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8 Kids TV Shows You Didn't Realise Were Pretty Fucked Up

The Fat Controller is a fascist.

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1. Thomas the Tank Engine

There's a Thomas the Tank episode where a stubborn train is punished by being entombed alive forever and it's worse…

What you thought it was: A sweet animation about the daily adventures of some cute, colourful trains.

What it actualy is: A disturbing portrait of repressive totalitarian rule, under the iron fist of the Fat Controller, where women are sidelined, individuality is punished, and blind obedience is rewarded. For comprehensive evidence see this article, this comment thread, and this post.

2. Ren & Stimpy


What you thought it was: The zany tale of a chihuahua and a cat getting into hijinks.

What it actually is: A perverted plunge into the darkest recesses of human nature. In "Big Baby Scam", Ren and Stimpy are forced to bathe naked with an adult couple. "Man's Best Friend" was so violent Nickelodeon refused to air the episode, and fired creator John Kricfalusi. The series eventually morphed into the adults-only Ren & Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon, which was heaving with bosoms, bums, and nipple massages. As the people of Reddit ask, how the actual fuck did Ren & Stimpy get away with this?

3. Rocko's Modern Life

Cartoon Network

What you thought it was: A quirky story about an Australian wallaby and his dog having lots of adventures after emigrating to the US.

What it actually is: A triumphant exercise in the art of the sexual innuendo. Rocko's favourite hobby was "jacking". His favourite game was "Spank the Monkey". His dog was called Spunky, and in one episode has sex with a mop. The list goes on.

4. Caillou

Cookie Jar Entertainment

What you thought it was: An innocent (if slightly annoying) cartoon about a little boy and his family.

What it actually is: If you believe the urban legend, Caillou is a cartoon about a boy with cancer, which explains why he's bald. His parents are too scared to stand up to his rude, bratty behaviour because he's dying. Some even darker interpretations claim that Caillou's already dead, and the entire show is his grandmother telling stories about his life.


5. Cow and Chicken

Cartoon Network

What you thought it was: The wacky escapades of a cow and a chicken who happened to be sister and brother.

What it actually is: A kinky-as-fuck tale of a cow and a chicken with (seemingly) human parents. "Momma had a chicken! Momma had a cow! Dad was proud! He didn't care how!" went the theme tune. So like, Momma was screwing the farm animals? Dad didn't care, but maybe we do? Cow had a disturbing fixation with her own udders, and episode names included "Tongue Sandwich", "Grizzly Beaver Safari", and "Horn Envy". One episode, "Angry Beavers", was banned by Cartoon Network after complaints that it was too sexual.

6. Tom and Jerry

Hanna Barbera

What you thought it was: A show about a duelling cat and mouse with lots of cartoonish violence where everyone was always OK in the end.

What it actually is: A show about a duelling cat and mouse with lots of cartoonish violence where the characters end up so depressed that they both kill themselves on a train track.

7. SpongeBob SquarePants


What you thought it was: The madcap antics of a sea sponge and his colourful group of friends in an underwater atoll.

What it actually is: Some people believe SpongeBob and his friends are the mutant fallout from the real-life 1954 Bikini Atoll nuclear test. This explains the talking, walking crab, starfish, chipmunk, etc. Clues to the history of Bikini Bottom include a magazine called Toxic Waste Monthly and frequent mushroom cloud explosions.

Oh, and – according to another theory – Mr Krabs is the sugar daddy of Pearl.

8. Adventure Time

Cartoon Network

What you thought it was: A surreal cartoon about a boy and his adoptive magical dog brother having adventures in the Land of Ooo.

What it actually is: A glimpse into the screwed-up, mutant-riddled future that awaits humanity, 1,000 years after nuclear war destroys planet Earth as we know it.