When nostalgia hits, it’s helpful to look back at some of our old favorite TV shows that kept us entertained as children. That always makes us feel better when the pressures of adulting become too much and we need an escape. The only problem is watching and analyzing these shows as adults has consequences. When we watch shows like Rugrats and Dexter’s Laboratory in a different light, we tend to discover dark things about them.
Along with that, there are a number of fan theories surrounding popular shows from our childhoods that suck all the happiness out of them. If the theories have any truth to them, then we really have been deceived.
Check out these 20 facts about kids TV shows that'll ruin your childhood.
20 Rugrats Features WW2 Imagery
For many people, Rugrats is a happy place that helps them escape from the harsh realities of the world. But as it turns out, the show isn’t totally free from politics. Tommy’s maternal grandfather, Grandpa Boris, is Jewish and portrayed in a similar problematic way to how Jews were portrayed during WWII: with big ears and a huge nose.
19 The Simpsons Explores How Being Intelligent Leads To Unhappiness
In one episode of The Simpsons, Lisa shows the correlation between happiness and intelligence using one of her graphs. “As intelligence goes up, happiness goes down,” she explains. After Homer becomes intelligent following a mishap with a crayon, he chooses to return to his old ignorant life. That’s a pretty bleak message to send to the smart cookies out there.
18 The Original Voice Of Elmo Resigned After Allegations Were Made Against Him
Elmo from Sesame Street was a staple in the childhoods of most children across the country, but unfortunately, the character is connected to some less than pleasant business. Kevin Clash, the longtime puppeteer and voice of the furry red monster, resigned after allegations were made against him regarding inappropriate behavior.
17 Ed, Edd N Eddy May Take Place In Purgatory
Fan theories are certainly intriguing, but more often than not, they ruin our childhoods by tainting our favorite shows with their dark ideas. One theory regarding Ed, Edd n Eddy suggests that the show doesn’t take place on earth at all but in purgatory. This is why the kids, who supposedly come from different eras, don’t go to school.
16 Some People Think The Powerpuff Girls Are Really Just One Girl
Everybody knows that there are three Powerpuff girls. Except, what if there’s only just one? One fan theory claims that the three girls are really the split personality of a woman called Brenda. She doesn’t actually have superpowers, and the professor is just her dad. The brightness of the show really resembles a psychotic fever dream.
15 And That Dexter Is On The Spectrum
Another fan theory that’s sure to ruin your childhood? Dexter isn’t really a boy genius. Instead, he’s autistic, and the world we see is all in his head. This is intended to explain why Dexter has a vaguely European accent and how a twelve-year-old could have a functioning secret science lab.
14 Some Believe That Dee-Dee Isn’t Really Dexter’s Sister
Those who believe that there’s more to Dexter’s Laboratory than meets the eye have also bought into the suggestion that Dee-Dee isn’t actually his sister. The theory goes that she’s his time-traveling daughter who has gone back in time to stop her father’s scientific progress before he invents a device that changes the world forever.
13 Scooby-Doo Could Take Place During An Economic Depression
Some Scooby-Doo fans speculate that the show takes place during an intense economic depression. This is why the criminals the gang catches tend to be everyday people who have had no choice but to turn to crime. They lose their jobs as scientists and small business owners and must become villains to survive.
12 Teen Titans Displays The Remains Of The Last Robin
When looking back at the old TV shows we used to watch, we often come across things we didn’t notice as children. Take Teen Titans, for example. We bet you never noticed that Robin keeps an array of mementos at the Titans’ base and one of these contains the remains of the previous Robin.
11 Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends Has Sad Origins
Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends isn’t a dark show, but it does have sad origins. Cartoonist adopted two dogs from an animal shelter, which led him to imagine the lives of neglected pets before they find their forever homes. This is the inspiration behind the show, which features imaginary friends instead of animals.
10 IRL, Wile E. Coyote Would Have Eaten The Road Runner
Anybody who is familiar with the Looney Tunes knows that the Road Runner is always fast enough and smart enough to escape from Wile E. Coyote. So it’s depressing to learn that, in real life, coyotes are faster than road runners. Without all those clever ideas that the Road Runner has, the real-life versions don’t stand a chance.
9 The Voice Actor For Caillou Lost Her Life At A Young Age
There were several actors who provided their voice talents to the popular children’s show Caillou. Unfortunately, the second actor to voice the title character, Jaclyn Linetsky, lost her life in a car accident in Quebec when she was just 17 years old. She was on her way to film scenes for another TV show when she had the accident.
8 The Rugrats May Be Made Up
The worst fan theory surrounding the Rugrats babies claims that they’re all just figments of Angelica’s imagination. This explains why Chuckie’s dad is so sad and why Tommy’s dad is obsessed with making toys—they are coping with the deaths of their sons. Angelica imagines that the babies are still alive to help herself cope.
7 The Kids Of Recess May Be Ghosts
Speaking of children who seem to be alive but aren’t, the kids of Recess may actually be ghosts, according to one dark fan theory we wish we’d never heard. It suggests that they were killed near the school playground from the year 1928 and continue to haunt the school rather than move on.
6 Hey Arnold! May Be A Show About Unhealthy Romantic Obsession
It’s no secret to fans of Hey Arnold! that Helga is secretly in love with Arnold, whom she’s mean to as a cover. But some fans believe that the actual show is completely about this unhealthy obsession that she has and really has nothing to do with Arnold’s life other than in relation to her.
5 Curious George Isn’t Actually A Monkey
Prepare to have your mind blown! Curious George, everybody’s favorite monkey, isn’t actually a monkey. Due to the fact that George isn’t depicted with a tail, many fans believe that he’s actually a chimpanzee. And contrary to popular belief, chimps aren’t monkeys. Along with gorillas, orangutans, and humans, chimps are great apes.
4 The Teletubbies Set Has Been Torn Down
It’s always sad to find out that something from your childhood no longer exists. The original Teletubbies set is one of those things since it is now the site of a large pond and totally unrecognizable to those who used to watch the show. At least we have the memories!
3 Johnny Test May Be Johnny Bravo’s Son
With his attempts to pick up girls every chance he gets, Johnny Bravo isn’t the most endearing character on Cartoon Network. We’d like to think that he’ll never reproduce, but according to one fan theory, that might have already happened. Some believe that Johnny Test is actually the son of Johnny Bravo, due to the way he acts and looks.
2 The Amazing World Of Gumball Has A Few Adult References
The occasional adult joke finds its way into The Amazing World of Gumball. An example is when Gumball causes a break up between Alan and Carmen, who are a balloon and a cactus, respectively. Alan tells Gumball that he doesn’t have the strength to inflate, and Gumball has to blow to help him. Interpret that information however you like.
1 The Flintstones Might Not Actually Take Place In The Past
One of the most shocking fan theories is that the Flintstones, everybody’s favorite stone-age family, don’t actually live in the past. Some claim that the show takes place in the near future in a post-apocalyptic version of Earth. The Flintstones allegedly live in the same era as the Jetsons, which explains why the two families meet.
References: Factinate, Screen Rant, CBR