When I was young, my brother, sister, and I would consume all things kid-friendly on television: Nick, SNICK, the Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, TGIF. And like any child who’d later in life Google what Steve from Full House looks like shirtless, there were things we wanted to watch that weren’t parent-approved. But we did it anyway. What my parents didn’t know couldn’t hurt ‘em, right? We learned how to do the “Happy Happy, Joy Joy” dance from Ren & Stimpy, what a wallaby was from Rocko’s Modern Life, and even what TOTALLY REALISTIC downtown New York City life was like from Friends (my dad thought it was too grown-up for us). Parents, though, always have a way of finding out.
We were watching the South Park where Mr. Garrison is working on his erotic novel, . My dad walked into the living room mid-episode, and my brother quickly muted the TV. Something that looked animated couldn’t appear raunchy, right? Well, that’s when Matt and Trey decided that a voiceover reading Mr. Garrison’s epic words wasn’t enough—they also needed to show the dirty words themselves, which my dad could obviously read. I can’t recall the exact phrasing, but considering The Valley of Penises contains over 6,000 instances of the word “penis,” you can probably guess. He was not pleased and immediately turned the screen off and walked out of the room without saying a word.
Then there was the time us kids were watching The Royal Tenenbaums, which is still one of my favorite movies. My dad once again proved he had a knack for knowing the exact wrong (or right, depending on your perspective) time to walk in: it was during Margot’s history montage, and at that moment, it was when she was exploring her lesbian side. Couldn’t he have just seen Buckley instead? (RIP Buckley.) Again, TV off, no words exchanged, shameful looks between siblings, all because of that GOOPy rascal Gwyneth Paltrow.
Has this ever happened to you? Did your parents ever catch you watching something you weren’t supposed to? Was it Basic Instinct? I bet it was Basic Instinct.
Nadia Chaudhury’s dad once overheard her describing Josh Harnett’s awful sex dream from 40 Days and 40 Nights to her brother.