You can probably think of an episode of a show that made you question how it ever made it to air. Sometimes, objectionable or controversial episodes cause such an uproar that the network pulls them from air altogether.
Here are 15 TV episodes that were so controversial they got pulled from air:
Warning: some entries mention eating disorders.
1. On the Dance Moms episode, "Topless Showgirls," (later renamed "Costume Drama"), even some of the moms and daughters disapproved of dance teacher Abby Lee Miller's decision to have the girls perform a "fan dance" in costumes that gave the "illusion" of nudity. Lifetime pulled it from air and removed it from streaming platforms a few weeks after it aired.
2. In the 1976 Sesame Street episode, "Episode 847," Margaret Hamilton revived her The Wizard of Oz role as the Wicked Witch of the West to teach viewers how to overcome their fears. However, it was pulled from air because it was deemed too scary for its young audience.
3. In the 1983 Mister Rogers' Neighborhood's five-episode arc, "Mister Rogers Talks about Conflict," the puppet King Friday worried that a neighboring town was building a bomb to destroy Make-Believe, so he lead his fellow residents in building bomb parts of their own. It was intended to teach children about the Cold War and the fears surrounding it, but the episodes were all taken down due to their political nature.
4. In 1996, Fox aired an episode of X-Files called "Home," in which Mulder and Scully investigated the Peacocks, an inbred and incestuous family who committed murders to keep their secrets hidden. Deeming it too disturbing to air again, the network only broadcast it one more time — as a Halloween special in 1999.
5. On the 1997 Pokémon episode called "Electric Soldier Porygon," Pikachu blew up missiles with his lightning powers. The scene caused 700 children in Japan to experience seizures, so the episode was banned from air, even with the scene edited.
For four months, the show itself was also removed from air.
6. In 2011, Disney Channel aired an episode of Shake It Up where Cece and Rocky crashed a party and posed as servers. They meet a model, who makes a joke about having an eating disorder. The episode was pulled after former Disney star, Demi Lovato, who left Sonny with a Chance in part to seek treatment for an eating disorder, called the network out.
7. Disney Channel also pulled an episode of So Random — the SWAC spin-off created in Demi's absence — that featured a sketch about a model who also joked about eating disorders.
8. In the "One Beer" segment of the 1991 Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "Elephant Issues," Buster pressured Plucky Duck and Hamton J. Pig into drinking beer. They got so drunk that they eventually drove off a cliff and died. Even though it opened with a warning, the episode was pulled from syndication because it was considered too heavy for a Saturday morning cartoon.
9. In 2013, an episode of Jessie called "Quitting Cold Koala" faced backlash from parents of children with gluten intolerance because the kids on the show made fun of a peer for being gluten-free. The episode had only been available on demand, so Disney Channel took it down and removed it from their regular programming schedule.
10. Similarly, the 2008 Hannah Montana episode, "No Sugar, Sugar" was pulled from video-on-demand after backlash from the organization Children With Diabetes, who objected to the misguided way Miley and Lilly responded to their friend Oliver's diabetes diagnosis by trying to prevent him from eating any sugar.
11. The 1998 Seinfeld episode, "The Puerto Rican Day" was pulled after criticism from the National Puerto Rican Coalition, who called out the show for — among other depictions of harmful stereotypes — joking that rioting and vandalizing were part of "everyday" in Puerto Rico. NBC apologized for the episode and removed it from syndication.
12. In a 1964 The Twilight Zone episode called "The Encounter," a white World War II vet and a Japanese-American landscaper get stuck in an attic with a supernaturally-charged samurai sword. In the end, both men died. The episode dealt with racial prejudice and institutional racism, but it was considered so controversial at the time that it was banned from airing until 2016.
13. In the 2010 Family Guy episode, "Partial Terms of Endearment," Lois became the surrogate for an old friend and her husband but had an abortion after the couple died. It was originally supposed to be the Season 8 finale, but Fox banned it from air before broadcast. It's never aired in the US.
14. In the 2004 Degrassi: The Next Generation two-part episode, "Accidents Will Happen," 14-year-old Manny had an abortion. Though it aired in Canada, the show's US distributor refused to broadcast it. Young American fans of the show launched an online petition against the decision in response.
15. And finally, initially slated to air in 1989, the Married... with Children episode, "I'll See You In Court" followed the Bundys and the Rhoades as they sued an inn for secretly recording them having sex. Fox Network censored a lot of lines from the script, which the production team didn't accept. As a result, the episode didn't air in the US until an edited version was broadcast in 2002. It's never aired in the US in full.
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