The 6 Creepiest Things Ever Slipped Into Children's Cartoons
Whether they realize it or not, parents leave their children in the care of cartoon writers for several hours every week--which is about as wise as telling your kids that a candy-dealing leprechaun lives at the bottom of the swimming pool.
For every wholesome lesson about sharing and togetherness, there's at least one deeply disturbing reference they've managed to slip past the censors. And some times, it's not exactly subtle.
Animaniacs - Fingering Prince
The whole secret to the success of a cartoon like Animaniacs is to appeal both to the kiddies who like animated slapstick, and to the college kids who like the quick inside jokes clearly intended to sail over the toddlers' heads. Then, sometimes, they'll throw in a reference to fingering a man's anus.
For example, we have the episode "Hercule Yakko"--an oblique reference to Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot that no child would get--where the Warner siblings act as detectives on board a cruise ship as they look for a stolen diamond. Right off the bat Yakko is making a Charlie Chan joke, a reference to a racist detective serial from the first half of the 20th century that we're guessing not even the college kids caught.
But then Yakko tells Dot to "dust for prints." She returns with pop musician and noted enemy of the Internet, Prince, who for some reason is hanging around on a children's cartoon luxury liner.
Yakko tells her, "No, finger prints." Dot and Prince share an awkward glance, before she says, "I don't think so" and tosses Prince through a port window, where he presumably drowns. That's right: The whole joke is she misheard the instructions as "finger Prince."
We believe this is the first time in the history of children's entertainment that they've broached the subject of a cartoon character going knuckle diving in a pop star's asshole. If some other show blazed this trail first, be sure to let us know in the comments.
Pokemon - Man Boobs
There are a few Pokemon episodes that haven't made it to American shores for various reasons, either because they're a little too seizure-inducing, a little too violent or just racist enough.
The show's kind of fucked up.
In Beauty and the Beach, Team Rocket enters a "Beach Beauty and Pokemon Costume Contest" as part of their ill-defined nefarious scheme to kidnap Ash's Pikachu so it can power a doomsday device. And because it makes more sense than anything else in the history of the show, this means the male character James has to throw on a pair of giant breasts for the swimsuit portion.
What kind of swimsuit competition allows two people who are clearly adults to compete against children is unfortunately never explained. Scenes from the uncut Japanese episode have found their way to YouTube but are unfortunately in Japanese with no subtitles.
The episode was broadcast in America one time, but all of James's boob scenes were cut, which somehow makes the episode even less intelligible. If you're out there and you speak Japanese, be sure to never transcribe this for us. We like it better this way.
Cow and Chicken - Carpet Munching
Cow and Chicken is a program best known for desperately trying to be Ren and Stimpy but succeeding mostly in being humorless and annoying. Proving that above all else it recognizes its audience, the show's episode "Buffalo Gals" aims straight for the kids' funny bones with jokes about terrifying lesbian bikers.
The episode opens with Cow and Chicken coming down for breakfast with their parents, who it is important to note are both human beings that evidently lost their arms in some kind of accident because they use their feet to do everything. Then a fierce female motorcycle gang called the Buffalo Gals suddenly bursts into the house, with no explanation as to why they selected this particular home or why they chose to invade it at 8 a.m.
Once inside, they promptly drop to their knees and begin to... chew furiously on the carpet.
If you're from a part of the world with different lesbian slang, or have just led a very sheltered life, the whole "carpet munching" thing is a reference to female oral sex. Apparently the writers were also afraid that simply showing the action would be too subtle a joke, so first we get the main characters mistaking the bikers for men, calling one of them "sir," at which point they introduce themselves as "the Buffalo Gals." Then Mom explains that this group of bikers with butch haircuts "randomly bursts into people's homes and chews on their carpet."
Where other shows are happy to throw out some nod-and-wink innuendo for the grownups, Cow and Chicken devoted pretty much the rest of the episode to it. The group invites Cow to one of their softball outings...
GET IT BECAUSE LESBIANS PLAY SOFTBALL
...where she can learn about "pitching" and "catching" which, while being another gay joke, is used here to insult the wrong gender. Jesus, guys, if you can't keep your 80s stand-up comedy gay stereotypes straight, how are the children supposed to learn?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Oedipal Zombie
This one doesn't involve sly sexual innuendo, but we wish it did. The season four episode of the Turtles' 2003 revamp, "Insane in the Membrane," may be the most disturbing 23 minutes ever vaguely associated with Cypress Hill. It was deemed too fucked up to be aired on television (although it's included on the DVD).
The episode revolves around Baxter Stockman, April O'Neil's former boss and the inventor of the Mousers. After an increasing series of failures, Stockman has been reduced from a mildly handsome man in his early 30s to a significantly less handsome brain in a jar. So as a practical and totally not impossible solution, he starts building a clone of his old body to transfer his consciousness into. Seems like pretty standard cartoon stuff so far.
Unfortunately, something goes wrong and his new body begins rotting like a corpse, losing pieces as the episode progresses until it's just a mass of missing fingers and exposed muscle tissue and tendons.
At one point, part of his jawbone falls off and starts flapping around like the top of a hobo's top hat.
On top of all that, his mind starts deteriorating as well, giving him flashbacks throughout the episode to his innocent childhood and his dead mother. He also becomes convinced that he should kill April, whom he keeps calling "momma" as he slips in and out of hallucinations, tossing the kids a murderous Oedipal Complex to go along with the walking corpse of a black man they've been watching for the past 20 minutes.
Do we need to stop and remind everyone that this is a cartoon about pizza-eating turtles?
At some point between the episode's production and its scheduled airing, somebody in the studio realized the carnival of horror they were about to unleash on the children of America and decided to pull it, though it is still readily available to any kid with 15 bucks to spend on the DVD.
Chowder - Ice Cream Ejaculation
Chowder stars the titular Chowder, a tiny blue monster of indeterminate origin training to be a chef, which is horrifying when you consider that his world is populated by anthropomorphized food, so at any given moment he is fricasseeing the corpse of a neighbor or loved one.
Anyway, the episode "Chowder and Mr. Fugu" finds Chowder in the care of Mr. Fugu, a bloated tomato monster with a blue toupee and no eyes.
Chowder buys a giant, stupendously phallic-looking ice cream cone (which for some reason he calls "thrice cream") which Mr. Fugu proceeds to eat.
The cone, inexplicably encouraging his own demise, tells Chowder to poke a hole in him and suck the cream out of the bottom. When Chowder agrees that this is a perfect idea, the ice cream cone quips, "Tell that to my wife..." implying that not only do ice cream cones get married, but that this particular marriage is being shattered by a drought of oral sex.
Ah, we're probably reading too much into it. After all, it's not like they intentionally drew the ice cream cone in such a way as to make it look unmistakably like two balls and a penis.
Not in the least. And there's certainly nothing weird about the way Mr. Fugu gives them a frantic spinning tongue bath.
Just forget we said anything.
Rocko's Modern Life - Testicle Trauma
Rocko's Modern Life was one of the real pioneers in the "see what we can slip past the censors" cartoon genre. Creator Joe Murray claims that one of the series' biggest goals was to incorporate adult humor and references into the show that would likely sail over the heads of children. Predictably, this meant lots and lots of penis jokes.
So there's Rocko's local hang-out The Chokey Chicken, a focal point of the show where characters and plot-lines could intertwine. It's also a masturbation joke. Then there's Rocko's brief stint as a telephone operator, as the instructions on the wall behind him helpfully remind all employees to "Be Hot, Be Naughty, and Be Courteous" while he repeats "Oh baby" into the receiver. We never get a specific job description, and that's typically the way it works. You don't know it's dirty unless you know phone sex is a already a thing, as most seven-year-olds probably don't.
Also noteworthy is his pal Heffer's machine induced orgasm, initiated by a farmer that was apparently too dumb to realize that cows typically have more than one udder.
And then, there is the testicle trauma. It starts out innocently enough, with Rocko approaching a bush full of berries. He goes to grab one, trying to pinch it and pull it free...
He hears a horrible scream. The "bush" turns out to be a sleeping animal. The "berry" was its now-crushed testicle.
The beast comes running out, clutching its traumatized scrotum, knowing that its chance of ever having offspring have been reduced by half.
Innuendo is one thing, guys. But for the love of God, we do not need our children growing up thinking this is a funny thing to try on strangers. For everyone's sake.
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For more scenes that had no business being anywhere near kids, check out 7 Horrifying Moments from Classic Kids Movies. Or find out about some toymakers that belong on the sex offenders list, in 15 Unintentionally Perverted Toys for Children.
And stop by Linkstorm (Updated 08.04.10) and find the hidden penis, today!