A joke on a children's TV show that children of the appropriate age would likely never get, but which their parents would. Serves as a way to keep the adults and older kids entertained and usually takes the form of an homage
to a movie or TV show that children would not normally be familiar with. This is the master trope to other "subliminal" tropes like a Double Entendre
, Does This Remind You of Anything?
, No Celebrities Were Harmed
, or Getting Crap Past the Radar
. It could also count as a Genius Bonus
, since most children would have to be educated above their general age level to understand these.
Popularized by Sesame Streetnote
, with characters like Sherlock Hemlock and the Count, and thus most common on educational shows. Surprisingly, the barely intelligible Cookie Monster seems to get the most Parental Bonus lines, at least in recent history: "Me undergo sea-change," etc.
Of course, a badly done Parental Bonus will entertain neither the kids nor the adults, and may terrify the latter that the former actually will "get" it...
Golden Age animated shorts
, especially those from Fleischer Studios
and Warner Bros.
, often had material which would be considered Parental Bonus
today (if people still got the references
), as they were intended for all audiences (see Animation Age Ghetto
). As a result, many cartoons had numerous double entendres
which were expected to go over the younger viewers' heads.
These jokes also give the shows rerun value years later when the original viewers are old enough to get the jokes that once went over their heads: see Late to the Punchline
. Might be Fridge Horror
for some if they think the joke is disturbing and of course Freud Was Right
, that supposedly lewd joke might just be Accidental Innuendo
Contrary to the title, children of a certain age can
get Parental Bonuses; most of them just don't watch shows that use them (with the exception of SpongeBob SquarePants
and maybe Animaniacs
) and therefore miss out.
A Super Trope
to Parent Service
. See also Getting Crap Past the Radar
, as most of the time, a parent bonus joke will reference sex or something adult (like drugs, racism, violence, or another form of media [book, movie, TV show, etc] that is more popular with adults than with children).
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- The Kia Sorento 2014 space babies commercial features a very kid friendly and funny "Daddy, where do babies come from?" story. The rocket ships "penetrating" Earth's atmosphere will be very familiar to anyone who's had biology.
- Lots of these are present in Kirby of the Stars, since the series has tons of Shout Outs in general.
- An early example, Maicchingu Machiko Sensei (Humiliated Professor Machiko) was infamous for having the titular teacher end up naked in every single episode, often as a direct cause of her students groping her or otherwise destroying her clothing. Maicchingu Machiko Sensei was a kids show, and her students were 6 years old. It was so prevalent that she even turns up naked in the episode openings. Twice.
- In one issue of Gold Key's Pink Panther, the titular feline finds a laundry bag filled with money. "I've heard of filthy lucre, but I never knew it needed to be laundered!"
- Marvel Comics' All-Ages title Marvel Adventures loves referencing older comics, concepts, and complex storylines that the target audience is generally completely ignorant of.
- Marvel Adventures: Avengers 24 sneaks in a Simpsons ref, a "reverse-Napoleon complex", Spidey "needs a wife", Wolverine quoting Rorschach, and a surprising hint of Les Yay. In one comic.
- They don't just reference other Marvel comics. Issue 3 of their Iron Man solo title featured Plantman as the villain. When he's not in his leafy armor, he's dressed in a suit, Homburg hat, and gardener's apron — that is to say, he looks like Peter Sellers as Chance the Gardener.
- Tiny Titans, a non-canonical comics series for kids featuring many of the younger superheroes/sidekicks from the DC Universe as young children, is obviously aimed at young kids. However, the many, many references to either storylines from the "grown-up" books (such as the Battle for the Cowl, when they fight a cow that stole Batman's cape and cowl, or when Darkseid is their substitute teacher and gives them a surprise exam, which they pronounce a finals crisis!) and other media aimed at adults (such as the first two rules of Pet Club being "you do not talk about Pet Club" and "you do not talk about Pet Club") prove they were intended to be entertaining for parents as well. And they certainly are.
- Calvin and Hobbes is full of this. Since Calvin has an unusually large vocabulary for a six-year-old and tends to discuss complex philosophy, reading the strip as a child and as an adult are completely different experiences.
- Tintin features typical slapstick gags and exciting adventures children will appreciate. Adults can enjoy it for the satire on 20th century politics, exquisite story structures and beautiful art.
- Astérix has a lot of general slapstick, running gags and situation comedy that both parents and children can enjoy. But it is as much a comic for adults as it is for children, with many puns, double entendres, satirical gags, cameos and references to classic literature, the Ancient Greek, Roman and Gaulish time period, francophone culture and 20th century society.
- Nero shares both jokes that children can enjoy as references to national and international politics and that were current when the stories were published in the newspapers.
- Suske en Wiske is a children's comic that originally made a lot of jokes about Flemish-Belgian politics that only adults would get. Later most of them were removed from the later reprints, though occasionally some of them are still present.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) Scoots says she isn't sure she wants a picture of Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle on her flank for the rest of her life. Any parents or older readers with really unfortunate tattoos can probably empathize.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- The "patty cake" scene from Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a double subversion. Jessica Rabbit and Marvin Acme were actually playing the game patty cake, but that's basically the Toon equivalent to screwing.
- There's plenty more where that came from. Dolores' line about having to "shake the weasels", for instance.
- "Dabbling in watercolors, Eddie?"
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one of the kings of this trope.
): I'm through with taking falls / and bouncing off the walls / Without that gun, I'd have some fun / I'd kick you in the... (falling vase hits him on the head) Roger
: ...nose! Smartass
: Nose? That don't rhyme with 'walls'. Eddie
: No, but this does! * kicks him in the groin*
- "Nice booby trap."
- Not to mention Jessica's breasts making boinging sounds twice when she visits Eddie's office.
- There's a scene where Eddie fires some toon bullets at a fleeing assailant, who ducks down an alleyway. The bullets stop, wonder "which way did he go?", and proceed to go in the wrong direction. Eddy comments "Dum-dums!"
- Enchanted has quite a bit of this as well.
Morgan: Remember, when you go out not to put too much makeup otherwise the boys will get the wrong idea and you know how they are...
[off Giselle's wide-eyed look]
Morgan: They're only after one thing.
Giselle: What's that?
Morgan: I don't know. Nobody will tell me.
- The Cat in the Hat movie attempted this, with questionable results. Apparently, the writers' idea of Parental Bonuses are almost PG-13 level double entendres; see here.
- In the Jim Carrey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the Grinch as a young boy looks in at a Christmas party where people are dropping keys into a fishbowl; indicating this was a swingers party.
- Seconds before the keys are dropped into the fishbowl, a pair of Whos walk across the window, a man giving a woman a * ahem* "Reverse Piggy Backride".
- In another scene, babies fall from the sky in baskets with umbrellas, a variant upon the Stork myth. A man sees a baby outside his own house, and joyously shouts to his wife that the baby is here, only to realize "He looks just like your boss..."
- 101 Dalmatians (Live-Action Adaptation): Roger tells Cruella that Anita is pregnant...
Cruella: Well, what can I say? Accidents will happen.
Roger: We're having puppies, too.
Cruella: (gasps) Puppies! You have been a busy boy!
- In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, as Wonka searches for the button on the Three-Course-Dinner Gum machine, he offhandedly asks "Button, button, who's got the button?"
- Dexter's Laboratory pulls a similar joke when Dee Dee is, of course, left standing next to a button unattended.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest has a deliciously subtle one when Tia Dalma finds the Black Spot (an omen of death) in Jack Sparrow's palm:
Gibbs : The Black Spot!
Ragetti : The Black Spot!
Pintel : Black Spot!
Jack Sparrow : My eyesight's as good as ever, just so you know.
- Which is a very roundabout way of making a connection between palm sores, masturbation, and the myth that it causes blindness.
- It's also an indicator of syphilis (which Johnny Depp has more or less confirmed Sparrow as having, probably a contributor to his eccentric nature), which can damage eyesight.
- There's a very subtle one in the same movie. The sailors going on the Flying Dutchmen chant "Pull out your eyes, Apologize, Apologize". Any James Joyce reader will recognize this from Dante's introduction in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
- Scooby-Doo had one that is very easy to miss out on:
Woman on Plane tells Shaggy her name is Mary-Jane.
Shaggy: Mary-Jane? That's my favorite name!
- For those who don't get it, Mary-Jane was an old-timey slang term for marijuana.
- The "hot box" scene. Soon after the team "breaks up" at the start of the movie, the following scene shows the Mystery Van with a whole lot of white smoke billowing out of it. Cut to inside, and you see that Shaggy and Scooby simply have a miniature barbecue that is letting off a lot of smoke.
- In Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Chance the dog is chewing a shoe and offers a piece to Sassy the cat. She replies "No thanks, I'm not into leather".
- In Homeward Bound: Lost in San Francisco, Sassy wakes up and finds herself laying next to that runt dog with fleas. Sassy recoils in disgust and says, "Yuck!" The dog responds, "That's not what you said last night!"
- Non-joke example: In The Monster Squad, after the kids have been to Scary German Guy's place and he turns out to be quite the good guy despite his scary exterior, the leader of the titular group mentions that he "sure knows a lot about monsters." Scary German Guy's response: "Now that you mention it...I suppose I do." And as the kids leave, we're shown a reveal on Scary German Guy's arm of a numbered tattoo that the adults of the audience will recognize as a concentration camp identification tattoo, signifying that this guy indeed knows a great deal about monsters.
- In Fred Claus, Santa demonstrates the power of the snow globe to his brother, Fred, who's visiting some part-time work. Fred then asks if he could use it to check on the Swedish Women's Swimming Team, to check if they were doing anything "naughty".
- Space Jam had a little Pulp Fiction reference in the end basketball game...
- The Wizard of Oz had many lines what would be funny to adults but not children.
Dorothy: We've brought you the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West. We melted her.
Wizard: You liquidated her, eh?
- The line spouted by the Scarecrow when he received the Th.D. degree, which was a hashed up version of the Pythagorean Theorem:
The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side.
- The wizard awarding the Lion a medal called the Triple Cross.
- The Scarecrow and the Wizard:
Scarecrow: I've got a brain! How can I ever thank you enough?
Wizard: Well, you can't.
- The Scarecrow to Dorothy:
Scarecrow: Of course some people do go both ways.
- The Santa Clause has quite a few of these.
- Annie (2014) has a clever way of referring to someone as a prostitute, which flies right over the heads of any kids in the audience.
Miss Hannigan: [approaching limo] Hi there!
Stacks: I'm sorry, I am not interested in temporary companionship.
Miss Hannigan: What!?
Stacks: God has a path for all of us! Yours should be taking you away from the car.
- Casper has the three Big Uncle Bully ghosts singing, "It's my party, and I'll die if I want to." It references an old song by Lesley Gore.
- At the end of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Mikey plays the song "So Happy Together" for April, which is obviously yet another example of his crush on her. The band that performed the song: The Turtles.
- A few examples dotted throughout Paddington, the most darkly notable of which is the origin of the flowers Mr Curry presents to Millicent, which are heavily implied to have come from an accident memorial, given he found them tied to a lamppost.
- Try to think of a Muppet production that doesn't include these. We'll wait.
"...The dialogue is sharp-edged, witty, and thematically skewed to adults."
- The Ghostwriter episode "Am I Blue?" was an homage to Star Trek fandom. Another episode had flashback scenes that resembled 1930s film noir.
- The absolute king of this trope was Square One TV, which had an average of a Parental Bonus a minute. Sketches parodied everything from Max Headroom to Pac-Man, and the musical numbers were always a style spoof (like the country-western "Nine, Nine, Nine" or the glam-rock "Angle Dance"). Each episode ended with a mystery called Mathnet, an elaborate (and sometimes disturbingly true-to-form) parody of Dragnet, where agent Kate Monday (later changed to Pat Tuesday) flashed her calculator as a badge. In one "Mathnet" sequence, we hear a voice over an airport intercom: "Will Miss Amelia Earhart please come to the front? Miss Earhart, we have your luggage."
- Mathnet has a large enough Periphery Demographic that it was shown as a stand-alone program during primetime.
- The music video that started with some teenage girls noticing that their friend's relationship must've gotten serious as they saw a "diagram" in her purse... That one might actually qualify as Getting Crap Past the Radar.
- The Electric Company was full of these, most notably "Easy Reader" and "Fargo North: Decoder".
- The 2009 remake is full of these too, at seen in the pilot episode running on PBS. There was a character named Rebus wearing a shirt with "RE + " and a picture of a bus (does that count as a meta-rebus?), a sketch involving a dog known as Jack Bowser, and several references to the original series.
- Some of the songs were done by Tom Lehrer, who thankfully refrained from some of his better known works like Wernher von Braun, The Old Dope Peddler and I Hold Your Hand in Mine (which he has had requests from adults not to perform). There were still a few Parental Bonuses in his Electric Company songs, though.
- Beakmans World delights in old-school Parental Bonus references, which most frequently pop up in the Beakmania introduction, where every dance referenced by Beakman is an actual dance.
- One episode of Zoobilee Zoo was a direct parody of My Fair Lady.
- In Hannah Montana, the father (played by Billy Ray Cyrus) is often heard saying things like, "Oh, my achy-breaky back!" He and other characters also frequently mock his former mullet hairstyle.
- Also notable is the episode in which Miley pretends to be a Hannah Montana impersonator, where Billy's character Robbie Ray Stewart dons a mullet wig and introduces himself to a nosy reporter, saying "hi, I'm Billy Ray Cyrus".
- In the end video of the iCarly episode "iMeet Fred", one character sings "I buried Paul."
- The Nanny had its share of these; so much so, you have to wonder if they were ad-libbed.
Maxwell (at headshot) You're sitting on John Malkovich.
Fran: I don't hear him complaining.
- In The Sarah Jane Adventures episode "Revenge of The Slitheen" Maria's divorced mother asks her ex-husband if she can have the double bed size duvet as he won't need it having a single bed. Her mannerisms and delivery of this line is enough to make older viewers think she's making fun of his sex life.
- Continuity Nods to Doctor Who (new and classic) and Torchwood also count.
- "Love and Monsters". A man and an animated concrete slab containing a talking head have a "bit of a love life". Figure that out for yourself.
- As RTD put it, it was "good old-fashioned British smut".
- And in Tooth and Claw, "[The servants] were bald, athletic, your wife's away..I thought you were just happy."
- In "The Doctor Dances", the Ninth Doctor switches Jack's sonic blaster with a banana without Jack catching on. Funny enough on it's own, but funnier for those parents that recognize the joke from the Buster Keaton short "The High Sign".
- Pee-Wee's Playhouse was loaded with enough of this that it was resurrected... on ADULT SWIM. Watch any episode with Miss Yvonne and you'll come across some.
- The show's original run was so popular with adults that a few episodes were broadcast during primetime.
- This is referenced within The Office (US). Michael brings in a tape from a kids show he was on. There's an interview segment with a cat puppet called Edward R. Meow. While most of the staff laughs and notes that it's clever, Michael still doesn't get it.
- Rainbow once played this trope for laughs:  . Sadly, this was a gag episode that was never intended to be viewed by children, but it's still hilarious.
- In an episode of Suite Life on Deck, Woody sees London's rich friend and says "She's hot. Does she have any interest in "woodworking"?
- In Balamory PC Plum often sings a song that starts off as a parody of Gilbert and Sullivan, and ends up as a parody of Bohemian Rhapsody
- Super Sentai has a few, (or more like a lot in recent series). A few examples...
- In the first episode of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, Ian is reading a menu containing items such as Juicy Steak and Juicy Hamburgers. He then asks Amy out on a juicy date.
- Power Rangers RPM had a non-sexual example in the fact that the planet had been razed in a nuclear holocaust. They outright showed that it was razed, but only the parents would connect the dots on the clues that Venjix had used nukes.
- Power Rangers has slipped in a few (not really for parents, but for older fans.) In Dino Thunder, one character uses the phrase "ankle biter," a bit of Aussie slang for a small child. The only people who got that joke are the older fans who know that the show has been filmed in New Zealand since 2003.
- The original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers threw one in that may have been aimed at even older viewers than parents. Through time travel, the villains had claimed an Old West town as their own, and had renamed it Zed-and-Ritaville. The monster of the week then quipped to the ancestors of the modern Rangers, "Too bad I have to waste you away again in Zed-and-Ritaville." Children watching would not have remembered Jimmy Buffet and "Margaritaville." Even their parents might have been too young. But their grandparents...
- Mister Rogers' Neighborhood included a puppet named Donkey Hodie who lived in a windmill.
- Horrible Histories has plenty of these. How many kids are going to realise that the Dick Turpin song is one big pastiche of Adam and the Ants Stand and Deliver?
- In fact, there was enough Parental Bonus that it made the leap from CBBC to prime-time BBC One (with Stephen Fry as presenter).
- Referenced in How I Met Your Mother in an episode where we see the children's TV Robin starred in as a teenager. It's wall to wall sex jokes, including the song "Two beavers are better than one.".
- The smash success of the 1966 Batman series was based on this, with kids tuning in for the superhero adventures while their parents enjoyed the Lampshade Hanging and parody of superhero tropes.
- Between the Lions often bases musical numbers on songs well outside the experience of its target audience, such as a song about the importance of breakfast to the tune of "Roadhouse Blues".
- The guy responsible for that show he did the same thing for Sesame Street with such numbers as "It's Hip to Be a Square."
- And let's not forget "How I miss my X." Literally, it was a puppet version of the letter "X."
- Tweenies often did this. A highlight was when they imagined travelling in a spaceship returning various aliens to their home planets, which became a parody of Star Trek.
- On Teletubbies Laalaa, Po and Tinky Winky take it in turns to dance in Laalaa's frilly piknk tutu. When Dipsy is offered the skirt he shouts "Run Away".
- On Degrassi: The Next Generation, almost any appearance by a character from the original series counts as a Parental Bonus. Teenaged and younger viewers have no idea why this character is supposed to be interesting or important; only the viewers who were around in 1990 remember.
- The Wiggles, an Australian children's music group, has done covers of songs by The Beatles. Including 'Octopus's Garden', fittingly as one of their mascots is Henry the Octopus.
- The Bedrock song. Oh, the Bedrock song. Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and (of course) The Flintstones, for parental bonuses in rap songs, this takes the cake. In this case it's not really intended for kids, but teens,note but still counts because most parents are forced to listen to the music their teenagers play when they travel in the car.
- The Cartoon's "Didlee Dee". Children will hear a catchy, nonsensical song to dance to, and it's only their parents who get what the song is actually about.
- At Disney Theme Parks, many places serve alcoholic beverages for adults. In fact, Drinking Around the World is a popular activity for older guests at EPCOT.
- This happens the third version of the Disney World ride Journey Into Imagination in the smell lab. A slot machine is seen, and it rolls to reveal 3 Figments dressed as skunks. Then, they all say "Congratulations! You win one scent!", and Figment releases an unexpected aroma.
- Yeah, why would they have a slot machine on a ride intended for toddlers in the first place?
- The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios is filled with references to old movies that parents will likely appreciate.
- In Pokémon Live!, James delivers a joke about employment benefits and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".
- General Pepper from the Star Fox series. Think about it. If you don't get it, here's another clue for you all: in the Star Fox comic in Nintendo Power, Fara asks why Pepper didn't do something. His answer? "I was only a sergeant then..."
- In EarthBound, the Beatles references never end: the Runaway Five, a yellow submarine, a set of default names for Ness & co. (in the Japanese version), and an explicit reference to "Yesterday" (in the English localization; an NPC has Ness fill in the blank — "...the Beatles song, ___terday" is filled in with "Yes" or "No").
- A couple more: when Nessie takes Jeff across the lake, the musical score is very obviously the opening mellotron from Strawberry Fields Forever. Also, one of the NPC's in Onett will ask you to "Finish this famous Beatles song —-terday" with a yes or no prompt.
- On the topic on the Runaway Five, not only is the design of the lead singers reminiscent of the Blues Brothers, but a certain hotel newspaper (as reported by the bellboy) claims that band member Lucky (modeled after Jake Blues, played by John Belushi) was seen in congress, an elaborate reference to John Belushi's role as John "Bluto" Blutarsky in National Lampoon's Animal House, in which the aforementioned character goes on to become a senator.
- Oh, and the New Age Retro Hippie's theme sounds a lot like Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode." As does Rockin' K.K. from Animal Crossing.
- No one can forget Peaceful Rest Valley- or should I say, Grateful Dead Valley. Home to a strange cult in a familiar outfit, with a strange obsession with the power of a certain color....
- The Happy Happy Cult can be taken two ways: either as a reference to Blue Meanies, or the KKK. Or both.
- One of the enemies is called Diamond Dog.
- The Dungeon Man's theme, after he joins your party, is based on 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'.
- The music that plays when Jeff rides in the Sky Runner is taken from a song by The Who.
- The thing with EarthBound is that these are less likely to be intended as a Parental Bonus, so much as being thrown in because those involved (mainly Shigesato Itoi and the composers) really, really liked this stuff (the entire franchise is specifically named after a Beatles song, for god's sake!).
- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door was just loaded with somewhat suggestive material, to the point that it's a wonder they managed to get such low age ratings. It got a 3+ rating in Europe and an E rating in North America (the "E-10+ " rating didn't exist at the time).
- Including a nude scene for Princess Peach. She was invisible at the time.
- Goombella was a walking Parental Bonus as well. Many of her tattle-analyses did this (or broke the fourth wall). Oh, and the Goomba-Gang that tried to hit on her plays real nice.
- Then there's Fahr Outpost, a snowy region populated by bombs who wear bearskin hats. Their mayor speaks broken English peppered with 'da's and vehemently denies the existence of a superweapon on the base.
- Among the less radar-dodging examples, the whole of Chapter 6 is a spoof of English detective novels and one of the supporting characters from Chapter 5 is a pirate named Cortez.
- The Battalion Wars series of games is chock-full of references to nearly everything under the sun.
- The countries are The Theme Park Version of real countries:
- Western Frontier: (Cold War U.S.A.), overanxious, obsessed with sports, ever vigilant of the Tundran Bear, led by a man named Herman.
- Tundran Territories (Cold War U.S.S.R.): red uniforms and armour, vehicles look thrown together, condemns Frontier decadence.
- Solar Empire (Japan): Better technology than anyone else, like quoting Sun tzu, fight for honour.
- Anglo Isles (Great Britain): Use yellow Sgt. Pepper-class submarines, one of their leaders is named Windsor.
- Xylvania: Full of German and vaguely German accents, a nation determined to return to power after a defeat.
- Kommandant Ubel of Xylvania is a muscle-bound thickhead with dreams of becoming "governator".
- M17s, KA-74s, Humbugs, etc. in unit descriptions. Most of the Frontier units with names are references to a real-world American military vehicle of some kind.
- Some of the mission names, like "Bridges over the River Styx", or Herman's Heroes.
- Ape Escape. The third installment had movie-and-TV making as its conceit, so this involved parodic Homage Shots of such kid-friendly things as The Exorcist, Psycho, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, Apocalypse Now, Django, and Titanic (to name just a handful), as well as games parodying Mortal Kombat and Metal Gear. The names of the monkeys, in the UK localisation at least, often reference people in the movie industry (there's monkeys called M. Clayderman, D. Elfman, Ricky Ger V and Culkin, for just a handful of examples). Not only that, but some of the Simian Cinema shorts have a 'clean meaning' that the kids will find funny, and a 'dirty meaning' the older demographic will find funny (the one with the nude monkey telling the other nude monkey 'the ancient secret to keeping warm' before flossing between her legs with a towel as demonstration comes to mind).
- Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure was a Mission Pack Sequel to THPS 4. Here's a few of Zerg's moves, word for word:
- Humongous Entertainment. Oh boy, where to start? Pajama Sam's superhero references, SPY Fox's James Bond references, Backyard Sports's 80s references (most pros were kids then)...all more likely to grab parents than kids.
- One of the dragons in Spyro informs him of his "density . . . I mean, destiny", an homage to George McFly's pathetic attempts to pitch woo in Back to the Future.
- The Crash Bandicoot series tends to aim its Shout Outs at older players. Apart from the fact that getting all the name jokes requires a GCSE-level understanding of everything from Victorian literature to thermodynamics, level titles in Warped include 'Tomb Wader', 'Area 51', and 'Eggipus Rex'.
- Stephen Fry's narrations in LittleBigPlanet contain innuendo and jokes that children won't get. "Here you can choose how erect your piston is. No smirking back there." Also the fact that some of the Licensed DLC is usually from titles for higher ages such as Metal Gear Solid and God of War.
- Sly Cooper has little jokes and pickup lines tossed in that have steadily built the series' adult fanbase. Here's an example:
- The Sega Superstars series is made to please gamers of all ages. The children play them for the Sonic and Super Monkey Ball characters, while the teens and adults play them for the classic Sega characters like NiGHTS, Beat, Ulala, and Ryo Hazuki. Most children will be asking their parents, "Daddy, who's the guy with the headphones and goggles? Who's the pink-haired girl? Who's the guy on the motorcycle?" And so on.
- MySims Kingdom has this mostly in its Task and Scroll names. For example, an early Task is called Gears of Where?, and completing it gets you a scroll called Solid Gears of Metal.
- In the first episode of late-90s ABC cartoon Pepper Ann, the titular character goes into Abe's Mall (with a big statue of Abe Lincoln out front) to buy some pimple cream. The names of various shops in the mall float behind her, including "John Wilkes Photo Booth," "Getty's Burgers," "Four Score and Seven Year Pets," and "Civil Wear."
- The BBC pre-school educational programme, Numberjacks, had a rather British example when Number 4 and 6 both caught The Dreaded Lurgi.
- The Sam and Max episode "Christmas Bloody Christmas" featured Sam and Max entering a prison shower room. Max sees a bar of soap on the ground, and bends over to pick it up, with a sign saying "Do not open until Xmas" over his rear-end.
- The Recess episode "The Library Kid" featured the gang cornering said Library Kid in the Philosophy section, with Gretchen calling out "Head her towards the existentialists; there's no exit over there," a reference to Sartre's play. The actual opening looks like an elementary school version of Hogan's Heroes.
- More than half the humor in Recess requires a high-school level of education to notice, much less understand.
- Then there's the episode that was a homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- The titles of some episodes like "Kids in the Mist".
- Recess: School's Out has lots of references to various things. Among them, Ms. Finster yelling, "Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone!", and the song "Green Tambourine" (sung by Robert Goulet, no less) playing over the end credits while the kids danced in front of a psychedelic background.
- Ms. Grotke was reading Beowulf out loud. And just happened to be reading the part where Beowulf rips Grendel's arm off and begins beating him with it.
- The Halloween episode was a outright retelling of both Christine and Maximum Overdrive "Both adult horror novels"
- The Veggie Tales videos are chock full of the homage type of Parental Bonus. For instance, "Josh and the Big Wall" features peas with French accents taunting Joshua from atop the walls of Jericho, and Jonah has the Ninevites constantly slapping each other with fish. References to Madame Bovary ("I think I've seen that one. Doesn't it have Jerry Lewis in it?"), Gilligan's Island, and The Grapes of Wrath ("Once upon a time, there were some very cranky grapes...") are just as likely to go over the heads of younger viewers...
- Likewise, the episode of The Powerpuff Girls titled "Los Dos Mojos" included its own Holy Grail reference:
Mojo Jojo: That's all just well enough, because in reality there is only room enough in this world for one Mojo Jojo. One shall be the number of Mojo Jojos in the world, and the number of Mojo Jojos in the world shall be one. Two Mojo Jojos is too many, and three is right out!
- Another episode referred to The Big Lebowski, when Professor Utonium laments a rug that "really tied the room together".
- PPG did an entire episode of Beatles references, "Meet the Beat Alls", which got an Emmy nomination.
- At the end of that episode, Blossom tries out a quote of her own, fails, and dismisses it with "Oh, who cares? It's by some dumb old band anyway."
- And in the movie, references to naughty words were stuck in, including an elongated sigh of 'Fffff...'
- In the episode "Super Friends" the girls invite their new neighbor, a girl their age named Robin, over to their house, and they introduce her to Professor Utonium:
Bubbles: He made us in his laboratory by accident!
Professor: Well, what can I say?
Robin: Don't worry, Professor. I was an accident, too!
[Cue surprised look on the Professor's face]
- A similar joke occurred in the episode, "Gettin Twiggy With It" when Mitch Mitchelson, who lived in a trailer park with his grandma, takes the class hamster, Twiggy home and starts playing with her violently. When Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup catch him in the act:
Mitch: But it was an accident!
Blossom: You're an accident!
- Many sexual innuendo jokes relating to Ms. Bellum occur. One was when Ms. Bellum (actually Sedusa in disguise) came into the Mayor's office while he was writing something. She leaned on his desk revealing a lot of her cleavage. He looks up and breaks his pencil, and exclaims "Pencil go snap!"
- Series creator Craig McCracken was fond of classic rock references in general. Two examples: an episode entitled "Mr. Mojo's Rising", and in another Ace of The Gangrene Gang shouts "Billy! Don't be a hero!"
- Perhaps the most explicit example is Ms. Bellum's address: 69 Yodelinda Valley Lane. It's prominently displayed on her mailbox in several episodes.
- Someday we'll be as developed as you!
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy did an entire episode parodying God-Emperor of Dune, the fourth book in Frank Herbert's Dune series, with Mandy as the God Emperor, Grim as Moneo Atreides, and Billy as the frequently-cloned-and-replaced Duncan Idaho. Another episode featured a nod to the classic black-and-white Classic Disney Short, The Skeleton Dance. Yet a third parodies the musical Little Shop of Horrors: Billy plays Seymour, bringing victims to the singing, brain-eating alien who stands in for Audrey Two. They also had a geriatric Dracula, who was quite obviously supposed to be Blacula.note They also had an episode entitled "The Prank Call of Cthulhu."
- Another episode obviously references the Hellraiser movies with "Pinhead" who has bowling pins sticking out of his head and a rubik's cube look-a-like summoning him.
- The episode with the Beauty Pageant had "gom jabbar" among the Pageant contests.
Mindy: It burns! It burns!
** When Mindy pulled her hand from the pain box, the judges said something along the lines of "that will cost her." Funny, because in the book removing your hand from the pain box while it works leads to instant death by the Gom Jabbar (a poisoned needle).
- The show's full of them. Here's one where Billy reads an ad off of a cave wall.
Billy: For a good time, call —
Someone else: Stop reading that!
- Valentine's Day. In general. For one, the end of Mandy's episode was apparently a Grease parody, and let's not forget Grim's.
Malaria: What do you mean, you can tell when someone fakes?
- Hurter Monkey: Billy and Mandy get a helper monkey who sounds like Kevin Spacey and even paraphrases the "simple life" speech from Se7en.
- There is also the occasional visit from Hoss Delgado, a parody of both Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell's character in Escape from New York) and Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead).
- In the opening to the episode "Duck!," Grim dreams about being in his dream house with his dream wife. He suddenly realizes, and exclaims, that "this is not my beautiful house," and "you are not my beautiful wife!," and then wakes up to Billy saying "same as it ever was," repeatedly. This is a reference to the song "Once In a Lifetime" by Talking Heads, which had the lines as lyrics.
- And the theme song that plays at the beginning of his dream is similar to that of The Munsters.
- The whole show was a huge parental bonus. Heck, it's doubtful that kids would realize what happens when Grim takes people away.
- In one episode, character's were being made horribly ugly and paper bags were offered to the victims to place over their heads. The character offering the bags commented that he only had paper bags left because the plastic bags were in greater demand.
- In the episode "Wishbones", Billy wishes to be on a Jonny Quest parody. It even has the show's music playing at one point!
- Then there was the time Billy quoted Frank Booth. Yes, that Frank Booth. Former page quote originator for Cluster F-Bomb and Trope Namer of Anything That Moves.
- When Chowder learns how to write, they use a montage of pictures of him interacting with various letters. "R" is depicted as looming over him in a dark back alley, getting ready to do something that rhymes with "grape".
- Truffles' snarky remarks towards her nearly dead relationship with her husband, Mung. During Panini for President, when the two were watching her on stage:
Mung: Fireworks...she used fireworks.
Truffles: Oh, I've completely forgotten fireworks existed.. (Different voice) ...in our marriage... (Normal voice, shocked) Who said that?!
This gag is repeated throughout the series, seen here in episode 103
Mung: Truffles, mind the shop. We need more spice!
Truffles: Well, I'm glad one of us finally acknowledged it.
- Another one occurred at the end of an episode where Mung and Truffles rekindle their romance.
Mung (to Truffles, in a suggestive voice): Let's get cooking.
(Mung and Truffles head offscreen)
Chowder: Mung! Where are you going? The kitchen's that way!
- Both Animaniacs and Eek The Cat have done parodies of Apocalypse Now. In the Animaniacs one, the Colonel Kurtz character was an out-of-control director, portrayed in No Celebrities Were Harmed style as Jerry Lewis. The episode also memorably concludes with the main characters casually running over a caterwauling Jim Morrison.
- Animaniacs also had an episode where the Warners were out to buy their psychiatrist, Dr. Scratchensnif, a birthday present. One asks about buying something from a store called Oedipus Rex, and another remarks, "Nah, his mother wouldn't like it."
- A different store sold 'Freudian Slips'. "No, he makes his own."
- Animaniacs was also famous for hiding vulgar jokes. At the beginning of the song Wakko's America, the Warner Siblings are playing a Jeopardy-style game show, wherein Wakko is asked how much he wants to wager on the daily double. He responds, "I'll blow the wad," eliciting surprised looks from Yakko and Dot.
- A running gag was Yakko lampshading a Double Entendre by implying it was enough to get the show cancelled.
Teacher: Yakko, do you know how to conjugate?
Yakko: Who, me? I've never even kissed a girl!
Teacher: No, no, it's easy. Here, I'll conjugate with you.
Yakko: (to camera) Goodnight, everybody!
The Warners open up a bust of Freud like a Pez dispenser.
Dr. Scratchensniff: Stop playing with my bust!
Yakko: ...Goodnight, everybody!
- The best Yakko lampshading has to be during "Baloney And Friends" where Yakko expresses a preference for chasing after the just-exited "cute girls" (the "Princess of Props".)
Baloney: What "cute girls"? Yakko, I don't know what you mean!
Yakko: (to camera) There's a shocker!
- And let's not forget how The Brain spoke exactly like Orson Welles.
- "Yes, always."
- A writer described that cartoon as "a $900,000 inside joke."
- Not so much a parental bonus, but Maurice LaMarche (The Brain's voice actor) sent up the same famous Frozen Peas recording session in an episode of The Critic, throwing in fish stick advertisements into a videotaped living will. "They're even better when you're DEAD!"
- Also, there was a THX-1138 reference in the intro chalkboard scene.
- One episode of Pinky and the Brain was done entirely as a parody of The Third Man.
- Another episode was done as a parody of The Prisoner.
- There was actually a lot of No Celebrities Were Harmed - style casting in the show, ranging from the obvious (The Goodfeathers) to the easy-to-miss (Katie Kaboom's dad spoke like Jimmy Stewart).
- The Warners parodied a World War 2 "good citizenship" film, where ladies donated their nylon pantyhose to be made into parachutes. Who came to pick up the huge barrel of nylons? J. Edgar Hoover.
- One that surprisingly slipped past the censors:
: (dressed as a detective) Dot, look for prints. Dot
: (now carrying the musician Prince) I found Prince! Yakko
: No, no, no. Fingerprints
(Prince puts on a wide grin) Dot
) I don't think so. (Throws Prince out the window)
- When Yakko becomes king of Anvilania, he tends to be more (not-so-subtly) interested in his gorgeous female Prime Minister than running the country, even when the threat of war hangs over them.
: (impatiently) Sire! Yakko
: (suggestively) Wait 'til we're alone.
** Then there was the time the Warners met Beethoven
Beethoven: I am Ludwig von Beethoven! Vorld famous composer und pianist!
Yakko: (startled) You're a WHAT?
Beethoven: A PIANIST!
Yakko: * smooch* ...Good night everybody!
Beethoven: (confused) But that is vat I am! A pianist!
Yakko: I think we heard enough out of you.
[Yakko literally washes Beethoven's mouth with soap]
- "My bottom's all sore from romping."
- Animaniacs also had the "Rita & Runt" sketches, which often parodied Broadway musicals (but of course; Rita was played by Bernadette Peters!). These are all far funnier after having seen the musicals being parodied.
- And then there's the Thanksgiving themed episode with a hunter and a turkey:
Hunter: Give me the bird!
Yakko: We'd love to, really, but the Fox censors wouldn't allow it.
- This one predates the Animaniacs by several decades, first appearing (probably) in a Babbit and Catstello cartoon from the late 40s. "If the Hayes Office would only let me, I'd give him the bird all right."
- Not to mention the episode devoted to a pastiche of Gilbert and Sullivan, of all things.
- There's also the episode where the trio ends up in Czarist Russia? They meet Rasputin, who has a toothache, and needs dental work. Yakko remarks, "looks like he needs a little anesthesia!" ... and the Czar's daughter comes out and hits Rasputin on the head with a mallet. Dot even says afterwards, "Obscure joke, ask your parents."
- Of course, after Anastasia, this pun isn't so obscure anymore.
- The episode "Hot, Bothered and Bedeviled," where the Warners ended up in Hell (but obviously they couldn't say that). When they meet the Devil and realize where they are, Wakko dashes for a spiral staircase, comes out on Earth, gathers up a snowball, and runs back down the stairs, only to watch it melt rapidly upon setting it down on the ground. "Boy, they were right! It didn't have a chance."
- Hey Arnold! used the phrase "Snowball's chance" repeatedly in the episode "Stinky Goes Hollywood".
- By all accounts, children shouldn't see Raging Bull or Goodfellas yet one of the recurring segments was called Goodfeathers and usually homaged those types of movies.
- One skit with the Squirrels featured a Who's On First send off referencing The Who.
- Yakko, Wakko, and Dot are themselves a parental bonus since they are basically animated versions of the Marx Brothers. Yakko especially is a homage to Groucho Marx.
- Rocky and Bullwinkle did this constantly, as did Jay Ward's other animated series, Hoppity Hooper and George of the Jungle, and Ken Snyder's Roger Ramjet. At times it seems like more of the jokes are for the parents than for the kids.
- One definitely for the parents: Boris, wearing a metal mouse costume in his role as the Big Cheese, details his plan to take over whole U.S. of A. He holds up a book. The title? "Mice Kampf."
- Bullwinkle would sometimes have entire plots that were parental bonuses. An entire episode could be spent spoofing college football or modern art. Bonus points for the jokes being nowadays both mature and dated. How many modern kids are gonna get a joke about the payola scandal?
- Rugrats' popularity peak can be traced to its frequent use of the Parental Bonus.
- In the Time Travel episode of The Fairly OddParents, after Fairies In Black erased everyone's memories of events, the main characters were requested not to interfere in "the re-election of President McGovern". The show as a whole was saturated with an ever-increasing amount of Parental Bonus. The very first occasion would have to be way back when it was still on Oh Yeah! Cartoons:
Timmy: Oh magic nine-ball, will Mom and Dad come home early? "Titanic! Director's cut?!" They'll be there all night!
- One that sticks out is Dad's obsession with Eggnog in every Christmas episode.
- There's an episode where Cosmo and Wanda lose their wands at the beach. In searching for them they find, among other things, Elvis and the Holy Grail.
- Probably closer to Getting Crap Past the Radar, but this exchange in the episode where Timmy wishes his parents were superheroes:
Timmy's Dad: * Pushing Timmy out the door* And that's everything you need to know about where babies come from!
Timmy: But what's the machine for?
Timmy's Dad: We'll tell you when you're older, son.
- The intersections in Fairy World almost always are the names of famous magicians (like the intersection of "David" and "Copperfield")
- Adam West voices Adam West as Catman, who is obsessed with the role he played on a 60's live-action show; his attacks are punctuated with large on-screen sound effect bubbles.
- Jay Leno portrays the comic book superhero "The Crimson Chin".
Cleft (Timmy): Thanks, CC! You saved me!
Chin: No, Timmy. You saved me— from myself! Boy, that was schmultzy. Who did you say writes my comic books?
Cleft: Some 40 year old guy who lives with his mom.
Chin: Any money in it?
Cleft: (points to his caption balloon) Lives with his mom.
- Jorgen von Strangle, the Schwarzenegger fairy (no, they didn't actually get ahold of the governator for the role).
- Ben Stein plays a race of bland, boring, industrious pixies.
- And just general grown-up friendly silliness
Wanda (after Cosmo slightly alters her hair color in a fight): I'm not a summer; I'm a winter!
Cosmo:I don't get it. If you're not married to her, why is she trying to kill you?
Timmy Turner: I'm huge, I hurt people, and I'm misunderstood!
Cosmo: Just like the IRS!
- And don't forget:
Wanda:Oh no, now he's evil AND a genius!
Cosmo: Just like Dr. Phil!
- Then there was the first Wishology episode, where Timmy's dad popped open his case full of "goodies".
- And in an early episode with Mr. Crocker, as he ponders a trap that will either reveal once and for all that Timmy has fairy godparents to save him, or leave him dead...
Crocker: If he survives, it means fairy godparents! And if he dies, I have tenure!
- The second episode with Anti-Cosmo has a Silence of the Lambs reference.
Anti-Cosmo (sitting behind a glassed-in cell): Hello, Clarise!
Wanda: Who's Clarise?
Anti-Cosmo: So sorry, can't see a thing without my monocle.
- From the Wishology trilogy, Matrix references like there is no tomorrow, along with The Lord of the Rings, Terminator Salvation, Back to the Future, Men In Black, Star Wars, Cast Away....
Wanda's name itself was an example. considering that the usual form the fairies disgusied themselves as was fish. A Fish Called Wanda
- Rocko's Modern Life was thickly saturated with these; the creators throttled things down considerably for SpongeBob SquarePants. However, the latter's popularity put it on the Media Watchdog radar and as a result, it was subject to more controversy.
- The most famous example is a restaurant called "Chokey Chicken". This one was caught, and later episodes changed the name to "Chewy Chicken".
- When Rocko and Heffer suspect Filburt of being an alien, they decide to interrogate him at Chewy Chicken (where all the aliens are supposed to meet). Heffer tries to expose Filburt's identity by saying Klaatu Barada Nikto. He explains to Rocko, "It's alien language, I heard it from a sci-fi movie." As he leaves the restaurant, he shouts, "Chewy Chicken is people! Chewy Chicken is people!"
- In addition to practically being an entire show's worth of homage to Transformers Generation 1, Transformers Animated has a number of parental bonus moments.
- The Autobot science team is composed of Wheeljack, whose face greatly resembles a roboticized version of a certain walrus-faced mythbuster, and Perceptor, whose computerized voice resembles that of physicist Stephan Hawking.
- Sentinel in "Predacons Rising" - "Don't just stand there with your pistons in your servos." Really now?
- Any episode of The Tick. The show doesn't quite make sense when you watch it as a kid, but things such as the "Ottoman Empire" (a bunch of goons obsessed with furniture) work out for older audiences.
- SpongeBob SquarePants, as mentioned earlier, is a particular user of this trope, culminating in The Movie ending with Spongebob defeating Plankton with The Power of Rock. The song? A parody of Twisted Sister's I Wanna Rock.
- The sequence includes a closeup of shapely legs in fishnets—Patrick's.
- "Do you think this is funny?" "In a cosmic sort of way, yes."
- The surprise appearance of Nosferatu, "wormsign", the titular character's trousers discarding akin to an o-ring separation before his legs erupt into rocket exhaust plumes, etc.
- Watch "Karate Island" and just try and find more than three jokes that aren't Parental Bonus.
- Another referenced George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" routine.
- From the episode "The Secret Box", where the secret that turned out to be in the box was a string. Come on, a string in a box in a Bikini Bottom?
- Of course, though, the string opens a secret compartment in the box that contains an Embarrassing Old Photo of Spongebob at a Christmas Party
- And then there's Plankton and his reviewing of "foreign exercise videos" for his cousin.
- When Squidward has convinced Spongebob and Patrick to wait on his every whim, they move around his sun chair to various locations— one is Too Sunny, one is Too Wet, and the one with a background of cancan dancers is "Toulouse-Lautrec"
- The episode that begins with SpongeBob watching a dancing live-action sea anemone on his TV, with a goofy entranced look on his face, leaning toward the screen. When Gary comes in and meows at him, he panics and immediately changes the channel and comes up with a hasty excuse for what he was really watching.
- The episode with the squeaky boots is a parody of Edgar Allan Poe's short story The Telltale Heart.
- Let's see, there's Ned and the Needlefish, an obvious reference to Hootie and the Blowfish; an episode titled "Krabby Road", like The Beatles' album Abbey Road; the episode "Lost Mattress", where, at the end of the mattress shopping montage, Spongebob goes to reach for a switch in the dealer's hand, who closes it sharply and makes Spongebob laugh, a reference to Pretty Woman; and some episodes which feature court cases use the theme from The Peoples Court.
- A musical bonus: In the episode where Patrick becomes smart when he switches his brain with brain coral, he mentions a clarinet piece by "Cornelius Bumpfish". Someone on the writing team must like Steely Dan, whose clarinetist was a man named Cornelius Bumpus.
- In one episode, Patrick dressed in drag and Squidward called 'her' "his Rubenesque beauty".
- "You're a man, Spongebob, and it's about time you acted like one. First, puff up your chest. Then, say 'tax exemption'. Now you must adopt a taste for free-form jazz."
- Kim Possible was fond of this, too. In one episode, Ron announces "the first rule of chess club is: you do not talk about chess club."
- What's the second rule of chess club?
- You do NOT talk about chess club.
- In another...
Dr. Drakken: Your Nana is one bad grand-mother—
Kim Possible: Shut your mouth!
Dr. Drakken: I'm just talking about Nana.
Sadly, Kim did not answer "I can dig it."
- The exchange was, however, played out in full in a Shaft parody episode of Dexter's Laboratory between Dee Dee and a friend.
- And in yet another:
- Kim Possible on the whole is quite fond of jokes based around older music. Such as:
- Okay kiddies, how many of you have seen Psycho? How about played Resident Evil or Splinter Cell? Because homage is paid to all of these in one episode or another.
- And then there was this:
Kim Possible: Payback's the sitch!
- "Careful Bonnie, you know what they do to witches in this town." Given how she quickly hops away with a frightened look Bonnie guessed she was being a bitch.
- How many people in Kim Possible's target demographic would recognize the character Ron is channeling in this screenshot? ◊
- Not to mention in the episode where they had to have mentors and Ron's happens to be a secret agent, Ron starts using a Scottish accent as a reference to Sean Connery as James Bond. This was exceptionally cool for older folks who always see Connery as Bond rather than the more recent actors like Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.
- Yin Yang Yo has several, not the least of which is Yang saying "Ah, pellets!" in place of stronger language.
- Dylan the rabbit from The Magic Roundabout was (at least in the UK Gag Dub) portrayed as an Erudite Stoner, and often said things that might have been about drugs. This gets a lot more blatant in The Movie.
- Justice League is full of these.
Flash: Yep. Fastest man alive.
Hawkgirl: Which might explain why you can't get a date.
Flash: Yeah... hey, what's THAT supposed to mean?
- Or Hawkman's remark after Hawkgirl attacks a villain with a whip.
Hawkman: You always were good with that thing!
- Interestingly, Hawkgirl seems to me involved in a lot of these:
(While joking about Flash probably not having a chance with Fire): I hear she's, y'know... (Insert significant glance toward Fire, who is chatting with Ice.) ...Brazilian.
- Another Hawkgirl example pops up when The Joker accuses her of "sublimating [her] passions with that big honkin' mace."
- Yet another Hawkgirl example is in the episode "Shadow of the Hawk"
Carter Hall staring at Hawkgirl's backside
Carter Hall: I missed the dress.
Hawkgirl:*seductive voice* You didn't miss it last night.
- Possibly the most blatant example occurs in the episode where Flash and Luthor switch bodies. Tala, who had been trying to seduce Lex for a while, leads him (actually Flash) into the bedroom to "rest". Shortly after the door closes, we hear him happily chirp "Hey, that's not restful."
- How about in the episode "Epilogue"? That was a pretty impressive one.
Amanda Waller: Bruce's DNA was easy enough to obtain. He left it all over town.
Terry McGinnis: [raises eyebrow]
Amanda Waller: Not remotely what I meant!
- A pretty infamous one:
Princess Audrey of Kasnia
: I'm a world class party girl. I intend to go out with a bang. Several, if it can be arranged.
- And there's the episode where Flash and Wonder Woman rescue a magazine proprietor who looks a lot like Hugh Hefner (and letches on Diana). The exact nature of the magazines he publishes are unrevealed, but Wally insists he only buys them for the articles.
- Katma Tui asking John Stewart if he still snores in his sleep...
- Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers had a Cargo Cult episode with a tribe of kiwi birds. The tribe's chief, for no apparent reason whatsoever, spoke in nothing but Ed Sullivan mannerisms.
- And don't forget the episode featuring a scientist named "Dr. Piltdown". Piltdown Man was, of course, one of the most well-known frauds in archaeological history.
- Let's face it, most of the shout outs in this show went well over the target audience's heads.
- The Lion King's Triumph of the Will-inspired imagery goes (one hopes) right over the kiddies' heads.
- Of all the rides in Disneyland proper, "It's A Small World" is the safest for small children, and its Tastes Like Diabetes Ear Worm is nothing short of notorious. So it was a shoutout to plenty of long-suffering parents when Scar gave the song a great big Take That.
- My Life as a Teenage Robot was full of various pop culture references, such as a group of villains named the Lonely Hearts Club Band... with a leader named Pepper. There was also this exchange, which goes past Parental Bonus into Viewers Are Geniuses territory:
- Histeria! sometimes had jokes that only the viewer's grandparents could get, such as a sketch of Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of Independence done as an episode of The Jack Benny Program.
- Or saying of Greek Poet Sappho, "She didn't play well with boys."
- Histeria was full of this stuff. Look at some of the songs. How many kids in their demographic would actually get songs based on "Ghostbusters" or "Theme from Shaft"?
- Hell, the show had Grandparental Bonuses. Jack Benny as Thomas Jefferson, Bob Hope as George Washington, Frank Sinatra as Caesar.
- In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Cave of Two Lovers," the Gaang meets up with some extraordinarily 60s Hippie-ish, guitar playing nomads with vocal characteristics of The Stoner. When the cave group is traveling, their leader shouts "The tunnels, they are a-changing!" How many kids in the target demographic got that reference?
- Even better, the leader of the nomads was named Chong.
- What about Sokka waiting for Suki in a tent filled with flowers and candles, and not wearing any pants?
- Also, in the episode "Sokka's Master," Piandao is voiced by Robert Patrick, who plays the T-1000. A Shout-Out to sword arms is involved.
- When choosing their vacation spots, Sokka tells Toph she hasn't worked with them long enough to choose her vacation.
- All of the violence is normally something a child would not understand.
- Moreso than just violence, there's a fair amount of complex military strategy and reflections of the effect of wartime on nations that your average kid of the 6-11 demographic isn't going to get. It's one of the rare uses of Parental Bonus that's not really used for humorous, pop cultural, and/or sexual effect, where the Bonus to speak of is the increased complexity of the setting, which has actually converted a fair number of parents or older siblings to become a Periphery Demographic.
- Aside from all the inside jokes, the plot is so complex that adults are likely to catch on more then most kids.
- Danny Phantom has its moments - Desiree and Vlad are both walking Parent Service, specifically. The eighties and college references help as well. It also has it's share of Double Entendre.
- George Shrinks has the titular character, at one point, tell a bee to go pollinate itself.
- One episode of Cow and Chicken had a gang of butch female bikers (Cow even calls one of them "sir") who crashed into people's homes and literally munched on their carpets. The episode was never aired again because the censors caught onto this.
- In the first episode of Doug, Doug is tricked by Roger into searching for fictional creatures called "neematoads". While searching in the marshland, he spots Roger laughing at him and realized he's been fooled. Doug's dog who became covered in mud approached Roger, convincing Roger that it was a neematoad. The episode ends with Roger searching in the marshland for neematoads. There is no such thing as neematoads, though there is such a thing as nematodes. And considering that both Doug and Roger were barefoot while searching, they definitely found some...
- Much of Fillmore! parodies 70s cop shows specifically, and relies heavily on Mundane Made Awesome.
- And how many kids were they expecting to get all of The Silence of the Lambs references in the episode "To Mar a Stall"?
- One episode of Arthur featured the characters all writing stories for a TV show's story contest (the stories themselves written by kids, or so it says at the end), which were then played out using the Arthur characters in the animation style of other cartoons... including South Park, Beavis And Butthead, and Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist.
- Derek Blunt, in the Darkwing Duck episode "In Like Blunt" is a parody of Derek Flint (who is, in turn, a parody of James Bond). The episode title is a parody of the second Flint film In Like Flint (which is, in turn, a parody of the phrase "In Like Flynn"). It's unlikely kids would get any of these references except Bond.
- Darkwing did this all the time. Take the episode "Twin Beaks": the alien cows claim to be from the planet Larson, on "The far side of the galaxy." The Far Side was created by Gary Larson, who made more comedic use of milk cows than Earthworm Jim.
- Far Side references were used in other episodes as well. The very first episode in fact has Bushroot being harassed by two fellow scientists, "Dr. Gary" and "Dr. Larsen."
- "Trading Faces" gives us this little gem.
J. Gander Hooter
: But FOWL High Command must surely realize that one hundred trillion dollars is difficult to come by! Steelbeak
: Hey, read my beak;
tell them to raise some taxes. Eh heh heh, like they need an excuse, right
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. For example...
- ReBoot is full of these, with constant references to pop culture (both American and British) and computer terms. Whole episodes would do this, notably the homage to The Prisoner, "Number 7". To the hordes of little kids who didn't know The Prisoner existed, the plot was a terrifying mindfuck full of creepiness. The end of Series 2 even had references to the Blitz of London; as a result of a war in the sky, the Binomes shelter in Tube stations, and Binomes resembling the Women's Auxillary Air Force are working as spotters in the War Room.
- Don't forget the cabin from Evil Dead!
- Also don't forget the season 3 recap at the end, performed by the Mainframe Players in the style of Modern Major General.
- There was also the season 2 episode Bad Bob, to say nothing of season 3's masterful lampoon of Star Trek.
- Although Wonder Pets is usually rather light on Parental Bonus, the episode "The Wonder Pets Save the Beetles" is filled with non-stop references to a certain rock band...
- The Beetles were voiced by two of the performers of Broadway's "Beatlemania."
- To say nothing of "The Wonder Pets save the Fiddler Crab on the roof."
- And "The Wonder Pets Save the Rat Pack. Not only are the guest characters based on Sinatra, Davis, and Martin (with dead-on voice acting), but Elvis Presley and Raoul Duke can be spotted in a crowd. They also make reference to songs like "Come Fly With Me" and "My Way". The music is also styled after them.
- The more recent episodes of Wonder Pets are chock full of Parental Bonus - Save the Vixen, a noir style episode guest starring Lauren Bacall, and full of nods to the films, Save the Skunk Rocker, full of references to classic punk and Save the Rock Lobster, a B52s inspired episode, in particular.
- Donkey Kong Country had a scene where Diddy utters the phrase "the only thing worse than a bruised banana is a bruised butt." Yeah.
- The Playhouse Disney show Special Agent Oso has episode titles like "Gold Flower" and "A View To A Kitten".
- The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack in the episode "Whale Times." Bubbie meets a whale names Harvey, and they like each other. Bubbie isn't that kind of whale though. Also with that comes an innocent-Flapjack comment after they realize Harvey kidnaps people from other giant creatures, "Harvey sure does get around."
- Ruby Gloom makes a rather obscure Beatles reference in the episode "Beat Goes On", when Frank cries out "I got blisters on my fingers!". Frank is quoting Ringo Starr, who says exactly the same thing (in the same tone of voice) at the end of the song "Helter Skelter".
- Codename: Kids Next Door has entire episodes based on parental bonuses. Apart from parodies of such non-kiddie friendly fare as Terminator (Operation FUTURE), Soylent Green (Operation HOME), Minority Report (Operation CRIME), The Empire Strikes Back (Operation SNOWING), Stephen King's Christine (Operation TRICYCLE) and the Alien franchise (Operation LICE), there are e.g. Operation POINT where the kids try to find out what teenage couples do to "become adults" up at "The Point" on Saturday night They roller skate together. What did you think they did? and Operation SUPPORT where Nigel and Hoagie decide that bras must be secret weapons ("Battle Ready Armor!!") and sneak into Abby's sister's bedroom to steal some for themselves. They're right.
- Then there's an episode based on Isaac Asimov's book Fantastic Voyage, in which 4 ate a brussels sprout and the rest of the team got shrunk to retrieve it (Operation SPROUT).
- And then there's Operation RECRUIT, which is more or less a direct parody of The Matrix
- And Operation ARCHIVE, which is a direct parody of the Animatrix segment "The Second Renaissance".
- Numbuh One dresses up as a Borg in the Halloween episode and even says "You will be joinified."
- Actually, Numbuh One himself is kind of a parody of Captain Picard. I mean, bald Brit who's in charge and says "Numbuh One" a lot...who does that remind you of?
- And there's Operation DUCKY that was a parody of Moby-Dick in a ginormous bathtub with a giant rubber ducky and a Captain Ahab Expy who talked like William Shatner.
- Operation COUCH- most of it, especially Emperor Dave.
- Thomas the Tank Engine has an episode titled "Escape", where Oliver is saved from scrap. The music that plays while he's being spirited away from the diesel area is clearly based on the famous tune from The Great Escape.
- As quoted above, Phineas and Ferb. Very little of what makes the show good can be properly understood by the target demographic.
- The Phineas and Ferb special "The Summer Belongs To You" had the gang stop in Paris. While in it, Phineas gawks at the Moulin Rouge. What is the Moulin Rouge?
- Also, in "Phineas and Ferb's Quantum Boogaloo" when Candace's time travel causes Doofenshmirtz to take over the world, he sings a song called, "It's a Charmed Life". One of the lyrics is "Everyone else is the proletariat and baby I'm the bourgeoisie! Look it up Joe!" Most kids, in fact quite a few adults, do not know those words.
- In one episode, when Perry tapped on Doofensmirtz's window and then disappeared offscreen, Doofenshmirtz opened up the window and made a rather fantastic literary reference...
Who's that tap-tap-tapping on my window? Is it that pesky raven again? Stupid raven....
- The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius had a good number, being another Nick show. Anyone recall that episode where Cindy and her friends were having a garage sale, and Sheen finds a bra and proclaims it to be an Ultra Lord Double Barrel Slingshot?
- "I don't know, Sheen, if that's the case, then my mom has a lot of Ultra Lord Double Barrel Slingshots..."
- From The Magic School Bus:
- At one point, the bus turns into the Enterprise.
- Not to mention the Friz herself. As many a disgruntled cosplayer has noted, Ms Frizzle is stacked.
- In the episode where they go to space, they are going past Uranus. Arnold jumps into his cousin's lap, to which she says, "Uranus doesn't do a thing for me, so please get off!" Arnold replies, "Sorry, Janet, but I have to stay on top of the situation."
- In "Gets Ready, Set, Dough", while the class is stuck in an oven, Phoebe says, "At my old school, we never got baked."
- When Ms. Frizzle is put on trial for taking Keesha's cucumber ("In A Pickle"), her prisoner number is 24601.
- On an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, Buster, Babs, Plucky, and Hamton go on a treasure hunt. They find it buried under trees shaped like an X, and later, as they're fighting over the treasure, Plucky gets caught in a tree. As his treasure pours out of his bag into Hamton's, Hamton notes "The trickle-down theory", which would require quite a bit of knowledge of economics.
- Wallace & Gromit: Gromit has been seen reading the following books: "Electronics for Dogs", "Pluto's Republic", and (while in prison) "Crime and Punishment" by Fido Dogstoyevski. Gromit was also enrolled in Dogwarts University, but that hardly counts as Parental Bonus.
- There's also the scene in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit where Wallace's contraptions go wrong and he ends up naked except for a box around his waist. The box reads, "Caution: may contain nuts." Come to think of it, the whole film is basically a Whole Plot Reference to every cheesy low-budget British horror film trope ever, until the climax where they end up doing an extended King Kong parody.
- Most kids who don't live Oop North will probably wonder why exactly Gromit is so enthusiastic about throwing that bomb in the direction of Yorkshire, too. (Wallace's frantic yell of, "there's a bomb in me trousers!" is... probably a different trope.)
- The climax of A Close Shave may or may not be an intentional homage to Terminator.
- Not really a funny one, but in one episode of Batman Beyond, Barbara Gordon comments that people finding out about her past may jeopardize her husband's run for re-election. Younger children would probably not understand that (why would anyone hate Batgirl?)
- In one episode of Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island, there were a number of jokes inserted into the episode that were throwbacks to old video games. The only one the children got was "MARIO!" and the only one the adults cared about was FINAL FANTASY VII. Sucks to be you, Link and Kirby.
- Atomic Betty: In Season 2, Episode 17 "Extreme Makeover" (featuring the villain Bombshelle), Betty's mom is trying her old dancing clothes and Noah walks in. She asks him to watch her performance for a while and dances. After she finishes, there's a shot with a dumbfounded Noah at the door, looking at Betty's mom raised leg on the foreground. Noah, being a little kid, has a different reaction (he almost throws up - of course, Betty's mom choice of bright pink gym clothes might have something to do with it).
- The sketch show MAD loves this trope, having references to many things the target audience probably wouldn't know, such as CSI or The Bourne Identity, the references are usually mixed with something the target audience has seen, such as iCarly and Bob the Builder.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold has a song from the trio of Black Canary, Huntress, and Catwoman that's not so much Parental Bonus as "Get the kids out of the room now. The song starts by listing the sexual issues of the male heroes through very poorly disguised lyrics: Green Lantern's "ring" is small but pretty strong; Blue Beetle is cute but is an inexperienced virgin; The Flash, of course, is "sometimes way too fast"; Green Arrow is a switch-hitter; Aquaman's "little fish" is unimpressive; and Plastic Man has, obviously, all sorts of interesting possibilities. And then to wind it up, they're inviting Batman to join them for a foursome.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- This could count as anything from Unfortunate Implications or Getting Crap Past the Radar, but still: in "It Ain't Easy Being Breezies", the roughly Swedish-accented Breezies thank Fluttershy with a flower "to remember them by"; now, all Swedish parliament parties use a more or less stylized flower as their symbol, and this flower◊ is suspiciously similar to the one used by the nationalistic Sverigedemokraterna, "The Sweden Democrats"◊.
- More like an Older-Fandom Bonus, a brilliant move given that G1 collectors are now old enough to watch the show with their children. There are dozens upon dozens of references to the G1 cartoon throughout.
- Additionally, some fans have already argued that the core cast of Ponies are rough Expys of the core cast from the G1 cartoon. To wit, Twilight Sparkle is like a combination of Magic Star and Paradise; Applejack, herself a G1 pony, is similar to Gusty with Wind Whistler's Team Mom tendencies; Rainbow Dash could be Firefly's daughter; Pinkie Pie reminds us an awful lot of Fizzie and Surprise; Rarity is essentially a toned-down Heart-throb; and Fluttershy is almost sweeter than Sweet Stuff.
- Twilight Sparkle's mom looks a lot like G1 Twilight.
- In "Bridle Gossip", Spike nicknames a shrunken Applejack "Appletini."
- "Sonic Rainboom":
Rainbow Dash: Now, what have we learned?
Fluttershy: Loss of control.
Rainbow Dash: Yes?
Fluttershy: Screaming and hollering.
Rainbow Dash: And most importantly?
- DuckTales is another series that frequently employed this. Some examples include one episode where Scrooge is jailed in their version of The Alcatraz, another episode has Scrooge holding a luxury blimp cruise that not only has a character based on Norma Desmond but also shoutouts to notable media figures, and another episode features Scrooge butting heads with a slimy rancher named J.R.
- Adventures of the Gummi Bears had one episode that was one giant Affectionate Parody to the R-rated Dollars Trilogy.
- Adventure Time seems to be an experiment to figure out exactly how much crap one can get past the radar in 11 minutes. There's a reason it has its own Radar page; there are also copious jokes/comments that would go over children's heads and aren't inappropriate enough to go on that page.
- Teen Titans has the creepy Slade, whose behavior toward Robin, Terra, and Raven is vaguely pedophilic. There's a reason the Foe Yay page for Western Animation refers to this guy as "the Amber Alert from hell."
- Transformers Rescue Bots has its share of movie references which the target audience (preschoolers) wouldn't or shouldn't be familiar with. The episode The Alien Invasion of Griffin Rock for instance references Men In Black, Alien, Predator, The Blob, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Fly, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
- Hip-Hip and Hurra does this all the time, throwing in plenty of jokes that only an adult will appreciate, yet remains 100% child friendly and enjoyable to toddlers.
- The Monster High webisode "Witch Trials" has a blatant Shout-Out to Ringu.
- Wreck-It Ralph is piled high with video-game references going back to the early 1970s, including some now-obscure ones such as Qix. Many of these are blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameos, such as the Qix appearing only twice, for about half a second each time.
- The beginning of the music video for the Trollz theme song is the shout out to the opening of the song "Baby Got Back".
- The movie of The Magic Adventures Of Mumfie contains two shout-outs to H.M.S. Pinafore. Whale's first line is "Oh, joy! Oh, rapture!", referencing one of the songs "Oh Joy, Oh Rapture Unforeseen" and Mumfie whistling "Nevermind the Why and Wherefore" when he meets the Secretary of Night. It also has Scarecrow mistaking "come inside" for something else, which was used again in "Pinkey's First Winter".
- The TV series' episode "Bristle's Blues" has Bristle's rule book containing rules referencing "Dancing In The Dark", "Singin' in the Rain" and "Shaking The Blues Away", all three of which are classic songs.
- A 2014 episode of Ben 10: Omniverse "Galactic Monsters" references a lesser-known scene from the 1931 Frankenstein movie, in which the creature throw a little girl into a lake. For comparison, the average Ben10 viewer's great-grandparents probably weren't around when that film originally came out.
- Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom: In the episode Daisy and Poppy go to the Museum, when the characters see a display about Vikings, Nanny Plum says that she knows that Vikings only ever ate Spam.