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Inappropriate Children's Shows - Violent, Gross, and Unsettling Kid's TV

Although it might seem like an an easy way for children to while away the hours, there's plenty of inappropriate and violent kid's TV shows out there.  Featuring sexual innuendo, inordinately disturbing plots and situation, realistic violence, and all around uncomfortable imagery, these cartoons might have the kinder taking away more than expected.

But don't let the papers fool you - this is hardly a "sign of the times."  Upsetting children's shows have been around since early days of broadcast.  Here are some of the television series most likely to have left you or your kids with a warped out look on life.

Billy and Mandy

The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy - Terrifying TV for disturbed children

The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy - Terrifying TV for disturbed children

The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy

Woah boy.  There's a lot of reasons why Billy and Mandy aren't for children of any age.  Hell, I'm a grown man and I'm terrified of this show.  Starring Mandy, a sadist in pink, and Billy, a barely coherent buffoon, this show chronicles the adventures of two children who managed to capture Death and keep him as a pet.  Throughout the show, the main characters regularly die or otherwise obliterated by the end of the episode, only to return in the next with no major damage.

Of course, that might not be too far off from the standard Warner Brother's fare, so to up the ante, Mandy often causes the death of secondary characters through inaction or general malicious plotting.  A young Hannibal Lecter in the making, Mandy is perhaps the cruelest and most callous star of a children's show ever.

Plots often take the trio to hell, terrible other dimension, fighting shadow beasts and other nightmare creatures, or occasionally just making each other's lives miserable for the fun of it.  There certainly aren't any lessons to be learned and I'm not sure what type of fun the kids are going to get out of the situation.  I know I'm just deeply disturbed.  Maybe eight year olds are more resilient than I, however.

Occasionally, the show will also begin with a quick stinger of one of the characters saying something odd or off putting before the episode begins.  I can't confirm this, so don't take me as the final word, but I'm pretty sure I heard Mandy reciting a line from the Satanic Bible once.  I could be wrong, but it says a lot that I wasn't sure.

This might be all well and good if Billy and Mandy was on Adult Swim, but it wasn't.  Situated every weekday at 3:00, the show was on just in time for the kids coming home from school.  Enjoy your terrifying sociopathy, kids.


"Gumby?" You ask "Why Gumby?  That's classic animation for kids."  Well, to that I say, have you actually watched an episode of Gumby recently?

Whether it is the original '50s television show or the 1980s revival, Gumby is an uncomfortable experience for everyone.  Featuring low-quality claymation, nothing about the show feels natural or comfortable.  The characters move about like jerky nightmare creatures speaking in tongues and bizarrely modified voices, the entire experience is just awful.  Every episode of Gumby is like a David Lynch dream sequence.

The entire thing is just uncomfortable. Why are the Blockheads trying to kill Gumby?  What do they gain?  The entire show is like a fever dream.

And then there's this little trailer.  Just... just check it out.

Invader Zim and Gir

Invader Zim and Gir

Invader Zim

What interests me most about Nick's Invader Zim is what it was like in the network board room meetings.  "Okay, so we got this new show for the tween market.  We got this comic book artist to make us a new show.  It sounds cute, an alien and his robot pal try to take over the planet earth but they're inept and it never works out."

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Sounds fun, right? Like a sci-fi Pinky and the Brain.  What they didn't try to tell the rest of the board was that Invader Zim's creator is Jhonen Vasquez, writer of the plainly adult Johnny the Homicidal Maniac.  Set in a grimy and oppressive world, alien invader Zim poses as a middle school student while he tries to take over the world.

One of the very first episodes features the titular character stalking his school and taking other children's organs by force so that he can use them to pass a school physical.  Well, okay then.  Nice lead-in to Rugrats.  Featuring abundant violence, bizarre imagery, and a decidedly pessimistic outlook, Zim became a cult hit.  Just keep the kids away.

Looney Tunes


Too many rabbits in drag seducing unwitting dudes.  Nuff said.

Bugs Bunny in drag... I don't know what he's doing.

Bugs Bunny in drag... I don't know what he's doing.

Sexual Moments in Rocko's Modern Life

Rocko's Modern Life

One of Nick's early attempts at original animation, Rocko's Modern Life was an odd choice for the children's television market. The show featured a young adult wallaby entering the real world for the first time and struggling to make end's meet. Most kids aren't that interested about a surreal representation of the struggles of twenty-something's after college, but there you have it.

The show featured a remarkably high amount of sexual innuendo for a children's television show. A common hang out on the show was "Chokey's Chicken", a masturbation pun. That wasn't the end of jokes about what your priest might call "self love." Rocko's best friend Heffer, a steer, spends the night in a barn and comes out with a milking machine for a girlfriend. Keep in mind, this cow doesn't have any udders....

Rocko featured a rather dark and unpleasant look at life outside the home. Although a lot of humor would go over a kid's head and leave the adults laughing, there was always the sense that something just wasn't right when you watched Rocko's Modern Life.

Kids can take it- right?

Of course, children are more resilient than we think. Most, if not all, of these shows won't twist a normal kid into some type of deviant. Although in most instances children don't need as much protecting from the world as we think, shows like these make you question exactly who cartoons are being developed for. Networks are so concerned about putting a show on the air that parents can stand to watch with their children they often forget that their main audiences will still be kids.

Please share a few kid's shows you thought upsetting, scary, or otherwise inappropriate.


Anonymous on July 20, 2017:

What about Happy Tree Friends

say no to bullshit on November 08, 2013:

Not good..

lets just say as a kid I tried so.things from a looked tions show once...................... Nuff said..

no one on September 06, 2013:

Rocko's Modern Life is an adult show. Period.

danny on July 10, 2013:

regular show is not for little kids it was for 10-18 and later got toned for 10-14 adventure time is not for kids its for teens MAD is not for kids its for teens the looney tunes show is not for kids its for teens sym bionic titan is for teens robotomy is for teens secret mountain fort awsome is for teens total drama island is for teens star wars the clone wars is for teens 6teen is for teens the only innapproapriate kids shows i can think of is the grim adventures of billy and mandy spongebob rockos modern life and ren and stimpy the rest of the those shows i mentioened are not really for kids

Ray on January 22, 2013:

All I can say is, if The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy creeps you out, you're a wimp. The show was dark, no doubt, but it was fun, and Mandy is a badass. My favorite character on the show. It wasn't meant for young children in the first place, but young to mid teens were the target audience, and possibly also adults, considering it has a lot of pop culture references that would go over a child's head.

It's pretty much the same with Invader Zim as with Billy and Mandy.

Also, Bugs is not in drag in that image, he is a barber with a towel on. However, I could have definitely gone my whole life without seeing animated rabbit taint. There's even a line under his tail highlighting it.

mercediesfm on November 17, 2011:

ok i understand some of these shows but ive watched them since i was really little and im 17 now and about to graduate from high school. i had a rough childhood and i understood all of it. it even helped me understand the real world better and that was a good thing because if i didn't go out and find stuff out on tv i probably would of done worst things, and i will admit that little kids dony need some of the language they use but if i didn't ever watch the stuff then how could i be here now. it helped me raise my little brother and understand what my mother was going through trying to work where she could maybe i would have a childhood but then again i might not of even been able to watch any of these shows. Me watching the shows like invader zim and billy and mandy helped me realize that its not that scary to go somewhere or have to be by your self it even helped me learn how to cook and what never to try thanks to billy lol :) but the shows are not the problem its the parents since they don't tell kids the difference between reality and fiction. i thanked my mother all the time for not lieing to me. she told me the truth about the so called "innocent" childhood believes like santa claus and tooth fairy and easter bunny i never believed in them does that mean i wasn't an innocent child don't think so im about to be the first one in my family to go to college right after high school and not when im already down. i understood alot the shows when i was younger and still do when my little brothers watch them one of them just turned 9 he watches more than any of this stuff and he is fine my little sister just turned 4 and she watches worst stuff then any of these like jerry springer its not going to turn her like most of the people on that show is it i don't think so i grew up on that shit and if it does something to her life maybe she will do better on everything i have.

SEOjoe from United Kingdom on October 19, 2011:

after flicking through the comments on here im starting to wonder...why all the raging? the hub never said any of these shows weren't good hell anyone who dislikes looney toons needs to get there head looked at. point of this is to point out how innapropriate these shows are for a young audience. looney toons is funny whether you watched them when they were a reasonably new thing or now all these years later, but shouting things like "i demand that you shoot me now!" may not be the best thing.

Also to the author i have one question: Why is courage the cowardly dog not on this list? i remember watching it when i was about 8 and one of the episodes scaring the living hell outta me. but hey you live you learn

tiana on October 06, 2011:

im 14 now and i used to love some of these shows especially billy and mandy cant believe i never noticed all these things lol

Layla on October 04, 2011:

Reading these comments made me laugh. I noticed that the majority of those who were getting upset about this post because they watched these shows seem to not get the point at all. They also seem very illiterate. Most of those posts have very bad grammar, spelling errors, and no punctuation. If you want to try to argue what the post is about, you should sound educated while doing so. Now I grew up on these shows as well and think that they are pretty entertaining, but I also have to agree with the poster. He has a good point about the innuendos in these shows. My 6 year old sister asked me why boys have a part them that get bigger when they are happy and what part it was because she hear something on Nick about it. Kids are supposed to have an innocent childhood. I know that people were making good points that they shouldn't get hidden from the real world, but they should still get that innocent childhood and learn about the real world when they are a bit older and able to understand it better. I have a two year old step son. Now, Santa isn't real, but I would never tell him that. This would rob him from his childhood but also show him the real world. Would you want your child to go without a Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and other childhood heroes?

Me the Awesome on August 31, 2011:


I'm trying to be nice here, so I'll use a euphemism: I don't agree with you.

Invader ZIM is my second favourite TV show of all time, and, if you had actually researched a bit about it, you find that the show is meant for young teens. 99.99999999999999999% of them have enough common sense not to follow Zim's example and rob other children of vital organs. The 0.00000000000000001% that isn't are locked in psychiatric wards somewhere. Adults (esp. parents) often underestimate the responsibility childrens and teens. They read too many horror stories (*cough* newspapers) of us commiting homicides, suicides, doing drugs, etc. Seriously. That's only a percentage of the population. What about the rest of us who are responsible (and have common sense) enough to watch actual entertaining shows? When TV was invented, its main use was to ENTERTAIN. Not EDUCATE, like most childrens' shows are these days. Shows like Looney Toons, Invader ZIM, etc., have REAL humour. Not cheesy, 'appropriate', 'non-violent', totally lame and boring jokes.

And just because Jhonen Vasquez creates an adult book (I'm twelve and have read Johnny The Homicidal Maniac - you don't see me running around stabbing people do you?!) doesn't mean he's not capable of creating a good children's TV show. You're judging people by what they've done before. First impressions aren't everything, you know.

And really, just because Gumby (I've never even heard of it until now, but when I watched the trailer, I actually found the clayman's ability to turn into any shape quite fascinating) has bad quality voicing or whatever, doesn't mean it's an 'Innapropriate Show'. Seriously?!

Len Cannon (author) from Brooklyn, NY on August 31, 2011:

Why can't a show be good AND inappropriate for children?

Invader ZIM on August 31, 2011:

Very, incredibly, TOTALLY horrible list! Probably the worst TV list ever in the history of TV lists. Invader ZIM is one of the best TV shows around. Whoever wrote this list must be an uptight, weak-stomached, fraidy-cat WHO HAS NO SENSE OF ACTUAL HUMOUR WHATSOEVER!!!!!

Max on August 25, 2011:

FAIL. FAIL. FAIL. Do not listen to this person. they do NOT appreciate ANYTHING about animation.

SEOjoe from United Kingdom on July 13, 2011:

right on with the list,watched a few of these and a couple others on a daily bases when i was younger. surprised as a couple people have already said not to see cow and chicken, ren and stimpy,powerpuff girls or a couple others on the list. thing is because of how extreme they are with the jokes and references they go strait over most kids heads without them noticing its only once you revisit them once your about 16+ that you start realising what's actually going on. courage the cowardly dog was the worst for me remember seeing a few episodes of it that i can stil remember to this day (probs about 10 years back i watched it). im also surprised johnny bravo hasn't been brought up by anyone in comments, it was another messed up show. but amazing all the same. finally to the people saying this sort of stuff shouldn't be on tv, although it extreme it did still get censored. ren and stimpy ended up with some eps being cut, some just weren't shown and they moved it to a 9pm slot for young teen audience

90's kid on July 05, 2011:

yeah I'm a nineties kid, i grew up watching most of these shows and a few more that you would probably call "inappropriate, which i suppose is an opinion that you are completely entitled to have but i'd just like to say that none of these shows scarred me for life or made me grow up too quick i look back on my childhood entertainment very fondly, i loved it. and sure you want your kids to learn but they do need some "just entertainment" too. can you imagine how boring your childhood would have been without that, whatever it may have been for you?

vanessa on June 20, 2011:

billy and mandy is a good show

Bunny Queen on June 13, 2011:

I agree with you, but there is a small dent in it. Yes as a parent it is the're responsibility to sort but with all of the shows not being appropriate for children it means they wouldn't be able to let their children enjoy the joy of watching cartoons like we did as children. My favorite thing to do as a child was to get up really early Saturday morning to watch my favorite cartoons with my breakfast. It isn't fair to children to rid them of that joy because all of their cartoons are inappropriate for them to watch.

MarieLa on May 31, 2011:

You are all forgetting a huge part of the equation. I have a 7 year old and she is not being raised by the television. It is MY DUTY AS PARENT to sort out which things are appropriate brain food for my kid and protect her from those which aren't. As parents, don't give the media the control over your child's upbringing!!!

HeSaves :D on May 25, 2011:

I agree, useyourbrain. These cartoons are not appropriate for ANYONE. Satanic refrences and sexual inuendoes do not make a cartoon good, and if I personally knew that my children watched these, while i knew about the Satanic references, I would immediately put an end to it.

Also, the Animaniacs had quite a few sexual inuendoes that shocked me.

useyourbrain on May 14, 2011:

Rocko's modern life is the worst one i can think of.. i loved the show as a kid but, i am older an more educated now.. there are so many things in the show on every single episode that are hidden in plain view. most of them are satanic... 666 is either danced around or if you look for it its hidden in some episodes. "the all seeing eye" shows up all the time. there are constant perverted remarks. not one episode i have watched that didn't at least have a few hidden things in it. you'd have to be retarded not to notice it... or an inocent child who doesn't know any better.. these things are implanted in the subconscience... you might not directly be thinking about it but your brain still interprets it even if it does not understand it. this stuff is not good for kids at all...n its not good for anyone..pure evil.. just remember satan is sly his actions are not always seen by the naked eye..we are like the gods knowing both good an evil... isn't obvious which one your supposed to choose?

ruffridyer from Dayton, ohio on May 08, 2011:

The show called k.i.d.s. next door has a gang of children that are secret agents. The odd thing about the show is often the kids are fighting some evil villian who is trying to give them something kids hate but really need. i.e. vacanations, trips to the dentist, not eating just candy for lunch.

Becka on April 13, 2011:

I love those shows, and teens can handle them. But do I let my 5 or 6 year old watch them? No. because they are not yet able to fully distinguish fiction from reality. Some of these shows are aired on nickelodeon, a channel marketed to children. That's the po in the was trying to make

Willidiots on April 02, 2011:

THANK YOU for perfectly explaining why Gumby is so terrifying. I've never heard a better description.

Kee Bird on February 28, 2011:

I can remember GUMBY and his horse pal POKEY they were always going into space a lot together

Heather on February 22, 2011:

"I don't see a problem with ______." or "I/they can handle it.", are a few lines we use to defend what we view or allow our children to view. Instead I want to ask myself, "How will this make me/my children better." For Christians, "Does this feed my spirit or my flesh?" Thinking back to shows I watched as a child, I am saddened, because many of them were "Just entertainment.", "It made me laugh.", but the shows did not stengthen my character, therefore, it weakened it. I don't think we can be too selective about what we allow ourselves to watch for entertainment, and what we allow our children to watch. My goal is to be a good example to my children, and to go towards things that are good, entertainment that involves interacting with people, and avoid entertainment that creates humor out of gross and negative things.

LIZZY:) on January 22, 2011:

these showz really aren't that bad...

bearachute from Pittsburgh PA on December 27, 2010:

I'm kind of surprised out of all the shows mentioned shows like Ren And Stimpy or Fanboy and Chum Chum or any Spongebob aren't mentioned. Out of anything that came from Nick these three are more than likely more suspect. But I don't think the designs of these shows (considering I've actually had conversation with a storyboard artist on Rocko's) were meant to be malicious. I realize this is merely opinion, but if you look back on shows in the 80's (transformers, tmnt, gijoe, captain planet) it's been around a lot longer than you think.

Greg Sanchez on December 03, 2010:

Anything these shows put on kids will see much worse when they get older. No use in hiding the world from them

Megavitamin on November 19, 2010:

I love Gumby, even if it is really trippy! I watched it all the time as a kid and have nothing but fond memories of it. I agree with RayRay, I expected to see Ren & Stimpy on this list. Oh well.

I think parents have to explain the difference between real life and make believe to their kids. Also, the TV set is not a babysitter. Those are just my thoughts :0) on November 19, 2010:


Do You Remember a short lived cartoon on MTV from 1996 called "The Brothers Grunt"? Craeted by Ed, Edd, & Eddy Creator Danny Antoucinni, it was hideous! It only lasted about six months until it was yanked from the TV Screens. I Do agree about "Billy & Mandy", the Necromaniac jokes are too much and Mandy is Lucifer reincarcerated as a girl, but The show also had a spin off originally called "Evil Con Carnie" , about a bunch of Nazi wannabes who fail miserably mission after mission to stop an all-American Johnny Rambo-like goldfish (No, Really!) I Thought it was better than Billy & Mandy, but looking back on it today, the idea of having bumbling dictators wanting to take over the world (though failing every time) was questionable to show to a kid's audience. Two more cartoons that were aimed at adults, but kids might have slipped by to watch: "Drawn Together" & MTV's "Liquid Television" of the 1990's; Those were interesting cartoons, but definitely not for children.

luigi on November 10, 2010:

why isn't power rangers on this list

Patrick on August 23, 2010:

I watched an episode of Batman where Harley Quinn was wearing a nightie and trying to seduce the Joker I can't believe that got past the censors.

Eris on August 10, 2010:

Oh, pretty much every show I enjoyed as a child, and still enjoy at 21. Yet, I'm normal and well adjusted. I watched Ren & Stimpy at 6 with my father. I own a lot of IZ stuff, and heck, even read Jhonen's adult comics at a young age. And Loony Toons? Really? I watched these with my uncle at 2, and he is old fashioned. Today, kids shows lack any sort of depth, because parents are so afraid their precious wittle children will be scarred for life. If kids are taught the difference between reality and fiction, there isn't a problem. I watched Forever Knight at 2, including the episode where a staked vampire shoots blood out of his chest. Same with Powerpuffs, Courage, and Cow and Chicken. Those shows are amazing.

big joe on August 09, 2010:

i believe these shows need to also be considerd thru the eyes of the peeple watching it

RayRay on July 18, 2010:

I am really surprise that you did not include Cow and Chicken, The Ren & Stimpy Show,Courage the Cowardly Dog, or Powerpuff Girls (with the excessive violence and possible reference to ecstasy).

Joruden on July 07, 2010:

I watched and loved these shows as a child. But look at me now. I'm a sane human being. I still watch these shows. The only reason why those inccedents happened is responsible to the parent, to explain what really happened, and to the kid to understand. Not because of those shows. Their the best shows EVER!

Len Cannon (author) from Brooklyn, NY on June 16, 2010:

You're allowed to like them. I never said I didn't.

I have no idea what Grossology is. It sounds brilliant.

Katrina on June 16, 2010:

You are totally wrong! I love these shows! You need to talk to som ereal kids about these shos!

And =], Grossology is my fave show! Ever! In the enitire world!

I am a Grossology Fanatic! I LOVE GROSSOLOGY!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I have said what I have to say about you Mister-I-Don't-Like-The-Best-Cartoons-In-The-World!!!!!!!!

nina on May 12, 2010:

i aggree with you.

and most people really don't see the impact of all this tv violence on kids.

i am writing a paper on this and while researching, i came across two very sad incidents.

"Several years ago a seven year old little boy pushed his five year old sister off a cliff saying "She will bounce back up just like in the cartoon." Another eight year old boy hung his sister from a rope in the closet at their home because he had seen it in a cartoon and everything turned out fine."

this almost brought me to tears. i knew that violence in young kids was getting bad, but i had no idea at all that it was this bad.

=] on May 05, 2010:

Oh and I forgot to say, did anybody notice that in that clip for The Grim Adventure Of Billy And Manny, the boy makes a toy soldier and a monster kiss. Then after that girl ruins his toy soldier, he's like "but he had a family" and shows a toy wife and toy kids. Well, something is seriously wrong there, he just made his toy soldier cheat on the toy wife...

=] on May 05, 2010:

The only show that is actually COMPLETELY inapporpriate for kids, in my opinion, is Grossology. Like, I saw that show once and I couldn't even make it through the whole show, I don't know how little kids do. It's stupid, pointless and, well honestly, it's disgusting.

Douglas on April 26, 2010:

oh get over it for god sakes. nothing is stopping them so stop your complaining. you liked the show when you were younger and didn't give a crap for the bad stuff. So who cares people. enjoy creation and ignore the things that are not that big of a deal

puppypeople on April 18, 2010:

Wow i never knew

NCM on April 17, 2010:

The first time I actually watched some of these repulsive videos I was disgusted. Please help me fight this by signing my petition against it. Thank you:)

J-Dog on February 18, 2010:

Hey I watched Billy n Many and now I'm gonna go do some pot lolololo!!!1!

Stop me >:

avangend from St. Louis, MO on December 28, 2009:

I think your observation that some cartoons would be better off on AdultSwim (or even Spike) is an adept one. I find Family Guy to be hilarious, but I do not think it is the sort of show my seven year old brother should watch after school. Thus, it is aimed, appropriately, at a different audience.

But if there is no outlandishness anywhere, do you really have a cartoon? Where is that line of appropriateness within the "grey area" of comedy?

PheonixGRX on December 28, 2009:

I don't see a problem with Grim Adventures, and they don't die in every episode, just sometimes, and they are brought back because Grim is their friend. And invader zim is canceled because of a murder cases defendant used a reference from the show which made it canceled, and right before the movie T.T

Ha1992 on December 10, 2009:

Ok jeremy he was just giving his opinion. I know what he is talking about. I have seen some of the episodes for at least one of these shows. But I am a teen so i catch a good portion of what is going on. But little kids might not. since I have heard what you have to say and your langue i am not going to allow anyone in my family to watch those shows. Because apparently you have no respect for other people and are a massive jerk. So next time put a little thought into what you post. You don't want to be the Ugly American.

JEREMY on November 29, 2009:


alysafiesta from Dallas, Tx on October 06, 2009:

You know, when I go back sometimes and watch things from when I was little I can't believe some of the things that went right over my head when I was little. I mean its a good sign that being under the age of 10 I didn't know what was being talked about at the time, but kids today seem to be a lot more keen on picking things up. I love sponge bob, but you can't say that's a real rated G type show.

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