Ren and Stimpy
If you're going to try and explain this show to kids, first you need to teach them what an acid trip is. Then you need to teach them what a bad acid trip is. Then you need to explain what too many bad acid trips will do to your brain: make you a successful animator. "Ren and Stimpy" was on the tail end of Snick (its closing credits were my last chance to get a good night's sleep before "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" scared the shit out of me) but it was often times more disturbing than the spooky stories it preceded. Characters would frequently go completely insane, usually turning psychotically violent. There were disgusting insert shots that highlighted parts of the body I didn't know could grow hair/leak mucus. Also, tons of butts all over the place constantly. Freud would be at a loss. I'm amazed most of my generation didn't wind up in therapy or on drugs until I remember that everyone I know is either in therapy or on drugs.
Batman: The Animated Series
The Joker tries to kill three people on live Christmas eve television. The Scarecrow unleashes hallucinogenic gas that forces Batman to deal with lingering guilt of his parents' death. Those are two of the first episodes. Other things in the first ten episodes: Some runaway kids are living in the sewer after turning to a life of crime to survive. A dude is capturing the many homeless people of Gotham and putting them in labor camps where he works them to death. That is kind of heavy stuff for Saturday morning. What ever happened to bad guys just robbing a bank? I understand that rounding up the numerous homeless people to work for no wages is another a way to get rich, and a more realistic one at that, but it's also kind of a bummer. This whole show was kind of a bummer. Even when Batman wins, we all lose because we live in such a dark and broken world. Thanks for the lesson in life, Batman! Almost got to enjoy my childhood without trying to get a grip on difficult socioeconomic/class issues.
Rocko's Modern Life
Had to do a refresher course on this show before including it on this list. I remembered it was weird, but couldn't come up with any specifics. After watching 3 minutes of an episode, here's what happened: Heffer was looking for something to watch on TV, mindlessly flipping through channels, when you hear a news reporter say the presidential motorcade has arrived followed by screams and gunfire. Heffer changes the channel and complains that there is nothing on TV when the President OBVIOUSLY just got assassinated! LOL! It's hilarious, get it? You know, for kids. Then he lands on a home shopping network called Labot-o-Shop, a zany reference to one of the most inhumane surgeries ever performed. Rocko's life may have been a little too modern for kids, dealing with issues like capitalism and a consumer's insatiable greed. I remember an episode where Rocko gets into massive credit card debt and another one where he gets hired as a phone sex worker. Maybe Rocko should've lived in the 50's, but then the show would just be about racists and the Communist threat.
There's nothing wrong with cross dressing. If you want to wear clothes that aren't conventional for your gender, that's fine. Gender, sex and sexuality are all very complex things and maybe there's no right age to learn about that. HOWEVER: if you are a guy dressing up like a lady to trick a stuttering hick with a shotgun into doing or not doing something, you are asking for trouble. Plain and simple. Teaching anyone anything else is just irresponsible. Beyond that, there's a skunk who's basically a rapist and a mouse from Mexico that's so blatantly offensive he's been removed from the re-runs. Also, I can't think of another show with so many characters who just hated each other for practically no reason. "Hey, I hate you and I'm going to chase you down until I kill you!" seems like a rational approach towards people who are different from you. Let's impart that on the future generations.
The Little Mermaid
Everyone knows about the boner the priest gets at the end of this movie, right? We all know about it. It's weird. It's right there at the end of the movie, and once you know what you're looking for you can't miss it. Also, the penis drawn on the cover of the VHS. While this stuff is very weird and super creepy of Disney, those dicks are things you discover as an adult and not the real reason kids shouldn't see this movie. Ariel is a SIXTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL WHEN SHE GETS MARRIED. Let me just run that back one more time. Sixteen. Teaching girls they can grow up to be a princess two times over (she was already royalty and then married a prince) is unreasonable, but it's also unlikely. Teaching them they can get married at 16, to an 18 year old boy, is unreasonable but it's also extremely doable. Kids are dumb! Basically the dumbest, second only to grad students. Let's just teach girls to run around in bikinis at age 16 until they find a nice senior in high school to lock down. What could go wrong? BRB, going to watch 10 episodes of "16 and Pregnant" on my DVR.