Movies & TV Shows

8 Great Banned TV Episodes, According To Reddit

Fans of the beloved Nicktoon SpongeBob SquarePants are thrilled to hear that the previously banned episode “Kwarantined Krab” will finally be airing on television. The episode had been banned during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the storyline centering on an in-universe pandemic, with the network wanting to remain considerate during such a trying global period.

This occurrence is not too uncommon in the world of television. Over the years, many episodes have been pulled or banned for a multitude of reasons. It’s something of a series black mark, but it also deprived the fans of what are considered to be classic episodes. Users of Reddit have compiled which banned episodes are the best of the best.

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Buffy The Vampire Slayer: “Graduation Day”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s season three finale “Graduation Day” was pulled following the Columbine High School massacre. The network was conscientious not to trigger their high school demographic surrounding the then-recent tragedy.

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The episode airing months later was essential within the fandom, as it saw Buffy graduating high school before attending college. However, a dialogue edit was highly noticeable. In the original cut, Xander (Nicholas Brendon) was excitedly chatting about “blowing up the high school” after graduation. Redditor monsieurxander points out that “in the final product, he’s weirdly silent except for two offscreen re-dubbed lines,” although it makes sense why the line was taken out, given the sensitivity issue.

The Ren & Stimpy Show: “Man’s Best Friend”

The ’90s classic Nicktoon, Ren & Stimpy‘s “Man’s Best Friend” was banned in season 2. This episode has the presence of extreme violence, tobacco usage, and off-color jokes, resulting in a ban from the child-friendly network. However, Redditor jrolym proclaimed that “the lawn cigars as a reward was my favorite part of the deranged episode.” This episode’s irony surrounding its anthropomorphic protagonists as pets is hilarious, who only go on to share cigars with their pet trainer by the end.

But yanking the episode was the most sound decision at the time. As the years passed, the humor of Ren & Stimpy, centered around cartoon ultra-violence and often adult jokes, became more “run-of-the-mill” for some, as seen when Spike TV’s 2003 reboot, Ren & Stimpy “Adult Cartoon Party,” finally aired the episode.


Boy Meets World: “If You Can’t Be With The One You Love…”

Boy Meets World’s season 5 episode, “If You Can’t Be With The One You Love…,” was banned for teenage drinking. Redditor Eargoe states how “BMW was the kind of show that would treat topics like this pretty seriously,” which makes the ban seem contradictory.

Impressionable audiences may have been swayed to try drinking rather than learning the episode’s lesson of alcohol not being a problem solver. The topic of teenage drinking used as moral lessons in TV shows, especially sitcoms, has become more mainstream in recent years, proving that in hindsight, this episode was more effective than harmful. As of 2022, the episode is currently available to stream on Disney+.


Pokémon: “The Legend of Dratini”

Pokémon is a hilarious and iconic anime, but there are some episodes even diehard fans are unable to see, such as “The Legend of Dratini.” The depiction of a gun used as a weapon caused the episode to have an international ban, including in the United States.

RELATED: 10 Shows For Kids That Adults Secretly Love, According To RedditNotwithstanding, Redditor hiricinee points out that one of the better parts of the episode was “introducing the Safari Zone for later episodes.” While the episode is imperative to Pokémon lore, to see the show’s child protagonist being held at gunpoint is both triggering and inappropriate, hence the ban.


The Avengers: “A Touch Of Brimstone”

Long before she was known for being the sassy Olenna Tyrell on Game of Thrones, Diana Rigg first came to prominence in the British spy drama, The Avengers. The 1965 episode, “A Touch of Brimstone,” was banned in the United States due to Rigg donning a dominatrix outfit. Redditor teralumen thinks that the episode had a “crap story, but great view.”

While the Redditor’s comment is a bit much, it’s also important to remember that the rules of fashion and television modesty have greatly changed since the ’60s. Showing the episode in its heyday would have meant fans could see a strong female protagonist being comfortable in her own skin, and Rigg has since become a ’60s fashion icon.

The Simpsons: “Stark Raving Dad”

One of the best animated sitcoms, The Simpsons has a banned episode due to the presence of a renowned but controversial guest star, Michael Jackson. Despite the controversy, Redditor Wishbear19 thought “Stark Raving Dad” was “a very touching episode and the Happy Birthday Lisa song is so sweet.” Ironically, it’s Jackson’s presence that made the vintage episode popular.

The episode was permanently pulled by creator Matt Groening after the 2019 HBO Documentary Leaving Neverland was released, which centered around allegations against the late star. Considering the controversy surrounding the artist, the ban is completely appropriate, but it is unfortunate that this mars an otherwise memorable episode for fans.

Married… With Children: “I’ll See You In Court”

Married… With Children was known for its raunchy humor, but it wasn’t without transparency. Season 3’s episode “I’ll See You In Court” was banned for sexual themes when Al and Peggy file a lawsuit after discovering they were secretly filmed having sex in a motel. However, Redditor Hydrokratom felt that the episode was “rather tame by its standards.”

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Retrospectively, the topic wasn’t overly vulgar. Even though the episode has since appeared in syndicated runs and on streaming services, it is not the original version. Despite the ban, this episode is still relevant today for its discussion on what was a huge invasion of privacy for the characters.


Dexter’s Laboratory, “Rude Removal”

Children’s series are capable of having problematic episodes. Dexter’s Laboratory‘s “Rude Removal” episode was pulled before it could even air in 1998 due to the presence of profanity. In 2013, the episode was aired via Adult Swim, Cartoon Network’s late-night scheduling block, but with the swearing censored.

Reddit Sweetwill62 feels the episode’s censoring was “the worst censorship of all time” since the swears were easy to decipher from the character’s mouths. Regardless, most fans think it is still hilarious thanks to the sibling antics of Dexter and his older sister, DeeDee. The episode airing today serves as a turning point towards desensitization of what was once considered controversial.

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