Controversial 15 Cartoon Episodes So Controversial They Were Banned  

Luke Y Thompson
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Not every banned cartoon episode on this banned list is even too controversial. Sure, some are. At their best, cartoons - like Professor Frink on The Simpsons - make us laugh and make us think. At their worst, they can inspire angry people to riot and kill. That's rare, though. Some of these censored episodes offended the very religious, some are hideously stereotypical in the nastiest way, while others have transgressions that are minor by today's standards. Many of these are from controversial shows, the kind you'd expect to be on here for their deliberately provocative nature, but certainly not all.

The list to one episode per show, or else this could have been entirely filled with incendiary South Park episodes or installments of  Beavis and Butt-head and Family Guy that kicked up dust and were pulled from the air. Those titans of toon trash-talk get their due, but they're far from the only shows to get episodes yanked, rejiggered, and in some cases never restored.

Way Down Mexico Way (Part 2)

Way Down Mexico Way (Part 2) is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 15 Cartoon Episodes So Controversial They Were Banned
Photo: MTV

Numerous Beavis and Butt-Head episodes have been memory-holed, both by MTV and creator Mike Judge, who had a chance to revive lesser-seen episodes for the DVD collection, but declined in some cases, apparently out of embarrassment. Suffice it to say, before evolving into hapless morons who mostly fall victim to their own stupidity, the duo began as more malevolent juvenile delinquents whose adventures included stealing credit cards, sniffing stove gas to get high, and going to Sea World in hopes of choking the dolphins to death with balloons.

The two-part "Way Down Mexico Way," however, wound up being perhaps the most extreme, and not just for Butt-Head throwing slurs at Mexicans or the two mugging a kid for fireworks. No, the real forbidden material here is Beavis and Butt-Head agreeing to be drug mules and swallowing condoms full of narcotics. Failing a basic citizenship test due to being both high and stupid, they're granted access back to the United States for obviously being Americans. Like all the episodes mentioning fire, it was purged from MTV when the show was accused of inspiring real-life kids to burn their houses down; unlike many of them, it has not resurfaced on others formats since.

Super Best Friends is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 15 Cartoon Episodes So Controversial They Were Banned
Photo: Comedy Central

While the primary purpose of this South Park episode is to spoof street magician David Blaine, its band remains infamous, no matter how innocuous it was at the time.

The joke was that Blaine had become such a cult figure he had developed a religion around his tricks, and in order to counter his power, the South Park kids called on an alliance of deities that parodied the Super Friends, among them Jesus, Buddha, Joseph Smith, and a useless Aquaman-like member named Sea Man.

The attacks on September 11th, 2001, happened two months later. A few years after that, with the publication of the infamous Danish cartoons in 2005, the world would become aware that some Islamic fundamentalists consider depictions of Muhammed punishable by death. So while the animated version of the prophet of Islam in this episode is a heroic figure with the power of fire, the episode no longer airs in reruns and has been yanked from the online archive for fear of terrorist retribution, and is one of the three episodes (the other two being "200" and "201," both of which contain callbacks to it) that are not available on Hulu.

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The Littlest Tramp / Puffy Goes Berserk

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Video: YouTube

When Ralph Bakshi, typically known for button-pushing animation aimed at adults, became co-producer of The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse, it was only a matter of time before somebody took offense. The somebody in question was perennial '80s pro-censorship busybody Rev. Donald Wildmon, who seized on an account by a Kentucky family of seeing Mighty Mouse inhale a flower as if it were cocaine or perhaps opium.

Though he compared Wildmon's complaints (and subsequent petition to have him removed) to McCarthyism, Bakshi agreed to snip the scene from future airings, explaining, "Mighty Mouse was happy after smelling the flowers because it helped him remember the little girl who sold it to him fondly. But even if you're right, their accusations become part of the air we breathe. That's why I cut the scene. I can't have children wondering if Mighty Mouse is using cocaine."

The scene was ultimately restored for DVD.

One Beer

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Video: YouTube

They're Tiny, they're Toony, they're all a little loony, but in one infamous segment, Buster Bunny, Hamton, and Plucky Duck got drunky, funky, and more than a little skunky. To impress upon viewers the evils of alcohol, and perhaps also make fun of the exaggerated anti-drug PSAs of the day, the Toons drink a beer. Following a psychedelic trip, they reappear instantly unshaven and dressed like homeless vagrants. First, they just repel women with their slurred speech and bad breath, but then they decide to steal a cop car, drive drunk, fall off a cliff, and die.

On the plus side, they do become angels and go to Heaven. And then they take off their angel costumes to reveal that the whole thing was an in-universe public service announcement the characters were filming. Still, according the the legend, Fox was not amused and ensured that it would never air on the network after its first time around.