If you search any cartoon hard enough, you're bound to find some adult jokes hidden subtly within an episode or two. One could argue that the adults working on the shows want to give the parents in the room something to laugh about too, while going over the little kids' heads. Something about superhero shows makes this fact even more true. Maybe the writers know that they have a lot more teenage and adult viewers than a standard children's show, or maybe all superhero writers just have inherently dirty minds.
Modern superhero cartoons are written with both adult and children audiences in mind, but let's not kid ourselves. Writers and animators have been doing this for decades, and it's not just a suggestion of an adult situation here and there. Some cartoons have been rumored to put in extremely dirty jokes for the censors, just so they would miss the more subtle humor. But occasionally, jokes make it into the final cut that are so dirty, it makes you wonder if the censors left for the bathroom while that scene was playing. If you're ready to have your childhood officially ruined, then keep reading and discover the 15 most inappropriate moments in superhero cartoons.
15 BEING ANIMATED (FREAKAZOID)
In the second episode of Freakazoid!, in the segment titled "Mo-Ron," Freakazoid is accepting an award from President Clinton when Princess Di steps in to interrupt saying, "On behalf of the United Kingdom, I'd like to personally thank you... in a very personal way, if you catch my drift." As if the clear sexual reference there wasn't enough, before he can respond, Sharon Stone pushes her away saying that he's taken.
The two begin to fight over Freakazoid and he tries to stop them by saying, "Now ladies, calm down. There's plenty of me for everybody. If not, I'll just have them draw me bigger." It's an easy joke to get past the target audience of seven-year-olds, but would have the parents saying, "Where were the censors on that one?"
14 FLASH'S INADEQUACIES (JUSTICE LEAGUE)
This is one of the more well known sexual innuendos slipped into kids cartoons in recent years, mostly because of how overt it is. In the episode of Justice League titled, "Eclipsed," at one point The Flash proudly proclaims that he's the "Fastest man alive!" to which Hawkgirl quickly responds, "Which might explain why you can't get a date." It goes over the Flash's head for a second before he gets it and says, "Yeah... hey!"
This is another one that makes it seem like the censors had just left the room during this part of the episode, because what else could she possibly mean? If Hawkgirl's jibe wasn't enough to have kids turning to their parents and asking, "What is she talking about?" then The Flash's response would have them scratching their heads even more.
13 BIRDS OF PREY (BRAVE AND THE BOLD)
In the episode of Batman: The Brave and The Bold titled, "Mask of Matches Malone," Huntress, Black Canary and Batgirl get caught on stage in front of a crowd of mobsters that they're trying to infiltrate and are forced to improvise a song, which just happens to be about having sex with everyone in the Justice League.
WB was forced to censor some of the lyrics before it aired in America but most of it still got through. Among the racy lines are, "Flash's foes, they finish last. Too bad sometimes he's just too fast!" "Aquaman's always courageous, his little fish, less outrageous!" "Plastic Man can expand, becomes putty in our hands." "Batman throws his Batarang, what a weapon, what a bang. He's always right there for the save, I'd like to see his secret cave..." The Birds of Prey are pretty savage, but they seem to really like Batman.
12 I WAS AN ACCIDENT (POWERPUFF GIRLS)
In the Powerpuff Girls episode "Super Friends," the girls bring a new friend home to meet the Professor. He comes out of his lab to say hello and Bubbles tells her new friend, "He made us in his laboratory by accident." The little girl looks up at the Professor and says, "It's okay, professor. I was an accident too." The whole joke is punctuated by a somewhat shocked look on Professor Utonium's face.
Maybe the look was because he wasn't expecting that response, or maybe because that little girl must have horrible parents to tell her that she was an accident. Even in the '90s when this episode aired, this joke isn't subtle enough to go over lots of kids' heads. They may not understand exactly what it means, but if not, the Professor's shocked face would be enough to have them running to their parents.
11 HOW ABOUT A RIDE? (BATMAN BEYOND)
In the Batman Beyond episode, "Golem" at one point, Nash says to Bobbi, "How about a ride?" She responds by saying, "You like that car more than me." To which, Nash says, "Who's talking about cars?" We don't have to spell this one out for you because there's no subtlety involved in the joke at all. There's literally no other way to interpret this joke than that Nash was talking about sex.
U.S. censors actually did take the step of having the line edited out in subsequent reruns of the episode, but it got through on the initial airing, and the unedited dirty version appears in full on the complete DVD box set, which means there are still going to be a lot of parents to eager Batman-loving children that are going to have to answer some awkward questions.
10 HARLEY'S CREAM PIE (THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES)
At one point in The New Batman Adventures, after The Joker has had a particularly bad day, he comes back to the lair where Harley Quinn rises slowly out of a giant pie covered in a thick white cream. She announces that today is their anniversary with a little seductive song channeling Marilyn Monroe and then says, "Wanna try some of my pie?" The Joker walks up to her and she says, "I'm sure you'll want seconds."
We know what you're thinking. There's definitely nothing sexual or inappropriate about that at all. She's just talking about the giant cream pie that she just popped out of. That's the only pie she wants the Joker to eat. However, we think the writers know exactly what they were doing.
9 REV UP YOUR HARLEY! (BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES)
Harley Quinn is a gold mine of sexual innuendo no matter what series she appears in. So it's no surprise that this was true for the first series she appeared in as well. In the episode "Mad Love," of Batman: The Animated Series, once again, Harley Quinn is trying to cheer up The Joker who's just not having it.
She's wearing a low-cut nightie that ends at the top of her thighs and looks disappointed that Mr. J hasn't noticed this, so she hops up onto his desk on her hands and knees and says, "Aw, come on, puddin'. Don't you wanna rev up your Harley? Vroom vroom!" What else could she be talking about while wearing skimpy lingerie? It's moments like this that make you wonder what the Joker is thinking. Why not just give up the life of crime and lock yourself in a room with Harley Quinn?
8 MEMBERS ONLY (POWERPUFF GIRLS)
The Powerpuff Girls episode "Members Only" is one giant innuendo and it's a wonder how any of it got past the censors. The episode features a villain called Mascumax whose first lines are, "Witness the coming of Mascumax! Step forth and bring thy manhood against mine own, so that we might see who has the upper hand upon the measuring stick!" Yeah, that's not obvious.
Later on, when Mascumax is beating down all the male superheroes of the planet, he shouts, "I feed off of your expulsions of manliness. The more manhood you bring against me, the harder I shall become!" To top it off, the Powerpuff Girls are the only ones who can defeat him, and do so by combining into a giant flaming cat, a power they've never shown off before. Even the episode title, "Members Only" is a clear innuendo!
7 BRUCE'S DNA (BATMAN BEYOND)
Another innuendo from a Batman cartoon, although this one surprisingly doesn't come from Harley Quinn. Surprisingly, this time, it's from the stone-faced Amanda Waller. She's describing a plan to clone Batman to Terry and says, "Bruce's DNA was easy enough to find. He left it all over town." No one else in the scene even says anything before the scene cuts back to her and she says defensively, "Not remotely what I meant!"
Clearly, Amanda Waller knows exactly the kind of shenanigans Bruce Wayne gets up to in his off hours. That joke could have gone over everyone's heads, parents included, if not for Amanda Waller's last defensive line, but the writers wanted you to know that yes, you did just hear that, and Amanda Waller has got a dirtier mind than anyone!
6 COSGROVE LIKES MEAT (FREAKAZOID)
Freakazoid! was written and created by the same people who made Animaniacs, a show renowned for cramming in as much innuendo as they could, so it's no surprise that Freakazoid! was full of the same kind of subtle dirty humor.
Perhaps the most famous scene from the show comes when Freakazoid is talking to his friend, Officer Cosgrove, and asks "Hey Cosgrove, how come you never got married?" Cosgrove answers simply, "Because I like meat too much." Freakazoid says, "You could get married and still eat a lot of meat," and Cosgrove pauses before saying, "I didn't know that." The show aired in 1995, but good news, Cosgrove! You can get married to whomever you want these days, and you can eat all the meat you want!
5 SPIDER-MAN'S GOOP (SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN)
Spectacular Spider-Man is widely considered to be one of the best Spider-Man cartoons ever produced. Its target audience was in the seven to 12-year-old range, so the inappropriate humor was few and far between, but that doesn't mean they didn't fit in a few subtle lines.
One of the most infamous of such lines was subtle enough that even the stingiest censor wouldn't reasonably be able to cut it, but the writers know what they were doing. When Spider-Man runs into Black Cat for the first time as she's attempting a robbery, he's swinging around on his web and manages to finally web Black Cat's hand against a wall when she says, "You better not get your goop in my hair." Spider-Man's webbing has often been a source of dirty humor, but no kid would even bat an eye at this subtle line.
4 MACHO RAZOR (SWAT KATS)
SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron was a short-lived but immensely popular series that ran between 1993 and 1994. It dealt with two extreme cats on a futuristic SWAT team named T-Bone and Razor. There was some subtle inappropriate humor scatted throughout the show's short run, but one particular moment is surprising that they got away with.
As they're flying toward their next mission, T-Bone says back to his partner, "No doubt about it, Razor. You are one macho cat!" The shot cuts back to Razor who says, "Ain't it the truth!" and then he literally pats his own crotch. The camera even pans down to focus on his hand patting a bump in his pants. What were the animators trying to pretend was happening? Patting his leg or belt wouldn't make sense after the macho line, and yet it stayed in the cartoon.
3 BULLOCK'S SMALL SUBPOENA (BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES)
This one comes once again from the animated queen of sexual innuendo, Harley Quinn. In an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn has sneaked into Arkham to break The Joker out, dressed in her civilian clothes posing as a lawyer. Detective Harvey Bullock notices her and says, "Haven't I seen you somewhere before?" Harley Quinn is quick and smooth with her response of, "I think I served you a subpoena once... It was a really small subpoena."
Ouch, Harley. No need to sabotage the guy's masculinity. It's surprising that a joke like this makes it past the censors, because even a kid can tell how much the word "subpoena" sounds like, well, you know. It only makes worse that they're sure to repeat the line to the people around them at some point.
2 DICK SKILLS (TEEN TITANS: THE JUDAS CONTRACT)
This one might be kind of cheating since Teen Titans: The Judas Contract was a direct-to-video movie unrelated to any Teen Titans tv show, and it received a PG-13 rating. Starfire is giving a combat demonstration to the team and asks Nightwing to assist her. Nightwing puts up a good fight but is eventually defeated.
As he's getting up, Nightwing says, "Not a confidence booster," to which Starfire responds, "You did well. You lasted far longer this time." Terra snickers at this line, and Starfire turns to say, "I meant in training of course. He's very proficients when we have S-" before Nightwing cuts her off. There were almost definitely some shocked parents and kids who only knew of the Teen Titans from their tv shows, which were aimed primarily at a younger audience.
1 60 SECONDS OF TWERKING (SYM-BIONIC TITAN)
Genndy Tartakovsky is definitely most well-known for the series Samurai Jack, a genre-bending action-packed work of art. On the opposite end, his least well-known work is most definitely Sym-Bionic Titan. While still a great show for its short 20-episode run, there were undoubtedly some odd choices that most fans wouldn't associate with the creator.
One of the strangest moments came in an episode called "Lessons in Love," where the robot disguised as a high school boy, Octus, agrees to help ditzy cheerleader, Kimmy, with her homework. When he refuses to just do the work for her, Kimmy spends a full 60-second scene doing an elaborate twerk dance that looks like something that belongs on Adult Swim, in a TV-PG show. To top it off, an original song repeating the words, "Shake it, bake it, booty quake it, roll it around," was written and produced just for this scene.
Can you think of any other cartoons that had completely inappropriate moments? Let us know in the comments!