Over the last few months, the propriety of classic comedy Friends (1994-2004) has been called into question, with new viewers commenting on the show’s treatment of topics like gender, race, and, of course, sex. Call it a sign of the times (or, more accurately, much ado about nothing), but using a contemporary lens to judge a show that didn’t even start airing in the 21st century is about as smart as judging a fish for its ability to jog. While it is entirely valid that some elements of yesteryear’s entertainment won’t be to everyone’s liking in the here and now, that’s to be expected—they weren’t made for the here and now.
Amusingly, amidst the predilection for modern audiences to find reasons to be offended (and the resultant “cancel culture” they’ve engendered), there are just as many things that they’ve inexplicably chosen to ignore.
In this 8List, we’ll be taking a look at 8 NSFW instances from classic family films and shows. We won’t be including animation errors, in-jokes, or scenes from films designed to shock – this list is about deliberately-scripted and performed scenes that were front and center in some of the most beloved titles all time.
THAT’S A MOUTHFUL
E.T. – The Extraterrestrial (1982)
A modern classic, iconic director Steven Spielberg’s E.T. was praised for its handling of children; these weren’t the sing-song Hollywood kids of decades past (most live-action Disney productions), nor were they the caricatures from more recent fare (such as 1976’s The Bad News Bears). The film’s naturalist approach to the children is clear when, in an early dinner scene, hero Elliot (Henry Thomas) calls his brother, “penis breath” in a moment of anger. Regardless of whose genitalia may (or may not) have crossed Eliot’s brother’s lips (far be it for us to judge), the insult itself is far beyond what one normally hears from pre-teens in mainstream films then or now. E.T. would be shocked.
A SPIRITED JOB
Packed with (then-) groundbreaking special effects, memorable characters, and even more memorable dialogue, most people remember rightfully Ghostbusters as an all-time comedy great. What most people tend to forget is that it also includes one of the few instances of supernatural fellatio ever to be featured in a major motion picture. Yep, midway through the film, the Ghostbusters’ fuzzy center, Ray (Dan Aykroyd, Trading Places) lies down for a nap in a colonial-era house, when an ethereal apparition appears overhead. The next thing he (and the audience) knows, invisible hands undo his belt to reveal his underwear, before the shot shifts to show Ray’s eyes rolling to the back of his head, as he’s overcome with paranormal (oral) bliss. Horrors!
Everybody knows Grease, right? It’s that stage musical that’s been adapted countless times in schools all over the world. To date, the most famous adaptation remains the 1978 film version starring John Travolta (Face/Off) and Olivia Newton John (Xanadu). Starring a bunch of 30-year-olds pretending to be high-schoolers, Grease is a 1950s-set story built around the troubling moral of forcibly changing everything about one’s self until the one they fancy likes them back. Disturbing as that is, it pales in comparison to the casual manner in which characters treat sexual assault, with Travolta’s leather-clad gang cheerfully asking if the girl he spent the summer with, “put up a fight”, immediately after the verse where he (suggestively) got her “damp” by running past her. But all of this seems tame in comparison to later number, “Greased Lightning”, the song entirely dedicated to fixing up a car so, “chicks’ll cream”.
Ahh, the good old days.
POWER RANGERS (2017)
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (1993-1995) is best remembered for introducing Japan’s brightly-colored, high-kicking, giant-robot-riding super sentai genre to the English-speaking world, launching a billion-dollar franchise that’s still churning out spinoffs. So imagine our surprise when the recent movie based on the TV series had a clueless high school student mistaking a bull for a cow and SUCCESSFULLY managing to “milk” it with his hands. Let that sink in (go ahead, we’ll wait). Thankfully, the clip is not online.
While the villainous Rita Repulsa (played here by a gloriously campy Elizabeth Banks) cooked up her share of dastardly schemes back in the day, we’re reasonably sure none of them involved getting to third base with a farm animal.
The Powerpuff Girls (1998-2005)
Based on a hyperviolent animated short (The Whoopass Girls) that got retooled for a mainstream audience, The Powerpuff Girls was one of Cartoon Network’s earliest successes. Being on cable TV, the show got away with quite a bit more than your average cartoon by default, featuring no shortage of sexual innuendo, euphemisms, and visual puns (look up the clip of Ms. Bellum helping the Mayor sharpen his pencil, and you’ll wonder how your parents ever let you watch this show). Despite this, the majority of the gags were subtle enough to fly over the young audience’s heads, avoiding what would surely be awkward conversations with parents.
ROXY BLASTS OFF
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (1992-1999)
With 80 years’ worth of crimefighting under his belt, prematurely-orphaned Bruce Wayne has faced more than his share of colorful nemeses as Batman. Among all of them, perhaps none is as outright turned on by their crimes as Roxanne “Roxy” Rocket, a former stuntwoman-turned-criminal introduced in “The Ultimate Thrill” episode of Batman: The Animated Series’ “New Adventures” phase. Armed with a phallic vehicle befitting her last name, Roxy is nothing less than aroused by the thrill of her crimes, especially when they put her at odds with a certain Dark Knight. Just be sure to keep the sound down, as the sounds this girl makes in the face of certain doom are self-explanatory, and most definitely NSFW.
MONSTER HOUSE (2006)
Every neighborhood has a scary house that kids tell scary stories about, so Monster House (2006) was playing to a trope already familiar to anyone with a childhood. The difference between the titular dwelling and its urban legend counterparts is that the latter are rarely possessed of a full anatomical system, including, in this case, a uvula (the dangly thing at the back of your throat). Upon being informed that the thing he’d just fired his water gun at was the possessed house’s uvula, Chowder (Sam Lerner) mistakes it for vulva (look it up, kids), and immediately declares that it must be a girl house. Seeing as Chowder is a 12-year old, we don’t know whether to be impressed or concerned by his knowledge of the female anatomy.
THE LOOK OF LOVE
THE LION KING (1994)
While Lady and the Tramp (1955) was the first Disney animated film to include a sex scene – however implied– between its animal leads, 1994’s The Lion King took threw subtlety out the window when it let Nala give Simba (who has conveniently fallen on top of her) a certain, unmistakable look. Whether it was a result of the studio bigwigs keeping a closer eye on Pocahontas, or the 90s having (gasp) entirely different standards, there’s little question as to what kind of love Nala wanted to feel from her childhood BFF.
Have you noticed these NSFW moments? Tell us below!