Adult jokes in cartoons is a tradition as old as time, or at least as old as cartoons themselves. Considering the Heroes in a Half-Shell have a long history, both animated and live-action (not to mention comics and even rip-offs), it should come as no surprise that there are a fair number of adult jokes in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles history.
It almost seems like a badge of honor for writers to sneak adult jokes into kids movies that will go over the target demographic's heads (like the gems hidden all over The Incredibles), and it sometimes works masterfully. Other times these jokes feel so forced and lame that they can only elicit groans. That's the case with most of the adult jokes in TMNT.
Here are a variety of inappropriate Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles jokes from across their long, multi-formatted history that might make you chuckle or gasp or both.
In 1990, the Ninja Turtles had a concert tour called "Coming Out of Their Shells" and it was absolutely as bad as it sounds. But the Turtles had risen to meteoric heights, becoming so popular that they entered the stratosphere of one Oprah Winfrey. The Turtles and April O'Neil made an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show to promote their tour. Unfortunately, Oprah made a rare mistake during the interview, asking if the teenage mutants wished April were a turtle? Things got gross in a hurry.
Raphael admitted he'd been trying to talk April into an interspecies relationship, while Michelangelo took it a step further, saying, "The biggest problem is she can't hold her breath long enough." This immediately conjures some pretty intense (not to mention upsetting) imagery.
There's a scene in the animated series in which April finds herself tied up by baddies until the Turtles come along to rescue her. As Mikey unties her, there's this awkward moment where it looks like he's grabbing her boob. Her facial expression reinforces this idea, but it all happens in an instant during the episode, so it's hard to tell if it was intentional on the part of the creators. Intentional or not, it's eyebrow-raising.
In Michael Bay's first attempt at ruining the Ninja Turtles, Megan Fox exists solely as a sex object, as she does in most of his movies. So it is that when the Turtles first meet her, Michelangelo says, "She's so hot I can feel my shell tightening." Now, by Michael Bay standards, this is actually quite subtle, but that's a bar lower than the Turtles' subterranean dwelling. Obviously, the joke is alluding to Mikey's burgeoning erection as he looks upon April O'Neil. Bravo.
Yes, to be fair, the movie is actually directed by Jonathan Liebesman. But it's produced by Michael Bay, but jokes like this simply scream "Michael Bay movie."
There is a South Park episode titled "Bass to Mouth," a thinly-veiled entendre not surprising anyone. What's more surprising is that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Nickelodeon show of all networks — actually employed the exact same joke. In the Season 4 finale, the Turtles have a showdown with Shredder's henchman Fishface, who spits a shocking threat at them.
"I will slap you like a salamander. I will fin you like a flounder. I will give you bass to mouth!" Whaaaaaat? Wow. If you're confused, think back to a pivotal discussion in Clerks II. If you're still struggling, just drop the "B" from the last line and the vulgarity of it will become immediately clear. In fact, "Slap you like a salamander" initially sounded innocent enough, but taken in conjunction with "Bass to mouth," it takes on its own depraved light.