10 Banned Episodes Of Famous TV Shows

Very bad timing and/or very bad taste saw these episodes shelved.

The X Files

What does it take for a TV show to get an episode banned? Small screen standards have, of course, changed a lot over the years.

Long gone are the days when the merest wiggle of Elvis Presley's hips was enough to send entire nations into an uproar over such filth polluting the minds of viewers everywhere. Nowadays, one would hope we're all rather more rational and less prone to fits of moral panic - although, sadly, this doesn't always seem to be the case.

More often than not, if a TV episode gets pulled, it's over fears of it causing offence - which, we should note, isn't necessarily the same as the episode itself being deemed truly offensive. Although that can happen.

On top of which, there are from time to time rare instances in which both the broadcasters and the audience may have a legitimate reason to believe that an episode's content could cause real harm.

Even in recent years, when TV content has become more permissive than ever before, there are still odd occasions when individual episodes are pulled off the air, and some of the most popular shows in recent memory have fallen afoul of the censor here and there.

10. Man's Best Friend (1992) - Ren And Stimpy

The X Files

Ren and Stimpy is but one of a number of animated TV shows that's synonymous with word 'controversy.'

The 1990s cartoon was one of the flagship shows of newly introduced kids channel Nickelodeon, along with the noticeably milder Rugrats and Doug. However, with its hyper-surreal, confrontational style and disturbingly dark humour, questions were asked from the beginning as to whether Ren and Stimpy was suitable - or, indeed, even intended - for a pre-teen audience.

Yet despite anxieties from both outraged parents and network executives, no episodes of Ren and Stimpy were banned outright until season 2's Man's Best Friend. This episode sees unhinged military man George Liquor adopt the cat and chihuahua, and subject them to increasingly unnerving psychological torture in the name of discipline.

Nickelodeon refused to air Man's Best Friend on grounds of excessive violence, mostly due to the climax in which Ren viciously beats up his master with a wooden oar. Shots of a goldfish smoking a cigarette, plus some fairly gross poo jokes, probably didn't help matters.

The episode is widely taken to be the key reason the original creative team behind Ren and Stimpy was replaced after season 2. Ultimately it wasn't broadcast on American television until 2003.

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