Today’s character of discussion is one that should be immediately familiar to almost anyone who watches cartoons.
Spike the Bulldog first appeared in the 1941 short, Dog Trouble, where he gave both Tom and Jerry a hard time. While that was his first appearance, it wasn’t until 1944’s The Bodyguard did we hear him speak.
Spike represents the stereotypical bulldog, immensely strong, undeniably tough and with an extremely sour humour to boot. Throughout his appearances, Tom is constantly getting on his nerves while Jerry often wins his protection.
With the introduction of his son, Tyke, things take another turn as the plot often revolves around Tom and Jerry interrupting Spike and Tyke, for which Tom is almost always on the receiving end of Spike’s foot.
Spike is essentially the voice of reason within the series. He attempts, sometimes pleading for, a degree of sanity from the other two. While he is not Tom’s foil to the degree that Jerry is, he is not averse to resorting to Tom’s methods when necessary.
Spike is very obviously the next logical step in the progression of cartoon animals, as witnessed and explained by Poochie the Dog in the Simpsons episode, Itchy, Scratchy and Poochie. Together, the trio of Tom, Jerry and Spike form a trio that effectively cancel each other out but at the same time, are always playing catchup to each other.
As far as bulldogs go, does Spike represent the epitome of the species?
Of course not! Bulldogs are well known for their mild temperament.