I find that people break down into two basic categories. Those that think children who swear are funny, and those that do not. I fall in to the later category. In our house we try to keep ‘bad words’ and ‘bathroom words’ at bay. This hasn’t been too bad all and all. Neither my wife or I let too many questionable words fly, but we all have moments when frustration builds and something has to come out of our mouths beyond a muffled grunt or grumble.
I had a french teacher in grade 11 that taught us at the end of the year a handful of french swear words. He felt that swearing was a good thing to do as it helped to properly express frustration.
There may be some truth to this as even the world of cartoons is not void of words to express frustration. As I have been watching/re-watching cartoons I have noticed that some shows sneak some pretty creative ‘swear words’ into the dialogue. I have collected some of my favourites here;
Super Mario Brothers Super Show/ Super Mario 3/ Super Mario World
I know this is a terrible show. I was a fan of it as a kid, I collected the DVD’s and Simeon just knows it is a Mario cartoon and that he likes Mario so we watch it from time to time. In this show When either Mario or Luigi are presented with a sudden surprize or enemy it is not unusual for them to utter ‘Holy Ravioli’. As a substitute word this one makes me laugh a little. Partly because they use it to really drive the point home that these guys are Italian but also because I think it really is Holy s#&t just a bit early.
The Road To El Dorado
Dreamworks is far from my favourite animation studio but they have made a few gems, this one being my favourite. This line is said in a great moment where the two protagonists Tulio and Miguel have escaped captivity in a rowboat, only to turn around to see a ship careening directly towards them. What makes this one so great is in a pinch if you let some sailor talk fly in front of your little one you can convincingly say, ‘ no no honey I said ship’
Transformers Beast Wars
I just rewatched this 1996-1998 CGI series and boy has animation come a long way. This show has not visually held up well. But being a pretty die hard Transformers fan I still hold quite the soft spot for it. In Beast Wars slag is the favourite frustration term. It might be muttered under someone’s breath, it might be stated with gusto, it is even used as a direct insult i.e. you stinking piece of slag. One of the handy things about this word is I feel I could sub it into my vocabulary now without raising too many eyebrows. It is a handy replacement for damn, and s#&t.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 Series
I am almost as big of a TMNT fan as I am a Transformers fan, and I really enjoyed the 2003-2010 series. One of the things you couldn’t help but notice was that this group of turtles were a lot more badass than the 1987 versions. Shell became this groups goto replacement swear word. As in ‘what the shell?!’ ‘That is cool as shell’, ‘let’s get the shell out of here’. However context is important as shell is not always a swear word, it can also be used as a normal discripture. They have Shell Cells, and the Battle Shell to name a few. I mean they are giant turtles, what more can you expect.
After I got over the ‘Michael Baying’ of the characters I really enjoyed this iteration of Transformers. I was disappointed when it ended. Hasbro really wanted to make this a show kids could enjoy along with long time fans. One of the things that really stuck out to me was just how much of a ‘rusty mouth’ these bots have. RC might be the worst, she is always venting her frustration under her breath with a well timed scrap. I think this is my favourite cartoon swear word not only does it make sense that giant robots would use the word scrap the way we use crap, but like ‘ship’ it gives me a good cover for when I am caught muttering under my breath.
These are my favourite cartoon swear words, what are yours? Also what other adult things have you noticed in children’s programs?