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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 Humor: 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.

Needless to say, only intentional examples count. Do not add Accidental Innuendo.


Specific works:

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    Anime and 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?
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.

  • 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 

    Video Games 
  • King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder!: While written for families, the fifth game has the infamous encounter with the Innkeeper. He will RUB YOU OUT and have Graham Bound and Gagged (but alive!) in his dungeon basement. But if one looks closely at the innkeeper, his pants are unzipped. Fail to escape, and, well... do the math.
  • In the original German version of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Cukemen may say in German "Give me your juice, I'll give you mine..." and "Never without a condom!". These lines were changed for the DX release.
  • One of the first advancements you can get in Minecraft is called “Getting Wood”, a reference to getting an erection.
  • Moshi Monsters is a kids' game, yet one mission is called "Kick Some Asteroid", which is a rather risqué pun.
  • Pokémon is riddled with it.
  • Splatoon 2: Marina’s reasoning for why she would choose invisibility over flight includes the line, "With invisibility, you could spy on people while they’re... inking their Splat Zone.". The whole thing is a reference to masturbation as a joke while the game is rated E10+.
  • At the beginning of Stay Tooned!, one of the TV channels has an ad for "The XXX Files: The Naked Truth is out there."
  • In the Japanese version of Super Mario RPG, the thought of the Goombette (Mamekuribō) enemy that can be read with Geno's Psychopath ability is "omame kurikuri... kuri! jowa~" which roughly translates to "Rub the bean, rub the bean, rub, rub… rub! Splosh~".
  • Terraria has a few instances.
    • There is a magic weapon you can get in Hardmode called the Golden Shower.
    • The Angler can give you Master Bait for completing quests.
    • A mini-boss from the Pumpkin Moon event is called the Mourning Wood.
  • Wizard 101: One sidequest in Grizzleheim was about a philosopher trying to find the answer to the question “Why do bears sit in the woods?”, a reference to the rhetorical question “do bears shit in the woods?”.
    • At one point in Empyrea, the player must run around a village populated by a race with a hippie-ish way of life, covering themselves with magic dust from urns that resemble bongs. Shortly after this, they fight some mushroom monsters.

    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 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.
  • The Loud House:
    • In the episode "11 Louds a Leapin'", Luna tries to write a Christmas song:
    Merry Christmas, honey
    If you don't have a gift, I'd gladly take money
    I wrote it down on my Christmas list
    If I don't get my presents, I'm gonna get--
    Mr. Grouse: LOUDS! Knock off that racket!
    • In "Cheater by the Dozen", Bobby drops his pants after the woman he's Mistaken for Cheating with mentions "getting started". Lincoln and Clyde clearly think the woman and Bobby are having sex, but she's just measuring him for a new pair of pants. Also, at one point, everyone thinks Bobby is cheating on Lori with a dog.
    • In "Two Boys and a Baby", there is a Visual Pun of Lily's shit-filled diaper hitting an actual fan.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rocko's Modern Life could give the likes of Animaniacs a run for its money:
    • "Canned" involves Rocko looking for a new job. One scene has him take a job at a phone sex hotline, and then Mrs. Bighead calls the hotline. When they recognize each other's voices, they both promptly hang up.
    • "Leap Frogs" was an episode all about Mrs. Bighead attempting to seduce Rocko because Mr. Bighead wasn't giving her any attention. We even get a scene where Bev tries to get Rocko to zip up her dress; he fails, and ends up tearing the dress off of her, while she giggles flirtatiously. Naturally, this episode was banned from Nickelodeon after airing several times.
    • "Hut Sut Raw" contains a scene where Rocko is picking berries, then accidentally grabs a bear's testicles. The bear runs away, holding his crotch in pain. This scene no longer airs in reruns (at least not in the USA), and is excluded from streaming and DVD.
    • “Clean Lovin’” involves Spunky falling in love with a mop. At one point, Rocko looks for him and eventually hears squeaking noises coming from the supply closet, and sees Spunky smiling with the mop, and you can see what is possibly semen below him. And what is Rocko’s reaction?
      Rocko: What were you doing in there?! No, don’t tell me! It’s sick, it’s wrong! Do you know what I’ve mopped up with that thing?!
    • “Carnival Knowledge” in particular is full of these kinds of jokes, starting with the title of the episode, which is a Pun on “carnal knowledge”.
      • When Heffer asks to make the merry-go-round faster, Slippy Slug can be seen reading a “Playslug” magazine.
      • One of the rides is a literal Elevator to Hell. And yes, this scene averts Gosh Dang It to Heck!.
    • In "Bedfellows", Heffer throws a nudist party in Rocko's backyard. When Rocko finds out, he angrily marches into his backyard... when one of the nudists forcibly tears off his clothes. Ed Bighead sees it and points it out to Bev, who gets excited and eagerly watches them with binoculars, then tells Ed to grab the telescope out of the closet. After Rocko kicks them out, Bev invites them into her yard. Then Ed finds out:
      Rocko (watching from his bedroom window): It's Mrs. Bighead! And-and the nudists!
      Ed: Bev! What are all these freaks doing here?!
      Bev: Oh, shut up Ed, and get your trousers off, because we're gonna boogie 'til the sun comes up!
    • "Sand in Your Navel" has the scene where Gladys the Hippo Lady asks Rocko to apply sun butter on her back. He tries, but he ends up slipping and falling into her cleavage.
  • Regular Show is very generous with these kinds of jokes.
    • In "Fuzzy Dice", Benson discovers that skee ball garners more tickets than any other game at the Fun Fun Zone. Which leads us to this line:
      Benson: When the balls drop-
      (Mordecai and Rigby snicker)
      Benson: Ugh... When the game starts...
    • The scene in "It's Time" where Mordecai and Rigby are playing a video game; when Rigby wins, his character tongue kisses the tied-up woman. Since Rigby spends the episode making fun of Mordecai for his insecurity with Margaret, he also imitates the tongue kiss.
    • "Brain Eraser" revolves entirely around Mordecai trying to recover from seeing Pops naked; this line in particular stands out:
      Mordecai: I tried not to look, but I saw-
      Rigby: His junk mail? (breaks out laughing)
      Mordecai: No, dude, I'm mentally scarred! It's like the image is glued to the inside of my eyelids! Every saggy, wrinkled, shriveled, pasty-
      Rigby: Whoa, whoa! Don't put it in my head!
    • In “Party Pete”:
      • Muscle Man’s line “it takes guests with breasts, and mine don’t count.”
      • During the party, Party Pete can be clearly seen dry humping several women.
    • “Grilled Cheese Deluxe” has Rigby look up an ostrich video that Mordecai hates (“it better not be that ostrich thing with the balls!”). The actual video contains an ostrich looking like he’s about to hit a tee-ball with a bat… and instead goes over to the man in front of him and kicks him in the balls.
  • 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.
  • 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”.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants, with a good chunk of the crew coming from Rocko's Modern Life, is well-known for this.
    • “My Pretty Seahorse” has a scene where Scooter sees Mystery parked in front of the Krusty Krab and mistakes her for a coin-operated ride. He then finds the “coin slot”.
    • “Mid-Life Crustacean” infamously involved a panty raid, which eventually got the episode pulled from Nickelodeon.
    • In "Texas", SpongeBob tells Patrick that his genius is showing. Patrick's first reaction is to cover up his crotch and say "WHERE?!"
    • In "Dunces and Dragons", there is a guard that tells SpongeBob "right this way". SpongeBob repeats it back to him in Ye Olde Butchered English. The guard responds by putting his spear against his own throat, then sighing and saying "some day, but not today".
    • In "Are You Happy Now?", a terminally depressed Squidward sticks his head in the oven.... only to pull out some brownies. Only moments later, he hangs a rope... only to reveal it's tied to a scallop in a cage. To further hammer the point home, he says things along the lines of "I hope this will make me happy" immediately before doing them.

    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 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / DemographicallyInappropriateHumour

Media sources:

Main / DemographicallyInappropriateHumour