Sadly, kids aren’t experienced enough to create entire TV shows for themselves. Usually networks give the adults the green light to make them, and that comes with their adult take on the world. They know that life isn’t all gumdrops and roses. It can get dark from time to time, and little nuggets of that darkness can find its way onto the screen.
We may not have picked up on it as kids, but maybe we got a little nostalgic, or had kids of our own, and stumbled upon a cloudy theme just under the surface. Nickelodeon — a network synonymous with great kids shows and cartoons for all ages — was no stranger to the dark side. Themes like kidnapping, suicide, and BDSM (and inter-species seduction and adultery, thanks Rocko's Modern Life for that visual by the way) are a few of these 15 dark jokes hidden in Nickelodeon shows.
Rugrats remade Fatal Attraction
SpongeBob SquarePants got creative with names.
Fairly Oddparents explore a dismal alternate reality.
iCarly is a kids show that referenced Fifty Shades of Grey.
Helga's mother clearly had a drinking problem on Hey, Arnold!
Tommy Pickles gets kidnapped
Squidward’s severe depression.
David the Gnome breaks every kid’s heart in the end.
Victorious pokes fun at serious mental health issues
SpongeBob goes on a panty raid.
Ren and Stimpy take cartoon violence to new heights.
Heffer goes to hell.
Nora holds Carly captive.
CatDog’s sick attempt at explaining meat consumption.
Rocko’s Modern Life graphically tackles infidelity.