I never spent too much time thinking about children’s television shows when I was a kid. I don’t think they screwed me up or anything, but as a parent, you view things through a different lens.
And even if none of these moments are going to leave a lasting mark on our kids, there are definitely some things that go down that make you think twice.
These 15 people are sharing the most messed up moments they can remember!
15. You can’t foresee that, I suppose.
Not exactly on the children’s show itself, but about 20 years ago during a midday episode of the Spider-Man cartoon, the news broke in to cover a live high speed chase that ended in a stand off on a popular Los Angeles freeway.
The suspect abruptly blew the top of his own head off with a rifle on live television. The top of his head literally flapped open like can of spaghetti-o’s. Camera caught everything.
I assure you – kids watching that were never the same.
14. I know kids need to see those characters, but man.
Too many episodes of Hey Arnold. Like finding out Stoop Kid stayed on his stoop because he was abandoned there and was homeless but hopelessly waiting for someone to come back for him. How Monkey Man was mentally ill and also homeless. That one where you learn Grandpa and his sister had a lifelong rift because the only good thing in their life as children, their puppy, got killed by a car in front of them and they each blamed the other. How Lila and her dad are squatters to keep from being homeless. How the kids on the show routinely get mugged.
Or how Mr. Hyun hates Christmas because that’s the anniversary of the day he handed his baby daughter off to an American soldier to get her out of the war zone because he wasn’t sure they’d survive, then spent the rest of his life working to immigrate to America to try and find her only having the name of the city to work from and ended up missing her whole childhood because he was too poor to hire a private investigator. Until Helga literally sold the shoes off her feet to hire one to make Arnold happy.
Oh, and how Helga is obsessed with Arnold because she grew up neglected by an alc*holic mother and aggressive narcissistic father who only cared about her older sister, and Arnold was literally the first person in her entire life to show her any kindness when, as a preschooler, he offered to share his umbrella because her parents forgot to take her to her first day of preschool and she had to walk in the rain, by herself, with no coat, as a 4 year old in what we can only assume is New York City.
So yeah, that show was supremely jacked up.
13. Lol New Jersey, right?
A few years ago (don’t remember the year) New Jersey accidentally played hardcore porn in the time slot for a children’s TV show.
They played Mandy gets a Handy instead of Handy Manny.
12. This why we don’t treat monkeys like humans, people.
There was a story from Chicago’s golden age of children’s television, at WGN in the 1950s. A chimpanzee was the sidekick to a host, and would do interstitials to Three Stooges shorts. One time they had a guest who had a parakeet that could perform various tricks. Here’s the quote from the book:
The bird, perched on the woman’s hand, went through a series of of routines as Greyson [the host] and Chatter [the chimpanzee] looked on. In the middle of the act, Chatter suddenly grabbed the bird, bit its head off, and, without missing a beat, placed the carcass back on the shocked woman’s hand. As his guest crumpled to the floor, a stunned Greyson stared at his partner and the station cut quickly to a commercial.
That’s pretty fucked up.
11. Wow. That’s some fate.
Henry the tank engine was bricked up inside an abandoned tunnel for having anxiety while Ringo Star mocked him.
There was a “very special” anti drug episode of the 80’s cartoon BraveStarr.
In this episode, a couple of kids get hooked on a new drug. At the end of of the episode, one of the kids died from an overdose.
30+ years later and I’m not sure how many Children’s Shows even today would kill a kid.
9. It’s science, but still.
I remember that episode of the magic school bus when that ginger dude took off his helmet in space after being told not to and his dome turned to ice or something like that.
Spooked me as a kid.
8. Almost all of it.
Like most of Courage the Cowardly Dog.
7. Things like that really stick with you.
Two complete strangers pretending to be Patrick’s parents. Who were they? Why did they do it? What was their plan? Things I’ve been thinking about since I was 7 years old.
Also every episode of courage the cowardly dog
6. That’s quite morbid.
That episode of Thomas the Tank Engine when Thomas visits the scrap heap where all the dead/dying trains are.
I remember watching it as a kid and not even thinking about how Thomas is basically surrounded by a bunch of corpses or people left to die.
5. That’s pretty dark and deep for a kid’s show.
As a child I remember being fairly traumatised over a series called David the Gnome where he and his wife reach 400 and die together in the finale.
They actually become cherry trees intertwined together in the next plain. I remember trying to explain to my mother why I was crying so hard watching the TV but she didn’t get it.
4. This movie in general.
There’s a whole song number in The Brave Little Toaster of cars in a scrapyard accepting imminent death and a few committing suicide.
3. But wait, there’s more!
There’s this Hey Arnold episode called the Ghost Bride and the story is basically that this lady was madly in love with her fiancé but was stood up at the altar because he had fallen in love with her sister and married her the very next day.
So the lady goes berserk and puts on her wedding dress, gets an axe from her basement, walks to the newlywed couple’s home, KILLS THEM BOTH IN THEIR BEDS, and when the cops come, she’s rocking back and forth in a rocking chair next to the bodies, throwing rice on them and humming the wedding march.
To finish it all off, she immediately jumps out of the window and kills herself.
2. The horrible, alternate ending of E.T.
Either the series finale of Alf in which Alf is captured by the government presumably to be experimented on, or the series finale of Dinosaurs in which the entire civilization is destroyed.
1. And just like that, thousands of kids became afraid of seals.
That one episode of Pingu where he has a nightmare. In the nightmare, a gigantic brown seal chases him while smiling creepily.
This episode still gives me the spooks to this day…
I’m dying – these are so totally wrong for kids, yet none of them seem to be bothered.
Do you have a memory of something like this? Have you seen something that struck you as bizarre as an adult?
Share it with us in the comments!