As a kid, do you remember being engrossed in your favorite cartoon and suddenly hearing giggles from the adults in the room? At the time, you didn’t understand what was so funny and (if you were like me) didn’t think this mystery joke was as funny as the many fart jokes you shared with your friends on the playground. Well, now you know what the big haha was all about and there’s nothing wrong with that. You weren’t being corrupted and your childhood isn’t ruined. It just means you’re now a knowledgeable and mature adult.
Adult jokes were sprinkled about our beloved childhood shows in an effort to be inclusive of the adults watching along. As dirty as some of these jokes were, they promoted family time as well as provided health and developmental benefits to the viewers.According to Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist Catherine MacDonald, a number of professionals found improved stress levels to be a common effect of laughter and humor. Jokes and laughter can provide stress relief and improve one’s mood. The heart rate quickens for mere moments before the muscles relax, blood pressure lowers, and breathing steadies with simple laughter. The cartoonish settings of children’s shows combined with both kid-friendly and adult jokes provides some well needed relief after a long day for adult viewers while simultaneously educating young viewers about the social world. Yes, I wrote it here. Dirty, disgusting adult jokes are often educational. Unbeknownst to young minds, such dark humor may also be teaching them (as it taught us) how to appropriately respond to and cope with serious topics within our society.
Hey Arnold!, for example, was one of my favorite kid shows to watch growing up. The show was set in a low-income urban neighborhood and introduced young viewers to some memorable characters that symbolised major societal issues. Chocolate Boy and Miriam Pataki are characters that I remember pretty well. Chocolate Boy was willing to do anything for chocolate unfortunately similar to many drug addicts and Miriam Pataki was always so tired and gone because she was an alcoholic. Thanks to my mom, little seven year old Nikki wouldn’t know about the adult issues that carried on outside our apartment in our own low-income neighborhood for a while. Looking back on that time in my life, I like to think Hey Arnold! helped my young mind make sense of it all.
At the same time, don’t mistake this article as a free pass to mistreat and degrade whoever you want. Jokes can be just as crappy as they are beneficial. Understand that we often laugh at jokes that aren’t closely related to us and our life experiences, so please joke responsibly. Don’t go telling a joke to a bullying victim and expect them to laugh their butts off. Consider the possible ethical issues of your jokes before sharing them. We sometimes take a good joke for granted or are quick to denounce it as unfit for human consumption, not realizing the purpose of them. The fact that you noticed these jokes doesn’t mean you have a dirty mind or that the animators were trying to corrupt you. They were put there for a mature adult to see them and get a well needed laugh.
By Nikki Wertz, Staff Writer