Cartoons | Pop Culture | TV | 90s

11 Fan Theories About Your Favorite Cartoons That Will Make You Say "Wait, What?"

Do we spend too much time thinking about our favorite cartoons and movies from our childhoods? Probably, because obsessed fans have managed to come up with these 11 theories about their favorite cartoons that are so strange they could just be true:

1. SpongeBob and his friends are all mutants

Do you remember where SpongeBob lived? We don't mean "in a pineapple under the sea." His hometown was named Bikini Bottom, and fans think this could explain why our favorite talking sponge and his neighbors are such weirdos.

The town (and the famous swimsuit) are both named after the Bikini Atoll, a chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean which is most famous as a nuclear testing site. Between 1946 and 1958, nuclear tests near the islands eventually made them uninhabitable. Maybe they also had a strange effect on the local sea life...

A nuclear test in the Bikini Atoll.Wikimedia

2. Ash is permanently stuck at age 10 because of magic

The adventures of Ash, Misty and Brock were entertaining when we were kids who dreamed of becoming Pokemon trainers ourselves. But as we got older something about the show rubbed us the wrong way. After journeying all over the Pokemon world, why did Ash never get any older?

The answer may be found in the show's first episode, where Ash spots the mystical bird Pokemon Ho-Oh. In the games, a Pokedex entry about Ho-Oh says that "those who see Ho-Oh are promised an eternal happiness." And nothing would make Ash happier than traveling the world with Pikachu and his friends...forever.

3. Courage the Cowardly a dog

Well duh, but there's more to this theory than pointing out Courage has four legs and a tail. The show may be seen through the eyes of a dog, so all of the "monsters" that visit are just visitors who seem like evil creatures to a nervous dog. Often they don't mean Muriel and Eustace any harm, which backs up this theory.

This "monster" only wanted Muriel to babysit her children.Cartoon Network

Also, sharp-eyed fans have noticed that Muriel may be deaf, which could also explain why she doesn't react to the wacky things happening in her home. In one episode she tells Eustace "You know I can’t hear you without my glasses," which might be a reference to reading lips.

4. Arnold is not the star of Hey Arnold!

The first clue to support this theory is in the show's intro: who shouts the title line?

Of course lots of episodes of the show follow Helga's attempts to win over her secret crush, but she also has long, uninterrupted soliloquies about her love for Arnold, which suggests that she's the main character.

Plus, Helga's troubles (living with a dad who ignores her and a mom who seems constantly spaced out) are a lot more significant than anything Arnold deals with.

If you love The Magic School Bus, this next one will blow your mind...

5. The Magic School Bus kids grew up to be the Planeteers

The deeper you dig into this theory the less sense it makes, but it's still fun. Some people have even gone very deep, trying to explain differences between the two shows like the missing kids. But at the end of the day, there's no good explanation for why all the characters change their names, gain new accents, and other continuity changes.

6.  Ed, Edd and Eddy are all ghosts

More specifically, these three live in purgatory, along with the rest of the characters on the cul-de-sac. There are lots of clues to back up this explanation: there are no episodes set outside the cul-de-sac, the kids use a strange mishmash of antique and modern technology, and the three Ed's tongues have a blue tint, which normally happens to dead bodies.

7. Pinky is the Brain

We don't mean that they're the same mouse, just that there's a case of mistaken identity happening here. Remember the theme song: "One is a genius / the other's insane." We assume Pinky is the insane one, but the show never says so explicitly.

In fact there's lots of evidence that Pinky is the show's real genius. He usually points out the exact, glaring error in each of Brain's plans at the start of the episode. Some people even suspect that he's secretly sabotaging the Brain's schemes himself to protect the world.

Plus, remember when Brain builds a machine to identify what keeps his plans from working? The machine originally identifies Pinky, but he points out that Brain has crossed a few wires. Here's the machine's real result:

8. Aladdin takes place in the future

When Aladdin wakes genie from the lamp, he jokes that Aladdin's duds are "so 3rd century." This is probably a wink at the audience, but it could be a sign of something much weirder. Genie claims he's been stuck in the lamp for 10,000 years, but doesn't say when he entered the lamp.

If Aladdin really takes place in the future, say 10,000 years from now after some kind of huge disaster, some of the magic elements (the flying carpet, the talking parrot) could actually be super-advanced technology. Plus it would explain why Genie makes so many modern references.

Was Groucho Marx big in the 3rd century?Laser Time

9. The secret ingredient in Krabby Patties is...

Well we swore never to reveal it, so you'll just have to keep wondering...Just kidding! It's probably crab meat.

Yep, really.Wikia

Look at this menu, all of the other items at the Krusty Krab seem to be named after what they're made of.

There's more evidence: in the Netherlands the Krabby Patty is just called a crab burger, and when you look at the outside of the restaurant... can see it's a crab trap. Yikes, I guess Mr. Krabs will do anything for money.

10. Inspector Gadget is Doctor Claw

Stay with us here, this one's a doozy. In the classic cartoon the accident that causes Inspector Gadget to turn into a cyborg is never revealed, and some fans guess that he might have actually survived the accident to become...Dr. Claw.

Penny might have actually rebuilt her uncle, thinking he was dead, driving the real Inspector to turn evil and start M.A.D. It would explain why we never see Dr. Claw's body. He could even be letting Penny and Brain foil all his plots, hoping she'll discover the truth.


11. Professor Utonium is Samurai Jack

The newest adventures of the wandering samurai complicate this theory a bit, but it still holds up. Clues in the background of Samurai Jack and The Powerpuff Girls reveal they take place in the same universe.

Fans guess that after defeating Aku, Jack winds up being transported to the city of Townsville, where he investigates Aku's evil essence, renamed Chemical X. It's a little far-fetched, but we'll believe anything that links these two shows together.

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