4 Episodes of American Sitcoms That Were Too Hot for Other Countries
The situational comedy, America’s greatest contribution to world culture after rock and roll, Mr. Rogers and that sandwich with hunks of fried chicken instead of a bun. But while the U.S. continues to export 22-minute TV comedies all across the globe, occasionally, the content of certain episodes has been deemed to be irreconcilably offensive by certain countries, like how…
A Porn-Centric Episode of ‘Friends’ Was Bumped From Prime Time in the U.K.
The Friends episode “The One With the Free Porn” found Chandler and Joey inadvertently gaining free access to a cable channel full of erotica. Since this was in 1998, back when the internet was still just made up of dial-up AOL, Simpsons sound clips and a site where people posed questions to a fake butler, this revelation completely overtook their lives.
When airing in the U.K., the episode’s porn-based storyline led to it being bumped back to a late-night timeslot, far away from the impressionable minds of prime-time viewers. Also, the show’s network-friendly depiction of the adult content on Joey and Chandler’s TV (seemingly just a hairy dude getting lathered with shaving cream by fully clothed women) was “censored.”
‘Family Guy’s Weed Song Was Banned in Venezuela
In some ways, it’s surprising that Family Guy hasn’t kick-started World War III by now, but oddly, one episode that sparked an international incident involved one of the show’s more arguably harmless jokes; the episode “420” featured the song “A Bag of Weed,” a lavish musical number about the joys of pot. Sure, the tune has some pretty tasteless lyrics poking fun at Helen Keller and the allegations against Michael Jackson, but it was just the drug content that led to the show being banned by Venezuelan officials for attempting to “sponsor the consumption of marijuana.”
A ‘South Park’ Episode Was Pulled in Mexico Because of a Flag
South Park made headlines back in 2010 after an episode was pulled from broadcast in Mexico. “Pinewood Derby” contained scenes portraying the Mexican president as “a leader who wastes funds and irritates the international community.” However, this wasn’t the reason behind the commotion. It was due to those scenes also showing the Mexican flag.
According to Mexican law, “authorization must be requested from the Ministries of the Interior and Culture” before using the flag in a film or TV show, and, reportedly, “the permit required to show the flag did not arrive in time for the scheduled broadcast.”
Episodes of ‘The Simpsons’ Were Banned in Countries Ranging from Germany to Brazil
In addition to Frank Grimes and that baby with the one eyebrow, the Simpson family has made loads of other enemies all over the world. It turns out that several episodes of The Simpsons have pissed off governments in various countries, such as Germany, where “Cape Feare” was flat-out banned (due to the brief appearance of a Nazi SS uniform, not the gratuitous rake-based violence).
Similarly, Season Ten’s “Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo” never aired in several Asian countries due to the show’s problematic depiction of Japanese culture, including a scene where the Emperor seemingly suffocates to death while trapped in a hamper full of sumo thongs.
And the list goes on: “Blame It on Lisa” was banned in Brazil for its portrayal of Rio de Janeiro (tourist officials even “threatened to sue), while “The Cartridge Family” was “briefly” banned in the U.K. for its scenes of irresponsible gun use. But from what we can tell, Australia was totally cool with the show revealing its boot-based justice system to the world.
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