35+ Naughty Easter Eggs In Children’s Cartoons That Went Over Our Heads
Cartoons are a staple of childhood memories, filled with wacky characters, imaginative storylines, and plenty of humor. As we grow older, we often revisit these classics whenever nostalgia strikes. But with each rewatch, we’re starting to realize that some of those beloved children’s cartoons were hiding another layer of jokes right under our noses.
We missed these comedic moments as kids because we weren’t the target audience. Disney, Cartoon Network, Warner Brothers, and every studio in between, love to hide adult jokes in their children’s movies and TV shows.
From subtle references to more overt humor, these cartoons have a hidden layer of comedy that appeals to a more mature audience. So, sit back, grab a bowl of your favorite cereal, and let’s revisit some of our favorite cartoons and the adult jokes that we missed as kids.
Freakazoid! was a truly groundbreaking animated series. This mix of humor and satire made the show appealing to audiences of all ages, and it quickly became a fan favorite. At the heart of the show was the character of Freakazoid, a lanky, hyperactive superhero.
The show made a clever nod to the LGBTQIA+ community when discussing Cosgrove’s love life—or lack thereof. The rough-around-the-edges character loves meat, and other than using it to explain away his loneliness, it’s often used as a metaphor for his primal, animalistic nature.
Justice League Unlimited
The Flash, also known as the Fastest Man Alive, can run circles around his enemies in every battle. But when it comes to dating, he’s always left feeling like he’s standing still. We can’t help but wonder why the Flash can’t get a date.
Is it because he’s too busy saving Central City from certain doom? As kids, we just thought this joke meant he needed to slow down a bit more when it comes to love. But, according to Hawkwoman, he’s too fast on the streets…and in the sheets.
Rugrats is a classic cartoon that first aired in 1991 and quickly became one of the most popular and beloved animated shows of all time. Who could forget the fearless toddlers Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, and Lil? One of the reasons Rugrats was so successful was its relatable themes.
In the world of Rugrats, Grandpa Lou Pickles was known for his playful sense of humor. The writers did a great job giving him the “fun grandpa” vibes. He proved time and time again that the toddlers didn’t get his adult jokes since we didn’t understand them either.
Johnny Bravo, the ultimate ladies’ man, never fails to bring a smile to our faces. With his suave hair, tight muscles, and utter confidence, Johnny is a walking disaster waiting to happen. And yet, despite his numerous failures, he always manages to keep a positive attitude.
He never gives up on his quest for love, which is why the show makes sure to include equally vain people for him to woo. This blonde beauty let it slip in front of a crowd of kids that adults don’t just use blindfolds for party games. Good thing she didn’t share any details.
The Powerpuff Girls
You may have heard of them, the cute and cuddly trio that fights crime and evil before bedtime. They are the Powerpuff Girls, and they are not your average kindergarteners. Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup have been saving the world and keeping the citizens of Townsville safe from villains like Mojo Jojo.
They tell us right in the intro that the girls were the result of a science experiment going horribly wrong. However, both the Professor and the girls were unaware that their playmate was an accident as well. But, she wasn’t a science experiment accident but rather the natural kind.
SpongeBob SquarePants is the king of Bikini Bottom (unofficially, of course) and the master of making us laugh! This loveable, yellow, and porous sponge has been entertaining audiences of all ages for over two decades, and his zany adventures continue to keep us in stitches.
Just like all best friends, SpongeBob and Patrick have each other’s backs. They’ll always boost one another up, and make sure to let the other know about any wardrobe malfunctions. It seems like Patrick mistook SpongeBob’s compliment as a piece of friendly advice to check his drawers.
What’s New, Scooby-Doo?
It’s hard to pick a favorite Scooby-Doo show, but we’d put What’s New, Scooby-Doo? in the top five for sure. This updated version of the classic show brings all the humor and hijinks of the original, with a few new twists to keep things fresh.
Though they never seem to age, we have to accept that they’re all in high school. And, as teens are wont to do, Velma’s cousin Marcy couldn’t help but flirt with the cutest boy around. Don’t worry, Fred. She’s able to consent to…submitting a voting ballot.
Silly Symphony: The Three Little Pigs
Silly Symphony: The Three Little Pigs is an animated classic that has been entertaining audiences for generations. This whimsical tale follows the adventures of three pigs as they build their homes and try to outwit the big, bad wolf. It’s a classic story that is sure to make you smile and giggle.
Just don’t look too closely at the backgrounds. Their house is filled with questionable decor, including some photos of their father in his later years. Why on Earth would they put up such a dark reminder of what could be in store for them in their house?
The Fairly Odd Parents
The Fairly OddParents is all about the magic of childhood! This wacky cartoon follows the adventures of Timmy Turner, an adventurous and mischievous 10-year-old with a pair of fairy godparents who are always up for a wild and wacky time.
The fact that Timmy can’t tell anyone about Cosmo and Wanda never fails to make us laugh because it usually involves situations like this. We, the audience, know he’s just having innocent fun, but we can’t blame Mom and Dad for thinking otherwise.
One thing that makes Animaniacs so funny is the way it pokes fun at just about everything. From politics to pop culture, nothing is safe from the wit of the Warner siblings. And, of course, the show’s numerous parodies are always a delight.
Their propensity for breaking the fourth wall always had us laughing, and even as kids, we knew it took a smart writer to get those scenes just right. We can’t even imagine how many adult innuendos are hidden in Animaniacs.
Rocko’s Modern Life
Rocko’s Modern Life was a classic cartoon from the ’90s that followed the adventures of a wallaby named Rocko and his friends as they navigated the ups and downs of life in the city. While the show was known for its surreal storytelling, and unique characters, it also had a bit of a rebellious streak.
Dr. Bendova was a recurring character in Rocko’s Modern Life, and his name was definitely one of the more…unusual names in the show. But that was part of the charm of Rocko’s Modern Life—the creators were never afraid to push the boundaries, even when just naming characters.
Everyone knows the Justice League, but thanks to Teen Titans, the world got to meet the younger generation on a more intimate level—without their mentors. The 2003 animated series follows Robin (sans Batman) as he leads the eponymous superhero squad.
Teen Titans had plenty of serious moments, but it was more known for its humor. Beast Boy, in particular, filled that role. Unfortunately, even the Puppet King couldn’t help but poke fun at the green-skinned hero. According to him, his mini-me is anatomically inaccurate. Oops.
Ratatouille, the beloved Disney-Pixar animated film about a rat who dreams of becoming a chef, was a hit with audiences of all ages when it was released in 2007. With its charming storyline, lovable characters, and gorgeous animation, the movie was a feast for the senses in every way.
Since Remy was the mastermind, Alfredo had to learn a lot to pass as a chef. Too bad Skinner never gave him room to breathe and learn at his own pace. Though, this line does make us wonder—what has Skinner done with his vegetables?
When we said Animaniacs was full of innuendos, we weren’t just speculating. We’re back with another gem from the series. The story of Noah and his ark is well-known, even among the non-religious. Since it’s so widely known, it’s easy to reference.
Two by two, all animals boarded Noah’s ark. But they weren’t paired to keep each other company—it takes two to tango, as they say. It would be a disaster if an entire species’ survival depended on siblings mating. That’s a terrible gene pool!
Rugrats had so many great moments, it was hard to pick even just a few for our list. We had one from everyone’s favorite TV grandpa, but the parents had plenty of memorable scenes, too. Take this scene with Stu, for example…
As adults, we finally appreciate the ability to ask friends to babysit our kids/pets/plants. In this episode, the DeVilles couldn’t help out because Howard was a bit busy. Ah, Stu, we all know what that’s code for. Do you think Betty was okay with it?
Dexter’s Laboratory might have been about the titular character, Dexter, but we were all rooting for his chaotic-neutral sister, Dee Dee. She was always a thorn in his side and managed to mess up the child prodigy’s plans, even without trying.
One day, Dexter finally had enough and decided to fire Dee Dee from her role as his assistant. Enter Candi, the new assistant in town. We don’t know where Dexter found Candi, because it seems like she’s an exotic dancer more than a lab assistant.
Hey Arnold! was a groundbreaking show featuring a diverse cast of characters. In the show, young Arnold lives with his grandparents, and Grandpa Phil was just as lovable as Grandpa Pickles from Rugrats. Nickelodeon had the equation nailed with wholesome grandparents.
Arnold is such a good grandkid for cheering up Phil—or, trying to, anyway. The show might take place in Washington state, but now we know good old Grandpa Phil was vibing in New York back in ’69. Maybe that’s where he met Gertrude.
Full of puns and pop culture references, Animaniacs never let up with the jokes. Just when we thought we couldn’t laugh harder, the next punchline would raise the bar, and we’d be in tears by the end of the episode.
If this isn’t the epitome of Animaniacs humor, we don’t know what is. Although the show started off as a kid’s cartoon, we can tell it was there to be a source of entertainment for adults, too. Do you think Prince gave his stamp of approval for this scene?
In ancient civilizations, offerings to the gods were pretty commonplace. Though they were typically animals, some myths and legends suggest that virgin sacrifices are the best way to appease the higher powers. Virginity is associated with purity, hence the twisted logic.
Johnny Bravo is well-known for his charm, appearance, and behavior. He portrays himself as tough but is vainer than any of the girls in the show. Yeah, he has more of an issue with someone saying he’s a virgin than he is with being sacrificed.
The Amazing World of Gumball
The Amazing World of Gumball is a hilarious animated show that follows the adventures of a blue cat named Gumball and his best friend Darwin, a pet fish who has evolved legs. The show takes place in the fictional city of Elmore and features a colorful cast of quirky characters.
Even newer shows like The Amazing World of Gumball, which came out in 2011 on Cartoon Network, managed to sneak in adult jokes. It’s pretty obvious what Banana Joe is doing. From the ashamed look to the box of tissues, there’s no mystery here.
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! is a classic animated show that has been entertaining audiences for generations. The show follows the Mystery Inc. gang, consisting of Scooby-Doo, the titular talking Great Dane, and his human friends Shaggy, Fred, Daphne, and Velma, as they solve mysterious crimes and unmask the villains behind them.
The newest addition to the Scooby-Doo multiverse, Velma, had received some criticism for portraying Fred as a womanizer. But if you watch some of the older shows, you’ll see that he wasn’t exactly a feminist. That ascot isn’t fooling anyone, Fred!
Nickelodeon gave us so many classics. Doug is just one of the many animated gems that the channel produced in the ’90s. Watching Doug Funnie as he navigates the ups and downs of adolescence was just so relatable, and we loved every minute of it.
It appears that Roger is not only uncertain about the cat’s gender but also about another matter. It seems that his mother is about to have a discussion with him about the facts of life, and things are about to become even more intriguing and/or awkward.
The Fairly OddParents
The Fairly OddParents might not have been part of the wave of Nickelodeon cartoons in the ’90s, but it still holds a lot of fond memories. There were plenty of adult jokes in the show’s 10 seasons, but we only have room for a few of them on this list.
This joke is absolutely brilliant. It’s a well-known fact that being a parent is a big responsibility, and sometimes, parents need to put their own aspirations on hold in order to care for and educate their children. Let’s hope Dad doesn’t feel too bitter about giving up his own dreams for the sake of his family.
Yes, SpongeBob is up to his usual antics. This show appeals to both children and adults, and we always have a great time watching the mischievous escapades of SpongeBob and his pal Patrick. And let’s not forget everyone’s favorite pet, Gary the snail!
Even though Gary is the pet in the house, he’s more mature than his owner. He just rolls into a room, and SpongeBob knows to sit up and shape up. Hopefully, Gary wasn’t too disturbed by SpongeBob’s preferred “entertainment program.”
When we are born, we have no sense of gender, and, honestly, there’s no need. Gender should have no impact on a kid’s experience of the world. But that doesn’t mean they won’t figure some things out on their own.
As kids often do, these two babies can’t help but compare and contrast. Meeting for the first time, these two are bonding over their similarities and differences. Poor baby girl is devastated at the loss of her umbilical cord. The boy, however, doesn’t seem too thrilled to still have his “cord.”
Nickelodeon may have given us the classic TV shows, but Disney is the true master of animated masterpieces. If you haven’t seen Zootopia, go check it out now! The 2016 animated feature film is, like most Disney movies, surprisingly mature.
Judy might not be a fox, but she’s the sly one here. We love that sassy bunny and how she works hard to prove everyone wrong. Even then, she’s not afraid to poke fun at some of the “features” bunnies are known for.
Step back in time to the town of Bedrock, where the Flintstone family and their neighbors, the Rubbles, live life like no other. In a world where dinosaurs coexist with humans and animals serve as household appliances, there’s never a dull moment.
The Flintstones was a staple of our childhood, and revisiting it now elicits both laughter and discomfort. Adding an extra head not only makes them taller but turns them into a three-headed monster. If you don’t get the joke, you’re probably too young.
The tale of Tarzan the ape-man may have existed before 1999, but Disney’s animated feature made him a household name. The rugged man raised by gorillas was everyone’s childhood fantasy. Who wouldn’t want to grow up outside the reach of dull society?
But Jane was intrigued by more than just his unique upbringing. Swinging around in the jungle, he had some amazing abs. We don’t blame the young woman for daydreaming, but all the credit in this scene goes to her dad who knows what’s up.
Cow and Chicken
Cow and Chicken is a classic animated show that has been making audiences laugh for decades. The show follows the antics of a cow named Cow and her mischievous brother Chicken as they navigate the world and get into all sorts of zany situations.
In this particular episode, Cow is searching for a part-time job. Since he’s, well, a cow, he’s looking for something in his wheelhouse. We don’t know what’s funnier: the innuendo or the fact that the writers don’t know anything about cow biology.
Shrek is a 90-minute-long wacky and wild adventure following the journey of everyone’s favorite ogre as he tries to reclaim his swamp and, along the way, finds his one true love. One of the things that makes Shrek so funny is the way it subverts all the classic fairy tale conventions.
In between the familiar jokes about classic fairytales, there are some witty one-liners that are meant for adults’ eyes and ears only. The vertically challenged ruler of Duloc doesn’t hide his insecurities well. Maybe it’s not just his height that’s…lacking.
Justice League Unlimited
Batman is a unique superhero who elicits strong opinions—people either love him or hate him. Unlike typical good guys, he embodies the morally ambiguous and darker form of justice. Despite the bleakness of the Dark Knight, the following statement shines like gold.
Apparently, no one told Batman that, if he wants to maintain a secret identity, he can’t leave DNA evidence everywhere. That means no bleeding all over Gotham. Of course, Amanda Waller knows being a playboy is just as “dangerous” in that regard.
Doug is a clumsily awkward and shy person, which is why we love him so much. Despite this, he has moments of brilliance that both confuse children and entertain adults. He also has a crush on Patti Mayonaise and becomes flustered and even sillier when near her.
We have to give Doug props for using his baking soda volcano to hit on Patti. Too bad he fizzled out and used the not-so-suave explanation of how it works. And, no, the “I lava you” pun isn’t the problem here. That’s almost endearing.
Beauty And The Beast
Once upon a time, in a far-off kingdom, a beautiful young woman named Belle was trapped in a castle with a terrifying monster. In reality, she was saved by said monster from an even crueler fate that awaited her in town.
Prince Adam—yes, that’s his name—is new to love and has clearly lost his touch with humanity. Cogsworth hasn’t been human in a long time, either, but he knows all about relationships. Sorry fellas, but this jab is a tale as old as time.
Rocko’s Modern Life
Nickelodeon cartoons have also included scenes and jokes that are not suitable for children. Unlike the subtle humor in Pixar movies, which may require multiple viewings to catch, the humor in Nickelodeon is more straightforward. Let’s take a look at another example.
In this episode of Rocko’s Modern Life, Rocko is gathering berries in the forest. While trying to pick a berry from a low-hanging bush, a bear comes out of the bush screaming in pain. Whoops, Rocko—that wasn’t a berry. Better luck with your next attempt.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if your favorite zoo animals took a break from their daily routines and went on a wild adventure? Well, that’s exactly what happened in the movie Madagascar. We strongly recommend watching it, as it’s not only entertaining for children, but it’s particularly amusing for adults as well.
As natural adversaries, zebras and lions have a complex relationship, as demonstrated by Alex and Marty. Keep an eye on the Sugar Honey Ice Tea in the final frame, and the capitalized letters in those words. Do they form any acronyms?
Have you ever met someone who is a little too confident in their own abilities? Well, that’s Dexter for you. This boy genius has his own secret laboratory where he conducts all sorts of experiments, but more often than not, things don’t go as planned.
This image provided us with a good laugh, but it’s not as straightforward as it appears. During a scavenger hunt for his stolen nuclear core, Dee Dee left the third clue for Dexter at the Neighbor Lady’s house. A clever play on words, it definitely elicited a chuckle from us.
Shrek is a fantastic addition to both mankind and the animated film industry. It’s filled with humor and irony, poking fun at societal norms. Here’s a meme from the second Shrek movie. We’re sure you’ll love it just as much as we did.
Poor Shrek got arrested and assaulted. Well, a-peppered. (We’re not sorry for the pun.) And Puss didn’t get away lightly either. Getting caught with catnip won’t end well for him, especially if he gets a whiff of the insanity-inducing plant.
Alfredo Linguini and Remy formed a close-knit partnership, with Remy cooking fantastic meals and Alfredo providing the tools for him to do so. In an attempt to own up to his flaws, there’s a moment in the film where Linguini tries to confess and expose the true chef.
It’s an unbelievable situation, so it’s no surprise that Linguini is stumbling over his words. How do you describe a chef rat that controls your hands through your hair? Maybe not this way. Colette is really trying hard not to jump to the wrong conclusions here.
Disney has worked its magic time and time again, retelling classic stories, both from fairytales and real-world mythologies. Even if they’re not exactly accurate and true to the original story, especially the mythology tales, we love them all the same.
We can’t think of anyone that uses Roman numerals today, other than the Super Bowl, so it makes sense that kids would miss this joke. Which is a shame since that was when we learned that’s the number to dial in the event of an emergency.
Toy Story, the movie that started it all for the beloved Pixar Animation Studios, has been entertaining families for over two decades now. And unlike some of the disappointing Disney sequels, we’ve been thrilled to see every movie in the series.
Admittedly, we were terrified of all of Sid’s toys when we first met them. That spider baby head haunted our dreams, which is probably why we missed the joke with the sultry, long-legged toy. The legs are innocent enough, but it’s the fishing hook that seals the deal.
The Powerpuff Girls
The Powerpuff Girls is a show that celebrates girl power like no other! This trio of pint-sized superheroes, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, are the epitome of girl power, and they’re not afraid to show it. They’re smart, strong, and confident, and they never back down from a challenge.
Part of the girl power attitude that we love so much is that they know how special they are. No men will belittle the trio, and the Rowdy Rough Boys can never replace them. Blossom is a tactical genius; she knows exactly how to take down even the most confident villain.
Ed, Edd, and Eddy
Ed, Edd, and Eddy wasn’t your normal Cartoon Network show. It was a bit rougher, rowdier, and raunchier. Aside from the unique animation style, the ways the boys interacted was the most accurate representation of how pre-teen boys really behave.
And, being a group of boys, they weren’t exactly the most well-behaved bunch. It makes sense that they’d need a few reminders on how to act. Post-Its on the walls with reminders like “lock the door” are pretty innocent; it’s the “don’t touch yourself” that made us raise our eyebrows.
This is the last Rugrats moment we have to offer, but it could be one of the greatest from the Rugrats world yet. Parents will find this iconic moment incredibly humorous and burst into laughter, while children will be left bewildered. Let’s see how it goes.
Chuckie is fixated on his new toy and is confined to his room, only engaging in activities with Boppo. Phil believes that a child his age should be spending time playing with friends outside instead of staying in their room all day playing with their…toy.
Tiny Toons Adventures
Sometimes, when we were kids, we missed the adult humor in our favorite shows and movies. We were more focused on the obvious jokes and the exciting action. It wasn’t until we revisited the show years later that we realized the hidden adult humor.
In an episode of Tiny Toons Adventures, Daffy Duck reads a magazine called Playduck. It’s a play on a certain type of magazine not meant for kids, and Bugs Bunny initially scoffs at it but eventually admits to taking a look himself.
Thanks to Disney, we learned about Shakespeare before we even knew his name—The Lion King is an animal version of Hamlet, if you didn’t already know. And even within the classic Disney tales, there were even more cultural references that slipped past us.
The real story of Hercules is filled with a lot more family drama, which makes this line even funnier. It’s both acknowledging the Greek hero, and the “complicated” drama that is Oedepis Rex. Let’s just say that the protagonist in that play has some mommy issues.