The Simpsons: 15 Times The Show Was Censored

How many times has Homer pushed the envelope?
The Simpsons: 15 Times The Show Was Censored

When you're on the air for over 30 years, you're bound to have a few run-ins with your censors. The Simpsons has a history of pushing the envelope in their heyday, some for good, and some for…not so good. Here are 15 times the censors were not too happy with The Simpsons

"The Cartridge Family"

20th Television

In this episode Bart finds a revolver in the fridge, Homer points a gun at marge's face, and Bart almost shoots Milhouse in the head.

While FOX let it slide, British Channel Sky 1 originally refused to air the episode. The NRA even denounced the episode even though it paints them in a positive light.

Who knew a kid almost murdering his best friend with a gun would cause such controversy.

"Treehouse of Horror XXVII"

20th Television

While viewers have come to expect extra gore in the Treehouse of Horror episodes, New Zealand Network TVNZ determined this episode to just be too violent for 7pm. With a recreation of the famous church scene from Kingsman, this episode would be released in NZ at a later date, at a later time slot.

"Cape Feare"

20th Television

The “Cape Feare” episode revolves around the Simpsons entering the witness relocation program in order to hide from Sideshow Bob, who is seeking revenge. The episode was pulled from German television as it depicts an announcer in the episode wearing an SS officer’s uniform. Nazi propaganda is strictly forbidden in Germany, which is probably for the best.

Banksy's Couch Gag

20th Television

In recent years The Simpsons has invited guest artists to pitch and design their own Simpsons opening couch gags. When Banksy was asked, he depicted the grim reality of modern day animation, showcasing a sweatshop where Asian workers of all ages make Simpsons animation cells and merch. FOX let Banksy keep about 95% of his original concept, and the South Korean studio that regularly works on The Simpsons, requested the workers don’t wear rice hats. 

"Homer's Phobia"

20th Television

In this legendary episode Homer learns about gay acceptance from none other than John Waters (the first gay person). The FOX censors were incredibly apprehensive however, giving the writers 2 full pages of notes criticizing nearly every line. Their main focus was avoiding the word “gay.” After a change of Fox presidents, the episode was greenlit and went on to win an Emmy.

"Little Big Mom"

The episode “Little Big Mom”  was banned in Japan, and still hasn’t seen the light of day there because of the episode’s depiction of leprosy. Fellow episode 30 minutes over Tokyo was also banned in Japan as it shows Homer tossing the Japanese Emperor into a box of “sumo thongs.”

"Weekend at Brunsie's"

20th Television

Finally, Homer smokes some weed.

This episode obviously had some backlash from the studio as it depicts Homer’s use of medical marijuana, which had yet to be legalized anywhere in the US. This episode received an M rating in Australia and was eventually upgraded to a TV-14 rating in America.

"A Made Maggie"

20th Television

This episode features Maggie finally getting baptized. In search of a good Godfather for their daughter, Homer and Marge appoint mobster Fat Tony to take on the role. Eventually Fat Tony begins to absorb Maggie into his crime family. This episode was pulled from air in the Czech Republic and nobody knows why, but one can assume it has to do with organized crime.

"The Wreck of the Relationship"

20th Television

This episode was the first episode in Simpson’s history to receive a TV-MA rating in America. Why is that you ask? A woman briefly gives the camera the middle finger and a bong is shown. 

C’mon censors, at least give us partial nudity for a rating like that.

"A Streetcar Named Marge"

20th Television

This episode sparked controversy when a parody song about New Orleans featured lines like “stinking rats and vomity vile, New Orleans.” New Orleans natives were outraged even though the writers assured them it was a joke about the original song, not New Orleans.

Put down the gumbo and take a joke!

"Goo Goo Gai Pan"

Who knew China was so picky. 

This episode which lampoons Chinese censorship, is completely missing from Disney+ in China. With jokes like calling Mao Zedong “a little angel that killed 50 million people,” it’s easy to see why a communist dictatorship might avoid this one.

"Stark Raving Dad"

20th Television

When Homer is committed to a mental institution he meets Leon Kompowski, who believes he is Michael Jackson. Ironically, the character is voiced by the king of pop himself. Sadly, due to all the controversy that eventually surrounded the singer, the episode was pulled from circulation and can’t be found on Disney+. 

Just goes to show, if you dangle enough babies off of balconies, you too could be a voice on The Simpsons.

“The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson”

20th Television

This episode was banned after the 9/11 attacks due to the prominence of the twin towers in the episode. The episode was eventually brought back into circulation, but with the tower scenes cut, and nixing the line “They stick all the jerks in tower one.”

“Blame it on Lisa”

Season 13’s "Blame it on Lisa" was pulled from air in Brazil due to the episode's negative depiction of Rio De Janeiro. Homer is held for ransom, criminals run the decrepit streets and rats roam free throughout the episode. The episode now runs in the country after a heavy dose of censorship (for the better), to paint the city in a more positive light.

“Day of the Jackanapes”

20th Television

Sky One didn’t show this episode on air from 2002 to 2004 due to a scene where Bart attempts a suicide bombing in order to kill Krusty the Clown. 

First rule of comedy writing: Try not to write about suicide bombings.

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Top Image: 20th Television


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