Top 10 Times The Simpsons Got Banned in Different Countries

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Top 10 Times The Simpsons Got Banned in Different Countries

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Mimi Kenny
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Times The Simpsons Got Banned in Different Countries. For this list, we'll be looking at episodes of this long-running animated series that were banned or censored in various countries due to content that was perceived as offensive or inappropriate. Our countdown includes "Little Big Mom" getting banned in Japan, "Stark Raving Dad" getting pulled from circulation, "A Midsummer's Nice Dream" getting banned in the United Kingdom, and more!
Transcript

#10: “E Pluribus Wiggum”

Argentina

This Season 19 episode satirizes the American political system and politicians desperate to get votes. But it was another country that was particularly upset with “E Pluribus Wiggum.” In one scene, Carl makes a reference to Argentinian president Juan Perón and the Dirty War, a time when thousands of Argentines vanished. Many were bothered by the humorous reference to this sensitive matter, including former congressman Lorenzo Pepe. Though Argentina’s Federal Broadcasting Committee decided to let it slide, Fox itself opted to pull the episode, anyway. The episode did, however, still air in some Spanish-speaking regions before finally airing on Argentine station Telefe in 2013.

#9: “Little Big Mom”

Japan

Sometimes, “The Simpsons” goes in absolutely unpredictable directions. For instance, there’s this Season 11 episode, which starts with a ski trip and ends with Lisa tricking Bart and Homer into thinking they have leprosy. It’s a pretty silly plot turn, but one country that wasn't laughing was Japan. Because of the country’s history of mistreating people with leprosy, the episode has never aired there. There may be a day where the disease isn’t such a sensitive issue in Japan. But that day, too, is still yet to come. And honestly, if Bart and Homer had just listened to Lisa, this episode would have never been banned.

#8: “The Cartridge Family”

The United Kingdom

Homer Simpson is the last person we’d want owning a gun, which happens in this Season 9 episode. He proves himself to be completely irresponsible with his new firearm, putting it in dangerous places and shooting it with no regard for anyone’s safety. Sky One, a British satellite channel, originally chose not to air the episode due to Homer’s recklessness. However, another British channel, BBC Two, did. It’s also been shown - with some editing - on other British channels that have shown “The Simpsons” since then. A good rule of advice: if you see Homer Simpson doing something, you most likely shouldn’t do it yourself.

#7: “A Midsummer’s Nice Dream”

The United Kingdom

It’s safe to assume that a “Simpsons” episode about Cheech & Chong is going to have some drug references. In this Season 22 episode, the famous comedy duo split up, with Homer taking Chong’s place. While this episode wasn’t outright banned in the U.K., it was delayed a bit. Due to the prevalent marijuana references throughout the episode, British channel Sky One bumped its airing to after 9 p.m., when content considered not suitable for children is allowed to air. Of course, it’s totally fine for kids to see Homer drinking beer or Patty and Selma smoking cigarettes, though.

#6: “Goo Goo Gai Pan”

China

Some controversial “Simpsons” episodes could be deemed suitable to air with some clever editing. That’s certainly not the case with this Season 16 episode, where the family travels with Selma to China so she can adopt a baby. A good deal of the humor hinges upon mocking the Chinese government, including their response to the Tiananmen Square protests and former leader Mao Zedong. Unsurprisingly, the government did not take these jokes in stride, and the episode was banned. If it makes them feel any better, Homer receives plenty of comeuppance over the course of the episode.

#5: “Cape Feare”

Germany

Another country bothered by “The Simpsons” making light of their troubled history was Germany. At the start of this Season 5 episode - in which the family enters witness protection to avoid a newly paroled Sideshow Bob - Bart and Lisa watch talk show “Up Late with McBain.” Introducing the action star/host is a man wearing an SS officer’s uniform, complete with swastika. If you know anything about German history, you know this could be a touchy subject. The episode was banned in the country for many years because of this, though this scene could’ve been easily cut without affecting the plot.

#4: “Weekend at Burnsie’s”

Various

This episode wasn’t banned so much as it received more censorship than the average “Simpsons” episode, which should come as no surprise, given the subject matter it deals with. After a crow attack, Homer is given a prescription for medical marijuana, and finds himself embracing his newly altered state. Some countries, including the U.S., took some precautions with airing the episode. Australia’s Network Ten gave it a Mature "M" rating, while Sky One in the U.K. banned it from airing before 9 p.m. Additionally, it was retroactively given a rating of TV-14 in the U.S. Overall, though, the episode generated surprisingly little controversy.

#3: “Stark Raving Dad”

Every Country

It’s extremely rare for a “Simpsons” episode to be banned nearly thirty years after airing. But special circumstances caused “Stark Raving Dad” to be pulled from broadcast around the world. In this Season 3 premiere, Homer is wrongfully committed to a mental institution, where he meets a patient claiming to be Michael Jackson, voiced by the pop singer himself. In 2019, the documentary “Leaving Neverland” cast a new light on disturbing allegations regarding Jackson, and the episode was taken out of circulation. Some took issue with the show pulling the episode, though it can still be seen if you own the Season 3 DVD boxset.

#2: “Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo”

Japan

When the Simpsons visit a new country, some culture clash wackiness is sure to ensue. But this episode, where the family goes to Japan, apparently went one step too far. In the Season 10 finale, there’s a scene at a sumo match in which Homer throws then-Emperor Akihito into a trunk full of worn garments. The blatant disrespect shown towards such an important figure in Japan understandably got the episode banned. That said, we wouldn’t be surprised if the “Battling Seizure Robots” and Hello Kitty jokes didn’t also stir up some negative feelings about the episode.

#1: “Blame It on Lisa”

Brazil

Multiple countries have taken issue with how “The Simpsons” portrayed them. But Brazil is the only one so far to threaten legal action. In this episode, the family travels to Rio de Janeiro to locate an orphan boy Lisa was sponsoring. The city and country are depicted as being dangerous and crime-ridden, and the episode caused an uproar, with the city's tourism board apparently threatening to sue Fox for the portrayal. An apology was issued, and the episode premiered in Brazil with a disclaimer. However, it was taken out of circulation in the country after only a few airings. While “Blame it on Lisa” has since returned to Brazilian airwaves, the backlash probably caused “The Simpsons” creators to think twice about how they depict countries.
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