The Muhammad South Park Episodes
South Park has had its share of controversial episodes and characters, but by far the most explosive were episodes 200 and 201, in which the Prophet Muhammad appears in a storyline.
Strict interpretations of the Koran forbid depicting the Prophet, and religious extremists have killed or injured several artists that have done so. In episode 200, Muhammed is hidden in a U-Haul as well as in a bear costume, but that didn’t stop a radical Muslim group known as Revolution Muslim from calling for the deaths of Parker and Stone.
The following week, episode 201 had Muhammed hidden behind a “CENSORED” bar, and his name bleeped out, in an attempt to both highlight the controversy as well as prevent more hysteria. Even still, Comedy Central censored the version even more than the creators wanted, and it has only been aired on TV once. It does not stream from the Comedy Central website and is not available on Netflix Streaming or iTunes. (Source)
“The Censored Eleven” Racist Cartoons
The Censored Eleven is the name given to 11 Warner Brothers/Merry Melodies cartoons that contained racial stereotypes of African Americans. They were created from the early 1930s to the mid-1940s and have names like Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs and Uncle Tom’s Bungalow.
Although clearly racist, this was very common for many cartoons back then. In 1968, when United Artists bought the Warner catalogue, they selected these particularly offensive titles and put them on a special list, forever removing them from television syndication. When Ted Turner acquired the catalogue in 1986, he continued the ban. They remain officially censored today and were screened only once as part of a film festival in 2010. (Source 1 | Source 2)
Ren & Stimpy “Man’s Best Friend” Gets Creator Fired
Ren & Stimpy, a cartoon about a psychotic Chihuahua and a dimwitted cat, was already controversial from the get-go. Nickelodeon, the network that aired the show, wanted a more educational program, but creator John Kricfalusi wanted to do something “really crazy.” Tensions were strained throughout the cartoon’s 2-year production run, finally culminating in an episode entitled “Man’s Best Friend,” in which Ren beats another character to near-death with an oar. Kricfalusi was fired, and the episode was pulled from the air. (However, it did air at a later date on a different R&S “adult” program.) (Source 1 | Source 2)
Pokemon‘s “Computer Soldier Porygon” Episode Caused Seizures
On December 16, 1997, Japanese viewers of Pokemon were in for a shock—literally. An episode, entitled “Computer Soldier Porygon,” featured flashing visual effects that caused epileptic seizures. 685 viewers were taken to the hospital, and it never aired again anywhere in the world. The event, dubbed “Pokemon Shock,” forced the show into a four-month hiatus. (Source)
“The City of New York Vs. Homer Simpson” Banned After 9/11
“The City of New York Vs. Homer Simpson” first aired in 1997 and featured a memorable scene in which Homer Simpson races up both towers of the World Trade Center to find a bathroom. After the 9/11 tragedy had occurred, Homer’s antics were not as funny, and Fox pulled the episode from syndication. It returned to reruns by 2006 but was edited for content. One of the lines removed? Someone in Tower Two exclaims “They stick all the jerks in Tower One.” (Source 1 | Source 2)
The Garbage Pail Kids Series Is Cancelled Just Before Airing
In the 1980s, Garbage Pail Kids trading cards were a crude alternative to the hugely popular Cabbage Patch Kids cards. With names like Split Kit, Patty Putty, and Terry Cloth, they were purposely gross and tasteless, and they had a huge following amongst the pre-teen set. In 1987, CBS decided they would attempt to cash in on the frenzy and ordered a full series of Garbage Pail Kids episodes to play during Saturday morning cartoons. However, many adults were not amused, and several parents groups protested the upcoming series as being violent and making fun of handicapped children. CBS appeared to hold their ground at first, heavily promoting the show for weeks. However, when McDonald’s and other sponsors pulled their ads, the network cancelled the entire season at the last minute, expanding Muppet Babies to fill the empty airtime. (It never aired on TV in the U.S., but did so in other countries, and was released on DVD in 2006.) (Source)
Salvador Dali and Walt Disney’s Abandoned Collaboration
Master surrealist Salvador Dali and family-friendly entertainment visionary Walt Disney had a brief collaboration in the 1940s after meeting at a dinner party hosted by Jack Warner. The two men admired each other greatly, and Disney was looking to offer more unusual animated fare to the masses. Dali came up with the idea of “Destino,” which was based on a Spanish ballad. He worked with animator John Hench to come up with more than 200 sketches and completed a 17-second test reel.
However, Dali and Disney didn’t quite see eye to eye. While the surrealist saw the story as “a magical exposition of life in the labyrinth of time,” Disney wanted “a simple love story.” Dali held his ground, and the concept remained experimental, but when the bill crept up to $70,000 Disney decided to cancel it.
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