Growing Up With Cartoons

Growing up, we all probably watched cartoons, unless you were stranded on an island of some sort, like those poor people on Lost.

However, viewing a cartoon as an adult can be markedly different from enjoying a cartoon as a kid. What was once cute and funny, can actually be something really messed up once you look deeper.

Cartoons aren’t exactly what they seem to be.

To prove the point, we’ll take a walk down memory lane and check out 15 different cartoons.

We’ll definitely come across some messed up classics along the way.

1. Popeye (1933)

We all know Popeye eats (technically swallows) his cans of spinach for dem gainz, and we all know how muscular he becomes. Pretty sure that this cartoon was made to encourage kids to eat their greens.


What he becomes:


How kids would react: I’m still not going to eat my spinach.

Isn’t spinach great? Spinach is a super food loaded with tons of nutrients in a low-calorie package. It helps to improve blood glucose control in diabetics, lowers the risk of cancer, lowers blood pressure, improves bone health, lowers the risk of developing asthma and more.

The green leaves also makes you fly. Looks like we won’t be needing Red Bull for a while.



How adults would react: Nope, still not gonna have spinach.

2. Scooby Doo (1969)

If you haven’t watched this show, your childhood was obviously incomplete.

Scooby Doo centers a group of friends as they go around like Nancy Drew, uncovering mysteries of supposedly supernatural creatures and such.

But here’s the twist, Scooby is a talking dog.



If you’re a fan, you’d know that there’s a running scene in every single episode, because as usual, someone in the group screws up (usually Scooby or Shaggy) and then they all panic and run.



Another popular scene from the show. The unmasking.

How kids would react: *starts pulling on everyone faces in attempt to remove their mask*

As you grow up, you start to realize this show doesn’t really make much sense at all.

Four teenagers and their trusted dog gallop across the country in their purple and green van solving mysteries of all sorts — and in the process meet all kinds of interesting people…

How adults would react: Don’t these kids have better things to do? Shouldn’t they be studying? Where are their parents?

3. Winnie The Pooh (1988)

Everybody loves Winnie The Pooh, the cutest and most lovable bear with his signature cropped red shirt who lives in the 100 Acre Wood. The show revolves around friendship and moral values with each episode inculcating some sort of positive lesson to the kids.



How kids would react: Yay to friendship, love, and all that happy fun stuff!

And then, you grow up and you are hit by the harsh reality that life can’t be so perfect and happy.

That’s also when you realize Eeyore — the donkey who is always sad and depressed, and you decide to find out why.

Eventually, you find out that Winnie The Pooh isn’t what it seems to be.

Each character in Winnie The Pooh depicts a different mental disorder.


That’s right, Winnie and his friends are all mental patients.

How adults would react: This show is just too good to be true.



It certainly is :/

4. Rugrats (1990)

Rugrats is an adorable baby-centered show about the kids’ daily adventures when not in sight of their parents.

Remember little Tommy and his screwdriver which he hides in his diapers?

Well let’s just say he has hid loads of stuff in his diapers. He probably doesn’t even poop.


How kids would react: Tommy’s diapers are so coooool *hides screwdriver in pants*

You probably would never have expected this show to be a really scandalous one. Truth is, many dirty, inappropriate jokes were hidden in this series.

Try re-watching the series and you’ll definitely understand better.


Just have a look again at what Tommy is reaching out for.

Please just read the gummy worm label. They were supposed to be tasty gummies for CHILDREN…

How adults would react: That’s a really kinky scriptwriter.

5. Pokemon (1998)

This show is pretty self-explanatory.

It’s all about Ash’s journey in the world of Pokémon and the various obstacles he has to go through to achieve his dreams of becoming a Pokémon master.

That, and a lot of Pokéballs and Pokémons and other Poké-stuff.



How kids would react: *throws Pokéball at random animals on the street* Gotta catch em all!



(More Pikachuuuuu for chu)



Doesn’t this whole “Pokémon” thing seem oddly familiar, to an old sport ancient people used to play when they were bored?


That’s right, Dog Fighting.

Think about it, you catch random stray dogs and put them to fight in a ring for the entertainment of the spectators or the gratification of the dogfighters, who are sometimes referred to as dogmen.

Similarly, in Pokémon you catch Pokémon and force them to fight other Pokémon for the very same reasons.

In layman terms, Pokémon is telling you that dog fighting is okay — except it really isn’t.

Capiche? Capiche.

How adults would react: Are they actually teaching kids to dogfight? Is the entire premise based on dogfighting? Who approved this?

6. SpongeBob (1999)

One of the classics really, and that sponge who lives in a pineapple still running today.

Stephen Hillenburg’s long-running series details Mr Squarepants’ and his friends/neighbours daily lives in Bikini Bottom, and this comical sponge never fails to crack you up, regardless of age. :’)



(KRABBY PATTIES ft Patrick Star)



How kids would react: Spongebob is my role model!1!!!!111!

But I bet many kids probably didn’t realize the many hidden dirty and inappropriate jokes in this series. They are far too young to understand anyways.

WAIT WHAT? This show as well!?

Exactly. What is wrong with Nickelodeon.

Heres an example:



What a clever way to execute something inappropriate. Shield your eyes kids, just like what Spongbob is doing.

How adults would react: Here’s another kinky scriptwriter…

7. Dora The Explorer (2000)

If you don’t know who Dora is, then you have obviously been living under a rock.

Dora The Explorer is an educational show catered to a much younger audience, which is pretty interactive. The series centers on Dora (a Hispanic girl) and her best friend Boots, their journeys on their little quests, and solving obstacles along the way.

It’s a lot about friendship and songs and you’ll definitely learn some Spanish.

dora help


How kids would react: Ma look, Dora listened to me!!!  :’)



As you grow up, the more you watch it…the more irritating the show gets. You realize that Dora actually doesn’t care about your replies to her.

Her effervescent personality is all a lie. 🙁

How adults would react: I don’t know what’s more awkward — answering Dora, or sitting in silence as she stares at you.

8. The Fairly Odd Parents (2001)

Another one of the classic cartoons which is still an ongoing series! This show centers on pink-clad Timmy Turner and his daily shenanigans with his fairies Cosmo and Wanda (and recently Poof — Cosmo and Wanda’s baby, a new addition to his fairy family).


How kids would react: I wish I had a pair of fairies too, then I can wish for anything I want :/



The above gif is from the opening title where Timmy wishes for a bunch of random things like chocolate shakes, birthday cakes and giant snakes.

Check out the full title sequence here:

How adults would react: Chocolate Shake, Giant Snake? I rather lower the prices of COE.

However as we grow up, we figure what this show is really trying to tell us.

It’s not simply a show where we can laugh at the misfortunes of a ten-year-old boy who has the world at his fingertips. It’s to show us that the fairy godparents aren’t really there to just give Timmy whatever he wants, and that one can’t just wish your problems away — because every time you do, you end up creating more problems. It reminds us that even in a world where you get everything you want, there are still rules, terms and conditions that will hold you back.

How adults would react after the realization: Does that mean no lower prices of COE 🙁

9. Totally Spies (2001)

A classic favourite amongst girls. This show revolves around 3 not-so-typical girlfriends and their constant juggle between high school and kicking butts as spies for WOOHP Agency.

With their super cute and chic gadgets and bodysuits, they bring justice, in style.

Oh, they might be a little boy crazy too.



How kids would react: Woah, girl power, yea girls can kick ass!



How adults would react: Damn. Those are some tight body suits.

10. Codename: Kids Next Door (2002)

A show which takes place in a mysterious treehouse hidden from adults is the headquarters for five friends known as Kids Next Door. These 10-year-olds take on adults to get out of going to the dentist or summer camp by using “2×4 Technology.”

They have really silly gadget/armour names in the episodes. For example, the BRA (Battle Ready Armour) in OPERATION S.U.P.P.O.R.T.

They believe that a “bra” is some sort of device used by adults to train teenagers to become villains, thus producing the name “Battle Ready Armour”.

As you can see, you have to follow this show really closely in order to keep up with the many acronyms.


These are the Teen Ninjas who actively use the BRA as their main armour. What’s so special you ask? When activated, the bra unfolds into a suit of multi-purpose ninja armour. COOL OR WHAT.

How kids would react: I want a BRA too.


How adults would react: Codename: Kids Next Door? More like Delusional Kids Next Door.

11. Teen Titans (2003)

Teen Titans would be another one of your typical super hero cartoon kinda show, except that all these heroes are teenagers. This show is also known for its super catchy theme song which will haunt you forever and ever.

Check it out here:

If you’re a regular to this show and its latest season, you’d know that truth and justice means nothing without some pizza after a job well done.

How kids would react: Super cool super heroes save the day YAY

HOWEVER, if you were to watch this show as an adult, you’d feel that this show honestly just makes no sense at all and that it’s just really exaggerated. But they do have really cute songs in there.

Clearly, their super-heroics have messed with their brains.

How adults would react: Where’s the mute button?

12. Regular Show (2009)

The Regular Show revolves around the daily surreal adventures of a blue jay and raccoon duo that attempt to deal with their mundane jobs as groundskeepers at the local park.



This show starts out regular (or as regular as its gets) and then *POOF* it just totally becomes something unusual. This is something you can expect from every episode which is exactly what attracts viewers to it. Its humour takes a play on ironic situations instead of straight up comedy.

Check out a short clip from the most highly rated episode, Death Punchies.

How kids would react: I CANT STOP LAUGHING AHAHAH

As usual, this cartoon has some inappropriate jokes as well.

Yup. Looks like this dirty joke thing is not only present on Nicklodeon, but on Cartoon Network too.

Lets take a look at this which overly meets our criteria:



Did you catch that? This is so over-the-line, part of me needs to believe it’s Photoshopped…


How adults would react: This is definitely NOT for kids.

13. Adventure Time (2010)

I’m sure many have heard people talking about how this show isn’t exactly meant for kids.

How can a show about a boy and his magical elastic yellow dog not be meant for kids!? They even have candy people!


And the Candy People are ruled by Princess Bubblegum!

princess bubblegum


Well, that is just the pure surface of it.

How kids would react: oh my god, candy people EVERYWHERE. I NEED CANDY nOW

However, the show’s underlying dark themes and off-colour humour draws in the 18 and up crowd. What makes the show appropriate for one demographic is precisely what makes it questionable for the other.

Lets take a look at a recent episode:

Finn invites the Flame Princess on a date to go dungeon exploring.

When they near the center, a winged skeleton launches out of a locked vault, desperately begging the Flame Princess to “take its place”. Flame Princess lives up to her name and burns said skeleton into a fine crisp.

For what it’s worth, this series of events has apparently little to do with the advancement of the main plot.

EVIDENTLY, such hauntingly arbitrary elements is not suitable for kids aged between 6 and 14 years old.

How adults would react: This is for kids!? Wait what.

14. The Amazing World Of Gumball (2011)

The Amazing World of Gumball is about a bunch of anthropomorphic items, such as a peanut, a balloon, and whatever else the animators had in their pockets.



How kids would react: The characters are super cute and funny!

However, when one of your characters is a balloon — it doesn’t matter if the show’s primary audience is younger than the iPod — someone, somewhere is gonna slip in a joke about “getting blown.”

Gumball, despite starring a 12-year-old talking cat, is no exception.

Lets take a look:

In the above episode, Gumball is responsible for breaking up two of his friends who were dating: Alan the balloon and Carmen the cactus (it seemed like a doomed relationship anyway).

Gumball feels bad when he finds Alan crying in their middle school’s bathroom stall and tries to cheer him up, but the little balloon says he just doesn’t “have the strength to inflate” … if you catch his drift.

That drift being, he’s emotionally blackmailing his friend into blowing him.

And lets just say he did because Alan left the bathroom stall happy and inflated.

At least this isn’t as outrageous as the inappropriate scenes in other cartoons, but still…

How adults would react: How did that pass the censors? HOW?

15. We Bare Bears (2015)

A fairly new addition to the Cartoon Network family as it was just released not too long ago.

We Bare Bears might aim for a slightly younger audience, it is anchored by Grizzly, Panda, and Ice Bear, who stack atop each other when they need to leave their three-bedroom cave and explore the surrounding hipster paradise.

Most times, however, the brothers are chowing at food trucks and chasing “Internet fame.”



They even have a hashtag for this stacking on top of each other thing — #bearstack

Check out a short clip from the series:

How kids and adults would react: CUTE BEARS and oddly relatable

Things will never be the same…EVER

It’s kinda unfortunate that we will never be able to look watch cartoons like we used to anymore because our once pure and innocent minds just aren’t as pure and innocent anymore.

However, such changes are inevitable in life. We can never be a kid forever right.

A word of advice, watch as many cartoons as you can now kids.

Before it’s too late.

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