What Got These Episodes from Famous TV Shows Banned?By Jennifer Snow
Are you a true fan of your favorite TV series? Then you should be able to spot the difference between the good and bad episodes that got aired. Though some less than satisfactory episodes may make it to air, there are others that never see the light of day. Due to media censorship, some of your favorite TV shows may have secret episodes you never got to see.
How frustrating is that? If you want to know the details, we got you! Here is a list of popular TV shows and the episodes that were banned or canceled due to media censorship. These episodes might be the proof you need to call yourself a true fan of the series when it comes to trivia night.
The X-Files: “Home” Didn’t Hit a Home Run
Sci-fi fans know The X-files series all too well. It was one of the biggest hits of the 90s. We all enjoyed the twist and turns of a series that took us through impossible realities that seemed to exist in our own world. People waited eagerly for each new episode of this popular TV show.
The show had a fan base populated by people who enjoyed a healthy dose of weirdness, but even they could not handle “Home.” This episode told the story of a group of inbred individuals and their atrocities. It was deemed so repulsive that it’s rarely been played again after its first airing.
Hannibal: “Oeuf” Was More Like “EWW!”
Fans of Hannibal have a taste for gore and violence, but this particular episode was too eerie even for them, according to the creator. The TV show is set before the events in The Silence of the Lambs. In each episode, there is no shortage of blood and murder, but in this particular episode, children are being trained to kill.
The episode was pulled out by the show’s creator, Bryan Fuller, who had a feeling that the content was too violent for mainstream media, particularly at the hour it was supposed to air. Apparently, the show’s creator had a feeling that this episode would not be well-received, even by hard-core fans.
Beavis and Butt-Head: “Comedians” Left No One Laughing
Beavis and Butt-Head is a cartoon series that was never afraid to show explicit content, pushing the envelope of what they could get away with every time. This was not a wholesome cartoon series, and at the time, it was not considered suitable for minors.
When “Comedians” aired, no one was laughing. Soon after, a 5-year old boy burned down his house just as the two main characters of the show had burned down the comedy club they worked in during the episode. The two events were linked, and the episode was banned.
The Twilight Zone: “Encounters” Received Complaints
The Twilight Zone may have been groundbreaking during its time, but “Encounter” was not received well by the masses. This particular episode told the story of an American World War II veteran trapped in his attic with a Japanese American gardener.
This lit a fire under the show’s conservative viewership, and the station was bombarded with complaints after the episode aired. Naturally, “Encounters” never aired on the network again. It seems fans of the series were not yet ready to go to the places The Twilight Zone wanted to take them.
Sesame Street: “Episode 0847” Was Canceled
Sesame Street is one of the longest-running children’s TV shows, and with good reason. The show learns from its mistakes and keeps everything kid-friendly. Running a show for that long is no easy task, and a few mistakes are inevitable sometimes.
In this episode, they made the mistake of casting Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West. This freaked out many children, and the show was flooded with complaints from concerned parents of terrified kids. The episode never aired again.
Hawaii Five-O: “Bored, She Hung Herself” Had to Be Killed
When life imitates art, it is not always a good thing. In this episode of Hawaii Five-O, the story follows the investigation of the death of a young woman who apparently committed suicide. In the end, it turns out she was just trying to master a yoga pose that led to her demise.
Unfortunately, a woman thought this was a good idea, tried the pose herself, and ended with the same result. The series did not want this to happen again, so the producers deemed the episode as “lost.” It is now impossible to find, even if you get an old-school DVD box set. Good luck finding that episode again!
Tiny Toon Adventures: “Elephant Issues” Had Bigger Issues
Tiny Toon Adventures appealed to the younger audience of the network, but sometimes, the cartoon aired episodes that made parents raise an eyebrow. The show was expected to be family-friendly, but its creators sometimes pushed the bounds. “Elephant Issues” was the most controversial time they did this.
This episode was trying to convey a message that drinking alcohol is bad, but their delivery was pretty intense, considering how young its intended audience was. The message was not well received because it showed the characters taking on an adventure while intoxicated and accidentally driving a car off a cliff. Yikes!
You Can’t Do That on Television: “Adopted” Got Too Literal
Do you remember the show You Can’t Do That on Television? It was popular during the 80s and featured skit comedy and other funny bits and pieces. They were known for making light of controversial topics during those times and occasionally pushing the boundaries. Then they took it too far.
In this particular episode, they made fun of kids who were adopted. Naturally, people did not take a liking to this. The show took notice of the ratings and did not air the episode again after airing it twice in the United States. Canada kept it but bleeped out the profanity.
Cow and Chicken: “Buffalo Gals” Got Butchered
The show Cow and Chicken from the Cartoon Network follows the antics of brother and sister Cow and Chicken. This show was hilarious. Just because it is a cartoon series does not mean that it is exclusively for kids. This was one of those shows that would give hidden messages and jokes that only adults would understand.
The episode “Buffalo Gals” indirectly made fun of a specific demographic of women. These women rode motorcycles, played softball, looked masculine, and liked to “munch rugs.” This flew over the heads of kids but not the adults. The episode was wiped after its first airing in 1998.
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: “Conflict” Lived up to Its Title
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was a show that the whole family could enjoy – well, most of the time. The episode “Conflict” became a problem for the show and the network. It covered the topic of war and bombings when at that time, there was a threat of potential war in the real world.
The show’s creators intended to raise awareness of the potential threat of war, but this did not fit the demographic of the show at that time. It initially tried to make children understand the Cold War, but its audience took it the wrong way. After the backlash, it was banned from ever being aired again.
Seinfeld: “The Puerto Rican Day” Has Seen Better Days
Seinfeld was a household name in the 90s. Everybody loved watching this show about nothing. The series followed the everyday adventures of four friends living in New York. This particular episode tells their story during the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.
As you can probably guess, Puerto Ricans were not very happy with the episode since it involved burning their flag and portraying them in a stereotyped way. People clamored in protest outside the Rockefeller Center, leaving the network with no choice but to ban the episode from airing again.
TaleSpin: “Flying Dupes” Sent the Network into a Tailspin
TaleSpin was a popular cartoon show of the 80s and 90s, and it was kid-friendly for the most part. The show was about the adventures of a lovable bear who was a pilot and who went on adventures with a crew of other cute characters. It was a hit with both the kids and the parents, except for one particular episode.
“Flying Dupes” had a pretty sinister plot that was not as kid-friendly as the show was presented to be. The story was about the loveable bear delivering a package to the Thembrian High Marshall, but it turned out the delivery contained a bomb. The episode only aired once in August 1991. People complained, and it was immediately banned.
The Amanda Show: “Episode 29” Lucked Out
The Amanda Show was a funny TV sketch series that was wholesome most of the time. The star of the show was Amanda Bynes, and it aired on Nickelodeon, targeting a young audience with its pop culture references. This episode became controversial because it was too familiar in a negative way.
This episode was titled “The Luckless,” and it was about a down-and-out family that had a major case of bad juju – nothing went right for them. At the end of the skit, an asteroid destroyed the family. It didn’t receive any complaints at first, but it was first aired on March 17, 2001. After September 11 of that same year, it was banned for obvious reasons.
Family Guy: “Partial Terms of Endearment” Wasn’t So Endearing
Family Guy is known to take a jab at controversial topics from time to time, pushing the limits of what is tolerable in mainstream media. In the eighth season of the show, it seems that the writers might have pushed the limits a little too far for the network’s comfort.
In this episode, Peter and Lois agree to carry their friend’s baby for them until a car crash kills their friends, leaving the couple to decide whether to keep the baby or not. Fox decided that this content was too controversial, even for Family Guy, so they pulled. However, if you can track down the Season 8 DVD, you’ll be able to watch the banned episode.
Mike and Molly: “Windy City” Ruffled Some Feathers
The wholesome TV show Mike and Molly did not mean harm with the episode “Windy City.” It was a clean, family-friendly show that was loved by its audience. Sadly, it was just bad timing for this episode. The producers decided it best to be sensitive about the events that were happening when the episode was supposed to air. ADVERTISEMENT
The “Windy City” episode was about tornadoes and bad weather and how Mike and Molly handled the situation. This struck an uncomfortable chord with people because the country was cleaning up the devastation caused by a tornado that had ravaged the states of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Iowa. The Network decided to temporarily suspend the episode until the situation was brought under control.
South Park: “201” Didn’t Make It
Episode 201 from the cartoon series South Park was the second half of a two-parter. It poked fun at Tom Cruise, but that was not the problem. The South Park creators have gotten away with plenty of jabs at different cultures before, but they didn’t get away with this one.
The problem with this episode started in the first half. The show included the prophet Muhammad among other religious figures. Since it is forbidden to portray the image of Muhammad in Islam, this caused a major stir in the Muslim community. Episode 201 was heavily censored, but even this was not enough. The show’s creators were threatened, and all episodes referencing Muhammad were removed from streaming sites.
Boy Meets World: “Promises, Promises” Were Broken
People tuned in to this TV series because of the main character’s love story. The tension and chemistry between Cory and Topanga were undeniable. Fans always expected them to get together in the end. The producers took notice, but the writers had a different idea.
In the episode “Promises, Promises,” the romance between the two took a more adult route. It was their prom, and things were getting hot and heavy for the two. This did not fit the family-friendly show, and the fans were surprised about this. The episode got pulled out of syndication as soon as it aired.
Dexter’s Laboratory: “Dial M For Monkey: Barbequor” Left an Awful Taste
We all remember the lovable Dexter from the Dexter’s Laboratory cartoon series. This was a favorite on the Cartoon Network in the ’90s. We watched his amazing adventures with his annoying yet adorable little sister Deedee. This kid-friendly series was parent-approved, so fans were shocked by this particular episode.
This episode “Dial M for Monkey: Barbequeor” was a parody of a popular comic book character. This is where Silver Spooner and Barbequor made their appearance. Apparently, fans found Silver Spooner offensive as they thought it was a stereotype. Complaints were made, and the show removed the episode soon after.
Pokémon: “Electric Soldier Porygon” Got Rejected
Kids of the ’90s loved the adorable pocket monsters of Pokémon. The franchise was huge throughout the world, especially in Japan. You would think that an episode would only get canceled due to inappropriate content, but this was not the case for this episode.
The writers did nothing wrong with the plot of the episode. Maybe it was the animators’ fault? The trouble started when they received complaints due to the rapidly blinking red and blue lights that caused hundreds of seizures as well as headaches and other symptoms. The episode was cut by the network.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer: “Earshot” Was Never Heard from Again
Buffy The Vampire Slayer thrived during its era. It was popular with teens who followed the main characters as they hunted, battled, and killed vampires. The show was not short on blood and gore, but this episode hit fans the wrong way.
The dark series took an even darker turn when the episode told an eerie story of a student who took his own life. The episode was set to air just a week after the Colorado High School shooting in 1999, and the similarities were too great for the episode to go to air.
The Simpsons: “The City Of New York vs. Homer Simpson” Lost Its Case
The longest-running TV series, The Simpsons, presented a lot of great episodes, and fans would argue that this is one of them. However, there were a lot of triggers in this episode that finally got it canceled. The story takes us to New York, where Homer has to retrieve his car after it gets impounded.
It could have been a great episode that the fans would have enjoyed, but then the 9-11 attacks happened. The episode featured the Twin Towers in multiple scenes while Homer was making threats toward the city. So, “The City Of New York vs. Homer Simpson” was banned after the 9-11 attack.
Star Trek: “Patterns of Force” Did Not Prosper
Star Trek has a strong community of fans who love the show. It is a popular sci-fi series that aired many fantastic episodes featuring futuristic storylines. The writers managed to slip some relevant issues into the show, even if it was set thousands of years in the future.
In the episode “Patterns of Force,” the characters were dressed in Nazi-style costumes, and the villains were unmistakably similar to the infamous group. They were supposedly brainwashed. Due to the sensitive topic, the episode was banned in Germany not long after it was first aired.
I Love Lucy: “The Ricardos Visit Cuba” Received Hate
This episode takes Lucy, her husband Ricky, and little Ricky to Cuba. They were hoping to get on the good side of a relative, Uncle Alberto, who wanted his nephew to marry a Cuban woman. Loveable Lucy tried to soften the heart of the old man.
During the episode’s first airing in the ’50s, there was no problem as it featured wholesome antics from Lucy. However, in the ‘60s, America’s relations with Cuba went south, so the episode was banned.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force: “Boston” Wasn’t Tasteful
Aqua Teen Hunger Force might have pushed the envelope too far when even the Boston Police had concerns for public safety in regards to “Boston.” The episode parodied the Boston bomb scare of 2007. It’s also the only one of the show’s episodes to never officially be released.
The producers and the network had to deal with the legalities and a fine that cost them about $2 million all told. The episode was never officially aired, but it was leaked online in 2015. So, it technically may be possible to find it.
Fear Factor: “Hee Haw! Hee Haw!” Freaked Everyone Out
We all know the show Fear Factor was not for those faint-hearted. When you see the show starting, expect some freaky stuff to go down. From their seemingly unbelievable stunts to the gross things contestants were expected to eat, this show was wild. However, the limit was reached with this episode.
The “Hee Haw! Hee Haw!” episode featured three sets of twins who had to compete by eating grosser and grosser things. Finally, they were asked to consume a special kind of liquid from a male donkey. We’ll let you guess what the sticky liquid was, but it was bad enough that it led to the entire show being canceled, not just the episode.
Star Trek: “The High Ground” Was Not So High
In this episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the crew visits a planet called Ruita IV. The political plot of this story in this other world hit too close to home at that time. An era of peace in Ruita IV ended after a terrorist attack by Ansata separatists.
The writers tried to mask their political message with the show’s science fiction theme, but fans spotted the message right away. This was clearly about the Irish troubles at that time, as it came just months after an IRA terrorist bombing. The Irish government took notice and banned the episode in the Republic of Ireland.
Derrick: Germany Dropped the Whole Show
Derrick was a Munich-based detective show that was popular throughout Germany during the ’70s and ‘80s. It was also aired in neighboring countries. People enjoyed the adventures of the slick detective, and nothing was offensive about the show. The problem was with the actor who played the main character.
The show was taken off the air in 2013 after a scandal about the actor spread like fire. Apparently, Horst Tappert had lied about his service during World War II. He had been under the command of the Waffen-SS. The Network quickly dropped the show because they did not want to be associated with the Nazi unit and its many atrocities.
Peppa Pig: “Mister Skinnylegs” Shimmied Off
Peppa Pig is a cartoon series that is supposed to be kid-friendly. It generally is, but a few unintentionally controversial episodes have had to be taken out for the safety of children. Young minds are just too impressionable.
In this episode, Peppa Pig tries to make friends with a spider. It tells children that spiders are not necessarily bad, harmless even. However, this is not the case for children in Australia, with some of the most poisonous and dangerous spiders living in the country. The episode was banned from the Australian network after accidentally airing once.
The Prisoner: “Living in Harmony” Broke Out
“Living in Harmony” tells the story of Number 6, who was placed in a virtual reality simulation of the Old West. The people in the small town were trying to make him the Sheriff, but our main character was hesitant to take on that responsibility.
The episode was banned for several reasons. Those in charge didn’t like the fact that it portrayed mind-altering drugs and featured commentary on the Vietnam War. The protagonist refused to pick up his gun to fight and defend the town he was living in, and this was taken as anti-war sentiment.
Dudley Do-Right: “Stokey The Bear” Did Wrong
Dudley Do-Right was a cartoon series that a lot of kids watched. These impressionable kids loved the characters and might have imitated their actions. This is why the US Forest Service got concerned after the episode featured a hypnotized Stokey the Bear setting things on fire.
This was not well received by the Forest Service because they felt it glorified arson. They also claimed that the character was a rip-off of Smokey the Bear. The service filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement, and with this, the episode was taken down.
Married… with Children: “I’ll See You In Court” Got Real
The Show Married… with Children was not new to legal issues. The show faced controversies and boycotts from the start due to its misogynistic humor and crude content. However, “I’ll See You In Court” got way too real, and the network had to pull it.
The episode sees Peggy and Al go to a motel, but they discover that their room has been tapped. They sue the motel for filming them, and the whole story just gets too real. After too many complaints, the network had no choice but to pull it from circulation.
Masters of Horror: “Imprint” Was Too Horrifying
Masters of Horror was a show that was well-received by both fans and critics. It is an anthology series that tells a new horror story in each episode. Of course, the audience of such a show is expecting gore and horror, but this particular episode had to be taken out for being too much.
“Imprint” was directed by Takashi Miike. He must have had a grand vision for the episode because it took everything to a new level of horror. The graphics, visuals, and theme of the episode were too much for the network, so it was never released to the public. Only true fans of the show know that it even exists, and it was eventually released on DVD.
Transformers: “Spychangers To The Rescue” Flopped
Transformers, like the popular movie franchise, is about robotic transforming machines from outer space. It has always been well received by children, and there is nothing controversial about the show. Well, nothing except for a particular episode called “Spychangers to the Rescue.”
The episode first aired on April 26, 2000, in Japan. It was about the threat of a generator exploding that would release poisonous gas, but when it aired on September 13 in the United States of America, the nation’s citizens were still recovering from the 9-11 attack. It hit too close to home, so the episode was taken off the air.
iCarly: “iRue The Day” Was Ruined
iCarly is about a social media influencer named Carly and her antics as a regular high school student going through the ups and downs of teenage life. In this episode, Nevel threatens to blackmail Carly and her friend after hacking their website.
The episode first aired in 2007, and no one thought twice about it until 2014, when Sony was hacked. The corporation decided that this episode glorified hacking, which might be a problem for impressionable teenagers. It was taken off the air for some time and made available again after everything cooled down.
Shake It Up: “Party It Up” Didn’t Start the Party
“Party It Up” is about CeCe and Rocky having a good time at a supermodel party. Fans observed that eating disorders were treated far too lightly in this episode, giving kids the impression that this was a natural part of being a model. The episode was meant to be fun, but it was no party for the network.
One celebrity, in particular, took it personally. Demi Lovato was so offended she took to Twitter and ranted about how serious eating disorders are, saying that this was no laughing matter. Demi’s followers could not have agreed more, and the network had no choice but to pull the episode from circulation. They eventually returned it after removing the offensive scenes.
Bottom: “S-Out” Got Booted Out
Bottom was a British sitcom about two unemployed pranksters and their adventures in Hammersmith, West London. The show was famed for its unique humor, and everyone loved the two main characters. No one thought an episode of their show would ever be banned.
It turns out the problem was not the content but the location and timing of the episode. “S-Out ” was about the friends spending the night on Wimbledon Common. However, its intended release date coincided with the real murder of Rachel Nickell in the same area.
The Powerpuff Girls: “See Me, Feel Me, Gnome” Had to Disappear
The Powerpuff Girls are made out of sugar, spice, and everything nice, but don’t forget about Chemical X – the substance that gives these girls their powers. There is nothing harmful about the show, but the writers might have put a hidden message into the episode “See Me, Feel Me, Gnome.”
The episode was about a gnome making a deal with the girls, taking their powers in exchange for peace in their town. Some people saw this as a hidden message that favored communism, while others thought that the show was banned because a hippie looked too much like Jesus. Whatever the reason, it was enough for the network to ban the episode from airing again.
BraceFace: “Busted” Had to Go
BraceFace is a Canadian-Chinese-American animated show that tackles teen drama. One of the dramas in this particular episode was about the protagonist wanting to look older than she is. In the episode “Busted,” Sharon puts on a magic bra that gives her what she wants.
Sharon did look more mature, but the audience took notice of how this sent the wrong message to younger viewers. The episode was pulled down as fast as possible after complaints flowed in from concerned citizens.
Caillou: “Big Brother Caillou” Wasn’t So Nice
Caillou is a Canadian children’s show. It follows the everyday life of Caillou, a four-year-old boy. The show is enjoyed by the whole family but targets small kids. Young impressionable minds learn worthwhile lessons in each episode… well, except for this one.
In “Big Brother Caillou,” the actions of the main character are a little too controversial. The episode shows Caillou pinching his baby sister to the point that she bursts into tears, and after this, he is not reprimanded. People felt like it sent the wrong message to kids and had to be taken off.
Arthur: “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone” Did Not Have a Happy Ending
In this episode of Arthur, the gang tries to find out the soon-to-be better half of their teacher, Mr. Ratburn. The friends are shocked to discover that their teachers have a life outside of the classroom. Shocking, right? When they meet their teacher’s “special someone,” they are even more surprised.
During the airing of “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” many Americans were unhappy that it portrayed a same-sex couple. The show was banned entirely from Alabama because of the gay marriage that was featured in the episode.