Today I have been researching teenager’s opinions on adult jokes in kid’s movies. I interviewed people from the age of 11 to 14 and many believed that it was fine and that ‘kids will just skim past them’. However, many already knew of these so called “Easter eggs” in films which could lead us to believe that they are not as hidden as we may think. With everything from posters to lines, these jokes do not stand out in a young child’s mind but it seems as soon as we reach secondary school that we slowly start to discover them.
Some argue that it is because of social media that kids are becoming aware of these things earlier in life and this may lead to the point where they spot these jokes first time around, altering the rest of the film. But, the person who said this also stated that films are not the cause of this early recognition of adult jokes.
Before we delve deeper into the effects that these jokes have, we must first see why they are in the film at all. Animators may just put it in for a laugh as animating can be tiring work and they want to have some fun after making a cheesy film designed for kids. Others are made simply for the parent’s enjoyment, they are the ones paying for the films after all, and while I haven’t got an opinion of any parents, their children seem to prefer these jokes to them.
If parents are bored, watching a PG or U movie for the benefit of their kids, adult jokes could give them a laugh and make them enjoy the film. However, this could lead to awkward questions making parents either lie, gloss it over or tell their unknowing children what it is. This could result in an even bigger spread in children understanding inappropriate jokes quicker and resulting in almost no films being considered kid friendly.
On the other hand, parents can find the whole experience awkward and the children may “have to pretend you don’t know”. If that is the case then I wonder why these jokes should be included but after further interviews I found that the jokes are “more for teens than adults”. This links back to kids finding out about these jokes earlier.
This makes me wonder, should these jokes be used in kids movies if they have no benefit to the kids and are awkward for the parents? In recent years, animated TV shows like the Simpsons or Family Guy have emerged. This shows that there is a desire for adult animation programmes and could become a whole new genre in itself.
So, referring back to the main question, should adult jokes be allowed in kids films? Overuse can incredibly destroy the kid’s genre of films and in fact make most parents feel more awkward than entertained when seeing them. There is clearly a need for a more adult animated genre for teenagers but this should appear separate from the kid’s film industry.
In conclusion, adult jokes in kid’s movies are more enjoyed by teenagers than their directed audience. It really depends on if the parent finds it funny or awkward. Many argue that films with adult jokes should be rated a PG instead of a U which leaves an open option for including or leaving out adult jokes.