You know those weird thoughts you have sometimes right when you’re about to fall asleep? You know what I’m talking about? Like, you’re just about asleep and out of nowhere you’re like, “how come we only watched Bananas in Pajamas in school? How come we never saw that in the real world?” Or maybe you think, “man, before the invention of deodorant people must have been pretty rank.” Well, I had one of those last night. My thought was, “what if Kevin McCallister from Home Alone boobytrapped his house to capture Jerry Mouse from Tome and Jerry?”
Instead of wasting such a beautiful thought, I decided to play it out in my head; miraculously, I even remembered it this morning! So, I’m going to play this out. Here are a few parameters: Kevin McCallister is the Kevin McCallister from the first Home Alone movie. Jerry Mouse is the mouse from the Tom and Jerry cartoons, and accordingly has opposable thumbs and enough wits/intelligence to outsmart cats and humans alike. This means that you should picture a mouse who walks upright, conveys emotion, is weirdly strong, and is the animated king of prank-busting.
The Tale of the Tape:
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Preferred Weapons: Paint cans, blowtorch, bb gun, tarantula
Preferred Tactics: Booby trap
Notable Opponents: The Sticky Bandits, Uncle Frank, Buzz McCallister
Notable Allies: Peter and Kate McCallister, Marley (aka: The Old Man with the Shovel (former presumed enemy))
Height: 4″ (6.5″ with tail)
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Preferred Weapons: Rake, dynamite, mousetrap, shotgun, candles
Preferred Tactics: Psychological warfare, guerilla warfare, espionage
Notable Opponents: Tom Cat, the Alley Cat Gang, Mammy Two Shoes (it was a different time)
Notable Allies: Spike (occasional), Nibbles, Quacker
Now, we have to assume that this battle will take place at the McCallister residence in Chicago. It just makes sense. Perhaps those old Tom and Jerry episodes actually took place in that house well before the McCallisters moved in. Who knows? But either way, the battle will happen at the McCallister home.
We also have to assume that Kevin has had a little time to prepare. One consistency throughout Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is that Kevin is much more formidable when he’s had time to prepare. For argument’s sake we’ll say he’s using the same arsenal he used in the first movie, and we must further state that all of the battle will happen indoors. That rules out use of the bb gun, ice on the steps, the hot doorknob, and the blowtorch in the doorframe. So, what’s in play:
- Toy cars on the floor;
- Broken Christmas tree ornaments on the floor;
- Swinging paint cans;
- Trip wires at the tops of stairs;
- Falling tool chests;
- Pet tarantula; and
- Nail on the basement stairs
Now, Jerry generally uses his opponents’ weaponry against them. This means we have to think about how Jerry would handle the setup. Jerry would probably notice most of this stuff going up, and even the stuff he doesn’t notice won’t always be effective. Like, the nail on the stairs isn’t going to do anything to Jerry. Same goes with the broken ornaments and toys on the floor. For one thing, Jerry is small and agile and could probably navigate those obstacles with minimal difficulty. For another, in order for Kevin to be effective, he’s going to have to squash Jerry between an object and the floor, or hope the tarantula will catch and eat Jerry. (I looked it up, and apparently larger tarantulas will eat mice on occasion).
With the need to squash established, it seems likely that Kevin’s best bets are falling paint cans, falling tool chest, and tarantula. If Kevin is smart, those will be the only ones he sets up because it’s harder for Jerry to use those against him. However, I think an eight-year-old kid, even a bright one, would probably set them all up, assuming quantity equals quality.
Who Has the Advantage?
Okay. So we can logically state that under normal circumstances, Kevin has the advantage because he’s a human with a more dynamic physiological composition. He is capable of more complex thoughts that a mouse, he’s bigger than a mouse, he’s apparently pretty accurate with that bb gun, and to boot, mice are much dumber in real life than they are in the Tom and Jerry cartoons.
Unfortunately for Kevin, these are not normal circumstances. Jerry is clever and has supermouse strength. He’s been known to swing ball-peen hammers, throw objects great distances, and bend the barrel of a gun such that Tom ends up aiming at himself. This means that not only are the outdoor obstacles from Kevin out, but that Jerry can reasonably be expected to analyze and mitigate the remaining weaponry.
This is a close call. On one hand, Jerry had advantages in avoiding a lot of the obstacles. On the other, Kevin will be difficult to trick into being a victim of his own booby traps because he knows where they are and how they’re triggered. We can also assume that Kevin will use the simplest means of catching Jerry at some point, which is to either poison a food trap or simply trap him under a bucket like the game Mousetrap. Kevin might use Buzz’s pet tarantula, but I think Kevin would be afraid the spider may be a casualty and that the resulting butt-whooping he would take from Buzz wouldn’t be worth it.
What this all comes down to is this: can Jerry survive long enough to infuriate Kevin so much that Kevin irrationally chases Jerry and falls victim to one of his own booby traps? I think so. I was a fairly bright eight-year-old in 1997, but I don’t remember just a ton of patience and rationality. I remember trying things a few times, then getting frustrated and destroying them if it didn’t work. So here’s how I see this going down:
Jerry is unaffected by the ground-based booby traps. Kevin must perfectly time swinging paint cans or dropping tool chests to catch Jerry. If Jerry avoids those, which he should if he saw them being assembled, eventually Kevin will lose his cool. Kevin will chase Jerry through the house, and Jerry will make the chase longer than it needs to be in an effort to further enrage Kevin and make sure Kevin is operating on pure hatred instead of logic and reasoning. After a prolonged chase, Jerry will lead Kevin right to the ground-based traps such as trip wires, nail on the stairs, and ornaments and toys on the ground. Ultimately, Kevin does succumb to the traps and cuts his feet and/or falls down some stairs.