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Top 10 Banned TV Episodes

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
How did they ever think these ideas would make it to air?. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten banned TV episodes. For this list, we’ll be looking at television episodes that were banned from airing for various reasons. We’re considering those that have either been banned outright from airing at all and those banned from re-airing due to backlash and/or controversy.
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How did they ever think these ideas would make it to air?. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten banned TV episodes.



For this list, we’ll be looking at television episodes that were banned from airing for various reasons. We’re considering those that have either been banned outright from airing at all and those banned from re-airing due to backlash and/or controversy.



#10: “The Encounter”

“The Twilight Zone” (1959-64)


To be honest, we’re surprised that more “Twilight Zone” episodes weren’t banned. While this episode could have been banned for being overly violent or disturbing, it was the incredible racism of it that got the episode axed. The Encounter originally aired on May 1, 1964, and it served as the 151st episode of the series. However, the episode received harsh criticism for its depiction of Asian-American character Arthur Takamori. The character garnered complaints from viewers, who disagreed with the character’s backstory and racial overtones. The episode was banned from syndication for over fifty years before it finally emerged on the Syfy channel in 2016.





#9: “Oeuf”

“Hannibal” (2013-15)


“Hannibal” was an incredibly graphic series that shot violence unlike any other show on television. And while most episodes featured scenes of horrific violence, a few moments in the series’ fourth episode, Oeuf, hit a little too close to home. The episode revolves around a woman who brainwashes young boys into killing their families. The series’ creator, Bryan Fuller, thought this episode was too inappropriate to air after the Sandy Hook shooting and requested that NBC pull the episode in the US. NBC honored his wish, and the episode was broken into webisodes and aired over the internet. It was later included on the DVD and streaming sites in its proper chronological order.





#8: “Bored, She Hung Herself”

“Hawaii Five-O” (1968-80)




We’ll give you one guess as to why this episode was banned. An episode of “Hawaii Five-O’s” second season, titled “Bored, She Hung Herself”, has supposedly been lost to time. Airing in January 1970, the episode centered around a woman who attempted a yoga exercise that required asphyxiation. The exercise ends up going wrong when the woman get herself hanged, and the police are called in to investigate. One unlucky viewer then decided to attempt the exercise themselves and suffered the same fate as the character. Due to the unfortunate accident, the episode was never re-aired and has never been included in the show’s various home video releases.


#7: “Electric Soldier Porygon”

“Pokémon” (1997-)


It’s not often that you hear of a children’s television episode being banned, but here you go. In fact, many episodes of “Pokémon,” including Beauty and the Beach, have been banned. Electric Soldier Porygon is an episode that sees Ash traveling inside the Poke Ball’s transmitting device. In one scene, Pikachu causes an explosion that results in the screen flashing red and blue. This resulted in instances of blindness, nausea, and convulsions among numerous Japanese children, and nearly seven hundred kids were taken to the hospital. To prevent further incidents of Pokemon Shock, Nintendo banned the episode from airing again, and it was never released outside of Japan.



#6: “Prom-ises, Prom-ises”

“Boy Meets World” (1993-2000)


Prom-ises, Prom-ises is part “Boy Meets World,” part “American Pie”; the episode revolves around Cory and Topanga attempting to lose their virginity on prom night. After the Disney Channel secured the show’s syndication rights, it cut suggestive scenes from various episodes so the content would appear more suitable for their younger demographic. As you can imagine, this greatly upset many die hard fans of the show. While the episode initially made it to air on Disney during its first syndication run, it caused complaints from parents who protested the sexual storyline, leading the Disney Channel to ban it from future airings.



#5: “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson”

“The Simpsons” (1989-)


The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson is a great “Simpsons” episode that sees the family traveling to New York to recover their vehicle, which had been taken by Barney Gumble. The wheel-clamped car is eventually found at the World Trade Center. While there is nothing malicious within the episode itself, it was removed from syndication after the September 11 attacks due to the World Trade Center’s relevance to the plot. It remained banned from television for over five years until it began to re-emerge around 2006 in a heavily edited form.





#4: “Partial Terms of Endearment”

“Family Guy” (1999-2003; 2005-)




“Family Guy” is no stranger to controversy. The first episode to be banned was the Jewish-centric “When You Wish Upon a Weinstein” way back in the early 2000s, and “Partial Terms of Endearment” followed in its footsteps several years later. The episode sees Lois becoming a surrogate mother for her old friend. However, when her friend is killed in an accident, Lois and Peter must decide whether to abort the baby or carry it to term. While the episode aired on BBC Three in the UK, it was banned from airing in America by Fox, who took issue with the sensitive storyline.





#3: “The Puerto Rican Day”

“Seinfeld” (1989-98)


Beloved show that it is, not even Seinfeld is above controversy. One of the final episodes of the show was called The Puerto Rican Day, and it saw the characters stuck in Manhattan’s Puerto Rican Day Parade. The episode received harsh criticism due to its negative portrayal of Puerto Ricans and for a scene in which Kramer accidentally sets a Puerto Rican flag on fire. The episode resulted in angry letters and protests, and NBC apologized and subsequently refused to re-air the episode. When episodes of the ninth season were brought into syndication, The Puerto Rican Day was initially absent, although it has returned to the air as of the early 2000s.





#2: “Home”

“The X-Files” (1993-2002; 2016-)



“Home” may be one of the series’ best episodes, but it is also one of the most controversial. While “The X-Files” usually centered on the paranormal, this episode saw Mulder and Scully investigating an isolated, incestuous family in the small town of Home, Pennsylvania. The episode’s writers, Glen Morgan and James Wong, wanted to make the episode as shocking as possible, and they definitely succeeded. While the episode was generally praised, some took issue with its violence and disturbing nature. Owing to the mature content of the episode and the criticisms leveled against it, Fox refused to re-air the episode (with the exception of a special Halloween event three years after its initial airing).





Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.



“Elephant Issues”

“Tiny Toon Adventures” (1990-92)





“I’ll See You in Court”

“Married… with Children” (1987-97)





“Buffalo Gals”

“Cow and Chicken” (1997-99)





#1: “200” & “201”

“South Park” (1997-)




“South Park” has consistently been one of television’s most controversial shows, and this is most evident in its 200th and 201st episodes. These episodes saw various celebrities filing a class action lawsuit against the town of South Park. However, the celebrities promise to drop the lawsuit if the town can get the prophet Muhammad to meet them. In response to Muhammad’s role in the story, the radical organization Revolution Muslim issued warnings comparable to death threats to Trey Parker and Matt Stone. After the airing of “200,” Comedy Central heavily censored “201” and the episodes have never re-aired on TV. In addition, both episodes are not available to digitally stream or buy, although they are available on the season fourteen DVD.



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