8 Children's Characters From The '90s That Weren't Suitable For Children
We weren't always the best judge of character in the '90s. And the '90s gave birth to some iconic children's characters that aren't appropriate for children. Of course, what's appropriate for children is subjective. There are obviously people at the far end of the spectrum who think children should be protected from any kind of reality, and then people who think children should be allowed to learn about the world in all its gory reality. But when it comes to film and TV, there are some characters I think we can universally agree don't sit quite right. And some of them were a part of your favorite childhood memories, which makes it even weirder.
From homicidal maniacs to male characters whose defining characteristic was "sexually harasses women," the '90s were a minefield for characters that children maybe should not have been subjected to. And it's only now when we look back on the '90s that we can see the trouble with some of the movies and shows we loved so much. When we were kids, it might not have seemed so weird. But now it seems downright bizarre that our parents ever allowed us to see some of the stuff they let us see. Again, the '90s were a simple, weird time, for both parents and children. Here are some children's characters from the '90s that weren't suitable for children.
1. Fred From Drop Dead Fred (1991)
Fred (Rik Myall) wasn't just one of the most unsuitable children's characters of the '90s, he's one of the most unsuitable children's characters EVER. If you re-watch Drop Dead Fred as an adult you will be mortified that your tiny little kid brain was ever exposed to such a monstrosity. Fred is Lizzie's (Phoebe Cates) imaginary childhood friend who comes back to visit her as an adult, and he basically spends the whole movie either trying to kill himself or look up women's skirts. It's truly disturbing and quite possibly responsible for a lot of issues '90s children have with death, sex, and imaginary friends.
2. Mrs. Doubtfire from Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Mrs. Doubtfire obviously meant well, but imagine if your dad was dressed in a disguise and just creeping around your house. It's not weird because it's a man dressed as a woman, but because the logic behind him sneaking in negates the whole idea of consent — i.e., asking someone to leave your house, but then they trick their way back in without you even knowing. It's some really odd morality to expose kids to.
3. Rocko from Rocko's Modern Life (1993-6)
Rocko showed a bleak and at times far too aggressive outlook on adulthood. Plus, he was a sex phone line operator, which isn't exactly kid friendly.
4. Johnny Bravo from Johnny Bravo (1997-2004)
I have a soft spot for Johnny Bravo. I think even as a teen I thought he was the exact kind of guy I could "change". Which is probably the biggest problem with Johnny Bravo. He was a vain, misogynist pig that treated women like sex objects, and as children and young women in the '90s, we still thought he was cute (for a cartoon character). Johnny Bravo was our Pepé Le Pew.
5. Mr. Wood from Night Of The Living Dummy (1993)
Look, more of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps probably wasn't suitable for children, but they were children's books that children read regardless. I was seven years old when I read about the ventriloquist doll come to life, Mr. Wood, in Night Of The Living Dummy, and it was far to early for me (and every other cowardly child out there). I subsequently couldn't sleep alone in my room for weeks out of fear, and my parents banned me from reading Goosebumps. Mr. Wood still haunts me now.
6. Jareth The Goblin King From Labyrinth (1986)
Labyrinth was released in 1986 but I'm including it here because all kids in the '90s grew up watching it — questionably. David Bowie's character, Jareth the Goblin King, was kind of a pedophile, and his weird sexual crush on a teenage Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) was 100 percent not suitable for children. An adult man's romantic interest in a teenage girl (goblin king or not) is definitely inappropriate viewing for kids.
7. General Woundwort From Watership Down (1999-2001)
Watership Down was a children's movie made in 1978 (adapted from a book by the same name), and it made its way to television in the late '90s as a kids cartoon series. But as it was in the '70s, the "bad guy" rabbit, General Woundwort was the most terrifying character on earth. If you haven't seen it, imagine a murderous, crazed rabbit with red eyes and bloody fangs. He was a cold blooded killer. Far too horrifying and bloodthirsty for children, especially wimpy kids like me.
8. Verminous Skumm From Captain Planet And The Planeteers (1990-6)
Lord Skumm was a giant rat, and like all Captain Planet's villains, was hell bent of wreaking havoc on the earth's environment. But Skumm took it to a twisted new level with themes that probably weren't all that suitable for children, like drugs and suicide. A little bit too dark for the kiddies.