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Demographically Inappropriate Humour

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Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny find a more interesting way to pass the time during Acme Loo's film festival.
There are certain expectations and rules, both written and unwritten, about what's "acceptable" in works aimed at children. Some works aim to push these boundaries, often as a way to gain notoriety or attract a Periphery Demographic. While what exactly counts as inappropriate can vary within different cultures, there are a few things that almost always count as Demographically Inappropriate Humor:
  • Sexual References: Usually disguised. Visual Innuendo, G-Rated Sex, Sexual Euphemisms, Double Entendre, LOL, 69, and the like are used in humor to make sexual references that the Target Audience won't understand, but would make their parents chuckle. This can also include Parent Service, mild sexuality thrown in for adult audiences. Outright nudity is a bit of a tricky one: Child nudity is generally not considered an issue in Japan, nor is non-sexual nudity in general in Europe, but all of these would be considered inappropriate for children in an American work.
  • Drugs and Alcohol: While drugs sometimes show up in Scare 'Em Straight works for younger audiences with a Drugs Are Bad message, suggesting that Stoners Are Funny is generally off limits, but some works manage to sneak in drug jokes, such as 420, Blaze It, anyway. This is generally achieved through I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin! and its subtropes. Alcohol, like nudity, is culturally sensitive — some cultures censor it in kids' media (and even all media in some Islamic countries as alcohol is considered haramnote ), while others are fine with it.
Some things may seem "naughty", but are routinely found in kids' media and do
not count as Demographically Inappropriate Humor.
  • Toilet Humour: It may be gross, but children love it and it's a staple of kids' media, especially those aimed at very young children who might be struggling with toilet training.
  • Chaste Romance: Girls may have cooties, but childish crushes, gestures of affection between parents, or innocent romance between single adults is generally not considered objectionable for kids. Of course, what counts as "chaste" is culturally variable; references to gay people might be considered Demographically Inappropriate Humor in some contexts, and some cultures forbid kissing to be shown.
  • Swearing: This is a tricky one. Expletives that are allowed to be said more than once in PG-media include swears like "damn", "hell", "crap", & "bitch" respectively, and the Swear Word Plot has been included several times in kids' media. But it's still possible for children's works to push the boundaries of what's accepted. Other swear words, however, are hardly ever used in children's works, and therefore count for this trope.
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  • References to mature media: These references are often perfectly acceptable in children's media, as long as the references themselves are in a way suitable for younger audiences. Discussion of that belongs in the similarly named Demographic-Dissonant Crossover.

Subtrope of Parental Bonus. May involve Getting Crap Past the Radar, but not necessarily — some censors can be lenient, and some media don't have a Radar.

Compare What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?, Bleached Underpants.

Only intentional examples count for this trope. Do not add cases of Accidental Innuendo in the examples.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The English dub of Yo Kai Watch barely did anything to censor the "The Sleepover" segment in Episode 6, which revolved around Nate and his friends staying up to watch an adult program, where girls in bikinis have fun at a water park (complete with Jibanyan outright mentioning scantily-clad ladies). In fact, the dub actually added a rather risqué line:
  • For all of the Bowdlerization 4Kids Entertainment was infamous for, their dub of Pokémon: The Series was no stranger to inappropriate humor.
    • One of the earliest and most infamous examples was in "Mystery at the Lighthouse", where Team Rocket sees the giant Dragonite:
      James: So size does matter...
    • Brock's comment after seeing a photo of Giselle in "The School of Hard Knocks", which was cut completely on Kids' WB! and partially cut off on Netflix.
      Brock: She can violate my rights anytime!
    • Brock utters this line after meeting Suzy in "Pokémon Fashion Flash":

  • In Carl Barks' Back to the Klondike, Scrooge McDuck describes Glittering Goldie as "the only live one I ever knew." Given his reclusive, asocial attitude towards life, and disdain for everything except money up to that point, it's entirely possible (indeed, in context, there's no other logical interpretation) that he means this in the above-mentioned clinical sense of "know." When questioned by observant fans at the exact nature of Scrooge and Goldie's relationship, Barks tactfully insisted it wasn't something his publishers would want to get into.

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel has a stripping joke:
    Alvin: It's Aunt Jackie. She's making us a zesty five-course meal.
    Dave: Really? Well, can I talk to her?
    Theodore: She's practicing her pole dancing.
    (Alvin and Simon look at each other)
    Dave: Pole dancing? What happened to making dinner?
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022) is mostly a family-friendly Disney film, but some parts are more adequate for the writers' previous work at The Lonely Island, starting with the tagline "Rescuing the world takes a pair". Right at the beginning Dale lampshades how "chippendale" is a term for male strippers, one scene has a cheese shop treated like a G-Rated crackhouse or opium den, and there is a joke about the cast of PAW Patrol (which mind you, is a show targeted at young children) having mauled the police (and the implication that it was a Groin Attack) when a false tip led to a raid on their studios.
  • The live-action adaptations of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and The Cat in the Hat both tossed in a fair bit of racy humor, but the latter took it far enough (one standout is a scene that takes place at a swingers' party, another is a scene where the Cat in the Hat refers to a gardening hoe as a “dirty hoe”, and there's the Super Hydraulic Instantaneous Transporter) that Dr. Seuss' widow put the kibosh on any future live-action films based on her husband's work. It doesn't help that the writers also wrote EuroTrip, an R-rated teen sex comedy.
  • Monster House has the scene where they enter the house and Jenny points out that the chandelier must be its uvula. Chowder, who mistakes "uvula" for "vulva", rationalizes that it must be a girl house.
    Jenny: What? No. It stimulates the gag reflex. Everyone has a uvula.
    Chowder: Not me.
  • Osmosis Jones has the scene where Ozzy and Drix have to go to Frank's uvula. Drix tries to explain that it's the dangly thing in Frank's throat, but Ozzy cuts him off and says "boxer shorts!" before Drix corrects him, making it evident he thought Drix was talking about Frank's testicles.
  • Spy Kids and its sequels had a Running Gag where Once an Episode Carmen Cortez would use variations on the phrase "oh shit...ake mushroom".
  • Turning Red: This movie is definitely about as radar-defiant as Pixar has gotten in recent years, from bursts of mild profanity to blatant references to menstruation to one character being Mistaken for Pedophile for uncomfortable laughs.
  • Zootopia has the entirety of the scene where Judy and Nick enter a club for animal naturists (read: nudists).

  • Exaggerated for the book Stuck in Poo, What to Do?. It's aimed at kids who are only learning to read, yet it manages to end in a Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion for "shit".
    The moral of this story is "Don't be a twit". Listen to directions, or you'll end up in the... poo.
  • Gangsta Granny is a kids' novel, yet it manages to get away with Ben's mother mistakenly thinking he's reading a "naughty magazine".
  • Captain Underpants:
    • Book 9 had a scene where Young!George takes two letters off of a gas station sign, making them read "Free Bra Inspection". The owner of the gas station shoos him away, only to get beaten up by several women offended by the sign.
    • Book 11 had a scene towards the end where Crackers's eggs hatch, revealing pterodactyl-hamster hybrids. Harold questions how a mammal could possibly have sex with a reptile, much to George's disgust.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An in-universe example in How I Met Your Mother: The gang discovers that Robin was on a children's educational show at the height of her pop star career. It's also discovered the show has a number of inappropriate moments. At one point, Robin and her co-host have to solve simple math problems to navigate an asteroid field while excitedly jiggling a large chromed joystick back and forth. The third problem is "twenty-three times three", but Barney shuts it off before we hear the answer.
  • iCarly has quite a reputation for this kind of thing. Most of it is undeserved, since the jokes tend to be acceptable for the tweens and younger teenagers the show is aimed at. Still, a few questionable moments do manage to get in.
    • "iQuit iCarly" opens with Spencer watching The Boat Channel, but his commentary sounds more like a man watching porn.
    • In "iDo", after Freddie says "You two will make real purdy bridesmaids," Sam appears to subtly give Freddie the finger but it is quickly joined by her other fingers to her chin.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch was aimed at a family audience but...
    • One of Sabrina's classmates becomes invisible, and she wonders where he would go. Gilligan Cut to the girls' locker room.
    • Mr Kraft's ex-wife Lucy gets a catty barb in on Zelda, looking her up and down and making a remark about something "loses the battle with gravity" - implying her breasts have started to sag.
    • Harvey at one point reveals his mother is pregnant. A disgusted Valerie comes to the Squicky conclusion that "your parents still..." and Sabrina cuts her off.
    • In "The Great Mistake", Zelda is throwing tennis balls around looking for her racket, and yelling out "balls balls balls!" - which prompts Hilda to come in an excitedly ask what's going on.
    • The college seasons contained many more of these, presumably in an attempt to make the show more mature. A man Hilda nearly marries when she loses her magic biological clocknote  says when Hilda gets the clock returned and breaks off the engagement...
    "This isn't the first time I've been left for a small appliance."note 
    • Hilda alludes to going to see Bride of Frankenstein at a drive-in, and "a lot of fog" showing up midway through the movie. Basically suggesting that her and her date started doing it in the car.
    • A beautiful example from Season 1, after Zelda and Mr. Poole hit it off at a parent-teacher conference and then realize they've already met online:
    Zelda: (gasps) You're biostud? I'm chemkitten!
    Mr. Poole: Didn't we meet in a chat room to discuss polyvinyl chloride? note 
    Zelda: Yes! (with a come-hither look) And you are VERY naughty.

  • Eminem's early work is definitely aimed at children - his fanbase was largely older kids and young teens, his transgressive shock humour is pretty childish, and multiple songs acknowledge his desire to protect kids and encourage them through his music. The content of the music, however, is extremely rough, sexual, violent, misogynistic, homophobic and full of references to illegal drugs. Eminem's argument has always been that, if this is the world kids see around them, it's only fair they have music that reflects their real world rather than a fake idea of innocence.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Donkey Hodie episode "Tater Buddies" features a joke alluding to cannibalism. Donkey Hodie tells her friend Purple Panda that she's preparing a snack for their Tater Buddy dolls (which are potatoes), and Panda agrees, but he says that he doesn't want potato chips, improvising an excuse that his Tater Buddy, Percival, is allergic.
  • The Noddy Shop is a show aimed at preschoolers that had a promotional music video produced for an investor in the show called "Special". In it, Johnny Crawfish sings about Intercourse with You and also sings the line "You don't give me heaven and I'll give you hell!". However, it's downplayed in that it never appears in the actual show.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Food Chain: In "The Mating Game", Frogley teaches Mammal to use protection as he puts an armadillo shell on his head. He asks a frilled lizard to join his tree for a nightcap but she burned him, causing a "burning sensation".

    Western Animation 
  • In the Alvin and the Chipmunks episode "Romancing Miss Stone", during the scene where Alvin and Dave are duelling over the hand of Alvin's teacher, Alvin yells out "Take that, you gigolo!" as he hurls a water balloon at Dave.
  • Animaniacs made a fine art out of this, frequently lampshaded with Yakko blowing the audience a kiss and saying, "Goodnight, everybody!"
    • The bouncing car up-and-down, up-and-down, up-and-down, up-and-down at the Drive-In Theater in "Drive-Insane". There was even a woman with a child who had to drag him away so he wouldn't ask questions about what was (allegedly) going on inside the car.
    • In "Chalkboard Bungle", Miss Flamiel asks Yakko if he can conjugate. He clearly has a very adult misinterpretation of what that word meansnote  because he replies, "I've never even kissed a girl!".
    • In the "Monkey Song", when Hello Nurse says, "I don't know what to say—the monkeys won't do!", Yakko replies, "For a nickel, I'll give you a clue", which is a reference to prostitution.
    • In "Jokahontas", John Smith holds out his hand to shake with Dot, telling her that it’s how they say hello. And how does Dot respond?
      Dot (suggestively): You wanna see how we do it?
    • In "Hercule Yakko", Yakko tells Dot to look for prints, then brings back Prince. Hilariously, this was thrown in to give the censors something to cut, but it somehow squeaked through.
      Yakko: No, no, no! Fingerprints!
      (Prince smiles at Dot)
      Dot (disgusted): I don't think so.
    • In "Method to Her Madness", Slappy is dragged to the New York Actor's Studio and spends a good chunk of the episode complaining about it. At one point, she asks someone to get Dr. Kevorkian on the line.
    • Even the derived comic book indulged in it, most notably a story about the Warners pestering Noah titled "If the Ark's A'Rockin'..."
  • In an episode of The Mask, a beautiful woman (established to be an exotic dancer and Mayor's jilted ex-girlfriend) rips off her trenchcoat to reveal that she's wearing a bikini made of bombs and blow herself up because Mayor Tilton dumped her. The Mask rips the explosives away and disposes of them (by turning them into an alcoholic drink called "The Bikini Cocktail"), leaving the woman naked, which causes Doyle and Kellaway to faint.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Super Friends", when the girls explain that Professor Utonium made them in a lab accident, Robin casually says that she was an accident, too. The professor can't quite believe what she just said.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures has a scene in which Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny are attending the Acme Loo film festival, and Daffy is looking at a Playduck magazine.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • The song "Shooting Star Milkshake Bar" ends with a repeating verse of "Shake, shake, shake, shake your asteroids", a pun on "shake your ass".
    • "Lost in Danville" has a subplot where Peter the Panda's nemesis, Professor Mystery, captures Dr. Doofenshmirtz out of jealousy that Doof had been fighting Peter - a situation that, in an earlier episode as well as this one, is set up as a parallel to infidelity. Doofenshmirtz offends Professor Mystery when he brushes off his fight with Peter as a "thwarty call" - a pun on "booty call", slang for casual sex.
    • The time machine in the "It's About Time!" was built by a man named Xavier Onassis ("Save your own asses")
  • In the Transformers: Animated episode "Transform and Roll Out!", Optimus Prime asks Sari how human reproduce. Sari whispers it in his audio receptor; Optimus is clearly shocked.
  • Rugrats may be about babies, but it still manages to appeal to adults with jokes like these:
    • In "Grandpa's Date", Grandpa Lou rents some movies: Reptar Come Home, Reptar Redux, "And my personal favourite... Lonely Space Vixens!" Grandpa then adds "... that's for after you go to bed."
    • In the episode "Special Delivery", Tommy reads a magazine called "American Baby" which has a Playboy-like centerfold. When he opens it up, he says "Baby!" with awe. Remember, this is a magazine about babies.
    • In "Sister Act", Angelica begs her dad to give her a younger brother or sister at a carnival. Betty responds with this gem:
    Betty: I guess you and Drew oughta check out the Tunnel of Love, eh Char? (laughs)
    • In the special, "Acorn Nuts and Diapey Butts", Betty tries to set up Chaz with another one of her single friends and mentions that one of her qualities is that she had earned the nickname "The Spanker", all while suggestive music plays in the background.
    • In “Home Movies”, Grandpa Boris hates the home movie so much that he calls Dr. Kevorkian, who infamously performed assisted suicide.
  • Adventure Time is full of these kinds of jokes, especially in earlier seasons, before the show developed its Myth Arc and became more serious.
    • "Blood Under the Skin" has several instances:
      • In one scene, Finn has to go through the Swamp of Embarrassment, which is filled with people taking showers that Finn accidentally sees.
        Showering Man: My most private parts peeped by boy!
      • The entire "Drop Ball" scene, which is about a ghost clenching a ball between his buttocks and dropping it. Repeatedly.
    • "Power Animal" has a scene where after Finn wakes up, the gnomes who kidnapped him force him to pole dance. They even called it "sexy-fun dancing"!
    • "What is Life?" has Ice King telling Neptr that when he was struck by his lightning, Neptr was infused with the Ice King's "private particles".
    • "Henchman" has several mentions of sacking a nut castle.
    • In “Incendium”, Jake sings a song to Flame Princess (in Finn’s place). Since Flame Princess is imprisoned in a bottle, Flame King has to listen to it too; he takes offense to the lyrics “a fire inside my body”, which he seems to interpret as Intercourse with You. This is especially apparent in his original line (which the censors objected to), where he says that the lyric is pornographic.
    • In "Marceline's Closet", Finn sneaks out of the closet and into the bathroom, only to catch Marceline taking her clothes off in preparation for a bath.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • “Back to School” has Arnold telling Grandpa Phil that he still has plenty of brain cells, but he denies it.
    • "Helga's Parrot":
      • One of the lines in Helga's poem about Arnold says that he makes her "girlhood tremble". Girlhood is a poetic term for the vagina.
      • The titular parrot won't shut up, so Big Bob refers to it as a "mother-humper".
  • Gravity Falls:
  • Steven Universe:
    • The episode "Arcade Mania" involves Garnet getting addicted to a game called “Meat Beat Mania”, and the game even has lines like “shake that meat!”.
    • In a similar vein to the above, Beach City Funland also has a concession stand called “Wiener in Hand”.
    • In "So Many Birthdays", when Steven magically grows up (without realizing the physical changes he's undergoing), he tries playing a game of Whackerman at the arcade, but soon moves on while saying "a boy on the cusp of manhood can't spend the whole day whackering". Later in the same episode, Steven asks Sadie to help him into the king costume he traditionally wears on his birthday - asking her to "help [him] into [his] birthday suit" results in him being angrily chased off.
  • Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom: ​In "Daisy and Poppy's Playgroup", there's a gag where Queen Thistle's panties (even explicitly being mentioned as such, at least twice) get left behind when she gets teleported to the land of the dinosaurs.
  • Pepper Ann:
    • In the episode "Manly Milo", Pepper Ann is trying to help Milo get more guy friends, so she brings some "manly" items to help him develop more "masculine" traits. One of those items she brought was an issue of "Playdude" with a hunky man and the phrase "Pecs! Pecs! Pecs!" on the cover, before she sheepishly says "Oh, how'd that get in there?" and tosses it over her shoulder.
    • The episode "In Support Of" is a never-ending succession of bra and bosom jokes ("Pepper Ann, do you want breasts?"), culminating in P.A. flashing her class.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show was one of the earliest examples of a children's cartoon that routinely got away with adult jokes:
    • "Nurse Stimpy" has a number of rather... interesting interactions between Ren and Stimpy. Special mention goes to the spoon scene, which has lines like "Now swallow every little drop! Isn't it tasty?" and "This is some icky-tasting stuff!" The sponge bath scene is also a good example. Ren is reluctant at first, but comes to enjoy it, and then there's the number of people who see it, causing it to make the news, not unlike a sex tabloid.
    • There's an episode entitled "Wiener Barons". It's about Ren and Stimpy moving to Canada and getting into the sausage business, but seems to be an excuse for the writers to use the word "wiener" as many times as possible.
    • The entirety of "Rubber Nipple Salesman". In this episode, they are door-to-door rubber nipple salesmen. No, it does not make any more sense in context; yes, it was done simply to fill an episode with nipple references.
  • House of Mouse:
    • In the Pluto Gets The Paper short "Wet Cement"' Pluto ends up in wet cement and changes into several famous sculptures. When he turns into the Venus de Milo, he covers the breast part of the statue and gives an embarrassed whine.
    • "Donald's Double Date" is yet another short that is full of questionable content. Donald gives Daisy a coupon permitting her to tell him to do anything she wants. When Daisy asks "anything", Donald has an Imagine Spot of him and Daisy apparently naked in a hot tub.
  • ChalkZone:
    • In "Disarmed Rudy", when Jacko mentions how Rudy stole his bride, Queen Rapsheeba calls Rudy a "sly dog".
    • One of the memories Snap explores in "Calling Dr. Memory" is actually a dream where he is surrounded by a harem of Queen Rapsheeba clones. Snap's remark on how it can't hurt to stay in this memory implies that it is an Erotic Dream.
  • Milo Murphy's Law:
    • The cheerleader's cheer for the pep rally in "Rooting for the Enemy":
    We're the geckos, we got class!
    We're gonna climb right up your glass!
    • There is a sign in "Party of Peril" for B's Nuts prior to the Christmas trees being burnt.
  • The title of the Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja episode "Swampy Seconds" is an allusion to sloppy seconds, a sex act involving at least two men.
  • Thomas & Friends:
    • In "Mavis", an angry farmer tells Mavis "just what she could do with her train." Shove it up her ass.
    • In "Donald's Duck", Duck tells Donald to "quack himself".
    • In "Buzz Buzz", after James' numerous unsuccessful attempts to shoo the bees off his boiler, his driver tells him that all they can do now is fetch another hive from the Vicarage Orchard. The narrator then says, "James' reply was drowned by the sound of buzzing."
    • In "Fiery Flynn", after Flynn soaks Sir Topham Hatt, Den says "Fiery Flynn fudges it!", "fudge" being a family-friendly version of a certain F-word....
    • In "No More Mr. Nice Engine", white stuff splatters all over Sir Topham Hatt, Edward, and Hiro..... thankfully, it's just milk.
    • Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell, the original series music composers, have confirmed that Daisy is meant to be reminiscent of a sleazy nightclub stripper. Her Leitmotif uses Sexophone and is based on "The Stripper" by David Rose. In fact, Daisy was supposed to have pink buffers that resembled boobs to emphasize her hooker motif. You read that right. A stripper in a show for toddlers. This persona is scrubbed away in the CGI series, though.
  • We Baby Bears has this character, Squatter Otter, an adult otter who casually flashes himself at the titular babies and convincing them to squat in houses in his appearances, which undeniably causes him to be Mistaken for Pedophile to the viewers.
  • The Looney Tunes Show, being one of many TV-PG rated Cartoon Network shows from The New '10s, naturally has more than a few questionable jokes.
    • In "Working Duck," Daffy is closing browser tabs while trying to pull up his resume. At one point, Bugs and Daffy look on in shocked silence while a Sexophone sting plays. Daffy says that it was definitely not his resume, implying that he was watching porn instead of looking for a job.
    • The B-plot for "Off Duty Cop" revolves around Bugs getting addicted to an energy drink with side effects very similar to meth. He even goes to the supplier to get another fix.
    • In "Fish and Visitors," Yosemite Sam is telling Bugs and Daffy to wake him up at 4:30 every morning... unless there's a tie on the doorknob.
    • In "Jailbird and Jailbunny," Bugs (who is trying to go back to jail) points out to a police officer that he and Daffy are chained together at their ankles. What does the officer say in response?
      Officer: Your personal lives are your business.

    Other Media 
  • From the early Toy Story 3 script:
    • At one point, Buzz tells Jade "To infinity and be-yotch", which sounds similar to another "b"-word.
    • Some of the recalled dolls are playing strip poker before Buzz's hand interrupts them.
    • Mr. Potato Head regrets not clearing his browser history or getting rid of incriminating pictures of "Mistress Potato Head", implying infidelity.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Demographically Inappropriate Humor


Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

A complication of all the dirty jokes in the film.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

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Main / DemographicallyInappropriateHumour

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