What Do You Mean It's Not for Kids?

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
That kid's sure going to enjoy the nice cartoon his mom and dad gave him.

For Usagi Yojimbo, yeah, at the beginning, you know, I'd get "Oh, cute and cuddly rabbit", and then they open the book and "... He kills people!"

—Stan Sakai, at the Anthrocon 2005 panel "Anthropomorphics in Mainstream Comics"

All fantasy, space operas, fairy tales, everything with talking animals, anything with a child as the protagonist, Superhero movies, Comic Books, and Animation Age Ghetto is okay for kids, right?

Well, sure, if you want to scar them for life, shove their hearts into a woodchipper, confuse them to an overwhelming extreme, or teach them things and/or words they really shouldn't know yet.

If you are paying attention at all, you will notice that many Fairy Tales are stories of murder, theft and much worse. Several stories starring animals - particularly very old versions - are just as bad. A truly astonishing number of people fail to get it in their heads that animated films can be for adults only even if they're not X-rated. Many people assume All Animation Is Disney, which is a risky thing to do as Disney, for the most part, outbowdlerized Bowdler. In other words, these people who say that something is for kids because it's fantasy, animation, superhero, all of the above, or prominently features child characters are Comically Missing the Point.

You'd think that rating labels on posters and cases would prevent this, wouldn't you? The 1970s era warning, "Parental Guidance Suggested - some material may not be suitable for pre-teenagers," was somehow not clear enough, so the redundant extra rating "PG-13" was created, and yet today parents take their kindergartners to PG-13 movies anyway.

In the case of many fairy tales, this is a side effect of changing values over time. Many of these stories were told to children to Scare'Em Straight, though others were meant for adults. Over time, the focus has shifted from depicting horrible consequences of bad behavior to showing positive traits being rewarded, and as such, the stories have become lighter in tone. The older versions, especially those by The Brothers Grimm, offer ready-to-use Darker and Edgier for older audiences. Values Dissonance also applies across cultures, to the point where uninitiated fans insist that foreign kids' shows were really for teenagers or adults because their home country would never allow some of the content to be shown to anyone below that age.

It must be said that, fortunately, many people are starting to get wise to this trope. It still exists, however, and anything that you have seen people considering "for kids" that really shouldn't be watched (or read, or whatever) by anyone too young to drive can be put here.

What isn't considered when talking about kids watching films that aren't appropriate for their age, is that most of them grow up and don't have traumatized existences, as most kids simply ignore what they don't understand and when they do, it helps them deal with mature situations when they grow up.

See also Subverted Innocence. Can be a result of Misaimed Marketing. Audiences may receive an early warning with an R-Rated Opening. Animation Age Ghetto is the animation-specific subtrope (in that it's this trope applied to the entire medium). What Do You Mean It's Not for Little Girls? is the Moe Seinen subtrope.

List only things that are or were commonly mistaken as being for kids. Contrast with What Do You Mean It's for Kids?.

Examples of What Do You Mean It's Not for Kids? include:

Anime and Manga

  • Anime in general once got this treatment. More recently, the trend became What Do You Mean It's for Kids?, in the case of work-safe series. (Let's just say any and all Hentai, which the above pictured La Blue Girl Returns falls under, is not for kids and just leave it at that.)
  • Princess Mononoke certainly qualifies for this trope. It's an animated movie featuring pigs and wolves and nice-looking forest spirits, with "Princess" in the title, but it's also a movie that shows people's heads and limbs being shot off, open wounds bleeding profusely, and Eldritch Abominations covered in icky purplish wormlike things. Disney released their dub under their Miramax label, perhaps so people wouldn't confuse it with its own kid-friendly productions, but many parents made the mistake anyway, especially as Pokémon the First Movie arrived in theaters around the same time. (And editing out the violence was not an option; "no cuts" was an ironclad condition of Disney's distribution deal with Studio Ghibli, and all Disney was allowed to do with the movie was to tweak the animation to lip-sync the characters with the English-language voice-actors and put in English title cards, credits, etc.) Let's also not forget Princess Mononoke also aired on Cartoon Network. But on Toonami.
    • This goes all the way back to Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, though it may be exempt as the film that gave Miyazaki enough money and reputation to found Studio Ghibli. For those who come to it by way of My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, or Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, however, it fully qualifies with that melting God Warrior, the Ohmu stampede, and a goodly dose of violence. And the manga version takes it a couple of points up the scale with people blown or chopped to bits left and right. Oh, and some freaky psychic stuff.
  • Ginga Densetsu Weed is about talking dogs. Kid-friendly, right? Hardly—there's some very disturbing stuff (including a dog who castrates his enemies). Don't get started on the manga.
  • Outlaw Star is a Seinen anime with graphic violence and an explicit Hot Springs Episode... and yet it aired in America on Toonami at a timeslot where many kids under 13 would be watching. To be fair, they did cut out the Hot Springs Episode and did many edits, such as changing guns into blasters. The English dub featured a lot of swearing that was also changed for TV.
  • Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water seems family friendly enough at first glance and, for the most part, it is. Yet there are many scenes, as well as several episodes, that are decidedly dark. Several characters are executed on screen, a family and their dog are gunned down, the heroine tries to commit suicide at one point, and later, guns down her own father, Nemo, while under Gargoyle's control. There's even a brief instance of racism and, near the end, Nadia spends almost two full episodes nude.
  • Kino's Journey Oh look, a teenager traveling around with a talking motorcycle with a cute artstyle! Too bad it's full of Nightmare Fuel.
  • During The Nineties, the major TV networks in Mexico thought it would be good to syndicate something new instead of these American cartoons. So, they looked at Japan as a new, unexplored source of kids' cartoons, and they decided to broadcast anime, thus starting the long-remembered Nineties' Anime Craze. Only problem is, they mostly took shows for teenagers and adults and marketed them for kids.
    • And about Locomotion, it was always intended as an adults' animated channel. It was far away from the children's lineup and made of point of showing stuff like Stressed Eric and South Park. The new Animax channel tried to return to a kid-friendly schedule, but Network Decay kicked in and the few animated features remaining are often... not for kids.
  • Key: The Metal Idol's premise is about an android girl who wants to become human by making 30,000 friends. That sounds like something the kids can watch, right? WRONG. The series gets off to a family friendly start, then rapidly shifts into dark territory. Try not to not to get attatched to any of the characters especially Sakura, 'cuz a lot of 'em are gonna die. In fact, it borders on Kill'Em All. And you don't even wanna know about Ajo.
  • Grave of the Fireflies is occasionally placed in the kids' section. Yes, it was originally made as a double feature with My Neighbor Totoro, but the entire movie can be summarized with "And then It Got Worse".
  • Legend of the Overfiend/Urotsukidouji, the original tentacle rape hentai. In the cartoon section. Right under the Don Bluth films.
  • Cool Devices has also been spotted in the Children's section due to it being animated. It's about horrific rape and sexual corruption of humans by humans in a Crapsack World.
  • There's a particular story from Acts of Gord about a man who rented Ninja Scroll (as in the infamously gory anime movie with explicit rape) for his ten- and eleven-year-old kids, all while the sales clerk tries to tell him that it's really not appropriate for his kids. Of course, not more than one hour later does the same man barge in demanding to know why he gave them porn.
  • Osamu Tezuka developed his characteristic cartoony style drawing manga for younger kids, but maintained it well into his later career when he started drawing more adult oriented manga like Adolf (a story about WWII, told mainly from the perspective of characters from the doomed Axis nations) and MW (a tale of a Catholic Priest who is tormented with guilt because he has a gay lover who is also a murdering sociopath planning to commit genocide with a stolen American chemical weapon)
  • Cat Soup is very easily mistaken for a kid's film due since the main characters are adorable cartoon kittens—except that it's Grotesque Cute Surreal Horror that's liable to disturb most adults.
  • Blockbuster video's computer system officially listed Higurashi no Naku Koro ni as a series belonging in "Kids and Family". (This is a series where the very first scene, before even the opening credits, involves two (now dead) girls being brutally beaten by their deranged classmate.)
  • Chaosic Rune takes place in a world where people fight using monsters, machines, and magical spells that all come from cards! The most powerful cards are said to be the dragon cards and the main character has what is said to be the most powerful of all the dragons! Sounds like a great plot for a Yu-Gi-Oh ripoff, right? Wrong. This is one of the biggest boobs and guts Seinen mangas out there! Oh yeah. The most powerful dragon the main character commands? Its name is Death Rex and it comes in four parts! Each qualifying as one SERIOUS Eldritch Abomination. There's also plenty of Nightmare Fuel to go around.
  • Read or Die's OVA seems like a delightful children's story. It's about a happy and sweet woman who loves to read and has amazing adventures! It's actually a pastiche of spy films in the James Bond vein with more High-Pressure Blood.
  • Despite its simple art style and title, Fantastic Children isn't really for children, not so much because of explicit content (there is little) as because of an abundance of unsettling and often tragic plot twists (there are many) as well as a story driven far more by dialog and careful characterization than by action.
  • All the not-so-child-friendly plot twists render Key works firmly for older audiences only. Angel Beats!! is on a different level altogether, despite the cute and fluffy title—by the end of the first episode we have Otonashi stabbed in the chest by Tenshi, cut up and left in a pool of blood by Noda, ejected from a multi-story building by a large hammer, and to top it off he shoots Tenshi in the stomach. Episode 2 gets worse.
    • Clannad, especially during the latter half of the After Story. It's got a cute art style, funny characters, cute little mascots called "The Big Dango Family", and sakura petals abound... the perfect anime for your six-year-old girl, right? Yoshino-san pumping himself full of narcotics in his flashback and Nagisa dying in childbirth won't exactly hit home base with the kiddies...
    • Also, the Clannad movie is rated PG, and most people assume that all movies rated PG are for children.
  • Blockbuster has filed Makoto Shinkai's child-acceptable but deadly serious masterpieces Voices of a Distant Star and Five Centimeters Per Second under "Animation", right next to Transformers Animated.
  • The box art and summary for the somewhat obscure Doujin Work (not so much the manga cover, but the anime + manga combo pack and the DVD case for sure) makes it seem like a series about teenagers finding friends and a community through drawing their own comic books. In fact, the series is about the antics of some friends who draw hard-core porn.
  • Mohiro Kitoh loves this trope. See Narutaru and Bokurano for the heartrending details.
    • Amusingly enough, one review actually has described Narutaru as being acceptable for preteens—a scanlation group that re-released the Dark Horse Comics translations of the manga and finished up what Dark Horse didn't get around to before discontinuing it made fun of this in their summary and updates. Just goes to show how bloody deceptive that first volume is...
      • Needless to say, Glenat's French release of Narutaru was cancelled after two volumes under similar circumstances. Once they finally tried again, the series was given their Seinen label in order to avoid another fiasco.
    • Also, how deceptive are the cutesy opening (which depicts many horrors in a family friendly way, but first-time viewers won't know that) and the fact it was originally broadcasted on Kids Station.
    • While not nearly as decisive as Narutaru, from the opening and ending you would think Bokurano was a lot more light-hearted then it really is. The first episode doesn't help either; it looks like any shonen series about robots.
  • Shin Chan. Despite the cute looks, the manga was originally published in Weekly Manga Action, one Seinen magazine.
    • Also, Shin-chan shows his penis, nicknamed Mr. Elephant, in most episodes.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion. An unsure fourteen-year-old boy coming to terms with his father, coming of age, and learning that he should believe in himself and be strong, while he has fun with his "wacky" roommate/big-sister surrogate and his "endearingly" bipolar copilot who can't admit that she really loves him. All filtered through the medium of giant robots to make it appeal to both little boys and little girls between the ages of seven to twelve. Right? No. Cue abuse, traumatic pasts, mental breakdowns, implied rape, psychological violation, ancient horrors, murder, insanity, in-depth psychological analysis of the characters' insanity and a confusing, surrealistic, gory and most of all frightening end of the world and all the two remaining characters hold dear.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica manages to one-up the above example (no, really). It's a genre commonly for pre-teen girls. The character design is Puni Plush. The story is all about the characters being pushed beyond the Despair Event Horizon and one of them gets eaten alive.
    • Just watch the first episode of the English Dub. It looks like it's G-rated, but in the middle of the episode, one character says a cuss word.
  • Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt. You would be surprised about how much fan art is drawn by 13-year-olds on Deviant ART.
    • "Look, dear! There's two girls in pretty dresses fighting ghosts and other nasty bad things! Why haven't you shown this to your younger cousin?" The title is a dead giveaway, though.
    • Furthermore, Funimation's complete set release has a TV-MA rating on its cover, leaving no question to what kind of subject matter this series has.
  • Wandering Son is often mistaken for a Shoujo when it's actually Seinen. It doesn't help that the anime is drawn in a way that makes it look like a watercolor painting, that the manga's colored artwork are either watercolor or pastel, and the characters are children.
  • Now and Then, Here and There. Animation Age Ghetto? Check. Kooky fantasy adventure? Check. Child protagonist? Check. Desolate, dying world, horrific brutality and a king who makes The Joker look at most mildly deranged? Check, check, oh God check.
  • This photograph shows manga with suggestive covers and titles such as Chain Of Pearl, Today The Love Begid and Kings Another Work on a rack under the sign "Children Story". According to the person who took the photograph, those manga are racy.
  • Akira was first released in an English dub in the late 80's. The film managed to break Japan out of the Animation Age Ghetto in American eyes, containing a lot of violence (including a few exploding heads, people being smashed, and blown into gibs), a near rape scene, and a few utterly disturbing sequences. The manga, of course, amps this all Up to Eleven.
  • Queens Blade initially appeared through Netflix streaming in the Fall of 2010 with a Y7 FV rating. Yes, that implies the series is suitable for children age 7 or higher, but has a cautionary rating for "fantasy violence." By the end of the first volume, the viewer will have seen severe clothing damage, two bare asses, nipples that swell and spew a corrosive fluid, a disrobed woman wetting herself, one scene of virtual lesbian rape, and more bare breasts than one can shake a stick at.
    • The front cover for the first volume of the series has four relatively attractive characters in standard "Sword and Sorcery" poses, but nothing to clue the viewer into what the series involves. Needless to say, the online reviews for the series quickly swelled with the reactions of angry parents.
    • A similar thing happened to Itsudatte My Santa!. It was recalled for having the wrong rating on the package, TV-PG instead of TV-MA, due to a printing mistake, but nobody complained, and it was re-released a year later with the correct rating.
  • Starting in July 2011, any otherwise family-friendly manga that falls foul of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly's Bill 156 has become this.
  • The Canadian province of Quebec's movie and video ratings board had some problems with this in the early years of anime videos, with titles such as Genocyber, Ninja Scroll and Akira getting the equivalent of G and PG ratings. Fortunately, actual Hentai never fell through the cracks, and the board wised up relatively fast.]]

Comic Books

  • Dreamkeepers, is this in every way.[context?]
  • Stephen Desberg created a cutesy comic together with Stéphane Colman called Billy the Cat, which is about a teenage kid that gets transformed in a cute little yellow kitty. It features cute covers and equally cute friendly characters, but some of the comics (particularly issues 3, 5, 6 and 12) feature cats bleeding to death into alleys, a man getting impaled on one of his own statues, and a giant gorilla with a hook for a hand that kidnaps and harasses a little girl. The fact that a kid-friendly animated show was created based off the comic certainly wouldn't help matters much.
  • Stan Sakai, creator of Usagi Yojimbo, was asked at the Anthrocon 2005 panel Anthropomorphics in Mainstream Comics if he ever was told his comic was not funny and replied with the quote below:

For Usagi Yojimbo, yeah, at the beginning, you know, I'd get "Oh, cute and cuddly rabbit", and then they open the book and "... He kills people!"

  • Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl. Creepy, 10 years old, Undead Child who kills and slaughters without knowing it.
  • In 1985, United Feature Syndicate tabbed political cartoonist Jim Meddick to create a comic strip based on the Robotman And Friends line of toys (and short-lived cartoon). Meddick took the original characters and settings for the original strips... and quickly abandoned them, turning the strip into an absurdist humor strip with decidedly not-kid-friendly storylines and dialog. Angry letters to editors followed. After about two decades, Meddick — at the request of UFS — wrote Robotman out of the strip permanently (he left Earth to be with his robot alien girlfriend) and rechristened the strip Monty.
  • Benoit Sokal's comics about a detective duck in a world of talking animals are decidedly not for children.
  • Mouse Guard by David Peterson. Similar to Usagi Yojimbo, but with mice (and not in Edo Japan). Includes complex themes about survival and Utopia Justifies the Means, as well as mice (and other creatures) dying very violently.
  • The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mirage comics were definitely not child-friendly, being loaded with incredibly over-the-top violence and gore to parody the increasingly dark comics of the time. The problem, of course, is that the cartoon based on them was for children, and thus clueless parents could easily find themselves picking up an issue of the comic for a kid who was really into the Turtles...
    • #15 has a letter from a woman who complains that her son had bought a couple of issues which included "foul language and violence," without specifying any further, and that the company which "prints material for children" should know better. This was shortly after the cartoon started airing, but it's not mentioned at all in the letter. In his response, Peter Laird wonders what language and on-panel violence she's talking about (the foulest thing in the earlier issues being on the level of "let's go kick some ass!"), and points out that just because it's a comic doesn't mean that it's for children.
  • The Mask. While the comic book was not for children, and neither was the movie based on it, the cartoon series based on that clearly was. This caused Dark Horse to turn the comics more family-friendly.
  • Jhonen Vasquez got a bit popular with a TV show called Invader Zim (and kept getting in trouble with the suits who wanted less psychotic rampaging), and since kids easily know how to type a name on Google, they not only found out he did a cute comic about a schizophrenic, crazed killer, but bought it as well, 'cuz... you know, the guy created GIR for crying out loud!
  • Many people consider Spider-Man to be kids' stuff, but consider that some of the storylines in the comics would have to be heavily toned down for television—Spidey's got Serial Killers for villains, many characters dying or being murdered with often graphic results, brutal beatdowns, characters using or selling illegal drugs, and references to sex and rape.
  • Woe betide anyone who thinks that Batman's rogues gallery consists of only the colorful, largely Harmless Villains they saw on TV, along with the odd mobster or two. Many of the dozens of minor Bat-Villains from the comics (like Cornelius Stirk, Mr. Zsasz, and Jane Doe) haven't made it into the cartoons for a reason. Hell, even the ones that have been shown on television generally have at least one or two "absolutely under no conditions show to little kids" scenes in the comics. Exhibit A: victims of the Joker's Laughing Toxin when they've gotten a BIT too ripe. [dead link]
    • Yes, this even applies to the likes of Penguin and Riddler. The former? Used a flame-throwing umbrella to burn the wooden masks of three of Black Mask's henchmen into their faces. The latter? While he was possessed by the demon Barbathos, gleefully stuffed a ping-pong ball down a baby's throat and forced Batman to remove it with nothing but a rusty knife.
    • This blog post covers the article in question.
    • In an interview in Amazing Heroes #119, writer Max Allan Collins said that, in reference to a Frank Miller written story which had Catwoman as a former prostitute, he found that inappropriate — the equivalent of doing Peter Pan and having them face historically accurate pirates. Collins felt that Catwoman was derived from children’s entertainment, appearing in a series that had turned into a much more overtly juvenile version of The Shadow (Catwoman debuted soon after the début of the Kid Sidekick with shaved legs, short shorts and elf shoes) and therefore people should keep that in mind when handling her.
  • The Harley and Quinn subseries of The Batman Adventures gets hit with this. It has the same style as the more family aimed Batman: The Animated Series, but is noticeably more adult (gay references, blood, curses cut short, a lot of nudity...)
  • WE 3, by Grant Morrison, is about three talking animals trying to find their way home; the covers feature "missing pets" notices written in childlike style. Kids'll love it, right? Sure! Except for the scenes featuring the cybernetic animal soldiers literally tearing apart the soldiers meant to come kill them, the part where the rabbit explodes while hurling itself at a car, and all sorts of graphic violence in between. Oh, and it's being adapted into a movie directed by the guy who made Kung Fu Panda. Prepare for some traumatized children... As if the Vertigo Comics label wasn't a warning already...
  • Swedish comic strips Arne Anka and Rocky are filled to the brim with funny animals. They're also filled with alcohol consumption, sex and deep, deep cynicism. Luckily, Swedes are generally smart enough to check the contents of such material before handing it to their kids.
  • Somehow, the first six issues of Jeff Smith's Bone were excerpted in issues of Disney Adventures. Needless to say, it suffered some Bowdlerization (including two whole scenes getting cut out and all mentions of "God" and "beer" being changed to "Gosh" and "soda").
    • Most bookstores carry it, especially the colorized version, in the children's section instead of the Graphic Novels/Comics area.
  • Frankly, danged near any mainstream Superhero comic produced during the Darker and Edgier Dark Age that ran from about 1988-1996.
    • Between the ever-increasing levels of Gorn and the constant big damn universe-changing events, the two biggest comic companies are still throwing as thick and fast as they can, the only Marvel and DC comics even remotely meant for kids these days are the Adventures and Johnny DC lines. It's gotten to the point that pasting "HEY, KIDS! COMICS!" over hyped up and massively nasty pages has become a wide-ranging internet meme.
  • Maus is a comic book that features anthropomorphic animals as stand-ins for people (mice for Jews, cats for Germans, dogs for Americans, etc.). This does not mean it is kid-friendly. It's mostly about the Holocaust.
      • It features drawings of ditches filled with emaciated, dead anthropomorphic mice being burned by cats with flamethrowers and gas masks.
      • The parts that take place in modern day aren't too clean either. Those parts deal with many serious themes like continuing racism, death in your family, abuse, and greed.
  • It has been speculated that reason Batwoman (who was supposed to have her own series as far back as 2005) was kept on ice for so long is because WB execs were worried about upsetting parents by introducing a lesbian Bat-character in the wake of Batman's resurgence in mainstream popularity after the release of Batman Begins.
  • Played with in an issue of JLA: a woman receives a book of fairy tales from a recently deceased relative's estate, and decides to read one to her young daughter. She soon realizes that these are old school fairy tales involving cannibalism, mutilation, vampirism, and murder. Oh, also: the fairy tales are alive.
  • Whistles, a graphic novel by Andrew Hussie of MS Paint Adventures fame, was once listed in the Children's category on Amazon. Well, it's a comic drawn in a cartoony style about a funny clown, so it must be for kids, right? To quote the summary: "Whistles, a clown in the Starlight Calliope circus, was beloved by all. One day an accident nearly cost him his life, and he became exposed to the corrupt underworld of the circus, rife with murder and cannibalism. Forced to flee, he experiences the hardships of the world such as homesickness and prostitution."
  • Fables is a comic series about a whole community of fairy tale heroes who live in New York and their lives and adventures. The kids are gonna love it, right? Some of those adventures include: A murder mystery with an apartment drenched in blood; Snow White being raped by 7 dwarfs in the past; the nice, friendly and charming Boy Blue going on a trip to murder the Adversary and slaughtering anyone who gets in his way; a war; and so on.
  • The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a fund that takes on the cases of comic store owners who they believe are wrongfully sued and/or arrested for which comics they distribute. Its two most famous cases are the Gordon Lee case (where he distributed a copy of a comic with nude drawings of Picasso on Free Comic Book Day) and Jesus Castillo (who sold an adult comic book, clearly labeled adult, and featured in the adult section of the store, to an adult, who turned out to be an undercover cop and arrested him for two counts of obscenity.)
    • That's tame compared to the following court ruling by one of the judges.

I don’t care what type of evidence or what type of testimony is out there; use your rationality; use your common sense. Comic books, traditionally what we think of, are for kids. This is in a store directly across from an elementary school and it is put in a medium, in a forum, to directly appeal to kids. That is why we are here, ladies and gentlemen. We’re here to get this off the shelf.

Fan Works

  • Rule 34 when applied to show originally intended for children.
  • Many fan works of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic cater to the older male demographic.
  • Many fan fictions of children's cartoons tend to be much more violent than their source material.
  • It works the other way, too. Some fan works of darker series can be much lighter than the source material, and in extreme cases, trick an unaware viewer into thinking it's family friendly.


  • The Good Son starred adorable little Macaulay Culkin, known and loved by children at the time for his Home Alone series. In this new film he played a serial killer who fell to his death, while screaming rather like he did in Home Alone. Sweet dreams, kiddos!
  • The film adaptation of Watchmen did not take long at all to fall victim to this. Consider: Comic book fans all know this story is by no stretch of the imagination appropriate for children. Okay. Now think of all the people out there who are not comic book fans, have never heard of the novel, and only saw an awesome trailer with superheroes doing cool stuff. The film does have an "adults only" rating in American and British markets, but we all know how well some adults acknowledge those.
  • At screenings of Jackass 3D, there can often be small children present with their parents.
  • At first, The Fisher King looks like the type of Robin Williams comedy that might be targeted at families. But it has outbursts of profanity, some Family-Unfriendly Violence, and subplots involving suicide and a mad gunman.
  • Young Frankenstein: Rated PG, has to be for kids, nevermind all the sexual innuendos.
  • Watership Down: The page discussing the Animation Age Ghetto could contain a picture of the Watership Down film poster and nothing more. Parents, grandparents and babysitters across the Western world continue coaxing catatonic children from behind sofas, the lesson that sometimes bunnies + animation are not all sunshines and rainbows.
Note that the original trailer for the film made absolutely no secret about the grimness of its content, presumably trying to avert this trope. Too bad they hadn't thought to do the same for the poster, not realizing that DVDs would someday sport that deceptively-peaceful image.
  • A little-known comedy called Shakes the Clown (Film) starring comedians Bobcat Goldthwait and Julie Brown was commonly rented by moms who later returned to the video store with the video and a good mad expression on. Despite the R-rating, and Julie Brown being on the cover lying on her stomach in a way that allows you to look directly down her cleavage, many thought this was kiddie fare. (You'd think the cleavage on the cover would clue them in).
  • Pan's Labyrinth. Seriously, some mothers take little children to see it. Some theaters actually had signs that read "This film is rated R" at the ticket boxes just in case. On paper, the movie does read as vaguely kid-friendly; it's got CG fairies, and the protagonist is an imaginative girl who becomes a heroine. But that, of course, leaves out most of the crucial details. Alas for that theory, the fairies del Toro depicts are not like Tinker Bell. The marketing may have been partly to blame.
    • A very important detail that's often left out when someone is giving a synopsis is that its a drama set in the SPANISH CIVIL WAR. Fairies that range from slightly disturbing to absolutely horrifying aside, this movie still centers on the actions and motivations of people in violent struggle.
  • For some foolish reason, theatres playing The Orphanage were also full of children.
  • Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders. Just sticking a cute magician into a story about a man who sets fire to his cat and becomes his wife's son, and a monkey possessed by Satan who murders all in his path does NOT make it a kids' film. This is more the fault of the executives making the film than that of parents or video-store owners, though.
    • Played with in the corresponding episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, where Mike and the bots read other books supposedly related to the film. All of them have titles like "Santa's Workshop of Shimmering Delights", but are horrific Gorn fests—except for the lighthearted "Dr. Blood's Orgy of Gore".
      • "Remember to believe in magic... or I'll kill you."
    • The second half of the movie was actually a re-edited version of an older horror movie done by the same director called "The Devil's Gift". The director cut out some of the more intense horror sequences, such as the original ending where the monkey kills the entire family and spliced in unrelated footage of Merlin to make it a family-friendly film. Total fail.
  • The various Batman films from 1989 on have been prone to controversy over their appropriateness for kids. All have had PG-13 ratings, but they were not all created equal in terms of violence and intensity. Joel Schumacher's films were intentionally Lighter and Softer than Tim Burton's in part because of complaints (unfortunately, they were also "not so good"). Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy reboot is adult.
    • In Argentina, they heavily marketed The Dark Knight to children, including coloring books, sticker albums, and action figures based on the movie.
    • Similarly, the animated shorts collection Gotham Knight features horrific violence - and unlike the live-action version, it isn't bloodless. The usually more conscientious commonsensemedia.org thinks Gotham Knight is appropriate for eleven-year-old children (in comparison, they unanimously thought otherwise for The Dark Knight). Because it's animated, and it's about Batman, right? Thank God none of the shorts featured The Joker, there would be kids in therapy.
  • In his book The Best Old Movies for Families, critic Ty Burr complains that many other PG-13 rated films are regarded as family fare thanks to intentional Misaimed Marketing, which means parents happily take toddlers to films like Van Helsing without a second thought...
  • An IMDB trivia entry for Team America: World Police says it all: "Despite almost getting an NC-17 Rating in the States, the film was promoted as a 'kids and family' movie in several European countries, and rated fit for all accordingly." Probably because just as in America animation is automatically for kids, in Europe puppets must be automatically for kids.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Besides scariness, there's the sex-related jokes.
    • There's a reason Disney released it under the Touchstone Pictures label. (In case you weren't aware, Touchstone is Disney's brand for more mature films. Though The Nightmare Before Christmas did "migrate" from Touchstone to Disney for re-releases... and even then, that movie had Kingdom Hearts as an excuse for that.)
    • Disney also would later produce a handful of original Roger Rabbit shorts that were shown prior to movies released under their main title like Honey I Shrunk the Kids.
    • In the original novel, Who Censored Roger Rabbit, Roger is brutally machine-gunned to death near the beginning of the novel. The rest of the novel investigates his grizzly death.
  • Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights. Yes, it's an animated wacky holiday musical rife with Toilet Humor, but it is most definitely not for children.
  • RoboCop was a movie filled with over-the-top-violence about a grim future, dominated by corporations. The sequel retained the R rating (although the original script was far more bloody, explicit, and adult than the real movie, and the Executive Meddling made him disenchanted with Hollywood)... but then they decided to follow it with a Lighter and Softer sequel and an Animated Series, clearly trying to aim the franchise at children.
  • In the early '80s, in the olden days of home video, the pickings were rather slim. A few parents decided to bring home some movies that were made by the nice man who directed ET the Extraterrestrial. Namely, Poltergeist and Gremlins, which Steven Spielberg produced. Trauma ensued.
    • Gremlins and the same summer's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (another Spielberg effort!) were both rated PG, and because of this trope were so controversial that the MPAA created the PG-13 rating. Ironically, PG-13 is now regarded as something of a "family" rating by many people, as some of the other examples in this section prove.
  • Apparently, an R rating wasn't enough for some parents to understand that the Billy Bob Thornton comedy Bad Santa was not for kids. Hey, it's about Santa Claus, so it's for kids, right? So review quotes were added to the TV ads that prominently displayed the words, "ADULTS ONLY."
  • The original 1954 version of Godzilla, Gojira. Unlike the latter films of the 1960s-70s, this one is very dark. You get to see people vaporized before your very eyes; a women holding her children assuring them "we will be with daddy soon" (it is assumed they are killed a moment later); people suffering in hospitals with radiation sickness and burns; and a love triangle that ends in a suicide. You know... for kids!
  • Despite it having a "PG" rating in America, Beetlejuice is certainly not a kid's movie, especially when you consider that it deals with death, suicide, rather gruesome yet hilarious depictions of how people look after they die, and a ghost trying to marry a 14-year-old girl.
    • In the UK, Beetlejuice has a "15+ " rating for that very reason.
    • In some cuts of the movie, Beetlejuice has a Precision F-Strike... accompanied by grabbing his groin.

Beetlejuice: Hey, buddy! Nice fuckin' model! 'crotch-grab, accompanied by "honk-honk"

  • Everybody likes James Bond, right? All the kids think he's cool, right? Well then, one is advised to warn them of these bits:
  • Parents, just because a film is a musical doesn't mean that it's kid-friendly. Repo! The Genetic Opera, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street come to mind. Musicals, yes they are. Kid friendly, far from it.
    • Granted, for Sweeney Todd, some parents may remember the much less gory stage version. Most performances keep the child molestation, rape, suicide and cannibalism puns—while they aren't graphically shown, it can still be unsettling to hear it described.
      • Depending on the direction and whether they're modeling on the original broadway run or the rival, the stage version can be extremely gory for a stage play.
  • Little Shop of Horrors is a bunch of fun! Your kids will love the songs, and in the end Seymour and Audrey have a happy ending, right? They're sure to love the Depraved Dentist, the protagonist chopping a dead man up and feeding him to a laughing plant, watching a man get chomped and swallowed whole by a plant and the female lead almost getting swallowed herself!
    • The original stage version offers no happy ending for the leads. Terrific!
  • A lot of old classic cinema films get mistaken for this perhaps unintentionally to introduce children to the most popular cinema that existed from an early age. A lot of people just can't seem to understand that while the Hays Code made films more "wholesome," it did not always make them more soothing for kids. Indeed, the Code was less stringent with horror films than with any other genre.
    • It's a Wonderful Life, as inspirational as it is as a holiday film, still has a man trying to kill himself.
    • West Side Story, featuring a good ol' gang stabbin', attempted gang rape, and the blatant racism of the cops and the Jets.
    • Hello, Dolly!
    • King Kong. This was lampshaded in Dunston Checks In when the kid's dad turns on the TV to calm him down and says, "Ah, a nice old black and white movie. You'll be out in no time." Meanwhile Kong has escaped and is about to abduct the heroine, sending the kid straight into nightmare land.
    • The Red Shoes. It's based on a fairy tale! And ballet! High culture! Never mind the ballet-within-a-film is avant-garde expressionist Nightmare Fuel where (just like the story) the heroine dances herself to death in the red shoes, and that's before the real-world framing story ends with the heroine, torn between her love for her husband and her love for ballet, commits suicide by leaping off a balcony in front of a train.
  • A Lampshade Hanging on this trope is hung in the opening of the infamous Czekoslovakian adaptation of Alice in Wonderland ("You are about to see a film. Made for children. Perhaps.")
  • Indiana Jones is a victim to this, as we noted above. Because nothing screams Family Friendly like melting Nazis, mooks chopped up by aircraft propellers, and man-eating ants, right? As mentioned above, Temple of Doom is partially why the PG-13 rating was invented!
  • Les Misérables, ANY adaptation. Including animated versions, especially Shoujo Cosette. It has many cute moments, but it kills off all characters canonically (except two, and the way they "get better" sucks). Parents should notice the story includes prostitution, extreme poverty, massacres, kids killed off, teens killed off, suicide, and other not-for-children things.
    • 'Shoujo' Cosette was an extremely bowdlerized version. Fantine is a beggar, not a prostitute; and some canon deaths, including Gavroche and Javert, are averted.
  • Forrest Gump seems to have stuck in many people's minds as the wholesome, patriotic tale of an "idiot" with a heart of gold, which has led to its being shown on family-movie channels at around eight p.m. This overlooks, oh let's see:
    • The early scene where young Forrest overhears his mother sleeping with the principal of his school to guarantee him admission (although, to be fair, that scene tends to leave most kids confused than frightened).
    • Jenny's alcoholic father, who is implied to be sexually abusive.
    • Jenny's entire life: drugs, groping by an audience member during a nude stage performance, drugs, stint as a Playboy centerfold, drugs, physically abusive boyfriend, drugs, contemplation of suicide, drugs, and eventual untimely death (possibly from AIDS).
    • The gore of the Vietnam scenes.
    • Lieutenant Dan's raving depression.
      • Even when Dan gets better, there's a scene that can result in Nightmare Fuel. When the lieutenant finally lets go of his anger on the shrimping boat and thanks Forrest for saving his life, he dives backward over the side of the boat and goes for a swim toward the horizon. As Forrest's accompanying narration makes it clear that the lieutenant is at peace now, and the way the shot is framed, make it look as if Dan is about to drown himself (the relieved grin on his face reminds more of the Stepford Smiler than anything else).
    • The use of various racist and ableist slurs.
    • The many references to high-profile assassinations.
    • The fact that it looks at American history in a distinctly cynical and satirical, if ultimately optimistic, light - not that there's anything wrong with that, but Mr. Smith Goes to Washington it ain't.
    • All in all, even censored for TV, not easily accessible or indeed appropriate for little kids.
  • The Passion of the Christ is about Jesus and it's from The Bible, so it must be okay, right? Leaving aside that anyone who has read the Bible should recognize a difference between the real thing and "Bible Stories for Children," some parents still ignored the R rating and took their tykes to theaters for this one. Gorn to the point of Squick not withstanding. Hopefully, they learned their lesson and didn't make the same mistake when Apocalypto came out.
    • The controversy is addressed in an episode of The Simpsons, "Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass". Ned Flanders, disgusted by the family-unfriendly content of many Hollywood movies (he's particularly disgusted about that series of films about "a liberal European wizard school"), decides to make his own films based on Bible stories. Problem is, since Ned is a fundamentalist, he goes out of his way to make his films as faithful as possible to their source (and, sometimes, even exaggerates how horrific some of the stories were). This results in Marge standing up during one of his screenings and screaming in horror and frustration because she can't stand to see any more gore, and when Ned and Homer mount a Super Bowl halftime show dramatizing the Noah's Ark story but ending it at the point where the world is flooded and most of humanity is dead, it's disastrously received. For example, there's a nice Stereotype Flip as a suburban mother complains that she's trying to raise her children as secular-progressives and is consistently foiled because "those slick Hollywood types" keep injecting religious subject matter into their films.
    • When The Daily Show covered the hype and controversy about the movie, the real concerns critics had over children being taken to see it (due to the subject; see The Moral Substitute) were spoofed with a shell-shocked correspondent admitting he had taken his little son to see it, not knowing how violent it was, and unable to explain to his child why Jesus was being treated so badly beyond "Because he loves everybody?"
    • Of course, some parents reasoned that it didn't matter how violent it was, precisely because it's about Jesus. The reasoning being that the kids NEED to understand what Jesus went through on their behalf.
  • Jurassic Park and its sequels. "This dinosaur movie is so cool, look there's a T. rex and... HE'S EATING PEOPLE! MOMMY! I'M SCAAAARREEED!" Nonetheless, it was still pretty heavily marketed towards kids, with plenty of toys, coloring books, video games, etc. for kids. It was a funny sort of Defictionalization of the Jurassic Park merchandise from the park.
  • Nine, Despite the dark tone of the advertisements, some of which explicitly state it's not for kids, many parents took their kids to see it. Insert facepalm here.
  • Cool World. Hell, Ralph Bakshi's resume in general. And that's after they toned it down...
  • The Happytime Murders; yes, its a comedy full of cute-looking puppet characters that seem like something Jim Henson would think up, but it's Black Comedy parody of such with a story resembling a Quentin Tarantino with puppets. The only thing in this R-rated movie resembling a kids' show is the Show Within a Show with a cast being targeted by a Serial Killer.
  • In-story example- In Being John Malkovich, John Cusack plays a puppeteer who puts on a rather racy puppet show in public, and a clueless dad mistakenly lets his young daughter watch it. This does not end well.
  • The movie poster for Kids had teens in bright four-color filters laughing, smiling, and otherwise posing in a way that suggested nothing more dangerous than any other movie for late preteens from The Nineties. Never Trust a Trailer, indeed. This was probably intentional - the movie really was for late preteens, because Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped and its anvil falls distinctly into that group. And the MPAA was all set to give Kids an NC-17 rating, but Miramax (already part of Disney) decided to release the film unrated instead.
  • Kick-Ass got complaints from misinformed parents thinking it was a fun superhero movie despite the R rating it received. And you know, the bloody title. Amusing because some theaters even censor the title of the movie on the ticket stub.
  • Would Marley and Me count for this? The trailers and ads were trying to present it as a family comedy about a dog and his mischievous antics. But really the movie was actually focused more on the (not-so-comedic) lives of the people and in the end the dog grows old and is put down.
    • Don't forget, the movie also had some sexual content in it. But for some reason, it still got a PG rating.
    • It is worth noting that there are easy reader books for kids.
    • The original book ran into the same problem. Author John Grogan eventually had to release a more kid-friendly version, eliminating the sexual content and moments of marital strife, even though Marley's death remained part of the story.
  • James Cameron's Avatar is PG-13 rated and by no means for kids, but due to the McDonald's Happy Meal promotion and other toys being made, parents still took their kids to go see it... Because Na'vi are just like Stitch!
  • Spaceballs has a PG rating on the DVD cover and was shown on the Disney Channel for a while, despite the sex references ("That was my virgin alarm! It's programmed to go off before YOU DO!"), constant bad language ("I knew it, I'm surrounded by assholes!") and occasional fantastically racist remarks ("Funny! She doesn't look Druish [Jewish]!").
  • Stardust is a modern fairy tale full of adventure, wonder, magic, murder, treason, and sexual innuendos. Not to mention that plot and cultural references would be definitely over the head of an average 12-year-old.
  • Tarsem Singh's The Fall is often compared with The Princess Bride. It's true that both are celebrations of storytelling and fantasy epics... but only one of them has a suicidally-depressed storyteller manipulating a child far too young to understand, or the story-within-a-story ending with the gruesome deaths of the adventurers.
  • While it doesn't usually fall under this trope, A Clockwork Orange fell under this trope. By Regis Philbin, who was babysitting Kelly Ripa's children on air. Wholesome family entertainment!
  • The Australian-made film, Mary and Max. Apparently if it's clay-mation it's for kids, despite the fact that the film deals with several dark themes including neglect, suicide, depression and anxiety. Though overtones of humour are frequent, not exactly kid appropriate.
  • Me Myself and Irene. Jim Carrey being goofy means it's for kids, after all, the trailer didn't show anything inappropriate or foul language so it doesn't matter that the movie is rated R, right?
  • David Lynch's Dune film had a tie-in coloring book. That's right, the film with the vagina-mouthed monsters and the scene where the pustule-faced man uncorks his sex-slave's heart valve so he bleeds to death as he fondles him. Other merchandise included a pop-up book, bubble-gum trading cards, ViewMaster reels, and hey kids, comics! (This was one of the first films to receive a PG-13, as it was released at the tail end of 1984—otherwise, it might have gone out with a PG, as the Indiana Jones films had up to that point.)
  • Felidae is an animated film about cute little cats solving a mystery, right? Yes, and along the way we see graphic disembowelment (in one case involving a pregnant female), a cat with her head torn clean off, sex scenes, alcoholism, cursing, truly horrific animal abuse (involving a cat's skin getting burned off with acid), a suicide cult, and at one point, full-frontal human nudity (female AND male). That's an impressive list for a film about animated CATS. Dear. God.
  • The Austin Powers films, despite being filled to the brim with sexual innuendo and whose second film has the word shag right in the title, seems to suffer from this greatly. Not only that, the third movie actually won an award for Favorite Movie at the 2003 Kids' Choice Awards.
    • TIME reviewer Richard Corliss used Austin Powers as a starting point on an essay about the PG-13 rating. He even states at a certain point: "parents strongly cautioned means kids desperately wanted".
  • Someone on the Malaysian censorship board decided to grant Snakes on a Plane the U Rating (Universal rating, meaning that it is suitable for everyone, even babies), apparently because the title of the movie sounds like it's a clean family comedy outing. It was eventually reclassified as a 18+ movie, but not before a horde of angry parents wrote in to the local press complaining. The Censor? He's most likely out of a job.
  • Believe it or not, Night of the Living Dead qualified when it was first released. Thanks to 3D and other movie gimmicks like those created by William Castle, B-movies were popular among children in the 50s and 60s. So, naturally, kids went to see this flick expecting fun-house thrills and instead saw the undead messily devouring human flesh (for starters). Roger Ebert's first review described children watching the movie, silently crying in genuine fear. Ebert stressed that parents really shouldn't allow their kids to go see a movie called NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.
  • Back in 80's, scads of parents took their 8 year olds to see The Dark Crystal, because hey, Jim Henson films are for kids, right? In fact this and (to some extent) Labyrinth were intended for a notably older audience. The problem may have been due in part to drastically misleading advertisement, but that didn't protect kids from images of characters being strapped down and slowly, painfully drained of their souls.
  • At least one Family Home Entertainment release, Journey into the Beyond, has explicit blood and violence. Worth mentioning because the distributor is clearly Family Home Entertainment, and not its adult-oriented sister companies U.S.A. Home Video (later International Video Entertainment), Monterey Home Video, Thriller Video, Magnum Entertainment, Tenth Avenue Video, Wizard Video, or Caballero Control Corporation Home Video. And just so parents get the message, it clearly states on the front that it's not for anyone under the age of 18.
  • Revenge Of The Red Baron is a comedic horror movie about an evil toy who hunts down a family. Despite its cornball humor, there's quite a few violent scenes and is rated PG-13. So, having a DVD cover like this is really misleading.
  • Mean Creek, despite the young cast, it's clearly not intended for a young audience in mind as is obvious by the R-rating, frequent profanity and in general un-family friendly behavior. Despite all this, reports are that it managed to get shown in quite a few high school and even religion classes.
  • The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. Despite its animation style and cartoony slapstick, it's definitely adults-only.
  • The movies The Addams Family and Addams Family Values pretty much exist to push the boundaries of this - The family are all about the occult, the grotesque and the horrific, but it's implied to be fine so long as nothing graphic happens on camera. Plus the plots are quite complicated, tending to revolve around financial fraud. IMDB still considers it a family movie.
  • Some parents have taken their younger children to see Paul, despite the R rating and that the posters and ads clearly state that it's from the director of Superbad.
    • In the UK, the trailer was shown before several family films. It was given a 15 there.
  • Mystery Team is about a group of three friends solving a mystery! What's the worst that could happen?
  • Love Actually seems like a nice little family Christmas movie that could be fun to take the kids to. But then there's the subplot with two stand-ins for a porn movie (complete with nudity) and an implied five-some with four American girls and one British guy. And the F-words. Again, rated 15 in the UK for a reason.
  • Judas & Jesus by Olaf Encke and Claudia Romero is an X-Rated 15 minute religious cartoon movie that is the equivalent of Ralph Bakshi writing a story about religious figures and then sending it to be animated by Disney.
  • Mr. Moviefone of moviefone.com did reviews for a radio show for a while. In his review of Beowulf, he took the time to mention that it was not a film for kids, citing a terrified child that was in the theater that the movie was playing in at the time. The child's mother apparently either fell victim to this trope, or just didn't care.
  • Lampshaded by Rizzo in Muppet Treasure Island when Billy Bones has his heart attack.
    • "He died? And this is supposed to be a kid's movie!"
  • The Japanese 1957 classic film, The Military Policeman and the Dismembered Beauty, whose graphic murder scene was definitely not for children. MOTHER series creator Shigesato Itoi, however, was some accidental exception for the scene that he saw as a little boy (as he thought he was seeing a rape scene at the time), and that scene, along with the actress in it, would later inspire the last battle scene with Giygas in EarthBound.
  • Tank Girl. Had a scene implying that the title character had sex with a mutated kangaroo, one in which a little girl was dropped into a pipe to slowly drown, and some Nightmare Fuel in which the Big Bad drained the water out of one of his Mooks and drank it.
  • Pretty much the entire point of this article.
  • Jonah Hill's The Sitter, seems like a modern day version of Adventures in Babysitting right? WRONG! Although to be fair, the latter wasn't exactly kid-friendly either with foul language and sexual humors. Yet, it was still shown in Disney Channel back in the day.
  • Most people think of original Ghostbusters film as a family movie, and why shouldn't they? There was numerous merchandise target towards children, it spawned of the popular cartoon, it's been shown on the Disney Channel several times, and even been released on home video as part of Tri Star's family collection. But the truth is, the film was mainly targeted for adults. There's blatant sexual references and language throughout the entire film, particularly one brief scene during the montage that played during the theme song that actually went so far as to feature a ghost giving Ray a blow job.
  • While Malèna is off-limits to children in other countries (for instance it has an R rating in America and it's a 15 film in Britain), in its home country of Italy it has a "T" rating - see here - which means it's a family movie ("T" is the equivalent of a G rating in Italy). That's right, a film with Monica Bellucci providing copious amounts of Fan Service, the underage main character fantasising about her even while he's having sex with a prostitute (in one of several scenes cut for its American and British release) and Malena getting savagely beaten by the women of her town is a family movie.
  • Airplane! is rated PG despite containing multiple suicides, a character sniffing glue, and full frontal nudity.
    • It was released in 1980, predating the PG-13 rating. In fact, newer releases of the film have bumped the film up to PG-13. Also qualifies as a case of Values Dissonance.
  • The upcoming movie Ted seems like a family movie about a teddy bear and a man who have lived together for 20 years by the nice man who brought us Family Guy, doesn't it? No! It's rated R! Just so they would know, Universal made a standee for the film that featured the eponymous bear holding up the R rating and what it's rated R for.
  • There was also the live action versions of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat, with the latter film being the worst use of the trope of all. How worse, did you ask? Well, before The Cat in the Hat, there were plans for an adapted version of its sequel. After the release of The Cat in the Hat, thanks to complaints from viewers, fans, and the Seuss estate on the graphically kid-unfriendly content in the film, there would be no Dr. Seuss films released until Horton Hears a Who! in 2008, and even then, it had to be done in CGI because the Seuss estate forbade any studio from making it in Live Action specifically because of what Universal did with The Cat in the Hat.
  • Somewhat inverted with Bebe's Kids. It is a family film, but it still got the PG-13 rating due to bad language that the adults said in the film.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman: Oh look, another adaption of a fairy tale Disney made by the producer of 2010's Alice in Wonderland! First of all, this movie was not made by Disney, and second, it's PG-13, due to some violence.
  • The 2005 adaptation of The Producers: Don't let your kids be fooled when they hear Max Bialystock's voice that sounds an awful lot like Timon, Leo Bloom's role being done by the same person who did Simba, and also Will Ferrell as the writer of the play Max and Leo want to turn into a musical who has cute birds! This movie is rated P3-13 for a lot of sexual content.
  • Some of Disney's older films -- such as Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia and The Jungle Book -- could be seen in this light. Walt Disney himself even said once that Snow White was not a kids' film, when pressed by a reporter on its scarier scenes. Fantasia was even darker and more mature -- there was even a scene that featured onscreen nudity -- yet it was still marketed as a family film.

Super Hero Films

Superhero films are no stranger to this trope, with most of them rated PG-13 and some rated R.


  • Grimm's Fairy Tales.
  • Professional storyteller Bil Lepp had much to say about this trope in regards to literature. He explains that a child playing video games, watching television, or reading graphic novels is a lot more prone to parental intervention than one reading a book, as the usual parent's response to their offspring sitting quietly with a book in their hands is that they are broadening their minds. He uses this simultaneously as a way to attract children to literature (an issue he is quite passionate about), and to tell parents to be more concerned continue supporting young readers.
  • The original stories behind the following from Walt Disney (see Disneyfication).
    • Somewhat subverted, since it seems that these older original source stories were really intended for kids of all ages, back when "If you do this, you will DIE" was thought to be the best way to teach kids lessons.
      • Certain ones were stories adults told each other instead, and not intended for kids even then.
    • "Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs": In the Brothers Grimm version, the Wicked Queen is actually invited to Snow White and the Prince's wedding dance—only to be forced to wear hot iron shoes and dance until she falls dead. Other versions have her die from shattering the magic mirror (after it tells her Snow White is still fairer than her) and having a piece of it pierce her heart. Little wonder the Disney version gave her a different demise that pretty much defined the Disney Villain Death.
      • Don't forget that in the original story Snow White is seven years old when she flees her stepmother, and though it's not told how long she spends with the dwarves, it doesn't seem like several years. So then we have a prince who comes along and feels an irresistible urge to make out with the corpse of a preteen child. Then again, it is sort of implied that she more or less grew up while in her coma in the glass coffin, making it appear to symbolize growing up sheltered, so it may just as well have been a teenage girl the prince saw. (One supposes the prince himself wasn't yet twenty, mostly in order to avoid Squick.)
        • In Walt's original notes, Snow White was supposed to be 14. It's better than having her be 7, granted, but Values Dissonance still abounds. (In Medieval Europe, girls were often married at 14.)
        • In the original story, she wasn't kissed back to life (that was poached from Sleeping Beauty before Disney got their hands on it). The Prince loaded her body into his carriage to be taken back for a proper burial. A wheel hit a small rock in the road, jostling the carriage and knocking the apple fragment from Snow White's mouth.
        • There were also other versions where the Prince does something... more intimate to knock the apple out of Snow White. There's at least one version where the apple is dislodged by the prince and Snow White having babies, whose suckling knocks it free.
        • That was a version of Sleeping Beauty. She was raped in her sleep and gave birth to twins, one of whom accidentally started suckling on her thumb instead of her breast and sucked out the splinter that had caused her to fall asleep in the first place. In the end, when the wife of the man who raped her finds out about this, she gets mad and tries to cook the twins in a pie to feed to her husband...but the kids were switched at the last minute, so it was her own children who had been cooked and eaten instead.
      • It's also worth mentioning that said seven-year-old Snow White went to live in a house full of dwarfs... who were thieves, murderers, rapists, etc.
    • Robin Hood: Note that the Disneyfication of the Robin Hood mythos long predates the 1970s Disney film and even film itself. The original stories are very different. For instance, there is one story where Robin decapitates an assassin in a sword duel. Better yet, in another story he becomes an outlaw after killing a whole bunch of people for not paying money they owed him after losing a wager, on his archery skills.
    • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: In the real story, Esmeralda is about 16, Frollo attempts to rape her, she gets executed shortly after finding her long-lost birth mother (who also dies), Quasimodo never finds happiness, and he dies alone and miserable. Yeah, the story doesn't actually end with everyone in Paris finally accepting Quasi as a human.
    • Hercules:
      • They left out that Hera was not his mother (which is especially egregious, considering how his very name is a reference to Hera's ire (Hera + κλέος, meaning wrath, ire). On top of that, she's actually a jealous, homicidal psycho that tried to kill him in various ways - any of these that made it to the film are attributed to Satan-analogue Hades. Disney also left out that Heracles killed his own wife and children in a Hera-induced fit of psychotic rage and eventually died at the hands of his (unknowing) second wife when his skin got soaked in the venomous blood of the hydra.
    • Bambi. Most of the characters in it that don't appear in the movie die. The author doesn't just go into graphic descriptions of terror, but of a few agonizing deaths.
    • "Cinderella": The Brothers Grimm version involves the evil stepsisters cutting off pieces of their feet to fit the lost shoe. (Disney's feature was based on Charles Perrault's version, which was much nicer.)
      • And the bit where she makes her stepsisters dance at the reception. On their mutilated feet.
        • And the part where the birds pecked out their eyes on the way to and from the reception.
    • Fairy tales in general fall victim to this trope, most of the time. Some versions of "Little Red Riding Hood" involve the main character giving a strip-tease to the wolf to distract him long enough to escape. The ever so infamous story of The Red Shoes involves a girl cursed to dance by her shoes, until she gets an executioner to chop her feet off! This trope is Older Than Feudalism, at the very least (of course, that is if you compare our standards with the stories of those times. Back in those days, these stories were to Scare'Em Straight).
      • In one version of "Little Red Riding Hood", the wolf tries to get her into bed so he can "devour" her. Variations include him having her strip before getting into bed and tying a rope to her when she tries to get out (under the pretense that she needs to defecate).
    • The tale that "Sleeping Beauty" was based on, "Sun Moon and Talia", starts off like "Sleeping Beauty". After the princess enters her slumber, however, instead of a simple kiss, the Prince decides to rape her. She becomes pregnant and gives birth while still comatose. She is reawakened when one of her children sucks the magic splinter out of her finger. She then decides that she is madly in love with the Prince. So, after executing the Prince's wife (after the wife tried to burn Talia alive and feed the two children to the Prince), they live happily ever after.
    • Aladdin was a kid's movie, complete with a source-tribute opening song about "Arabian nights". But parents whose kids pester them for more of the same shouldn't touch A Thousand and One Nights with a ten foot pole, unless they want their children reading about forced marriage, infidelity, serial uxoricide, and explicit descriptions of human anatomy ... and that's just in the frame story! Hopefully they'll catch on before Scheherazade starts rambling on about corpse-tearing ghouls, bestiality, or penis humor.
  • Animal Farm. Think it's a light-hearted story about talking animals? Nope, it's actually a very clever allegory of the Russian Revolution, and a general morality tale about power corrupting. The first edition was even subtitled "A Fairy Story". One Animated Adaptation wimped out on the ending though, which took a lot of objectionable content out.

Guard #1 Look at that, a mutant trying to read!
Guard#2 No, look at the title, Animal Farm, he's just looking at the pictures.
Both (laugh)

  • Oscar Wilde wrote some beautiful fairy tales. They're mostly tragedies, and definitely not for kids.
  • H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds is a classic novel and such. But is in no way for kids. Especially some of the graphic descriptions of the Martians, and the dark psychological study of how people might react to such an invasion. One wonders why they make kids 12-14 read it in schools.
  • William Horwood's Duncton Wood series is about talking moles. Ahh, fluffy critters! It's most definitely not for children, what with all the graphic sex and violence.
  • Likewise, Adams' The Plague Dogs. An excellent book that brave kids will love, but not written for children.
    • The movie takes it even further. They drown at sea, rather than The Owner saving them.
  • Picture books and illustrated novels as a whole deserve a mention here. In particular, Maurice Sendak and Chris Van Allsburg have found themselves running into an "Illustration Age Ghetto".
    • One case that stands is William Steig's book of Greek myths. They aren't by their nature very child-friendly, but Steig actually went out of his way to choose some of the bawdier ones (one is about the origin of prostitution and another about how Hercules and his girlfriend liked to dress in each other's clothing). To this day, it remains in the children's section of this editor's library.
  • In the fairy tale The Frog King, a girl is playing with her ball, and it falls down a well. A frog says he can get it as long as he can hang out with her, but after he's given back her ball, she runs off without him. Later that night, the frog sneaks into her house and tells her father what she did, and so he forces her to do whatever the frog wants.
  • In the world of Harry Potter, this trope held true of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. However, Wizarding children rejected Mrs. Beatrix Bloxam's attempts to sanitize them.
    • Oh, Merlin. "The Warlock's Hairy Heart" was like something straight from Sandman. The Illustration of the Warlock and the Woman dead in a very big pool of blood.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird is a funny case in that if you're a little kid, you probably won't get some of the more family-unfriendly lines, in a sort of twisted cousin of Parental Bonus. It's certainly one hell of a delayed realization, however, to understand the line, "She said she'd never kissed a man before, and she might as well kiss a nigger. She said what her pa do to her don't count."
    • They have this one in the UK (or did at least) as a book study for kids at school somewhere around 12-16. As a powerful book about rape, incest, bigotry, racism, slavery, and human rights, it's one of those books people like to try to get banned because it has the word 'nigger' in it.
      • UK still has To Kill A Mockingbird as a book study in upper high school (KS4/GCSEs) so it's age 14-16
  • Given the number of children's stories Roald Dahl has written, some libraries will put any of his works in the children's section. This is not a good idea—his early work might best be described as "O. Henry meets The Twilight Zone."

From the publication of James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the 1960s to his death in 1990, Roald Dahl became the most successful children’s author in the world. Nearly twenty years later, a fresh generation of children seek out his work with instinctive fanaticism. His creations endure - through Hollywood movies, theatre adaptations and musical works, but still most potently of all through the pure magic of his writing upon the page.

    • Dahl hung a lampshade on this trope with his Revolting Rhymes and Rhyme Stew, which feature the messy breakup of a marriage unwisely based on shoe size and the criminal tendencies of a blonde juvenile delinquent.
  • Ender's Game also falls under this trope quite royally. In all fairness, Card did not expect it to become popular among teenagers or pre-teens (and has since bowdlerized parts of the canon as a result; notably, a scene where the "N"-word was used got re-edited, and mysteriously the term 'Formic' is used more and more in to describe the aliens...somehow calling them the 'Buggers' doesn't fit well with the PC police these days). This probably isn't helped by the fact that until you get to near the end you don't realize that anyone has died. Two (accidental) murders - and even before the reveal, you're left with the 'tween Ender beating the holy hell out of two bullies, the annihilation of an alien race, and a good deal of Woobie-breaking aren't usually on the menu for childrens' fiction.
  • Because of its covers (in two different versions) of the little girl protagonist Minnie, Phoebe Gloeckner's somewhat autobiographical comic collection A Child's Life is sometimes filed in the children's section of libraries and bookstores. This particular child, among other things, was a victim of statutory rape by her mother's boyfriend and spent some time as a prostitute in exchange for drugs.
  • Wicked? Oh, an alternate telling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? Surely such a thing would not have explicit sex, drugs, swearing, graphic violence, extramarital affairs, a sociopathic, depressive protagonist who kills an old woman in her bed, the abuse of minorities, and a crippled religious fanatic who is horribly killed. Not to mention that it has a quite different portrayal of Oz (at least when compared to the film), which often invokes Canon Defilement in fans of Baum canon, especially younger fans.
  • Dave Barry's novel Big Trouble has an introduction warning readers, "This is not a book for youngsters. I point this out because I know, from reading my mail, that a lot of youngsters read my humor books and newspaper columns, and I'm thrilled that they do. But this book is not for them, because some of the characters use Adult Language." Enough people ignored the warning and were offended by the language that Tricky Business began with a more explicit Content Warnings in larger letters.
  • Spellsinger: A young man is Trapped in Another World full of cute fuzzy Funny Animal characters, where he learns to work magic by singing. Sounds like a children's book. Then you realise that the prologue includes a Gorn-filled description of the destruction of a town, that Jon-Tom was transported into this magical world while smoking pot, that furry sex is a regular occurrence in said world, and that Mudge and Pog use the word "fuck" in just about every other sentence. Oh, and don't forget the stripteasing stoat.
  • The Russian version of the Neil Gaiman short story anthology Fragile Things sports a seemingly innocent cover features a boy sitting in a graveyard playing cat's-cradle with a ghost. This was likely meant to invoke the feel of one of Gaiman's other works, The Graveyard Book. But while The Graveyard Book is (in Gaiman's own words) "intended for people of all ages," Fragile Things most certainly isn't.
  • Stardust is a fairy story, but that doesn't mean it's a children's book. It has a sex scene in the first chapter.
  • Happens to the Samurai Cat books. The fact that they're illustrated doesn't help in convincing clueless parents that they're not just another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon ripoff, but deliberately over-the-top Gornfests parodying pop culture.
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Prince and the Pauper lead many to characterize Mark Twain as an author of children's fiction. But The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn isn't really for kids, and The Mysterious Stranger certainly isn't.
  • All of Anne McCaffrey's books (though especially the Pern ones) seem to be, for one reason or another, attractive to kids and teens. (On Good Reads.com a large number of reviewers of these books say they originally read them at quite a young age.)
    • There was a printing of the first Dragonriders of Pern book that had (pretty awesome) illustrations throughout and a back-cover blurb that basically made the book out to be a story about a girl and her dragon. It was also slightly edited to be more appropriate for kids. Now imagine an unknowing parent presenting their newly Pern-addicted eleven-year-old with the second book in the series, of which no kid-friendly edition exists. Wow, look! It's got rape, domestic violence, a disturbing dragon fight scene, F'nor and Canth getting their skins burned off, discussion of abortion... maybe this wasn't such a good idea...
  • Robin McKinley is best known for her stories for young adults, but her novel Deerskin is most definitely not one of them. A Grimmification of the fairytale Donkeyskin, it deals with such things as Parental Incest, rape, miscarriage, and psychological breakdowns. It's a beautiful story, but definitely not something a ten-year-old should be reading.
  • Most Greek and Roman myths in their classical form. Ovid's Metamorphoses have copious amounts of rape, gore, and cruelty.
  • The Belgariad is sometimes put in the children's section of bookstores and it raises some questions, "So what exactly makes the Belgariad suitable for children? The graphic descriptions of human sacrifices to Torak? The slave in Nyissa who dies from being eaten by leeches? Zedar's fate? The torture chamber in the second book? Just about all of Rak Cthol?"
  • Aversion: Piers Anthony's Xanth series starts out very clean-cut. There's violence, and there's off-screen sex, but no more than most fairy tales. Then, he found out that his books were being put into the kid's section and he had the "Adult Conspiracy" break down and the books became more explicit.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe has got this way for the past decade. Or perhaps two decades:
  • BattleTech! A science fiction series about Humongous Mecha, just like in the cartoons right? Well...let's see. Graphic depictions of war, mutilation, and many varieties of horrible screaming death. (PPC hit to the cockpit, anyone? What about a person having their head split open with a katana? Disturbingly detailed, in-depth depiction of an assassination by sniper? Anyone?) Implied sexual situations, outright Brother-Sister Incest / Squick with the Clan trueborn warrior caste depending on your take on their antics. Brutal betrayals and teaching lessons such as "The sneakiest, most ruthless bastard wins when his (or her) competition is dead." Fun series, but still loaded down with enough to scar unprepared young minds.
  • The Arthurian Legends: rape, incest, marital infidelity, and a massacre of the innocents. That's before we even get onto the battles and the chivalrous bloodletting. As for TH White's version, it has a description of a cat being boiled alive. Plus, if you have the original, standalone version of his The Sword in the Stone, well, Madam Mim owns a lithograph entitled "The Virgin's Choise" - would you be able to explain that to your kids? [2]
  • The Tin Drum is a story of a boy who refused to grow up. It has a premise of a children's tale but the book and movie are both very adult and heavily political.
  • Gulliver's Travels shows that this trope is Older Than They Think. Largely regarded as a children's tale with many, many Bowdleriseed versions of it out there, it was successful among children even when it was first published in the 18th century... despite the fact that the unaltered text is, in fact, a heavily satirical and most definitely an adult book, being among the most preeminent satirical works of the English language.
  • Even though Twilight is marketed towards Young Adults (15+) it still doesn't stop younger kids (sometimes down to 12 and below) reading them. The depiction of Bella falling for the guy who talks about killing her like it's funny to him is only the beginning. The scene where Bella gets physically abused nearly to the point of death is never dealt with. There is suicidal depression over having been dumped by a boy, manipulations by other boys, mouth-rape... The scene where Edward rips the baby out of Bella with his teeth is incredibly disturbing. There's also a number of killings of humans by vampires over the course of the series, and we're supposed to be okay with it because the main characters are.
  • Similarly to the above book, lately the Hunger Games trilogy has been requested in stores for children as young as 8 or 9 years old... despite the whole kids taken from their parents and thrown into a strange area designated so they kill each other until only one lives plot! Never mind other things like towns getting bombed and some of the death scenes are pretty graphic.
    • And let's not forget Prim, Katniss's little sister, getting killed right in front of her in the third book... especially since Katniss wanting to save Prim was the reason the three books happened in the first place.
  • You know the innocent Joey Pigza children's award-winning books? Well, what could be wrong with a book by the same author named Jack on the Tracks? Perhaps the references to porno, striptease, and suicide?
  • A non-explicit variation in the novel version of The Princess Bride: William Goldman is presented as the "abridger" of someone else's book. He is surprised to discover that his favorite story from childhood (which had always been read to him by his father) was really meant to be a historical satire, containing long descriptions and historical accounts which would bore children to tears.
  • Lord of the Flies is about kids right?
  • Count and Countess starts off as deceptively lighthearted. Once the two main characters grow up, though...
  • Tarzan. Thanks to the Disneyfied animated adaptations, the books are sometimes mistaken for being child-friendly jungle adventure stories as well. In reality, Burroughs' novels present a fair amount of violence, occasionally even Gorny torture scenes.
  • Because the titular characters of The Borribles trilogy are like children, some Moral Guardians in 1980s Britain seem to have leapt to the conclusion that the books are for and about children, and objected when their content had nothing at all to do with their preconceptions.

Live-Action TV

"Kids' show, kids' show
oh good lord it's a kids' show"

    • And the disclaimer at the beginning states that if you allow your kid to watch this show, you are a bad parent or guardian.
  • According to Lisa Kudrow, she has met kids claiming that their parents let them watch Friends. While Friends is not particularly vulgar by modern standards, there are still way too many storylines revolving around sex to consider it appropriate for younger viewers.
  • ABC Family. Either ABC/Disney or Fox before them wanted to change it, but their contract with Pat Robertson requires them to keep "Family" in the channel name (and to run The 700 Club before midnight... maybe they could give it a Laugh Track?).
    • ABC Family also airs reruns of That '70s Show which has many references to sex and implies marijuana usage with the kids in the circle. Granted, it has both written and spoken warnings along the lines of "The following material may be inappropriate for younger viewers" before each episode.
  • Canadian networks such as YTV and Teletoon also seem to carry the same misconceptions as suggestive cartoons, a couple of violent anime, and shows targeted for older teens often run rampid or get scattered into the mix of stuff that's supposed to be for kids.
    • YTV did this with Farscape of all shows. They announced that they would be the first Canadian channel to carry the show... and put up a Farscape page in their website which looked like something from Nickelodeon. Apparently, they were misled by the fact that the show was made by Henson Studios. They ended up only airing the first season (and censoring the crap out of it).
    • YTV also was the first to air Red Dwarf and ended up banning one episode entirely because there was too much to cut. However, YTV eventually got the hint and began airing more adult fare like Aeon Flux and The Young Ones in late-night time slots.
  • Tsuburaya Productions shows:
    • Fireman was rather kid-unfriendly, especially with the Downer Ending.
    • Ultraman Leo was not your usual Ultra Series show, the show begins with Ultraseven having his leg brutally broken and being confined to human form and it gets worse from there, going into Kill'Em All territory by the end.
    • Ultraman Ace features plenty of kid-unfriendly kaiju violence.
    • Ultraman Nexus was given a Saturday morning time slot despite happily wallowing in depressing things and then killing off Ultraman's human host midway through the series.
    • Tsuburaya created a horror series in 1968 called Operation: Mystery. In Germany in 1971, some network decided it would be a good idea to dub it and broadcast it as a children's series. It's from the creators of Ultraman, after all... it must be for kids!
  • In the early 1970s Gerry and Sylvia Anderson decided to go into more serious, live-action drama with the series UFO, though it still used plenty of their famous model work. Unfortunately the networks didn't know what to do with a show about faceless aliens coming to Earth to steal people's organs, which included one episode about drugged out hippies and another which focuses on the lead character having an extramarital affair. After all, it was made by the creators of Thunderbirds so it must be for kids, right?
  • Glee, largely thanks to the popularity of a movie with a very similar premise that actually was for kids. Except Glee has: jokes about oral sex; dancing which borders on dry humping; sex between teenagers and older, married adults; the president of the celibacy club getting pregnant; boys complaining about "erupting early" and an adult former student corrupting kids by giving them pornography, alcohol and lessons in stealing. And that's all within the first 5 episodes.
    • The media appearances of certain Glee actors have been criticized by some "concerned parents" groups for being too sexy for young children watching the show.
  • Many people assume that because Kermit, Fozzie, and the rest of The Muppets have been family friendly for the past couple of decades, that the original Muppet Show is also a children's show.
  • The Boy With The Cuckoo Clock Heart. The main character names his pet hamster Cunnilingus, a word he learned from a hooker. He thinks it's the name of a Greek hero. There is a lot of erotica in the book.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer doesn't shy away from showing vampires and demons being stabbed or decapitated, human victims lying gruesomely dead, and has a significant amount of sexual content Nevertheless, there are 7-year-olds whose parents have allowed them to watch it.
    • The original 1992 movie, despite also not being for kids, was marketed to appeal to young teens and tweens, primarily because Paul Reubens (you know, Pee-wee Herman!) was going to be in it. (This becomes really interesting when you remember that Reubens had been arrested for indecent exposure less than a year before, and that his vampire character in Buffy is made up to look almost exactly like his mugshot photo.) Though, the film does have mostly Bloodless Carnage (the most blood we see is when Buffy has a cut on her elbow!) and is unlikely to frighten any but the smallest children.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Children are especially attracted by the funny puppets - and really the host segments have a wild, kids-showish atmosphere and a fairly family-friendly sense of humor. The actual films being covered, though, are often not kid stuff and often deal with mature themes. The obviously fake monsters to an adult are not so obviously fake to small children, no matter how much the 'bots may be laughing at them. Most children do not have enough cultural experience to understand when a movie is a "bad" movie.
  • The short-lived television series Probe accidentally sparked a bit of outrage with this trope. In one episode, misanthropic genius Austin tells his secretary that he knew Santa Claus was a myth at the age of seven (he had set up a motion-controlled camera pointed at the chimney). Since the show was appearing during a family-friendly hour, there were young viewers ambushed by this revelation, resulting in complaints from Moral Guardians.
  • The Goodies, being essentially a live action version of a Looney Tunes cartoon, was broadcast in a children's timeslot by the Australian Broadcasting Company ... who had to edit the hell out of it.
  • The makers of Torchwood must have thought that by series 4 there was no longer any need to keep saying "Yes, we know this is a Doctor Who spin off, but it's broadcast at 9pm for a reason", so they didn't. Cue outrage at the first gay sex scene, with more than one person tweeting to the effect of "That's not right, it's a kids' show". Clearly the post-watershed swearing and gore and a paedophile as a major character didn't clue them in enough.
  • Crank Yankers has some well-known comedians make prank calls to various businesses, and reenacting the call on camera using muppet style puppets. One call had a woman prank a hardware store with an extended conversation about the "big tubes of caulk." Very much not for children.
    • Not to mention the openings of the skits. One has a man carrying his large testes in a wheel barrel and another has a woman puppet's clothes being ripped off in the wind and exposing her breasts and nipples, fully.
  • Grange Hill went out in a regular afternoon slot just after the kids came home from school to get their regular fix of drug abuse, Teen Pregnancy, and throwing benches into the pool.
  • Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger is so rife with this (for further proof, look at the 3rd episode of the show), as the show is aired in the Otaku O'Clock timeslot. even the tagline says it:

"Good kids, stay away from this show. Got it?"

  • Degrassi gets this too, despite the fact that it's usually rated TV-14 and has characters dealing with a plethora of (mostly non child-friendly) challenges, such as eating disorders, peer pressure, sexual identity, gang violence, self-injury, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, school shootings, rape, etc.
  • Miniseries/film Fractured Fairy Tale The Tenth Kingdom. It's fine for older kids, mostly thanks to Parental Bonus, but many a parent decided, like all Fairy Tales, it was intended for kids. There are references to aforementioned glowing hot slippers, onscreen deaths and a main character standing trial for eating a girl, who was actually killed by her uncle. Also, Rutger Hauer with a crossbow.
    • Let us not forget how the opening of the first episode showed us a shot of the Snow White Memorial Prison, with a bunch of buzzards eating the remains of prisoners in old hanging cages... yes, very family friendly fairy-tale indeed...
  • Blue Bloods used this trope In-Universe at one point. Henry and Frank were going to take Danny's kids (roughly eight years old) to a Broadway musical, but Henry misplaced the tickets. When they found them, Erin noted they'd "dodged a bullet" as she put it: the musical was The Book of Mormon.
  • Strangely enough, reality TV shows are seldom seen as harmful for children, despite the fact that many of them feature a bunch of people stuck together in one place while the TV makers make sure the tensions between them rise. The result is often a showcase of verbal and/or physical fights, swearing and people trying to get revenge on each other. Now, isn't that a great example for your kids growing up?
  • Kamen Rider franchise has a good number entries in comparison to Super Sentai:


  • There were these toothbrushes that played music when used. One of them played Detroit Rock City when used, and the song was also in the ads. Because a song about a guy going way over the speed limit while listening to KISS and going to a KISS Concert and getting into a head-on collision with a large truck and DYING is for kids!. Did we mention it's a true story and one of the lyrics is either "I know I'm gonna die, why?" or "I know I'm gonna die, and I don't care!" depending on the version?
  • As with the original book, Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, even if it goes into slightly less graphical detail.
  • They Might Be Giants try as hard as they can to avoid this by splitting their tours in two to cater to their two distinct fanbases (their original alternative rock fans and their new children's music fanbase). The "adult shows" (the one where they play their non-children's material and back catalog) have a 18 (or 21 in some places) cover for when someone tries to bring their kid into an adult TMBG concert expecting to hear music from their children's albums.
  • Originally, Green Day's CD Dookie had an Ernie (from Sesame Street) puppet in the mosh pit. Just for starters, track 14 is called F.O.D. (Fuck Off and Die.)
  • The North American folk song, "The Big Rock Candy Mountain," describes a fictional hobos paradise, and is now considered a children's classic. However, the version most children are taught uses the lyrics popularized by Burl Ives, which strip the references to liquor and cigarettes (and lines like "Where they hung the jerk/That invented work"). Furthermore, Harry McClintock, who recorded and wrote the song, claimed in interviews the song contained missing lyrics describing a more sinister frame story: the "Big Rock Candy Mountain" was a fairy tale used to lure children into the hobo's life, possibly for sexual purposes. The song was originally a warning for children. It is very similar to (and most likely descended from) the English folk song, "The Appleknocker's Lament," a song that explicitly warns of child rape.
  • In the late 90s/early 2000s, Aerosmith somehow became seen as a "family friendly" band due to stuff like the Rock'n'Rollercoaster at the Disney Hollywood Studios theme park, their appearances on the Kids Choice Awards, and even a song on the Rugrats Go Wild soundtrack. Of course, nobody ever thought to scan the lyrics of their albums, which are full of explicit sex (as well as isolated songs about violence and drug abuse).
    • Heck, this is the group that had a song titled "Love In An Elevator"...
      • A song that has the immortal line "Living it up when I'm going down"
      • And it's featured in said roller coaster (though retitled "Love in a Roller Coaster"). As well as other Intercourse with You songs, such as "Young Lust" and "F.I.N.E.[3]"
    • That one of their members did the music for one Sonic the Hedgehog game couldn't have helped.
  • "BRAINS!" is a fun song from a children's show. Songs such as "Cantina"... aren't.
  • According to an interview in the late 1990s, Lil' Kim was appalled at how some of her fans were proudly playing her songs for their young children. Lil' Kim was well-known for her sexually-explicit lyrics, extolling the virtues of oral sex (giving and receiving) among other topics. She specifically said, "My music is NOT for kids."
  • Gorillaz. "They're an animated band, they are cartoons, they must be for kids!". Yet their songs are about drugs, kidnapping, satanism, rape, murder ...
    • Which songs have been about that?! Though drugs have been mentioned in the music (which I agree, isn't child friendly- especially Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey's head, which ironically is told like a kid's story), kidnapping, satanism and one occasion of murder have only been present in the storyline. And unless you count fanon theories of what Murdoc might have done to 2D during his coma or on Plastic Beach, there are no accounts of rape at all.
  • When filk-rapper Luke Ski appeared at a Harry Potter new-release celebration, he was asked to perform each of his songs with Potter references. Evidently the event's organizers hadn't listened to the rest of these songs, as Luke had to improvise alternative lyrics on the fly to avoid exposing grade-school kids to lines about Jay and Silent Bob smoking pot.
  • Because of its childlike cover art and song "It's a Motherfucker," Eels' 2000 album, Daisies of the Galaxy, upset George W. Bush to the point that he tried to get the album banned because it was peddling obscenities to children.
  • A CD kids' music had once included "Rap das Armas". This is a song that has a chorus that sounds like a machine gun, among other things.
  • Arguably, Reel Big Fish's 2007 album Monkeys For Nothing and the Chimps For Free may be in the same category, as it's first song is lighthearted tribute to losers who can't find a crowd to party with, and it has a rather cartoony cover [dead link]. Then the second track starts...
  • Shel Silverstein's other career - when he wasn't writing children's stories or articles for Playboy, he was writing songs. Fortunately, songs tend to be remembered as being by their performers, not their writers, but he's the man who wrote "A Boy Named Sue" (bad language, violence), "The Mermai" (*ahem* inappropriate subject for children), and "You're Always Welcome at Our House" (depicting the murders of various visitors to the house by the children).
  • Emilie Autumn's "Miss Lucy Had Some Leeches" might sound like it's a cheerful kid's song, but if you actually listen to the lyrics, you'll discover that it's... not.. In fact, it's about insane asylums, female circumcision and rape.
  • "House of Fun" by Madness sounds like a cheerful and bouncy song about balloons, birthday parties and having fun. On a closer listen to the lyrics however, it's actually about a teenager trying to buy condoms on his 16th birthday (the legal age for sex in Britain.) This goes over the heads of people who play the song at children's parties and even on children's TV.
  • Eminem's been criticized over and over for his vulgarity in music, and how it reaches to children, but the fact of the matter is no matter how colorful and cheerful his voice may sound (although not so much anymore) his songs ARE NOT for them. He even talks about it in his songs.
  • For some reason, "Tik Tok" by Ke$ha was used in commercials for several children's movies when it first came out.
  • "I'm a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world..." "You can brush my hair, undress me anywhere..." What do you mean the lyrics are sexual? It's about Barbie! It's kid friendly!
  • The song "(I'm) Sexy and I Know It" is being used in ads for Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, a kids movie. First of all, the band is called LMFAO, which stands for "Laugh My F**king A** Off". Second, they're getting popular with 9 to 11-year-olds, even though all of their songs involve having sex with ladies (often staring at their boobs), swearing like the F bomb is a preschool word, and drinking beer to your death.
  • "Teen idol" pop music is popular with ten-year old girls. Consider how many songs in that genre is about sex.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

  • For people who only think of The Bible as only "Jesus and the Ten Commandments," they could be in for quite a shock. The Old Testament includes laws about slavery, and has stories of blood, gore, pre-meditated murder, incest, rape, and genocide. There's also the Song of Solomon, Ezekiel and his donkey penis metaphors (or perhaps just straight comparisons), and the entire story of Samson.
  • Classical Mythology is taught in classrooms. Granted, often it's a bare-bones, watered down version—but recounting stories like that of Aphrodite's birth (she was born from Ouranos' nads, which were chopped off by Cronos and thrown to the sea), or that Zeus and Hera were both brother and sister and husband and wife, has to be difficult to teachers of twelve-year-old students.

Professional Wrestling

  • It's (partly) unintentional here. When it began to be touted as popular entertainment in about the 1940s, pro wrestling was family-friendly. The faces always did the right thing, the heels were evil But Not Too Evil, and moral ambiguity was never created. This pattern began to break down once "Arab" wrestlers such as The Sheik and Abdullah the Butcher began staging deliberately gory matches (the equivalent of "Hardcore" matches today) and the heel characters actually began to be depicted as Loveable Rogues and competent enough in the ring not to have to resort to cheating all the time. All bets were off once the "Attitude Era" got underway in the late '90s and sex and violence (and even the occasional dollop of Satanism) actually became the selling points - but parents still took their children to the shows!

Tabletop Games

  • The hobbyist boardgaming industry runs in to this every which way, to the extent that some US publishers put notices like "THIS PRODUCT IS NOT A TOY, NOT INTENDED FOR USE OF PERSONS 12 YEARS OR YOUNGER" on titles containing heavier subject matter (example given from this—apparently the title didn't give it away, nor the face-eating aliens, brutally beweaponed killing machines, and human skull motifs on the cover). After all, board games are kids' stuff, right?
  • Bunnies and Burrows is a game based loosely on Watership Down and is chock full of cute little player controlled rabbits being brutally eaten by predators, ravaged by disease, and otherwise struggling to survive. Gamers thought it was for kids because it has talking rabbits, kids were disappointed when they found out there were no wizards slinging fireballs for 50,000 damage. It has, however, become a Cult Classic among those who understand this is not a kids game.


  • Avenue Q could very well qualify.[please verify] Almost all the characters are Sesame Street-style puppets. Misguided adults might decide to take their children (despite the warning signs outside the theatre). Then the puppets curse and have sex and sing about porn.
    • Don't forget misguided adults taking their own misguided family-friendly selves along, too. Heard inside the theater lobby before the show: a poor souvenir vendor attempting to explain to an increasingly-shocked-and-disgusted adult patron what "Yeah, They're Real" referred to.
  • The Reduced Shakespeare Company: Parents bring their children to watch dirty raps and puppet shagging.
    • One can also count Shakespeare in general. (However can classics be utterly filthy?)
  • Waiting for Godot is on some fifth-grade reading lists because the words aren't very complicated. Even though it makes no freaking sense even to adults. In a way, this is actually worse than showing kids something violent or sexual—how do you explain to a child that she got an F on her analysis of the play because she said it was about two people waiting for Godot?
  • At one point in its London run, the Phantom of the Opera sequel Love Never Dies offered free tickets to children. Beyond the fact that Phantom isn't kid-friendly to begin with, the sequel features the following: Alcoholism, stripping, infidelity resulting in a child out of wedlock, a song with accidentally pedophilic undertones and murder.
  • Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. Oh, it's a cheery musical with all of our favorite fairy tale characters together! Then Act Two comes around, most of the characters get killed by a rampaging giant, and suddenly it's not so cheery anymore. The show has enjoyed myriad School Play productions anyway, but as of The New Tens the show's licenser now offers a "Junior" version for school and children's theater groups that drops the second act entirely (save for one song, "Children Will Listen").
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a show about elementary school and middle school children at a spelling bee. Then comes the four-letter words, vulgar-sounding words, and an entire song about Chip's boner.


As mentioned multiples times above, any movie with the slightest potential for merchandising will probably have toys made for them. Often regardless of the film's actual rating.

  • Alien action figures: free Facehugger with each Alien!
  • Plush toys, like animation, are not always for kids. Here you can find the ebola virus, the black death, gonorrhea, and salmonella for your kids to cuddle with.
  • Behold, Mori Chack's Gloomy Bear. Cute pink bears with blood covered claws.
  • Blade of the Immortal' trading cards and figurines are also commonly found in the toy aisle in Japanese markets. It's a toy that comes with candy so it must be for kids, right?
  • At the Takashi Murakami show in LA, they had a lot of (rather expensive) plushies like cute, smiley flowers and cute, flowery skulls. And then there's Kiki [dead link]...
    • They're all artworks in their own right too, so don't remove the wrappers!
  • Collector's action figures in general, after all, no parent in their right mind would get their child a Dr. Manhattan or Marcus Fenix action figure.
  • Numerous people on Amazon.com have the habit of complaining that the "High Grade" Godzilla figurines made by Bandai are "too small for children" or how they have to "put the figurines together with too many small parts that kids can lose" or something similar. Never mind the fact that said "High Grade" figurines are meant to be collectible figurines for G-Fans to, well, collect and put on display on shelves NOT for children to play with.
  • Three out of the four Terminator movies are R-rated, all are violent and scary ... yet it inspired Terminator Minimates.
  • Burger King's "Kids' Club" meals included toys based on the Twilight film New Moon . . . which was rated PG-13 and not aimed at younger kids at all.

Video Games

Soul Nomad was rated T by the ESRB. This clearly indicates that the ESRB never actually played the game, because among other things Soul Nomad has near constant swearing from the main character, rape, murder, slavery, a dash of genocide, and all sorts of other happy fun times. And most of that’s in the Normal Path. The Demon Path is much, much worse.

  • Do not let your kids play Eversion at all despite its family-friendly looks. Hell, even its website warns you not to let them play!
  • Monster Party for the NES was released back when there were no ratings for games, and it has gory visuals throughout.
  • The National Institute on Media and the Family has taken Nintendo to task for releasing MadWorld on their "family friendly" Wii. Apparently they didn't notice Red Steel, No More Heroes, House of the Dead, The Godfather, Dead Rising, Deadly Creatures, Resident Evil, and Manhunt and thus, they became one more laughing-stock on the Internet. Nintendo countered to NIMF's claim about the Wii being "for the entire family" by saying that the Wii is indeed for everyone... and when saying "everyone", they throw in hardcore gamers in the equation. Apparently, no one associates "hardcore gamer" with "family" today.
  • There are plenty of pornographic arcade games that look like kids' games due to their simple gameplay and cute, colorful graphics... until you beat the level and start seeing pictures of naked women.
  • All of the pornographic Atari games. Somehow, in the late stage of the 2600's lifespan, the winning strategy for a game was to feature 8-bit porn.
  • Stupid Invaders looks cute, thanks to the characters, but quickly reveals its unsubtle humour.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: a RPG with pixies and Jack Frosts... where the USA fall under the control of a fanatic Christian cult ruled by supernatural beings which uses the US nuclear arsenal to rebuild civilization around a fascist theocracy, and God really approves of what they are doing—and he's still the closest thing to a good guy in the story.)
    • Any game from Shin Megami Tensei/Atlus. For something that kids can buy, Devil Survivor has to be one of the most fucked up games ever (and it's only rated T!). Proving once again that parents should read the back of the box before letting kids buy video games.
  • Shin Megami Tensei's spinoff series, Persona, gets it just as bad:
    • The original Persona was rated E. The original Persona was rated E. We're talking about a series with Mara, an Eldritch Gag Penis. What in YHVH's name was the ESRB thinking!?
    • Persona 3. The main characters regularly shoot themselves in the head with handguns.
    • Persona 4 is a colourful spectacle about a transfer student that moves in with his uncle, a respectable policeman and makes lots of friends! Not to mention the first proper dungeon is set in a fairytale castle, so it must be kid-friendly right? Wrong. There's more sexual themes you can shake a stick at (of which the strip club dungeon is the icing on the cake), your adorable 7 year old is kidnapped and dies in hospital and a policeman tries to rape two women.
  • Xenogears: Humongous Mechas are for kids? What about the protagonist being an omnicidal maniac who can and does commit genocides by himself, when one of the dominant religion is a front for a decadent dictatorship where being racist is considered to be a civic duty?
    • Xenogears? What about Xenosaga? Holy crap, the stuff it got away with and retained a T-rating. Cannibalism, heavy amounts of blood, the religious references, genocide, just about any scene with Albedo, mind rape, light nudity, exploring the past of a serial killer who basically had to have his mind overwritten to the point of insanity, incestial undertones, suicide, and of course the Bittersweet Ending done because the game had to end on the third game when it was planned to be 5 or 6 games long, resulting in the deaths of a LOT of characters. Once again, this got a T-rating throughout all 3 of its games. Thank goodness it didn't see media attention.
  • The Arc the Lad series. The hero of the first episode is a terrorist whose uncle committed genocide against the people of the hero of the second episode before turning said hero into the prototype of bioweapons made by turning children into bloodthirsty monsters. And that is just the beginning, for it gets worse after that. But it has cute graphics... and people complain about some unwatchable consensual sex scene in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas?[6]
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day has talking animals and has a cartoonish appearance, but is rather bloody and ridden in profanities,[7] and advancing through parts of the game involve getting drunk, and that's just the start. It does have numerous warnings that it's not meant for anyone under 17, as well as a giant ESRB M-rating on the box; still didn't prevent children from playing it.
  • The initial retail release of Cute Knight was rated E due to someone going "It's anime, it's for girls, it's got to be fine." The game was then withdrawn from stores because it contains references to religion, violence, blood, prostitution, incest...
  • Little King's Story is rated T due to alcohol references, polygamy, religion and, sometimes genocide. Yet it's all presented in a delightful storybook style with vibrant colors and cutesy graphics.
  • The Fire Emblem series may be high fantasy with bright, colorful graphics, but it's also filled with war, murder, racism, genocide, rape and incest, especially the Jugdral series. The only reason that these games have never been rated higher than T is that it's never shown, just spoken about and implied. There's a reason the first few games didn't make it out of Japan.
    • It must be noted that only the NES and Game Boy Advance titles and Mystery of the Emblem are particularly bright and colourful; save for the obligatory use of You Gotta Have Blue Hair, every other title in the series is much more subdued and realistic in colouring, bordering on Real Is Brown at times.
  • Heart of Darkness. Rated E for Everyone, despite the painful looking—though not actually gory—death animations, not to mention the Nightmare Fuel scenery. Remember kids, shadows are very dangerous things.
  • Castlevania Bloodlines for the Genesis received a "GA" (General Audiences) rating, despite its large amounts of gore.
  • Grand Theft Auto. It is amazing and disgusting how many parents think it's fine for their kids to play GTA. A personal favorite parental defense: "Grand Theft Auto is the only M-rated game we let him play."
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum may have been rated Teen, but it was only the lack of gore that kept it from getting an M rating. The game is so dark, that many are still shocked that it didn't get an M rating.
    • Batman: Arkham City is even worse - granted, there is only one scene containing blood, but the game features Victor Zsasz telling of why he carves his own skin to keep count of murders, the Penguin audibly freezing a cop's hand and shattering it with a hammer and Hush slicing people's faces off before killing them so he can look like Bruce Wayne to name a few.
  • In the same vein as Call of Duty is Halo, which has a bit of that Star Wars-ish look to it, what with big heroic guys in green space armor gracing the cover. Needless to say, any bit of knowledge of the game makes it clear that it is most definitely not for children. Of course, being a massive big-name game, children are sure to hear of it and make their parents well aware of that fact, hence you will always - ALWAYS - find at least one 5-year-old playing on Xbox Live with you.
  • Team Fortress 2. At first glance, it looks like an innocent game due to its Pixar-esque artstyle...but then comes the massive amounts of blood and gore. And the jars of urine. And Spy's relationship with Scout's mother according to the official short "Meet the Spy", not to mention the pictures that Spy shows and his head graphically exploding. However, just like with any FPS, you will find many 10-year-old kids playing the game online.
  • If you insert Tales of the Abyss into your 3DS, the first thing you'll see is a Ridiculously Cute Critter running around a ball, saying "Let's Play! Mieu! Mieu! Mieu!" Anyone unfamiliar with the series would suspect this game is for a toddler, when its plot includes mass-murder, some suggestive dialogue (including discussions of a party member's bust size and references to prostitution), and mild swearing (damn and hell is about as strong as it gets).
    • It goes back farther—as a rule, there's a reason the Tales (series) typically has T-ratings.
  • The English download site for the pigeon-dating game Hatoful Boyfriend gives it a G-rating. Keep in mind that this game has an ending where you get decapitated by a psychotic doctor who regularly kills his bird patients and turns them into quill pens and turkey dinners and a lengthy BBL route that starts with the bird characters finding the human protagonist's chopped-up remains all over the school and gets progressively more fucked up from there on.
    • Even the free version has the aforementioned decapitation by Deadly Doctor ending, who also mentions that he'd like to get intimate with your innards when he's done, which should tell you how kid-friendly this game ain't.

Angie Gallant: A fat bird should not be fucking my intestines!

Web Comics

  • Las Lindas is passable as a kiddy looking comic. Bright colors, animal people...and then you get to page 5...
  • Lackadaisy contains gorgeous art of furry cat people with often enormous and adorable kitty eyes (the author admits she was influenced by Disney films like Bambi as a child)- and they earn their keep by bootlegging, people-hacking, and general classy dirty-handedness. Even the cutest member of the cast turns out to be one of the craziest.
  • Several posters in the Giant In The Playground forums were offended by sexual content in a recent Order of the Stick comic, on the grounds that "children read this comic." So, apparently it's okay for kids to watch stick figures kill each other in various brutal ways (including committing genocide), but masturbation jokes are just going too far. Never mind that anyone who's mature enough to realise it's a masturbation reference probably has first-hand experience of the activity.
  • The creators of Penny Arcade did a sketch about the possibility of children reading their work. Elsewhere, they mention being invited to a school to give a class on drawing—they went, and enjoyed it, but they made damn sure to cut the URL from the make-your-own-comic templates that they handed out.
  • The authors of Girl Genius felt it necessary to explain the comic is for older teens and up. For readers who skip the New Reader page, the blatant Fan Service is probably a clue.
  • Jix is about a blue furry alien, but has mild cussing and various comics filled with copious amounts of cartoony gore...and partial nudity from time to time from the human character.
  • Sandra and Woo: Since it's about a girl who finds a talking raccoon, it must be for little kids, right? Only if you ignore all the early clues.

Web Original

  • Tasakeru: It's a series about cute, fluffy talking animals like squirrels and rabbits... which involves bloody warfare, racism (speciesism?), religious intolerance, Mind Rape, and not a little innuendo.
  • A lot of parents seem to think that because it is a musical, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is perfectly fine for small children. Considering that it's centered around a villain's Start of Darkness and it sports lyrics such as "It's a brand new day, and the sun is high / All the birds are singing that you're gonna die"...yeah. A lot of it probably goes over the kiddies' heads anyway (one would hope), but still...
    • Not to mention the "the hammer is my penis" line.
    • Felicia Day mentions in the commentary (not that one) a fan who wrote to tell her "my nine-year-old daughter loved you in this... until Act 3."
  • There are ten-year-old girls who are fans of the song "Do You Wanna Date My Avatar". You know, that song that's pretty much about cybersex.
  • Happy Tree Friends. Always starts out innocent and cute, with colorful Woodland Creatures having innocent fun. And then the killing starts.
    • To make it worse, Youtube uses the TV Parental Guidelines and Happy Tree Friends got a TV-Y rating, the lowest one.
    • Don't worry, the YouTube copyright school has no violence at all, so it's the only episode actually OK for kiddies!
      • Actually, there are other episodes without violence. A list can be seen here.
  • Dave Granlund shares with viewers The Not-Secret (Moral Guardians are only ones still Locked Out of the Loop) about what really scares the crap out of kids.
  • A Very Potter Musical. Team Starkid said that a lot of people took their kids to the show because it's Harry Potter the Musical. They mentioned having to cut down the YouTube version of the show to a PG-13 level.
    • Also, they had to put a FOR MATURE STARKIDS ONLY!!! label on Me and My Dick. Didn't stop some of their younger fans from watching it.
  • You'd think that since That Guy With The Glasses reviewers often review children and family films and entertainment that it'd be appropriate for children. You'd be wrong. Even Linkara (the "tamest" of them all) shows comics featuring gore, sexual innuendo, drug use, and fanservice (though to be fair, he is criticizing these scenes).
    • On an August 2011 edition of his Radio Dead Air internet radio program, TGWTG contributor Nash recounted the story of Pushing Up Roses receiving an angry letter from a parent which admonished her for using "foul language" in her videos because "children watch them". Nash was rather noticeably furious while recounting this, noting that That Guy with the Glasses is not a site for children (and that he hosts a show titled What The Fuck Is Wrong With You?). The reaction from his stream's chat was similarly astounded and angry, especially because the letter was sent to Roses, who rarely uses profanity in her videos.
  • Many religious websites are family-friendly, although Jesus Is Savior is decidedly not. Designed to Scare'Em Straight, grotesque imagery, anti-homosexual propaganda, Paranoia Fuel and surprisingly strong language for a religious site (Selena Gomez of all people is described as a "whore-brat") abound.
  • Mario Plush Forever, a plush series on Machinima. The name and the introduction of each episode makes it sound like it's just a kid friendly show, but you'll get to the first episode, which involves a curse that makes people have uncontrollable farts ... and turn into mindless demons! The first few episodes aren't too graphic, but once you get to Episode 10, spoiler:things start getting graphic to the point where the director is putting a viewer discretion warning before each episode.
  • Don't be fooled by the first two minutes of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared. It looks like a Sesame Street clone at first but there's a reason it's called that.
  • While Lobo is based on DC Comics, like the character, it is filled with tons of gore, strong language, sexual content and drug usage. It doesn't help that is has voice actors known for kids' cartoons such as Kevin Michael Richardson, Tom Kenny, Grey DeLisle and Dee Bradley Baker.
  • Dick Figures had a lot of fans during its run who were in the 7-12 range. While it's nowhere near as bad as it may sound from the title, it's still full of sex jokes, Family-Unfriendly Violence, swearing (including lots of F-bombs) and drinking, most of which comes from the main character Red. The creators are aware of their young fans but don't seem that fazed about it, despite the show having content like Lord Tourettes raping a bear onscreen. Not helping is the fact that its creator would go on to work on stuff made for kids.

Western Animation

Lois: [Values] come from inside, from your own beliefs.
Peter: I agree, Lois. Like, for instance, if you're watching a TV show and you decide to take your values from that, you're an idiot. Maybe you should take responsibility for what values your kids are getting. Maybe you shouldn't be letting your kids watch certain shows in the first place if you have such a big problem with them, instead of blaming the shows themselves. (Peter looks at the audience) Yeah.

  • Despite the fact that Cartoon Network's nocturnal block is called Adult Swim for a reason, kids are still prone to tune in to the programs shown. A lot of them tend to be fans of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Samurai Jack and Robot Chicken. It helps that the network is kid-friendly during the day.
    • Teletoon, the Canadian version of Cartoon network, specifically airs warnings before and during each show from 9pm on (the "Teletoon at Night" block) that the shows are not intended for children. They actually build in a margin for error in that they start with an hour of Futurama and then come the shows like Moral Orel, Archer, and Squidbillies. By the time the later shows role around the warnings include comments like "...meant for 14 years of age and older. And if you aren't 14, what are you doing up this late?"
  • The DC Universe Original Animated Movies are not very appropriate for young children as they include graphic violence, swearing, and some sexual content and jokes - they're not bloodsoaked Gorn-fests, but definitely earning their PG-13s and Rs by not being bound by kids' show rules. It probably doesn't help that the DCAU with the exception of Lobo fits elsewhere.
  • Slacker Cats. It was on ABC Family. The first episode alone has necrophilia. And pornography. As for why it was on ABC Family? The original sale from the Christian Broadcasting Network to Fox/Saban contained a stipulation that the channel contain the word "Family" in the name forever, no matter who owns the network. And no matter what's actually on the channel, apparently.
  • The Haunted World of El Superbeasto looks like it was done by Spumco but is full of extreme violence, sexual situations, innuendo, nudity, and swearing.
    • Even Spumco itself brings this trope to life with Ren and Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon. The original Ren and Stimpy was a kids' show, but for its revival, Spike TV forced the addition of more mature elements into the series.
  • Looney Tunes (the original 1930-1969 shorts), according to most of the directors, were never meant for children, and yet have been enjoyed by generations of youngsters in spite of it.
  • The Flintstones, when the Hanna-Barbera production company launched for television in 1957, they intended to gear their cartoons for children. However, some of the shows (The Huckleberry Hound Show, especially) proved so popular with adult viewers that the networks began airing them closer and closer to prime time; this inspired Hanna-Barbera to develop a show specifically for prime time, which of course turned out to be The Flintstones. Even then, the cartoons were considered "family shows" in the most literal sense of the word: programs that would appeal to kids and adults equally.
  • Similar to the above is Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. It's a Hanna-Barbera production and often released on Cartoon Network and Boomerang so people get the impression it's for children.. However it's more like an early Family Guy if anything.
  • If you turn to the search menu for your DVR and search for Archer can you guess what Archer is labeled as? Comedy? Nope it's labeled as Children's programming.
  • Similar to the Muppet Show example above, the first Shrek movie was meant to feel slightly more like a movie for adults than for children, and contained mild language and more innuendoes than its sequels. As one result of this, the movie's toys were made by Todd McFarlane's company (specializing in detailed, collector-grade action figures) - hard to believe for some, given the more "toyetic" and child-oriented merchandise of the sequels.
  • Fish Police was a Hanna-Barbera cartoon about antropomorphic fish, with colorful backgrounds and many fish-themed puns, very loosely based on a comic book series. It was also filled with content that, at the very least, counts as Parental Bonus turned Up to Eleven. Examples include tons of innuendo, rampant sexual tension between main characters, dialogue bound to go over kids' heads (either explicitly sex related or not), and, in one episode, an entire red lantern district, complete with a pimp and prostitutes soliciting clients in the streets, shops with pornography ("Fishy Videos") and equivalents of S/M gear. And a brothel. No wonder only six episodes were made.

Other Media

  • Several stories on (The Customer is) Not Always Right show that some parents believe "animation" automatically equals "suitable for children."
    • Ditto films about "superheroes" (read: Watchmen) or fairy tales (Pan's Labyrinth).
    • For everything said on the sister page about people in an adult Periphery Demographic who can't accept that some of the shows they like are for kids and will remain that way, it's worth noting that it cuts from both ends. You also have groups like the Parents Television Council who see every show that isn't "kid-friendly" as an attack on children, rather than just for a different demographic.
  • A new picture book for adults parodies "Goodnight Moon"-type children's books, and real parents' frustrations with children refusing to sleep; under the title "Go the Fuck to Sleep." (It's got cute illustrations of a mom and baby tiger.)
    • Even funnier is the story one Amazon reviewer tells: she bought this book, and in her absence her husband picked it up, thought it was a children's book, and read it to their little son, censoring out all the bad words. It's now their son's favorite bedtime book.
    • You can watch it here, as narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.
  • Several Halloween costumes that little kids should not be wearing. Note: only costumes that can be bought in a store by a parent count. Handmade costumes do not count and neither do generic zombie or ax murderer costumes.
  • One of Anonymous's pranks invoked this trope. Anonymous members uploaded a bunch of porn videos to YouTube disguised as kid-friendly stuff like Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers, so kids would watch the videos and get quite a nasty shock. One user responded with the now-famous phrase, "I'm 12 years old and what is this?"

Real Life

  • Medicines and drugs are sometimes packaged as "edibles" in a way as to appear confusingly similar to food or candy. That's a problem if the proper dose for a marijuana edible is one piece of a gummybear candy or one square of a chocolate bar — for an adult — but the product looks like a common foodstuff for which the serving size is the entire package (such as one candy bar). While this overlaps I Ate What? (and maybe Dog Food Diet if Defictionalisation is used to peddle "Scooby snacks"), it is a hazard as the proper dose is age or weight-dependent and an overdose may sicken the patient.
  1. It's actually rated as a book and not as a game, so the ratings are much more loose.
  2. White doesn't explain this rather obscure reference either, but presumably it's the same as in The Wife of Bath's Prologue, where she refers to her "chose", (literally, her "thing") meaning her pudenda. Basically, Madam Mim has a historic porn pic of a virgin displaying her maidenhead or hymen.
  3. "Fucked Up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional"
  4. the cover that became popular, that is; the original was a Protest Song
  5. Granted that the comics enjoy a relevant Periphery Demographic in Brazil, but still...
  6. Obviously, the answer to that question lies in Public Medium Ignorance.
  7. a few words are bleeped out, although words like "shit" and "twat" remain
  8. Though if they did she would be the greatest mom ever.