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“Childhood Enhanced” is an expression used to describe characters from children’s fiction that have been updated for mature audiences, which is often seen as a positive spin on the Ruined Childhood meme.
The earliest known use of the phrase online can be found in a post titled “Childhood Ruined or Enhanced?” submitted by user QuadLife to the Internet humor site FunnyJunk on August 26th, 2010. The post featured an adult-oriented alternate universe illustration of creatures from the Pokemon franchise (shown below).
On June 28th, 2011, FunnyJunk user cunthearyou submitted a post titled “Childhood Enhanced,” featuring a photograph of the pop singer Katy Perry wearing a white sequin dress with a picture of the character Smurfette from the children’s animated television show The Smurfs on the front (shown below).
On June 5th, 2012, Tumblr user J-Rey-Baltazar reblogged a set of animated GIFs from the animated Disney film Aladdin edited with mature-themed captions, adding the description “Childhood enhanced!” (shown below). Within the next 10 months, the post received upwards of 80,100 notes.
On December 25th, Redditor Lomango submitted a post titled “Childhood Enhanced” to the /r/funny subreddit, featuring a Calvin and Hobbes comic illustration in which the character Calvin asks his stuffed animal tiger to “maul a motherfucker” (shown below, left). In the first four months, the post received over 260 up votes. On March 6th, 2013, Redditor Rsproule23 submitted a adult-themed illustration inspired by the children’s folk tale “Little Red Riding Hood” (shown below, right) to the /r/WTF subreddit, to which LeWildRedditor replied “childhood enhanced.” Within the next month, the post received upwards of 110 up votes and 20 comments.
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