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The Most Controversial TV Episode From The Year You Were Born

What was the most controversial TV episode the year you were born? 

Some television shows intentionally provoke their viewers. South Park, for example, has been offering satire, parody, and commentary on politics, popular culture, religion, and numerous other topics for years. Other television shows have the best intentions but, occasionally, offer an episode that really misses the mark. 

Each year, controversial episodes of TV shows make their way to air. Whether it's the events of the episode, an unforeseen or unexpected death, or a simple error made in production, TV shows can keep viewers talking for days, weeks, or months. Shows that make statements about contemporaneous real-world events offer similar fodder for discussion. 

To get some insight into headline grabbing entertainment, Take a look at the most controversial TV episodes by year since 1970.

  • 1975: M*A*S*H, 'Abyssinia, Henry'

    Photo: CBS

    As the season finale of the third season of M*A*S*H, "Abyssinia, Henry" surprised viewers as Henry Blake (played by McLean Stevenson) discovers he's been honorably discharged. Heartfelt goodbyes precede Blake's departure, although his colleagues and friends later learn of Henry's death after his plane is shot down.

    Henry's shocking fate prompted zealous praise and condemnation from fans and the network alike

  • 1976: Sesame Street, 'Episode 847'

    When "Episode 847' of Sesame Street aired on February 10, 1977, the presence of Margret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West - her role from 1939's Wizard of Oz - scared children to such an extent that it was never aired again.

  • 1977: 'Roots' Mini-Series

    Photo: ABC

    Based on the novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family, the Roots mini-series aired on PBS in January 1977. As an eight-part event, Roots told the story of the slave trade, slavery, and their enduring legacies across generations, reaching millions of viewers nationwide

  • 1978: 'Holocaust' Mini-Series

    Photo: NBC

    Staring Meryl Streep, Michael Moriarty, and James Woods, Holocaust aired on NBC over four nights in April 1978. The mini-series prompted outrage from Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who called it insulting, "untrue, offensive, [and] cheap." Individuals within the Polish American community also found depictions of Poles as incomplete, inaccurate, and unfair