Top 10 Banned Kids TV Episodes

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Top 10 Banned Kids TV Episodes

VOICE OVER: Tom Aglio WRITTEN BY: Beca Dalimonte
Just because these shows are for kids doesn't mean some of their episodes haven't been banned due to controversy. For this list, we'll be looking at episodes of children's TV shows that were so controversial they got pulled from the airwaves. Our countdown includes "Conflict" from "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" (1968-2001), "One Beer" from "Tiny Toon Adventures" (1990-92), "Rude Removal" from "Dexter's Laboratory" (1996-2003), and more!
Transcript
Just because these shows are for kids doesn't mean some of their episodes haven't been banned due to controversy. For this list, we’ll be looking at episodes of children’s TV shows that were so controversial they got pulled from the airwaves. Our countdown includes "Conflict" from "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" (1968-2001), "One Beer" from "Tiny Toon Adventures" (1990-92), "Rude Removal" from "Dexter's Laboratory" (1996-2003), and more! Were you surprised by any entries on this list? Let us know in the comments!

#10: “Rude Removal”

“Dexter’s Laboratory” (1996-2003)

Fans of “Dexter’s Laboratory” have been aware of the banned episode, “Rude Removal,” for quite some time. Show creator Genndy Tartakovsky had even been known to show the episode publicly when he gave lectures or attended events. Few thought the episode would ever see the light of day outside of these events, but were pleasantly surprised when Adult Swim polled interest for the episode’s release on their Twitter. The network then released a few cryptic bumpers before ultimately sharing the infamous episode with the world. The episode shows Dexter creating a “rude removal system” to remove rudeness from his sister, Dee Dee. It does its job, but creates alternate rude versions of the both of them, who yell at their mother with constant censored swearing.

#9: “Ready for the Bettys”

“Phineas and Ferb” (2007-15)

With few exceptions, most episodes of “Phineas & Ferb” feature original musical numbers. Unfortunately, one of these numbers, and the fictional band who sang it, seem to have landed Disney in some hot water. In “Ready for the Bettys,” Candace and Stacy win the chance to travel with their favorite band, The Bettys, and learn an age-old lesson: never meet your heroes. After an alleged dispute with a real band of the same name, the episode was pulled from the airwaves, and would not resurface on US television until 2015. It is unclear how the issue was resolved, but “Phineas & Ferb” seems to have made its mark nonetheless. Years after the series’ end, googling “The Bettys” still brings the cartoon band front and center.

#8: “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone”

“Arthur” (1996-2022)

Although many of the entries on this list were banned nationwide, only Alabama was barred from seeing “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” an episode of PBS’s “Arthur” released in 2019. The reason? The episode prominently featured a same sex-wedding between series regular, Mr. Ratburn, and a chocolatier named Patrick. Although the episode was just as kid-friendly as every other episode of the series, Alabama Public Television decided that it was not appropriate for kids to potentially see without parental guidance. The “Arthur” spin-off series, “Postcards from Buster,” ran into a similar problem in 2005. The episode “Sugartime!: Hinesburg, Vermont” was banned in several states after a single airing for its inclusion of a real life lesbian couple and their family.

#7: “Conflict”

“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” (1968-2001)

With his soft-spoken voice and clean-cut image, most people associate Mister Rogers with safe, calming programming. But Mister Rogers was no stranger to controversy. He consistently pushed boundaries in an effort to teach kids about the world around them. One of these instances was a full week of programming centered around “conflict” - specifically, nuclear conflict. In the episodes, King Friday finds plans for what he believes to be a bomb and instantly begins preparing for war. Children are also shown learning about gas masks and air raid shelters in school. The series of episodes were deemed too intense, and were banned from syndication in 1996. The majority of the week-long series remains lost to the general public, unavailable through any mainstream streaming service.

#6: “Buffalo Gals”

“Cow and Chicken” (1997-99)

With a nude red devil as its primary antagonist, “Cow and Chicken” was never the most family friendly kids’ show on TV, but “Buffalo Gals” ramped that fact up to eleven. The episode featured a group of bikers known as the “Buffalo Gals” who showed no interest in men and were said to randomly burst into people’s homes and chew on their carpet. The episode continues in this manner, with an increasing number of innuendos and heavy-handed stereotypes about lesbians. The episode’s ending note is questionable at best, and homophobic at worst, showing Chicken saving his sister from the antagonistic group.

#5: “Minnie Takes Care of Pluto”

“Mickey Mouse Works” (1999-2000)

Featured in the shorts-based series “Mickey Mouse Works,” “Minnie Takes Care of Pluto” begins with Mickey dropping Pluto off at Minnie’s house without warning. After an angry Minnie warns Pluto to stay out of her way, he begins to imagine worst case scenarios, including Minnie poisoning him, burying him alive, and killing him with a mace. He even fears that he will be sent to Hell rather than Heaven when he dies! This is all shown on-screen, and was ultimately deemed too frightening for the show’s young audience. In addition to being banned from future airings in the U.S., it was also one of the few segments from “Mickey Mouse Works” not to feature in the later series, “House of Mouse.”

#4: “One Beer”

“Tiny Toon Adventures” (1990-92)

Children’s television is no stranger to anti-alcohol PSAs, but one “Tiny Toon Adventures” episode tackling the topic was apparently deemed too intense for its young audience. “One Beer” sees the show’s young protagonists each drink a sip of beer and immediately feel under the influence. They steal a cop car, eventually driving off a cliff to their deaths. The segment ends in what appears to be Heaven but is revealed to be a sound stage, where Buster asks, “do we get to do a funny episode tomorrow?” The tongue-in-cheek ending has led some to believe that the episode was made in response to network demands for more lesson-centric episodes. After its initial airing, “One Beer” did not rerun on US television for two decades.

#3: “Episode 847”

“Sesame Street” (1969-)

Are you a good witch or a bad witch? The Wicked Witch of the West is decidedly a bad witch - so much so that her appearance on “Sesame Street” was banned after a single airing. The episode, known as “Episode 847,” prominently featured Margaret Hamilton reprising her role from “The Wizard of Oz.” After its premiere, the studio received an overwhelming amount of letters from parents claiming that the character was too scary and threatening for their children. Test screenings of the episode showed no such reaction, but it was promptly pulled from syndication nonetheless. The episode has never been officially released, but cut segments of it were shown to an audience at a 50th-anniversary event titled “Sesame Street: Lost and Found.”

#2: “Electric Soldier Porygon”

“Pokémon” (1997-)

This infamous “Pokémon” episode featured a scene in which Pikachu used an electric attack on a collection of missiles, portrayed on-screen with a four-second long red and blue strobe effect - which we’re not going to show because of what we’re about to tell you: the results were devastating. Almost 700 Japanese people suffered a number of negative symptoms, including epileptic seizures. As a result, the episode was banned in Japan and never aired in America. The Pokémon Porygon was not directly involved in the offending scene, but has nonetheless rarely appeared in the anime after the episode. This was not the anime’s first, or last, brush with controversy. America also banned several episodes featuring the Pokémon Jynx, probably due to its purported resemblance to racist caricatures, and the episode “The Legend of Dratini,” likely due to its overuse of guns.

#1: “Garbage Pail Kids” (1987-88)


For those unaware, “Garbage Pail Kids” began as trading cards featuring gross or violent images involving cartoon babies. Due to their content, the cards were banned from many schools and households across the nation. Unsurprisingly, parents were horrified to learn that CBS was producing an animated tie-in series for the cards. The show was heavily protested for allegedly “glorifying violence” and “ridiculing” those who were different before its premiere, eventually causing CBS to cancel it. As a result, America did not see a single episode of the show, even when international stations in places like the U.K., Canada, and Spain did. Luckily, it seems that America is now finally ready for the “Garbage Pail Kids,” as HBO Max has announced a new series.
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