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Age-Inappropriate Art

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"Good LORD. On one hand, I must commend you for the creativity behind these death sequences. You've got quite the imagination. On the other hand, this is an elementary school assignment, is it not? I've never met your teacher, but I can't imagine her responding positively to something so... gruesome. At the very least, it'll earn you a direct ticket to the school guidance counselor."

Age Inappropriate Art is when a teen/child either sings a song or has a skit or is involved in some other performance that could be considered not suitable for someone so young. Normally Played for Laughs, e.g in a Subverted Kids' Show. Subdivision of Troubling Unchildlike Behavior. Compare Age-Inappropriate Dress, where a character is wearing something that doesn't fit their age. If it's an adult suggesting it, then it's Corruption of a Minor. See also From the Mouths of Babes. Related to Music/Age Dissonance which covers In-Universe examples of children listening to or singing unsuitable songs.

For when the child draws scary art, see Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book. When a child takes in art that's not appropriate for them, see Entertainment Above Their Age.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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

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


    Comic Strips 
  • Subverted in Calvin and Hobbes:
    • When Calvin buys a record from a band whose songs "glorify depraved violence, mindless sex, and the deliberate abuse of dangerous drugs". When Hobbes predict Calvin's mom throwing a fit, Calvin tosses the record in the trash- keeping the sleeve for the artwork- since that's the main reason he got it.
    • Calvin asks his mother for money so he can buy a Satan-worshiping, suicide-advocating metal album. She explains to him that they're Only in It for the Money, which is enough to put him off the idea.
    Calvin's Mom: Calvin, the fact that these bands haven't killed themselves in ritual self-sacrifice shows that they're just in it for the money like everyone else. It's all for effect. If you want to shock and provoke, be sincere about it.
    Calvin: Mainstream commercial nihilism can't be trusted?!

    Fan Works 
  • In the South Park fan fiction "The 9th Grade Blues," Emily tries this and fails horribly. A few of the other kids, on the other hand...
  • In The Loud House Rule 63 fanfic One Girl with Ten Brothers, the six-year-old Lexx auditions for the Royal Woods Community Theater's Talent Night by tap-dancing and singing "Turn It Off" from All About Mormons! during Chapter 19. They turn him down.
    Lexx: (pissed off) They said it was "vulgar". They wanna know vulgar, they should try listening to the song the Ugandans sing! They wouldn't know humor if it slapped them across the face!
    Lane: You'll get over it.
    Loki: That musical is not for kids, anyway.
  • The page quote is from the Deviantart fanfiction "The Sad Little Girl," where Lisa provides constructive criticism commentary for a creative writing assignment of Lucy's. Lucy, who is eight but has a taste for the grimmer things in life—and in death—writes a story where a girl who may be an Author Avatar casts dark spells on her bullies, turning their blood to molasses that clogs up and blows up their hearts, their guts to snakes who eat their bodies, and their bones to glass that shatters and kills them. Keep in mind, this is a writing assignment for second or third grade. What makes this even more bizarre is that Lisa is a Child Prodigy who is four years younger than her.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright, the young Crissy sings a song at the talent show named "Homewrecker". It has lyrics which begin with "Stay away from my man, homewrecker/Nobody comes between me and my man" and is about how she will beat up anyone who tries to get near her boyfriend.
    Velma: For a girl her age, that song seems a little...extremely inappropriate.
    Fred: Yeah.
    Daphne: Very extremely.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Through Fist Fight teacher Campbell's daughter Ally is looking forward to his help in her talent show performance. It's a song and dance routine set to an uncensored "I Don't Fuck with You" by Big Sean, directed at Ally's bully Trisha. Her father notes that while he's proud he's pretty sure she's getting expelled for that stunt.
  • In Little Miss Sunshine, Olive performs a striptease at a beauty pageant to the song "Super Freak", complete with moves her grandpa taught her for the routine. Everybody but her family, the possible-pedophile in the audience, and the actual beauty pageant winner acting as a judge is mortified by how it highlights the objectification of all the young girls.
  • Parodied to hilarious extent in Bad Grandpa, complete with Johnny Knoxville (disguised as an old man) appearing on stage to shower the kid with dollar bills. This time, the audience's horrified reaction was 100% genuine.
  • In Rushmore, one of the plays Max puts on at his high school is a stage adaptation of Serpico, complete with gun-waving and bags of drugs.
  • Donnie Darko: The local New Age Guru MCs an event where Sparkle Motion, a dance troupe made up of elementary school girls, perform pop songs en masse in heavy makeup and skimpy clothes. The parents love it. Turns out he's a pedophile. In an ironic twist, one of the local Moral Guardians is both his staunchest defender and a big booster of the trouple.
  • In Jersey Girl, the main character and his daughter have to do a scene from a musical at a school pageant. Everyone, everyone else does "Memory" from Cats. The scene they do? "God That's Good", the human meat-pie making song from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The crowd's reaction is at least half the joke.
  • In The Addams Family, Uncle Fester helps Wednesday and Pugsley rig up some High-Pressure Blood effects for their Hamlet scene at the school talent show. By the time they're done the first two rows of the audience are soaked in the (hopefully) fake blood. Of course, they are Addamses, therefore they see nothing wrong with this.
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life has a song where many children (ranging from five to sixteen) sing about how the Catholic religion doesn't believe in artificial contraception, the title and chorus of the song being "Every Sperm is Sacred".
  • In The End, Wendell (Burt Reynolds) goes to see his daughter (Kristy MacNichol) at her school, or gym, and finds her entertaining her peers with a dance routine Wendell would think belongs here.
  • The All I want for Christmas Is You performance from Love Actually is dangerously close.
  • Mean Girls:
    • One of the scenes has Regina's kid sister dancing to "Milkshake" by Kelis.
    • Cady and the Plastics (under the name "Santa's Helpers" in sexy Santa outfits) do a flirtatious dance to "Jingle Bell Rock" at their high school talent contest. Cady's parents are quite weirded out, while Regina's mother starts dancing in the audience.
  • What's the Matter with Helen? has a sequence with a children's recital for Adelle's students. One of them - who can't be older than ten - performs a Mae West routine!
  • Cuties:
    • Possibly the entire point as the girls are shown not only dancing way too maturely for kids of their age, but the songs they dance to also contain explicit lyrics, some of which are initiating sex with other people.
    • Amy watches a very sexualized video of black women in a music video that, of course, contains a lot of twerking towards the camera. She does this in the middle of an Islamic praying circle underneath her hijab so she could watch in secret.
  • 7 year old Tommy Bond belting out the torch song "Just Friends, Lovers No More" in the 1933 Our Gang short Mush and Milk, with appropriately shocked expressions from the rest of the gang.

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

    Live-Action TV 
  • There was an episode of Dance Fever where a girl of about 6 lip-synced and danced to Madonna's "Like a Virgin".
  • Arrested Development:
    • In one episode Michael and his niece Maeby are doing karaoke together and pick the first song on the playlist to sing. Unfortunately it is "Afternoon Delight", which has very suggestive lyrics, especially given Maeby's age, something Michael to his horror realizes just a bit too late. Later, Michael's sister Lindsay and his son George Michael also sing the song together (they're interrupted before either of them can come to the same realization as Michael though).
    • The side character Warden Gentiles is repeatedly seen through the series working on a screenplay based on his own experiences. In one episode, Gentiles decides to stage-test said screenplay by convincing his granddaughter's teacher to set it up as a school play. Of course, Gentiles never considers to tone down his script about running a prison, to hilarious results:
      Boy Gentiles: I understand you've been causing problems.
      Boy Inmate: Nobody sells any coke in this pen without daddy getting a taste.
      Boy Gentiles: Beat him with a pillow case full of batteries!
  • A lot of Saturday Night Live characters and sketches have had this over the decades it's been on the air. The third episode Scarlett Johansson hosted featured a sketch about up-and-coming child actresses (played by Johansson and feature player Vanessa Bayer) performing monologues and famous scenes from movies that aren't for children, such as Brokeback Mountain, The Color Purple (1985), A Few Good Men, and On the Waterfront.
  • On Head of the Class, the students were putting on a production of Hair and a discussion of the Nude Scene came up. Mr. Moore resolved it. First he said that "all the people who think we should do the nude scene stand over here, and all the people who don't think we should do the nude scene stand over here," thus separating the boys from the girls. Then he said, "OK, those of you who want the nude scene - get naked!" The boys then decided they didn't want to do the scene.
  • Similarly, there's an off-screen performance of Hair ("'Black Boys Are Delicious' was quite well-done!") and an on-screen performance of Salome by elementary school kids on Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place.
  • Children in talent contests are not unknown for doing this:
    • On the Spanish version of The Voice Kids, La Voz Kids, a young girl sung "Cake By The Ocean", which is an Intercourse with You song (its chorus is a synonym for "sex on the beach").
    • Minipops: How's this for a show concept? It's on a mainstream channel at teatime, and features the hit songs of recent years being sung by prepubescent children in costumes copied from the original artists and full makeup. Said hit songs include "Nine to Five" by Sheena Easton, in which the singer relates how hard her husband works, but then she's cooked him dinner and they have sex. British television, Channel 4, early 1980s. In fact, it was cancelled after six episodes because of this.
  • Several episodes of the current revival of Beverly Hills, 90210 centered around high school students preparing a production of the musical Spring Awakening, a play that includes a semi-explicit not-very-consensual love-making scene, masturbation, a gay kiss, a child-on-child beating scene, a parent-on-child beating scene, and a song all about incestual sexual abuse.
  • One episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide had Ned accidentally painting an orange naked lady in art class.
  • All of Wonder Showzen.
  • Tosh.0 came up with a novel way to get around Standards and Practices and still show Famous Awful Internet Porn Clips: Disturbingly adorable reenactments with kids.
    Daniel Tosh: The great thing about doing this thing in Hollywood is that there is no shortage of awful parents who'll let their kids do anything for a SAG card.
  • On one episode of The Cosby Show, Rudy walked around singing along to a song with lyrics something like, "We're gonna do it all night long, I want you to do me". Cliff asks her if she knows what "it" is, and Rudy says that "it" is kissing and holding hands. Cliff decides to tell her that "it" means doing homework.
  • On Copper, former pre-teen prostitute Annie sings a very inappropriate rendition of "Mary Had A Little Lamb", much to the horror of the woman who took her in.
  • One of the sketches from The Whitest Kids U' Know had a young kid by the name of Kevin showing his parents a simplistic but... rather phallic picture that he named Saggy Sammy. The parents are horrified, until he innocently clarifies that it's an elephant, to which they then see what he intended. After much debate, they let him post it on the refrigerator door for a party as long as he writes the word "ELEPHANT" on top of the paper. He then shows his parents a picture he made of a "Fairy Castle"...which is unmistakably a picture of a woman pleasuring herself, for which the parents angrily send him to his room.
  • On one episode of black•ish, Jack sings the uncensored version of "Gold Digger" for a school talent show. This leads to a discussion on N-Word Privileges. His sister, for her part, laments that she told him to sing the radio edit.
  • One episode of Grounded for Life sees Sean fighting Lily's teacher because Lily and her friends want to perform "Hey Big Spender" (which is officially about taxi-dancing, but the lyrics suggest otherwise) for their Catholic-school talent show.
  • In the Supernanny episode, "The Amouri Family", it is revealed that 4-year-old Hayley listens to gangster rap on her mom's MP3 player. When Jo finds out, this is one of the things she confronts the parents, Tamara and Michael, about.
  • Inverted, in The Red Green Show with one running theme being Harold and other teenagers happily consuming violent and sexually explicit material that most of the older men find off-putting.

  • Kidz Bop is a series of albums featuring hit songs being sung by children. The songs chosen apparently weren't screened carefully beforehand, as many feature mature themes and lyrics. In fact, there are so many of these that Kidz Bop has its own page. Some singers catch on to this, however. Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy refused to greenlight a cover of "Dance Dance", due to it being inappropriate.
  • The Canadian equivalent of Kidz Bop, the Minipop Kids, has covered several songs that Kidz Bop thought were too explicit to attempt, such as "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga, "Bang Bang" by Jessie J, and "We Can't Stop" by Miley Cyrus. They also tend to be more lenient in their editing than Kidz Bop, leading to the kids saying some shockingly risque things.
  • Depending upon one's personal morality standards, there have been cases of under-18 singers performing songs about issues far beyond what some might consider a 14, 15, 16, etc. year-old to have knowledge or experience with. In recent years, such criticism has been leveled against performers such as Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears, but similar complaints were aimed back in the 1960s at singers such as Annette Funicello and Lesley Gore, too.
  • Unfortunately too common in Visual Kei as a result of a confluence of factors: artist or fan parents often being outsiders to "normal" society anyway in some way or other, Japanese culture being far less likely to freak out about a kid saying something "dirty" or "inappropriate" or even sexual or violent and more likely to treat it as a joke, and fan or artist parents who want a kid to share the interest sometimes letting them be around people they shouldn't and see stuff they shouldn't too early. As a result, there are too many covers of Visual Kei songs most Westerners would freak out at even a 13 year old knowing if they knew the lyrics.
    • One of the worst is the three year old covering "Rocket Dive" by hide. The song is primarily about Intercourse with You, including a description of climaxing onto someone's chest.
    • Possibly in an attempt to avert this from happening (and make more money), some bands have released non-vocal instrumental tracks of "inappropriate" songs. Which works for those Visual artist and fan parents that have, say, a young guitarist or drummer or bassist. Not so much for those who want to show off their kid's vocal skills.
  • Deliberately done in music videos for The Shins and Serj Tankian: A school pageant about Joan of Arc, Conquistadors, and the Donner party; kids playing at The War on Terror, and one with little kids dressed as and lip-syncing Notorious BIG and Co.
  • Subway to Sally's Julia und die Räuber, sung by a little girl:
    Blut, Blut, Räuber saufen Blut
    Raub und Mord und Überfall sind gut.
    Hoch vom Galgen klingt es
    Hoch vom Galgen klingt es
    Raub und Mord und Überfall sind gut.
    Blood, blood, bandits drink blood
    Robbery and murder and ambushing are good
    High from the gallows it rings
    High from the gallows it rings
    Robbery and murder and ambushing are good
  • Chiaki Ishikawa's song "House" is about an adult looking back nostalgically at their carefree childhood. One of the verses is about singing and laughing at a song with their friends, despite not understanding half the words in it.
  • The Sia music videos for "Chandelier" and "Elastic Heart" have run into controversy due to this trope. The dancing by itself isn't inappropriate (it's just interpretive dance), but the fact that the dancer, pre-teen Maddie Ziegler, is doing it in skin-colored clothes, is what caused people to think twice. The "Elastic Heart" video has it worst because it contains the girl in a cage with Shia LaBeouf, who is shirtless and also wearing skin-colored shorts. It doesn't help that the video is incredibly vague on what it's about. Some interpret it as being about a daughter dealing with an addicted or depressed father, while others think it's about a single dad whose daughter is entering adolescence, but those are just unofficial interpretations.
  • The video for Alison Gold's "Shush Up" generated controversy due to how the then eleven year old singer was depicted in it. Gold was shown wearing full makeup and two skimpy metallic outfits consisting of crop tops and hot pants as well as platform boots with one. Gold also appears alongside male and female Fanservice dancers, is seen performing borderline inappropriate dance moves and there is a sequence implying her suicide by jumping from a building. Not to mention taking part in a jewel store robbery, being arrested at gun point and finally being executed in an electric chair. The entire train wreck can be seen here.
  • Serge Gainsbourg sailed very close to the wind, even for laissez-faire 1980's France, with "Lemon Incest", a duet with his then twelve year old daughter Charlotte. The video features the pair in close proximity on a large bed, with Serge shirtless and Charlotte in just a short sleeved shirt and underwear. At one point Charlotte performs a Leg Cling on her father. The entire video just gives off extreme feelings of Squick and if anything the lyrics are even squickier, featuring lines such as "I love you more than anything, Daddy" and "Love that we will never do together, is the most beautiful."
  • Eminem:
    • Similarly to Serge Gainsbourg above, also put his daughter on some of his songs, including having her (as a toddler) babble happily in a song about disposing of the corpse of her mother, and having her cheer on his lyrical chainsaw and chastise him for swearing on the Vulgar Humor song "My Dad's Gone Crazy". In 2003, he had her diss Ja Rule, which caused her mother, who he'd been getting back together with at the time, to leave him due to him irresponsibly using his child in a beef with a Gangsta Rapper who had shooters. In his book The Way I Am, Eminem showed a lyric sheet of an unrecorded song in which he was going to have his daughter yell "kiss my ass!" at her dad's haters, which he felt had been "a bad idea".
    • One of Eminem's main subjects in his Persona Trilogy albums is the idea that little kids are listening to his obscene music and being corrupted by it. He somewhat retired this conceit later when he realised his legacy had been more positive than anything, although on Kamikaze he suggests that he may have had a malign musical influence.
  • This performance of a six-year-old girl performing her own heavy metal song at America's Got Talent.
  • MILGRAM: Like other characters, 12-year-old Amane Momose sings a Cover Version of a DECO*27 song ("Animal") that leans more into her themes than the song's actual subject, namely breaking her "good girl" image and going feral, but it raises a few eyebrows because the song is rife with innuendo.

    Video Games 
  • Very possible in the The iDOLM@STER franchise. The group of Idol Singers the player manages in the mainline games includes college aged girls all the way down to 12 year olds, and some of the songs available to sing are definitely not suitable for the latter. Most infamous is the song "Agent Yoru o Yuku", which is about a male prostitute. Also inverted since you can also make the adult idols sing very childish songs like "Visionary". The mobile spinoff games have even younger and older idols, but only have one recording per song (with a few exceptions) so you can't actually hear idols sing songs that weren't written for them. However, you can still evoke this as idols instead dance and lipsync to songs that aren't theirs. Therefore, in for instance, SideM you can have the oldest idol in the entire franchise, 32 year old Michio Hazama, lipsync to kiddie songs meant for 9 year Kanon Himeno.
  • Amy Rose's theme in Sonic Adventure changes her from a Smitten Teenage Girl to a Hormone-Addled Teenager. The lyrics have a rather sensual tone to them that makes them sound like an Intercourse with You song, especially when the singer whispers lyrics like "Makes me want to be his specialty". Amy is only twelve.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • South Park being South Park has done this for laughs a lot:
    • Butters' song "What What (in the Butt)" to the Nativity scene with a graphic birth scene.
    • When Cartman became a Christian Rock singer he had one God Is Love Song parody that was very sexual sounding.
    • One of the best is Cartman doing a monologue from Scarface.
    • When the boys form a Boy Band, they call it "Fingerbang".
      Stan: Dude, what does "Fingerbang" mean?
      Cartman: It's when you make a gun with your hands and go "bang", dude.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The "Lisa's Pony" episode had one kid performing "My Ding-a-Ling" as part of a talent show. He got yanked off stage.
    • "C.E. D'oh" had Homer/Marge's and Maggie's tapes switched, so the adults are listening to a lullaby, and Maggie dancing to Tom Jones' "Sex Bomb".
    • In "Dude, Where's My Ranch?", Marge comments that ever since the Simpsons started staying at the ranch, the kids are acting like teenagers, pointing out to Homer that Maggie is dancing to Britney Spears.
  • Hey Arnold!: The episode "Helga's Parrot" has Helga write a poem about Arnold that contains the most blatant sexual reference in the series, and she's only nine years old! It also doesn't help that in the same episode she accidentally sees Arnold naked, falls over and softly moans in a manner similar to an orgasm.
    "Arnold, my love, my sultry preteen. Why must I hold you only whilst I dream? Will I be forever enslaved by your spell? Why must I worship you and never ever tell? Arnold you make my girlhood tremble, my senses all go whacky. Someday I'll tell the world my love... Or my name's not Helga G. Pataki."
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks:
    • The Chipettes (who don't seem older than middle schoolers, but might even be as young as eight in Alvin and the Chipmunks) are prone to this in combination with Age-Inappropriate Dress. They're also prone to doing somewhat risque dance moves. This was toned down heavily starting with the CGI films. The most infamous song The Chipettes have sung is "Get Lucky" from The Chipmunk Adventure. It's most likely about going on a date, but the fact they sing it to a bunch of (phallic) snakes in Sultry Belly Dancer clothing doesn't help the Intercourse with You implications. Another example was when they sang "Proud Mary"; their attire wasn't too inappropriate but their dancing was.
    • While not too mature, both the Chipmunks and the Chipettes sing a lot of love songs that are more suited for older singers.
  • Phineas and Ferb has a few songs of this nature. One is "Gitchee Gitchee Goo", which has sexual sounding lyrics (the chorus literally contains the lyrics "Bow-chicka-bow-wow"). It was sung by the ambiguously nine to thirteen Phineas and the teenage Candace. To make it worse, they're siblings.
  • In the The Loud House episode "Potty Mouth", it's revealed that Lisa likes rapping and dancing to songs not suitable for 4-year-old children, and because she and her infant sister Lily share a room, Lisa worries she might have been a bad influence on her. She attempts to be a good influence on her by rapping a Blarney the Dinosaur song.
  • 8-year old Riley from The Boondocks and its original comic is a huge fan of explicit rap songs.
  • One episode of The Proud Family has Penny and her friends putting on a performance that involved wearing outfits that are disturbingly revealing for their age. Penny's mom praises the performance but forbids her from wearing the outfit again.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Sarah's art in "The Comic" has a lot of fanservice centered on Laserheart, who is very obviously based on Gumball.