- “Shrek”(2001) was released 19 years ago, but there are some jokes, references, and details that you may have missed if you only saw it as a kid.
- There are quite a few innuendos throughout the film, including one about Lord Farquaad “compensating” for something.
- “Shrek” makes a lot of references to classic fairy-tales, other movies, and, seemingly, Disney.
- Throughout the film, there are a few lines that appear to imply, and remove, swear words to keep the language suitable for children.
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In the almost 20 years since “Shrek” was released, the franchise has gone on to create three more “Shrek” movies, two “Puss in Boots” spin-offs, a few holiday specials and shorts, and even a Broadway musical.
The original “Shrek” movie has had a large following since its release, but even die-hard fans may not have caught everything that makes the animated film so funny.
Here are some jokes, details, and references from “Shrek” that you might have missed as a kid.
Before the movie starts, viewers are shown the DreamWorks logo with added Shrek ears.
This logo change starts the movie off with an ode to “Shrek.”
It especially stands out when watching the movie in 2020, since the DreamWorks logo has changed since “Shrek” was first released.
Shrek’s very first line seems to include an implied curse word.
Our first view of Shrek shows him leaving his bathroom while saying, “What a load of -.” A toilet flushes in place of the last word, making it quite clear what the intended statement could be.
Children may not automatically assume that the flushing sound is censoring a swear, but they can still laugh at the bathroom humour.
Donkey adapts a popular movie quote to make it about Shrek.
The phrase “a lean, mean, fighting machine” was popularised by the 1981 war comedy “Stripes,” but it’s a bit of a cliché now.
Donkey changes the phrase to better describe Shrek by calling the ogre “a mean, green, fighting machine.”
Shrek garnishes his drink with an eyeball.
The first night that Shrek and Donkey meet, Donkey is left to sit outside while Shrek makes dinner.
Shrek enjoys a wide array of gross-looking foods and drinks something resembling a martini, based on the glass and liquid colour.
However, Shrek’s version of the drink uses an eyeball for a garnish instead of the more commonly used olive.
The Big Bad Wolf appears in multiple scenes wearing grandma clothes.
When the fairy-tale creatures appear in Shrek’s swamp, viewers are treated to scenes that show many well-known characters, such as Tinkerbell, the bears from “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” and the Fairy Godmothers from “Sleeping Beauty.”
The wolf from “Little Red Riding Hood” not only appears in this scene, but also he is actually laying in a bed dressed as a grandmother – in reference to his storybook tale.
In the fairy-tale, the wolf wears the clothes to trick Little Red Riding Hood, but it seems like he’s just taken a liking to them in “Shrek.”
The wolf is still wearing the grandmother’s clothing when we see him again at Shrek and Fiona’s wedding at the end of the movie.
The Magic Mirror’s introductions for the eligible princesses have some innuendos and references that seem to be meant for adults.
The scene of Magic Mirror introducing eligible princesses to Lord Farquaad is packed with jokes and “Bachelor”-style clips about the women.
Snow White’s introduction includes the line, “Although she lives with seven other men, she’s not easy.” It’s a reference to her living with the Seven Dwarfs, but also a somewhat dirty joke that kids likely aren’t expected to understand.
Princess Fiona is introduced as “a loaded pistol who likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain,” a reference to the Rupert Holmes song “Escape” that children watching the movie typically wouldn’t know (until they hear it playing during the scene, of course).
There is a Lancelot parking-lot sign in Duloc.
Amusement parks like Disney World and Six Flags have such massive parking areas that there tend to be signs with characters on them to mark different sections of the lot.
This makes it easier for visitors to find their cars at the end of the day since they can just head directly to the character-specific area they parked in.
Duloc apparently sets its parking lots up the same way, since Shrek and Donkey pass a sign that says, “You are parked in Lancelot.” This is only on the screen for a brief moment, but it shows the effort that went into packing this movie with as much detail as possible.
Shrek makes a compensation joke about Lord Farquaad.
When Shrek sees Lord Farquaad’s ginormous castle, he asks Donkey if he thinks “maybe he’s compensating for something.”
It’s safe to say most kids watching will not get the implied joke here, but based on his confused head tilt, Donkey didn’t understand it either.
Later in the movie, Donkey attempts to share Shrek’s comment with Princess Fiona, saying “Shrek thinks that Farquaad is compensating for something, which I think means he has a really -“
Shrek cuts Donkey off before he can finish speaking, but it’s clear that by now, Donkey gets the joke. Maybe Shrek explained the comment to Donkey during their journey.
Duloc seems to be a parody of the Disney theme parks.
The land of Duloc seems to be modelled after one of the best-known examples of a magical kingdom – Disney.
The first glance viewers get of Duloc shows the Lancelot parking sign, turnstiles at the entrance, and a main-street area, all of which appear to resemble a Disney theme park.
Duloc even has its own souvenir shop, a staple in every theme park, that sells plush Farquaad toys.
Shrek and Donkey also watch colourful, wooden dolls sing “Welcome to Duloc,” which may remind viewers of Disney’s “It’s a Small World” attraction.
“Welcome to Duloc” hints at a swear before breaking the rhyme pattern of the song to say something more appropriate for children.
One of the most memorable jokes in Shrek is the implied curse word during the “Welcome to Duloc” song.
The wooden dolls sing the line, “Please keep off the grass, shine your shoes, wipe your … face.”
Given that before saying the word face, the toys pause and the front row turns around and shows their rear ends, you probably thought that last word was going to reference a different body part.
The use of the word “face” breaks the rhyme pattern of the song, drawing extra attention to the joke.
One of the best-known lines from the film is actually a “Babe” reference.
“Babe” (1995) is a popular children’s movie from the 1990s starring a pig named Babe.
A well-known quote from the movie is, “That will do pig. That will do.” Shrek instead says “That will do Donkey. That will do.”
It’s a quick line that children at the time may have noticed, but since the “Babe” references are a few decades old now, today’s viewers may think it’s a “Shrek” original.
A bird blows itself up trying to match Princess Fiona’s vocal range, and Fiona fries up that bird’s eggs for breakfast.
The morning after Shrek and Donkey rescue her, Fiona sings with a bird she finds in the forest.
The scene is certainly morbid, but it seems to be a dark parody of when Disney princesses sing with animals, as the bird is able to magically whistle in perfect harmony with Fiona’s voice.
However, Fiona’s vocal range proves to be a bit too much for the bird, who explodes trying to hit a high note.
That definitely doesn’t tend to happen for Disney princesses, and none of them would be likely to follow Fiona’s lead in stealing the eggs from the bird’s nest to make breakfast for Donkey and Shrek.
Monsieur Hood and his Merry Men seem to imply that he enjoys sleeping with the women he rescues.
The arrow quiver, outfit, and name are likely enough to make viewers understand that Monsieur Hood is meant to resemble Robin Hood, but they also blatantly state he “steals from the rich to give to the needy” in case viewers missed the parody.
He and his Merry Men break into an elaborate song and dance with numerous references including a “Riverdance” sequence and some “West Side Story”-style snapping.
The lyrics of the song further explain their heroic feats, but one line might surprise older viewers who catch it.
Monsieur Hood sings, “I like an honest fight and a saucy little maid.” This line is immediately followed by his Merry Men singing, “What he’s basically saying is he likes to get-” but Monsieur Hood cuts them off and says “paid,” seemingly implying that the word they were going to sing may have been “laid.”
Shrek refers to technology that likely doesn’t exist in his world.
After Fiona fights off Monsieur Hood and his Merry Men, Shrek says, “Hold the phone.”
He and Donkey are both surprised by Fiona’s fighting ability and it’s clear from the context and how the other characters react that they know Shrek’s statement means he wants Fiona to pause and explain what just happened.
However, phones don’t appear to exist in this movie, so it’s unclear how Shrek knows what a phone is or understands the phrase.
Shrek calls Donkey a jackass while they’re fighting.
While Shrek and Donkey fight, Shrek calls Donkey a jackass.
The word means male donkey – which Donkey is – but it’s also an insult that means a stupid, annoying individual. It’s unclear how Shrek intended to use the word, but it seemingly works either way.
This may be surprising in an animated children’s movie, but that (along with a few other jokes and references) is likely why the film is rated PG instead of G.
There are cue cards suggesting guests’ reactions during Fiona and Farquaad’s wedding ceremony.
Television shows filmed in front of live audiences will sometimes have cue cards that tell people how to react during certain scenes.
Fiona and Farquaad’s wedding does the same, with cue cards at the front of the church that say things like “Revered Silence,” “Reverence,” and “Laugh.”
The film has many onion references, which may have some roots in a play from the 1800s.
Shrek compares himself to an onion while explaining ogres to Donkey. He says that ogres, like onions, have layers.
This is potentially a reference to the onion-peeling scene in the Norweigan playwright Henrik Ibsen’s play “Peer Gynt” from the 1800s.The play also follows an anti-hero, which Shrek is often characterised as by fans.
The onion reference comes into play again at the end of the movie when Shrek and Fiona climb into a magical carriage that a fairy godmother makes out of an onion – rather than from a pumpkin, which is the case in many “Cinderella” fairy-tales.
Gingy, the gingerbread man, makes a reference to “A Christmas Carol.”
By the end of the movie, Gingy had suffered quite a bit. Being tortured by Lord Farquaad and his men left him injured to the point where he has to use a cane – well, a candy cane that is.
Gingy’s small figure and reliance on his cane may remind viewers of Tiny Tim from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
But if that wasn’t enough to get the reference across, Gingy says Tiny Tim’s exact ending line from the story: “God bless us, every one!”
Guests appear to be dancing the Macarena at Shrek and Fiona’s wedding reception.
There’s plenty to look at during Shrek and Fiona’s wedding reception. Many of the fantasy characters seen earlier in the movie reappear here.
The Big Bad Wolf (in grandma garb), Pinocchio, and the Three Little Pigs can be spotted in the audience, and Snow White’s Seven Dwarves are the wedding band.
Guests can be seen dancing in many different styles during this ending sequence, but one that stands out is a group of guests who appear to be doing the Macarena, an iconic dance from the 1990s that’s typically performed to a Spanish song.
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