When you think of the two big animation companies that start with the letter ‘D,' you get two completely different perspectives. On the one hand, you have Disney, a company that’s very well-known for its family-friendly entertainment. But then on the other, you have DreamWorks, which brought us strange and pretty grown-up humor in some of its more popular films like Shrek and Madagascar.
Bear in mind, I’m not saying that either company is at fault for the type of content they produce. But we all know that it is what it is. And I’m not saying that Disney hasn’t made some grown-up jokes in its films and that DreamWorks is awful for the type of jokes it makes. Both companies have brought to life really amazing films that are iconic in the animation industry in their own ways.
Regardless, we’re going to focus today’s conversation on aspects of DreamWorks films that the company got away with. I tried not to pull too much from the Shrek series, but considering there’s four, soon to be five, films in that franchise, it was hard not to have it be most of the list.
This is just a cautionary heads-up that this will bring back some nostalgia in an interesting manner. We’ll be discussing films that you loved as a child, but once you hear some of the grown-up jokes, you’ll be left wondering just what exactly you were allowed to watch growing up as a kid. So I hope you enjoy what’s about to happen.
17 Sugar Honey Iced Tea
In Madagascar, there’s a scene shortly after the crew gets stranded on Madagascar where characters Alex and Marty run toward one another in slow motion. Because of this, their voices are deeper, and it’s hilarious to watch Alex change from sarcastically happy to upset since he finds Marty at fault for everything that’s happened.
As Marty turns to run away, he says, “Oh sugar honey iced tea!” Which, if you take each first letter from the words “sugar honey iced tea,” spells a word that perfectly fits the situation. DreamWorks, that was honestly really clever, and I give you credit for pulling that off so smoothly and efficiently. I honestly never even thought about this joke until I did my research.
16 Caught With Catnip
Surprisingly, there’s a couple scenes regarding Puss in Boots and catnip. We’re all very much aware that catnip is basically a substance that gets cats in a nice, natural high state. But there’s a couple instances in the Shrek franchise where Puss is caught with catnip. There’s even an instance where a knight pulls some off of him in Shrek 2, with Puss in Boots making the comment, “That’s not mine.”
Basically, that sentence alone is supposed to imply that catnip is equivalent to a certain plant, if not another potent substance.
Again, this is something that little kids might not get, but considering there’s even a Cops reference in the movie, it’s not hard to miss. With how sneaky Puss is, there's no telling what else he's hiding.
15 We Didn't Need To See That
This is also an iconic scene in Shrek just because of how wild it actually is. In the first film, Lord Farquaad asks the Magic Mirror to show him a picture of Princess Fiona while he lays unclothed in bed with a martini. If you pay close enough attention, after seeing the picture and saying “perfect,” a subtle movement is made in the blankets.
There is actual YouTube proof for this, but Farquaad got a little too excited about seeing Princess Fiona. Now if he gets that excited just through a simple mugshot of her, I can’t imagine what he’d be like if he saw a little bit more skin. Of course, this is a small animation movement that not a lot of people notice, but it does actually happen.
14 Who’s That?
Going off of that, at one point in the film, the Cat finds a picture of Conrad and Sally’s mother. The hat on his head springs forward in excitement, which is, of course, a grown-up reference.
Conrad breaks the news that it’s a picture of his mother, and the Cat states, “awkward,” but stores the picture away for what I assume is future use.
I guess, considering that the role of the Cat is played by Mike Myers, we shouldn’t be surprised by all the weirdness and odd statements throughout the film. And at the same time, we shouldn’t be shocked by the humor because this is a DreamWorks film. This is just a good example of what DreamWorks films can get away with.
13 Sushi Bowl
Now did you think I’d have a good story here without mentioning Shark Tale? Exactly. Shark Tale is full of its inappropriate moments as well, but I think this one takes the cake. Or, in this case, sushi. In the first five minutes of the film, we have an opening sequence that shows the world our main characters are in.
Cut to a worker in a sushi restaurant who’s upset because he doesn’t have any customers. Now I wonder why this could be? Honestly, this doesn’t seem like a joke that little kids would be that oblivious to. How is this fish still in business? What made him think this was a good idea? And most importantly, how many fish have you ended for your business?
12 Clever Jokes
Continuing off of Shark Tale, protagonist Oscar works at a whale wash. Angie, Oscar’s best friend, and eventual love interest, also works there. Toward the beginning of the film, Angie asks a whale what kinds of treatments he would like regarding his scrub. The whale agrees to several of them, stating that it’s “mating season and I’m feeling lucky.”
Once again, this doesn’t seem like a joke that would easily go over a child’s head.
To me, it seems pretty obvious what the whale is referencing. But I guess just try your best to tell your young that he wants a girlfriend. That’s what he means by lucky, right? There’s nothing grown-up about that whatsoever. Thank goodness that whale was cleaning up too.
11 Snow White’s Behavior
In the first Shrek film, when Lord Farquaad is searching for eligible bachelorettes via Magic Mirror, one name that is brought up is Snow White. While telling her tale, the Magic Mirror makes the comment of: “although she lives with seven other men, she’s not easy.” The comment itself goes quickly enough that even grown-ups may not catch it right away.
But for those who do hear it, you’ll immediately understand that it’s referencing that Snow White isn’t an “easy” woman, even though she lives with seven dwarves. Once again, here’s another grown-up joke that you shouldn’t be surprised by. After all, this is Shrek that we’re talking about. The Shrek franchise got away with plenty of these jokes. Hopefully, the newest iteration will be the same.
10 An Unhealthy Friendship
This story would not even be good if Bee Movie wasn’t mentioned a couple of times. The movie itself is just odd and inappropriate, considering the strange relationship Barry and Vanessa have.
But there is one instance in the film where Barry casually makes the suggestion of an ending pact.
You know, why does Vanessa care so much about Barry and the bees’ well-being outside of the fact that her flower shop depends on their work? She does understand that bees have a very short lifespan, which makes it next to impossible for any type of relationship, be it romantic or friendship, to last long, right? Right? Even if this movie wasn’t such a huge meme, it’s so weird to think about.
This is once again a very brief moment in the film, but there’s a clip where you see a couple of, well, I believe they’re armadillos, rush off into the bushes. There’s two of them and the bushes start shaking. After some time passes, the two armadillos come back out with some little armadillos in tow.
We all know what took place off-screen, and who knows how your little kids will interpret something like that. I don’t know what’s up with The Road to El Dorado having all these grown-p jokes in it, but at the same time, I find that to be pretty hilarious. Talk about breaking some rules in the children’s film industry. Hopefully, this scene didn't spark too many "birds and bees" conversations.
8 Inappropriate In General
I swear, this is the last time I’ll discuss Bee Movie in this. But I just want to make it clear how odd this movie is. Yes, I completely understand that there’s a whole ton of memes surrounding the film itself, and you know what? There’s a good reason for that.
It’s just so unbelievably weird.
And no, I’m not talking about just the weird human/bee relationship that is Vanessa and Barry. The whole movie is just weird. The concept of it is weird. I mean, Monsters vs. Aliens had a better story going for it than this did. So did Over the Hedge. Yet this is the DreamWorks movie other than Shrek that everybody talks about. All right then.
7 A Dashing Fish Indeed
In Shark Tale, there’s a character named Lola who is more or less the Jessica Rabbit of the film. She’s cute and does whatever it takes to get her way. The song that plays when she first enters the film is “Gold Digger” and heck, she’s basically Angelina Jolie as a fish because she’s, well, voiced by Angelina Jolie.
Now I’m not saying that having cute characters in these films is a bad thing. However, when it’s pretty obvious that a character’s occupation is related to grown-up work, that might cross a line with some grown-ups. These types of actions are far from a bad thing. However, I can see some parents disapproving of Lola’s appearance because of that vibe she gives.
6 Holy Ship
This one basically explains itself. When Tulio, Miguel, and Altivo, escape from the ship, it’s a very dangerous process. Because the ship they escaped from nearly crashes into their small rowboat. When this happens, one of the characters says, “Holy ship!” Obviously, this is a fun play on words.
And honestly, a kid’s movie can do much worse than that.
There can be grown-up jokes. There can be other profanities. Compared to some other things on this list, this statement is nothing. Besides, it is basically a holy ship, right? At least, from what I remember of the movie, anyway. I’m still really surprised by all the grown-up innuendos I’ve missed in this movie, even as a grown-up. It goes to show how much we truly miss as kids.
5 Welcome To Duloc
Okay, so the rest of these are going to be from the Shrek series, because, let’s face it. When the first film came out, Shrek broke a lot of rules regarding what’s appropriate and what isn’t for a kid’s film. So it’s really difficult not to mention that groundbreaking film in this. Anyway, when Shrek and Donkey first arrive at Duloc, Lord Farquaad’s kingdom, a little robotic show sings to them about the rules of Duloc.
While pointing their rears toward Shrek and Donkey, the small characters remind them to “shine their shoes and wipe their… face.” This is supposed to be clearly referencing the posterior, but we have to keep it family friendly, guys. It'll be interesting to see what the new film gets away with.
4 A Technical Term
In Shrek 2, Shrek, Donkey, and Puss in Boots, steal a potion from the Fairy Godmother’s laboratory in order for Shrek to make himself handsome. To test the potion, Donkey takes a sip of it and looks at his body. He asks if he looks any different, to which Puss casually replies, “You still look like a [behind] to me.”
Now, this is funny because that’s another name for a donkey.
We all know this. But at the same time, it can also be viewed as Puss literally calling Donkey something fairly mean because of how he perceives his personality. Either way, it’s a funny joke that the older kids might understand, but the younger ones hopefully won’t. Because of the play on words, it's fairly clean too.
3 Lord Farquaad’s Name
I love talking about this one because I find it to be the true star of DreamWorks’ humorous writing. Let’s take Lord Farquaad’s name. Now look at it for a second and say it. Good. Now pronounce it a bit slower. Leave out the “r” sound if you feel like it. Imagine how Shrek says the name, while you’re at it.
If you haven’t figured it out just yet, it’s funny because Farquaad’s name sounds extremely similar to f-wad. And it’s even more hilarious because that’s basically what Farquaad is. He’s brutally mean, and as we know from earlier, a creep. The name suits him very well, and I love how clever of a humorous play this was on DreamWorks’ part.
2 Frankincense And Myrrh
And now we’re going to discuss the somewhat forgotten film in the series, Shrek the Third. I enjoyed it. It’s not my favorite Shrek film. But I enjoyed it. Anyway, while traveling to meet Fiona’s cousin, Arthur, Shrek, and company, go to Arthur’s college in order to retrieve him.
There is one brief scene where a couple of college students come out of a trailer and there’s a type of smoke in the air.
They start discussing frankincense and myrrh. So this is a joke implying that “Hey, there are substances at college. Kids do them on campus. Here are some kids doing them.” Although I hate to admit, that stereotype in the film is actually pretty accurate to the real deal.
1 Some Strings Attached
After Shrek, Donkey, and Puss, are captured, their fellow friends come to rescue them. Pinocchio swoops down in his puppetry glory but can’t reach them. Gingy slides down to help and Donkey tells Pinocchio to just tell a lie and say something like, for example, that he’s wearing ladies’ underwear.
Pinocchio says this, only nothing happens. It turns out that Pinocchio is actually wearing ladies’ underwear, and guess what? It’s a thong. Pinocchio attempts to deny this statement, saying that he’s not wearing a thong, which only causes his nose to grow in length as he continues lying. Now this just makes me wonder if Pinocchio finds ladies’ underwear comfortable or if there’s another reason for that being what he decides to wear.