. I can't tell you the number of fan letters we get from people who think that Itchy and Scratchy should have their own show. I don't think they really want what they're asking for."

The show's creators being snarky with their audience's perception of violence is nothing new. Remember when they manufactured their own outrage late last year by pretending people demanded Homer stop strangling Bart? Maybe it's only a matter of time until they claim animal activists are coming for them because of Itchy and Scratchy

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