• Trolls Holiday Isn’t Exactly Worth Celebrating

    by  • November 27, 2017 • Broadcast Decency, NBC, Profanity, Sex • 7 Comments

    A holiday special for children reveals inappropriate, adult content.

    As a parent of three young children, it’s a magical feeling when my husband and I can find something to watch together that isn’t your typical “learn your ABCs-style” cartoon.

    Recently, my kids have developed a crush on the Trolls movie, which was released last year, but we’ve only now finally gotten around to watching (life with kids!). My three-year-old son especially loves requesting that movie – in part, I suspect, because he’s drawn to the catchy music and likely, because of the brightly-colored troll characters. (I personally love that he’s developing an appreciation for music like Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September,” also on the soundtrack.) My 5- and 7-year-old daughters love to sing and dance around to the music throughout the movie. And even my husband and I have watched the movie along with our kids a few times.

    Trolls is just simply an optimistic, happy, and all around fun movie for the entire family. That’s not an easy feat for any movie.

    So, when parenting news sites like Parents, Scary Mommy, Café Mom, and Good Housekeeping excitedly announced that a Trolls Holiday special was slated to air on NBC the day after Thanksgiving, I set my DVR for all those times my kids will want to watch it over and over.

    We were able to watch it live the evening it aired, which isn’t typical because the kids are usually asleep by then, but it was a holiday weekend. My kids were thrilled, staring intently at the screen.

    About halfway through, one of the songs featured the cute troll characters pitching their ideas for a new holiday to the King and Queen of Bergen Town. Then out of seemingly nowhere came a pixilated nudity shot of one of the troll characters (his genital area was blurred). That was followed by several troll characters being “bleeped,” as though they uttered profanity.

    Now thankfully those things went over my kids’ heads, but why in the world were they there at all? Blurred nudity on a troll? Trolls being bleeped? Really, Hollywood? Kids don’t need hear or see the bleeps and blurs usually associated with explicit content found in a movie designed just for them.

    This scenario is so absurd it’s almost laughable. Except that it’s real and it’s a giant slap across the face to every parent watching that special.

    Every producer on the Trolls Holiday special knew those things were in the episode. NBC saw fit to broadcast it at a time when kids would be watching, and to promote it to parenting news sites with the goal of getting kids to watch. And watch they did: NBC scored big in the ratings for the Trolls Holiday special which will be re-aired on NBC later in December, and also be available to watch on Netflix beginning on December 1.

    I’m well aware of Hollywood’s penchant for pushing more adult content into entertainment designed or marketed to kids, but it needs to end. Our kids shouldn’t be on the receiving end of an entertainment culture that seeks to tear them down, exploit them, or to push explicit moments onto their TV shows or movies. They’ll get that soon enough, as any quick flip of the TV channels will demonstrate. Their innocence is worth protecting.

    With the increased attention on sexual assault in Hollywood, the entertainment industry would do well to scrutinize every facet of the business and take a long, solemn look at the kind of product it’s promoting and pushing out into the culture. If you can’t make a Trolls special without blurring a character’s genitals, then Hollywood is truly broken. Parents, beware.



    Kelly Oliver is the publicist for the Parents Television Council, and a mom to three kids.

    7 Responses to Trolls Holiday Isn’t Exactly Worth Celebrating

    1. Paul D
      July 2, 2019 at 8:29 pm

      The TROLLS tv show is on in our home almost daily as a bedtime sedative for our almost 3 year old who was turned on to it by the in-laws young kids. The show seems definitely designed for parents because even if you’re watching it to decipher the hidden sex & drug references (not always so hidden) you’re still engaged, and that is key. The animators and writers pride themselves on continuing the great American tradition of covert smut peddling. Its a catchy show but portrays aggression. Not educational at all.

    2. February 15, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      And you complained about Sailor Mouth an episode that taught me not to use such words.

    3. R-Daddy
      January 30, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      Didnt anyone notice the drug reference too?? (when they go off the cliff on the bus and into the “worm hole” )

      Maybe its just because I was a wild child but all the characters appear to start “Tripping” as Cooper says
      “Man, I feel weird!” and waves his hand back and forth revealing “tracers” which happen when one takes Hallucinogens like Acid or Shrooms (….as a friend once told me….ahem…) then they all transform into a freeze frame of the old-classic troll dolls (yea, the ugly ones from when WE were kids) and rainbows, psychedelia, and “tracers” galore. My wife and I chuckled and said “well there’s one for the parents” because its such an obvious reference to drug culture.

      Even in the first movie when Cooper (who , by the way, is offensively portrayed as the only “black” character replete with all the stereotypical accents and behaviors for the poor token black actor ) says something that could BORDERLINE be sexual. Poppy and Branch are discussing Sarcasm and Cooper chimes in “I think I had a Sarcasm once” which is dimissed by Poppy with an odd glance… Did he mean “orgasm” perhaps? Or was it a poorly masked medical humor as if the poor dumb character did not know what Sarcasm was and thought it was a medical affliction.

      The Trolls Franchise is cute and my kid loves the characters, but Hollywood has hidden a LOT of adult humor and inappropriate themes in the movies. I could go on…

      Especially when cloud-guy says to Branch “Little Slappy? Make Daddy Happy?

      …..I mean… come on…

    4. Michelle
      December 22, 2017 at 10:37 am

      What isn’t mentioned in this article that I personally thought was the worst part of the short film was when they are going over all the holidays they celebrate, and one is “slap your friends day” where you enjoy slapping your friends across he face? And The characters I’ll slap each other, including boy troll slapping girl trolls. I’m pretty sure that branch slap poppy across the face. Once I saw that, I knew this was no good for my son to watch. It’s not OK for children to hit each other, and it certainly not OK to encourage boys to hit girls. I don’t understand why they would even put that in there, seriously?

    5. Donna Roberts
      December 14, 2017 at 1:26 pm

      Along with the cloud dry humping the air on the bus and Poppy saying so much flippin glitter! No reason for that. Why couldn’t she just say so much glitter! ? I was definitely NOT impressed with the movie.

      • Jen
        December 19, 2017 at 1:54 pm

        They also say “fugly” and “sucks”

      • February 15, 2018 at 6:06 pm

        It would be an odd full stop to just say it and flipping is not a bad word.

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