Cartoons have always been a medium for kids. While there has been a push in recent years to make cartoons and animated movies more adult-oriented, it is still something that brings in a lot of kids. That said, there have been a lot of animated releases over the years that have pushed the boundaries of decency and added moments that were nowhere near appropriate for younger children. The smarter animators made sure to do this subliminally so that the moment can pass right over the kids’ heads while allowing their parents or older siblings to snicker quietly at the funny moment that occurred.
When it comes to DC cartoons, their parent company, Warner Bros., has recently taken a more risqué approach to its animated works, both in movies and on television cartoons. The DC cartoons started adding a lot more adult content in the ‘90s, and more recently the films have been either R-rated or PG-13, looking to bring in an adult audience while risking alienating parents whose kids convince them to watch Batman, the Teen Titans or other favorite DC Comics heroes in action. Here are 15 moments that DC cartoons stepped over the line and put something a little too risqué into their animated works.
15 TERRA'S ULTIMATE DESIRES
Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is one of the more recent DC animated movies and is a little more adult-oriented with a PG-13 rating. This rating allows the characters to curse and gives the animators a chance to add in some intense violence. The movie also contains a lot of innuendos, especially concerning Starfire. Starfire may not be as overly sexualized as in the New 52, but she still openly enjoys the more carnal pleasures.
However, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract steps over the line with one moment that is straight from the comics. Terra, a young teenager, has strong desires for the much older Deathstroke. There is even a scene in the movie where Terra makes it clear exactly what she wants, and it is something parents might have trouble explaining to their kids, especially considering Terra is a kid herself.
14 FLASH IS THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE
The one DC cartoon that really pushes the boundaries when it comes to innuendos meant strictly to make adults and older kids smile, it is Justice League: Unlimited. In an era where DC Comics was involved in some of the best superhero cartoons on television, this show is more than just superheroes teaming up to fight supervillains. In this animated series, the heroes are involved in romantic relationships, boring for little kids but ripe for the jokes that make parents laugh.
Flash is goofy in Justice League: Unlimited, someone rarely serious and an easy target for sarcastic insults. Hawkgirl is one of the most sarcastic members of the group, and after they stop a fire, Flash explains it is easy for him because he is the fastest man alive. Hawkgirl then dryly responds by saying, “Might explain why you can’t get a date.”
13 BIRDS OF PREY SING A SONG
Batman: The Brave and the Bold is one DC cartoon that continually tried to slip things by censors. These attempts included a ton of lines that made it into the final episodes, a little over-the-line for a show geared for younger audiences. However, the most blatant attempt at throwing something into an episode that didn’t just tease the censors but raced entirely over the line and didn’t stop was in "The Mask of Matches Malone."
The moment didn’t just slip by the censors, but it ended up never airing on TV in the United States because of the blatant innuendos in a song performed by the Birds of Prey. Gail Simone wrote the episode, and the female heroes Huntress, Catwoman and Black Canary sang a song that had a large number of innuendos about various superheroes, something that caused American censors to ban the episode in the U.S.
12 WANNA TRY SOME OF MY PIE?
When Harley Quinn appears in a movie or DC cartoon, there is almost always a high chance that a dirty joke, inappropriate content or innuendo is thrown in for humor. One of the most blatant examples came in The New Batman Adventures episode called “Beware the Creeper.” The episode is the 10th of the second season and is about Jack Ryder turning into The Creeper, but as with many episodes, Joker was responsible for the evil doings.
After Joker attacks Ryder, he heads back to his hideout and sees that Harley Quinn has planned a private anniversary celebration for him. To start the party, she rises from a giant pie and, covered from head to toe with cream, asks Joker if he wants to “try some of my pie.” It is a blatant innuendo that slipped by the censors and undoubtedly made some adult fans and older kids snicker.
11 HOW ABOUT A RIDE?
Sometimes, moments in DC cartoons that slipped by the television censors are more than just innuendo. There are also times where a character responds to the insinuation with a comment that slams the viewer over the head with the hidden meaning. A moment like this happened in the episode “Golem” on Batman Beyond. The scene involved a pair of high school students – Nelson Nash and Bobbi Sommer.
Nelson and Bobbi are at a mall, and Nash comments to her that he would like to “go for a ride.” Bobbi assumes he is talking about cars and asks if he likes them better than he likes her. The moment that slipped by the censors came right after that when Nelson responds, “who’s talking about cars?” The controversial line ended up edited out of the Hub Channel broadcast of the episode.
10 THE BOY SCOUT BROUGHT PROTECTION
Superman: The Animated Series contained a moment that didn’t just have a character make an inappropriate statement but also had a visual sight gag that made the innuendo even dirtier. The controversial moment took place in the episode titled “Double Dose” where Superman battled Livewire and Parasite. Knowing that he needed to come up with a tactic to protect him from Parasite’s abilities to suck the superpowers out of heroes, Superman came up with a smart plan.
Superman shows up to the fight with the two supervillains wearing latex from head-to-toe to both protect him from the electricity powers of Livewire and stop Parasite from having an opening to touch him and drain his powers. Wearing latex from head-to-toe also opened Superman up for a sly innuendo. When Superman showed up, Livewire cracks that the “Boy Scout brought protection.”
9 I HAD SOME DREAMS THAT FELT MIGHTY REAL
One of the most famous DC Comics relationships between two superheroes is the one involving Green Arrow and Black Canary. It has played out on the TV show Arrow, in the comic books and on the DC cartoon Justice League: Unlimited. Unlike the relationship between Green Lantern and Hawkgirl, Green Arrow and Black Canary are very comfortable around each other, and that really helps them slip in some sly lines that skip by the censors.
In “Fearful Symmetry,” however, Green Arrow made an innuendo when talking to someone who is considered a little sister to him: Supergirl. She is having concerns about her dreams, and when Martian Manhunter tells her he thinks there is more to them than just dreams, she goes to Green Arrow to get his advice. With her mentioning her problem, he says he had some “dreams that felt mighty real” before looking at Black Canary.
8 DO YOU KNOW WHAT I CAN DO WITH THIS RING?
Flash, while being someone who people like to poke fun at, is also someone who dishes back the sarcasm, especially with John Stewart’s Green Lantern. It helps that Green Lantern has a romantic relationship on the series Justice League: Unlimited, initially with Hawkgirl. There are plenty of times where Flash pokes fun at John, often making jokes about his abilities in bed.
However, after Green Lantern and Hawkgirl stopped dating, he moved into a relationship with Vixen, although that one was nowhere near as serious. That created more innuendos and one of those happened in the episode "Hunter’s Moon." In this episode, Vixen ambushes John and pulls him into a room. Just as he is ready to attack with his power ring, he stops when he sees Vixen. He then asks, “do you know what I can do with this ring?” When she responds “promises,” the joke is complete.
7 WHAT ARE YOU WEARING
The most interesting relationship between characters on Justice League: Unlimited involves the outsider Huntress and the mysterious Justice League member known as The Question. When the Justice League kicked Huntress out for insubordination, she developed a friendship with The Question, a relationship that possibly developed into a romantic one over time. With Huntress as a very sexualized character, this brought in a lot of inappropriate innuendos as well.
The most obvious came in the episode “Grudge Match” when Huntress is talking to The Question on the phone. This scene is a few episodes after the two shared their first kiss and seemingly consummated their relationship, Huntress looks bored and asks The Question what he is wearing. He answers, dryly, a “blue overcoat. Fedora.” She tells him he stinks at this, hinting at the game she wants to play, and he humorously finishes by saying “orange socks?”
6 HARLEY QUINN SEDUCES NIGHTWING
The DC comics movie Batman and Harley Quinn was a DVD release that also received a one-night-only theatrical screening. While not R-rated like The Killing Joke, the film was rated PG-13 and that was because of adult themes instead of violence. There were deaths, but the entire movie had an interesting mix of juvenile humor and adult situations, most of which involved more than just basic innuendos.
The most significant scenes that might have gone too far for the kids watching the movie involved Harley Quinn and Nightwing. After the two had a fight when Nightwing was threatening her, she knocked him out, and he woke up tied up in her bed. Harley then decided that she was going to take advantage of the tied up Nightwing, which ended with Batman walking in on them. Nightwing is involved in a lot of these scenes.
5 KIDS CAN BE CRUEL
The LEGO Batman Movie was pretty clean for families, following the same family-friendly template of The LEGO Movie. Instead of relying on the risqué humor that a lot of Warner Bros. DC cartoon movies uses, LEGO Batman instead humored the adults with references to past Batman movies and a lot of funny references throughout the running time. There were gags for just about every level of Batman fans.
However, there was one moment that did involve a suggestive joke. Dick Grayson is introducing himself to Bruce Wayne at the retirement party for Commissioner Gordon, and Wayne is entirely distracted. He misses most of what Dick says, but he did have one funny and oblivious line. When Grayson introduced himself as Richard Grayson, he said that everyone calls him Dick. Bruce Wayne dead-pans, “kids can be cruel.”
4 NICE 'S'
Dana Delany voiced Lois Lane in the DC cartoon Superman: The Animated Series. A reporter asked her in an interview about her favorite moment of the series. Delany mentioned the very first episode and talked about reading the script where Lois describes the “Nietzschean ideal of Superman.” Delany said she found a “risqué” and funny little line that “set the tone” for Lois Lane’s character in the DC cartoon.
The scene had Lois Lane looking at a photograph of Superman and seemed to be very appreciative of his appearance. That is when she comments “Nice S.” Delany said it was a sign of cartoons becoming more sophisticated and smart. It was a funny moment though because any parent who was listening as their kids were watching had to do a double-take.
3 I FEEL NAKED AND NOT IN A FUN WAY
One of the best DC cartoons of all-time has to be Young Justice, an animated series that was so popular that fans rebelled when it lasted only two seasons. A third season is on the way, and there is hope among fans that the writing remains as smart as it continues to thrive as it did when it originally aired. The show was rated TV-PG so there were moments where the cartoon could take on a more serious subject matter and include some sly innuendos.
Artemis, a 15-year-old hero and member of Young Justice, is a rebellious character and someone who made some head-turning comments over the series' run. One of these came in the episode “Revelation” when Artemis loses all her arrows and is discouraged during the battle. She then comments, “I feel naked and not in a fun way.” This is very risqué for a young teenage girl.
2 CYBORG BEATS HIS MEAT
There were a lot of people who claimed to hate Teen Titans Go when it took over the TV spot initially held by Young Justice. However, people who gave Teen Titans Go a chance realized that it was a DC cartoon that looked like it was made for little kids but had a ton of adult-orientated jokes and pushed the boundaries of what censors allowed. The most obvious example of the censor-pushing jokes came thanks to Cyborg.
The episode was “Legs” and centered on the Titans discovering Raven’s legs after Robin stole her cloak. Beast Boy seems to love her legs and shows this with amusing transformations, including turning into a rabbit and going gaga over the legs. However, the biggest innuendo comes from Cyborg who grabs some beef and starts to “beat his meat” while looking at Raven.
1 ROXY ROCKET
Roxy Rocket is a villain who has appeared in both New Batman Adventures as well as Superman: The Animated Series, and in both episodes, she was responsible for some very risqué moments. Roxy Rocket is a former stuntwoman who becomes a thrill-seeking criminal who often also used her looks to try to seduce heroes like Batman as well as making some very inappropriate comments as well.
In Superman: The Animated Series, she makes a comment about Superman’s body, blows him a kiss, and then aims the phallic-shaped rocket she rides directly at him. Her dialogue was even more full of innuendos in The New Batman Adventures episode “The Ultimate Thrill.” Comments included “I was the best he ever had,” “I like a man with staying power,” and “Oh baby, you’re the best.”
Which other scandalous moments in DC cartoons should have been censored? Let us know in the comments!