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Profanity Aesop
An episode where characters learn certain words are unacceptable
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(permanent link) added: 2013-02-03 12:48:19 sponsor: Pichu-kun (last reply: 2014-11-25 08:28:15)

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A form of Very Special Episode commonly seen in children's media.

A character, typically a child between toddlerhood and early elementary, hears a word somewhere. They have no idea what it means but they use it anyway. It turns out it's a curse word. The episode ends with them learning that they shouldn't use said word.


Examples

Comic Strips
  • Marvin ran a story where he learned a bad word and so caused tons of strife for his parents. He thought it meant "mommy" because every he said it she ran screaming to him.
    • A single strip unconnected to this story had him again learn a curse word, and subsequently get put in the corner.
    Marvin: I learned a new word on TV today! (cut to him sitting in the corner.) I also learned to watch what I say around Mom.

Literature
  • In Reaper Man, head Wizard Mustrum Ridcully is forcibly reminded that while normal swear words have force, a wizard's swear words are as good as a magical spell. Within the university at a time of great magical potential, his profanities turn into large ugly winged insects. When he delivers a Cluster F-Bomb, the largest, ugliest and most evil-looking insect of the lot appears, grins at him, and blows a raspberry in his face. After this he decides it might be a good idea if he toned it down a bit.

Western Animation
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Curses" is about this. Bubbles overhears an unknown curse from a frustrated Professor and she, Blossom, and Buttercup repeatedly use the word. Whenever an adult tells them they know what they did wrong, they really don't know what they're talking about. They eventually finally find out from the Professor what that word means during a battle with a monster with a toilet for a head who spurts out various curse substitutes.
  • The Arthur episode "Bleep". DW hears a teen say an unknown curse word and begins using it. The Tibbles tell her it's a word that turns adults into zombies, thus shouldn't be used around them. The climax of the episode revolves around DW and her friend, Vicita, both getting in trouble for using the word. DW's parents tell her the words are inappropriate and essentially mean "I want to hurt your feelings". Considering the shows demographic is young children and it's a Slice of Life edutainment show, it caused a stir and thus is rarely be shown.
  • Rugrats' "Word of the Day" has Angelica hearing a word said by a Depraved Kids' Show Host and thinking it's the "Word of the Day" on a TV show she's on.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Sailor Mouth" has Spongebob and Patrick reading a bunch of profane terms and thinking they're "sentence enhancers". The characters in question are adults but they're naive and childish.
  • Parodied in the South Park episode "It Hits The Fan", where it's delivered as a Space Whale Aesop: if you swear too much, you'll open the Sealed Evil in a Can.
  • Dexter's Laboratory episode "Dexter's Rude Removal" has all the makings of this except for two things: They know what the words mean and there's no aesop. The cursing being played for humor may be why it was never aired.
  • The animated series of The Berenstain Bears had an episode where Sister Bear learned the word "furball" from her friend's brother's movies. She learns a lesson both about unkind language and about watching movies above your age level.
  • A Baby Looney Tunes episode has Daffy overhear a garbage man say a certain swear word after accidentally hurting himself (the word itself is "bleeped out" by a squeaky toy sound effect throughout the episode). He uses it around the others, not knowing what it means, until Granny hears everyone saying it and tells Daffy and the others that some words that adults may say aren't okay for children to say.
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