When we’re younger, we’re a lot more naive, and we see the entire world through rose-tinted glasses, which is why people often look back on their childhood memories with the nostalgia goggles on. Most consider the days of their youth as being a period of complete wonder and enjoyment as if nothing bad ever really happened to not only them but everyone around the world. Everything, for the most part, was great.
Well, not to be a downer or anything, but those memories are pretty much not accurate. Believe it or not, the world was just as bad when you were a child as it is now that you’re an adult; you just had no idea about it when you were younger. People like to act like the things that make growing up a pain are responsibility and bills, but it’s actually the removal of those naivety blinders that turns the world into an unhappy place.
We hate to say it, but even your favorite television shows from your youth aren’t safe from the hammer of reality. Believe it or not, there’s a lot you don’t know about your beloved childhood shows, which is where we step in. Get ready to have your nostalgia goggles ripped off, people!
15. Kenny From South Park Was Based On A Real Child
Okay, so we’re sure a lot of you would argue that this is hardly a show for children, and we’d agree, but that didn’t stop a lot of us watching it when we were too young anyway! Like a lot of shows, South Park was able to take advantage of its cartoon aesthetic to slip the wool over the eyes of any neglectful parents who weren’t paying enough attention. So, we decided to put it on the list, as we felt this fact was too good to leave out. The entire concept of Kenny was based on a real-life child whom one of the South Park creators went to school with, a child called Kenny who would always wear an orange parka that muffled his voice. He was also considered to be the poorest child in school. Not only that, but he would regularly miss school, which would lead the kids to joke that he had actually died.
14. Caillou’s Voice Actor Is No Longer With Us
Sadly, as much as children’s television may attempt to ape the real world and teach children about what they have coming to them once they reach adulthood, the reality of life will always get in the way of the lovely image that these shows attempt to put forward. A perfect example of this is a story regarding the voice actor who worked on Caillou. If you don’t know who Caillou is, he’s a young child with a suspiciously bald head who goes through life attempting to learn as much as possible. Sadly, the person who voiced the character was involved in an automotive crash at the age of seventeen, a decidedly sad story behind the scenes of an otherwise happy show. They carried on, bringing in a different voice actor, which is yet another metaphor for the sad reality of the real life, which we always hope children don’t have to come to terms with until they’re adults.
13. Chuckie’s Mother Wasn’t Always Dead
One of the childhood television characters that we sadly identified with was Chuckie from Rugrats. We understood where he was coming from when he had apprehensions about going out into the world around him, as he knew it was dangerous. Many viewers put this down to the fact that his mother died while he was a child, therefore leaving him with the fear that the world may do that to him. However, one aspect of this story that you may not know is that Chuckie’s mother wasn’t always a dead character. What we mean by this is that she died within the timeline of the series, her death not being immediately established from the first episode. She was regularly referred to during the early episodes but never became a main character. The writers eventually decided to have her die. Crazy to think that these sorts of things go on behind closed doors of children’s shows.
12. A Pokemon Episode Caused People To Get Sick
We’re not sure why, but children are obsessed with cuddly little mascots in a way that doesn’t translate to their adult counterparts. Whether it’s because they’d like to have one of those mascots in real life or it’s because kids just really like an easy cast of characters to latch onto, Pokemon was able to work with both of these things in a big way. However, not all is well in the world of Pokemon as was proven by a particular episode that actually caused many children to be rushed to the hospital. The episode concerned the main characters transporting themselves within the confines of a computer where they attempted to bring the evil down from within. Sadly, the accompanying noises and flashing that came with the episode gave numerous children seizures and other symptoms, mostly based around nausea. Obviously, this episode was then pulled from the air and hasn’t been shown since.
11. Looney Tunes Is Unable To Air Some Of Its Older Episodes
Is it fair to say that it’s generally accepted the world is a better place now that we’re very slowly moving toward true equality? Sure, we’ve got some work left to do, but we’ve come a long way over the years, and it’s not as if this has been a bad thing. The only people who see the equality movement negatively are, obviously, horrible human beings. Well, these societal changes mean that things like the Looney Tunes can seem a little “outdated” once you start to really delve into the back catalog, by which we mean it can get really unpleasant and racist. There’s still a rule in place to this day that says eleven different episodes of the Looney Toons show can no longer be aired on television as they attempt to make fun of racial stereotypes. Pretty depressing that kids were watching this stuff back in the day, but at least we’ve come far enough to know better.
10. Scooby Doo Should Be Dead By Now
Scooby Doo, Where Are You! has been a hit ever since it hit the small screen in the late 1960s and has spawned numerous copycats, films, sequels, and even spin-offs. He and his ragtag group of ghost hunters are arguably some of the most recognizable cultural icons of all time, and despite the fact that Scooby Doo is a complete coward, he’s managed to win over the hearts of many people, both children, and adults. This is why it’s such a shame to now inform you that if he were a real dog, Scooby Doo probably would’ve died like five times over by this point. Okay, maybe not that many times. Still, the guy has been on television now for nearly forty years, which means he’s older than any dog that we’ve ever met. Yes, that’s right, guys — Scooby Doo should really be dead by now. Poor little guy.
9. The Teletubbies Set No Longer Exists
One of the things that few of us ever think about is that these television shows and films that we watch have to actually take place in the real world somewhere unless they’re an animated cartoon. Well, Teletubbies was filmed on a farm somewhere in England, a fact that became quite the pain for the owner of the farm who was subject to many visitors who came to visit. Rather than constantly telling people to get off her land, she decided to go about things differently. To stop fans from making a visit, she flooded the entire farm, thereby making it impossible for anyone to come and see the original home of the Teletubbies. If you’re anything like us, you find this very upsetting. It’s not that we watched much of the show when we were younger, but it still makes us feel bad to know that the Teletubbies’ fictional home is now non-existent.
8. The BBC Had To Outline Tinky Winky’s Sexuality
It’s a sad reality of life that many adults have a problem with homosexuality, but what’s even sadder is that others who may consider themselves comfortable around homosexuality may then not feel comfortable with their child being exposed to it. We obviously know that this is disgusting and makes no sense, but that doesn’t stop parents from getting very upset about supposed homosexual or minority characters in their children’s favorite television shows. This is why the BBC had to issue a press release that explicitly stated that one of the Teletubbies is not gay. You’d be right to think that this sounds like a piece of social satire, but sadly, parents were up in arms that Tinky Winky may be gay as he carries a handbag. Do we really have to go into why this is absolutely insane? People really need to get over their hangups and stop passing them onto their children.
7. Tom & Jerry Influenced Jackass!
The surprising reality of adult life is that you start to realize that many things about being grown up come from our time as a child, whether that be how we were raised or what events we went through during our formative years. This also spreads to how people are creatively influenced in their later life, especially if they choose a career that seems particularly artistic or out there, which is a fairly accurate description of the lads from Jackass if you ask us! Yes, that’s right — Johnny Knoxville has gone on record to say that he feels Tom & Jerry was a major influence on the show Jackass, which may seem insane at first, but it makes sense if you start to think about it. Just like the famous cat and mouse, the Jackass boys are always in competition and don’t think twice about putting each other through some serious pain!
6. Kermit The Frog Was Originally Made Out Of Jim Henson’s Mother’s Coat
This is one of our favorite facts on the list, as while it may highlight just how dire things can get for artists, it also highlights that we should never let those situations stop us from pursuing the things that we love. Jim Henson stated in the past that when he first came up with the character of Kermit the Frog, he was forced to improvise, as he didn’t have the time or the materials to throw together anything more than a prototype, so he turned to the life around him in order to throw something together. This led him to ask his mother if he could use her old green coat for the skin of the frog, to which she agreed. While it may pull away some of the magic that we felt as a child, let this story be a reminder to everyone out there that you should always be trying to make your dreams come true.
5. The Creators Of Freaks And Geeks Couldn’t See James Franco As Attractive
Freaks And Geeks was a fantastic show, which was canceled well before its time and which not only managed to appeal to the teenage sensibilities in its young audience but also harkened back to the days of their parents’ youth as well. For many, this was their first look at James Franco, whose floppy hair and clear skin certainly fit the bill of the teenage heartthrob who was also a little rough around the edges. However, this isn’t why he was first chosen for the role. Although they obviously enjoyed Franco’s acting ability, the creators really enjoyed Franco as their casting choice as they felt he was slightly goofy-looking and would bring a certain “boy out of his depth” mentality to the role. It was only when the women on set started to comment on how beautiful he was that the creators realized their mistake, but we feel they made the right choice anyway.
4. Mark-Paul Gosselaar Dyed His Hair For Saved By The Bell
Zack from Saved By The Bell was quite possibly the quintessential example of the teenage heartthrob for quite a long time, and part of that was likely down to his beautiful blonde locks that seemed to effortlessly flop from his head throughout the run of the show. The series’ creators probably knew that blonde was the flavor of the month and would have wanted the female audience to connect to the main male character in the show, which is why they took an attractive kid and decided to dye his hair blonde. It’s this sort of stuff that really casts doubt on our childhood enjoyment of television. What else were they lying to us about? Why did we ever trust that little screen that’s been pumping lies into our living rooms now for decades? Television cannot be trusted, and we know this now all because of Zack’s blonde hair.
3. Roadrunners Aren’t Even Fast
Believe it or not, but that little bird in the photo is actually a roadrunner, which we imagine is as much a surprise to you as it was to us because we couldn’t believe it! Our entire knowledge of this bird was sculpted by what we learned from cartoons, but we’ve come to find out that none of it whatsoever is accurate. Not only does the real bird look nothing like the famed cartoon Roadrunner character, but real roadrunners are also comparatively slow when it comes to the animal kingdom. These little guys can only get their legs moving to the tune of 20 MPH, while the real-life coyote tops out at over double that! Yeah, that’s right — all those times he relied on the ACME products when he could’ve easily caught up to the bird. Everything we know is a lie, and we now trust nothing that we thought cartoons had taught us. We were not ready for this today.
2. The Singer Fergie Voiced Sally Brown
This is the sort of obscure knowledge that you’ll now be able to pull out of your hat whenever you’re at a party or a bar and the subject of Charlie Brown or children’s television comes up. We know it may be hard to believe, but the Black Eyed Peas singer was actually once the voice for the young Sally Brown. Granted, this was back in the 1980s, and she only provided the voiceover work for two years, but it still blows out our mind that Fergie and Charlie Brown are in any way connected. Now, we know that it’s not uncommon to find these sort of celebrity connections because most people in showbiz are always looking for a way to be a part of it, no matter what the reason is. What we can’t believe is that a woman who sang “My Humps” once voiced a cute little girl on a children’s cartoon.
1. A Tiny Toons Adventures Episode Was Banned For Showing Drunkenness
One thing that we always hated when we were kids was those shows that tried to drive a really obvious moral message into our brains as if we were too stupid to see what it was that they were doing. If the writing was subtle, they could get away with it, as it also told a story alongside the moral, but sometimes, the writers just got way too heavy-handed with it. This is the story of how the Tiny Toons Adventures writers totally misread the appeal of their show. When the people behind the show attempted to write an episode with an anti-drinking message, they thought that the studio would love it, but instead, the bosses refused to air it. We’re not surprised either, as the episode saw the Tiny Toons getting drunk and going on a bender where they stole a cop car, took it for a joyride, and eventually drove it off a cliff. How did they think that would be suitable for children?!
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