Adult Jokes From Your Favorite Cartoons That You Didn’t Understand as a Kid

Growing up and watching cartoons was one of our favorite things to do. We laughed at jokes – the ones we understood. And we were oblivious to others. But did you ever notice your parents or other older adults laughing too hard at something you didn’t think was that funny?

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That’s because you were too pure for the world then. And just didn’t understand. Not anymore. Now that we’re all grown, it’s time to revisit those jokes and laugh properly! Heads up, you may never be able to see your favorite cartoons the same way again.

The Hidden Message That’s Not So Hidden

Many of the jokes on this list can be considered “hidden messages,” but this one isn’t one of them, is it? At least, it is “hidden” enough for kids to be naive to it. This scene from Dexter’s Laboratory’s Nuclear Confusion episode is not what it looks like.

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Dee Dee was leaving Dexter clues after she seized his nuclear core, so when he goes to the Neighbor Lady’s house to hunt for the third clue, he notices that Dee Dee left him a note on the lady’s pants. We overlooked it, but this was hilarious to the adults.

I Was an Accident Too

Each episode of The Powerpuff Girls began with the story of Professor Utonium, who had chosen three ingredients to produce the perfect young girl – sugar, spice, and everything nice – but unintentionally added chemical X to the concoction, resulting in the little superheroes we all know and love.

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Bubbles introduce the Professor to her new friend Robin in this episode, and things get too real, too soon. When the young girl discovers that the scientist accidentally created the PPG, she assures him, “Don’t worry, Professor, I was an accident, too.”

The Hooker in Toy Story

Pixar films are known for having chock-full of interesting details that entice viewers to watch them repeatedly. Each time you see it, you notice something new: a character from another film, a pop culture reference, or a clever but difficult-to-understand joke. And here’s another example.

Source: Buena Vista Pictures

This is one of those jokes that you may not get the first time you watch Toy Story, and you may not even get it the second time. That Barbie toy with the fishing pole and the Barbie legs? She hooks things, yeah? So, she’s a what now…?

50 Shades of Bravo

Oh, you thought Johnny Bravo was too ‘pure’? Think again. We were too young to know this, but Hollywood legend Farrah Fawcett made a guest appearance on Johnny Bravo in a 1997 episode. She is presented as Little Suzy’s cousin and attends the girl’s birthday party.

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She’s playing pin the tail on the donkey with the kids in this episode, which was less Charlie’s Angels and more 50 Shades of Grey. Then since she’s blindfolded, it brings back memories as she suddenly remembers the last time she was blindfolded. Well, well, well…

We Missed the Pause

It’s not always about what you say. Sometimes, it’s more about how you say it, especially the tone or pause. And you’ll see why. In a Halloween episode of “What’s New, Scooby-Doo?” we meet Velma Dinkley’s cousin, Darcy, who Jenny McCarthy voiced.

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Velma tells Darcy that she had no idea it was her birthday today, to which Darcy responds, “Yep, I’m 18. Able to legally… vote.” The pause does it, and while we didn’t grasp what it meant, Daphne understood — the next shot was a close-up of her looking annoyed.

The Bad Parents test

This is a hilarious two-in-one because we were all that clueless as kids. Firstly, it’s clear that this episode of Fairly Odd Parents was a satire of Dr. Phil, but we doubt that the target demographic for this cartoon heard the name “Dr. Bill” and thought anything of it.

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Second, Dr. Bill discusses kids who use lots of toilet paper and tell their parents to leave them alone in the “Bad Parent Test,” Timmy does just that. Now we know why Timmy needed those toilet papers and why he wanted his privacy.

The ‘ADUCK’ Content Magazine

These gags from our childhood cartoons were often so subtle that they didn’t need any dialogue; all you had to do was stare at the screen and pay attention to the characters’ movements and actions. In this Tiny Toons Adventures episode, Daffy Duck opens an issue of Playduck.

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Yep, as you can see above. This magazine is a satire of a particular real publication. Bugs Bunny gives him a stern look and takes the book from his grasp, only to read it himself. Now we don’t need to say too much.

That Wasn’t a Berry

Although this isn’t the most sophisticated of jokes, we’re sure many kids didn’t understand it the first time the Hut Sut Raw episode of Rocko’s Modern Life aired. Rocko is collecting berries when he grabs one dangling a little too low.

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But as soon as he pulls on it, a bear leaps from the bush, whimpering and clutching his crotch. That wasn’t a berry. Nickelodeon eventually chose to remove that segment from the show. We imagine the producers finally thought that wasn’t subtle enough. Some kids may have even laughed.

No…Not Since Woodstock

In this episode of Hey Arnold!, the main character discovers that Grandpa Phil never finished high school since the Great Depression forced him to abandon his studies to sustain his family. When he’s attempting to persuade him to return to school, we learn a startling fact about Grandpa’s past.

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Well, it wasn’t so startling at that time. Most of us probably just continued watching without thinking about it. But he acknowledges he wouldn’t have many brain cells left after Woodstock. This substance-related joke was too complex for us at the time, but we now completely understand it!

A Different Type of Baked Potato

Even grownups might not have picked up on this one because it was so subtle. Mike and Sully are running through a frat house in Monster’s University, and there’s an interesting-looking character in the backdrop. A potato-like monster sits alone on a chair, looking particularly “chill…”

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…if you know what we mean. Someone at a frat house who looks to be extra chill? Then there are the droopy eyelids, and he looks like he’s on a planet of his own. Well, we think we’ve said enough already. But we’re sure you didn’t notice the first time!

I Like Meat Too Much

This one got us wide-eyed the moment we saw it again after all those years, and we couldn’t wait to share it. Haha. With its pop culture references, satire, odd humor, and fourth wall awareness, Freakazoid is one of those cartoons that appeal to both children and adults.

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This is an example of a universal joke because it means different things depending on your life. Is Cosgrove a meathead who believes all women are vegetarians? Is he gay? Is he a member of the LGBT community? Well, we’ll leave that up to you.

Patrick Covering up His Genius

SpongeBob SquarePants is Nickelodeon’s highest-rated series, and it has earned more than $13 billion in merchandise sales for the corporation — and quite frankly, we’re not surprised. It is well deserved, and we enjoyed (and still enjoy) every minute of the series. The characters are enthralling.

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And that’s not all; the jokes are so good that they’ll make people of all ages laugh aloud. This “Patrick, your genius is showing / Where?!” conversation may not be the most nuanced comedy we’ve ever seen, but it’s almost impossible not to chuckle at it, even as grownups.’

It’s 50 Bucks Extra

It’s tricky making cartoons that appeal to everyone. Your jokes will have to be funny to kids just as much as it is to adults. And that’s not easy. But here is an example of something that works brilliantly. Dexter fired Dee Dee and hired Candi. Why?

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This happened after he began accepting applications for the job of an annoying older sister. A child might hear the aforementioned dialogue and think it was just a regular transaction (just like we thought). Still, an adult would understand more about what Candi does for a living from this conversation.

Little Piggy Went to Market

See, not every child knows where the food we eat comes from. All we wanted to do was eat, sleep, and watch cartoons. So, maybe that’s why this unspoken joke went unnoticed by many of us the first time we watched the adventures of Practical, Fiddler, and Fifer.

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But as we all know now, ham and sausages don’t just appear out of thin air. So, when we became adults and noticed the Three Little Pigs had those pictures of their father on the wall, it brought mixed feelings. Do we laugh or say sorry to these poor guys?

They Shrink in Size

“Whenever their masculinity is threatened, they shrink in size.” The entire concept of this Powerpuff Girls episode works well for adults. In The Boys Are Back in Town episode, Buttercup, Bubbles, and Blossom’s old rivals, the Rowdyruff Boys, are back in town, and they must face off once more.

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While we witness the boys shrinking until HIM shouts at them for not defeating the girls, and they disappear, adults can’t help but smirk when Blossom smiles like that — it nearly appears like she’s reaching for a high five! We all know this “masculinity.”

In Search of Fingerprints

We can always count on the Warner siblings, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, to give us the most amusing quips that leave us wondering, “How did they allow THAT to be part of a children’s cartoon?” But oh well, we didn’t know anything then. And we just wanted to see our favorite characters.

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For example, take their classic “fingerprints” joke. Dot is sent to search for prints (as in, clues) but instead finds Prince. “No, no, no, fingerprints,” Yakko says. Then there’s the inappropriate line, which was supposedly improvised by the actress who played Dot – “I don’t think so.”

We’re Unsure About that Name

Since the writers of Rocko’s Modern Life aimed their show at both kids and adults, it’s full of innuendos that kids missed but made their parents laugh out loud. Rocko is scared by a strange doctor in the episode Flu-In-U-Enza, who insistently orders him to turn his head and cough.

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Well, that still sounds normal. But it turns out that Rocko’s reservations were justified when the doctor is later discovered to be an escaped mental patient. But besides that, what we’d like to point out here is that the strange doctor’s name was “Dr. Bendova.” Oh, right.

Did She Say Virgin?

When Johnny Bravo finds himself on a remote island surrounded by stunningly beautiful Amazons, he believes his fantasy has finally come true until the formidable warriors disclose their plans for him. They intended to offer him to their volcano as a very specific form of sacrifice.

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But Johnny didn’t quite fit the criteria. We’re sure many parents laughed but were then worried about having to explain why it was so funny to their kids. If any child understood a little bit of this, we’re sure their parents would’ve had a lot of explanation.

It Goes on and on and on

When it comes to jokes that only grownups get, they are usually inappropriate because they are too suggestive and can also be stereotype-y, for example. We’re lucky most children didn’t understand or weren’t influenced by Fred’s dated remark that the desert reminds him of a lady.

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According to him, the reason is that “it goes on and on and on.” It’s interesting what society can do to us because now we very much understand this reference. C’mon, Fred, you’ve got to be better than that. We hope that one influenced no one!

Lord, What Did You Say?

When Shrek and Donkey arrive at Lord Farquaad’s enormous castle, the ogre turns to his four-legged companion and asks, “Do you think maybe he’s compensating for something?” in the most “Did you get it?” way possible. You know, that “Did you?” kind of way. But the donkey didn’t get it.

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Donkey was all of us as kids because we didn’t understand what Shrek was saying. Donkey is most likely still perplexed. Lord Farquaad, what’s up? When you first discovered “Farquaad” sounded like a nasty word, how old were you? Just take out the R and say the name again.

How Old Are You?

The creators of Fairly Odd Parents didn’t feel like they were putting grownups in an awkward situation by making them laugh a lot harder than their kids did in this episode of Future Lost. Timmy picks a little object up and asks his dad about it like all of us.

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His dad replies, “That? That’s my Tiny Box of Dreams.” Timmy then accidentally drops it, breaking the object beyond repair. He frantically apologizes, but his old man tells him his dreams were shattered years ago, so he shouldn’t worry about it. The next part is where it got too real!

The Ground Shook Too Early

Aladdin? Nope, they aren’t innocent either. Aladdin and the King of Thieves didn’t attract as much attention as the original Aladdin. Well, except for one phrase spoken by the Genie, who, let’s face it, is also the best bit from the original movie – thank you, Robin Williams, and RIP.

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The instant the ground begins to shake, Genie casually remarks, “I thought the Earth wasn’t supposed to move until the honeymoon.” Although children wouldn’t understand, he was referring to the marital act. You know, consummating the marriage? If you still don’t get it, you’re too pure for this world.

The Cut My Cord

Here’s another classic entry on our list. Perhaps you were too young to appreciate The Rugrats Movie when it initially came out in 1998 but did you know that a few well-known singers performed “This World is Something New to Me”?

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Patti Smith, Beck, Iggy Pop, Lenny Kravitz, Lisa Loeb, and Jakob Dylan are among the people who voice the anonymous newborn kids in this scene, but we couldn’t figure out who spoke the hilarious line above. The word on the street is that Patti Smith did it, though.

We’re Good at Multiplying

Zootopia is a fine example of an animated film that appeals to both children and adults, thanks to its humorous timing and clever jokes that appeal to people of all ages. “I am just a dumb bunny, but we are good at multiplying,” Judy boasts in this scene.

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You’ll recall this is the scene where she counts the fine; she will hand it over to Nick in this scene. Adults would recall that Judy has 275 brothers and sisters. So, yes, they are quite adept at multiplying. And then the carrot while saying it? Hmm…

Giving Her a Little Privacy

Tarzan is probably one cartoon that many people will expect to find on a list like this. We wonder why. This one happens when Jane tells Professor Porter about her first encounter with Tarzan. Then she becomes engrossed in her picture of him, describing his eyes and other features.

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Besides thinking his eyes are unique, you can see her flushing. This prompts Professor Porter to tease her by asking if he should give them (as in, Jane and the chalkboard) a little privacy, and the situation is amusing but odd because the Professor is also Jane’s father.

Caught in the Act

Have you ever been caught doing something you shouldn’t be doing by your parents or friends? For example, browsing through adult content and quickly hiding it or changing it to something more appropriate when you heard someone coming? Well, you’re not alone. One of your favorite characters has too.

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We missed this, and children wouldn’t understand this, but when SpongeBob was watching the TV looking happy, then quickly changed the channel as soon as Gary walked in, he was doing the same thing. We hope Gary was as naive as the audience.

Becoming Too Familiar With Vegetables

Ratatouille is a delightful, animated film about a rat who dreams of being a chef, with the inspiring message that we can do everything we set our minds to. On the other hand, the writers managed to balance the sweetness with some witty lines that appealed to an older audience…

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…including this screen where Chef Skinner yanks Linguini from the pantry, saying, “One can get too familiar with vegetables!” We’re wondering if he’s ever seen a situation like this in the pantry and if that’s why he was so tough with Linguini. We were too young then. But now…

The Cubist Joke in Toy Story

If you thought there was no way you didn’t understand all the jokes in Toy Story, then think again! This has to be one of Toy Story’s most unappreciated scenes, so we’re just going to put it here because more people need to know about it.

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Mr. Potato Head, we see you, sir, and we love this witticism about Pablo Picasso and the general look of his Cubist paintings. The kids watching Toy Story didn’t have enough knowledge to appreciate what Mr. Potato Head did in this scene, but now we see it.

He Left His DNA All Over Town

When Terry McGinnis heard the truth about his birth and birth father in Justice League Unlimited, it was a dramatic moment for us. But the writers didn’t fail to add some comic relief – one that appealed to the older audience, hence, why most of us missed it.

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Terry frowns when Amanda Waller explains that “Bruce’s DNA was easy enough to obtain” because samples were all around the city. Then she assures him that she didn’t mean that. We’d all think the same as adults, but she was referring to Batman’s blood from all the fights he’d gotten into.

Promises You Don’t Intend to Keep

Cogsworth, the faithful servant and friend in Beauty and the Beast, was all about serving his lord in any way he could. And by “any way he could,” we mean it. This involves offering him some much-needed tips on how to treat women. We reckon if we understood this then…

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…we would’ve picked up some not-so-glamorous things about relationships. Cogsworth got a little too real when listing the things that men generally give a woman, which included chocolates, flowers, and “promises you don’t intend to keep.” As bad as it sounds, he wasn’t lying.

What Do I Need Three of Them for?

We don’t need to lecture you about human physiology, but everyone knows humans have one head. Of course, you add the other head in males, which The Flintstones’ writers did. And if you thought only newer animations contain inappropriate humor, here’s an example from The Flintstones.

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This animated sitcom first aired in 1960. When Barney and Fred go costume shopping, the former specifies that he wants something that makes him appear tall. “How about another head?” asks the latter, to which we are told, What do I need three of them for?” You do the math.

Sugar Honey Iced Tea

Quite frankly, this is one of those jokes that, even as adults, you may still miss. Thankfully, we didn’t. We’ll come across a joke in an animated film that neither the kids nor many adults will understand. One of those instances is this one.

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If we’re being honest, we had no idea what Marty’s face meant in this scene where he’s sprinting towards Alex, then realizes he should be sprinting away, so he turns around and yells, “Sugar Honey Iced Tea!” Look at those initials! Yes, that’s exactly what he meant.

That’s Too Much Information, Grandpa

Grandpa got the opportunity to renew a romance with his long-lost love, Morgana, in this episode of Rugrats, and we wish we could cheer for him, but then Grandpa shared too much. Yeah, he shared way too much information. Of course, we didn’t know then.

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But now that we know better, oh wow. While showing Chuckie and Tommy the VHS cassettes of Reptar Come Home and Reptar Redux, he also mentioned Lovely Space Vixens, his “personal favorite.” “That’s for after you go to bed,” he said. TMI, Grandpa. TMI.

What’s the Emergency Number in Rome?

We wish more people would give Hercules a chance because it is an underrated Disney film. The plot is well-told, the tunes are catchy, and the characters are engaging. Except that they depicted Zeus as a caring family man, it’s nearly flawless.

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But of course, children wouldn’t know that. They would when they grow up, though. But that’s not even the only thing they wouldn’t know as kids. The significance of this funny scene is when these two urge people to dial IX-I-I – or 911…if you know Roman numerals.

Bless You, for Coming Out…

Here is another example of an animated movie that appeals to all age groups. Emperor’s New Groove has so many unforgettable scenes that it is genuinely an animated film that everyone, both kids and adults, appreciate. This is a favorite moment, albeit it is most likely intended for adults.

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When Pacha claims they’re on their honeymoon, the waitress probably doesn’t care, but she does say something that she would say to any newlywed couple: “Bless you for coming out in public.” The kids would probably hear this and not understand. But the grownups certainly understand what she meant.

The Fastest Man Alive

Justice League will rank amongst the best cartoons we saw growing up. The Flash may be the fastest man alive, but he wasn’t quick enough to avoid Hawkgirl’s savage burn. However, we weren’t experienced enough to understand what she was saying when we first saw this episode of Justice League.

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According to her, being too fast will explain why he finds it difficult to invest in his love life, and his look in the second frame tells it all. That must have stung a lot. We reckon he’d have tried to do something about finishing too fast. Wink!

Catnip! That’s Not Mine

We don’t take the Shrek movies for granted because they are a gift to all of humanity. But you’ll probably find about ten adult-related jokes from the show. From us to you, here’s a hilarious moment from the second installment of the green saga. You’re welcome.

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Far Far Away has a TV show called KNIGHTS. It is a satire on the real-life show COPS. Those knights perform the same duties as the cops, but with a Shrek twist: they “pepper spray” Shrek with a pepper shaker and find catnip on Puss, although he claims that’s not his.

All the Details Aren’t Correct

When Beast Boy and Robin examine the Titan-like puppets delivered to them by the Puppet King, Robin is impressed by how “they got all the details just right,” but Beast Boy is less persuaded. He looks inside the puppet’s shorts and then says, “speak for yourself.”

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This leads us to conclude the dolls were not anatomically correct. “I’m way better looking than this,” he adds. “And taller,” he said, but we all know what he meant. Then, we probably thought he was referring to the obvious. But now…now we know.

The Look South of the Equator

This is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in Ratatouille, so if you haven’t seen it, we recommend searching for the video online since it makes the scene much more hilarious. Linguini has problems getting his words out when he tries to confess to Colette that Remy, a rat, has been controlling him.

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And also that the rat is the true source of all the exquisite meals he’s been cooking. When he says he has “this tiny, little…” he becomes stuck, and Colette briefly glances at his territory south of the Equator. That look, and down there…you know what we mean.

Give Me the Bird

Of course, a list of jokes we completely missed as children would include a few instances from the hilarious Animaniacs. The show is known for having adult-related humor, so naturally, many of its references went over our heads because we were young and naive.

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We were probably too distracted by the colors and the different animals to notice that this joke didn’t make sense — they can’t give her the bird since it’s a family show? We didn’t think twice about it. But now that we’re grown…. ohhh righttt…now it makes sense.

The ‘No Relation’ Scene

Several Animaniacs characters made cameo appearances in the Noah’s Lark episode, including Buster and Babs Bunny (as shown below), Pinky and the Brain, and even Indiana Jones (Steven Spielberg directed the Indiana Jones films and produced Animaniacs). But the “whoosh!” scene, the one that flew over our heads…

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…at that moment and until now, the two bunnies introduce themselves as “Buster and Babs Bunny” immediately before boarding the ark. “No relation,” Noah responds, “let’s hope not. It’s a children’s show.” Thankfully, they remembered it was a children’s show at the right time!