The key to success in television is the ability to deliver your product to as many viewers as possible. With a societal shift favoring politically correct dialogue, it’s still a shock to come across a little dirty humor, especially when it’s embedded in entertainment made with children in mind.
Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Hidden Adult Jokes in Children’s Cartoons.
10. The New Batman Adventures
The most memorable whipped cream bikini of all time may belong to Varsity Blues’ Ali Larter, but one year earlier, a different lady was harnessing the seductive power of sugar. Well, she was trying to. In an effort to inspire her boyfriend The Joker to take the night off work, Harley Quinn emerges from a giant pie in a 1998 episode of The New Batman Adventures. With filling dripping everywhere, she serenades ‘Mister J’ in the style of Marilyn Monroe. If the implications weren’t clear enough, audiences then watch her playfully kick a cherry at his face, and ask if he wants to try some of her pie. The scene would be tempting to many, but not the Joker: unimpressed, he tosses Harley outside, and a whole pie sits wasted.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and in the case of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats, sometimes that means leaving your kids in the care of their grandfather. As a teenager, the best part of babysitting is eating all the snacks after the kids have gone to bed, but Grandpa Lou Pickles doesn’t care about snacks. Like any good babysitter would, he does his best to keep the charges entertained. He rents them two movies, and picks up one for himself too. The title? “Lonely Space Vixens.” Featuring a sexy alien on the cover, Lou mentions how he plans to watch this particular title in private, after the babies go to bed. Probably a good call, Gramps.
8. The Flintstones
Set in the town of Bedrock, characters from The Flintstones have been charming their way into our hearts since their debut in 1960. With a legacy spawning several decades, the prehistoric families have made appearances in both television and film. Some audiences find the humor distasteful by modern standards, while others relish the nostalgia. Cavemen aren’t renowned for their intellect, but Barney Rubble is exceptionally slow, especially when it comes to matters of anatomy. During a visit to the costume shop, he and best friend Fred are brainstorming costume ideas. Barney wants to be taller, and when Fred jokes that he’d need another head to do so, Barney asks what he’d need three heads for. The two chuckle as a laugh track plays, confirming that yes, that was a penis joke. Yabba-dabba-gross.
Between 1993 and 1998, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot Warner brought their wacky antics to Warner Brothers. During an Agatha Christie-inspired sequence on Warner Brothers’ Animaniacs, the lovable sibling trio are on the hunt for clues. After being told to search for fingerprints, Dot returns cradling the musician Prince in her arms. Yakko disapproves, and wiggles his fingers to point out the mistake. Observant audiences will notice Prince’s eyebrows raise after the suggestion. Despite his willingness, Dot shuts Prince down. In a moment of disgusted realization, she turfs him out a porthole and wipes her hands clean.
6. Spongebob Squarepants
The most optimistic resident of Bikini Bottom, Spongebob Squarepants has a squeaky clean reputation to maintain: as a charismatic, extroverted, burger-loving sea sponge. Since his debut in 1999, he’s been a big name in children’s T.V. He’s even developed a cult following among some adults. The most mature jokes whiz by at break-neck speed, leaving the grown-ups giggling, and the youngsters oblivious. One such “blink and you’ll miss it” moment comes care of a dancing sea anemone. In the privacy of his pineapple, he watches the creature flop around on T.V. and becomes transfixed. We don’t really understand just how much he was enjoying himself until he’s interrupted by Gary – if you’ve ever accidentally caught someone in a… private moment, you’ll recognize his embarrassed excuses.
5. The Spectacular Spider-Man
A good hair day is a powerful thing. And when it comes around, it’s enough to put a smile on anyone’s face. Just ask Black Cat from The Spectacular Spider-Man. While dueling Spidey, she dodges the bursts of web flying through the air. The scene is full of action as the two dart around a laboratory, bantering back and forth. After being shot at with many webs, Black Cat utters a quick line that many viewers didn’t catch the first time around: “You’d better not get your goop in my hair.” It probably doesn’t sound like much to a kid, but parents are sure to notice the quip.
4. The Powerpuff Girls
From 1998 to 2005, kids followed the animated exploits of three little girls balancing childhood with crimefighting. Together Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup make up The Powerpuff Girls. Made in a laboratory by Professor Utonium, the trio protect their city using special abilities. And though they’re great fighters, at their core they’re normal kids. So when a new girl named Robin moves in next door, they introduce themselves.
During a tour of their house, the girls introduce Robin to the professor and explain how they were created by accident in his lab. With a genuine innocence that only children possess, Robin replies that “it’s okay professor, I was an accident too.”
3. Dexter’s Laboratory
Dexter’s Laboratory focuses on a boy genius who uses a secret laboratory in his bedroom to conduct all sorts of research. His life would be perfect if it weren’t for his psychotic sister Dee Dee, who is constantly interfering with his work. Dexter understands many things, but he definitely doesn’t get women. In an episode called “Dee Dee and the Man,” he fires his annoying sibling and hires a replacement sister. Opting for an alluring blonde, Dexter quickly finds himself becoming increasingly attracted to Dee Dee’s busty replacement. After leaving to take a cold shower, he asks her to dance for him. And she replies in an unexpected way… with a price. “That’ll be fifty bucks extra.”
2. Looney Tunes
Ah, Looney Tunes. A cartoon institution from the golden days of animation. Beginning in 1930, Warner Brothers began to produce short films featuring heavyweights like Bugs Bunny, The Road Runner, and Daffy Duck. In fact, some of these characters are so iconic, they have their own stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Over its run, The Looney Tunes produced hundreds of skits. When the bloodthirsty, rabbit-hating bandit Yosemite Sam goes to jail at the hands of Bugs Bunny, the animators insinuate that he’s about to enter a new romantic relationship… with his cellmate. And by the looks of it, it might not be a consensual one.
1. Rocko’s Modern Life
Rocko’s Modern Life was a wonderfully bizarre cartoon that aired on Nickelodeon from 1993 to 1996. An Australian Wallaby named Rocko moves to America, and focuses on his transition into a new culture. Old customs and traditions become new again through Rocko’s strange eyes. Thankfully, he has some good friends to help him adjust. One of these amigos is a steer named Heffer Wolfe. Raised under rather unorthodox circumstances (by wolves), Heffer is a great friend and an even better roller-skater. A jack of all trades, he works hard at a handful of jobs. At one point, even filling in for a milk cow, requiring him to be hooked up to the Milk-o-Matic.
Clearly enjoying himself, the scene shows his eyes rolling, lips quivering, and pupils turning to stars before he moans and falls over. What was going on behind that fence? You be the judge. Keep in mind, he makes sure to say goodbye to the Milk-o-Matic before he leaves, too.
What do you think of our list? Did we miss any of your favorite adult jokes from children’s cartoons? Tell us about them in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one.