If only there was a way to count the number of hours children spend lounging in front of the television watching their favorite kids’ shows. Growing up, these shows and their characters become a child’s constant friends, buddies and sometimes parents even – getting kids so engaged that they are glued to their television sets for hours on end, allowing moms and dads to do housework, gardening, and other adult activities.
With the advent of the World Wide Web and the easy access to Youtube videos of television show gag reels and insider snippets, many of these happy childhood memories of our favorite shows and movies are being ruined -- one behind-the-scenes footage video at a time. Many facts can trigger the destruction of fond childhood memories. Why, oh why was that article about the original Power Rangers available on your daily news feed?
You can never look at the blue ranger the same way again after watching the behind-the-scene footage. All innocent memories - GONE! It can be anything from shocking evidence about a lead character to a complex plot twist that your adult mind just recently understood and that your younger self did not even consider. Or maybe an article about the Teletubbies not having any gender at all! Whichever way it presents itself, it will ruin them for you forever.
14 Rugrats - They're All Dead?!
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The second longest-running Nickelodeon cartoon of all time captured the hearts of children and adults alike. Who can resist five adventurous little babies, Tommy, Angelica, Phil, Lil, and the bespectacled, adorable runt Chuckie, as they conquer their everyday lives? This diapered toon series was inspired by the simple question -- “If babies could talk, what would they say?” Rugrats made babies and their thoughts relevant, but with thirteen years on the air and a 9-season run, the show and the crew had their fair share of behind-the-scenes drama.
The original writers and the entire writing crew who penned some of the unforgettable episodes resigned and moved to another production outfit. Producer couple Arlene Klasky and Gábor Csupó divorced in the middle of seasons, and fans were shocked to discover that 4 of the 5 Rugrats -- Tommy, Angelica, Phil, and Lil were all voiced by women. The worst theory is that the babies were all made up by Angelica, the show is a figment of her weird imagination, and the children are all dead. This theory mentions that Tommy was stillborn, Chuckie passed away together with his mother, and the twins Phil and Lil were aborted. Stop it –this is just way too much sadness!
13 SesaMEAN Street
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“Sunny day, sweepin’ the clouds away,” as soon the Sesame Street theme song, “Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street,” started, everyone would rush to the television set and sing along. No one could resist the catchy tune of the long-running television show produced by The Children’s Television Workshop. But, no matter how popular and loveable, the show was not without it’s share of behind-the-scenes drama. Beloved human characters, Gordon, Luis, and Bob were fired after working with the series for 45 years. That wasn’t too nice for a show that espoused kindness and acceptance.
Cookie monster suffered from gluttony as he munched cookie after cookie just to entertain and make children laugh. Severe obsessive-compulsive behavior is said to be The Count’s major flaw. And, Oscar the Grouch suffered from antisocial personality behavior and was, come to think of it, really mean and callous. Oh, and he used to be orange and not green!
12 Home Alone? More Like Troubled Home
#1 at the box office for twelve weeks, Home Alone was shown in movie theatres for almost seven months! It is, by far, the most watched kids movie of all time. Macaulay Culkin shot to instant stardom as the boy who was accidentally left at home during the family’s vacation. Home Alone featured a lot of scenes that were poignant for children of any age. Kevin possessed many qualities that most boys and girls wanted to emulate and could relate to in their daily lives.
Playing the precocious Kevin McAllister, McCauley Culkin was not the perfect artist to work with, as Director Chris Columbus recalls. Working with Culkin meant working with his troubled family too and that proved difficult on set. The constant bickering of his mother and father, who were unmarried at that time, escalated to a full-blown public legal battle over the young Culkin’s earnings. This fight eventually tanked McCauley’s career and sent him spiralling into a troubled adolescence.
11 All Hail, Scar
Hakuna Matata – “no worries,” in the native Swahili language – is one of the most well-known lines in the song by the same title in Walt Disney’s, The Lion King. Simba and Mufasa are still one of the best father-and-son duos of all Disney franchises. The movie’s powerful opening scene is stamped in many children’s memories for all time. Rafiki lifting the young Simba, while the entire forest full of animals pays their respects. Powerful indeed! This was also the first time Disney used an entire movie scene as a movie trailer.
A scene in Scar’s song, “Be Prepared,” was adapted from a picture of Adolf Hitler watching a Nazi procession. Total buzzkill. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” was originally a comic duet for the funny duo, Timon, and Pumba. Can you imagine that love song being interpreted by a meerkat and a warthog? We certainly can’t!
10 Finding Nemo
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If there is one Pixar movie that had all children wanting to explore the ocean, it’s Finding Nemo. Kids flocked, or rather, swam to theatres excited to watch the heartwarming story of a father desperately trying to find his son. Nemo, his friends, and the rest of the colorful characters overcome challenges, and eventually, father and son are reunited and everything is well under the sea. The movie focuses on appealing qualities such as kindness and empathy, proving that the ocean is a scary place, but with a kind heart, it can be made it less frightening. The film’s catchy tunes and colorful scenes make the vast, dark ocean more interesting for the water-weary little ones. This one had kids opening their books and researching anemones and clownfish.
When the film was released, there was a huge demand for clownfish at pet stores which caused an over capturing and selling of the species. Eventually, this harmed the population in their natural habitat, specifically in the waters around Vanuatu. And here’s an interesting fact – all clownfish are born male and they can change gender at random. Munch on that fact for a while.
9 The Wizard Of The Chest
Adapted from Frank L. Baum’s book of the same title, The Wizard of Oz is a classic film that everyone loved. Timeless and remembered by all, characters like Dorothy (played by the famous Judy Garland) had us singing, “Over the rainbow,” and repeating phrases like, “I’m melting!, I’m melting! ” over and over again. Did you know that Dorothy’s shoes were originally silver? And that Judy Garland was 16 at the time of filming? Wasn’t Dorothy supposed to be a child in the book?
Designers had to have her wear a corset to make sure she looked flat-chested and more childlike. Not to mention the snowflakes in one of the most memorable scenes were made of asbestos. Tinman was supposed to shed machine oil when he cried, but that proved impossible to film. Eventually, chocolate syrup was used as tears that streamed down Jack Haley's tin face. And the saddest part of it all – Judy was bullied constantly on set by the older actors. If that ain’t sad, we don’t know what is!
8 Tinky Winky's Handbag
Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa Laa, and Po, the Teletubbies, were four adorable toys hopping around in front of our televisions. Created by Anne Wood and Andrew Davenport, the Teletubbies worked their way into our hearts, and homes, with their exuberance and cuteness. We all know they were large but what we weren’t told was that they were giants! Po was the smallest at six feet tall followed by Dipsy at eight feet, Laa-Laa at eight feet and six inches, and Tinky Winky at a whopping ten feet.
The Teletubbies lived on a green hilly farm that was actually a real piece of land in Wimpstone, Warwickshire in the United Kingdom. Soon after filming in 2001, the owner flooded the farm and transformed it into a pond to discourage Teletubby fans from visiting her area. It has since been turned into an aquatics center. Tinky Winky's handbag, his purple color, and antenna were a cause of conflict in America. His character was interpreted as promoting unconventional gender roles and homosexuality.
7 Mighty Morphin "Bullying" Rangers
Every day in the 1990’s kids would line up in anticipation to watch five regular teenagers turned superheroes battle it out with large bad guys, using dinosaur robots called Zords. Admit it, you just couldn’t wait to hear them say, “it’s morphin time!” as they beat foe after foe, kicking and punching their way out of bad situations. Their action figures sold out in no time too. They were not saved from the behind-the-scenes drama, though.
The public found out years later that the original blue ranger had been harassed by cast and crew because of his sexuality. He eventually quit and even considered suicide due to the bullying on set. The first few action sequences were edited out of the Japanese version of the show and into the American version. No Amy Jo Johnson, the pink ranger, wasn’t actually fighting the green-eyed monster. Sad right?
6 Spongebob Squarepants Meets Seven Deadly Sins
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Who is the yellow sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea with his pet snail, Gary? Why, Spongebob Squarepants of course! Created by marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon in 1999. Spongebob achieved massive popularity in 2000 by utilizing a huge merchandising campaign that made the yellow sponge and his buddies a mainstay in almost every children’s playroom. Everyone’s favorite aquatic adventure was not without its share of controversy.
In 2004, the franchise went through a rough patch for supposed homosexual overtones between Patrick and SpongeBob. That bit of news put a smear on our otherwise wholesome characters. And obviously, Squidward is not a squid. And there was also a theory that the show’s main characters were written to symbolize the seven deadly sins. Gary – gluttony, Plankton – envy, Patrick – sloth, Squidward – wrath, Mr. Krabs – greed, Sandy – pride and SpongeBob representing lust. Too much? Did that ruin it for you? It sure did for me.
5 Mojo JoJo
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Many young girls in the late 1990s wanted to be either Blossom, Bubbles, or Buttercup. A trio of superhuman young girls molded by Professor Utonium out of sugar, spice, and everything nice, plus another accidental substance called Chemical X! Well, that was Jojo and later Mojo Jojo’s fault. The girls not only saved the day fictionally, they also saved our boring days with their magical supergirl powers.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all sugar, spice, and everything nice in the Powerpuff world. Mojo Jojo, who was voiced by Roger Jackson, is the same guy/voice as the masked villain from the Scream franchise. Creepy! The animator's use of heavy strobe animations fuelled theories that the show caused epileptic seizures and attacks. Some theories even went as far as saying that the three girls were promoting communism and were anti-religious.
4 Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?
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This talking dog is forever seven years old. Man’s best friend indeed! It is no wonder that most young kids fell in love with this show. Who couldn’t relate to Scrappy having a loyal friend in Scooby and a gang of solid friends like Fred, Velma, and Daphne.
But did you hear about the rumors that Velma was a lesbian? And that the show writers tried to pair her up with Shaggy to squash the lesbian rumor. Ever wonder where Scrappy-Doo went? He was scrapped (pun intended) from the show after viewers described him as “too independent” and a model for, “bad behavior.” Scrappy wasn’t bad, he was just a puppy! How can they say mean things about such a cute puppy! Shaggy also got into hot water for promoting drugs, while Daphne and Fred were considered a tad too sexual.
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The adventures of the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote kept generations of children engaged for hours. Mishap after mishap between the two had kids from all over the world laughing. The Road Runner was the good guy and Wile E. Coyote was the villain. The Road Runner, faster than a speeding bullet, perennially outsmarted Wile E. Coyote. Good always outsmarted the bad guy.
Now, are you ready for some heartbreak? According to facts and studies, roadrunners are not really fast runners. If anything, they are more on the average side with a maximum speed of 20 kilometers per hour, while coyotes are way faster, at about 48 kilometers per hour, in the speed department. Honestly, Wile E. Coyote could have caught up with the roadrunner even on a bad day. But that wouldn’t have been as entertaining now, would it?
3 Ed, Edd n Eddy
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Three seemingly normal preteen boys living in the suburbs, in a town called Peach Creek, getting into all sorts of mischief just like normal teenagers do. All named Ed, the boys had different personalities that represented most teenage boy’s behaviors. The series, created by Danny Antonucci, humanized our young brothers and friends and showed a funny, albeit resilient side to normal mischievous antics. Making it a big hit for most boys and teenagers around the world.
Was it just us or was there the occasional dirty adult joke in the plot twists here and there. Upon closer observation, the boys are caught reading pornographic materials and sometimes engaging in lewd behavior. So much for wholesome cartoons. And what is up with Sarah, the innocent little girl who gets scary when she's angry? Even though she looks like a normal innocent little girl, she's ferocious and weird and not afraid to kill a person out of anger.
2 Hey Arnold!
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It’s a classic '90's Nickelodeon cartoon that focuses on childhood innocence and a story of a boy and his group of friends. The series lightly touches relevant issues such as bullying, name-calling, and young infatuations.
As an adult re-watching it after a few years, everything that seemed normal before turns out to be downright disturbing at present. Take that Hitler cameo in the show, for example -- that was far-out. Do you guys remember Zelga? The weird but cute stalker girl who obsessed over Arnold? She is completely disturbing for a 10-year-old. She collected locks of Arnold’s hair and kept them in a box. Scary! Did Grandpa Phil do drugs when he was young? His lines mentioning being at Woodstock and, “killing off the last of his brain cells,” is a clear drug reference. It’s a Nickelodeon show from the 90's y’all.
1 Tom And Jerry
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What is more classic than the Hanna Barbera cartoon documenting the never-ending shenanigans of a cat and mouse. Since the 1940’s, the two worst enemies/best friends, Tom the cat and Jerry the mouse, have entertained children and brought joy into all of our homes. This favorite cartoon also introduced us to Tweety Bird and Sylvester. All four filled our screens daily and had us giggling uncontrollably.
The Tom and Jerry cartoon series was undeniably funny, but also rather violent and unsettling. Tom, mostly baring the brunt of the mischievous deed. Jerry hitting Tom with a hammer, blood spouting out of his nose, bombs being set off to harm one another -- pretty violent stuff for children! But in true Hanna Barbera fashion, it was presented in ways that showed the humor and resilience of the characters. Like Energizer bunnies, Tom always stood up, brushed off the dirt, and continued on as if nothing happened. A recent article published in Egypt blamed the series for violence in the Middle East. Yes, blame Tom and Jerry. Those poor hapless cartoon characters!