Age-Inappropriate Art

Age Inappropriate Art is when a teen/child either sings a song or has a skit or is involved in some other performance that could be considered not suitable for someone so young. Normally Played for Laughs. Subdivision of Troubling Unchildlike Behavior. Compare Age-Inappropriate Dress, where a character is wearing something that doesn't fit their age. If it's an adult suggesting it, then it's Corruption of a Minor. See also From the Mouths of Babes.

For when the child draws scary art, see Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime And Manga 
  • Happens in Detroit Metal City when a fan of the band brings his underaged daughter to a concert, who happily begins singing some of the band's vilest songs after the concert in full view of the other fans (and the protagonist out of costume). The fans are elated. Negishi is horrified.

    Comic Books 
  • The Australian version of MAD commented on this in its satire of Young Talent Time. One of the performers announces that he is about to sing "The Lady is a Tramp", commenting that Frank Sinatra performed song when playing a womanizing nightclub owner in Pal Joey "so it should suit a callow fourteen year old right down to the ground". (This is somewhat mistaken: the lyrics don't use "tramp" in that sense, and the song was originally written not for Pal Joey but for one of the youngsters in Babes in Arms.)

     Fan Fic 

  • In Little Miss Sunshine, Olive performs a striptease at a beauty pageant to the song "Super Freak", complete with moves her grandpa taught her for the routine. Everybody but her family, the possible-pedophile in the audience, and the actual beauty pageant winner acting as a judge is mortified by how it highlights the objectification of all the young girls.
  • In Rushmore, one of the plays Max puts on at his high school is a stage adaptation of Serpico, complete with gun-waving and bags of drugs.
  • Donnie Darko: The local New Age Guru MCs an event where local elementary school girls perform pop songs en masse in heavy makeup and skimpy clothes. The parents love it. Turns out he's a pedophile.
  • In Jersey Girl, the main character and his daughter have to do a scene from a musical at a school pageant. Everyone, everyone else does "Memory" from Cats. The scene they do? "God That's Good", the human meat-pie making song from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The crowd's reaction is at least half the joke.
  • In The Addams Family, Uncle Fester helps the kids put together a wonderful example for a school talent show.
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life has a song where many children (ranging from five to sixteen) sing about how the Catholic religion doesn't believe in artificial contraception, the title and chorus of the song being "Every Sperm is Sacred".
  • In The End, Wendell (Burt Reynolds) goes to see his daughter (Kristy MacNichol) at her school, or gym, and finds her entertaining her peers with a dance routine Wendell would think belongs here.
  • The All I want for Christmas Is You performance from Love Actually is dangerously close.

  • In the sequel to Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet, a few kids at Claudia Morgan's school sang "The Internet Is for Porn" From Avenue Q.
  • In Jane Eyre, Adele, Mr. Rochester's eight-year-old (or so) ward's "accomplishment" is the singing of a French song about a woman who has been betrayed by her lover, and plans to wear all her jewels and best clothes to the ball that night to show him how little she cares.
  • The Day of the Locust: Would-be child star Adore Loomis sings the raunchy blues song "Mama Don' Wan' No Peas" and has the moves to go with it.
  • The Hunger Games: In Mockingjay, when she was little, Katniss sang "The Hanging Tree" and didn't understand why it upset her mother so much that she banned it. Years later, she realized that the song is sung from the perspective of a dead man calling out to his lover to come join him in death, the implied theme being that a life of torture and separation from each other isn't worth living.
  • In The Name of the Wind, first book of The Kingkiller Chronicle, the young Kvothe picks up a nursery rhyme about a "Lady Lackless" that, upon second thought, turns out to be full of Double Entendre. His mother calls him on it, and he takes the lesson to heart.
    • (Of course, there is also a Wild Mass Guess that his mother stepped in because said Lady Lackless is either her sister or she herself.)

     Live Action TV 
  • There was an episode of Dance Fever where a girl of about 6 lip-synced and danced to Madonna's "Like a Virgin".
  • A episode of Grounded for Life featured the teenage daughter performing "Big Spender" at her Catholic school's talent show.
  • Arrested Development featured an uncle and a niece and later an aunt and a nephew sing "Afternoon Delight" by Starland Vocal Band.
    • The Warden's screenplay acted out by very young children.
  • A lot of Saturday Night Live characters and sketches have had this over the decades it's been on the air. The third episode Scarlett Johansson hosted featured a sketch about up-and-coming child actresses (played by Johansson and feature player Vanessa Bayer) performing monologues and famous scenes from movies that aren't for children, such as Brokeback Mountain, The Color Purple, A Few Good Men, and On the Waterfront.
  • On Head of the Class, the students were putting on a production of Hair and a discussion of the Nude Scene came up. Mr. Moore resolved it. First he said that "all the people who think we should do the nude scene stand over here, and all the people who don't think we should do the nude scene stand over here," thus separating the boys from the girls. Then he said, "OK, those of you who want the nude scene - get naked!" The boys then decided they didn't want to do the scene.
  • Similarly, there's an off-screen performance of Hair ("'Black Boys Are Delicious' was quite well-done!") and an on-screen performance of Salome by elementary school kids on Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place.
  • Minipops: How's this for a show concept? It's on a mainstream channel at teatime, and features the hit songs of recent years being sung by prepubescent children in costumes copied from the original artists and full makeup. Said hit songs include "Nine to Five" by Sheena Easton, in which the singer relates how hard her husband works, but then she's cooked him dinner and they have sex. British television, Channel 4, early 1980s. In fact, it was cancelled after six episodes because of this.
  • Several episodes of the current revival of Beverly Hills 90210 centered around high school students preparing a production of the musical Spring Awakening, a play that includes a semi-explicit not-very-consensual love-making scene, masturbation, a gay kiss, a child-on-child beating scene, a parent-on-child beating scene, and a song all about incestual sexual abuse.
  • One episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide had Ned accidentally painting an orange naked lady in art class.
  • All of Wonder Showzen.
  • Tosh0 came up with a novel way to get around Standards and Practices and still show Famous Awful Internet Porn Clips: Disturbingly adorable reenactments with kids.
    Daniel Tosh: The great thing about doing this thing in Hollywood is that there is no shortage of awful parents who'll let their kids do anything for a SAG card.
  • On one episode of The Cosby Show, Rudy walked around singing along to a song with lyrics something like, "We're gonna do it all night long, I want you to do me". Cliff asks her if she knows what "it" is, and Rudy says that "it" is kissing and holding hands. Cliff decides to tell her that "it" means doing homework.
  • On Copper, former pre-teen prostitute Annie sings a very inappropriate rendition of "Mary Had A Little Lamb", much to the horror of the woman who took her in.
  • One of the sketches from The Whitest Kids U' Know had a young kid by the name of Kevin showing his parents a simplistic but...rather phallic picture that he named Saggy Sammy. The parents are horrified, until he innocently clarifies that it's an elephant, to which they then see what he intended. After much debate, they let him post it on the refrigerator door for a party as long as he writes the word "ELEPHANT" on top of the paper. He then shows his parents a picture he made of a "Fairy Castle"...which is unmistakably a picture of a woman pleasuring herself, to which the parents angrily send him to his room for.

  • Kidz Bop is a much-reviled album series of hit songs being sung by children. The songs chosen apparently weren't screened carefully beforehand, as they include Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", P!nk's "Who Knew", Kevin Rudolf's "Let it Rock" and Flo Rida's "Club Can't Handle Me", among others. In fact, there are so many of these that Kidz Bop has its own page. Some singers catch on to this, however. Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy refused to greenlight a cover of "Dance Dance", due to it being inappropriate.
  • Depending upon one's personal morality standards, there have been cases of under-18 singers performing songs about issues far beyond what some might consider a 14, 15, 16, etc. year-old to have knowledge or experience with. In recent years, such criticism has been leveled against performers such as Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears, but similar complaints were aimed back in the 1960s at singers such as Annette Funicello and Lesley Gore, too.
  • Unfortunately too common in Visual Kei as a result of a confluence of factors: artist or fan parents often being outsiders to "normal" society anyway in some way or other, Japanese culture being far less likely to freak out about a kid saying something "dirty" or "inappropriate" or even sexual or violent and more likely to treat it as a joke, and fan or artist parents who want a kid to share the interest sometimes letting them be around people they shouldn't and see stuff they shouldn't too early. As a result, there are too many covers of Visual Kei songs most Westerners would freak out at even a 13 year old knowing if they knew the lyrics.
    • One of the worst is the three year old covering "Rocket Dive" by hide. The song is primarily about Intercourse with You, including a description of climaxing onto someone's chest.
    • Possibly in an attempt to avert this from happening (and make more money), some bands have released non-vocal instrumental tracks of "inappropriate" songs. Which works for those Visual artist and fan parents that have, say, a young guitarist or drummer or bassist. Not so much for those who want to show off their kid's vocal skills.
  • Deliberately done in music videos for The Shins and Serj Tankian: A school pageant about Joan of Arc, Conquistadors, and the Donner party; kids playing at The War on Terror, and one with little kids dressed as and lip-syncing Notorious BIG and Co.
  • Subway to Sally's Julia und die Räuber, sung by a little girl:
    Blut, Blut, Räuber saufen Blut
    Raub und Mord und Überfall sind gut.
    Hoch vom Galgen klingt es
    Hoch vom Galgen klingt es
    Raub und Mord und Überfall sind gut.
    Blood, blood, bandits drink blood
    Robbery and murder and ambushing are good
    High from the gallows it rings
    High from the gallows it rings
    Robbery and murder and ambushing are good

     Video Games 
  • Very possible in the The Idol Master franchise. The group of Idol Singers the player manages includes girls from around 17 years old all the way down to 11 year olds, and some of the songs available to sing are definitely not suitable for the latter. Most infamous is the song "Agent Yoru o Yuku", which is about a male prostitute.

     Web Comics 

     Web Original 

     Western Animation 
  • South Park is full of this. From Butters' song "What What (in the Butt)" to the Nativity scene with a graphic birth scene.
    Stan: Dude, what does 'Fingerbang' mean?
    Cartman: It's when you make a gun with your hands and go BANG, dude.
  • The "Lisa's Pony" episode of The Simpsons had one kid performing "My Ding-a-Ling" as part of a talent show. He got yanked off stage.
  • Hey Arnold!: The episode "Helga's Parrot" has Helga write a poem about Arnold that contains the most blatant sexual reference in the series, and she's only nine years old! It also doesn't help that in the same episode she accidentally sees Arnold naked, falls over and softly moans in a manner similar to an orgasm.
    "Arnold, my love, my sultry preteen. Why must I hold you only whilst I dream? Will I be forever enslaved by your spell? Why must I worship you and never ever tell? Arnold you make my girlhood tremble, my senses all go whacky. Someday I'll tell the world my love...Or my name's not Helga G. Pataki."

     Real Life 
  • Truth in Television. Besides occurring throughout history, many kids from The '90s and The Noughties (2000s) sang some of the dirtier popular songs with their friends.
  • One local music festival had a 14-year-old girl singing "When You're Good to Momma" from Chicago. Not okay.
  • Courtney Love auditioned for the Mouseketeers when she was young. The issue was that she was reciting a Sylvia Plath poem for her audition.
  • The unsolved murder of Jon-Benet Ramsey put a harsh spotlight on the world of "Little Miss" pageants (see TLC's Toddlers & Tiaras) and the sexual undertones of putting preschool-age girls into costumes, hairstyles and makeup mimicking those of, glitzy, often raunchy, grown-up stage performers.
  • Many, many elementary schools have the choir sing "Seasons of Love" from RENT at the end of the year. We pray that they never look up "La Vie Boheme". Or "Contact". Or "Out Tonight"...
  • In a child-care situation, it's not uncommon to hear 5-year-olds singing pop songs, such as "Whistle" by Flo Rida.
  • Korn guitarist Brain 'Head' Welch has said that hearing his young daughter singing their song A.D.I.D.A.S. (All Day I Dream About Sex) was one of the things that led to him leaving the band.
  • In a more physical sense, due to developmental and bodily growth issues, it's strongly advised not to allow someone to begin drumming on a real kit or in some styles until at least 13-16. Someone who starts drumming "for real" earlier than this, especially at really fast speed or doing blast beats, is far more likely to injure a still-developing body and injure themselves more in later life as well. Despite this, and despite the drummers that have likely suffered the results of it, one can find too many child and preteen drummers doing exactly what they should not be doing in a quick browse of Youtube or similar.