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Things Only Adults Notice In The Boss Baby Franchise

"Put that cookie down! Cookies are for closers!" the spunky boss baby, Ted (Alec Baldwin) demands of his loyal employees (aka the other babies in the neighborhood). In 2017, "The Boss Baby" poked at the funny bones of kids and adults alike. The titular baby acts as a corporate stand-in parodying career fields within white-collar management. Let's be honest, we all know someone who is absolutely born for such a lifestyle. They're strategic, focused, and often driven solely by their careers. "Boss Baby" offers a humorous spin on corporate culture mixed with the imaginative whims of a young whippersnapper named Tim (Miles Bakshi) whose world is about to be rocked with the addition of his brand-new baby brother.

In Tim's eyes, Ted is a foreign invader intruding on the life he's always known — one where he's an only child. His adventures with the suit-wearin' infant are projected as fantasy where babies run a mega-corporation up in the clouds and it's up to Ted to stop their biggest competitor, forever puppies produced by Puppy Co., from taking all the love from newborn infants. Of course, the lines become blurred by what is reality in this whimsical story and what is all a part of Tim's imagination. After all, Baby Corp. is apparently still a thing in the sequel when Tim is a full-grown adult. So, it's entirely difficult to pinpoint what is going on. Basically, it's a family film where you just enjoy the ride. While the film has all the markings of a movie for youngsters, it actually has plenty of humor and references that only adults would ever understand. Let's take a look at some elements that probably flew right over the heads of the smaller, much younger folks among us.

The metaphor of a baby domineering life

Right at the top is a premise only most adults would understand. The entire basis of "The Boss Baby" is a metaphor, one that youngsters may not grasp. Sure, they're able to put themselves in seven-year-old Tim's shoes and see a silly baby acting and talking like a grown-up. Tim is an energetic little squirt whose imagination knows no bounds. He's purely innocent and hasn't reached the age of truly understanding the harder realities of the life of working-class parents who also have to care for young children. It's a tough job to maintain all of that. 

But really, the entire idea of a baby being "the boss" reflects on the idea that infants are all-consuming and totally domineering in young parents' lives. Sure, Ted's greatest threat to Tim is that he sucks away all the time their parents used to spend with Tim. Now, the brothers have to share. But Tim sees it as a total invasion of his world and acts like he'll never get any attention from his parents ever again — which is not the case. Still, the dramatic view here is to showcase that when a baby demands that it's hungry, the parents feed them. When a baby soils itself, the parents change its diaper. When a baby is fussy, the parents know it's time to put the infant to sleep. You get the picture. The baby calls the shots, hence the "Boss Baby." Of course, Ted takes his position of boss in a wholly different light. He directs an actual business operation for a company that lives in the clouds.

Silver cocktail shaker and the baby bottle martini

Most of the humor in the first film is derived from an infant who acts like an adult. While the second film still maintains the same characters, Ted and Tim have both grown to be actual adults before they're put back into their young bodies. Therefore, acting like adults isn't quite as funny given that we know they truly are adults on the inside. When Ted first introduces himself to Tim as a talking baby sent from Baby Corp. on a radical corporate espionage mission to take down Puppy Co., Tim asks the most poignant question of all: "Who are you?" Ted replies, "Let's just say, I'm the boss," as he cracks open a safe hidden within a diaper box.

What exactly is inside this safe, might you ask? Well, children certainly would have no idea other than noting that there's a baby bottle and a silver thing. In effect, it's a silver cocktail shaker, and Ted proceeds to shake his baby bottle full of milk with the shaker on top just like a martini. Of course, we shouldn't be surprised after the bold little infant claims he's aching for an espresso and a spicy tuna roll before tossing a wad of cash at his brother. There's no doubt that all of these things require a refined palate. It's like this little guy is destined to become a successful CEO of a mega-corporation or something.

Tim's mom is actually pregnant

The first "Boss Baby" film starts off with Tim on a wild adventure. The narrative establishes that he has a rather overactive imagination. So, when Tim's parents ask him if he'd like a baby brother, he cheekily replies, "No thanks, I'm enough." Tim's adult narration then later claims he remembers exactly how his brother arrived: in a taxi. We see Ted exit the vehicle decked out in business suit attire complete with a briefcase as he waltzes up to the house and takes control. Here's where things get a little ... foggy. Given the premise, we could easily assume that everything about "The Boss Baby" storyline is just Tim's wild imagination. The sequel film, however, posits that, perhaps, Baby Corp. and everything about Ted's little adventure down to Earth was actually real given that they experience it all over again as adults.

Regardless, of whether Baby Corp. truly exists or not, there's one thing we can't deny. Tim's mom is pregnant. Of course, Ted was born into the family, as one would expect. There are no storks or magical baby companies in the sky. We can see this at the moment when Tim's father asks him about his baby brother. When Tim replies in the negative, his mom looks down at her pregnant belly. It's a quick detail, that many children might actually miss given the premise of the film which doesn't actually focus on any kind of birthing process.

A pacifier is akin to a peyote drug trip

Tim and his baby brother are at odds. After all, baby Ted is an existential threat to everything Tim holds dear, namely being the recipient of all of his parents' affections. Tim attempts to out the infant as being a strange talking baby who holds staff meetings with the other babies in the neighborhood. This, of course, results in a clash that lands Tim in the dog house with his parents. Baby Ted, however, offers his big brother an olive branch. He strikes a deal with him that if he can help stop the threat of Puppy Co., Ted will leave Tim's life for good. Once they strike the accord, Ted tells Tim everything. He tells him of his role on Earth and even Baby Corp. up in the great beyond.

Baby Ted then tells Tim to suck his pacifier to receive enlightenment. Tim refuses, exclaiming that he doesn't know where it's been. The boss baby retorts, "It's not where it's been, it's where it will take you. Don't you want to know where babies really come from?" The two brothers are then seen sitting across from one another as Tim's baby brother explains the many names by which a pacifier is known and states that through its power, you will know the truth. The two then begin sucking the binkies faster and faster only to be transported to Baby Corp. as ethereal projections. Here Tim learns everything. The entire affair is a play on a peyote drug trip that is often referred to in Native American history as a spiritual journey of enlightenment. Maybe someone should check those pacifiers and make sure they weren't coated with anything.

Casual Fridays reference

Tim and baby Ted finally learn that they're going to have to work together in order to meet their goals. The boss baby who's ruling the roost agrees to leave Tim and the rest of the family should Tim help him accomplish his goal of thwarting Puppy Co. In the meantime, Tim comes to the realization that the pair have to put on a show for their parents. They have to act like they love each other, an L-word that is hard for either of them to stomach. So, the brothers begin showing that they're bonding. Tim feeds the baby while his parents look on awkwardly. Later, Tim attempts to prepare baby Ted for family pictures by dressing him in a sailor outfit. Baby Ted angrily states, "I don't wear nautical. It's not even Friday!"

For young kids, this is a throwaway line. But parents fully understand the meaning behind it. Often many places of business have a dress code. But that dress code is traditionally nullified on Fridays in favor of casual attire. That's why Ted refers to Friday. He always wears business attire, but Tim is attempting to put him in another outfit that Ted would traditionally only reserve for casual Fridays. It's a fun reference to not just corporate culture, but working-class traditions all around.

Tim drinks a Long Island ice tea

The third act of "The Boss Baby" sees Tim and his baby brother Ted make a journey to Las Vegas where they can ultimately thwart the Puppy Co. plot to unleash the forever puppy on the world. In fact, the villainous company's plot is apocalyptic. Think about it. The forever puppy is supposed to replace babies. With no love left in the world for babies, no one will want one, thereby ending the entire human race! Alright, that's a bit extreme. But Baby Corporation's market share in the love sector is set to take a massive tumble should Puppy Co. successfully unveil its new product.

Somehow, Tim and Ted manage to skate passed their creepy babysitter and nab a flight to Sin City. At the airport, they need to find a ride to the convention center. The boss baby points out a limo with plenty of young women who they can swindle for a ride. Ted puts on the sick baby routine and Tim begs the women for a ride home so they can get his medicine. Of course, "home," he tells them, is at the convention center. When he disembarks from the limo, Ted's baby face is covered in lipstick marks and Ted is holding a Long Island iced tea. After his first sip, he gags and throws the drink away exclaiming, "The people of Long Island do not know how to make an iced tea." While the idea of a seven-year-old drinking alcohol is a big no-no, what makes matters worse is knowing that one of those adult women aboard the limo gave young Timmy the beverage.

A soul-sucking corporate adventure

Baby Ted is always ready to get down to business. He's got a managerial attitude and the ego to accompany it. When Tim first sees him step foot out of the taxi, he has no idea what to expect. He just knows that this baby is wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase like he's ready to go to work with the rest of the adults. But "The Boss Baby" and its sequel, "The Boss Baby: Family Business," thematically adapt corporate culture for laughs. But who's laughing? It's probably only the adults in the room familiar with the staples of white-collar attitudes and traditions. Often, working for a big mega-corporation is seen as a soul-sucking endeavor, considering a solitary worker is simply one cog in a grand machine that ultimately doesn't respect or truly value them above profits.

Right from the start, as babies come off the conveyor belt line, they are tickled to see if they'll laugh. Those who do laugh are sent to families, while those who don't laugh are given a management position at Baby Corp. The idea that management is only for those who lack joy or have a propensity for total seriousness is a joke young minds wouldn't yet understand. Throughout the film, other corporate tropes are used such as the boss baby's staff meetings with the other babies in the neighborhood. When Ted and Tim take their pacifier-induced trip to Baby Corp., Ted mentions vying for the corner office, and we see rows of cubicles and babies in business attire. This is a world entirely foreign to kids, but we adults know this setting all too well.

Steven Hawking referenced with the pet fish

The sequel film launches us into the future, introducing new characters in the form of Tim's (now voiced by James Marsden) two daughters, Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) and Tina (Amy Sedaris). Unbeknownst to Tabitha (Tim's oldest daughter who also appeared at the end of the first film), her dad is now in his youthful seven-year-old body and operating under the guise of a school friend. She later shows him around her home and introduces Tim to her pet fish, Dr. Hawking.

Of course, most of us instantly think of the famous and world-renowned physicist, Dr. Stephen Hawking. But the pet fish could otherwise be named after anyone. That is until Tabitha demonstrates that she's created a method to allow the fish's noise in the water to be translated into words through a child's computer toy. The robotic sound of the words that show up on screen emulates the computerized voice that is famously paired with Stephen Hawking. This reference will swim right over the heads of the innocent who simply aren't familiar with Dr. Stephen Hawking and his impact on the world of science as we know it today.

Tim pretends to be Godzilla

Once Tim reveals to Ted that his daughter, Tabitha, is a boss baby from Baby Corp., the spunky little infant invites the two of them to revisit Baby Corp. to see what it has become in the present. A lot has changed in Ted's old stomping grounds since he became a full-fledged member of the Templeton family. Ted quickly learns that the new generation of babies has adopted a more modern way of thinking. Unlike the corporate culture that fostered the bold and competitive atmosphere in Ted's day, Tabitha explains that the new model is for babies to strike a healthy "work-life balance" and cultivate an atmosphere where all ideas are valued.

Tabitha then takes the pair to the Crisis Center, an operational space where babies can monitor threats to the company from all over the world. In the center is a giant globe. Instantly, Tim reverts to his child-like behavior of imaginative play and begins acting like a giant kaiju-sized creature terrorizing humanity. Though, if viewers pay attention to the style of the buildings he's hovering over, he's clearly in Japan making this a reference to "Godzilla." Sure, the big lizard has received a reboot of sorts in the modern age, but it's still not something young kids might be fully apprised of. For the rest of us, "Godzilla" is several decades old and well-known across the world for the classic monster film series that it is.

Tim and Ted's '80s hairdos when de-aging

At one point Tina introduces her father and uncle to a formula that will transform them into their younger selves for 48 hours. What could be the reason, you ask, for becoming children? Well, the Crisis Center has pinpointed Dr. Erwin Armstrong (Jeff Goldblum), the principal of Tabitha's school, as a threat to babies everywhere. He intends to rid the world of adult authority. Because Tina sees this as a threat to childhood, in general, they must infiltrate Dr. Erwin Armstrong's school and find out what his grand plans are.

With a sip of the special baby formula, Tim and Ted can be young again. After the brothers partake of this special elixir, they both begin de-aging, cycling through all the phases of their youth backwards. At one point, we see that Ted has a rather gnarly mullet, and Tim sports a bowl cut. Both of these haircuts were indicative of the '80s and '90s time periods in which they grew up. However, since these are hairstyles of a bygone era, most kids might not recognize the reference.

Night of the Living Boomers joke

Armstrong is quite the megalomaniac. Tim and Ted attempt to expose him for what he really is, a genius baby in disguise. He fled his parents and now seeks to rid the world of domineering parents once and for all by turning them into mindless zombies with his newest phone app. In an attempt to thwart Armstrong, the villain takes two lollipops and sticks them to Tim and Ted, and then plants them firmly on a tree in the center of his headquarters before attempting to stop Tabitha and Tina from shutting down his server.

Meanwhile, Ted and Tim watch as all the parents emerge from all corners of the headquarters toward them like zombies. Tim says that maybe if they don't move, they won't see us, much like the T-Rex from "Jurassic Park." Armstrong — erm, Jeff Goldblum — might get that loose reference. However, Ted yells that being still doesn't work, as the parents clearly see them and are honing in to hug them to death. Ted then shouts, "It's night of the living Boomers!" There are, of course, two references in that statement. One refers to famed horror director George Romero's classic horror film, "The Night of the Living Dead." Then there's the "boomer" term which has become a modern slang reference to someone who is deemed old and outdated. It's derived from the Baby Boomer generation, but is commonly used to describe anyone who's potentially a senior to the younger generations. Thankfully, Ted and Tim survive the zombie boomers to see another day.