10 Episodes Of Popular TV Shows Banned In America | Screen Rant

10 Episodes Of Popular TV Shows Banned In America | Screen Rant

Similar to novels with challenging storylines, television shows face comparable scrutiny from audiences. Whether mirroring major current events, covering controversial topics, or garnering unexpected reactions, episodes of popular TV shows have barely seen the light of day. The problematic plots or characters included in banned episodes reflect the more casual social views when they were created.

Several episodes have been removed from syndication completely whereas others have been edited for appropriate storylines. With the rise of streaming services, a number of episodes may still be found for viewing despite no longer being available for general audiences. Numerous episodes banned in America are still viewable in other countries.

South Park is no stranger to controversial episodes. “200” features Tom Cruise suing the South Park residents unless they can get the prophet Muhammad to meet him. Aside from a long list of celebrity parodies, the episode depicts religious figures including Muhammad, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Moses, Krishan, Joseph Smith, and Laozi.

Related: The 10 Best South Park Quotes That Are Surprisingly Clean

Though it originally aired as the fifth episode in season 14, the episode was removed from streaming a week later, as explained by Screen Rant. After airing, Revolution Muslim posted an entry warning the creators for their depiction of Muhammad. Upon moving to HBO Max, multiple controversial episodes of the series were not included for viewing.

On FriendsChandler is arguably the funniest character, but not all jokes are in good taste. “The One Where Rachel Tells” begins with Chandler and Monica preparing to leave for their honeymoon. The episode that actually aired showed them competing with another newlywed couple for free upgrades. However, the original plot featured Chandler cracking jokes about bombs in the airport and causing trouble for airport security.

Following the tragic events of 9/11, the original scene was deemed insensitive and inappropriate as the episode was set to air weeks later (via Express). As a result, the reshoot caused continuity errors in Chandler’s appearance. The original episode never aired. However, the scene is available on YouTube and as a DVD extra.

Sesame Street has long been known for its entertaining and educational children’s content. This season 7 episode features the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. Only airing once, the Wicked Witch loses her broom on Sesame Street and threatens to turn Big Bird into a feather duster if it is not returned to her. She makes a splash with the characters, including Oscar falling in love with and Big Bird befriending her.

Related: 10 Hidden Gem Kids’ Shows On Disney+

According to Birth. Movies. Death, the episode garnered strong reactions from parents who claimed their children were terrified and traumatized by the Wicked Witch. Additional screen testing was done, but the episode was ultimately removed from broadcast. Though unavailable on any streaming service, a poor-quality video of the 1976 episode is available to watch on YouTube.

The long-running Lifetime reality series, Dance Moms, follows young dancers as they train and compete for the Abby Lee Dance Company. The season 2 episode “Topless Showgirls” finds the children competing with a showgirls-style dance number complete with flesh-colored leotards meant to simulate nudity despite backlash and disapproval from the dance moms.

The children’s parents were not the only ones uncomfortable. The Hollywood Reporter details that despite high ratings, Lifetime pulled the episode from rotation as it was considered inappropriate and received criticism from audiences. It has not aired again on the network and is currently unavailable on any streaming service, but the final dance number is available on YouTube.

Boy Meets World chronicled the life of Corey Matthews and his friends for seven seasons. The season 5 episode “Prom-ises, Prom-ises” navigates the familiar teenage issue of prom. Corey wants to make the night special as he books a hotel room for him and Topanga to lose their virginities after the dance. Boy Meets World was ahead of its time, touching on realistic topics like child abuse and inappropriate student-teacher relationships.

The episode was pulled by Disney after the initial airing due to the sexual theme, despite Corey and Topanga returning to the dance and not actually participating in the act (per Showbiz CheatSheet). After the show began airing on ABC Family and MTV2, the episode returned to screens. It is currently available on Disney+.

The season opener for The Simpsons follows Homer being sent to a psychiatric hospital where he believes to meet Michael Jackon. Bart forgets Lisa’s birthday present and utilizes Homer’s new friend to write and perform a special song for her. Michael reveals he is not the real Michael Jackson, but an impersonator named Leon.

Related: 10 Best Bart & Lisa Episodes Of The Simpsons

Michael Jackson famously voiced the character of Leon, who was expected to return in a future episode voiced by Prince, according to Looper. However, “Stark Raving Dad” was pulled from television in 2019 following new allegations against Jackson (per Screen Rant). Additionally, it is unavailable for streaming on Disney+, but can still be found on YouTube in its entirety.

Jerry Seinfeld played a fictionalized version of himself in Seinfeld for nine seasons. Seinfeld is known for unforgettable jokes, but sometimes things go too far. In “The Puerto Rican Day,” the group of friends is stuck in traffic due to a parade in New York City celebrating Puerto Rican Day. Kramer accidentally sets fire to the Puerto Rican flag and stomps on it. Later, he comments how vandalism happens every day in the country.

Audiences were so outraged by the racially insensitive episode that both the creators and NBC issued apologies and the episode was removed from broadcast (via The New York Post). However, the episode returned to small screens once more in 2002 after more than five years off the air. The episode is currently available to watch on Netflix.

PBS aired popular children’s program Arthur for a whopping 25 seasons. In the 14th season premiere, Arthur and his pals discover the school lunch lady, Mrs. McGrady, has been diagnosed with cancer. As the kids struggle with understanding her illness, Francine turns to Lance Armstrong who discusses his own cancer diagnosis and how he got through it. She subsequently organizes a fundraiser for cancer research.

Though it originally aired in 2009, the episode was pulled from PBS in 2012 following Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal (per MyChiller). Heavy editing removed his character and replaced him with a professional wrestler. The original episode is unavailable for streaming. However, Armstrong’s scenes can still be found on YouTube.

The first season of the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, revolved around cassette tapes explaining why a high school student took her own life. The original finale depicted the very graphic scene when Hannah died. 13 Reasons Why touches on teen issues and advocates for destigmatizing the teenage experience, but the scene proved to be too much for audiences.

The Jay Asher novel was one of the most banned books from 2010-2019 (per ALA). Though the episode has never been actually banned in America like its namesake, Netflix altered the controversial scene prior to season 3 after studies revealed a correlation between the show and high suicide rates (via The Hollywood Reporter). The three-minute scene is still available for viewing on YouTube with a content warning.

In 1993, the season 3 premiere of MTV’s raunchy animated series Beavis and Butt-Head shows the titular characters trying to become comedians. They only find each other funny and the audience leaves as Beavis begins his set at the comedy club. He burns down the club after attempting to juggle burning newspapers.

Unfortunately, the episode allegedly inspired a 5-year-old to burn down his family’s home with a lighter, killing his younger sister in the process, according to The New York Times. MTV initially moved the episode to a later time slot with heavy editing to remove the fire, but the episode was withdrawn from airing entirely and has only aired once in the original format.

Next: 10 Movies That Were Banned In America

The storylines for these episodes of popular TV shows were deemed too controversial or insensitive for audiences and removed from airing.

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