Spike the Bulldog (or simply known as Spike) is a character from the Tom and Jerry franchise.
While Spike was likable and more tolerable in the previous Tom and Jerry episodes and shows, sadly in the 2014 reboot he has been flanderized to being unlikable, becoming a supporting character. Because of that, despite being one of the "supporting protagonists" of the series, Spike has frequently been depicted as anti-heroic and even villainous, eventually going so far to become the direct antagonist of several episodes despite the series' pilot episode. He is voiced by Rick Zieff.
Why He Had Been Framed
Note: This only applies to his character in the 2014 reboot.
- He has been flanderized badly in this show, and as a result, he got a drastic change in personality. He has gone from a stereotypical bulldog who had a good side (as he would either help out Tom or Jerry whenever it was necessary or beat Tom up if he was bothering Jerry) into a mean, short-tempered, unlikable, and annoyingly brutish jerk who beats up both Tom and Jerry in whatever conflict he gets into.
- In these episodes, he rudely obligates Tom and Jerry into doing stuff for him right away just so he can get out of troublesome situations. In those situations, he would often resort to beating up the duo if they fail to resolve the conflict. Not to mention the way he forces Tom and Jerry into doing stuff for him come off as mean-spirited, rude and demeaning.
- In "Dental Case", for example, Spike will have to go to the vet if his bad tooth isn't pulled out in time. Unfortunately, almost every attempt Tom and/or Jerry make(s) to pull it out results in Tom getting hurt in some way. Even when they try to leave, they're forced to continue to help him, as he threatens to beat them up if they don't pull it out.
- Because of his flanderization, he is even a bad influence on his own son Tyke unlike the previous Tom and Jerry incarnations where he was a good father. For example, in "Tic-Tyke-D'oh", his sore loser nature in games causes his son Tyke to imitate his actions. What's even worse is that instead of teaching Tyke to be a good sport instead of a sore loser himself like any father would, he actually blackmails both Tom and Jerry into doing it under threats of inflicting violence on both the cat and mouse duo, hence turning his son Tyke into a bratty sore loser like his own father. Talk about bad parenting.
- Granted, while Spike does force Tom into doing stuff for him like babysitting Tyke, the fact that he also obligates Jerry into doing stuff for him along with Tom makes this extremely out of character for him.
- The way he's written and portrayed in this show is all over the place. He is supposed to be a fair character, yet most of the time, he is portrayed as an unfair, mean-spirited, rude, violent, selfish, reckless, egotistical, and hypocritical character.
- He is shown to even take sadistic pleasure of harassing Tom even if it means to make him fear for his life, despite usually never being intentionally provoked by him. The best example of this is in the episode "Anger Mismanagement", where he is at his absolute worst, he outright admits that he takes pleasure in beating up Tom, going so far as to insult Tom by telling Jerry that all cats are "yellow-bellied cowards of the lowest kind. No backbone whatsoever", thus angering Tom to the point of kicking Spike in the rear.
- Hypocrisy: He calls out on either Tom or Jerry for being violent and rude, yet he acts the exact same way to the latter two himself. He can't take responsibility for his actions and would blame others for not "helping him". He can also be quite tactless and at times dogmatic.
- Apart from beating up Tom and Jerry, he also gets into a lot of arguments with Tuffy, the only one who is not afraid to stand up to him.
- He even acts way angrier, more violent and short-tempered than before, especially towards Tom, to the point that it becomes very mean-spirited, exaggerated and unfunny.
- Because of this, this resulted Tom to be a lot more fearful of Spike than he did previously in quite a number of episodes, but not in a good way. Even, in the episode "Splinter of Discontent" Tom is so afraid of Spike's aggressive wrath that he even tearfully begs both Jerry and Tuffy to help spare him!
- Spike may have been angry, short-tempered and brutish, especially in the original cartoons, but not to this extent.
- As mentioned, he can be shown to be an outright villainous character despite claims.
- He is also depicted as a stereotypical bulldog claiming to be tough, short-tempered and vicious, with an unjustified hatred for cats. Even though he claims to be tough, he can also be a coward. For example, he fears Hannible Hannible in the episode "Road Trippin", even though he barely does anything to him other than teasing or verbally threatening him.
- He is incredibly selfish as he doesn't care about others. For example, he uses Tom, Jerry and Tuffy as decoys or as defense means very frequently. He even enslaves them.
- He barely gets any comeuppance for his actions. In other words, that makes him somewhat of a karma houdini.
- He is incredibly lazy in The Tom and Jerry Show.
- His flanderization in this show succeeded in turning him into one of the most hated Tom and Jerry characters of all time.
- Overall, this 2014 reboot incarnation of the character takes his biggest problem from Filmation's The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show from 1980 (being much angrier and short-tempered than he usually is) and makes it even worse, though while this isn't saying much, Spike in that 1980 show is slightly better than the 2014 reboot Spike since at least he is less of a short-tempered jerkass and is much friendlier.
- Sometimes, he is decent, has his original personality, and not mean-spirited. Like whenever he has the decency to help out either Tom, Jerry or Tuffy when it was necessary, even if his caring moments for them are rare.
- At least he still does care for his son Tyke, despite the fact that he is a bad role model on his own son.
- He is likable in "Spike Gets Skooled".
- Speaking of "Spike Gets Skooled", he does get some comeuppance in this episode.
- He was a much more likable, memorable, and tolerable character in all other entries outside the 2014 reboot, especially the original Hanna-Barbera era Tom and Jerry series.
- This thankfully didn’t affect his appearances outside The Tom and Jerry Show (2014), as he remained likable in the other 2014-2020 Tom and Jerry media, such as direct-to-video films e.g. Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest (2015) and the infamous Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and the video games.
- He has massively redeemed himself back to being the likable, tough-guy bulldog with a good side despite his brutish nature in the 2021 live-action/animated film, as well as in Tom and Jerry in New York.
- Darrell Van Citters, who worked on The Tom and Jerry Show (2014), eventually learned from his mistakes and therefore undid his flanderization and returned Spike to his old personality in Tom and Jerry in New York.
- The Tom and Jerry franchise would likely not be as great as it is without him.
- Rick Zieff's voice acting for Spike is great and even nicely imitates Daws Butler's impression.
- At least he works more often with Tom.
- At least he does reprimand Tom and Jerry for most of their antics more.
- In The Tom and Jerry Show, Spike ended his friendship with Jerry because Spike finally notices it was Jerry who was really responsible for bothering his son, stealing his bones and getting bothered and injured, as seen in most episodes of the reboot such as "Birthday Bashed".
- He did attack both Tom and Jerry in his debut appearance "Dog Trouble" where as he was attacking and tormenting Tom in the episode, he notices Jerry and starts attacking him too for no particular reason. While this more extremely feral, vicious and aggressive character trait of Spike was soon dropped in later episodes of the original series, him attacking both Tom and Jerry from "Dog Trouble" is made to be his biggest defining character trait in this series.