Four Childhood Cartoon Shows That Weren’t Completely Innocent


When I was a kid, I watched a lot of cartoons on Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and the Disney channel. There were some that stood out because they felt out of place and bizarre. I never really knew why I found it so weird, but the feeling was always there.  We all know that there are cartoons that have subliminal messages and it can be mind blowing. However, there are also some that are blatantly obvious and our innocence was the only thing that was stopping our brains from being corrupted.

What are some of the childhood cartoons that you thought was bizarre for little kids? Let us know in the comments.

1. Ren and Stimpy


This show was simply weird to begin with, but I don’t know why I kept watching it. You know you’ve regularly watched this show if ‘Happy, happy! Joy, joy!’ means something to you. It wasn’t explicit, but the themes were just too bizarre and messed up for children. My mind was blown when I saw this cartoon show in another show and there was nudity and smoking involved. Why did they even show this in Nickolodeon in the first place? I understand if they censored some parts, but a show that needs to be cleaned up clearly doesn’t belong to a children’s channel.

Now that I know that this show was rebranded, I’m not going to retract my claim about the original show. It had this aura that didn’t appear to be so innocent. In my opinion, Ren was abusive towards Stimpy and not in a funny ‘Tom and Jerry’ kind of way. While the show was loved, its reputation was mired with controversies regarding vulgar humor.

2. Rocko’s Modern Life


Aside from the numerous subliminal messages in this cartoon show, the theme seemed kind of odd as well. There were some memorable storylines that freaked me out. I remember one that had an appliance coming to life and it was doing crazy stuff. How about that episode where the gang thought that Mrs. Big Head was murdering her husband? I thought that was kind of dark for children to know about the concept of murder. I was also oblivious to the fact that there was an implication of  Rocko working as a telephone operator for a sex hotline. There were also a number of controversies like Heffer finding pleasure with a milking machine among others.

3. Cow and Chicken


Parents who only have their lower body parts? Plus, a red devil who likes to walk around with no clothes on. Well, Cow and Chicken don’t wear clothes too. I also read an article on Crack about carpet munching lesbians in the show. I saw that episode and I didn’t even notice it. Heck, I didn’t even know what carpet munching meant until I read that recently. I’m not saying that being a lesbian is disturbing or anything. I’m just saying that this show isn’t a hundred percent innocent. However, this garnered the show a sizable amount of controversy that they had to replace this episode and I think it was only aired once. It was not only appropriate for children (not that they will ever notice it), people were outraged about how it stereotyped lesbians.  After that though, I haven’t heard of any controversy since.

4. Powerpuff Girls


You might think this show is innocent, but you’re wrong. I guess we can start by naming one of the villains of the show- Him. I don’t even know what that thing is. His voice is way creepy too, and sometimes I get scared when I hear his voice. At least, Mojo Jojo sounds funny when he is mad at the Powerpuff girls. There’s also this villain named Sedusa who is like Medusa but she seduces people too. I didn’t even know what seduction was at that time. Powerpuff girls sounds like such an innocent cartoon show, but it has its subtleties. There was an episode when the Powerpuff girls or Professor Utonium told a little girl that the former was created through a lab accident. The girl then replies saying something along the lines of: “My parents say I’m an accident too.” I never noticed this when I was a kid, and I’ve watched almost every episode plus the movie. Now that I look back at it, the meaning was more than clear to me.

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  1. You’re starting WAY too late! 60’s cartoons were LOADED with double entendres. ‘The Bullwinkle Show”s Fractured Fairy Tales is one example. ‘Underdog”s villain was named Simon Bar-Sinister (ie, Simon the Bastard. The ‘bar sinister’ was a heraldic device to note illegitimate birth). Back in the late 20’s you had Betty Boop, an oversexed flapper. etc etc

  2. The “adult” version of Ren and Stimpy (not “Rene” and Stimpy, as you’ve titled it) was not the original version of the cartoon.

    The version to which you are referring is a revamped, highly sexed version specifically created/altered for a channel other than Nickelodeon. Some of the “new” cartoons did use parts of old shows, but the adult version was never screened and didn’t exist during the Nickelodeon years.

    Very few cartoons are actually “innocent.” You look at the themes of violence, death, cruelty, etc, and even Looney Tunes fits in. These particular shows came at a time when they could simply be more forward about the same themes.

    The best cartoons ever? Looney Tunes, Muppet Babies and The Ren and Stimpy Show.

  3. This article is very poorly researched, becomes very repetitive, and overtly opinionated. At least try to go more in depth as to the reasons why you think these shows are inappropriate other than it being “bizarre” or “weird” to you.

    And more on the poorly researched aspect, the Rene & Stimpy show that you recently saw was a bran new show made on Spike TV, a mostly adult themed network that tried giving Rene & Stimpy a bran new face for adults only, and not the original with the censorship taken away as you assumed it was.

  4. This article reads like it was written by someone who’s just learning to write English. Do you guys not have editors? Plus, you’ve gotta love an article that says “I read about this on another website!*” You’re not even trying to hide the fact that you did barely any research. Way to set the bar, fellas.

    *The name of which is misspelled.

  5. Kind of ironic that there’s a link to another article at the bottom called “Why It Matters That You Write Right”. Ol’ Benny Bedlam here probably should’ve read that before penning this gem.

  6. This article really looks like it was written in less than five minutes.

    I always hated the phrase “not for children”. Come on, children need to learn about sex, about drugs, about violence, about hate, and mostly about death, that’s just the world outside. Their parents should explain what they saw on the episode and sit with them to watch. Sheltering kids is no good. What’s good “children television”? The Teletubbies? No, thanks.

    With the rant over, I have to say that it depends of the children’s age. If it’s twelve or higher, then it’s okay. If it’s ten or lower, better not. And I mean better not watch those cartoons, but their parents still need to tell them about the world so they know what they’re dealing with.

  7. Who taught you to write? Why are your personal affects scattered through out this awful article? It seems as if you’re being a critic on cancelled shows, and a poorly written one with no valid points. Kindly resign so someone, with talent can make good use of your position, you can be a bus boy.

  8. Wow…Ren, Stimpy and Rocko would slap you for such blasphemy! When I was young, cartoons were about being funny, now its all about merchandise (cards, games and more cards, so whats innocent?).

    Like the wise Filbert always said:

    “I’m nauseous”
    “I’m nauseous”
    “I’m nauseous”

    btw…WTF happened to this once awesome site??

  9. WOW…. people can be such jerks. I don’t care that the article is receiving structural critiques, but it’s just base and asinine to resort to personal insults such as “resign….you can be a bus boy” – that isn’t appropriate in any context, especially when you consider that there are more than a few exceedingly kind and worthwhile bus boys in the world.

    Anyway, on to the article itself – I think the key here is that you weren’t aware of inappropriate themes and jokes in the shows. I’m sure there are some interesting studies about such “subliminal messaging” in television shows and its effects on children, but without having researched those studies, all I can say is that I watched and enjoyed numerous movies and shows as a child, which upon more recent viewing have revealed themselves to contain sexual innuendos and the like, and I didn’t come away from those childhood experiences with mental/psychological scars. I can’t say definitively, but this may be a case of “what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you”.

  10. I’m not saying that they are damaging to a child’s mind. I’m not claiming to be a psychologist or anything. All I’m saying is I didn’t realize that these shows had sexual innuendo and the like. I did mention some instances from each show. It’s not supposed to be an academic article. I mostly about shows that I thought were completely innocent, and then I found out it wasn’t.

    Plus, I’m talking about shows in the era I grew up with. More of a post about the cartoons I watched when I was a kid. This isn’t a commentary about subtle vulgarity present in cartoons in general.

    I did re-edit the article’s grammatical and structural weakness.I’m also not making up stuff, all the instances I’ve mentioned have been reported online so I am not at fault for falsifying claims or as some say ‘blasphemous.’ Thank you for pointing that out and for reading anyway. I appreciate your criticism.

  11. This article is poorly written and completely lacking any kind of insight or intellectual value on the topic. Saying things like ‘i never noticed how weird that show was’ means absolutely nothing to those who DID make those observations upon viewing (your ignorance does not automatically make this information novel or interesting). Not to mention that when these shows originally aired, they were never marketed as ‘innocent’ in any way. These shows were well known to push the envelope on vulgarity and acceptable humor (the kids knew it, and thats why most of them watched them). Also, the article is pointless considering that the minimal information it contains on each show is copied from another article on another site. Basically, this was written by an ignorant person who was shocked and amazed to stumble across a few facts online, so they ham-fistedly cobbled them together into this crap-fest of an article. Poor show, Benny Bedlam. I hope you’re ashamed of this.

  12. You realize this exact same article was written some time ago by a much more talented writer, right? There is no new information here, aside from Benny Bedlam’s pointless opinions on what is ‘appropriate’ and what isn’t. FAIL.

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