The Itchy & Scratchy Show (often shortened as Itchy & Scratchy) is a running gag and fictional animated television series featured in the animated television series The Simpsons. It usually appears as a part of The Krusty the Clown Show, watched regularly by Bart and Lisa Simpson. Itself an animated cartoon, The Itchy & Scratchy Show depicts a sadistic anthropomorphic blue mouse, Itchy (voiced by Dan Castellaneta), who repeatedly maims and kills an anthropomorphic, hapless threadbare black cat, Scratchy (voiced by Harry Shearer). The cartoon first appeared in the Tracey Ullman Show short "The Bart Simpson Show", which originally aired November 20, 1988. The cartoon's first appearance in The Simpsons was in the 1990 episode "There's No Disgrace Like Home".
Typically presented as 15-to-60-second-long cartoons, the show is filled with gratuitous violence. The Simpsons also occasionally features characters who are involved with the production of The Itchy & Scratchy Show, including Roger Meyers, Jr. (voiced by Alex Rocco, and, later, Hank Azaria), who runs the studio and produces the show. The Itchy and Scratchy characters are grotesque, extremely violent parodies of Tom and Jerry and Herman and Katnip; the names were inspired by "Pixie and Dixie", who were mice on Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks. The Italian comic strip Squeak the Mouse is also considered as an apparent inspiration for the characters. The mouse (or mice) are almost always the aggressors and, as in Tom and Jerry, are almost always the victors, killing Scratchy and any other cats around. The cartoons became popular among the show's writers and animators and are often added when an episode needs expanding. As the shorts became popular with fans, the writers decided to have full episodes that centered on the production of The Itchy & Scratchy Show and featured multiple shorts. The first was "Itchy & Scratchy & Marge" (season two, 1990), which was a commentary on censorship. Other episodes to feature the show in a prominent role include "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie" (season four, 1992), "The Front" (season four, 1993), "Itchy & Scratchy Land" (season six, 1994), "The Day the Violence Died" (season seven, 1996) and "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" (season eight, 1997) and "Treehouse of Horror IX" (season ten, 1998).