From whence the wealth of crude humor in recent kids' movies?

–and, admittedly, I’m probably abusing the term “recent” here, since it’s not exactly a brand-new phenomenon. But I’ve been reading reviews of Disney’s remake of The Shaggy Dog, and a few critics have noted that the newer film leans much more heavily on themes of ass-sniffing, urination, etc. than the 1959 Tommy Kirk version did.

Although my experience with children’s entertainment is admittedly rather scattershot, it seems to me that these sorts of jokes are *de rigeur * for movies geared toward kids these days-- the Shrek films come to mind, and **The Lion King ** had an impressively conspicuous fart gag. Last year’s **Racing Stripes **, which I happened to view while temporarily insane, was an otherwise unremarkable talking-animal film that featured a seemingly continuous artillery of diverse bodily excretions and outgassings.

And so I am wondering: what was the watershed moment, if any, that cleared the way for this heretofore untapped source of humor? Obviously flatulence is funny, and yet most family-oriented films tended to eschew these laughs until relatively recently. Was there a single, extremely successful film that opened the gate in this regard, or has it been more of a gradual thing? I recall that the kid-friendly **Back to the Future ** movies had a recurring coprophagia joke; might this have been the point of origin for the trend?

Mel Brooks introduced the fart joke into mainstream movies in Blazing Saddles* and producers realized that they were always good for a cheap laugh. Now, they’re mainstream (take a look at the Google ads for this thread).

They’re not only required for kids films, but most adult comedy tends to include a lot of this sort of humor (not counting a few romantic comedies).

*Unless you were there at the time, you can’t really imagine just how outrageous and revolutionary the bean-eating scene really was. I couldn’t believe what they were portraying when I first saw it.

I’m not easily shocked, but I was appalled to hear one of the 8-year-old characters in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) use the phrase “penis breath.” I couldn’t believe that Speilberg would allude to fellatio in a movie about and for kids.

I meant Spielberg. :smack:

And to think that for some time, there have been fart jokes in kids’ TV cartoons (e.g., “Ren and Stimpy”) let alone movies.

Wow. I have seen that movie many times and I never made that connection. :smack: Now the insult makes sense.

I’ve definitely noticed that’s true with kids’ books too. The Day My Butt Went Psycho is all about disembodied bums that take over the world and talk, presumably out of their asses, with reportedly bad breath. There are other series too like Captain Underpants and that big one a couple of years ago that was just the story of a fart.

My theory is that even though they figured out 30-50 years ago that kids just go through that phase and no amount of encouraging or discouraging makes any difference, there were still enough older people around that parents would still try to discourage it out of tradition and out of the fear that if they didn’t, their kids would yell “farty-bum” in the grocery store line and embarass the parents in front of old people. Eventually all those older people went to the nursing homes so now nobody cares about bum jokes. In the old days they didn’t even like to see kids laugh, let alone at things so silly.

If you want to be really deep about it, I think the whole revolution in ideas about psychology in the 70s towards being natural and believing that natural urges are good is at the bottom of it. Parents in the 70s might not have always been prepared to act on that stuff by doing a complete 180 from their own upbringings, but parents who grew up in that time have always been surrounded by the idea that kids are naturally good and should be as free as possible. So this is the first generation of parents to take it for granted that kids are not being bad when they gravitate toward that stuff. They are all in their 30s and 40s now and make movies and write kids books, and they are parents of farty-aged kids now.

It did? The only thing I can think of is when they crash the car into a truck full of manure, but I don’t think that really counts.

Perhaps it’s just that well, kids love potty humor. Go up to any little kid, say, “poop!” and watch them laugh themselves sick.

There is a book that has been a big hit for quite awhile, Everyone Poops, and although parents felt odd buying it, kids loved it.

I think every kid has a fascination with crude humor, and Hollywood films are simply tapping into it. At some point you grow out of it, unless you are in a college frat and there is a Bic lighter and some gas to pass.

One of my college fraternity brothers (hi, Raz!) actually had a cassette tape he made of just one fart after another. He played it for me. :rolleyes:

Yeah, that’s the bit I was thinking of; it’s been a while since I’ve seen the movies, but I seem to recall that all three films feature a moment where the Jake Busey-resembling bad guy gets buried in manure; cue big laugh from audience. Next scene: cut to close-up of bad guy trying to rid his mouth of animal feces; cue really big laugh from audience.

Perhaps this is not ‘coprophagia’ in the diagnostic sense of the term, in which case I apologize to any coprophagics I may have offended with my comparison to Jake Busey-resembling Spielberg villains.

I really wouldn’t say that, except for the fact that the 1959 didn’t lean on them at all. There are two scenes in which a dog is seen urinating on a rose bush, and another where Tim Allen’s character lifts his leg while using a urinal. When Allen transforms into a dog, he is annoyed when other dogs sniff his rear, and another dog attempts to do the same when he is a human. The antics are basically treated as things that dogs do, along with chasing their tails, etc.

I think you’re reading too much into this. I think it’s just supposed to be a silly, child’s attempt at an insult.

I can’t think of the moment in part two … the reason I think it was done like that is to basically establish parallels for each of the time periods. In 1955, Marty caused Biff to crash into a manure truck. In 1885, Marty (I think, this one is a little fuzzy) caused Biff’s ancestor to fall into a pile of manure. In 2015, Marty causes Biff’s descendant to crash into town hall on his hoverboard. So I think it’s not necessarily about the manure as it is about the parallels that happen between the three different time lines that Marty visits. Or maybe it was about manure and they couldn’t think of a plausible way to fit it into 2015.

Well, believe it or not, back in 1982 words like penis and vagina weren’t routinely used on broadcast television, and this was a pretty big shock. And while I am no prude, I still consider it inappropriate for a film aimed at pre-pubescent kids to be referring to oral sex.

Where would you draw the line, i.e., what is inappropriate for a child to say?

I’m not really one to judge at that, but I think young boys know what a penis is and what it is called since they have one and learn about going to the bathroom (I know I did). I don’t think they know anything about oral sex as commasense believes they do. If he had used a slang term for the penis in his insult, i.e. “dickhead,” that would be even more inappropriate. “Penis breath” in itself is inappropriate for a child to say, but it seems to me more of a childlike attempt at an insult than an actual reference to oral sex. (Showing how much times have changed, the 2005 film Zathura features a scene in which a child tells his tormenting older brother, “You’re such a dick!” When his father tells him that isn’t a nice thing to say, he replies, “Well, he is one!”

I wonder if ‘new’ kids’ humor always shocks the past generation of kids this way. I saw the Muppets’ take on “The Wizard of Oz” last week and was surprised by a couple of the jokes. (Tin Man Gonzo’s nipples being grabbed, a scene with Gonzo and a CGI chicken/woman that had an uncomfortable seduction thing going on.) Not terribly off-color, but maybe the source surprised me. And for that matter, there was a reference to The Passion of the Christ while Kermit, as the Scarecrow, was hanging in the cornfield.

I dont’ think that really counts, because manure isn’t funny so much because it’s poop. It’s funny because it’s stinky and messy. It’s used as fertilizer, so it’s not like he was thrown into a fresh cow patty.

That much isn’t strange- Gonzo’s always had a thing for chickens.

Penis breath - I, too, just assumed that Elliot was trying to say something back at his brother and had no idea what he was saying. I found him doing it to be part of the “Spielberg-ian” charm of the movie, along with being in a tract development that hadn’t been completed. It was what being a kid was like back then…

Farts - I assume that started with Blazing Saddles. But, look, farts are funny - often in general, and certainly to a kid. My 8-year-old runs around with his friends yelling “Fart-gas! Fart-gas!” and can’t stop laughing. Drives me nuts - but that’s a kid for you.

Now - have ya seen Fairly Oddparents on Nickelodeon? Funny in lots of ways - done by a guy who worked on PowerPuff Girls and Dexter’s Lab on Cartoon Network - both of which I liked. But Oddparents crosses lots of lines - like the one where little Timmy is trying to capture the essence of - oh, I dunno, Evil, I think - that was in the form of a bug and it crawled up his dad’s butt. Timmy was going after his dad with a net on the end of a long stick - clearly intending to shove it up his dad’s butt - and his (incredibly dippy) dad says “what - is it Father’s Day already?” Implying that they do the Big Rectal Exam every Dad’s Day - makes you all warm and fuzzy inside, don’t it? :rolleyes: No - I am not making this up.

I try to watch an episode or three of most of the shows my kids watch - for obvious parental-check reasons. We have started an active discussion about how off some of the things are - and also about how stupid cartoon parents are, and how that isn’t like the real world…