#2. Tiny Toon Adventures -- The Tiny Toons Get Shitfaced and Die
Tiny Toon Adventures followed the antics of "the next generation of Looney Tunes," each of them suspiciously resembling a classic Looney Tunes character even though none of them were ever acknowledged as their legitimate children. Other than the implication of parental neglect, the show itself was usually pretty innocent ... except for one episode titled "One Beer," in which Buster Bunny, Plucky Duck and Hampton J. Pig get drunk, steal a police car and die in a horrible accident. It was only aired once and then banned, for some reason.
The episode starts when Buster finds a beer on his fridge and pressures the other kids into drinking it -- when Hampton says they shouldn't, Buster points out that it's OK because "in this episode, we're showing the evils of alcohol," smiling wickedly and growing devil horns. At this point it's unclear if Buster is being ironic or not, since this is exactly the sort of meta-joke the show would normally do.
Like that time Buster talked Babs into "showing the evils of blowjobs."
The kids decide to go drink the beer at the park, and after they each have a sip, they are all instantly trashed.
"You know what we should do? Get our dicks pierced. I love you guys, I really do."
In the next scene, an unspecified amount of time later, the kids are dressed like hobos, have grown stubble and are living in an alley. All because they had one beer. Plucky then finds a cop car parked outside a doughnut shop and decides to steal it -- the others agree that this sounds like a great idea, because their alcoholism has impaired their judgment.
Which also explains the fedora.
The kids end up being chased by the police and escape into a tall mountain ... where Drunky drives off the edge of a cliff and kills everybody. Seriously, we see the car land directly on top of a cemetery, and then the spirits of Buster, Plucky and Hampton ascend to heaven. This is like one of those urban legends you read about a lost Simpsons episode where Bart commits suicide or something, except it's completely real.
So, kids, the lesson here is: drinking, theft and suicide equals an instant ticket into heaven.
In the last ten seconds, we learn that the kids are actually fine: They were just trying to show us that "drinking is uncool" by creating an episode-within-the-episode where they end up dead. But that's kind of the problem -- depending on the age of the viewer, it's either an incredibly dark episode full of tragic death (as the little kids will see it), or else it's an incredibly sarcastic episode making fun of all those other shows that tried to legitimately show the dangers of underage drinking (as it will come off to the older ones). The irony is that either way, we're pretty sure the creative team was wasted when they made it.
#1. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood -- Nuclear Armageddon Reaches the Neighborhood of Make-Believe
If there's one show on this planet that you could trust to not suddenly unleash abject horror on your children, that's Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Although every show we've mentioned so far was supposed to be family-friendly, they all had something a little unsettling to begin with: Tiny Toons and Family Matters had child abandonment; The Fresh Prince had unseen gang violence; Pokemon was Japanese. Mister Rogers, on the other hand, was a perfectly innocent educational puppet show for preschoolers ... which makes what we're about to show you even more disturbing.
A weeklong storyline called "Conflict" that originally aired in 1983 revolves around the puppet inhabitants of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe descending into an arms race that almost ends in nuclear war. It all starts when King Friday becomes suspicious about some unknown packages that are sent by Corny the Beaver to the City of Southwood. King Friday immediately assumes that the packages are full of bomb parts.
"Look at me like that again, mailman, and you'll be dropping bombs out of your asshole."
King Friday calls Corny, who only makes things worse by mentioning that he's making a million of those parts. The King concludes that Southwood must be manufacturing a million bombs, and reacts by forcing everyone in the kingdom to drop what they are doing to build even more bombs in retaliation.
"I'll pull you out of that one-bunk Hilton and cast you down with the Sodomites. You'll think you've been fucked by a train."
Now, it's pretty obvious that there's been some misunderstanding here, but that doesn't change the fact that King Friday is now forcing his people to build actual bombs. Many of the characters resist his tyrannical orders, but King Friday doesn't let up. He appoints Bob Dog as a spy, has the school teach the children about air-raid shelters and arms his generals with the real bombs, holding them ready in some kind of perverted puppet version of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Finally, Bob Dog reports to King Friday that the parts that Corny was making for Southwood weren't for bombs after all -- they were for a bridge. Everyone celebrates the new peace, while completely forgetting about King Friday's recently acquired nuclear arsenal and apparent willingness to use it.
Days later, King Friday was assassinated by the CIA and replaced by a puppet puppet ruler.
These episodes would have been bad enough if they hadn't been aired at a time when nuclear war seemed like a frighteningly real possibility, but they totally were. To give you an idea of the state of mind kids were in at the time, an article right below the one announcing this storyline says that 75 percent of students thought that they would die from a bombing. All this storyline did was remind them how easy it is for countries to go to war based on a small misunderstanding. If it can happen in Puppet-Land, it can happen anywhere.
That probably explains why these episodes haven't been aired since 1996, and aren't even available on Amazon. What do you have to say for yourself, Mr. Rogers?
For more writers that obviously hate children, check out The 6 Creepiest Things Ever Slipped Into Children's Cartoons and 7 Horrifying Moments from Classic Kids Movies.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The Most Unintentionally Disturbing McDonald's Ad.