Examples of double-meanings in movies, shows, cartoons?
October 19, 2008 5:39 PM   Subscribe

Looking for scenes with dialogue in G-rated movies, shows or cartoons that have hidden references for adults.

The examples I am looking for need to meet the following criteria:
• Found in movies and tv shows geared specifically toward a younger audience or a general audience (both kids and adults).
• Dialogue must contain a second/hidden meaning that only adults would understand.
• The hidden message is expressed through the spoken dialogue (not by gestures, signs in the background, etc.)

An example of the type of thing I'm looking for is typical in shows like the Simpsons, where kids watching are laughing at something Homer says because it sounds silly, but adults are laughing AT THE SAME DIALOGUE, but for a different reason...because it's a reference to something in the news, politics, etc. that kids would not understand or have access to.

Yes, this is for a paper. No, you are not helping me with my homework by answering this question. Not even close.
posted by iamkimiam to Society & Culture (43 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
All the recent Disney movies are chock full of this. It's been a long time since I saw the movie so I can't point to any specific examples, but there were a whole bunch in Finding Nemo.
posted by phunniemee at 5:42 PM on October 19, 2008

This happens a lot in Spongebob Squarepants, and also in the Powerpuff Girls. One entire episode of that show is constructed out of Beatles references. Catch one or two episodes of those and you're well on your way.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:47 PM on October 19, 2008

Best answer: "The Simpsons: A Tale of Two Springfields (#12.2)" (2000)

[the residents of Old Springfield discover gold in the river after Homer turns off the dam]
Kent Brockman: Thanks, Mayor Simpson! From now on, we'll all be taking golden showers.
[muffled laughter is heard in the background]
Kent Brockman: What?

posted by andoatnp at 5:47 PM on October 19, 2008

Lots in Shrek... "Do you think he's compensating for something?"
posted by slightlybewildered at 5:48 PM on October 19, 2008

Best answer: Old Sesame Street was also chock full of this kind of stuff. Example: H. Ross Parrot after H. Ross Perot, and Flo Bear after Flaubert.
posted by The White Hat at 5:58 PM on October 19, 2008

I believe it was PG rated, but in the movie Madagascar there is a scene where the donkey yells "Sugar Honey Iced Tea" (clearly spelling sh*t) as he's careening down a wave at the ground or some other bad situation. There's another part of the movie where they've made a "HELP" sign out of logs on the beach, but a part of the P falls away and it clearly says HELL for a while.
posted by thegmann at 6:02 PM on October 19, 2008

Peewee's Playhouse;

Peewee: My Cowboy Curtis, those are big boots you're wearing.

Cowboy Curtis: You know what they say Pee Wee, big boots.....big feet!
posted by lee at 6:04 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Kermit and Miss Piggy: "I can't get away / To marry you today . . ."

Rocko's Modern Life. In fact, all of Rocko's Modern Life, pretty much. Although it wasn't as good as the first season of Wacky Delly.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:06 PM on October 19, 2008

Response by poster: Sorry, I think I wasn't being entirely clear. I'm looking for examples where the spoken non-hidden meaning is is funny or sensical to kids too, but for a different reason than it would be for adults. Examples where the spoken dialogue doesn't make sense to kids or the wider audience (where they would just dismiss it as, "yeah, don't get it, but whatever, moving on") are not what I'm looking for. The 'golden showers' or the 'H. Ross Parrot' references are perfect. Thanks, more please!
posted by iamkimiam at 6:13 PM on October 19, 2008

From the Simpsons: "Quick Nibbles, chew through my ball sack!"
posted by MsMolly at 6:23 PM on October 19, 2008

The Pattycake scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. God, I need to watch that movie again.
posted by parmanparman at 6:24 PM on October 19, 2008

I don't know of a more specific term than double entendre.
posted by jepler at 6:26 PM on October 19, 2008

The celebrity appearances on the Muppets/ Sesame Street? Like this video. It's a cute video and it's a funny knock off of Shiny Happy People. Also, Weird Al's parodies are funny even if you don't know the original song but when you do know the song you can enjoy them on another level.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 6:35 PM on October 19, 2008

Found Via Reddit: 11 Naughtiest Moments in Animaniacs
posted by hellojed at 6:37 PM on October 19, 2008

Best answer: Finding Nemo - they have mess up the aquarium so that the water will be changed. "ok everybody - think dirty thoughts!". It's lame joke for the kids, and a lame joke for the adults, but everybody laughed anyway.
posted by -harlequin- at 6:42 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I remember a cute example of what you're describing in an episode of the television show "Home Improvement"... The set-up was the cliche situation where one of the kids had heard the parents having sex. The kid asked something along the lines of "What were you doing in there?" The father answered "Your mom and I were having a wrestling match." The kid said "Oh, who won?" The father answered "Your mom won," to which the mom adds, "I won twice."

The reason I remember it is that there were children and adults watching at the time. The kids were laughing at the idea that the mom could have won two wrestling matches against the dad... And the adults were laughing at how clever the dialogue was in portraying the *nudge-nudge-wink-wink* stuff in a family-friendly way.
posted by amyms at 6:44 PM on October 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The always useful TVTropes wiki calls it a Parental Bonus (and provides a few screens worth of examples).
posted by ormondsacker at 6:54 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Again, Sesame Street was/is loaded with references. Roosevelt Franklin. Meryl Sheep. The song "Letter B," by The Beetles. The game shows like "What's my Part". And other non-direct references, too--the song by Kermit the Frog "Bein' Green" is widely known to be referring to racism, but a lot of younger kids would probably miss that.

(Showing my age again) The Electric Company was just as bad, if not worse. A character named Fargo North, Decoder. The musical "Fiddler on the Chair." And "It's a Word! It's a Plan! It's Letterman!" etc.
posted by Melismata at 6:57 PM on October 19, 2008

The Genie in Aladdin does a bunch of impersonations. I remember them all completely going over my head when I saw it first as a little kid.

TIME says:

"In his half an hour onscreen, the Genie makes dozens of eyeblink metamorphoses: [...] Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senor Wences, Ed Sullivan, Groucho Marx, [...] Eddie (Rochester) Anderson, [...] William F. Buckley Jr., Robert De Niro, [...] a Jean Gabin-style Frenchman, [...] Arsenio Hall, [...] Walter Brennan, a TV parade host and hostess, Ethel Merman, Rodney Dangerfield, Jack Nicholson, [...] Many of these apparitions show up in the Cab Callowayish A Friend like Me, a showstopper in which the Genie displays his awesome versatility."
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:10 PM on October 19, 2008

(Oh, and I just saw your above message. I think my examples should still count because all the Genie's impersonations are funny to kids ["He's talking funny and making funny faces!"], they just don't get who is being referenced.)
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:13 PM on October 19, 2008

The Wizard of Oz is full of this, IMO.

"Back where I come from we
have universities, seats of great learning
-- where men go to become great thinkers.
And when they come out, they think deep
thoughts -- and with no more brains than
you have.... But! They have one thing you
haven't got! A diploma!"
How can you talk if you haven't got a brain?

I don't know. But some people without
brains do an awful lot of talking, don't

MCS -- Dorothy nods, speaks --

Yes, I guess you're right.

Also, seconding Shrek and throwing Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory out there, too.
posted by Addlepated at 7:27 PM on October 19, 2008

There seem to be quite a few funny references for parents in the show Arthur.
posted by flod logic at 7:35 PM on October 19, 2008

There are hundreds of these in Bugs Bunny episodes.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:41 PM on October 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

Pee Wee's Playhouse was full of these. Another was "Is that a wrench in your pocket?"
posted by peep at 7:41 PM on October 19, 2008

Madagascar, King Julian:
"Welcome giant pansies."
"All hail the New York Giants!"

Madagascar, Gloria (as she shakes off crabs & starfish attached to her breasts):
"OK, it's time to get off. That’s all the fun you get."
posted by cocoagirl at 7:47 PM on October 19, 2008

Disney's Hercules has many....
posted by bjgeiger at 7:57 PM on October 19, 2008

Best answer: The Simpsons are chock full of these. My personal favorite was one of the Halloween episodes that was a send up of King Kong. As Marge is about to board the ship to Skull Island someone says: "Women and seamen don't mix"
posted by archaic at 8:00 PM on October 19, 2008

Best answer: I always got a laugh out of the name of the king in Shrek - Farquaad, pronounced Fuckwad.

The Simpsons :
Smithers: "I think women and seamen don't mix."
Burns: "We know what you think!"
posted by tomble at 8:02 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Whoa, in MeFi surround sound.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:12 PM on October 19, 2008

Hello? Rocky and Bullwinkle - pretty much all of them!

The Ruby Yacht of Omar Kayyam.
posted by plinth at 8:38 PM on October 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

"The Little Engine That Could" movie, in which the older female engine informs the Little Engine that she'd let him pull a train for her.
posted by orthogonality at 8:49 PM on October 19, 2008

Sesame Street had a segment with Patti LaBelle singing "How I Miss My X." As a Sesame Street piece it's about the letter X, but to an adult it's about an ex[spouse.]
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:12 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Does "Mystery Science Theater 3000" count? It wasn't necessarily a "family" show, but it definitely had appeal to kids, if the fan letters that were read on the show were any indication.

I first started watching in high school, and over the years I've come to realize there were countless jokes they'd make during the movies that were references to old shows, songs, etc, but often were inherently funny even if you didn't know the sources.

One example is in a Bela Lugosi short, where his chauffer looks like he's breaking the fourth wall, and Joel says in a gravelly voice, "That's my boss, always going on about his life of danger. But who does all the driving? We'll be right back!" I laughed and laughed. Only later did I realize this was a riff on Lionel Stander's intro from "Hart to Hart."

And I'm not sure this counts, but there was one scene in GI Joe where one of the top baddies barks orders at his minions, who insist on sitting around and drinking coffee, because of "union rules." It's funny to a kid, but even funnier to an adult. That and the original Transformers had a few of these ironic jokes sprinkled here and there.

And I'd have to think there's something to be found in the old Charlie Brown specials, although the only things I can think wouldn't make any sense to kids (like the one about Christmas being run by a big eastern syndicate). Same for the old Muppet movies. And Calvin and Hobbes. (I'm just hoping others can think of good examples).
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:48 PM on October 19, 2008

There are lots in the movie "Babe," such as when Ferdinand the duck is explaining why he's cock-a-doodle-dooing in the mornings in an attempt to save his own life. "What do roosters do? They make eggs with the hens and wake up the humans. I tried it with the hens, and it didn't work."

Tons more, and also throughout the sequel.
posted by jbickers at 1:06 AM on October 20, 2008

There an "Elmo's World" that is all about feet... and he refers to his fish "Dorothy" and says she doesn't have any feet but he says kind of naughtily something like "but she still gets around"
posted by beccaj at 4:36 AM on October 20, 2008

Lots of Roger Ramjet. Lots are on youtube, and most have jokes aimed at adults.
posted by mattoxic at 6:14 AM on October 20, 2008

Lots of these in the Veggie Tales movies too.
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:26 AM on October 20, 2008

Possibly my all-time favorite came from some Simpson's Halloween special. Bart has a magic book, and is making an incantation:
"Mentor Ramses, Trojan Sheik!" he intones.

And that's where I threw myself on the floor, screaming, because the laughing hurt too much. The 2 friends I was viewing with didn't understand the words. Um, yea, I was still kind of new to the Simpsons, at the time.
posted by Goofyy at 9:47 AM on October 20, 2008

In one of the Scooby Doo movies, I think it's the first one, Shaggy meets a beautiful girl.

Shaggy: What's your name?

Beautiful girl: My name is Mary Jane.

Shaggy: Mary Jane! That's my favorite name!

I know it doesn't fit your criteria, but back when our kids were little and G-rated movies were about all we watched, this one line got me through those years.
posted by raisingsand at 10:33 AM on October 20, 2008

The Tick was full of these as well.

One of my favorites was the therapist Taft, a smooth blaxploitation-type whose entrance was always accompanied by wah-wah guitars and backup singers going "Who's the man?"

Darn right.
posted by anthom at 10:48 AM on October 20, 2008

In an episode of SpongeBob, he's trying to teach Patrick how to make a snowball. Patrick can't wrap his head around it, making first a cube, then a pyramid, and then finally a double-helix shape. Funny for kids, because it's a weird shape, and funny for adults, because we recognize it.
posted by kidsleepy at 12:09 PM on October 20, 2008

The Simpsons, in the flash-back to when Ned Flanders was a badly-behaved little kid, in the therapist's office.

Ned [running around the office]: I'm Dick Tracy, take that Prune Face! Now I'm Prune Face, take that Dick Tracy! Now I'm Prune Tracy, take that-
Therapist: Come here Ned.

(Can't remember the exact line the therapist (or doctor) says, but you get the idea)
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:31 PM on October 20, 2008

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