NOTE: This page is dedicated to the late Arnold Stang (1918-2009).
Herman the Mouse is the main protagonist of the infamous Famous Studios show Herman and Katnip. He is the mortal enemy and arch-nemesis to the clownish and dim-witted Katnip, and he is the leader of his four loyal cousins. He was voiced by the late Arnold Stang.
Why He's (Intentionally?) Not the Bravest Mouse We Know
- For starters, he is a straight-up Gary-Stu, and one of the most over-exaggerated, overdone, and irredeemably sadistic Gary-Stus ever made.
- He is a complete and obvious knock-off of Jerry from Tom and Jerry, but without any of his likability, charm and slapstick wit. In fact, if you take all of Jerry's positive qualities away, amp up his mean side, make him more destructive and sadistic, you have Herman in a nutshell.
- He never, if ever, gets his comeuppance for his cruel actions against Katnip, who is a scapegoat and torture-victim that is always perceived as the villain. Instead, Herman wins in every single episode, making him a total Karma Houdini on top of that, especially since he doesn't get punished for his cruel, incredibly sadistic behavior.
- The show tries to get you to root for him since he is made out to be this mischievous yet rootable protagonist who is keeping his cousins safe from danger and entertaining them in the process with his tricks to outsmart their enemies. But he is barely well-intentioned, lacks morals and doesn't really have anything we should like about him going violent with defeating Katnip on a daily basis, nor does his ever provide any meaningful lessons in doing so, especially since Herman always gets carried away with torturing Katnip for doing what cats normally do by-nature, toying and chasing them. Much to the point that he usually comes off as more of an irredeemable, detestable sadist and much more of a villain towards Katnip than the titular Katnip is made out to be.
- This is especially evident where Katnip in an episode would be either sleeping or simply doing his job without bugging anyone, not being a threat at all. Meanwhile, Herman, or even his cousins, are seen causing trouble around wherever Katnip goes.
- Speaking of which, there were times when Herman and his cousins act like bullies by making fun of Katnip whether he is not around them (or even when Herman is still torturing Katnip), just to make him even more "likable" and "funny" than he already was.
- He is very brutal and manipulative towards his ineffectual archenemy, much to the point that it always comes off as mean-spirited at best, to downright cruel and completely harsh at worst. Especially where the attacks he pulls on Katnip are way too murderous, realistic and underhanded to come off as morally righteous. To make the matters worse, unlike lovable tricksters like Bugs Bunny; none of the attacks Herman pulls on Katnip are funny (or any fun) to watch at all, and instead, they come off as extremely painful, demented, disgusting, irritating, cringeworthy, unintelligent, obnoxious and too sociopathic, to the point that it makes Herman a lot more worthy of despise and hatred than being forgivable.
- To make matters worse, he never gives Katnip (a complete schlemiel for a guarding housecat like him) any mercy whatsoever, enough to make Jerry seem very sympathetic towards Tom in comparison. Herman often enjoys murdering Katnip since he revives easily & making him suffer for the fact he's a dimwit and a incompetent loser. In fact, a large majority of the time has Herman do stuff like making Katnip swallow cement, launching him into trees, send him flying through closed windows, getting himself shot in the face with a gun, and inflating his tail to pop it like a balloon. This shows how these tricks are used for Herman to perform tactics that always manipulates and inflicts harm onto Katnip, even when it's uncalled for (it's surprising and a miracle for how Katnip survives half of the torture that'd kill ANY cartoon character, even by cartoon logic standards).
- A couple of good examples with Herman being a sociopathic sadist in a surreal and nonsensical way are "Mouseum" and "Mice Meeting You";
- In "Mouseum", Herman's worst actions are hopping on top of a wheel Katnip threw knives at and rolling it after Katnip, slicing off segments of his back as well as'- skinning Katnip's fur and skin off of his body until he falls flat and untying a rope of a hanging, burning pot Katnip is attempting to put the fire out underneath it of which causes them to fall on the fire! At the end of this, seeing Katnip accidentally implant elephant eyes into his corneas, Herman resorts to placing an "Extinct" sign to poke fun at his misery, and he and his cousins laugh at Katnip being blind and reveling in his misery while he is seen repeatedly slams himself into a bunch of obstacles and running for help.
- In "Mice Meeting You", Herman's worst actions in the episode with doing lethal misdeeds like tipping over hot tea in order for Katnip's mouth to start burning on purpose to steal a cooked turkey from him, using a needle to stab Katnip's rear end, and operating a fireman toy car and pushing it to maximum speed so he can hit Katnip in the face! (which causes him to slam through a line of dish plates that fall on him). Herman attempts yanking Katnip's throat and choking him as a way to trap a crane going through a phone and most importantly, Herman provides a infamous scene of him tricking Katnip that Santa exists so he could go to sleep so he can saw a floor filled with furniture above Katnip for it to drop onto him (presumably killing him), and the mice celebrate Christmas while USING HIS UNCONSCIOUS BODY AND POSSIBLE CORPSE AS A CHRISTMAS TREE as well as using his tail to light up said tree!
- Most of his attempts at humor or making witty lines always fail and fall flat on his face because of lacking any real comedic touches with his sayings and one-liners that could make him genuinely funny or entertaining (e.g. "There is more than one way to skin cat" from "From Mad to Worse" when Herman makes a stereotypical depiction of Chinese people for a quick joke. Even for a cartoon mouse, that is extremely offensive and disturbing considering Herman is making a murder joke in a kids' show).
- His nasally, weird voice that has a vague hinting of a Brooklyn accent is very cringeworthy and awkward to hear, as it sounds like an oddball prototype of Mario's voice from Hotel Mario.
- His singing is very bad, thanks to his accent.
- Because of this, the late Arnold Stang overall did a rather lackluster job voicing him.
- His design might be passable, but it comes across as unimaginative and lazy just like Katnip and Herman's own cousins, since his design looks heavily derivative to a poorly-done clone of Jerry Mouse's design from Tom and Jerry, albeit with pants and shoes.
- Despite being one of the biggest Gary Stus of all time, he can be rational and show some common sense towards Katnip's foolishness.
- He was shown to be briefly likable in shorts that don't revolve around him being against Katnip, especially in some cartoons where he is paired with Henry the Rooster where he helps him stand up against his utterly abusive wife Bertha/Chickenpie. He was also decent in "Campus Caper" and "Cheese Burglar". Unfortunately, when he is paired with Katnip, he suffered from flanderization and character derailment by becoming more of a ruthless, sadistic jerk than before.
- While lazy and unimaginative, his design is at least passable and somewhat cute depending on your view.
- Itchy from The Simpsons' Itchy & Scratchy Show is based on Herman because of Herman's sadism and his cruel and manipulative tendencies towards Katnip. Matt Groening did explain how Itchy was based on Herman instead of Jerry.