A friend recently complained to me that cartoons—aimed at very young children—are delving too deeply into adult themes. After watching a few episodes of the updated version of Scooby Doo (yes, that’s right, apparently some television executive thought Scooby needed to be revised) with her five-year-old daughter, my friend Martha commented in an email that “. . . it seems that the male-female relationships between the characters [presumably raven-haired Daphne and that tall, blonde, yet slightly dim-witted male character] are more central to the story lines. It’s less about mystery; more about tensions in the relationships.” Reflecting the trend in popular culture to portray all men as blundering fools, my friend added, “The male characters seem clueless about relationships.”

This is an all too common phenomenon today as producers of content for children add more adult themes to cartoons and other kid-centered programs in order to attract older children, tweens and teens, and the much-desired 18-35 year-old demographic. The fact that more of this is happening betrays a disturbing reality: full-grown adults are, in fact, paying to see movies intended for kids. As such, studios no longer maintain or even feel any obligation to preserve the innocence of the story lines. In order to satisfy these two very different audiences, adult themes are increasingly woven into these kid movies with the hope, of course, that kids won’t pick up on the subtle sexual references, crude jokes, and innuendo about decidedly adult behaviors.

It’s been happening for years. Movies like Shrek (which explored marital problems between the two central, green characters), How To Train Your Dragon (did you catch that subtle hint that one of the characters is gay?), and other children’s movies are integrating social issues into the story lines.

Consider the upcoming ABC reboot of The Muppets, which will veer away from the innocent themes that made the original 1979 Muppets Movie and old Muppet Showsuch a parent favorite. The Daily Mail (UK) reports that the new show “. . . will tackle ‘mature’ themes such as Kermit’s split from Miss Piggy, his affair with another pig and inter-racial marriage. One of the puppeteers explained, “It’ll be real life. A little edgy.”

Do kids really need edgy? Do three, four and five-year-olds need to see Kermit wrestling with divorce? Do they need to see inter-racial marriage portrayed as a challenge instead of a non-issue, which is essentially how young children would view it today. Do toddlers really need to see Miss Piggy’s reaction to finding out her husband engaged in an extramarital affair with a sultry pig named Denise?

Did I just write that sentence?

Perhaps if we’re lucky, Kermit and the gang can make an Ashley Madison joke. Because nothing’s funnier than infidelity!

Interestingly, another movie in theaters this week is breaking records. No, I’m not talking about Straight Outta Compton. This one, War Room, has no nudity, violence, or profane language. War Room is a Christian film, produced by a small studio, which centers on the power of prayer, faith, and redemption. Despite no real promotion and having no recognizable movie stars in the cast, War Room came in second nationwide (behind Straight Outta Compton), and made $11 million in its limited release (just over 1,000 screens).

I haven’t seen War Room and I don’t plan to (tear jerker, family films just aren’t my style), but perhaps movie studios will take note that many adults—like children—crave wholesome, inspiring content. And perhaps they’ll realize that the answer to attracting older viewers isn’t to dirty up kids’ shows or add “edgy” content to animation and puppet movies.

Maybe the answer is to provide adults with movies that don’t make them feel like they need to go home and take a shower.