Cartoons were a big part of my childhood; they let me escape into a world beyond my own and indulge in adventures I otherwise wouldn't have had. But what if the beloved cartoons you adored as a child actually had a sinister undertone? Would you be able to handle such a disturbing blow to your childhood memories?
Let's find out, as I destroy what’s left of your childhood and give you five of the darkest theories surrounding beloved cartoons.
I know, how could the antics of Tommy Pickles and his friends be anything but adorable and funny? According to one theory, the show you loved growing up was still the product of a child’s vivid imagination—but it was Angelica’s, not Tommy’s.
Does this still seem innocent to you? Well get prepared for a shock as we go through the theories surrounding each Rugrats family, because according to this theory, Angelica is actually the only child alive.
Chucky was apparently killed in a car crash with his mother when he was young, leading his father, Chaz to have a nervous breakdown and constantly be fearing the worst.
Chaz eventually went to Paris, where he met a prostitute named Kira, who allegedly had a baby but it was taken from her by the authorities at birth, as she was suffering from a cocaine addiction. Kira told Angelica about her baby, and Angelica put together an image of her from those, creating Kira in her mind.
The theory goes that Betty and Howard Deville got pregnant in 1990, but decided they did not want a child at this point in their lives and had an abortion. Angelica never knew if the baby was a boy or a girl, so she imagined that they were twins—one of each sex.
Tommy was allegedly stillborn in 1988—a fact his parents could never get over. While Deedee threw herself into reading the childhood psychologist Dr Lipschitz, trying to convince herself she would have been a good mother, Stu Pickles locked himself in his garage building toys his son would never get to play with.
Angelica’s mother had died from an overdose in 1992 after a relapse from her heroin and crack addiction, and also resulting in Angelica having both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Her father spiralled into depression after the death of his wife and married a woman who Angelica identified as her mother, but she would always keep an image of her real mom with her at all times (her doll Cynthia).
According to the theory, Dil Pickles was a real baby, but Angelica couldn’t distinguish between him and her creations, becoming increasingly frustrated when he did not follow her commands. This led to Angelica hitting Dil, causing him to have a brain hemorrhage, and leaving him deformed. As he grew older, his condition became more evident leaving him ridiculed and an outsider.
All Grown Up
Around age thirteen, Angelica started to take LSD which led to her creations coming back to life. Her only friend, Suzie, entertained her creations as she had done when they were younger because she felt that they made Angelica happy. But Angelica’s time was almost up, and at the age of fourteen she died of an overdose.
2. Courage the Cowardly Dog
Courage was an awesome cartoon, innocent enough for parents to deem it appropriate for children to watch, yet dark enough for kids to want to keep watching. But this theory actually sounds plausible: all the horrible creatures that Courage sees are actually people who he doesn't know, so to him they're scary monsters. In addition to this, he does not actually live in the middle of nowhere. In fact, it's just that his owners are elderly so they cannot take him outside, leaving him unaware what lies beyond the house he lives in.
Another fun fact discovered while researching Courage was that The Middle of Nowhere is actually a place in New Mexico, and there actually was an elderly couple who lived in a house in the desert. They would complain about seeing ghostly apparitions, reported strange occurrences, and said they saw a creature they identified as a "skin walker". After reporting what they had saw, the couple disappeared without a trace and only their dog was found.
3. The Smurfs
Oh, how The Smurfs cheered everyone up with their happiness, positivity, and antisemitism.
That’s right, if you believe the rumours, everyone’s favourite little blue people are actually massive racists. Take the pointy white hats that they wear (except for Papa Smurf, who wears a red one) it's strikingly similar to the Ku Klux Klan, whose followers wear white hoods... except for the Grand Wizard, wears a red one.
I can already hear you all telling me how tenuous that link is and I agree—until you add in these other theories. For instance, there's an episode where the Smurfs turn black which results in them becoming barbaric, losing their power of speech, and the political structure in the village basically becomes a dictatorship. And when you look at Gargamel, the arch enemy of the Smurfs, he is not too dissimilar to an anti-Semitic caricature from Nazi propaganda magazine Der Stürmer. He has dark hair, a hooked nose, is obsessed with gold, and his cat Azrael is named after the Hebrew Angel of Death.
Oh, and Smurfette is as Aryan as they come.
4. The Fairly Oddparents
The Fairly Odd Parents was always a little bit strange, but fun nonetheless. Timmy Turner has two pet fish who turn into his Fairy God Parents to grant his wishes. But what if I told you this is a young boy’s escape from the abuse he suffers in his real life?
The theory goes that the pet fish were gifts from his godparents, and when they died in a car crash, he finds comfort in imagining that they are there to watch over him. His babysitter slaps him around, but he isn’t brave enough to report her. Mr, Crocker, his teacher, has made sexual advances on young Timmy for years, hence the delusion that he is desperate to steal Timmy’s ‘fairies'. The fairies represent his innocence, joy, hope, and good wishes for the future.
5. Toy Story 3
What could be bad about Toy Story 3? How about it being a metaphor for the Holocaust? Don’t believe me? Well, read on because the theory goes that these toys were left behind just as host nations left behind the Jews while the Third Reich conquered Europe.
Woody holds a meeting where the assembled toy family discusses possible outcomes for their new position in the world, which is similar to a scene from Roman Polanski’s Holocaust drama The Pianist (2002). Buzz Lightyear even suggests sanctuary in an attic.
The toys are forced into a garbage bag, similar to a cattle car. The toys aren't exterminated, but they do end up at Sunnyside where they're forced "to work". At Sunnyside, toys who live are fed and sheltered, but others are lead to certain death in the trash chute. Our heroes are saved at the last minute, of course, and find themselves a new homeland. It's a place where many of their kind already live and have an established foothold, and it would appear that security, finally, is at hand if they are vigilant.
That's all the destroying of your childhoods as I can manage for one article, but what do you think? Let me know in the comments... oh, and don’t forget to share to ruin other people’s lives too.
Jan Siery is a husband, dad of two kids, two cats, and a dog, and is an all-around nerd. He likes gaming, horror movies, dark and disturbing stuff, Twinkies, and people telling him things.
Follow Jan on Twitter: @jansiery