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6 Ridiculous Kid-Friendly Adaptations of R-Rated Material

In the '80s and early '90s, seemingly every film and comic franchise imaginable got mined for a cartoon and an accompanying toy line. However, a surprising amount of those cartoons were spun off from franchises steeped in graphic violence, gratuitous sex, and other things generally not intended for children, because money frequently makes a more compelling argument than common sense.

#6. RoboCop Gets Turned into a Weird Inspector Gadget-Like Cartoon

MGM Animation

The Mature Source Material:

Originally given an X rating, RoboCop is the hyperviolent story of a cop who suddenly finds himself getting upgraded to "robo" status after being blasted into brain-soaked skull fragments by a gang of murderous drug dealers.

Orion Pictures
Blood should have humorously spurted upward, but it didn't. So, serious stuff.

Rebuilt as a cyborg powered by baby food and justice, RoboCop brutally steamrolls his way through the criminal underworld while all manner of stomach-roiling gore explodes around him. A rapist gets shot in the penis, a man gets mulched into wet, quivering pieces by the artillery cannons of an evil walking tank, and Miguel Ferrer snorts lines of cocaine off of two sets of prostitute breasts before getting his kneecaps blasted apart and then blown up with a grenade.

In short, it is one of the finest motion pictures ever made.

The Kid-Friendly Adaptation:

The 1998 cartoon RoboCop: Alpha Commando throws all of that out the window and recasts RoboCop as a dime store Inspector Gadget trying to catch criminals with a healthy dose of hijinks, including one episode where he dresses up as a snowman to save Christmas:

MGM Animation
With a green scarf, obviously, to keep his snow warm.

And here he is going undercover in a Carmen Sandiego hat, disappearing so completely into his disguise that we almost didn't recognize him.

MGM Animation
"You're not a cop, right? Because if you're a cop, you gotta say you're a cop."

RoboCop, the dick-shooting, neck-stabbing, rocket-launching peace officer with the face of Buckaroo Banzai and the agility of the old Chinese shopkeeper from Gremlins, became a wisecracking slapstick goofball fighting crime with nets, a grappling hook, a glue gun, and a freaking ping pong paddle.

MGM Animation
The agility of the old Chinese athlete in Forrest Gump.

He also has a disposable-towel dispenser installed in his iron gauntlet, because apparently people take a lot of dumps in front of RoboCop.

MGM Animation
A proper mature adaptation would have built a bidet into his torso.

Instead of the biting Reagan-age satire of the film that birthed him, RoboCop finds himself mired in increasingly ridiculous fantasy conflicts designed to sell action figures to children who have no idea who Ronald Reagan even was.

MGM Animation
Unless "two-headed dragon" is some advanced economics metaphor.

RoboCop seems to resolve each of these ridiculous situations by being even more ridiculous himself, clobbering the bad guys and saving the day on a jubilant wave of children's laughter. The show barely lasted a year, however, which seems to suggest (alongside the original film's two sequels, the live-action series, a previous cartoon series, and the impending reboot) that perhaps RoboCop should remain in the 1980s where he belongs.

#5. James Bond Lets His Underage Nephew Take Over

MGM TV

The Mature Source Material:

James Bond, the quintessential secret agent, is best known for murdering supervillains and having sex with every woman he speaks to. We've watched him skate through world-ending scenarios using sophisticated spy gadgetry and witty British sex appeal for 50 freaking years, and even though the movies have never gotten explicit enough to earn anything above a PG-13 rating, Bond is definitely not for children. In License to Kill, a man gets locked in a decompression chamber, pleading for his life, until his face explodes. And Bond has thrown his globetrotting penis into such lazy sexual puns as Pussy Galore and Dr. Goodhead, typically while making even more obvious puns himself.

MGM
Sometimes the lover has no name. Robbed of his pun, Bond turns to drink.

The Kid-Friendly Adaptation:

The 1991 cartoon spinoff James Bond Jr. stars James Bond's teenage nephew (who for some reason is afforded the "Junior" title despite not actually being the superspy's son) trying to juggle his high school life with titanic battles against a bunch of iconic villains from the film series. However, every single villain has been "reimagined" to look like they all fell into a vat of 1990s toxic waste. Oddjob became a member of Run-D.M.C., for some reason:

MGM TV
Razor-sharp hat. Razor-thin 'stache.

The already ridiculous Jaws was made even more so by his subtle transformation into a He-Man villain:

MGM TV
The flower counters the ominous, dangerous threat of the hoodie.

And Dr. No became a Chinese zombie wizard with Dr. Claw gloves, because apparently they both went to the same medical school:

MGM TV
But no pet cat. That would make him look too much like a Bond villain.

We understand that selling action figures to children is a huge business, but we have to wonder precisely what aspect of a middle-aged government assassin perpetually loaded with an equal amount of gin and STDs made the creators of James Bond Jr. see nothing but dollar signs. The end result is a weird mix of G.I. Joe and Scooby-Doo drowning in early '90s youth culture.

MGM TV
"And he can have a mulleted best friend with high top sneakers and hot pink shorts! This thing practically writes itself."

#4. The Toxic Avenger Turns into a Mutant Captain Planet

Troma Entertainment

The Mature Source Material:

The Toxic Avenger tells the story of Melvin, a 90-pound weakling who is transformed into a hideous superhero thanks to the hilariously lax waste disposal and transportation laws of New Jersey. The film was meant to parody 1950s B-movies about radioactive mutation by showing what would actually happen to a human being doused in toxic waste.

Troma Entertainment
Searing pain. Like aftershave on an 8-year-old's face.

That isn't to say that Melvin doesn't get superpowers -- he totally gets atomic Hercules strength, which he uses to graphically dispatch the city's criminal element, including smashing a drug dealer's head with a weightlifting machine:

Troma Entertainment
Unrelated to that, here's a photo of some ice cream with caramel syrup.

The Toxic Avenger (and all three of its sequels) are intensely violent to the point of being grotesque, and like any good independent horror/comedy without an official MPAA rating, there is loads and loads of nudity to bridge the gaps between the hellacious killings. There's even a sequence where a woman has sex with the melty-faced sludge ogre himself:

Troma Entertainment
His back looks suspiciously unblemished. Can't wait to see the rest.

The Kid-Friendly Adaptation:

As you have probably guessed by this point, someone watched the movie we just described and thought it would be an excellent idea for a children's cartoon. Thus, the 1991 animated series The Toxic Crusaders was born, which recast the Toxic Avenger as a pollution-fighting superhero with a sentient mop sidekick.

Troma Entertainment
In a terrifying alternate America with an undetermined number of states.

He was essentially a Captain Planet knockoff, leading a team of similarly afflicted mutant superheroes who had all come into contact with toxic waste due to the most wildly improbable set of circumstances ever conceived by a professional writing team. One character, Junkyard, is literally a homeless man who was struck by lightning, a junkyard dog, and toxic waste, all at the same time.

Troma Entertainment
Here's the gang in an Abbey Road homage, showing just how well they could appeal to '80s children.

The Toxic Crusaders were sworn to defend the planet from evil aliens from the planet Smogula who sought to pollute the Earth's environment for their own nefarious purposes. We're not really sure why the Crusaders would feel so beholden to a planet whose own cavalier attitude toward pollution had directly caused all of their hideous disfigurements, and we'll never get a chance to find out, because the show only lasted 13 episodes before everyone came to their senses and realized they were trying to market an X-rated film character to third graders.

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