Nickelodeon was a network that many children grew up with back in the early 2000s. While it was always beaten by the competition of Disney Channel, many 20-somethings currently have some great memories of Nickelodeon from “back in the day.”
Shows like SpongeBob Squarepants, iCarly, Rugrats, Drake and Josh and even Victorious put Nickelodeon on the map and have seen the channel continue to grow over the past few years, to the point where it was once able to compete with Disney Channel when kids were trying to find the best shows to watch.
That being said, the current generation has developed an obsession with looking back at TV shows and picking up on some of the most inappropriate things that were ever broadcast and then sharing them on social media. People love to see the things that they missed when they were too childish to understand them.
As children, many jokes went over our heads, but when watched back as adults, you realize that there were some rather awkward jokes in a number of TV shows that perhaps weren’t appropriate for the target audience. The following list looks at 15 of the most uncomfortable moments in Nickelodeon TV shows.
15. What Was SpongeBob Watching?
SpongeBob Squarepants is perhaps the most famous show that Nickelodeon has ever broadcast. The show itself has generated more than $12 billion in merchandise revenue for Nickelodeon since it debuted back in 1999, and it is considered to be the highest-rated franchise to ever air on the channel, but the show hasn’t been without its critics.
There have been a number of questionable scenes in SpongeBob over the past few years where it is obvious that the writers thought they would get away with making an adult joke. The above gif shows SpongeBob watching something on the TV before Gary comes in and disturbs him and makes it quite obvious that he wasn’t watching something that was appropriate for family viewing. This was obviously a joke about the way men react when they are disturbed while watching adult content, but it was perhaps only something that adults picked up on.
14. What Was Rocko’s New Job?
Rocko’s Modern Life is perhaps one of the forgotten Nickelodeon shows of the 1990s. Despite it not being a huge success, it is thought that many of the stars of the show later moved on to help work on SpongeBob Squarepants instead.
The show follows an immigrant wallaby called Rocko, and during this specific episode, Rocko gets a new job. The problem is that his new job comes with some strange guidelines. Obviously, much younger viewers wouldn’t have picked up on the fact that Rocko’s new job might involve some questionable behavior. No wonder the show wasn’t renewed after 1996 if this was the way the writers thought that they could slip in adult content. As already stated, this was another moment that adults felt uncomfortable letting their children watch.
13. Rugrats’ Form Of Male Bonding
Rugrats was well-known for slipping in a number of adult jokes throughout their show, but some of them were definitely pushing the boundaries. Since Rugrats was aimed at children, there was no reason why any of these jokes were necessary, but it is a shock that they were able to get away with them.
During this episode, Phil and Lil’s dad told the twins that he was going away to do some male bonding, before pushing his two fingers together as seen above, giving the sentence take a dark turn. Not only was this obviously a sly s*xual joke, Phil and Lil’s father was actually telling this joke to his kids. Apparently it’s okay to tell jokes like that to children. That’s wrong Rugrats. Shame on you!
12. iCarly Is No Longer Subtle
When iCarly premiered on Nickelodeon in 2007, it was obvious that it was a show that wasn’t made for children. The channel had prided itself on cartoon based shows in the years before, but iCarly basically picked up where Drake and Josh left off.
iCarly was a show that was aimed at teenagers and with this branding, it was able to get away with a number of cringe-worthy situations where the audience was well aware of what the real meaning behind the subtext really was. The above video shows another case of innuendo in iCarly, where it is obvious that Carly and Freddie are playing out the actions of a completely different exercise, even though they are making it seem as though Carly is being lifted. The show was full of these kinds of jokes.
11. Making Sly References
Victorious is remembered as the show that made Victoria Justice, as well as introducing a shy red-haired Ariana Grande to the world for the first time. The show became a hit for Nickelodeon almost overnight, and this could have easily been because of the jokes that the writers were able to conceal in a number of episodes.
There were a number of quips that Jade made in Victorious, but this was perhaps one of her most tame. In these gifs, Jade is obviously no longer talking about her grades. While slightly inappropriate, it was subtle enough to go unnoticed by those watching.
10. Sam And Cat’s Unique Method Of CPR
Sam and Cat was a show that first aired on Nickelodeon in 2014 and was a crossover between both iCarly and Victorious, since it starred Cat Valentine and Sam Puckett. The show only ran for one season and followed the lives of the two girls from different backgrounds who became roommates.
This show also pushed the boundaries when it came to inappropriate jokes, and it had its own fair share of uncomfortable moments. Sam and Cat were never the smartest ones in their friendship group, so during an episode when a man collapsed wasn’t breathing, the two girls attempted to administer CPR with Cat bouncing up and down on his chest and Sam lifting his legs up and down. That wasn’t the way we were taught, and it just looked like it was suggesting something else entirely.
9. Josh’s Nan Shares Too Much
Drake and Josh is thought to have been one of the best teen shows of the early 2000s, and one of the reasons for this was because it handled some of the tough situations that came with growing up, and managed to make them part of their storylines.
One thing that didn’t mesh in very well with the show was the fact that Josh’s grandmother decided to share way too much information about her personal life. During one episode, Josh’s nan was playing video games with him, when she told him that when she was his age, she was going out with band members. Josh stated that he didn’t want to know about his grandma going out with dozens of musicians, to which she replied: “Then I shouldn’t tell you what I did last weekend, but I will say, it’s a good thing I have this new hip.” Thanks, grandma, that was an image no one needed in their head!
8. SpongeBob Tells Gary Not To Drop The Soap
SpongeBob Squarepants and Rugrats were littered with adult references, but they are still two of the best-loved children’s shows of all time. Despite the fact that the writers liked to add witty adult puns to the shows, they were still loved by both parents and children alike for a number of years.
Another example of the show’s often risqué humour was when SpongeBob found two bars of soap and handed them over to Gary before telling him “don’t drop them.” This show had plenty of sly s*exual jokes that went right over kids’ heads.
7. Helga’s Obsession With Arnold
Hey Arnold! was a much loved Nickelodeon TV series from the late 1990s that many children would come home from school to catch on TV, but they would never have picked up on the obvious s*xual tension between Helga and Arnold.
Helga Pataki stated a number of times throughout the show that she hated Arnold, before later confessing that she was also in love with him. In one of the most awkward scenes of the entire show, Helga once confessed in a poem that Arnold actually made her “girlhood tremble.” It was an obvious joke that went over the heads of many of the younger viewers of the show, but many parents would have looked at each other in disgust as they wondered how a joke of its kind was allowed on a kid’s show.
6. That Kiss
In Sam and Cat, it was clear that the writers were trying to ensure that there were the usual “Tumblr shippers” of the couple. Even though Sam and Cat themselves were obviously not gay, the show did everything it could to ensure that the “shippers” of the duo always got what they wanted.
This obviously led to one of the most awkward and uncomfortable scenes for both the viewers and perhaps the actresses. It is obvious that fan fiction was probably written about this moment. It was a scene that ruined the context of the show, but obviously cannot be changed now.
5. Fifty Shades Of Grey Reference?
Is there anyone left in the world that doesn’t know what Fifty Shades of Grey is? Just when you thought that there were children who were too young to understand the hype, it seems that references to it have also managed to make their way into kid’s TV shows as well.
iCarly decided it was okay to air a scene in which an 8-year-old boy was reading a book called Nifty Shades of Beige. This is obviously making a reference to the worldwide phenomenon that many children watching the show are too young to know about. Gosh, Dan Schnieder, can’t you let these children keep their innocence for a few more years before their innocent eyes are exposed to the world of Christian Grey and his famous red room?
4. Fairly OddParents
Fairly OddParents was a TV show that debuted in 2001 and has shockingly continued to be renewed over the past 16 years. Over the past few years, this show has seen some awkward moments. This gif illustrates one of its more risqué jokes. There could have been a hundred reasons why Timmy would want to take paper towels up to his room, but the most obvious joke probably went over most kids’ heads. The look on Timmy’s face definitely shows how inappropriate this joke was.
3. Jokes About Two Girls
iCarly was aimed at teenagers and so it was able to get away with much more than many of the other shows on the channel at the time. One joke that was considered hard to sit through was when Carly hinted that Sam was into girls. At the beginning of the episode, Carly stated that Sam likes whipped cream, before later stating that her friend Dana who had just been released from juvie, was someone who would eat whipped cream. Needless to say, Dana was painted as the typical butch female friend throughout the episode, and the show did everything it could to point out the obvious to its audience without actually stating it.
2. Another Risky Rugrats Joke
Wow. Rugrats really pushed boundaries with this one. It is unknown when it became acceptable to make jokes like this in children’s TV shows, but it seems that Rugrats decided that this was something they were going to fight for.
The scene above was taken from the Rugrats Movie. The baby is making a joke that is obvious to adults, but pretty innocuous for kids. Rugrats was always a show that snuck in some adult jokes, but it seems that this one went a step too far, since many people cringed when this scene originally aired.
1. Jade Apparently Likes Scissors
Jade was always one of the most unique and often controversial characters on Victorious. She had a way of always ensuring that her character stood out, and was one of the most talked about women when the show finally ended. In one episode, Jade even has the messenger name of “ScissorLuv” before she revealed to the gang that her favourite film was The Scissoring. It was hard not to feel awkward when hearing these jokes. Thanks, Jade, for forcing us all to grow up and learn all about your innuendos long before any of us were actually ready to.
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