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    27 TV And Movie Jokes That Went Straight Over Your Head As A Kid, Ranked From "Mildly Off-Color" To "Surprisingly Risqué"

    "And my personal favorite, Lonely Space Vixens. That's for when you go to bed."

    There's a long and noble tradition of TV shows and movies meant for children sneaking in the occasional adult joke. And while some of them are just a little out there, others make me wonder, "How the hell did they get away with this?"


    I've ranked these 27 jokes from kid's TV shows and movies by how surprising it is that they survived long enough to make it to air.

    Just so you know, when I say "censor," I mean a combination of studio executives, the Standards & Practices department, lawyers, and anyone else who has the power to say, "Hey, let's maybe not include a circumcision joke in The Rugrats Movie." 

    As you'll see toward the end of this ranking, they lost that particular fight. 

    27. When the "Welcome to Duloc" song almost went there, then didn't.

    the puppets sing, "please keep off of the grass, shine your shoes, wipe your...face!"

    The Movie: Shrek

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? It's not. Shrek has bigger fish to fry than almost saying "ass." 

    You know what this is? Cheeky. It's not dirty, or dark, or even really "adult." It's just a bit cheeky. That's a word I think America needs to wholeheartedly adapt ASAP, or else find an equivalent for, because it's such a useful one. 

    26. When Shaggy met Mary Jane.

    Shaggy says Mary Jane is his favorite name
    Warner Bros.

    The Movie: Scooby-Doo

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? Not at all surprising, considering that Shaggy's entire characterization is "lovable stoner." 

    This is almost definitely an intentional weed reference, but on the other hand, wouldn't Shaggy respond the exact same way to literally any name? He's just that kind of good-hearted, perpetually dazed fellow. 

    On another note, CGI Scooby is a haunting creation.

    CGI Scooby sitting next to Shaggy on the plane
    Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

    25. When Stu was broken by a pot of chocolate pudding.

    Stu makes chocolate pudding at 4am and tells his wife it's because he's lost control of his life

    The Show: Rugrats 

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? This scene is a masterpiece, and only a fool would've tried to tamper with it. 

    This joke is only dark if you're an adult and have faced your own chocolate pudding meltdown, and since kids don't have the context for that, there's no reason to take it out of a show meant for them. 

    24. When the three little pigs paid tribute to their fallen father.

    A pig plays the piano and in the background, a photograph of sausages labeled "father" hangs on the wall

    The Movie: Three Little Pigs (short) 

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? Not at all surprising. It's hard to notice, and besides, kids movies love death. 

    Leave it to Disney to remind its young viewers that eventually, we will all become sausages in the cosmic slaughterhouse that is this mortal coil. 

    23. When Zuko interrupted Suki on her way to Sokka's tent and then found Sokka doing the absolute most.

    Zuko walks in on Sokka, who is surrounded by roses and lit candles

    And then the next morning, when Sokka is fiddling with a random necklace of flowers, implying he got "lei'd." (According to Twitter, at least.)

    Sokka fiddling with a necklace made out of flowers

    The Show: Avatar: The Last Airbender 

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? I mean, this show kicks off with a child discovering that his entire culture has been decimated through imperialist genocide, so some hookup humor seems mild in comparison. 

    This is probably one of the best-known Avatar jokes, most likely because of Zuko's perfect reaction face (and Sokka's pose), but it appears in one of the darkest episodes of the show: "The Southern Raiders," in which a group of children debate whether murder is ever just, and then one of them decides to double-check by tracking down the man who killed her mother. The censors probably asked for a sex joke to break up the tension. 

    22. When this robot mom-to-be told her husband that's it's OK that he missed the delivery of their baby-in-a-box.

    Blue Sky Studios

    The Movie: Robots

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? Not surprising. Humor about how babies get made is a classic fixture in TV shows and movies meant for kids, probably because that's a question a large portion of its intended audience has asked. 

    I do have to wonder, though: If you build a baby from a boxed set, how do you build a toddler, a child, or a teenager? Does the price point go up with each age group? Is there a "build a well-adjusted adult" box that lazy parents buy? 

    21. When the Wolf read the swimsuit edition of Pork Illustrated.

    The wolf in bed while reading Pork Illustrated

    The Movie: Shrek 2

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? This is an innocent enough joke that I feel like Sports Illustrated could've been in on it. 

    Is it a little bit unsettling to anyone else that the Wolf is looking at pictures of her food of choice modeling swimsuits? 

    20. When a donkey, otherwise known as an ass, appears over Squidward while he mocks SpongeBob...

    a real image of a donkey appears over an animated squidward

    ...and then again when he receives a kind Christmas gift from his victim and realizes the error of his ways.

    The donkey appears again when Squidward confesses he feels like a real jerk

    The Show: SpongeBob SquarePants

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? Not very. "Ass" is from the junior brigade of swear words. 

    I remember watching this as a kid and not getting it, but re-experiencing it now is truly a delight. Early SpongeBob was a surrealist masterpiece, and as a 5-year-old, I simply trusted and respected its majesty enough not to question the ugly horse they kept showing onscreen. 

    19. When Grandpa rented a few videos for the kids and one for himself.

    Grandpa holds up a DVD and says, "And my personal favorite, lonely space vixens. that's for after you go to bed.

    The Show: Rugrats 

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? "Grandpa watches space porn" may seem risqué by today's standards, but in a certain era of of Nickelodeon's history, it was tame. 

    That being said, this is how I think the conversation went: 

    "Can you remove the word 'vixen'?" The censor asked. 

    "Of course!" The Rugrats team lied. 

    18. When Mr. Potato Head silently called someone a kiss-ass.


    The Movie: Toy Story

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? I maintain my opinion from the SpongeBob donkey joke above: Anything involving the word "ass" just isn't that out there. 

    But on the other hand, aren't those his actual lips? Seems he would've been better off just saying the word. 

    17. When a doctor with a frankly intimidating name made a cameo appearance.

    A sign for a doctor named Dr. Bendova

    The Show: Rocko's Modern Life

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? Eh, it's too brief to be scandalous. 

    A neurosurgeon named Dr. Henry Reginald Bendova sued Nickelodeon for defamation over this joke.* 

    *This is absolutely not true, but wouldn't it be nice if it were?**

    **But seriously, it didn't happen. 

    16. When Timmy's dad got too real with him.

    Timmy's Dad says his dreams were shattered many years ago, and when Timmy asks how many, he responds by asking how old Timmy is

    The Show: The Fairy OddParents

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? Not too surprising. Nickelodeon and middle-aged malaise go together like Disney and death. 

    I do pity the parent whose child asked follow-up questions about this scene, though. 

    15. When Colette thought Linguini was trying to be very, very honest with her.

    Linguini says he has this tiny little something, while Colette glances down at his pants

    The Movie: Ratatouille

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? Not very, but mostly because it lasts for less than a second. 

    Animating anything takes an immense amount of time, so kudos to whichever Pixar employee logged overtime for a joke only a small percentage of the audience would notice. Though it's almost certain that out of the people who noticed it, 100% thought it was pretty funny. 

    14. When Robin opened up to the Professor.

    Bubbles tells Robin, he made us in his laboratory by accident. And Robin replies, don't worry, professor, I was an accident too!
    Cartoon Network

    The Show: The Powerpuff Girls 

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? A touch surprising, but Robin seems pretty well adjusted about the whole thing. 

    On another note, this is the first time I've ever realized that the Powerpuff Girls are the only ones with those gigantic, face-eating eyes. Is that what sugar, spice, and everything nice does to a person? Cause if so, it's not worth it. 

    13. When Puss in Boots is found carrying a baggie of catnip during a Cops parody sequence.

    Puss in Boots is found to be carrying Catnip, which he claims isn't his

    The Movie: Shrek 2 

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? With Cops playing on TV 24/7 all the time, we were all desensitized to its sensationalistic ways, the censors working on Shrek 2 included. 

    I know I saw Puss in Boots, but I don't remember anything about it, so I'm just going to extrapolate from this one joke and assume it's a stoner comedy. 

    12. When someone felt the need to stick a Post-it reading, "Don't touch yourself," on the bathroom wall.

    A sign on a bathroom wall that says "don't touch yourself"
    Cartoon Network

    The Show: Ed, Edd n Eddy

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? I remember Ed, Edd n Eddy being extremely chaotic, so there's a chance they didn't even see it. 

    This belongs in the category of, "If it were even one percent easier to notice, the network would've had a problem with it." But it's not, so they didn't, and everyone got to go home feeling like they got away with something: the animators with this joke, the censors with telling the team of Ed, Edd n Eddy what to do, and the audience that paused and squinted and went, "Heh." 

    11. When someone read Playslug magazine. For the articles, most likely.

    A slug reads Playslug magazine, with a slug cover model

    The Show: Rocko's Modern Life

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? A magazine called Playslug? Not that surprising. A magazine called Playslug with that cover model? More surprising. 

    I mean, it's Rocko's Modern Life. Any given frame of this show is a Standards and Practices department's worst nightmare. 

    10. When the Sanderson sisters encountered the world's creepiest bus driver.

    The witches say, we desire children. The bus driver responds, it may take me a couple of tries but I don't think that'll be a problem

    The Movie: Hocus Pocus

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? The implications here are super unsettling, but on the other hand, the folks at Disney in the early '90s might have seen it as a prime opportunity to remind kids about stranger danger. 

    If you're a character in a kids movie, you're really rolling the dice whenever you encounter a stranger. You've either got kindly gentleman with sympathetic backstories (like that guy from Home Alone), or you've got witches and their bus-driving henchmen. 

    9. When Shrek made this dick joke.


    The Movie: Shrek 

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? For any other franchise, very. But we all know that Shrek plays by different rules.  

    This joke is like the thesis statement of Shrek as a whole, so if it didn't make it in, I don't think the movie would've gotten made, period. It's like a litmus test for how crude DreamWorks was willing to be. The answer? Exactly this much.  

    8. When Stephanie casually burned Kimmy all the way to the ground.

    Stephanie says, "horoscope? what's that, Kimmy? A telescope that can only see your face"

    The Show: Full House

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? Pretty surprising, but they were probably too impressed (or intimidated) to say anything. 

    If I had to choose between landing on the surface of the sun or having a 12-year-old say this to me, I would choose the sun, because the chances of me being incinerated would be lower. 

    7. When the Cat scolded a gardening tool and called it a "dirty hoe."

    The Cat calls a gardening hoe a dirty hoe, then says, "I'm sorry, baby, I love you"

    The Movie: The Cat in the Hat

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? You know how every so often you'll see someone online ask, "What's the conspiracy theory you believe in?" Mine is that the director submitted a way dirtier version of this joke, got turned down, and then when he replaced it with this one, the censors went, "Well, it's way better than the first one." 

    In a movie chock-full of chaotic non sequiturs and instant internet memes, this may be the one that's made the biggest impression. And when you're in a movie like The Cat in the Hat, that's an achievement. 

    6. When Grandpa Boris couldn't take another moment of watching vacation videos.

    Grandpa says into the phone "Hello, Dr. Kevorkian?"

    The Show: Rugrats

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? In case you didn't know, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was an American physician who advocated for "the right of the terminally ill to choose how they die," and served jail time for aiding in the assisted suicide of his patients. So yeah, not exactly the type of figure you'd expect Rugrats to reference. 

    From this point on, I expect all the conversations between the writers and Standards and Practices went something like the writers asking, "Hey, can we make a joke about suicide referencing one of the most controversial people of the late 20th century?" And then the censors laughing and sarcastically replying, "Yeah, of course you can do that. You guys are hilarious." Which is, in fairness, technically a green light! 

    5. When Gary walked in on SpongeBob watching some sea anemone porn.

    Spongebob rapidly changes the channel when Gary walks in

    The Show: SpongeBob SquarePants

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? There was definitely a phone call about this one, but probably not an in-person meeting.

    This went straight over my cherubic head as a child. I'd guess that most other kids missed it, too, but there were probably some parents who did a spit take with their morning coffee when this joke popped up during Saturday morning cartoons. 

    4. When a wild circumcision joke appeared in a song about newborns being less than impressed with life after birth.

    A baby says "man, they cut my cord." Another baby responds "consider yourself lucky" while looking inside his disaper

    The Movie: The Rugrats Movie

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? I'd say approximately 15 emails were exchanged about this, with each one getting terser and terser until the original censor had a nervous breakdown and the one who replaced them was like, "Yeah, go for it."

    A lot of these jokes are things you'd only notice if you watched something over and over again. And then there's this, to which the filmmakers gave a starring role in a musical number. Clearly, someone thought circumcision content was the secret ingredient The Rugrats Movie needed. 

    3. When Amy dusted for prints and found Prince.

    Someone tells Amy to dust for prints, she finds Prince (the singer), her brother clarifies fingerprints, and Amy looks disgusted

    The Show: Animaniacs 

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? OK, this one was definitely a meeting. 

    This joke is impressive both in its innuendo and its sheer complexity. We've got wordplay, a cameo from Prince, and really that's it, but hey, it's a Prince cameo! 

    2. When Helga said...this.

    Helga says, "Arnold, you make my girlhood tremble"

    The Show: Hey Arnold! 

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? I'm assuming the censor was on vacation that day. 

    I imagine that the person who wrote this was like, "LOL, what a fun prank to play on everyone." And then no one said anything at the table read...and no one said anything while the voice actors recorded their lines...and then no one said anything while it was being animated...and then one day the writer turned on the TV, saw what they hath wrought, and thought, "LOL, I was right — this is gold." 

    1. When Rocko briefly worked at a phone sex line.


    The Show: Rocko's Modern Life

    How surprising is it that the censors let it slide? *smokes pipe and stares into the distance* It was a different time. 

    If there were a Louvre of Adult Jokes in Kids TV Shows and Movies, this would be its Mona Lisa. It defines the genre. That "Be Hot, Be NAUGHTY, Be Courteous" sign is deeply ingrained in the memory of a generation, which is exactly where it belongs. 

    Now it's your turn! Which adult jokes from kids TV shows and movies should've made the ranking? Tell us about them in the comments!

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