9 Beloved Childhood Shows You Could Only Watch At Your Friend's House

For as long as animated shows have existed, there have been sneaky adult jokes thrown into them. We all heard and saw our fair share of dirty jokes in '90s cartoons, for instance, but didn't quite grasp the meaning of. I specifically remember being a 4-year-old watching Ren and Stimpy with my 15-year-old sister as she cracked up and I hid my face in a couch pillow in a hybrid of horror and disgust. Some shows (like Ren and Stimpy) were so full of adult jokes and odd humor that parents refused to allow their children to watch such shows. And, in particular, Nickelodeon shows your parents wouldn't let you watch were all the rage.

These were the shows we feasted our eyes upon only when the parents were away from home and we could fool the teenaged babysitter into thinking we were allowed to actually watch. Or the ones we watched when Mom was at work, Dad was mowing the lawn, and no siblings were around to spill the beans. The shows which gave us nightmares so bad we would wake up crying, and yet we continued. Because how else can you have a proper morning recess without a quick update with your peers on the latest antics of the Animaniacs?

1. Ren And Stimpy


I really, really hate Ren and Stimpy. Just looking at images of it gave me a queasy feeling. Ren is clearly a psychopath, and children should really not be viewing the nonsense he throws down. Parents, I agree with you on this one.

2. Are You Afraid Of The Dark?

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Now, some kids could handle this one, but many (cough, cough me) were terrified just during the opening credits with that creepy swing. For those kids, it was wise to pull the switch.

3. Rocko's Modern Life


There is an episode of this show in which Rocko becomes a phone sex worker. 'Nuff said. (Though for some reason, my parents loved this show.)

4. Spongebob Squarepants


Though best known as a show of the 2000s, Spongebob and company first hit the scene in 1999. Some parents didn't approve of the fast-paced style of the show, which according to a study, negatively affected children's attention spans.

5. Invader Zim


Like Spongebob, this show was a 2000s show, but still held that same '90s vibe. The main character, Zim, was a mean alien jerk who was trying to destroy the world. He hated all things good and loved destruction. Not exactly spreading family values there.

6. Angry Beavers


The Beaverton brothers seriously needed to chill out. People were furious with Nickelodeon, specifically this show, when Norbert exclaimed to his brother Daggett, "Oh, shut up!" It soon lost the favor of many parents. I mean, everyone knows shut up is a bad word.

7. Rocket Power


While being very athletic is great and all, the kids of Rocket Power cared very little for book learnin' and often made fun of the one member of the team, Squid, who actually cared about something besides skateboards. This is not the way to endear yourself to parents, Rocket Power.

8. Clarissa Explains It All


A dude would just climb in and out of Clarissa's room without so much as a whimper from her parents. It doesn't matter that cutie patootie Sam Anders (Sean O' Neal) was just her friend. That stuff is borderline inappropriate.

9. Hey Dude


Did the dude ranch owner, Ben (David Brisbin), have the proper paperwork to employ all those teenagers? One has to be concerned that he's taking advantage of those children, which is something no parent would be in favor of.

It's very interesting to see what sorts of content was shown to children in the '90s and 2000s. No wonder we all grew up so fast. Here's to the parents who screened their children from content they deemed inappropriate. And kudos to the parents who let their kids watch whatever, because, if it weren't for those parents, no one would have been able to watch Rocko's Modern Life at their friend's houses on sleepover night.

Images: Nickelodeon Animation Studio; Giphy