For every child that watches a kids show, there’s a parent hoping and praying for a little adult humor. Nothing vulgar or crude: just something to make the dancing and singing and constant rewatching a bit more bearable (think Adventure Time, not Rick and Morty).
Subtle quips and nods to parents can turn a children’s show into a family show, and a family show into a show that appeals to just about everyone.
Many of the “adult” jokes in children’s stories revolve around drug use and sex, but the references are generally so subtle and innocuous that they go unseen or overlooked when deciding whether or not the show or movie is appropriate for children. Shrek implies Lord Farquaad has a big castle because he’s compensating for something (presumably a small penis). Alice in Wonderland is one giant allegory for drug use.
For the sake of brevity, I avoided standard “drug” references and focused only on obvious, probable, and theoretical marijuana references in children’s entertainment.
This is far from an exhaustive list, so be sure to share your favorite marijuana references in the comments below.
Definitely About Pot
It’s Just a Plant is a children’s story about cannabis. Written and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés (Go the F*** to Sleep), the book is intended to help parents educate their children about marijuana. As you might expect, the book has seen mixed reviews since its publication in 2005. Some parents and groups say the book glorifies cannabis and gives children more information than they need. Others—including the Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance—think the book could be useful in drug abuse prevention programs, like D.A.R.E.
And some parents just find the book entertaining, not unlike Cortés’s previous and incredibly successful children’s book: Go the F*** to Sleep.
Green Buds & Hash is one of a handful of cannabis-themed parody books written by author Dana Larsen (Hairy Pothead). While the stories themselves were written with adults in mind, the books have become valuable teaching tools for many parents who wish to educate their children about cannabis. This has been especially helpful for parents and children who use medical marijuana, as it not only informs the child, but it helps remove some of the stigma surrounding the use of cannabis as medication.
The live action Scooby Doo (2002) embraced the fan theory that Shaggy and Scooby are stoners with a few less-than-subtle marijuana references specifically for adults. Nothing so obvious as the two lighting up a dooby snack, but not too far off, either.
In one scene, “Pass the Dutchie” is playing while smoke comes out of the Mystery Machine and Shaggy says, “Oh man, talk about toasted!” In another, Shaggy seems blown away that a woman’s name is Mary Jane (like, his favorite name ever, man).
Probably About Pot
I can’t be certain these references are about cannabis, and studios have a way of dodging the question or outright denying that they included drug reference in children’s shows or movies. But, there’s at least some evidence (or convincing theories) that the following shows and characters are probably about pot.
Fillmore from Cars is a VW Bus with droopy eyes, slow speech, and a flower paint straight out of Woodstock. He’s voiced by comedy legend George Carlin, and his dialogue would be right at home in a Cheech and Chong movie. If Fillmore isn’t a stoner, all he’s missing is the weed.
H.R. Pufnstuf (1970s TV series) has an awful lot of nods to stoner culture for a show that hasn’t been confirmed to be about marijuana. The titular character was green with a crop of red hair, like a joint. The villainous witch regularly uses gas and other drugs (including a “laughing gas” that causes uncontrollable laughing followed by a deep sleep) to incapacitate the good guys. The lyrics are at least a little suggestive.
“H. R. Pufnstuf, who’s you’re friend when things get rough?
H.R. Pufnstuf, can’t do a little, ‘cause you can’t do enough.”
And one popular theory posits that the “H.R.” in H.R. Pufnstuf stands for hand-rolled. Of course, the show’s creators must have realized “Hand Rolled Puffing Stuff” was a bit too obvious.
Check out this article from Cannabis Culture for more ways the show supposedly references marijuana.
The Looney Toons cartoons regularly showed Bugs Bunny and other characters smoking a cigarette, cigar, or pipe, but it’s often implied this is tobacco. The most obvious and explicit marijuana reference I could find comes from Gonzales Tamales, an episode featuring Speedy Gonzales singing a version of La Cucaracha that includes a line about “marijuana par fumar” (“marijuana to smoke”).
In Jumpin’ Jupiter, Porky asks Sylvester if he’s been smoking loco weed. While loco weed is a real plant that can cause real damage when consumed by livestock, the reference to smoking the plant makes it pretty clear this line is about marijuana, not dangerous horse roughage.
Could Be About Pot
Spongebob Squarepants has at least a few episodes and bits of dialogue that many viewers believe are about drug use, though the supposed references aren’t always immediately obvious. The example I want to look at can be found in season 7, when Spongebob sings a song about jellyfishing that sounds and reads suspiciously like Sublime’s stoner anthem, “Smoke Two Joints”.
“I go jellyfishing in the morning.
I jellyfish all the night.
Jellyfishing in the afternoon.
Jellyfishing makes me feel alright.”
What marijuana references have you found in children’s books and entertainment? Let us know in the comments below.
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