Created By: neoYTPism on July 15, 2011 Last Edited By: jormis29 on September 3, 2016
Nuked

Troubling Unchildhood School Play

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Page Type:
Trope
"The pioneers met with the indians, and negotiated for their fertile lands!"
Mayor: Mr. Garrison, we cannot have our children beating each other senseless in front of Kathie Lee Gifford!
Mr. Garrison: Well, what do you want? This is how it happened in those days.
- From the South Park episode Weightgain 4000, when a school play about colonialism included graphic portrayal of the violence that was involved.

Do We Have This One?? Oh, and I'm open to title suggestions.

Similar to Troubling Unchildhood Behavior, though more scheduled and planned, this is when a play where children are the actors involves things that typically wouldn't even be considered appropriate for an audience of children. Well, not in western society, at least not these days.

Examples

Western Animation

Film
  • A Bug's Life has this twofold when the circus bugs arrive on the island; they see a mural, painted on a leaf by ant children involving explicit drawing of graphic violence against the grasshoppers, and then these ant children stage a play portraying said circus bugs fighting against the grasshoppers. (Of course, what the circus bugs don't realize is that they've been mistaken for warrior bugs. If they did... it would still be shocking to see children stage such a play, but not to the same extent.)
  • Addams Family Values has a Thanksgiving Day play that starts out child-appropriate but goes rapidly downhill after Wednesday Addams gets cast in it.

Newspaper Comics

Video Games

Community Feedback Replies: 38
  • July 15, 2011
    SKJAM
  • July 15, 2011
    KTera
  • July 18, 2011
    ConManAU
    High school drama teacher Mr G, in the Chris Lilley series Summer Heights High, has put together musicals on topics such as the 2004 tsunami (Tsunamarama, set to the music of Bananarama), and the drug overdose of a student.
  • July 18, 2011
    PaulA
    I don't know if this counts, but Addams Family Values has a Thanksgiving Day play that starts out child-appropriate but goes rapidly downhill after Wednesday Addams gets cast in it.
  • July 19, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Not sure that is as obvious an example, though, as such subjects are considered more appropriate for teenagers than for children @ Con Man AU

    Your example definitely counts though @ Paul A
  • July 19, 2011
    DaibhidC
    • The My Cage plot may have been inspired by an actual Funky Winkerbean storyline in which the Westview kids did a production of Wit.
    • Would the "experimental" nativity play in Adrian Mole, adapted by the kids themselves, and including a speech about the Middle East situation, Evil Margaret Thatcher Angels, and Mary actually going into labour count? Again, these are teens (although only just; Adrian's 13) rather than little kids.
  • July 19, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    Also unsure if this one counts, but it's the first thing that came to mind:

    • The final scene of Little Miss Sunshine is the performance that Olive had been practicing for throughout the movie for a beauty pageant (the audience is never shown what she's going to do until the actual performance). The show is a striptease to Superfreak.
  • July 19, 2011
    jbrecken
    The title character in "Jersey Girl" performs a murderous musical scene from Sweeney Todd in her school talent show.
  • July 20, 2011
    neoYTPism
    ^^^ Come to think of it, I have yet to decide on a threshold for this. I guess it depends on to what extent the work implies it to be inappropriate for its age group.
  • July 20, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Also from South Park, when they put on The Miracle Worker as a part of the Thanksgiving Pagent. It's a rather adult play (not in an If You Know What I Mean sense).
  • July 20, 2011
    neoYTPism
    ^ What sense do you mean then?
  • July 20, 2011
    TonyG
    A third South Park example is the Christmas pageant in "Mr. Hanky The Christmas Poo", with a Screaming Birth for Mary.
  • July 20, 2011
    frightened
    The entire premise of Hamlet 2
  • July 20, 2011
    randomsurfer
    ^^^Mature themes, as opposed to nudity and fucking and gore.
  • July 20, 2011
    robybang
    • This viral video of a (fake) school production of Scarface.
  • July 21, 2011
    GinaInTheKingsRoad
    • In Slings And Arrows, the local elementary school puts on a version of Macbeth to correspond with the New Burbage Festival's production. The children's production is gorier and more disturbing than the professional one.

    If I can find a good video link to this hilarious scene, I'll come back and add it. Also, I think the trope could use a clearer quote, one that needs less of an explanatory caption. Move the Weightgain 4000 description to the South Park bullet point.
  • July 21, 2011
    juancarlos
    Arrested Development has the character of the Warden write a play about a fictionalized Warden "Gentles", which ends up being performed by kids.
  • July 24, 2011
    GinaInTheKingsRoad
  • July 25, 2011
    henke37
    Does Hit Girl in Kick Ass count? She said in a newspaper that she wouldn't be allowed to watch her own movie.
  • July 25, 2011
    PaulA
    ^ Kick Ass is not a school play by any reasonable definition.
  • July 26, 2011
    BraveHoratio
    Does the school play about the Vietnam War that the main character in Rushmore writes count? It's highschool, so it's not played for shock value nearly as much as these other examples.
  • July 26, 2011
    captainbrass2
    There's yet another South Park episode in which kids from the town perform a weird modern dance piece to music written by minimalist composer Philip Glass, not typically known for his appeal to children. The local minister comments at the end - "Well, that was the most God-awful piece of crap I've ever seen."
  • April 25, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Does this count? In Encyclopedia Brown, some of the kids put on a murder mystery play. (It wasn't very graphic; someone just got shot and slumped over.)
  • April 25, 2014
    DAN004
  • April 26, 2014
    Arivne
    • Formatted the Examples section.
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Sorted examples by media and added media section title(s).
    • Namespaced and italicized work name(s).
    • Put an episode title in quotes as per Welcome To TV Tropes - Editing Articles.
    • Deleted ", as indicated above" from the South Park example as per How To Write An Example - Remember That This Is A Wiki. There's no guarantee that its quote will remain the page quote.

    The South Park example is a Zero Context Example and needs more information about how it fits the trope.
  • April 26, 2014
    ridicumouse
    The rival school's production of Herod! in the film Nativity! sets aside all the happy Jesus stuff from the nativity story and centres their Christmas play on Herod's massacre of the infants. Lots of mood lighting, artistic blood-letting and dolls being pulled limb from limb ensue.

    For a title: Unsuitable School Play?
  • April 26, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    I think we have a YKTTW similar to this...
  • April 26, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In yet another South Park Cartman plays Jesus in a Stations of the Cross play at the church and the other boys actually crucify him (minus the nails).
  • July 13, 2016
    Pichu-kun
    The title is supposed to be "Troubling Unchildlike" right?
  • July 13, 2016
    Diask
    ^It's an artifact from the times when Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour was named "troubling unchildhood behaviour".
  • July 14, 2016
    LondonKdS
    In Rushmore, one of Max's projects is a school play production of Serpico. Admittedly, the actors are high school age, but it's still a surprisingly adult and gritty work.
  • July 14, 2016
    Snicka
    ^ Then a rename is due.

    Also:
    • In the opening scene of Zootopia a young Judy Hopps and her classmates perform a play about the history of the World Of Funny Animals the film takes place. When showing the savage past when predators used to eat prey, Judy not only hams up the scene, but shows a ridiculous amount of gore with red ribbons and a ketchup bottle, to her parents' shock.
  • July 14, 2016
    Pichu-kun
    ^ I tried editing the name but it doesn't save for me.
  • July 14, 2016
    LadyEvil
    The first Adams Family movie had Wednesday and Pugsley re-enacting the final sword fight from Hamlet with a spraying blood effect.
  • July 14, 2016
    LadyEvil
    For Real Life, a lot of kid pageants. Here's one kid who does a talent act that may as well be pole dancing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_bIdTug878 There's also the infamous "Pretty Woman" incident https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83jydClBD3k and, um, everything here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/NightmareFuel/DanceMoms
  • September 2, 2016
    DAN004
    Bump
  • September 3, 2016
    eroock
    Why the 4 bombs?
  • September 3, 2016
    Arivne
    ^ Possibly this:

    The South Park, Addams Family Values and Dead Space 2 examples are Zero Context Examples.

    They need more information to show how they fit the trope, such as what it is about them that makes them unsuitable for children.

    I tried to mark them as such (ZCE) but the Wiki won't let this proposal be edited.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=s7g2pwbxixdv260f0at36fpu