6 Insane (But Convincing) Fan Theories About Kids' Cartoons
For every innocent cartoon out there, there's at least one obsessive fan on the Internet who managed to crap out a semi-coherent theory finding something disturbing about it, like that Tom & Jerry was actually Nazi propaganda, or that Barney & Friends is a metaphor for the Watergate scandal. But just like a broken watch, even the Internet is right every once in a while: The most disturbing fan theories are the ones where you just can't help but agree with them.
The Characters in SpongeBob SquarePants Are the Result of Nuclear Testing
SpongeBob SquarePants is one of those classic, timeless ideas: It's about a talking sea sponge who lives in a pineapple at the bottom of the sea whose mascot is a meowing snail and who works in a restaurant owned by a crab. OK, sure, it sounds kind of bizarre when you put it like that, but what cartoon premise doesn't? Children's cartoons are metaphors; it's not like the creators were trying to say that these characters are literally mutants or something.
Although Squidward does bear some resemblance to Professor X.
According to one strangely convincing theory posted on Reddit, the show is really about nuclear testing. SpongeBob and his friends look and act the way they do because of their exposure to the radiation from atomic bombs dropped in the area around Bikini Bottom, where the show is set.
Also, "bikini" is ancient Mongolian for "atomic chain reaction resulting in a massive explosion."
Why It's Not That Crazy:
First of all, the fact that a talking sponge lives in a place called Bikini Bottom isn't some roundabout reference to human contraception -- the show is set under a real place called Bikini Atoll, which is confirmed by the official Nickelodeon-written synopsis. And here's where it gets interesting: Back in 1946, the U.S. government detonated a couple of atomic bombs there, one of which was set off underwater. The resulting explosion looked like this:
SpongeBob fans might be familiar with this particular mushroom cloud, considering that similar explosions are used on the show whenever a character so much as drops a pin on the floor:
Suddenly, all the weirdness in this cartoon starts making sense: The characters were normal sea creatures until the radiation from the explosion mutated them into sentient freaks. Even the landscape changed, allowing giant pineapples to grow out of the ground. Not only does this theory make sense, but it also provides answers to a lot of previously unanswered questions that have baffled fans for years, such as "How the hell did Mr. Krabs father a goddamn whale?"
Wait, no, we still have no clue.
Super Mario Bros. 3 Is Actually a Play
For decades now, Mario games have been telling the same story over and over: Bowser kidnaps the Princess and Mario has to rescue her by stomping the shit out of everything. The only exception in the main series is Super Mario Bros. 2, with its infamous "It was a dream all along" ending. With the fan-favorite third game, Nintendo went back to the classic formula, and they've stuck to it since then.
Or did they? According to this illustrated guide, Mario 3 was just a stage play. Like Mario 2, it never happened, and you are a chump for buying it. Nintendo has trolled you once again.
"Also, I'm actually a dude."
Why It's Not That Crazy:
Just look at the game for a moment. When you start up Super Mario Bros. 3, the first thing you see is a curtain rising and the characters rushing in, like actors in a play.
"Mamma m ... um, line?"
But this doesn't necessarily have to mean anything, you might say. This is, after all, a game about a fat plumber who occasionally shoots fireballs out of his hand. It could simply be an artistic choice, for all we know ... but there's more.
During gameplay, objects such as blocks have bolts on them, implying that they are stuck to a backdrop -- everything is fake, like onstage. This would explain why the objects cast shadows, even when there's apparently nothing behind them.
All those mushrooms didn't leave a whole lot of money for scenery.
Also, most of the platforms in the game aren't magically levitating in the air like in the previous games: They're either suspended from the roof with ropes, held up by pillars or driven by machinery.
Mario has his understudy do all the dangerous jumps anyway.
Oh, and when you're done with a level, Mario exits stage right, just like you would in a play. Finally, this is the first game that introduced Mario's tendency to dress up as animals -- that's because he's actually playing different parts.
"OK, cue the fake blood geyser!"
But why would Mario star in a play based on his own adventures? Well, remember that by this point, Mario had gone through the "fight Bowser and rescue the princess" routine only once -- what if Super Mario Bros. was Mario's only real adventure? After that, Mario went back to unclogging toilets, but he still dreamed about being a hero again every night (as seen in Mario 2).
The "go fuck yourself" of storytelling.
Eventually, he tries to recapture that feeling by staging a play about the events of Mario 1, taking some artistic license with the story. Presumably at this point he completely lost touch with reality, hence Super Mario World and the increasingly ridiculous spinoffs.
Dr. Claw Is the Real Inspector Gadget
Inspector Gadget was basically Get Smart meets RoboCop: A bumbling inspector with robotic enhancements fights crime with the help of his young niece and her dog, both of whom are vastly smarter than him. Gadget's main antagonist is the evil Dr. Claw, whose face is never revealed in the series ...
"My doctorate is in proctology, but I had to quit because my hand killed seven people."
... and, according to a theory posted on various sites, that's because Dr. Claw is the real Inspector Gadget. The main character is actually a robot duplicate of the man Claw once was, who was driven insane by an accident and now wants to destroy the machine that replaced him. But there's no way that makes sense, right?
Why It's Not That Crazy:
There are a lot of things that the show never bothered to explain, and this theory covers them better than the crappy live-action movie ever did. For starters, why does Gadget have robot parts? It seems unlikely that he would have been chosen for some sort of police-enhancing program, considering that he's a total moron and all. No, there had to be some sort of tragic accident in his past, but he doesn't seem to remember it.
To be fair, all that crap in his head doesn't leave much space for a brain.
Then there's Dr. Claw: Not only do we never see his face in the show (the action figure that revealed it came out years after the show had gone off the air), but the only thing we see is his metal hand, almost like an artificial limb. Also, his voice sounds like someone fellating a garbage disposal -- it's pretty obvious that Claw was involved in some sort of accident, too. Coincidence? We think not.
"Gadget! I will skull-fuck you until you bleed semen!"
According to the theory, "Claw" was once a normal human detective, but a terrible explosion caused his family and friends to think him dead. That's where his conveniently smart niece comes in: Penny, in her grief, recreated her uncle as a crime-fighting robot ... ignoring that the real man wasn't dead, only disfigured and insane. This would also explain why nothing ever happens to Penny, even though Claw's cronies seem to catch her every episode: She always finds a way to ruin Claw's plans because she's the only thing he still cares for.
The dog can eat a dick, though.
And hey, remember the part at the end of the opening theme where Gadget turns Claw's chair around and there's a bomb in it? A bomb that then explodes in Gadget's face? Perhaps this was meant to be symbolic. Perhaps there's no Claw, just Gadget.
Or perhaps Claw is a talking bomb, did you ever think of that?
The Tick Is a Sick Kid's Fantasy
Cult comic/cartoon/live-action show The Tick is, in essence, a way for creator Ben Edlund to parody every single superhero story ever. The Tick is a big, invincible man-child. His sidekick, Arthur, is an accountant who made a flight suit. Their occasional cohorts, Die Fledermaus and American Maid, are a sleazeball and probably the only competent person around, respectively, and together they fight bizarre enemies, like a guy whose face is a chair.
But what if the parody went deeper? An anonymous fan theory proposes just that: Instead of The Tick being about grown writers aping comic books, it's a little kid with a devastating illness doing the same.
Because Saturday morning cartoons really needed more terminally ill children to help balance the mood.
Why It's Not That Crazy:
The Tick's bizarre world suddenly starts making a whole lot more sense if you imagine that everything in it is based on the stuff a little boy stuck in a bed sees around him. Let's look at some of the Tick's enemies. The Idea Men are a bunch of identical, faceless bad guys, almost like a bunch of crappy action figures you're stuck playing with:
Every kid experienced that sad birthday when you got five Foot Soldiers and no Donatellos.
Plant-based villain El Seed could be inspired by the only sight the kid sees from his bedroom window, the plants in his neighbor's garden:
This also explains his henchman, Marijuano.
And we'll let you guess what Chairface Chippendale represents:
That's right, a table.
According to the theory, this hypothetical child received a blood-borne illness from a tick, and as such he assigns impressive and potentially destructive superpowers to a character of the same name, who also shares his childish and dependent demeanor.
Meanwhile, Arthur represents the boy's divorced father -- the fact that he's an accountant flying around in a white suit shows how little the kid knows about what his dad's job entails. American Maid stands for his mother who, again, seems to be the only character who knows what she's doing. And despite being overly sexualized, the Tick never shows the slightest interest in American Maid, because, you know, that'd be creepy.
This also explains why she keeps saying "Tell that dickless slob Arthur he's late this month."
Finally, Die Fledermaus is his dopey stepfather who tries to connect with him and repeatedly fails. So there you go: The Tick is about a sick child and you should feel ashamed for laughing at it. If you think that theory is too sad, you should probably skip the next one ...
Ed, Edd and Eddy Are Dead
Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy was one of Cartoon Network's original programs created back in the late '90s. It's a pretty simple, wholesome show about three kids (all named some variation of Edward) who ... really, they just spend a lot of time trying to scam the other kids on their block. They're kind of assholes. OK, so maybe it's not so wholesome.
The rest of the time they spend on other common teenager activities.
You know what else isn't wholesome? Dead kids. This theory proposes that all the children on the show are actually dead, and the neighborhood they live in is purgatory. But then again, they said the same thing about Lost and it turned out to be bullshit (mostly).
Why It's Not That Crazy:
For one thing, some of these kids already look like they're dead: Pretty much everyone in this neighborhood has weird skin tones or odd-colored tongues, like corpses might have.
More like Dead, Deadd and Dea- no?
But then there's the fact that there are no adults in the show: They're mentioned, but never seen. You do see vague silhouettes of adults on a few occasions, but they never move (yeah, that's not creepy or anything). The closest thing to an adult we ever see is Eddy's older brother, whom they meet the only time in the entire show's history when they leave their neighborhood/purgatory. However, the guy turns out to be a complete piece of shit, meaning that it's totally feasible that they were simply visiting him in hell.
He lives in the circle reserved for goatee sporters.
This would also explain why the setting of the show is so hard to pinpoint: In one episode, the kids are seen using a typewriter, despite having been shown using a computer in another, and they seem to know what a cassette tape is, unlike most teens of the 2000s. The theory holds that this is because each one came from a different period in American history:
Rolf, the weird kid with the inexplicable Eastern European accent, died in the early 1900s in a farming accident. Johnny, the one whose best friend is a plank, comes from the 1920s, when owning a piece of wood with a face painted on it made you the most popular kid on the block. Jimmy, the sickly kid with yellowish skin, died of leukemia in the 2000s, and so on.
The theory also alleges that there's one set of characters who aren't dead, but not alive either. The antagonistic Kanker sisters, who frequently abuse and berate all the other kids on the show, are actually demons placed in purgatory to torture them. Coincidentally, they are the only regular characters who have pink tongues ... just like non-dead people do.
The Genie from Aladdin Is Actually the Merchant from the First Scene
Disney's Aladdin, on the off chance that you don't live in 1993 and haven't seen it recently, starts with a lonely merchant roaming through the desert on a camel before arriving at the city of Agrabah and telling us the story of Aladdin's magic lamp, but not before trying to sell the young audience a hookah.
Not that kind, sadly.
Then the actual movie starts, and we see Aladdin finding the magic lamp and making his three wishes, the last of which is to free the wish-granting Genie himself, who goes off to see the world.
The merchant is the same person as the Genie. After the Genie gets freed, he becomes a peddler who travels across the land, selling stuff while retelling the incredible tale that led to his freedom. But that's crazy talk, right?
Why It's Not That Crazy:
First, let's take a look at both characters:
Blue clothes? Check. Red band around the waist? Check. Bushy eyebrows and a beard ending in a curl? Double check. If that's not enough for you, how about the fact that they are the only two characters in the movie who only have four fingers? Oh, and they both just happen to be voiced by Robin Williams.
Think about it: Leaving aside the straight-to-video sequels for a moment, nothing in the actual movie says that the Genie will get to keep his powers after being freed. Why should he? The last time we see him, he's flying off into the sky, but who says he didn't run out of power two seconds later and come crashing down into the desert, powerless and mortal?
Also, the last time we see the now-useless lamp is in the scene at the end when the Genie grabs it and gives it to Aladdin to test if it still works ...
"Just wanna make sure I really am free before telling you to suck it."
... then he shakes Aladdin's hands with his giant blue mitts, and the next moment, Aladdin no longer has the lamp.
So if the Genie still had the lamp, how did it end up in some peddler's hands? The answer, of course, is that they're the same person, and now he uses the lamp as an excuse to tell people about his old adventures, never mentioning that he was once a mighty Genie instead of some lonely salesman, because that's just a bummer.
Or maybe he just made everything up to get you to buy stuff, and the movie is a metaphor for Disney.
For more ridiculous theories that are actually really awesome, check out 6 Insane Fan Theories That Actually Make Great Movies Better. Or check out The 8 Greatest Eddie Murphy Movies of All Time.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The 4 Most Creative Ways People Used Loopholes to Get Rich.
And stop by LinkSTORM where you can learn why Mario and Bowser are actually best friends.
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