There’s no denying that some children’s cartoons look and sound like they were created in a smoky writer’s room. The psychedelic shows seems to have been created in some parallel TV universe where everyone agrees there’s absolutely nothing strange about moving forward with the colorful baby-alien project and giving the purple man a purse. But every now and then, a fan comes up with some sound logic to credit the TV producers with very grown up, lofty reasons behind - for example - centering a TV show around a talking sponge, or to explain why all of the villains in Scooby Doo use such elaborate, high-concept heist schemes (it’s not just to entertain those toddlers with a knack for crime-solving).
The following 6 theories haven't been established as fact, but these fan theories about the shows we all grew up with will almost definitely blow your mind and may well cause you to view your hitherto favourite childhood television memories in a very different light...
6 The Teletubbies are the only 4 survivors in a totalitarian, post-apocalyptic world
What you’ve always remembered as a silly, brightly colored dream world of dancing pixies and golden, giggling baby-suns could actually have been a thinly disguised, incredibly dark Orwellian nightmare set in a post-apocalyptic world.
The first clue: a metallic female voice controls every aspect of their meaningless lives, blasting her commands from a speaker implanted in the ground – when they eat, when they sleep and when they finally say goodbye.
There are several other frightening parallels between Tubbyland and an Orwellian playground – they’re followed around and occasionally disciplined by a tiny mechanical robot named NuNu and they worship and regularly perform strange indoctrination rituals at the appearance of a god-like figure in their world, known only as the Pinwheel. At the end of their rituals, one Teletubby is “chosen” by having the bioelectric screen genetically implanted in their abdomens activated. The “chosen one” then becomes a mouthpiece for the Pinwheel, delivering its messages to the other Teletubbies.
Finally, the “god” that watches over them is an adorable, giggling baby in the Sun. It’s as if the true powers of Tubbyland – a watchful, totalitarian force – strategically disguised themselves to the world as the most benevolent being imaginable.
Perhaps similar to how the creators of The Teletubbies disguised their hellish warning of a totalitarian future as a brightly colored, nonsensical dream world for children?
5 The Rugrats are all dead and Angelica is a lonely delusional toddler
Angelica Pickles was the spoiled rotten bully who tormented her baby cousin and his friends on The Rugrats. But did anyone ever wonder why Angelica was the only one who was able to talk to and understand the babies? One fan theory suggests it's because Tommy, Chuckie, Phil and Lil all died either before they were born or not long after – and the adventurous babies we all grew up with on TV were ghosts, or just figments of a lonely toddler’s imagination.
Let’s look at the clues – Stu Pickles is an obsessive inventor who spends all of his time locked in a basement designing ridiculous toys, perhaps a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder after losing the son he imagined would play with his prototypes. Chuckie’s mother died in a car crash – who’s to say he wasn’t in the car with her? That would also explain his father’s severe chronic anxiety and hyper phobias. Finally, there’s Phil and Lil. The theory goes that there never were any twins – there was just one baby who was either stillborn or miscarried, and Angelica never knew if it was a boy or a girl. In order to cover all her bases, she invented two imaginary babies, one of each gender.
But why would she create these imaginary friends, just to treat them like doormats and her personal slaves? Maybe because she needs an outlet to vent her frustrations about a workaholic mom who never has any time for her and a father who tries to buy her love without ever showing any real affection. Her only “friend” in the real world is her beloved Cynthia doll.
4 Doug Funnie is a crazy racist
Ever wondered why the world of Doug has a uniquely colorful palette of characters? Some fans believe it’s because Doug Funnie is insane and frantically writes about his life and friends in his journal in the same way someone suffering through a phase of mania would. Additionally, the question of why Doug himself appears to be the only “normal” white kid raised questions about the shows’ creators’ intentions and beliefs about character types most deserving of the spotlight.
One group of dedicated fans who call themselves “Why the F*** Does Doug Only Mack On White Chicks” take the racist undertones of Doug one step further, passionately pointing out that Doug only has eyes for Patti Mayonnaise because she most closely resembles a Caucasian female.
3 The Fresh Prince was murdered in that West Philadelphia basketball game
Everyone knows the story of how Will Smith “got in one little fight and [his] mom got scared” – but some fans believe that rather than send him to live with his Aunt and Uncle in Bel-Air after that basketball court standoff, Mrs. Smith buried her son right there in West Philadelphia.
The odd fan theory goes like this: The ‘rare’ taxi he rides in is actually driven by God, and the mansion in Bel-Air is actually heaven, where Will is finally able to work out all of his issues. His uncle is a wealthy judge guardian angel who teaches him valuable lessons, and he only sees his parents on special occasions, which could be interpreted as the only times they come to visit his grave.
2 Scooby Doo villains are all victims of an economic depression
Those pesky kids and their crime-solving dog who used to travel around in the Mystery Machine always seemed to stumble upon the most decrepit, spooky locations. And there always seemed to be an evil genius just trying to scrape two pennies together behind the mask of the creepy goblin, monster or other supernatural being terrorizing the town that week.
Look at the numbers: There were 27 villains in the original 'Scooby Doo, Where Are You?' series, and 23 of those were after money via theft, smuggling or other illegal methods. 3 of the villains had PhDs in their related fields, 2 were lawyers and nearly every other ‘criminal’ had some super genius ability, such as art forgery and master magician’s illusions. In other words, these aren't drug lords or serial killers – they're hardworking, successful leaders in their fields who are victims of an unforgiving economic depression.
1 SpongeBob is the aftermath of nuclear testing
Set in “Bikini Bottom” and starring a talking sponge, Spongebob Squarepants has spawned some rather unrefined fan theories centered around female sanitation.
But this fan theory tops the list because parts of it have actually been officially confirmed by Nickelodeon. Bikini Bottom isn't a reference to a woman’s bathing suit – the cartoon takes place underneath Bikini Atoll, an actual geographic location where the U.S. detonated several atomic bombs during testing in the 40s. One nuclear explosion occurred underwater, resulting in the famous “mushroom cloud.”
The theory goes that Spongebob and all of his wacky friends, including a spunky squirrel in a spacesuit, a dimwitted starfish, a grumpy squid and others are all mutants resulting from radiation exposure to the nuclear testing. It’s backed up by subtle hints in the show – pay attention any time a character drops something. The mushroom cloud is a favorite effect used by the show’s creators.