Isn't it cute when a kid knows more than you'd think? Isn't it even cuter when they know more than you'd think about something that you'd prefer no kid knew at all? Especially if the kid is too young to be in the Competence Zone. It's a pretty sure-fire way to get a laugh, especially if adults have spent the whole episode trying to keep the kid from finding something out, and the kid knew it all along.
To anyone young enough to understand or who can remember what it was like to be young, it's funny because the child shows a complete disregard for the unsaid treaty between children and adults: Kids can learn things as long as they pretend they haven't and don't ever mention it. It works on numerous levels.
Needlessly to say, this is occasionally Truth in Television. Still, the trope often isn't exploited in full in live action media, because if a child actor actually says the darndest things, the Moral Guardians will complain. Instead, they say mildly darned things. Other media will exploit this more fully.
See also The Talk. For a more general example of kids talking outside of their expected age range, see Little Professor Dialog. If the kid is performing a song they know that wasn't written for a kid to sing, then it's Age-Inappropriate Art. Sub-Trope of Troubling Unchildlike Behavior. Compare and contrast Not in Front of the Kid. Embarrassed by a Child may happen with this trope as well. Also compare Innocent Awkward Question.
- Quaker Chewy Granola Bars used to be advertised as being able to stop children from saying the darndest things. One of their ads had a little boy walking up to a bride and informing her that his mother can't believe that she (the bride) wore white.
- A popular Norwegian advertisement shows a mother awkwardly trying to explain to her son that his goldfish, Doffen, is tired and needs a vacation. Cue the boy's sister showing up asking what's going on, the boy casually remarks "Doffen has died" and leaves the room.
- An ad shows a child meeting his dad's boss, and after a moment saying "Daddy, his nose isn't brown."
- This Volkswagen advert.
- Much of the jokes in Crayon Shin-chan are of this type. Though mostly in the American dub. In the original dubs, all kids but Shin-chan (And a bit of Nene, the preschool equivalent of a Covert Pervert) are perfectly innocent, and (especially in the manga) it's hinted that Shin-chan doesn't know what he's talking about most of the time.
- Kirimi Nekozawa from Ouran High School Host Club. For some reason, her minders decided to read her shoujo manga, which leads her to say things like "There's debauchery going on here, isn't there?" In the manga (and the English dub), she goes so far as to call the Host Club a "reverse harem".
- The Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Lyrical Almanac Gag Series in Megami Magazine uses this for a punchline in one comic◊ as Vivio somehow misinterprets her Fate-mama's having her own place to return to as, well...
Vivio: Wait, does that mean Fate-mama... is a gigolo?
Fate: What!? No!
- The backstory for Mobile Suit Gundam Wing's Duo Maxwell gives him a non-swearing example of this. During a conversation with the priest and nun who raised him, he says he doesn't believe in God, but he does believe in the God of Death, because as he puts it, "I've never seen any miracles, but I've seen lots and lots of dead people!" The nun admonishes him gently, but the priest laughs and admits the boy has a point.
- A regular source of humor in the Gag Dub of Ghost Stories.
- Zig-zagged with the Nyan-Nyans from Fushigi Yuugi. Yes, they are Physical Goddesses and Really 700 Years Old, but for the major part of the series they look like little girls no older than 10 and have the mentality of such. But then they open their mouths...
Nyan Nyan: [to Nuriko, as her sisters heal Miaka, Tamahome, and Hotohori] Let me heal you!
Nuriko: Thank you, but I'm not hurt...
Nyan Nyan: I'll heal your perversion!
[Nuriko punches the offending Nyanyan into the stratosphere]
Nyan Nyan: Ai yaaaaah!!!
- Persona 4: The Animation:
- Right after the school festival, Nanako gives us this gem, courtesy of the festival's fortune teller (who is really Margaret).
Nanako: Man whore! She said you're one big man whore!
- And later in that same episode, the boys are caught "peeping" on the girls during the hot springs episode.
Nanako: Teddie, big bro... are you guys... horny?
- Right after the school festival, Nanako gives us this gem, courtesy of the festival's fortune teller (who is really Margaret).
- In episode 5 of season 2's YuruYuri, while waiting for Himawari, Sakurako makes another A-Cup Angst joke about her. Kaede, Himarwari's kid sister, arrives at the front door and asks if she hates boobs. Sakurako says she doesn't, and then Kaede innocently says she'll share her boobs with Sakurako. Later, she brings some milk for her in an attempt to increase her bust size. Sakurako holds back hitting her since she doesn't know any better.
- In episode 10 of The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior, Chinatsu tells Ritsu she should go out on a date with Usa. This causes the latter to suffer a Color Failure, and both Shirosaki and Mayumi are shocked by what the 9-year-old is saying. Ritsu, being completely Oblivious to Love, vehemently denies having any feelings for him and claims he's not interested in her, when in reality, everyone knows he likes her. Made worse when Ritsu accidentally mentions Hayashi, his female friend from middle school, going to the restaurant a lot, prompting Chinatsu to mention Ritsu is jealous of that other girl.
- Oruchuban Ebichu: This is what constantly gets Ebichu in trouble: she doesn't know everything about human sexuality, but she knows far more than is safe for anyone who is otherwise a complete child — as evidenced by the repeated scenes of her bursting in on her mistress and her mistress's boyfriend in the middle of sex, screaming about how they're doing it wrong ("If you're enjoying it so much, why do you keep saying 'No' and 'Stop'?!" or "That's the wrong hole, stupid!").
- When Anzu coaches her Hanamaru Kindergarten classmate Koume in confessing to a boy, it results in Koume screaming "Take me!" As Anzu explains to her shocked teacher, "that's how my Mama confessed to Papa."
- Shino from Seitokai Yakuindomo is a high school student who is physically incapable of going five minutes without making a sex joke. You'd think this was a result of her being a teenager, but no. Flashbacks to when she was in elementary school reveal that she's always been like that.
- The Monstrous Duke's Adopted Daughter: When Leslie meets Duke Salvator's husband, Sairaine, he tells her about how the Duke repelled an attempt by Leslie's Abusive Parents to take her back. Not really getting how to talk to children, however, Sairaine describes the incident as a "fucking massacre", prompting Leslie to ask what a "fucking massacre" is and getting Sairaine thrown out of the room. It's later revealed this isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened, as the eldest Salvator son, Bethrion, asked the same thing as a child... in front of royalty.
- Hyakunichikan!!: Chiho's kindergarten classmate Sakura says some surprisingly mature things that make her teacher wonder how old she really is.
Sakura: Takumi. If you're always talking down on other people, and you always worry about others, you'll end up in a bad state yourself. And you'll forever be trapped in desolation.
- In the once shot h-manga Deep Relationship, a milkman, who worked on a dairy farm before he was isekai-ed, helps a widowed, middle aged cow-woman get in shape so her milk can taste better, since cow-woman milk is sold as it is renowned for it's magical qualities. When he suggests that regular sex can help with the taste, they spend several nights loudly going at it, waking her daughter one time. When he gathered enough of her milk to sell, her daughter asks whose milk is to be sold, since he heard her mother say she wanted his "milk." They are stunned into silence and the girl notes that their faces turned red.
- Subverted in Runaways with Cute Bruiser Molly, twice:
- In the very first story arc, Karolina drags Molly out of the room just as the Runaways are about to witness their parents making a human sacrifice. Later, when they are discussing it, she solemnly tells them that she knows exactly what they're talking about: S-E-X.
- In the 1907 arc, when child bride Klara explains about her "marital duties", Karolina looks horrified and Molly says, "He makes you do chores?" Karolina then looks vaguely relieved that the idea of sex as marital duty has not yet reached Molly's precocious consciousness. But in the next issue, Molly tells Klara that "It's not even a sin, it's illegal. There's TV shows where they catch guys even..." It's been previously established that Molly's apparent naivete is a pretense she keeps up so that others will keep their guard down around her. In this case, she may even have been trying to break the tension.
- Used brutally when she was kidnapped by a time-traveling Geoffry Wilder trying to avenge his deceased son Alex who manages to call her out on her use of her young age as disarming mechanism and tells her to drop the act. She glares. And then she tells the man "Alex turned out just like you. He was a complete failure." Damn... just damn...
- In Demon Knights, a young girl thanking Exoristos for saving the village from dragons adds "But you dress like a tart."
- The six-year-old protagonist of Squee objects when his classmate Pepito invites him to dinner:
- Journey into Mystery (Gillen) combines this with an Expospeak Gag from Kid Loki, who has bought a smartphone and discovered the Internet. (He's a reincarnation of, well, Loki, but he has the memories of a child and looks about ten... and being a devious little Child Prodigy godling he's an excellent source of this trope.)
- In All You Need Is Love four-year-old Duck Sherlock Penber shares with his mother the following observation about Mello:
Duck: Look, mommy, his pants are tighter than yours!
- In Scootaloo's first appearance in the Ask Serious Rainbow blog, Serious had been about to insult her stepmother but cut her curse short when Scootaloo came in. Scootaloo, finding out the topic was her stepmother, promptly finished the curse by calling her a "royal cunt." Serious just chuckles and asks if Scootaloo was watching George Carlin again.
- In Dæmorphing: The Presence of Justice, when the free Hork-Bajir arrive on the Pool Ship, Sky Hive (a telepathic mass of fungi with the curiosity of a child) asks Eva if their leader is another queen she wishes to mate with. Everyone is either embarrassed or confused.
- The Judgement of the World (5Ds):
- The children at Martha's orphanage seem fully aware that Yusei and Aki have feelings for each other, with a young girl greeting the latter as "that girl big brother Yusei likes" and many of them giggling when Aki blushes after being teased by Shipper on Deck Martha. Then, when Aki insists that Yusei show her where he had surgery following his duel with Kiryu, one of the orphans announces that Yusei is stripping for his girlfriend.
- Rua asks why Yusei would want to get tied up after hearing Black Rose Dragon suggest it to Aki.
- A variant regarding Red Dragon Archfiend, who isn't familiar with the human world. He asks Aki what a condom is, mentioning that he heard Jack and Carly discussing them and pills. Aki is understandably embarrassed by this.
- In The Night Unfurls, Yurie, a Wild One child, has an observation regarding Sanakan and Hugh. In particular, she thinks that Sanakan is a strangely shaped boy that smells like a girl.
- Scarlet Lady: When one of Alya's younger sisters tells the other younger sister Nino is "the guy all over" Alya's phone, the other sister asks if he's Alya's boyfriend. The tagline even mentions the trope.
Alya: U-hu- Wait, what?!
- In A Saga of Parallel Worlds, the AVGN was swearing like a sailor even before he turned 13.
- What it Means to Be a Hero: Pre-teen girl Eri has been horrifically experimented on by the Yakuza, which has had all sorts of terrifying effects on her young mind. As well as one funny one.
"Aunt Mitsuki better watch her language around Eri," says Izuku.
"Why?" says Eri, cocking her head.
"She likes to say a lot of rude words," says mom. "It's who she is. We don't want you using those words because someone might get the wrong idea."
"Oh, rude words like 'fuck?'" says Eri, completely serious.
Mrs. Kayama wheezes so hard she has to use the table to support herself. Mom sputters a laugh and Izuku just stares at Eri with wide eyes. He hadn't really considered what being raised by Yakuza must mean for her.
- In The Trouble With Talismans Xiao-yu has no filter, so often reveals his parents' secrets.
- your move, instigator (draw your weapon and hold your tongue):
- Inoichi is forced to start teaching Sakura about politics due to her reports being too forthright and Brutally Honest, such as her dutifully transcribing exactly what Neji's final thoughts about the Hyuuga were as he was dying.
- Iruka-sensei goes increasingly pale as Team 14 casually discusses how they could be punished by getting shipped back to the front lines if they don't handle his class correctly. Like Clanless Bekko-sensei was.
- For one of the rare Played for Laughs examples in the story, many adults like Kushina panic when Sakura says she wants to meet Jiraiya and get his autograph. Granted, that's because she's a fan of his more family-friendly story Tales of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi and isn't aware of his more erotic works. But that doesn't stop adults like her mother Mebuki, Kushina, or Orochimaru from making sure she doesn't run into Jiraiya.
- Sam's little brother, Mike in Sixteen Candles, about his sister, Ginny, who's getting married:
Mike: She got her period. Should make for an interesting honeymoon, huh?
His father: Where are you learning that stuff?
His father: Good. Gettin' my money's worth.
- From Airplane!: "I take it black, like my men."
- The Gingerweed Man: From Buddy's mouth after The Gingerweed Man states his intent to expand Buddy's vocabulary.
- From the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap:
Annie as Hallie: I don't mean to be jerky when you're trying to be all mushy and everything, but I know what mystery my dad sees in you.
Meredith: You do?
Annie as Hallie: You're young and beautiful and sexy and, hey, the guy's only human. But if you ask me, marriage is supposed to be based on something more than just sex, right?
- For that matter, both the twins are quite eloquent for 11-year-olds throughout the movie. It's just that this is the only time adult subject matter gets this treatment.
- Much of what Short Round says in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. "Maybe he like... older women."
- The Disney adaptation of Bridge to Terabithia has this line from 8-year-old Maybelle, right at the end of their church visit.
Maybelle: "You've got to believe in God, Leslie, because if you don't, God'll damn ya to hell!"
- From Drop Dead Fred:
Mom: And the prince took the beautiful young girl in his arms and said, "will you marry me?" "Yes", she whispered, "I will be your princess".
Young Elizabeth: Did they live happily ever after?
Mom: Of course, Elizabeth.
Young Elizabeth: How do you know?
Mom: Because she was a good little girl. If she had been naughty, the prince would have run away.
Young Elizabeth: What a pile of shit!
- From The Wedding Singer:
"Hey, Linda! You're a bitch!""He... he may have Tourette's Syndrome, we're looking into it..."
- From Lethal Weapon: "My Mama says policemen shoot black people!" Mel Gibson was laughing so hard in that scene.
- Eric in Mystery Team Take this scene in a gentleman's club:
Jason: What are you doing here?
Eric: My mom works here.
Eric: What? It's better than shaking your shit on the street.
- Inverted in Kick-Ass when Big Daddy is stunned by daughter Mindy's birthday request for a cuddly, fluffy puppy and a Bratz movie star makeover Sasha. She then lets him in on the joke, amending her request to a Benchmade model 42 butterfly knife.
Mindy: I'm just fucking with you, dad.
- Darian to the Big Bad Marcone in The Last Boy Scout: "Eat shit, you fucking redneck!"
- 14 year-old Poppy in Fired Up! calls Bianca a "lesbotron". There are ad-libbed alternative readings in the credits, one of which is bleeped out, but could be "you fucking dyke!"
- Leprechaun: "Fuck you Lucky Charms!"
- A defining trait of Wednesday in the The Addams Family movies.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- Iron Man 3: In the middle of a panic attack, Tony's kid sidekick says "if you're a mechanic, why don't you build something?" Tony instantly calms down. What's interesting is that we actually see him testing Tony's PTSD earlier, pushing the limits of acceptable behavior a lot as Tony does.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Considering Baby Groot has grown up with "a bunch of assholes", it's inevitable he's got quite the potty mouth, even if he can only say "I am Groot". At one point, Rocket translates an "I am Groot" as "Welcome to the frickin' Guardians of the Galaxy," but then adds that Groot didn't say "frickin'".
- In Hocus Pocus, Dani's mocking of her big brother Max's lack of sex life isn't limited to repeatedly saying that he's a virgin:
Dani: [to Alison] Max likes your Yabbos. In fact, he loves them!
- In Demolition Man, in an archived story about one of John Spartan's defused hostage situations:
Reporter: How can you justify destroying a seven million dollar mini-mall to rescue a girl whose ransom was only twenty-five thousand dollars?
Girl: Fuck you, lady!
Spartan: Good answer.
- Tightrope have one of Clint Eastwood's daughters - the younger one - asking him, "Daddy, what's a hard-on?" while Clint and his older daughter are drinking soda. Cue Spit Take from Clint and the older daughter.
- In American Pie when Kevin and Vicky are about to do it in Stifler's house, his little brother pops out of the closet and says "you guys are gonna fuck, aren't you?" - and Kevin pushes him out of the room all the while he keeps chanting "fuckers", which they find Actually Pretty Funny.
- In Robocop 2, Detroit has deteriorated to the point where gangs of violent and foul-mouthed kids are going on crime sprees. Then there's Hob, who is crueler, smarter and more ambitious.
- Done three times in Jerry Maguire:
Ray: You said "fuck".
- The first time, it's Played for Drama; when one of his clients (a hockey player) gets his fourth concussion, and Jerry downplays the seriousness of his injury, the hockey player's young son, Jesse, angrily responds, "Fuck you!", and flips the bird at him. This leads to Jerry's Heel Realization.
- Second, when Jerry is visiting Dorothy, he's talking with Ray, and Ray keeps pestering him to go to the zoo, at which point, Jerry, who's drunk, says, "The fucking zoo's closed," and immediately regrets it.
Jerry: I know. I'm-
Ray: I won't tell.
Marcee: Why don't you be the first man in your family not to use that word, and then we'll let you live.
- Later, when Rod's family is watching him on TV, and Rod scores a touchdown, Rod's son Tyson yells out, "That's my mo-fo!", which does not please his family.
- In Cuties, eleven year-old Amy and the similarly aged Cuties make a lot of sexual references and they also pepper their sentences with unfiltered swearing.
- Lampshaded in Mrs. Doubtfire when Nattie apes her father Daniel's comment on how she and her siblings are "his goddamned kids, too". Daniel tries to play it off; Miranda isn't so impressed.
Miranda: Thank you. Any other choice phrases you'd like to teach our five-year-old, Daniel?
- A favorite trope of Jackass that they like to play pranks on the public with, which shows up in “Jackass Number Two” with Johnny Knoxville dressed as an old man by giving his grandson beer and cigarettes while he uses the filthy language to random strangers. It reaches its apex with Bad Grandpa with the character of Billy by redoing the same stunt, as well as having him say many other inappropriate matters, such as saying a woman would make a good stripper.
- Dinosaur Hotel: Peter says "Holy crap" when he sees a pterosaur (the same one his mother and the other contestants are being shown) outside from his room window.
- Kindergarten Cop: One of the boys in Kimble's class has a habit of introducing himself to people by saying "Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina". He later reveals his father is a gynecologist which might explain it. During the "Who Is Your Daddy, And What Does He Do?" game twin girls declare that "Our mom says that our dad is a real sex machine".
- In Jersey Girl, several of Gertie's classmates are presenting their reports on how their parents relationship is. Some with hilarious answers.
Blonde girl: My mom and dad are very religious. When they're in their bedroom at night, I hear them yelling "Jesus!".
Brian: My mom says my dad's eyes are brown because he's so full of— (gets Curse Cut Short by the teacher yelling at him)
Male classmate: My dad asked my brother who would he vote for president. My brother told him and my dad said "You're a total Bush man". My dad laughed and then my brother and I laughed real hard.
- Enemy of the State: After the events of the movie, and when Robert and Carla are watching the news with their young son Eric:
Carla: (watching Congressman Albert admit they need to monitor the people monitoring their enemies) Well, who's gonna monitor the monitors of the monitors?Dean: I wouldn't mind doing a little *monitoring* myself.Carla: (looks at him) Yes, and you've got lots and lots of *monitoring* to do.Eric: Are you guys talking about sex?Robert: (as he and Carla look on) Boy!
- During Mrs. Spicer and Colonel Matthews' inspection of Chartham Place in No Kidding:
Mrs. Spicer: I'm an extremely-Angus: Interferin' old trrrollop.Priscilla: Angus! That's very naughty.Colonel Matthews: Now, now, don't be angry with him. Out of the mouths of babes and... well, come things they neither mean nor understand.
- A country pastor is walking in the fields when he runs into a tiny girl leading an enormous bull on a rope.
"Good morning my child, where are you taking that bull?"
"Taking him to breed the cows, Reverend."
"All by yourself?! Can't your father do it?"
"Oh no, Reverend, his dick is much too small!"
- A soldier returns from overseas deployment to his wife and young son. He would very much like to make love to his wife, so as soon as they get to their apartment he puts the kid on the balcony and tells him to describe what he sees, then goes to the bedroom and shuts the door.
"There's a bird... A red car just pulled in... There's a plane... The Johnsons are fucking..."
"Their kid's on the balcony too."
- Sefalet's left-hand mouth says things no child should say in Dirge for Prester John. And she has no control over it.
- Older Than Radio example with The Emperor's New Clothes: "But he has no clothes on!"
- Lay Down Your Arms: Played for Drama. Martha overhears her preschool-aged son Rudolf tormenting two street dogs. When she calls him out for it, he calls one of the dogs a “naughty Dane” and the other one a “lying Italian”. Shocked about hearing him repeating hateful stereotypes about the two countries Austria fought in the last two wars, she immediately suspects that her own father, a deeply nationalistic and bigoted General Ripper and Blood Knight, taught him this.
- In the Monument 14 Trilogy, grade-schooler Max has all kinds of hilariously candid stories about his family. Dean suspects that he's lived a very interesting life, to put it mildly.
- Subverted in one book of the Myth Adventures when Skeeve ends up taking care of a precocious little girl because he won her in a card game. She says Darndest Things at horrible times and adult characters have their hands full explaining things to her. Turns out, she's an adult of a species that always looks like children and she's a character assassin who was saying those things deliberately to ruin Skeeve's business.
- In The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah), Sophie rebuffs Vianne's attempt to console her, by claiming that no, she won't see Sarah in heaven, because she was Jewish. Sophie makes it clear that she sees this as a patronizing comment from Vianne and does not appreciate it. Vianne is too shocked by this response to reply.
- In The Shining, five-year-old Danny's precognitive and Telepathy abilities sometimes lead him to learn about adult concepts he "overhears" but doesn't understand. In one early example, he overhears an older woman thinking about how she'd like to get into the bellboy's pants, but takes it literally, believing that the woman is cold and would rather be wearing a nice warm pair of trousers. Danny repeats this to Halloran, who laughs and says that Danny is going to know all about the human condition before he's ten.
- Wax and Wayne has Marasi — a female rookie cop — questioning a little boy on the street about a suspect...
- Whateley Universe: In combination with You Need to Get Laid in "Raises the Sun (Part 1)""
“You’re stiff like that guy Daddy talked about at the Palace.” The young six-year-old piped up. Before anyone could say anything, she continued. “You need to ... oh, yes, go to a strip club and relax, as Daddy said about that guy.” Pausing once again, with James repressing a snicker, and a slight glare from Kiko to her husband as he cringed slightly, she then burbled on. “Though what’s a strip club?”
“From the mouth of babes, eh?”
- Zigzagged on Supernanny - sometimes, the children who swear are simply repeating the words they heard their parents yelling; other times, they know exactly what they're saying and what the words mean.
- My So-Called Life: When fifteen-year-old Angela begins hanging out with an effeminate Puerto Rican boy, her mother Patti objects. Danielle, who delivers the final line here, is Angela's nine-year-old sister:
Patti: I find Rickie a little confusing.
Angela: Okay, so maybe he's bi. Who cares? His cousin can still drive.
Patti: What? He is what? Do you hear these terms she's throwing around? Bi?
Danielle: It means bisexual.
- In the Leave It to Beaver TV series, Wally tries to upbraid his little brother for falling for a panhandler's story. When he calmly states that he knew perfectly well the panhandler was making it up, Eddie demands to know why Beaver gave him money. "Because nobody ever told me a story like that before."
- In another episode Beaver asks Ward if he's a married man. Ward assures Beaver that he is. Beaver asks if June is a married woman. Ward assures Beaver that she is.
Beaver: Have you ever kissed any other married woman besides Mom?
Ward: Why Beaver! Why would you ask a question like that?
Beaver: I'm just wondering.
Ward: Well, actually son, no.
Beaver: I guess you were scared to, huh?
Ward: Yeah, that's as good a way as any to sum it up I guess.
Beaver: I guess a guy could into a lot of trouble doing that, huh.
Ward: [looking off into the distance, mumbling] He sure could... uh, buh Beaver, I've got to finish this plug son, so you run off and play.
- In another episode Beaver asks Ward if he's a married man. Ward assures Beaver that he is. Beaver asks if June is a married woman. Ward assures Beaver that she is.
- Full House usually portrayed the Tanner girls as sheltered and innocent. In one episode, however, it's averted. The guys are tasked with cleaning the entire house while their mothers (who are threatening to move in to help out) take DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle to the zoo. The grandmothers evidently don't think that the guys will do it, but a few hours later they come in to a spotless house. Stephanie then pulls out this gem:
Stephanie: Grandma Irene, does this mean hell is freezing over?
- Done repeatedly on Two and a Half Men. Jake would hear or see something at his uncle Charlie's house that his father, Alan, didn't want him to be exposed to. Alan would then launch into some bizarre explanation in an attempt to protect Jake's "innocence". We then learn that Charlie and Jake were just messing with Alan and that Jake already knew what was going on.
- Intentionally invoked by The Man Show, with a kid they hired as "The Man Show Boy", who would go around town saying things to people they wouldn't expect a kid to know.
- Played for Laughs in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "Be My Baby Tonight" with Ashley, who's 13, but asks Will to tell her everything he knows about sex. He is appalled as she goes on to say that she knows all about eggs, sperm and fallopian tubes. He says, "Am I going to have to wash your mouth out with soap, young lady?"
- In The New Normal, Shania calls Jane a bigot, and unfriends her.
- In a season 3 episode of Good Luck Charlie, Charlie managed to scare off all of Amy's baby shower guests after revealing her mother's true feelings towards the guests.
- Mad Men:
- While visiting her dad's office, Sally Draper, about seven, tells Joan Holloway "You have big ones. My mommy has big ones, and when I grow up I'm going to have big ones too." (She later drains a glass of his booze too.)
- In the Season 4 episode "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword", Sally asks her babysitter, Don's neighbor, if she and Don are "doing it", and says she knows that the man pees inside the women.
- An occasional source of humor on The Sopranos: the adults swear constantly, but when a child (especially their own) does the same they're appalled.
- In the Veronica Mars episode "Green-Eyed Monster", Wallace mentions to his mother he's going to be giving Jackie a hand with her trigonometry. He's not being very subtle with his entendres, but it is still a shock to him and his mother when his little brother Darrell pipes up, "Are you hitting that?"
- Played with amusingly My Wife and Kids, Michael and Jay attend Kady's school play. The children at the end shout to the audience "You put the peanut in the peanut hole!", a line which none of the parents seem to get. It's only in the evening when Michael (in bed with Jay, no less) figures it out:
Michael: "You put the peanut in the peanut hole", I get it!
Jay: I still don't get it.
Michael: You will...
[he moves in closer to Jay and turns the light off]
- Jimmy Kimmel thought it would be funny for parents to record themselves telling their young kids that they ate all the Halloween candy. Here's the result.
- On Everybody Hates Chris, the babysitter they have in one episode is a teenage mom. Tonya tells the babysitter's mother "My mom told me she would kick me out if I had a baby 'cause she ain't raisin' no babies. Why didn't you kick her out?"
- The 4400: In "Tiny Machines", Maia inadvertently reveals to the Marked in control of Tom Baldwin that NTAC are on to him when she tells him that Meghan has been coming over at night to talk to Diana all week.
- 1960s-vintage Talk Show host Art Linkletter had a regular segment on his program House Party called "Kids Say The Darnedest Things" — later spun off into a show itself — in which he interviewed children to solicit these kinds of observations for their comedic value. (Being the 1960s, they were — generally — a bit milder than today's version.)
- Bill Cosby picked up this ball from 1998-2000, with the show Kids Say the Darndest Things, which has yielded at least one compilation book.
- Better Things: Much humor comes from Sam's kids saying things that you don't expect of them, like Duke swearing and Frankie asking a guy Sam dates bluntly about their sex life.
- EGM had two articles where kids of the new millennium were asked to play games from before their time and interviewed on their opinions. The results were precious.
EGM: Who's that chick Mario is rescuing up there (in Donkey Kong)?
Brian: It's Princess Peach.
Kirk: It's a hooker.
Niko: She looks cut in half.
Tim: Oh wow — she's one of those pole dancers.
- As a side note, that's Pauline, not Peach.
- The comic strip Calvin and Hobbes did this frequently, as Calvin knows just enough about the adult world to get into trouble. In one strip, Calvin lectures his father on how everybody must do their part for the economy; in other words, his allowance should be raised so there is more money in circulation. His father says, "I've got to stop leaving the Wall Street Journal lying around." Later strips used Calvin's perspective to make observations of society, striving to never make it look preachy or heavy-handed.
Calvin: Why would it be worth four dollars a minute to talk on the telephone to goofy ladies who wear their underwear on TV commercials?
Mom: When were you watching that?!
Calvin: Um... it was on...uh...during my morning cartoons.Calvin: Do you have any kids, Uncle Max?
Max: Me? Nope, I'm not even married.
Calvin: Oh. ...What difference does that make?
Max: Kid watches a lot of TV, does he?Calvin: Boy, what a day! I went to school, played outside, and did my homework. I'm exhausted. You know what time it is now?
Dad: Uh, 7:35.
Calvin: It's Miller Time.Calvin: Why do you live in this house with Mom instead of an apartment with several scantily clad female roommates?Rosalyn: It's my job to watch you, and that's what I'm going to do, even if I have to strap you to a chair. Got it?
Calvin: [saluting with one hand and clicking his heels] Jawohl, mein Fuhrer!
Rosalyn: [grabbing Calvin by the shirt] Care to repeat that little comment?
Calvin: I said I'm not going anywhere. Leggo.
- For a seven-year-old, Mafalda certainly knows a lot about politics. So do her friends, to a degree.
- This trope is a standard one for Peanuts with the characters frequently displaying a vocabulary and grasp of concepts you'd never expect kids to have:
Linus: [doing the classic finger gestures with this rhyme for Sally] "Here's the church...here's the steeple...open the door...and see all the people!"
Sally: It looks like a rather small congregation.
- In Baby Blues, Darryl and Wanda try their best to be Good Parents. Despite this, there have been a couple occasions where their kids (especially Zoe when she was a toddler) have repeated something off-color they've said (swear words or something else embarrassing) in public.
- This is presumably the appeal of the boy's companies (such as the Children of Paul's) who operated during the sixteenth century. The comedies of John Lyly are a good example.
- Persona 3 has a fun example. New Year's day has the guys in the team admiring the girls in their kimonos. The resident cute little boy Ken asks if the girls are cold. When questioned why it's because Junpei says that they wear nothing underneath. Cue Yukari stomping on Junpei's foot and asking if he told Ken anything else. (This may be better in Portable when it's possible to have a romantic relationship with Ken)
- Solatorobo contains a mild case. While Elh manages to confuse Red and Chocolate about being female, one of the orphans immediately realizes she's a girl and asks her why she dresses like a boy. Red replies that it makes it easier to play, volunteering a flustered Elh for babysitting duty. Only question is, how exactly did the kid know that...?
- The first Dark Brotherhood quest in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has you killing the vicious woman who runs the orphanage. The children cheer you after the deed, but one girl very calmly acknowledges that killing one person can solve a lot of people's problems and that she is "wondering at the possibilities".
- Fallout 3: Most children—unsurprisingly, given that the series is known for its Black Humor. Little Lamplight, in particular, has some kids using all but the most taboo swear words in every sentence.
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories: A seven-year-old calls in to Chatterbox and has a brief conversation with Lazlow. Then...
Caller: Lazlow, do you know what "Fuck me harder" means?
- Kinder: The children's ages range from 2nd grade up to 6th grade, and they are all aware what is going on with adults. Yuuichi speaks rather nonchalantly about his father's repeated cheating on his mother, and Shunsuke admits he realized at a young age that his mother was his father's mistress, and not his lawful wife, as he initially thought. And Sayaka herself runs on this trope. At one point, Sayaka and Ryou are playing 'adultery between a boss and his secretary', where Sayaka is blackmailing Ryou over incriminating pictures she took.
- In The Last of Us, Ellie surprises Joel in that she is a wise-talking, swearing, clever girl (who is also handy with a gun or two and not afraid to complete dangerous tasks). There's also her reaction to a gay porn magazine she finds:
Ellie: Light on the reading, but it has some interesting photos.
Joel: Now, Ellie, that ain't for kids...
Ellie: Whoa... how- how the hell would he even walk around with that thing?
Joel: Get rid of that! Just-
Ellie: Hold your horses, I wanna see what all the fuss is about. Oh... why are these all stuck together?
Ellie: I'm just fuckin' with you. [throws magazine out the window]
- In Yakuza, ten-year-old Haruka asks Kiryu ("Uncle Kaz" to her) what a "soapland" is. Kiryu struggles for a while to find the appropriate words, until Haruka laughs and tells him she already knows what it is.
- In Cafe Enchante, while shopping with Canus and Ignis, Kotone is asked by some local kids if she is dating Canus. When they tried to explain it wouldn't be a date because there were three of them together, one kid instead asks if they were in a polyamory relationship.
- The Cyantian Chronicles: Tae, during a conversation with Kea. Tae and Kea together, at points. Kibi, who is smarter than many adults. Collin and Quinn, during Akaelae.
- Ghastly's Ghastly Comic: Tentacoo wape!
- Christine, Sonichu and Rosechu's daughter from Sonichu does this in the Christmas special whilst dressed as the Virgin Mary for a school play. "I am the Virgin Mary. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it." (Incidentally, she's a little kid. Although most people who know about the author seem to think he has no idea what the line actually means.)
- Jay Naylor's Better Days often invokes this to deliver a moral so objectivist it would make Steve Ditko puke himself.
- Jason has a very awkward time playing Santa.
"My mommy says you're a pagan representation designed to steal glory from Christ and I should tell you you're gonna burn in Hell forever. I want a Barbie."
- Kestrel has just as bad a time as the Easter Bunny.
My mom says you can't be too careful at events like this. They let just anyone show up and she says if I'm not careful, I'll catch an airbourne disease, like atheist or negro.
- Jason has a very awkward time playing Santa.
- This xkcd strip, in which a child finds "Daddy's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue" - and has seen so many inappropriate things on the internet that they're shocked that the girls have clothes on. "Parents, talk to your kids about popup blockers."
- Kids in Scary Go Round (and other Bobbinsverse comics) are prone to this sort of behavior, as here.
Humphrey: Daddy said I should hide my piggy bank while you're here. But he said it wouldn't be for long.
- Everyday Heroes: In front of several neighbors at a party, Greta Goode asks her mom why, if she can't arrest people, she has "that policewoman's uniform in your closet", leading her parents to beat a hasty retreat.
- '80s All Over spoofs this in the November 1983 episode with an Imagine Spot of sorts in which an "11-year-old" Scott Weinberg profanely complains about the perceived Bait-and-Switch of The Smurfs and the Magic Flutenote . Co-host Drew McWeeny jokes that Scott's dad must have been shocked to hear that!
- Not Always Right has a lot of these.
- From The Mouth Of Babes, Part 2:
Me: Can I help you?
Child: I don’t get it.
Child: Are you old or just simple?
Me: Excuse me?
Child: ‘Cause my mom said everyone who works at [supermarket] is either old or simple.
[The mother comes running behind him, picks him up, and runs off.]
- Don't Butt in Line, if You Can't Pay the Fine. When politeness doesn't get a five-year-old anywhere, adult language does.
- What seems like a regular case of a young Picky Eater refusing to eat veggies in a restaurant turns awkward when the girl insists that her brother told her that broccoli is "very bad for little girls" and proceeded to smoke some "broccoli" himself.
- Neither quite profane nor adult, but very, very sarcastic: this little girl moons and blows raspberries at another shopper harassing her dad, and when told she's acting childish replies, "Well, I'm four. What's YOUR excuse?"
- From The Mouth Of Babes, Part 2:
- SCP Foundation: In the story, and also a Literary Allusion Title to Kids Say the Darndest Things: "GRANT REQUEST FOR THE RE-CREATION OF AN ADVANCED POSTMORTEM NEURAL PRESERVATION SYSTEM":
50% of practicing transhumanist necromancers will have cognitive abilities comparable to that of a 4-year-old child.
3. B. Kimberleigh (1995). 200-Year-Old Transhuman Occultists Say the Darndest Things, Pew Research Center, Paranormal Branch
- Early South Park was based almost entirely around this trope. For extra funny/cute/disturbing points, any kids younger than the core cast's 8-10 bracket are almost always voiced by actual kids in the same age range (meaning Ike is always voiced by a real toddler and the Kindergartners are voiced by 4-5-year-olds).
- Commentary for the 10th season episode Smug Alert has Trey Parker and Matt Stone saying they did the episode primarily so that they could have the child voicing Ike say "tripping balls".
- The movie focused heavily on this too, but later episodes it seems the adults have given up (in the case of some, like Counselor Mackey and Randy Marsh, they have their own issues to deal with).
- The Warner Siblings from Animaniacs. Yakko's physically about 14, Wakko's physically 10, and Dot's physically 8. And yet, some of the things they say are a bit...
"Let me know when those costumes get heavy, ladies!"
- This gem from The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, which deconstructs the Fridge Logic of a 10-year-old genius with an extensive knowledge of human biology when Jimmy tells his parents that he wants a baby brother:
Hugh: [Spit Take] Baby making is very... complicated, believe me.
Jimmy: Dad, Dad, it's not complicated. Really, really, it's -
Hugh: You don't know —
Jimmy: It's basically conception, right?
[Hugh sticks his fingers in ears and hums "la la la la"]
Jimmy: ...then a nine-month gestation period...
Hugh: La la la la...
Jimmy: ... and then you have...
Judy: Sweetie, a new baby just isn't in the cards right now.
Jimmy: But mom, if the glandular timeline--
Hugh: That's enough! OK! Ha-ha, I want pie! Anyone else want pie? I want pie!
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Meng, a pre-teen girl, calls Katara a floozy under her breath when she learns Aang (whom Meng had a crush on) prefers Katara.
- From The Legend of Korra, seven-year-old Ikki sees nothing wrong with letting Asami know that her friend Korra is in love with her boyfriend.
- On one episode of King of the Hill, Hank jokes with Bobby about girls having cooties, only for him to ask what cooties are. Hank explains that it's the disease that you get from girls, only for Bobby to reply, "Oh, you mean like chlamydia?"
- Quoted verbatim in the couch gag of The Simpsons episode "The Cad and the Hat" where Homer enters a parody of South Park with the four boys spouting constant bleeped profanity.
- On The Critic, Alice Tompkins' daughter, Penny, got a fair amount of mileage off of this.
Penny: What's the matter, Mama?
Alice: Oh, sweetie. You wouldn't understand.
Penny: Are you afraid the man you love has left you for another?
Alice: What?! Where'd you learn to talk like that?!
Penny: It's "Men Are Scum" week on Ricki Lake.
- Much of Louise and Gene's humor on Bob's Burgers comes from this: Gene is rather innocent for his age and oftentimes doesn't recognize why something he's said is inappropriate. Louise, on the other hand, isn't innocent enough for her age, and deliberately says some of the things she says because she enjoys being The Gadfly.
Gene: Channel 9 News! They'll finger anything with a pulse!
Bob: I'm pretty sure it's "Their finger's always on the pulse."
Louise: My mom and dad are downstairs grinding the meat right now.
Louise: (while pelvic thrusting) I mean they're really "grinding the meat" right now.
- Tina lies somewhere in the middle; being 13, she is old enough to have some academic understanding of such topics, but she lacks the social grace needed to avoid talking about them at inappropriate times, such as when she started talking about her erotic zombie night terrors during breakfast. To her father. Bob ends up begging her to stop talking.
- Transformers: Animated has an epic moment from 8-year-old Sari Sumdac, who completely shatters Optimus Prime's innocence by telling him about the birds and the bees.◊
- This gem from Rugrats:
Drew: Angelica, honey, say hello to Uncle Paul.
Angelica: My daddy says your show is the biggest gravy train in town!
Paul: I beg your pardon?
- This from The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode "Superfriends" when the girls meet their new neighbor Robin Schneider and tell her that the Professor (whom she meets) made them by accident:
Robin: That's okay. I was an accident, too!
- Jellystone!: When Captain Caveman tries to instruct Junior how to swing his club, saying he's doing too much stooping, Junior begins shouting "Stupid!" repeatedly, which offends Shazzan. Cap tells Junior that "stupid" is a no-no word; in response, Junior begins repeating the word "butt", which causes Peter Potamus to start rambling about how he's been doing squats.
Captain Caveman: Boy, so many people outside van today.
- The infamous Balloon Boy hoax was busted when during a news interview, the boy in question told the truth that "You guys said that, um, we did this for the show." when asked why he didn't come down from the garage when called.
- Bill Engvall says this about when he had to have The Talk with his son:
So I sat him down and said, "Son, I know you already know a lot of things, so why don't you do this: why don't you tell me what you know, and I'll just fill in the blank spots." About 30 minutes later, I'm sitting there with a pen and a pad of paper, going, "You can DO that?!?"
- Blake Lively says that when her daughter James first learned to talk, she had an unfortunate habit of turning words that start with 's' into 'sh'. So when she asks for someone to come sit with her...
"I have Amy Schumer as a daughter."
- Mara Wilson describes her mother telling her about sex when she was five years old. But she had to film Mrs. Doubtfire the next day and apparently ran around the set shouting "I know what sex is!" and variations of that. The crew and Robin Williams found it Actually Pretty Funny. Mara's mother did not.
- Eavesdrop on any group of children playing together and you're bound to hear something kind of messed up eventually. Kids swear and play games where they "kill" each other pretty much daily.
- Samuel L. Jackson has said that his typical Cluster F-Bomb rubbed off on his daughter from a very young age, and she would thoroughly shock other parents by dropping f-bombs at parties.
- During the filming of Logan, there was a scene where Logan (Hugh Jackman) had to shout at Laura (Dafne Keen) "SHUT THE FUCK UP!", which went on for 40 minutes, and after that he went to María, Dafne's mother, to apologize for that. María cheerfully replied that Dafne had just called him a cunt in Spanish.