Subverted Kids Show

"No more teaching alphabets!
Let 'em sell cigarettes!"
The Capitol Steps, "Bye, Bye, Big Bird"

Rule 43: The more beautiful and pure a thing is, the more satisfying it is to corrupt it. note 

An easy way to catch the audience's attention quickly when making a video is to turn the video into one big nostalgia piece that hearkens back to their childhoods. That way the channel-surfers will stop for a second and go "hey— isn't this...?" and by the time they've figured out that it's not, it's too late; you've got 'em.

Of course, if your artist has any credibility at all then you won't want to do a straight pastiche. Instead, you'll want to parody the original work or genre, most typically by having the characters do things that would not be permissible in usual kids' shows. Not all videos do this, however.

See also What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids? (when a show not intended for children is mistaken for a kids' show), Sugar Apocalypse (where a Sugar Bowl is conquered or destroyed), Surprise Creepy (where a work of fiction starts off harmless, but eventually becomes super disturbing and nightmarish), and Vile Villain, Saccharine Show (where a lighthearted show has an incongruously sinister antagonist). You might find the Depraved Kids' Show Host in one of these.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Aggressive Retsuko: A charmingly animated slice of life series about a cute red panda and her animal friends...who swear, get drunk, and deal with the hardships of everyday office life.
  • Bokurano. Bunch of kids on a trip find a giant robot in a cave, and are told to use it to protect the world. It gets worse. Much, much worse.
  • From the same writer: Narutaru. Playful tomboy finds a cute little star-shaped creature with superpowers and develops a bond with it. Tragedy ensues when she encounters similar monsters bonded with other children who aren't so nice.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt's art style would not look out-of-place on Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network. Then the characters start talking...
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica starts out your standard cutesy Magical Girl fare. Then Episode 3 delivers its Cerebus Syndrome/Deconstruction double-whammy.
    • The Rebellion Story: Homura's Soul Gem world is also one of these. It indeed appears to be cutesy Magical Girl fare, taking all sorts of cues from Lighter and Softer fanart and fanfiction depictions of the series. Then Homura discovers that the world is actually a witch barrier...
  • Sword Art Online has an episode "Red-Nosed Reindeer" that sounds like it would be a sweet Christmas special. It's actually a tragedy. All of Kirito's friends die in front of him because of his mistake, and then he devotes a bunch of time and effort toward a rumor about a magical artifact that he could use to resurrect his girlfriend, only to find out he's six months too late. Then he receives a surprisingly cheerful message that she wrote before she died, telling him not to beat himself up too much because she had accepted long ago that it was only a matter of time before she met a violent end. Merry Christmas!
  • Yuki Yuna Is a Hero looks like a fluffy Magical Girl Warrior anime about friendship. Aside from some minor fanservice, all is fine until the hints that all is not right start popping up. By the scene where Togo attempts suicide in front of her friends, fails, and casually mentions she's tried that several times it's obvious that the anime isn't for little girls.
  • Several episodes of Pop Team Epic have segments featuring puppets of Popuko and Pipimi that start out innocently, but get dark halfway through. One segment, "Go To Sleep, Kon-Chan!" begins with the girls singing a cute song about putting a baby fox to sleep, but then Popuko yells at the viewers that they should be asleep like the baby fox in the song. The most well-known example, "The Heart Tree", starts out as a song about growing up, but when Pipimi starts clapping her hands to the melody, it turns into a song about how destroying things can be fun.

    Comic Books 
  • Alan Moore did this to Superman in Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, in which basically every joke villain in his gallery suddenly goes serious. To wit: Bizarro attempts the "perfect imperfect duplicate" by massacring citizens and committing suicide ("Superman... alive"), Toyman and Prankster kidnap, torture, and kill one of Clark Kent's coworkers and expose his secret identity during a news broadcast, an army of Metallos besieges the Daily Planet and forces Superman and his closest allies to withdraw to the Fortress of Solitude, Brainiac takes over Lex Luthor's body and allies with the Kryptonite Man and the Legion of Supervillains and kills Jimmy Olsen, Lana Lang, and Krypto the Super Dog. And the mastermind behind it all is Mxyzptlk. "Did you honestly believe that a fifth-dimensional sorceror would resemble a funny little man in a derby hat?" Superman kills him by ripping him apart between his own dimension and the Phantom Zone; then, in penance, walks into a room of Gold Kryptonite and then into the Arctic. At least the ending is happy.
  • Moore also plays with this in a parody children's comic section in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by solving a maze so a character can get a narcotic hit. The second volume of League had an extended section devoted to this, which depicted the characters from various well-known British Funny Animal comics (in particular Rupert Bear) as horrific mutations created by Doctor Moreau.
  • Robert Crumb was influenced by the Funny Animal comics he read as a child, but he twisted this in his own work by including topics such as sex, drugs, bloody violence, vulgar language and politics. It inspired the Underground Comics movement where the innocence of comics as a children's medium was further subverted.
  • The British comic Viz follows the format and style of popular kids comics from the UK, such as The Beano, but with swearing, gag penises and toilet humor.
  • Steph Cherrywell's Widgey Q Butterfluff pokes fun at syrupy children's cartoons such as Strawberry Shortcake.
  • Transmetropolitan has the kid's shows "The Sex Puppets," which is Sesame Street as hardcore porn, and "Anthrax Cat," which is Tom and Jerry as Gorn.
  • Sam & Max is a series based on the comics drawn by the creator and his little brother when they were children, about a cuddly dog and an adorable rabbit-creature solving crimes in a bright, psychedelic and fantastical world. It's also a violent, deeply twisted, satirical Black Comedy.
  • In The Sandman we have it when Doctor Destiny watches TV, as he drives the world insane - one of things he watches is a kids show in which the host suddenly decides there is no hope in the world and commits suicide, while teaching children how to effectively slit your wrists. Destiny couldn't stop laughing.
  • There's a Judge Dredd comic in which a kid's show host finds out that his wife (who played another onscreen character) is cheating with one of his assistants. He proceeds to teach the kids how to throttle someone to death, before Dredd bursts in and breaks it up.
  • Simon Hanselmann's comic Megahex (not to be confused with the Kamen Rider villain of the same name) features the characters from the British picture book series and TV cartoon Meg and Mog, about a kindly Witch Classic and her cat, as drugged-up, screwed-up slackers.
  • The Unfunnies takes place in a universe of Funny Animal characters that at first seems peaceful and saccharine, but takes a turn for the worse when the universe's creator, an incarcerated child murderer named Troy Hicks, takes over and causes horrible things to happen to the characters. There is also a side story revolving around a character being manipulated into having his testicles amputated by an unscrupulous doctor and being manipulated by his adulterous wife into allowing her to cheat on him due to his guilt of not being able to give her a child.
  • The 2016 annual issue of Deadpool had a story called "Deadpool and His Insufferable Pals", a fictional pilot episode for a spinoff of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends where Deadpool tried to take Spider-Man's place after burying him alive, the Merc with the Mouth doing such things as hitting on Aunt May and manipulating Iceman and Firestar into helping him graphically murder the Sinister Six by falsely accusing them of killing Spider-Man.

    Fan Fic 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Groove Tube features "Koko the Clown", who acts like a sickeningly sweet kiddie-show host until it's "Make-Believe Time" and tells the kids to make the adults leave the room. He then sits down, lights a cigarette, and reads his viewers erotic literature, such as excerpts from Fanny Hill and de Sade's The Philosophy of the Bedroom. It adds to the effect that he selects passages his kiddie-viewers have specifically requested in letters.
  • Peter Jackson's Meet the Feebles. A variation on shows such as Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, with the cast suffering through a LOT of personal problems, and a bizarre (and violent) twist ending.
  • Ted starts off like this, with a little boy finding that his teddy bear has come to life as a Christmas miracle to be his best friend. It's played completely straight—possibly the neighborhood bullies are crueler than they'd usually be in a film like this—until the teddy wanders into the kitchen, and the boy's parents immediately react by asking what the fuck that thing is, and threaten to shoot it. The boy and his bear become famous all over the world... then we Time Skip to a point where the boy is now an emotionally-stunted adult, still dependent on his teddy bear, who is a Former Child Star and incredibly hedonistic and crude. After this, the subversion is complete and it drops the pretense to focus on other gags.
  • The Babadook features a pop-up book called "Mister Babadook", read by a mother, Amelia, when her son Samuel chooses it as a bedtime story. At first, it seems like an innocent, if quirkily spooky book about a friendly monster known as the Babadook. Then, the book switches to threatening the reader in first-person, talking about how the Babadook will stalk you and destroy you, and the Babadook adds to the book later, and threatens to possess Amelia and make her kill her son. After reading it, Amelia and Sam are indeed plagued by the monster.
  • It (2017) features one, as a result of Pennywise manipulating the characters' perceptions. It's subtle at first — in one scene we hear a cheery woman's voice from the television off-screen talking about how great it is to play with your friends in the sewer. Later, when Henry kills his father, the same host addresses him by name and encourages him to "kill them all!"
  • ABCs of Death 2 features this in the segment "W is for Wish", which consists of a Deconstructive Parody of action figure commercials that feature children ending up in the universe of the toyline to aid the heroes in fighting the villains. Two boys wish to help Prince Casio fight against the legions of Zorb, only to find themselves in a world where the heroes are slaughtered mercilessly by the villains, with the survivors held prisoner to be subjected to painful torture. One boy is reduced to a skeleton while the other ends up "rescued" by Fantasy Man, who may or may not have an impure interest in the boy.

  • Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book, by Shel Silverstein, written in classic children's-book style with Silverstein's characteristic art, is designed to help let all of Uncle Shelby's little friends get what they deserve. It contains ideas for fun activities like playing hopscotch with real scotch, and explanations of amazing things like how the friendly kidnapper has nice candy and a fast car and maybe if you tell him your daddy has a lot of money he will let you ride in his car!
  • A Teddy Bear who comes to life to help a little girl is about as childish a cliche as you can have. Unless you've read anything by Mercedes Lackey.
  • There's a book that looks like a children's picture book, has artwork like a children's picture book, and is written like a children's picture book, but it's called Go the Fuck to Sleep and is aimed at adults. Made even better by having freaking Samuel L. Jackson reading the audiobook. To make up for it, there is an actual children's version of the book called Seriously, Just Go to Sleep.
  • I Want My Hat Back is what appears to be a children's book about a bear looking for his hat. It ends in the bear murdering the rabbit to get his hat back.
  • Der Struwwelpeter (Shock-Headed Peter) is a series of poems featuring children who exhibit different vices such as picky eating or bad personal hygiene. All of the characters end up injured, sick or dead. There's also The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb, who gets his thumbs cut off as a punishment for, well you guessed it already. The book was written and illustrated in 1845 by the German psychiatrist Heinrich Hoffmann as a Christmas present for his 3-year-old son, as he deemed classic children's books "silly". Earning the "expected" results from his son, other parents pressured Hoffmann to publish the book, which he eventually did under the title "Funny Stories and Lovely Pictures for Children aged 3 to 6".
  • Inspector Pancakes Helps the President of France (Solve the White Orchid Murders), by Karla Pacheco and Maren Marmulla, is a parody children's book that subverts itself. The pictures and the large-print narration are about a cute dog detective who tracks down a Harmless Villain in Gay Paree, while the small-print narration tells a different story, that also fits with the pictures, about a furry-story-for-adults canine Cowboy Cop hunting a brutal and depraved serial murderer in full James Ellroy style.
  • The Ugly Barnacle, in what is possibly the bluntest way possible for such a short story. At first, it seems that the barnacle will be able to overcome its ugliness, only for said ugliness to prove to be so bad, that it kills everyone.
  • The Last Week Tonight produced book A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo plays with this trope. The book is a response to Marlon Bundo's A Day in the Life of the Vice President and the homophobia of Mike Pence. John Oliver goes on to say that the book is a legitimate children's book and not this trope, but by buying the book will piss off Pence.
    John: And let me be completely clear about this: This is actually a book for children! This is a real children's book. This isn't some adult book telling Mike Pence to go fuck himself. Although in buying it, that's exactly what you would be doing!

  • Lily Allen's "Alfie" is set in a brightly-colored house that looks like the set of a children's show, but is offset by a rude little hand puppet smoking joints, masturbating and generally being horrible.
  • The video for Will Young's "Who Am I?" digitally inserts him into a number of old children's shows, including Blue Peter.
  • Kate Nash's "Pumpkin Soup" is set in a children's TV set, with certain homages to Bewitched visible...
  • The set for the music video of Hard 'n Phirm's "Pi" is "Zap", which apes the TV show "Zoom".
  • The video for Lostprophets' "A Town Called Hypocrisy" features the band as characters in a parody of kids shows such as Playdays or Playbus called "Town Time", intercut with a debauched cast party.
  • Dizzee Rascal's "Dream" is a spoof of British children's shows in the 50's, with a miniature Dizzee interacting with puppets atop a piano, presided over by a grandmotherly looking woman.
  • Rather than a kid's show, Muse's "Invincible" featured the band on an amusement park ride obviously modeled after the It's a Small World ride. The ride shows a very abbreviated history of man, with an unsettling focus on wars; after the September 11 recreation, everything goes completely insane.
  • Serj Tankian's 'Empty Walls' video takes place at a day care (where he seems to perform) rather than an actual show. And then the little kiddies start acting out America's 'War on Terror' on each other..
  • Green Jello/Jelly's "Three Little Pigs" consists of a retelling of the classic fairy tale that features rather child-unfriendly elements, such as one of the pigs being implied to be a stoner and the song ending with the pigs hiring Rambo to gun down the Big Bad Wolf. The music video is even in stop-motion animation and features a brief glimpse of a woman sunbathing topless.
  • Inverted on Rob Zombie's I'm Your Boogieman music video for The Crow: City of Angels in which the framing device (a 1950's-esque children's show a la Ghoulardi) is relatively harmless compared with the bits of the movie and Rob Zombie singing...
  • Kanye West has pictures of TEDDY BEARS on his first three rap albums.
  • Primus's video for "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver" has them in kids-show appropriate cowboy costumes and animations of Winona with a pet beaver to lyrics like "Wynona loved her big brown beaver and she stroked it all the time." It was so well-executed that not even the kids caught on.
  • While Kunt and the Gang never fit the Depraved Kids' Show Host archetype, much of his music fits into this trope; examples include "Fucksticks" (about a phrase the singer and his late grandfather shouted whenever bad things happened to them), "Gentleman's Wash" (about how it's proper etiquette to wash one's genitals in the sink on the off-chance that the woman you date will want to fellate you), "I Was Pissed Out Of My Head" (where the singer mentions incidents where he injured or killed people while extremely drunk) and "Wank Fantasy" (where the singer talks about women in erotic situations he's fantasized about while masturbating), which sounds like The Wiggles' evil twins broke into their recording studio.
  • In Germany, The Smurfs song by Vader Abraham (Vader as in Dutch for "father", not the Star Wars one) is a popular target for this.
  • The Paul and Storm song "Epithets" is a Schoolhouse Rock-inspired tune (specifically, a pastiche of "Interjections") about the most common applications of shouting profanity.
    • Similarly, "Pirates and Emperors."
  • It's The Bad Ronald Show! (a.k.a. Bad Ronald's video for "Let's Begin")
  • The video for El-P's "The Full Retard" stars both El himself, and a Muppet who kills people (including a little girl!) and injects himself with heroin.
  • The video for Alice in Chains' "The Devil Puts Dinosaurs Here" revolves around one of these.
  • Imagine Dragons' video for "Radioactive" is kind of a live-action Darker and Edgier, Bloodier and Gorier Pokémon pastiche, with adorable fluffy Cartoon Creature monsters duelling in an apocalyptic cockfighting ring, surrounded by grimy criminals betting on them.
  • Miley Cyrus' performance at the 2013 VMAs used a lot of this as part of her Former Child Star persona. For instance, she showed up with her hair in two little childish topknots, and was wearing a teddy bear leotard — the teddy's face had bloodshot, unfocused eyes and was sticking its tongue out lasciviously. She also had teddy bear-costumed backup dancers, portrayed by twerking black women with big butts, while singing a song about partying on molly and coke. And that's just the start. In short, despite being a star marketed towards children for most of her career, her performance in that show absolutely should not be viewed by children. Or anyone else.
  • AWOLNATION's music video for "Kill Your Heroes" takes the form of three children watching a Mister Rogers' Neighborhood parody entitled Awol's Fun Time.
  • The music video for Mastodon's Deathbound is that a solar eclipse has caused everyone in Magicland to go Ax-Crazy while demons rise from the earth and aliens invade, destroying the world.
  • Melanie Martinez's work could best be described as Subverted Kid's Music. The songs' scores typically sound like lullaby-esque pop music, and with her cute outfits and song titles like "Dollhouse", "Tag, You're It", and "Milk and Cookies", a parent could plausibly mistake her for a children's entertainer. Except those songs typically have surprisingly crude lyrics, and even when they don't, the themes are often dark or mature. (The aforementioned songs alone are about a Stepford Smiler's dysfunctional family, a woman getting kidnapped, and the same woman killing her kidnapper, respectively.) The fact that her work runs on Ambiguous Innocence doesn't help.
  • Radiohead with "Burn the Witch", paying homage to both Camberwick Green and The Wicker Man.
  • Desiigner's "Timmy Turner" is more or less a Darker and Edgier The Fairly OddParents!.
  • The first few (English) lyrics in AronChupa's "I'm an Albatraoz" sound like a kid's story. Then "hoe" gets dropped...

    Puppet Shows 
  • Peter Jackson's Meet the Feebles is a Muppets-style musical comedy in which puppets have sex, do drugs, and commit mass murder with a machine gun.
  • In a similar vein: Team America: World Police, which was done as an Affectionate Parody of Thunderbirds.
  • The internet's weekly live broadcast The Funday Pawpet Show (once described as "The Muppets as they would be presented by Monty Python") has in big letters on its website THIS IS NOT A KID'S SHOW!
  • Wonder Showzen parodies Sesame Street and the like. Sketches have included a George W. Bush-inspired "Middle America" muppet castrating the cast, a sexual affair between the letter P Muppet and a pile-of-feces muppet, "interview" segments in which actual children "report" on various things out in the big wide world — and ask the folks there questions about their sex lives, and an entire episode parodying Hee Haw, packed full of offhand jokes glorifying domestic violence, inbreeding, and situational homosexuality.
    • What makes Wonder Showzen even more on the nose in terms of this trope is the fact that its original title actually was Kids Show.
  • Greg the Bunny is the result of someone asking "if puppets did live amongst us, what would it be like?" It follows the daily exploits of the writers and actors on a kid's show, but demonstrates how the puppets aren't kid-friendly behind the scenes. There's swearing, "anti-puppetism", drinking, and lots of sex.
    • The show's second pilot on IFC included strong implications that one of the cast members was a rapist.
  • The Sifl and Olly Show is a borderline example. While it does have sock puppets, songs and "educational" skits it was generally less interested in corrupting something pure than it was having fun with its own unique brand of weirdness.
  • Crank Yankers employs Muppet-type characters to enact prank telephone calls, which are usually of a decidedly non-family-friendly nature.
  • The German Freitag Nacht News did Bernie und Ert (later Bullzeye), which took the Ho Yay in Ernie and Bert and cranked it Up to Eleven. With darkrooms and gimps suits.
  • Mongrels, a BBC Three show about a bunch of urban puppet animals; swearing, sex, inbreeding and all sorts of unsavoury shenanigans.
  • Fur TV
  • Hale And Pace did a sketch of this once. Among the attractions were a counting game where they "took away" friends with a handgun, not to mention the letters of the day were... P! M! and T!
  • Tomorrow's Pioneers, a Palestinian show (specifically made by the radical Hamas group) where they indoctrinate kids to hate Israelis and become Suicide Bombers. Here, for example, is a video in which a Mickey Mouse clone named Farfour cheats on a school test, then blames it on Jews. Later, due to Disney threatening legal action, Farfour was killed by a member of Mossad (Israel's even-nastier version of the CIA), whom he calls a terrorist. Farfour was replaced by a bee named Nahool, who taught children not to abuse animals... by hitting cats and picking them up by their tails, and throwing stones at lions. Later, Nahool died of a disease when Israeli authorities refused to allow him passage to Jordan for surgery, and his replacement Assoud (a guy in a Bugs Bunny suit) was killed by Israeli bombing. The next presenters, Nassur and Sarara, managed to survive until the end of the program's run.
  • The Israeli version of Sesame Street, Rechov Sum Sum, is generally much milder in comparison, though it has featured Muppets as members of the Israeli Defense Force, and they make no bones about how they are packing mad heat.

    Stand-up Comedy 
  • George Carlin and Jack Burns did a skit called "Captain Jack and Jolly George", or what it would look like if a pair of beatnik hippies got their own kids' show. Needless to say, it's not really for children. And then George Carlin went and played "Mr. Conductor" on the American version of Shining Time Station. He then went on to do a stand-up routine on parenting (entitled "Fuck the Children") in which he tells parents "And remember, this is Mr. Conductor talking; I know what I'm talking about."
  • Robin Williams plays a Mr. Rogers-esque kiddie show host in a segment of one of his early stand-up specials. He puts a hamster in a microwave ("Pop goes the weasel!") to demonstrate to kids how "we're all going to die from radiation", much to the disgust of the show's director.

  • Dog Sees God is this trope applied to Peanuts. Somehow, teenaged Charlie Brown manages to suffer even more than he did as a kid.
  • The Avenue Q Broadway stage musical (origin of the infamous song "The Internet Is for Porn", among others), is a blatant parody of Sesame Street... with swearing, drinking, smoking, and sex. The writers have described it as "if Sesame Street taught adults how to live". Believe it or not, the show actually won three Tony awards: Best Score (Music & Lyrics), Best Book, and Best Musical.
    • Also, many cast and crew members were, at one point, in Muppet productions.
    • Also setting the show apart (and key to its success and acclaim) is that it doesn't run on pure cynicism or subversion. You actually care about the characters, and its ultimate life lessons (as found in "The Money Song" and "For Now") are actually uplifting pieces of advice.
    • This show just might be a subversion of a subversion... one of the creators said something to the effect of "What we're doing, we're not subverting Sesame Street at all. Sesame Street itself is a subversive show."
    • Brian Henson's Stuffed and Unstrung is an attempt to do this by the Jim Henson studio.

    Video Games 
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day. The game's original concept, Twelve Tales, would have been more appropriate to general audiences; however, after the gaming press accused Conker of being yet another cutesy Rare platformer in the vein of Banjo-Kazooie, Rare decided to completely rewrite the scenario to include more sex, violence, swearing and Toilet Humor. What it would have been can be seen in the GBC game Conker's Pocket Tales. In fact, the only thing that seems anything like the original Twelve Tales concept that's left in the game was the fire-farting dragon, which really isn't any worse than some of the jokes snuck past the radar in Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo Kazooie.
  • Eversion starts out as happy, colorful, smiley all around, and quickly begins turning into a big old pile of Nightmare Fuel with pools of blood, black clouds of death slowly engulfing the world, and those demon hands that start popping up out of nowhere!
  • The original Higurashi: When They Cry titles had graphics that looked very Super-Deformed and bright. If you ignore the intro and its implications of murder, the first several minutes of the novel looks like a typical Slice of Life visual novel about friendship and school, maybe a little harem mixed in. The series is a mystery-murder well-known for its Gorn and Nightmare Fuel.
  • The Reality Warper Peacock from Skullgirls lives this kind of life; thanks to cartoons negatively influencing her already tortured and unstable mind, she became a foul-mouthed, chain-smoking, highly dangerous thug who travels with an equally dangerous ensemble of living objects including an anvil and two bombs, and most of her attacks involve cartoony physics and gags that have a very realistic degree of killing power.
  • The character of Monokuma in Dangan Ronpa, a horrible, but hilarious scheming murderer, played in the Japanese version by the voice actress for Doraemon. The famous Let's Play of the game notes that Doraemon's voice virtually is childhood in Japan, and Japanese players invariably have a huge reaction as soon as Monokuma starts speaking. Tarako, The Other Darrin from Dangan Ronpa 3 onward, doesn't help with her most famous role being the titular character of Chibi Maruko-chan.
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine puts an interesting spin on this. The Bendy cartoons the plot revolves around are cute and family-friendly, with an old-fashioned rubber hose Disney style. However, in the studio, there's an actual Boris the Wolf, cut open and strapped to a table, and some toothy cartoon monstrosity (that resembles Bendy) comes after you while you're unable to escape.
  • Frog Fractions, at its outset, pretends to be a math-based Edutainment Game. The original premise rapidly disappears under successive waves of Gameplay Roulette and Mind Screw, and is barely a memory by the time the game becomes a porn business management sim.

  • One Order of the Stick features the Empire of Blood's grim version of an overcommercialized and over-hyped parade, including dark parodies of Sesame Street characters (Little Roc, Hurt & Burnie, etc). Inverted with Felix the Mensch, a benign counterpart to Oscar the Grouch.
  • Homestuck has an in-universe example with The Squiddles, a sickeningly-adorable cartoon that the kid protagonists remember. However, it turns out that the squiddles are actually humanity's subconscious representation of the Horrorterrors. This is especially apparent in the last song from the Squiddles album, "Let The Squiddles Sleep (Ending Theme)". You will never hear "LET'S BE TANGLE BUDDIES!" again without shivering.
  • Dolan comics are about Donald Duck, except he's Ax-Crazy and gruesomely kills/abuses other cartoon characters.
  • In Jen Babcock's C'est la Vie:
    • Dogsbody character Louis Lamoureux gets his big break into television — inside the Reading Rabbit costume, which, as the name implies, means he has to turn kids on to the magic of books by reading stories to them. But some of the kids have other ideas...
    • Similarly, in the very first couple of episodes of the comic, anti-heroine Mona Montrois establishes her character as a cynical snarker by getting sacked from a nursery teacher job. She tells the kids the fairy-tales as they originally were, short of froth, glamour and happy endings...
  • Captain SNES: The Game Masta, a web-based series that emulates Captain N: The Game Master and similar video-game themed shows of the late '80s.
  • Doobl at first looks like a fairly standard Christian webcomic (with lame yet frequent bible jokes), but when a Death by Newbery Medal storyline comes up, Neek tells Doobl that animals don't have souls. After reading the bible to verify, Doobl begins to degenerate in both faith and family-friendlyness. Soon, Doobl becomes a jerkass and starts spewing profanity. Humi, up until this point an exception to Reptiles Are Abhorrent, studies the bible in an attempt to save Doobl, only to become just like him. It goes From Bad to Worse the moment Humi discovers his penis...

    Web Original 
  • This is a major theme in YouTube Poop.
    • While kids' shows aren't the only thing used in YTP, they are one of the main things in it, and the comedic effect of editing things to sound vulgar is a lot more noticeable when the source material itself is for children. This is taken Up to Eleven by YTPs of edutainment shows like "Dr. Rabbit's World Tour."
    • A common theme is to apply Censored for Comedy to clips of perfectly innocuous kid's shows (most often Sesame Street), with no edits whatsoever besides the addition of Sound Effect Bleeps. The effectiveness varies, but in some cases it's astounding how filthy this one device alone can make a clip from a kid's show, with this clip of The Count singing about how much he loves to count being a prime example, and one of the few that works well without being a tiny fragment completely out of context.
  • Bert is EVIL!
  • Happy Tree Friends, features a lot of fluffy forest animals who all die incredibly violent deaths each episode. The official websites had labels reading "CARTOON VIOLENCE" and "not appropriate for children under 12" all over it back when it still had its own website, but there were still parents complaining about their six-year-olds stumbling upon it.
  • Retarded Animal Babies, which crosses the line twice as much with Gorn and porn. Sometimes, but not always, funnier.
  • An inversion, taking the very serious Watchmen and turning it into an 80s Saturday Morning Cartoon. Beware.
    • And the animation studio's slogan? "Touching your inner child"....
  • Newgrounds takes great pride in doing this. Pico vs. Bear parodies the famous Bear in the Big Blue House as a depraved drug abuser with a suspected history of child molestation.
  • Lemon Demon's Song of the Count (Censored).
  • Polish 3D animator Cyber 8. Nearly all of his videos involve beloved childhood cartoon characters being mulitated and sexually abused.
  • I'm on a Boat (Feat. Ponyo).
  • Doctor Steel's webisodes of The Dr. Steel Show are done in the style of kids shows but are quite subverted. Also his song, Smokey's Theme, ostensibly the theme song for a kid's show about a cigar-smoking trout who loves children.
  • The famous Candle Cove Creepypasta uses this as its premise, but utilises it more for shivers than laughs.
    • "Lost Episode" and "The Truth Behind [show]" creepypastas do the same thing, describing an episode with horrific Deranged Animation and putting forward theories that the characters are based off dead people respectively.
    • There are a few creepypastas that take a similar route as Candle Cove by using made-up shows (as apposed to existing shows), like Happy Appy.
  • LoadingReadyRun has a recurring gag where a Mr Roger's-like host is seen reading the end of a children's book and then giving a moral to the story such as "never go outside".
  • Brazilian Tumblr Porra, Maurício! gets panels from Monica's Gang and sees them as perverted content. Among the running gags are Jeremiah having a Gag Penis (as well as having him and Taka as Memetic Molesters), Bucky being Ambiguously Gay, and resident Big Eater Maggy being portrayed as a junkie. Though sometimes it's just "WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?" (such as this, where Chuck Billy's girlfriend Rosie Lee reveals somehow her face changed to Leonardo DiCaprio's — It Makes Sense in Context)
  • The webcomic Clarissa is about a little girl living with her happy, seemingly perfect, family. It appears to be nothing that you wouldn't see in a newspaper or on a kids network. It just happens that everyone is a Stepford Smiler and that her father rapes her at night. It's played for laughs. The darkest laughs ever.
  • From CollegeHumor: "ConquistaDora the Explorer". ConquistaDora teaches children how to enslave and conquer the tribes of the new world for the royal kingdom of Spain.
  • Don't Hug Me I'm Scarednote  starts off like a kid show, with a talking notepad singing to some puppets about being creative. It goes downhill from there and ends with the puppets doing art projects with and cutting up a cake made from human organs, and painting the word "DEATH". The last line of the song, appropriately enough, is "Now let's all agree to never be creative again". The second video has the puppets learning about time, before learning that eventually, everyone runs out of it as they slowly rot alive. The sequels also play around with the concept, and later episodes are more disturbing than the earlier ones.
  • The SCP Foundation plays host to SCP-993, a cartoon show called "Bobble the Clown" broadcast by an unknown station. Anyone over the age of ten suffers a splitting headache and falls unconscious when trying to watch the show; anyone under the age of ten is subject to watching Bobble teaching them how to do horrible things, like kidnap an ordinary suburbanite and cook his flesh, stalk and murder a London woman, or torture a prisoner of war. Alarmingly enough, Bobble is aware that the SCP Foundation is trying to keep his show from being broadcast, and has produced an episode showing kids how to release several of the Foundation's more dangerous specimens and murder the researchers keeping him contained.
  • The "Counting Song" by Adam Buxton begins like a song teaching numbers to young children and suddenly turns in an increasingly desperate rant against the life of an adult.
  • Done a few times on Homestar Runner:
    • The Strong Bad Email kids' book has Strong Bad "write a children's book." Which means he steals a book called "Everyone Is Different" from his brother and turns things like "Some people are very tall. Quincy is very tall." into "Some people are very tall and merciless. Quincy is destroying San Antonio" with a black Sharpie.
    • Another Strong Bad Email suggests that Strong Bad get his own children's show. He then explains why he's not 'cut out for that kind of sugarjob.'
      Strong Bad: The Cheat is behind the freakin' box! (Record Needle Scratch) He's behind the box!! I'll kill ya! I'll kill all your dogs!!!
      (cut back to Strong Bad in front of the Compy)
      Strong Bad: So, you can see how that might be less than pleasant. What with all the letter writing and the angry mothers and the subsequent stringing me up in town square for all to see.
    • One of the shorts released as "Decemberween in July" has Strong Bad giving the same treatment he did to "Everyone is Different" to a holiday-themed kids' book called "That Time Of Year".
    Old Version: Greta is making cookies. When will they be done?

    Strong Bad: Greta is feeding the mouse bug spray. When will he be done for?
  • Uncle Ray's House IS a fictional show that would be appropriate for little ones. But there's a Twist Ending that makes this innocent video this trope.
  • Gold Digger creator Fred Perry did an animation of the "You Are a Pirate" song from LazyTown that was filled to the brim with sexual innuendoes. Needless to say, it's kind of NSFW.
  • Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy includes one episode where Wile E. Coyote finally kills that Roadrunner. And then has an identity crisis as he doesn't know what to do with his life after that.
  • This is the central element in the "Almighty Loaf" meme, which takes a talking loaf of bread from a direct-to-video Christian-themed children's show, and turns it into a demonic harbinger of evil who speaks with the voice of the Lord of Darkness himself:
  • Magical Dream Bed.
  • There are plenty of online fan works that take children's cartoons and turn them into this, be it fan art or fan fiction or even a video. Whether it's played for laughs or for horror/tragedy varies.
  • Fuwa Fuwa Foof, an original concept by ExtraordinaryCircus on YouTube. It's the story of an adorable bunny named Foof. Who used to be a gang leader. She pulled a Heel–Face Turn, but her old cohorts (Giri Giri and Kiri Kiri) are trying to get her back into her former life of crime and debauchery. On top of that, there's the song in the opening, "Chu Chu Lovely Muni Muni Mura Mura Purin Purin Boron Nurururerorero" by Maximum the Hormone; not only is it deceptive by starting of like a soft, cutesy pop-rock tune then turning metal a few seconds in, but the full song is actually about rape, kidnapping, pedophilia, and is often interpreted as a commentary on the sexualization of minors in anime.
  • This trope is present in many of the Scientifically Accurate videos, which take children's media, a lot of them starring anthropomorphic animals, and tear them apart by demonstrating what the shows would be like if they were way more realistic. Results are often violent, nauseating, and/or NSFW. One particularly sickening example is Scientifically Accurate CatDog, which portrays the titular characters as a cat and a dog surgically grafted together by an insane surgeon to present as a show idea to an extremely unflattering take-off of Nickelodeon called Nickelodious.
  • The journalist and blogger Mr Moth created a series of Twitter posts "Today on Octonauts...", a series of plot synopses from a very different version of The Octonauts. In this version, Kwaazi is a Felinoid Abomination, Shellington is an Apocalypse Cultist, Barnacles can only barely keep his carnivorous instincts under control, Tweak has become some kind of invisible spirit, Professor Inkling is a Mad Scientist, Peso is an Action Survivor, and the Vegimals are a Slave Race and occasional food source. (Dashi ... is also there.) Even the episodes that aren't following the Cosmic Horror Story arc have descriptions like "Today on Octonauts, during a two-day party, the gang accidentally kill a narwhal and have a torrid time covering it up when the cops arrive".
  • The Japanese video "Pokopokopikotan" is basically this trope in a nutshell. It starts off with two girls who wouldn't look out of place in a preschooler-aimed show, running around and playing in their brightly colored world. Then a human hand appears and starts corrupting the world a bit, and things only get worse from there...
  • Louder With Crowder: They parodied political messaging aimed at children by depicting kid's shows such as Sesame Street, Winnie-the-Pooh, and The Flintstones propagating banning knives to combat terrorism, paranoia about rape culture, and gender being completely divorced from biology.

    Western Animation 
  • Tex Avery: At the start of the Screwy Squirrel cartoon "Screwball Squirrel" we see a lovely forest scene and a cute squirrel picking up acorns. Then Screwy Squirrel appears and asks him what kind of picture this is going to be? The squirrel says it will be about him and his "cute, furry friends in the forest", whereupon Screwy groans "Oh, no, not that!" and takes him behind a tree where he beats him up.
  • Many Hanna-Barbera cartoons turned into [adult swim] ones, such as Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law and Sealab 2021.
  • Also from [adult swim], Moral Orel, which is based on Leave It to Beaver with the art style of Davey and Goliath.
  • The show Robot Chicken breathes and lives in this trope. It would take at least half a page to list children's shows that it "corrupted".
  • G.I. Joe: Resolute, that aired on Adult Swim, is a rather rare serious-minded example of this trope. To be more specific, it took the no-blood, nobody dies G.I. Joe and took things more seriously, named characters dying and Vipers being slaughtered by the dozens.
  • Krusty the Clown from The Simpsons tends to accidentally follow this trope. Usually he is seen smoking on air or making sarcastic comments about stuff, not caring about the children's well being. Then again, he does show Itchy and Scratchy...
    Krusty: Hey Hey, kids! Watch my show and I'll send you this book featuring me in a variety of sexually explicit positions.
    (Krusty is being dragged off by executives)
    Krusty: What? Hey! It's not really me; I used a stunt butt!
    • Bart even has the Krusty the Klown Home Pregnancy Test.note 
    • In the episode "White Christmas Blues", Krusty mentions that he's always drunk or high when The Itchy and Scratchy Show is on. When he finally watches an episode sober, he's horrified and kills the feed.
  • The Itchy & Scratchy Show is a parody of cartoon violence, most notably from The Golden Age of Animation, by making it extremely gory in a way that would never be permitted on air for actual children in our universe.
  • Family Guy will do this in their "cutaway gags", sometimes featuring kids shows and other material often associated with juvenile audiences.
    • One example would be when Elmer Fudd not only successfully shooting Bugs Bunny (to bloody effect), but watching as the hare writhes in agony before snapping his neck.
    • Also, the time when Sesame Street and Homicide: Life on the Street melded together to bring something with graphic adult situations and brought to you by the letter H.
    • One of the most noticeable would be when the show had a Cold Open of Stewie destroying Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in a dream sequence. Even though the dream Rogers still got the last laugh, it's one of the few gags in the show's history that Seth MacFarlane has openly apologized for.
  • The pilot episode of the Black Dynamite animated series features a thinly-veiled parody of Sesame Street that had fallen into crime and disrepair, with the Kermit the Frog equivalent manipulating children to give him money.
  • The Beetlejuice episode "Uncle B.J.'s Roadhouse" was a parody of Pee-wee's Playhouse.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • There's the episode "Neighbor Hood", about a children's TV show host who entreats his young viewers to send the show "happy paper" from their parents' wallets to keep the show's stars alive and happy (a nod to what Soupy Sales pulled in the early 60s on his kids' show). This season 5 episode was originally planned for the first season but the staff feared a lawsuit from Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers' Neighborhood) as it paralleled his show a bit too closely. It was given to DC Comics as issue #7, "Remote Controlled," and then refurbished as this episode.
    • The original prototype short was this. "The Whoopass Girls" was never meant to be a kids show yet is drawn in the same little girl show inspired style, with a kids show narrator, as the show proper.
  • Triptank is an animated Sketch Comedy show that loves pulling this with some sketches starting out rather harmless and cutesy and then someone gets slighted and...let's just say retribution ends in blood and death the majority of the time.
  • Rick and Morty:
    • The series does this in "Rixty Minutes", where interdimensional TV shows include a Lucky Charms parody commercial featuring zombie-like children gruesomely disemboweling the Lucky expy, and a somewhat cruder version of Garfield.
    • In "Total Rickall", an episode about parasites that plant memories in your mind to convince you to give them your trust to take over planets, Summer's imaginary friend, Tinkles, turns out to be an alien parasite. She is shot with a laser and turned into a dead alien.
  • South Park:
  • Pib and Pog is a Self-Parody by Aardman Animations, featuring two cute claymation creatures in a pre-school children's show that rapidly descends into them committing tit-for-tat acts of graphic ultraviolence on each other.
  • Purno de Purno, another series from VPRO (see the Live-Action TV folder above). With characters such as the "Kietelaar" (a Dutch word for clitoris), politically incorrect gags about sex, homosexuality and bodily functions, political commentary and very suggestive imagery. Most likely Dutch TV shows back then were very good and Moral Guardians feared that they would get flamed if they attacked those shows so they flamed anime instead. Incidentally, Hans Peter Wessels, the person who created Purno de Purno, would create another Subverted Kids Show in 2002 called Ffukkie Slim.
  • Scooby-Doo of all shows has one in the form of ScoobyNatural. Despite the franchise having gone into dark places before, and having the same art style as some of the later entries, this is not a kid-friendly episode due to its swearing, and much gorier violence. The fact it's a crossover with the clearly adult Supernatural adds to this.

     Real Life 
  • For a brief period, American television showed the Brazilian children's show with its blond host "Xuxa". It had beautiful young women scantily clad as toy soldiers doing flips.