Kid’s television shows are supposed to be funny, adorable, and full of good, wholesome life lessons. They star cute, relatable characters, or cartoon animals who make you wish your pets could talk too. They’re made for kids, after all – they’re supposed to be light-hearted and sweet. And for the most part, they are. But every kid’s show has it’s more *mature* moments, like sexual jokes that fly under the radar until you get older and realize, or innuendos about things that might not be totally appropriate for little kids. And, of course, there are the dark episodes, the ones where something legitimately scary happens, the ones that leave you slightly traumatized.
These dark episodes might be creepy when you’re a kid, leaving you feeling a little unsettled, but they’re even worse when you’re older and truly understand what they mean. On the one hand, it’s good that kids are being exposed to this stuff in a friendly way. On the other hand, it’s disturbing to see lovable cartoons be part of such terrifying stories. In one recent Ask Reddit thread, users talked about the darkest episodes of kid’s shows that they’ve ever seen, and some of them are seriously disturbed. Check them out and leave your own thoughts in the comments below!
Hey Arnold - Helga On The CouchWhen you think back on it, there were a lot of things about Hey Arnold that were kind of creepy and disturbing. But one of the darkest episodes had to be the one where we learn why Helga is the way she is. User PAKMan1988 said, "'Helga on the Couch' from Hey Arnold. The episode that reveals that Helga was pretty much neglected and ignored by her parents from day one and that, despite the tough exterior, she was actually really vulnerable because she really was never loved by anyone." It was the most real, and it was something a lot of kids could, unfortunately, probably relate to.
Courage The Cowardly Dog - Remembrance Of Courage PastI've never watched Courage The Cowardly Dog because I've heard that, in general, the show is creepy and weirdly disturbing in a lot of ways, and that's not really my thing. I prefer my cartoons to be happy and fun! But a user who has since deleted their profile said, "Imo the darkest Courage episode was when Courage was forced to remember his parents disappearing during his infancy. Courage was taken to a veterinarian to have his head removed from a gatepost. But the doctor intended to send Courage's parents into space as an experiment. Courage tried to save them, but he failed and was separated from his parents. Courage was so traumatized by that incident that even a missing dog's image on a milk carton made him shut down. Muriel and Eustace took Courage back to the same veterinarian, who intended to send Courage (and later the two humans) into space as well. Courage managed to free himself and the two humans, and forced the veterinarian onto the rocket instead. The vet then ended up on a planet, where he was mercilessly killed by all of the dogs he sent into space." Creepy!
Invader Zim - Dark HarvestI've never watched Invader Zim either, so I can't comment personally on this, but... user 101989763 said, "The episode of Invader Zim when Zim harvested the organs of his classmates. F***** me up for a while." Definitely sounds like something that would traumatize someone!
Different Strokes - The Bicycle ManDifferent Strokes might not have been strictly a kids show, but kids watched it, and the below episode was definitely really dark. User DarrenEdwards said, "Anyone else remember the episode of Different Strokes where the kids love to play at the pedophiles house? He does the spilled paint move on a boy and gets him to take his shirt off." On the one hand, it's good for kids to see this stuff so they get scared and try to avoid it. On the other hand, it's just... terrifying.
The Fairly Odd Parents - It's A Wishful LifeSome of the darkest episodes aren't just creepy, they're also really sad. Take, for example, this episode from The Fairly Odd Parents. User Ninclemdo said, "That one episode of Fairly Odd Parents where he sees that everyone's life would be better off if he had never been born."
My Life As A Teenage Robot - Return of The Raggedy AndroidThis is another show I've never watched, but the description sounds pretty terrifying. User titty_jumbalaya said, "Season 1 episode 7 Return of the Raggedy Android from My Life as a Teenage Robot. Available on HULU. The robot gets a fake skin to make her look more real. However it gains sentience and is terrifying!!! My daughter loves that show and watches horror movies like Nightmare on Elm Street with no problems. That shit terrified her and she specifically calls out not wanting to watch that episode still 8 months later."
Spongebob Squarepants - Nasty PattyLet's be real - when didn't something creepy happen on this show? User ooo-ooo-oooyea said, "There is an episode of Sponge Bob Squarepants where the Krusty Krab fails their health code inspection so they murder the inspector and spend the episode trying to hide the body."
The Magic School Bus - Gets Lost In SpaceAnd sometimes, dark episodes are a little more subtle - like this one. User mh3ubernard said, "That episode of The Magic Schoolbus where Arnold took his helmet off on Pluto to prove a point to his obnoxious cousin. Literally watched Arnold commit what should have been suicide in front of his teacher and classmates."
Winnie The Pooh - Heffalumps and WoozlesOther times, the darkest episodes come from a cartoon that was probably supposed to be kind of funny and strange, but ends up seeming really twisted. Like this episode of Winnie The Pooh. User brcnz said, "That awful f****** hefalumps and woozles or whatever the f*** they are scene in Winnie the Pooh. Scared the literal shit out of me as a child."
Danny Phantom - Dark DannySometimes that creepy feeling comes from an episode that is trying to teach a lesson. User Ferenik said, "The Danny Phantom episode where he goes to the future and learns that he killed his parents with his powers accidentally and went insane and becomes the biggest threat to the world. That was super dark."
Adventure Time - Bad TimingCartoons can make scary moments seem innocent, but sometimes it just doesn't work. User dlgn13 said, "The Adventure Time episode where LSP murders her boyfriend because she thinks he's cheating on her by going to a business meeting, then erases her memory of him."
iCarly - iPear Storerecaotcha said, "There's an episode of Icarly where Carly almost gets raped, a.k.a Kissed which is the kid com equivalent of sex. The episode is called iPear store, I started it from here so you can see how the guy presented himself to Carly, but the actual scene starts here. It's played for laughs, but at the end of the episode Carly gets chased around the apartment because the guy wants to 'kiss her'. Carly invites a cute but nerdy guy called Trey to the apartment where they are completely alone. As soon as she leaves the room nerdy guy starts preparing the room until it looks like a lair, he's lost the glasses and put on a douchey tee shirt. Carly comes back and he informs her she's got an all access pass to club Trey, then tries to kiss her. Carly refuses but he doesn't take no for an answer. He starts chasing Carly around the apartment, trying to force Carly to kiss him. Luckily Spencer is downstairs and rightfully kicks the guy's ass. Also, Carly goes out of her way to show Trey that she's interested in 'the nerdy boy' she thought he was (thus showing that she's working past her All Girls Want Bad Boys phase). What takes this into bad territory is the fact that if he just wanted to, Trey could have made out with Carly just by not dropping character... so everything Trey did shows that he'd planned to take advantage of her all along. Even worse - he's definitely done this before with other girls - and some of them certainly didn't have anyone there to save them.
Which one of these episodes do you think is the most disturbing? What did we forget to include? Tell us in the comments!