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Family-Friendly "Mature" Content

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Instead of doggy style, you get a dog stylin'.
Bob, you can't watch that, we're on a PG rated show!

Even in universes of family-friendly shows, mature content exists. Sometimes it's even shown. But how can it while keeping the show family-friendly (or at least TV-14, 14+, PG-13, T, or PEGI 12)?

Why, with Family-Friendly Mature Content! These are usually (but not always) a Show Within a Show, and bear more mature ratings than the show itself. They may also take the form of a Family-Friendly Stripper, or have a large shootout involving Family-Friendly Firearms, or a bar scene where everyone drinks Frothy Mugs of Water.

This content can get away with a little more maturity than the show itself. This can be for one of three reasons. The fact that it's a Show Within a Show can reduce the overall emotional impact the content would otherwise have, the characters within can be contextualized as Anti-Role Models, or the show can cut away from the content to avoid actually showing it (one way is using a Reaction Shot). When the show itself isn't shown, just described by the characters, you have to Take Our Word for It.

May overlap with Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films or Entertainment Above Their Age. May also take the form of an Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000 if dealing with Fictional Video Games. If the mature show-within-show does show content more mature than the show itself, that could also be Getting Crap Past the Radar.

This can also give the in-universe censors or Moral Guardians something to complain about. Gosh Darn It to Heck! is a related concept, where a word is stated to be profane in-universe but isn't perceived as such by the audience.

Now that that's out of the way, let's watch Alien, shall we?


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  • One Protegent ad revolves around a teacher using the software to find which of her students was watching porn on school computers. We only see work-safe images of fully-clothed people kissing, but judging by the teacher's reaction, much more explicit material was also viewed off-screen.

    Comic Books 
  • Cedric has the titular character taking advantage of his parents' absence to watch a mature movie late at night, and ends watching the beginning of a violent movie titled Les nuits chaudes de Paname ("Paname's Hot Nights" — "Paname" is a slang name for Paris), the content of which shocks him (it's only shown through his reactions, the movie itself stays offscreen). The next day, Cédric goes to the priest at school to get support for the disturbing experience, and the discussion which follows makes it obvious that the priest himself watched the same movie (and is ashamed of this).
  • In Léonard le Génie, Basile and Mathurine are about explain how babies are made to Léonard. Basile says they have to warn their editor that the following scene will have "Mature content"

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Sometimes played straight, sometimes discussed:
    • While looking for a movie to watch:
      Calvin: The TV listings say this movie has "adult situations". What are adult situations?
      Hobbes: Probably things like going to work, paying bills and taxes, taking responsibilities...
      Calvin: Wow! They don't kid around when they say "For mature audiences."
      Hobbes: I've never understood how those movies make any money.
    • One Running Gag involves Calving trying to watch movies which, going by the title, are very low-budget horror porn like "Vampire Sorority Babes", "Cannibal Stewardess Vixens Unchained", "Attack of the Coed Cannibals", or "Venusian Vampire Vixens".
    • Calvin's comics come straight from The Dark Age of Comic Books, and so are full of edgy content like exaggerated violence and improbable anatomy (indirectly naming Most Common Superpower). At one point we actually see a page of one of them, and it features what is probably probably the most extreme, realistic violence anyone has ever managed to get into the funny pages.
    • For one show-and-tell, Calvin claims his mother fights crime in "a patriotic leotard, a cape, and knee-high, high-heeled boots". Calvin's mom wonders what they should do about it, Calvin's dad asks to see that outfit sometime.

    Films — Animation 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played for Laughs in The Good Wife, which is a network TV show, but has a Show Within a Show that parodies True Detective and Low Winter Sun that shows multiple gruesome murders.
  • In one episode of Victorious, Tori is auditioning for a part in a movie about a troubled teen. The one scene she rehearses involves her character threatening to stab someone in the eye, something that the Nickelodeon likely wouldn't allow to be shown.
  • In episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, Alex and Justin sneak off to a slasher flick, despite their parents telling them they couldn't go. Alex then conjures a spell where she goes into the movie, and she goes into a scene that takes place during a slumber party, right before the killer makes an appearance, and despite being an R-rated film, the scene is as edgy as anything that can be shown in a Disney Channel show.

    Video Games 
  • Parappa The Rapper 2 stage 2 is called "Strictly for Adults". Parappa and PJ find a TV show called "Romantic Karate". It is prefaced with a content warning saying the show is "strictly for adults". Parappa interprets this as a way to prove his maturity.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • The recurring Show Within a Show The Itchy & Scratchy Show is a Bloodier and Gorier send-up of Tom and Jerry, with the clips usually ending with Itchy the mouse bloodily maiming or killing Scratchy the cat.
    • In "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment", an early-era episode, Bart caught sight of The Top Hat Channel, a Brand X of The Playboy Channel, and charged other kids to sneak into his living room and watch it. He even wore a top hat for showmanship.
  • Arthur:
    • In the beginning of season 2 episode 4 "Arthur Makes a Movie", Arthur wants to see a James Hound movie, being his universe's equivalent to James Bond. However, since it's PG-13, he can't see it without his parents until he is 13 (he is 8)note , who don't want to take him to see it. Arthur makes his own version with his friends instead.
    • In the season 8 episode 10b "Bleep", the prologue shows Arthur on the set of The Altos, a parody of The Sopranos. He explains that the 1 kHz sine wave tone, aka the "bleep", is used to censor words that shouldn't be said on daytime television. A Cluster Bleep-Bomb ensues.
      Gangster: Ugh! This is terrible apple betty, it's [BLEEP]! My mother. Now there was a woman who could make [BLEEP] an amazing apple betty. When she made it, the whole [BLEEP] neighborhood stood outside her house! [BLEEP] saint [BLEEP] that woman was. If it's okay with you, T, I'd like to give that pastry chef a taste of his own canolli.
      Mafia Boss: None of you [BLEEP] [BLEEP] so much as [BLEEP] unless I [BLEEP] say so! Capiche?
  • Gravity Falls: In "Scary-Oke", when Dipper is going through Stan's stuff he finds magazines called Lady Swimwear (which features a woman in a wetsuit on the cover) and Fully Clothed Women Magazine (the "Trenchcoat Issue").
  • Rugrats: In "Grandpa's Date", Grandpa Lou babysits Tommy and Chuckie and rents some movies for them to watch, including two Reptar movies and his "personal favorite", Lonely Space Vixens.
    Grandpa Lou: That's for after you go to bed.
  • One episode of Doug sees Doug trying to see an ultra-violent action movie called Targetman, an in-universe stand-in for Robocop. The viewers are never shown the more violent parts of the movie, but we get descriptions of characters being messily decapitated or torn limb from limb with loud squishing and squelching noises, and Doug is visibly sick to his stomach when he does end up watching it.
  • In Dexter's Laboratory, one episode had Dexter and Dee Dee ask their parents to see the R-rated "Violance: Robot Vigilant", but their parents said Violance was too violent.
  • In the Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius episode "Grumpy Young Men", Jimmy and his friends want to get the M-Rated game "Doom Bringer II", but can't because they're under 17, so Jimmy invents something to make them older.
  • DuckTales (2017): The episode "Terror of the Terra-Firmians!" opens with the Ducks coming out from a cinema from what sounds like an R-rated horror movie about mole monsters. We don't see any moment of the movie, but the characters describe it as extremely gory.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
  • Family Guy:
    • The Season 1 episode "Mind Over Murder" has a Show Within a Show called "Homicide: Life on Sesame Street". Bert and Ernie are shown as a gay couple lying in bed together naked.
    • The Season 4 episode "PTV" has a rare example that's not a show within a show. "The FCC Song" has Peter, Stewie, and Brian rattling off a list of things you supposedly can't say on TV... which, give that this is a network TV show, obviously you can.
  • Steven Universe:
    • In "Maximum Capacity", Greg passes on a box of books to Steven, which includes a softcover titled "Passions of Xanthor", featuring a scantily-clad alien woman on the cover. Greg suggests Steven save that one for when he’s older.
    • In "The New Lars", when Steven wakes up in Lars' body, he discovers Lars apparently fell asleep "reading" a girlie magazine called "Noice", which features a chubby, scantily-clad woman on the cover.
  • DC Super Hero Girls has the Stop Sign Massacre series, a parody of slasher films where the murder weapons are stop signs. Everyone on the team except for Barbara Gordon and Kara Danvers hate the films, and even Barbara, who has a history of hiding bodies, winces at the death scenes, which are never shown to us. Kara Danvers, on the other hand, actively roots for the serial killers and keeps picking such films for movie night when it's her turn in an effort to get her friends to appreciate the true "classics". When Barbara's father finds the girls watching installment number five he gets disturbed and turns it off.


Video Example(s):



"Doug's Movie Madness" sees Doug trying to see an ultra-violent action movie called Targetman. Although there was concern from adults about kids seeing it due to its content, Doug goes anyways later in the episode but it turns out that he and Skeeter both really aren't prepared for the levels of violence in the film, resulting in Doug having nightmares and unintentionally confessing to his parents that he saw the film, resulting in him getting grounded.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / FamilyFriendlyMatureContent

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