All kids love cartoons, and we used to innocently watch them and laugh along. What we didn’t know at the time was that some of those jokes weren’t meant for us. Instead, they were put in for the adults taking care of us.
Looking back now, some of them are hilarious and a little risqué. It makes you wonder how they ever got away with it! Here we take a look at those adult jokes in cartoons that went way over our heads as kids. Let’s go!
That’s Not What He Meant!
If you watched Justice League, you probably were too little to understand everything. The Flash is the fastest man alive and was proud of the fact, and there is an episode where the Hawkgirl tells him that the fact that he is so fast is why he cannot get a date.
She meant that Flash’s love life was a mess because he was too fast in the bedroom, which got to him as it was written all over his face. We didn’t get this joke as kids as we had no idea that being so fast could be a bad thing in another context!
This Joke Wasn’t an Accident
Professor Utonium of the Powerpuff Girls had the power to create the perfect little girl. He mixed three ingredients: sugar, spice, and everything nice. However, accidentally adding chemical X to the mixture made the little heroes everyone loves.
In one of the episodes, Bubbles goes to the professor with Robin, her new friend. After a while, it dawns on the young girl that the professor accidentally mixed chemicals and made the PPG. She then turns to Professor Utonium and tells him not to worry because she was an accident too. This was too hard to interpret as a kid, but you probably can get the joke now.
Don’t Give Her the Bird on a Family Show
Now, if you watched Animaniacs as a kid, you know how many pretty colors this show had. You probably were not glued to the TV because you liked and understood the story well, because of the colors. You also would hear the adults laughing but wouldn’t know why.
In one of the episodes of Animaniacs, this lady in red asks them to give her the bird. Their response was, “we can’t. This is a family show.” You probably wondered why the adults were laughing, but it is not too late to laugh.
Johnny Bravo Loved an Adult Joke
Farrah Fawcett, an award-winning actress in Hollywood, made an appearance in one of the early episodes of Johnny Bravo in 1997, but we were too young to see this as a big deal. Farrah acted as Little Suzy’s cousin. Little Suzy had a birthday party, and her cousin showed up blindfolded.
Farrah was walking amongst the kids, and she suddenly said that it was fun to walk with a blindfold. She then went ahead to say that she couldn’t remember the last time she was blindfolded and then quickly corrected that. A bondage joke in a cartoon was a bold move!
Legally Do What Now?!
Have you realized that sometimes there is nothing wrong with what you say but how you say it? You probably couldn’t miss an episode of “What’s New,” but you didn’t get most of the awkward yet hilarious moments in Reddit the cartoon.
There is an episode where Darcy, Velma Dinkley’s cousin, had a birthday. When they meet, and Velma tells Darcy that she did not think it was her birthday, Darcy replies, “Yep, I’m 18. Able to legally…vote.” You could barely see the joke because you were too young to understand.
A Double Adult Joke in One
Dr. Bill’s bad parent test was hard for the kids to understand. To begin with, how old were you when you knew that it was Dr. Phil and not Dr. Bill? Most of this cartoon’s audience did not know this. In one of the bad parents’ tests, Dr. Bill talks about children who use a lot of tissue paper and don’t want to be spoken to by the parents.
He also talks about children who often tell their parents that they are busy when asked to do something. Timmy’s parents tick the boxes when Dr. Bill talks about children who use many tissues in their room alone. Some adults might have cringed at this part.
Grandpa Loves His Adult Videos
In one of the episodes of Rugrats, Grandpa wants to rekindle his romantic relationship with Morgana, his love. He rented Chuckie and Tommy movies, the VHS tapes of Reptar Come Home, and Reptar Redux.
He was excited to show them the movies, and while doing it, he also showed the boys Lovely Space Vixens, which he said was his favorite. He added that the film was meant for ‘after going to bed,’ and the boys must have looked at him in disbelief.
A Quick Little Incest Joke
There were many special appearances by several characters in the cartoon Animaniacs’ Noah’s Ark episode. Some of them were Buster and Babs Bunny, Pinky and the Brain, and Indiana Jones.
Before boarding the ark, Buster and Babs Bunny introduce themselves to Noah and clearly say that there’s “no relation.” Noah commented on that statement saying, “Let us hope not; it’s a children’s show.” You clearly couldn’t understand that part as a child, but hopefully, you now can.
Not Quite Remembering Woodstock
This was a scene in the episode, Hey Arnold! Grandpa Phil did not graduate school because he quit his studies after the Great Depression forced him to work to support his family. The main character tries to convince Grandpa to go back to school and finish his studies because he still has a lot of brain cells.
However, Grandpa reveals to him that he has few brain cells left after Woodstock. Therefore, he might not be able to grasp anything in class. This joke was too mature for the kids to get it then, but you can now see the funny drug reference.
Beast Boy and Robin
The puppet King sent Beast Boy and Robin some puppets that resembled the titans. Robin analyzed the puppets and thought they looked good and that the people that made the tools got the details right. However, Beast Boy seems not to like what he got.
Beast peeps inside the puppet’s shorts and makes a face. He tells Robin to speak for himself because he looks better than the puppet and is way taller than what he saw. We know that puppets cannot be the same height as humans, so which size was he talking about? Now you know why the adults found Beast Boy’s statement hilarious.
Cosgrove Loves His Meat
The Freakazoid was watched by the young and their parents because of the surreal humor, parodies, and the fourth wall awareness. In one of the episodes, Cosgrove was asked why he never got married. He said that it was because he liked meat too much.
Depending on your age today, you would cringe at this statement, especially if you watched the episode with your folks. However, there is not enough evidence to conclude anything about Cosgrove, but we have our suspicions.
No, Patrick, It’s Not Showing
Nickelodeon is one of the most-watched channels by kids, and most of them watch SpongeBob Squarepants. The series is fascinating to watch because of the exciting characters and the captivating jokes that people of all ages understand.
However, some humor has hidden meanings. One of the hilarious hidden jokes is when Patrick says that his genius is showing, and he asks where. You might not laugh immediately at this joke, but once it hits home and you realize the meaning, you won’t fail to laugh.
Candi Reveals Her Real Job
Nothing beats a cartoon whose jokes are both funny to the kids as they are to the adults. After firing Dee Dee, Dexter started looking for a new character to play the role of a troublesome old sister. He hired Candi to act the part.
Conversations between Dexter and Candi seem normal to a child, but an adult will understand them better. In one of the conversations, Dexter tells Candi that he would like to see her dancing, but she looks at him and says, “Ok, but it is 50 bucks extra.”
A Funny Food Joke
Children do not often know where food comes from. Therefore, the jokes in the adventures of Practical, Fiddler, and Fifer were not favorable to them. Here, the three pigs had hung photos of their father on the wall.
If you remember the photos, they were not of a big and fat pig. The images were of sausage and ham. As adults, we know where ham and sausage come from, so the joke makes more sense than it did back then. It’s never too late to laugh, though.
A Subtle and Clever Joke
Buttercup, Bubbles, and Rowdyruff, Blossom’s old enemies, are a threat, and they are set to meet in battle. This episode seems like it was made for the adults because the kids can barely understand the jokes.
Before the battle starts, the heroes realize that their muscles shrink whenever they are threatened. In the episode, you will see the boy’s masculinity shrinking. He then shouts at them because they did not defeat the girls, which makes the boys disappear.
Please Don’t Finger Prince
Yakko, Wakko, and Dot of the Warner siblings are hilarious. Their lines are funny, and though the children mainly watch the cartoon, it is hard to believe that they understand some of the creepy jokes.
There is a funny part in the cartoon where Dot is sent to look for prints, meaning clues. She comes back to say that she found Prince, but Yakko tells her, “No, no, no, fingerprints.” This alone sounds inappropriate, but it gets worse when Dot says, “I don’t think so.”
Curious Name for a Doctor
Both children and adults watched Rocko’s Modern Life, and the writer has included funny parts and phrases that are hard for the kids to understand. You won’t be lucky if you watch the cartoon with a curious kid, and you laugh at a funny part that they want you to explain.
For example, one of those parts is Flu-In-U-Enza’s episode where Rocko meets a doctor who terrorizes him. This bizarre doctor tells Rocko to turn his head and cough, which is hilarious for everyone. It is later found that the doctor was in a mental hospital, where he escaped. The hilarious part that you would not have words to explain to a kid is that the doctor’s name is Dr. Bendover.
Not Quite a Virgin
Johnny Bravo thought that his dream was coming true when he found himself on an isolated island with a beautiful rainforest surrounding it. However, he did not know what was ahead until the warriors told him their plan for him. They had planned to offer Johnny as a sacrifice to their volcano, so they tied him up.
One of the warriors had lifted an arrow to stab Johnny, and she told the great Antena that they were giving him their virgin sacrifice. Johnny was surprised when the warrior said ‘virgin.’ That’s when they knew that Johnny didn’t meet their requirements.
A Sexist Joke From Fred
Most of the cartoons with jokes that only adults can understand seem to have inappropriate jokes that are insinuating and sometimes stereotype-y. Fred is walking with a woman in a desert, and he tells her that the desert reminds him of a woman.
The woman he is with is curious to know why and Fred says, “Because it goes on and on and on.” This comment is hard for a child to understand, and you will be lucky if they don’t ask you to explain. But Fred, you know you can do better than this.
Donkey and the Kids Didn’t Get It
Shrek and Donkey visit Lord Farquaad’s tall castle, and when they get there, Shrek asks Donkey whether he thinks Lord Farquaad could be compensating for something. However, Shrek asks that question in a different voice, which was meant to tell Donkey there was more to the castle’s height.
The Donkey was as innocent as the little children watching the show because he did not get what Shrek was insinuating. Or did you? If you did, you must have been a genius beyond your age. Also, doesn’t the name Farquaad sound like a bad word to you?
The Parent’s Shattered Dreams
If you are a parent and watched this episode of Future Lost of the Fairly Odd Parents, you must have been in an awkward position if your children asked you what was funny about it. In the last episode, Tommy asks his dad about a little object that he picks, and the dad says that it was his Tiny Box of Dreams.
Tommy accidentally drops the box, and it shatters beyond repair. He is remorseful and apologizes, but the dad tells him not to worry because his dreams were shattered many years ago. When Tommy asks how many years ago, the dad asks him how old he is.
Not Until the Honeymoon
The original Aladdin got more fans than Aladdin and the King of Thieves. However, the latter was made famous by one creepy line by Genie, who was also an essential character in the original movie. When there is a sudden earthquake, this star’s statement is, “I thought the earth shouldn’t move until the honeymoon.”
Now, as a parent, you might want to go to avoid questions from your children after Genie’s statement. And if you were a child when you watched this, you barely understood what Genie said.
A Sly Circumcision Joke
The Rugrats Movie was released in 1998, and it had this song, “This world is something new to me.” If you also didn’t know it, the music is performed by some famous singers. Patty Smith, Iggy Pop, and Jakob Dylan are some celebrities who voiced the newborn babies.
There is a line in the song where a baby says, “Man, they cut my chord.” And someone drops a hilarious answer to the baby, saying, “Consider yourself lucky.” We guess that the baby had something else cut off.
Bunnies Are Good at Multiplying
There was a scene in Zootopia where police officer Judy was counting the fine that she was about to slap on Nick when she boasted, “I am just a dumb bunny, but we are good at multiplying.” If anyone had taken note of Judy’s family background in the movie, it was shown that Judy had 275 brothers and sisters.
Sure enough, bunnies are good at multiplying. This scene just goes to show that Zootopia was a great example of an animated film that could appeal to both children and adults, with smart jokes and great comedic timing.
Jane Needs a Moment to Herself
Even animated films have entered the zone of awkwardness between parent and child. One such film was Tarzan, where Jane was telling Professor Porter about her encounter with Tarzan.
As she was drawing Tarzan, she almost blushed as she started to draw his eyes in great detail, which was one of a kind to her. Professor Porter was Jane’s father, and it was funny when he later told Jane that he should give her and the blackboard a little privacy.
Flicking Over From Sponge Porn
The sitcom Friends once had an episode where Monica enters Chandler’s hotel room to surprise him, only to catch him watching some adult content. He swiftly switches the channel to a nature show, where Monica later says that Chandler “gets his jollies to Jaws.”
Several years later, an episode of SpongeBob Squarepants showed the title character looking very pleased as he was watching TV. In a similar fashion to Chandler, he switched the channel when Gary walked in. Let’s just hope the kids watching were as clueless as Gary.
Another Use For Vegetables
Remember the movie Ratatouille? It was a very heartwarming film with a very uplifting message, in which anything we want can be achieved if we set our minds to it. But in between the sweet storyline are some extremely hilarious ones that a much older group of viewers would only understand.
One involved a part in the movie when Chef Skinner kicked Linguini out of the pantry while yelling. “One can get too familiar with vegetables.” It makes you wonder if he’s witnessed or as part of such a scene in a pantry before that.
An Art Joke Adults May Have Missed
Toy Story is an epic film series, and many who have watched remember the characters and the plot of the story. There are some moments in the Toy Story films that viewers may have missed, especially young viewers or those who are just not inclined about art.
There was a moment in the film when Mr. Potato Head re-arranged his facial parts to create an abstract face that would not look awkward in Pablo Picasso’s artwork and make a great skit on Cubist paintings.
Batman Leaving Too Much DNA
Justice League Unlimited had one of the more serious take-ups on the Justice League story, but when a scene involving Terry McGinnis learning the truth about the identity of his biological father, it may have caught a lot of viewers off guard.
Amanda Waller said in the scene that “Bruce’s DNA was easy enough to obtain,” to which Terry makes a face, and probably most of the adults watching it would have made the same face too. But then Amanda quickly pointed out that it’s not in the sense that adults might think.
A Joke About Promiscuity
In Beauty and The Beast, Cogsworth was a loyal servant and a good friend, as he was always willing to help out his master to the best of his abilities. This includes his rather surprising approach to giving his master advice on how he should treat the ladies.
He may have laid out too many real-life facts when listing the things that men normally give women. This includes chocolates, flowers, and “promises that you don’t intend to keep.” He may have just spilled too much information on that subject.
Counting Too Many Heads
Many viewers might think that most modern-day cartoons and animations are inappropriate, but one example proves that inappropriate stuff has been around in cartoons since the 1960s.
In one episode of The Flintstones, Barney and Fred were looking for a costume, and Barney wanted something to make him look tall. Fred asked, “how about another head” to which Barney replied, “Another one? What do I need three of them for?”
A Well Disguised Curse Word
A scene in the animated feature Madagascar is one such example. No one could have gotten a hold of what Marty meant when instead of running towards Alex when they saw each other at the beach, he should have run the other way.
In realizing that Alex may have looked at him more like a meal than a fried, Marty shouted, “Sugar Honey Iced Tea!”. Now take only the initials and see what you get? Now you get it.
An Animated Version of Playboy
Jokes are not always in the dialogue because they can sometimes be embedded within a scene. Take, for example, an episode from Tiny Toons Adventures where Daffy Duck took a magazine to read while he was on a chair next to Bugs Bunny.
If you look carefully, the magazine’s title was ‘Playduck,’ which is a spoof of an actual real-world adult content publication. As if that was not funny enough, Bugs took the magazine off of Daffy’s hands with an unpleasant look towards Daffy but later looked at the magazine’s contents himself.
Calling The Police In Ancient Times
The animated film Hercules by Disney sometimes doesn’t get enough credit. It had a well-written story with catchy songs, and the characters were amazing. Zeus was pictured as a loving family man for the kids that watch it, and most probably, they would believe that.
But another funny moment in the film was when two of the characters urged people to call IX-I-I, which is, in fact, the Roman numeral representation of the numbers 9-1-1.
A Coming Out Story
If there was an animated film that people of all ages easily loved, it would have to be Emperor’s New Groove. There is, however, one particular moment in the film that may well be a favorite specifically among adults.
Pacha mentioned to a waitress that they were on their honeymoon in the restaurant scene, but the waitress just couldn’t care less. So much so that she said, “Bless you for coming out in public.” It might not be so funny for kids because it is most probably the adults that would understand what she meant.
A Not So Subtle Joke
In another example of a secret joke within a scene from an episode of Dexter’s Laboratory called Nuclear Confusion. Dee Dee took Dexter’s nuclear core and left him clues for him to search for them.
One of the clues, and more accurately, the third clue, was at the Neighbor Lady’s house, and where exactly was this clue? It was right on the lady’s pants, and the message read “Dad’s Trophy.” Adults were indeed quick to catch the joke.
A Film Full of Jokes
Shrek probably has some of the best jokes and comedy in the animated films category. The entire series of Shrek films are packed with great humor, and one of the hilarious ones involves a television show in Far, Far Away called KNIGHTS, which is a spoof on a real-life TV series called COPS.
The knights in KNIGHTS do the same things as the cops in COPS except for some rather quirky adaptations, such as using a pepper shaker as a pepper spray and busting Puss for having catnip on him akin to real life, and he claims that they are not his.
A ‘Baked’ Character In Monsters Inc
In some instances, the jokes are so subtle that even the adults don’t notice them too. In Monster’s Inc., one of the scenes was Mike and Sully running through a frat house, but the surprise was that there was an interesting character in the background.
A potato-like monster was sitting on a chair in the background, looking extra “chill” with droopy eyelids. Some adults could probably take the hint, extra chill dude, with droopy eyelids in a frat house, why wouldn’t that guy be a baked potato?
Not Quite What He Meant
Another funny scene from Ratatouille, and this one is a blink-and-you-miss-it moment from the film. For those that have never noticed it, you’re more than welcome to scour any available source to re-watch the scene, as it might end up being funnier than what you first thought it was.
In an attempt to confess to Collete that Remy the rat was the actual chef that has been controlling him all this while, Linguini said that he has “this tiny, little…”, and right at that moment, Collete takes a quick look at Linguini’s area that’s south of the Equator.
The Prostitute in Toy Story
Pixar is well known for making films that are rich in detail that people just want to watch over and over again. Honestly, each viewing is bound to unearth all sorts of Easter eggs, like characters from other films, pop culture references, and sometimes jokes that are so witty that they are just hard to digest.
One example is Toy Story, involving a toy with Barbie legs and a fishing rod. It quietly refers to the girly legs as hooks for something. By now, you probably guessed it right when it comes to the toy’s actual occupation.
Please Don’t Squeeze That
There are times that the jokes aren’t that sophisticated, and there was one episode called the Hut Sut Raw from the cartoon called Rocko’s Modern Life proving just that. The scene showed Rocko picking berries, and as he grabbed one that was hanging low and pulled it, a bear suddenly jumped out of the berry bush, whimpering and holding on to his crotch.
One thing is for sure, that was not a berry that got picked. Nickelodeon was kind enough to save themselves the embarrassment and removed the scene. Some adult jokes are a little too obvious.
The Tissues Give It Away
The Amazing World of Gumball is one of those cartoons that is just full of non-stop humor of every kind. From the blatantly simple ones to outright crafty, one scene was hilarious even though there was practically no dialogue involved.
In the scene, Gumball was walking into Banana Joe’s room, in which Banana Joe’s facial expression was that of a guilty shock. The obvious presence of a tissue box in the foreground and an image of fruits having their outer layers removed did not help the either. There is no alternative for Gumball other than to walk back and close the door.
An Important Note to Self
Considering that the cartoon Ed, Edd, and Eddy was based on three adolescent boys trying to survive their teenage lives, there is no shortage of jokes that are inappropriate for younger kids. Blink, and you’ll miss it. We are talking about a scene that shows a bathroom wall and door background.
There were notes pasted on the walls, and if you can capture a glimpse of it, or better yet, pause the scene at exactly the right moment, the words “don’t touch yourself” were written on one of those pieces of paper.
Explaining the Birds and the Bees
In Doug Funnie’s first episode of the show’s third season, it was made known to everyone watching that Roger’s magenta cat was a female and not a male. The cat ended up giving birth to a litter of three kittens and surprised just about everybody in the show.
Roger was the only one who was oblivious to the cat’s gender, which prompted a talk about the birds and the bees to commence from Roger’s mother, who admitted that the time for that was way past due.
An Outdated Adult Joke
The episode was titled The Last Babysitter, the eighth episode on the third season of Rugrats. When a replacement babysitter is desperately needed to watch over the kids, a series of candidates were asked if they could sit in for the job; the Deville’s were not available because, based on Sty’s statement, they are in Vegas for the weekend.
Howard also had plans to go camping with his ‘male bonding’ group, and as he was saying this, the hand gestures that accompanied his line spelled it out.
A Very Risqué Joke
Cow and Chicken were of those cartoons that can cause parents to debate about its suitability for kids, and the show has always been infamously described as “grotesque,” “surreal,” and “eccentric.”.
The show has plenty of jokes that naïve little children would most probably never understand. In one episode titled Part Time Job, Cow was selling her milk to herself some toys. She then tells, “Dr. Junk, professor of milk,” that it would be her honor to “squirt” for him.
The Kid Is Bopping His Boppo
Rugrats is a show where the main characters are either babies or toddlers. Parents who watched this episode would probably leave it with a red face because they probably end up laughing while their kids can’t find any punchline. In this particular episode, Chuckie was obsessed with an inflatable clown doll named Boppo.
Therefore, he doesn’t hang out with his friends anymore, and his friends are genuinely concerned about him. The hilarious part was when Phil explained that “a kid his age should not be sitting alone in his room bopping his Boppo and that he should be outside playing with his friends.
The Adult Phone Operator
When looking at the animation and artwork of Rocko’s Modern Life, no one would think for one second that such a show would insert in some adult reality-based storylines. The episode was called Canned, and in it, Rocko lost his job at Super Lot-O-Comics, which forces him to now go and find a new one just to pay the bills.
The part of the story that was slightly adult-oriented was that they made Rocko work as a “special home operator.” As kids, the lines “Baby, oh baby” would not have much of an impact. But if you’re an adult now and you are looking back at this episode, you might be thinking just how on earth such content was deemed suitable for a kids’ cartoon show.
An Unsubtle Anagram Joke
Being a writer for a cartoon show might be one of the most fun jobs out there. It’s an avenue to get creative, come up with some great jokes and tinker with the thin veil of decency just to see the extent to which you can get away with it.
To understand what that means, one would have to look no further than Dexter’s Laboratory episode called the Decode of Honor. Dee Dee gave an anagram for “IDKSC,” and kids just didn’t get it, and we’re lucky they didn’t.
Don’t Drop The Soap!
Spongebob Squarepants did a wink in a prison shower joke, and in this context, the writers of the episode knew exactly the intent and delivery of the joke. Spongebob was trying to get Gary to bathe and to trick Gary into taking one.
Spongebob came up with an ingenious plan to pretend that they were pirates that discovered a “chest” with two “doubloons” – which was shown to be two bars of soap. Spongebob tells Gary not to drop them and says that they were very precious while winking.
Where Squirrels Put Their Nuts
Looking at Animaniacs, one would think that the show was purely for kids based on the animation alone. But somehow, Animaniacs has been able to slot some jokes that most probably only adults would understand.
In an episode called Slappy Goes Walnuts, an announcer was heard describing the squirrel’s behavior in great detail. The “frisky little fella” makes his home in a “hollow tree” and also explained that squirrels hide their nuts “where the sun don’t shine on ‘em.”
More Than Just a Smoothie
Other than jokes, some of these cartoons meant for kids would be juiced up with some serious adult-related issues. For example, Helga’s mom from the show Hey Arnold! was not drinking smoothies.
In the show, Helga’s mom would always get tired after having the smoothie, and she would slur when she spoke. She’s also been shown to drive erratically in season 3 and had her driver’s license taken away. One episode showed Helga being taken care of by a nanny because Miriam was doing mandatory community service.
Size Does Matter
There are times that certain storylines of an animated film tread on the boundary of what is appropriate and inappropriate content for a family-oriented movie, especially for a big hit like Ice Age.
To be honest, when the characters include wooly mammoths, the joke related to size is being asked to be written. A scene was made in which a tapir is angry at Manny the mammoth because he was holding up traffic. The writers didn’t hold back when they made Manny say, “if my trunk was that small, I wouldn’t draw attention to myself.” That was one low blow.
Doug Can’t Control His Lava
In the cartoon, Doug is a very shy and soft-spoken 11-year-old boy, and he is at his most awkward when he is around his classmate and crush, Patti Mayonnaise.
In one episode entitled, “Doug Gets Busted,” Doug was seen showing off his science project for the school science fair when he says this line, “the reason the lava keeps shooting up into the air is because… I love you.” Oh, my goodness.
An Educated Adult Joke
There are moments wherein some animated film, a plot, or a part of the writing would seem too far above children’s understanding. In all honesty, some of it should stay that way. Far, far beyond a child’s depth of cognitive understanding.
The animated film Hercules had something referred to as “that Oedipus thing.” For the less informed adult, Oedipus was the center of a Greek myth. He accidentally fulfills a really bad prophecy that he would take his father’s life and then marry his mother without knowing that they are his parents.