Inappropriate Children's Shows - Violent, Gross, and Unsettling Kid's TV
Although it might seem like an an easy way for children to while away the hours, there's plenty of inappropriate and violent kid's TV shows out there. Featuring sexual innuendo, inordinately disturbing plots and situation, realistic violence, and all around uncomfortable imagery, these cartoons might have the kinder taking away more than expected.
But don't let the papers fool you - this is hardly a "sign of the times." Upsetting children's shows have been around since early days of broadcast. Here are some of the television series most likely to have left you or your kids with a warped out look on life.
Billy and Mandy
The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy
Woah boy. There's a lot of reasons why Billy and Mandy aren't for children of any age. Hell, I'm a grown man and I'm terrified of this show. Starring Mandy, a sadist in pink, and Billy, a barely coherent buffoon, this show chronicles the adventures of two children who managed to capture Death and keep him as a pet. Throughout the show, the main characters regularly die or otherwise obliterated by the end of the episode, only to return in the next with no major damage.
Of course, that might not be too far off from the standard Warner Brother's fare, so to up the ante, Mandy often causes the death of secondary characters through inaction or general malicious plotting. A young Hannibal Lecter in the making, Mandy is perhaps the cruelest and most callous star of a children's show ever.
Plots often take the trio to hell, terrible other dimension, fighting shadow beasts and other nightmare creatures, or occasionally just making each other's lives miserable for the fun of it. There certainly aren't any lessons to be learned and I'm not sure what type of fun the kids are going to get out of the situation. I know I'm just deeply disturbed. Maybe eight year olds are more resilient than I, however.
Occasionally, the show will also begin with a quick stinger of one of the characters saying something odd or off putting before the episode begins. I can't confirm this, so don't take me as the final word, but I'm pretty sure I heard Mandy reciting a line from the Satanic Bible once. I could be wrong, but it says a lot that I wasn't sure.
This might be all well and good if Billy and Mandy was on Adult Swim, but it wasn't. Situated every weekday at 3:00, the show was on just in time for the kids coming home from school. Enjoy your terrifying sociopathy, kids.
"Gumby?" You ask "Why Gumby? That's classic animation for kids." Well, to that I say, have you actually watched an episode of Gumby recently?
Whether it is the original '50s television show or the 1980s revival, Gumby is an uncomfortable experience for everyone. Featuring low-quality claymation, nothing about the show feels natural or comfortable. The characters move about like jerky nightmare creatures speaking in tongues and bizarrely modified voices, the entire experience is just awful. Every episode of Gumby is like a David Lynch dream sequence.
The entire thing is just uncomfortable. Why are the Blockheads trying to kill Gumby? What do they gain? The entire show is like a fever dream.
And then there's this little trailer. Just... just check it out.
What interests me most about Nick's Invader Zim is what it was like in the network board room meetings. "Okay, so we got this new show for the tween market. We got this comic book artist to make us a new show. It sounds cute, an alien and his robot pal try to take over the planet earth but they're inept and it never works out."
Sounds fun, right? Like a sci-fi Pinky and the Brain. What they didn't try to tell the rest of the board was that Invader Zim's creator is Jhonen Vasquez, writer of the plainly adult Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. Set in a grimy and oppressive world, alien invader Zim poses as a middle school student while he tries to take over the world.
One of the very first episodes features the titular character stalking his school and taking other children's organs by force so that he can use them to pass a school physical. Well, okay then. Nice lead-in to Rugrats. Featuring abundant violence, bizarre imagery, and a decidedly pessimistic outlook, Zim became a cult hit. Just keep the kids away.
WHAT THE CHRIST BUGS BUNNY THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME YOU HAVE PULLED THIS.
Too many rabbits in drag seducing unwitting dudes. Nuff said.
Sexual Moments in Rocko's Modern Life
Rocko's Modern Life
One of Nick's early attempts at original animation, Rocko's Modern Life was an odd choice for the children's television market. The show featured a young adult wallaby entering the real world for the first time and struggling to make end's meet. Most kids aren't that interested about a surreal representation of the struggles of twenty-something's after college, but there you have it.
The show featured a remarkably high amount of sexual innuendo for a children's television show. A common hang out on the show was "Chokey's Chicken", a masturbation pun. That wasn't the end of jokes about what your priest might call "self love." Rocko's best friend Heffer, a steer, spends the night in a barn and comes out with a milking machine for a girlfriend. Keep in mind, this cow doesn't have any udders....
Rocko featured a rather dark and unpleasant look at life outside the home. Although a lot of humor would go over a kid's head and leave the adults laughing, there was always the sense that something just wasn't right when you watched Rocko's Modern Life.
Kids can take it- right?
Of course, children are more resilient than we think. Most, if not all, of these shows won't twist a normal kid into some type of deviant. Although in most instances children don't need as much protecting from the world as we think, shows like these make you question exactly who cartoons are being developed for. Networks are so concerned about putting a show on the air that parents can stand to watch with their children they often forget that their main audiences will still be kids.
Please share a few kid's shows you thought upsetting, scary, or otherwise inappropriate.