Classic ‘Simpsons’ Episodes Are Still Getting Censored for Broadcast in 2024

Classic ‘Simpsons’ Episodes Are Still Getting Censored for Broadcast in 2024

Why is it that some TV stations still won’t let The Simpsons joke about sex? What’s so unappealing about hearing old Simpsons characters talk about sex? They had sex!

For as long as The Simpsons has been on television, censors have been trying to take away everyone’s fun and ruin many of the jokes in episodes that eventually became all-time classics. From “Homer’s Phobia” to “A Streetcar Named Marge” to “Stark Raving Dad,” Fox has, historically, been at the throats of The Simpsons’ writers like they’re Homer and Bart over the verbiage, content, targets and topics of the best jokes in television history. And, to a certain degree, that’s exactly the network’s prerogative when putting out new content, and all of the “Big Four” broadcast channels have their own checks in place to ensure FCC compliance and to limit the workload of their complaints department.

However, any reasonable Simpsons fan would think that, 30 years after Fox aired the final cuts of the classic Simpsons episodes that would change TV history forever, both Fox and the associated networks with broadcasting rights to Simpsons reruns would be done correcting, silencing and censoring classic jokes and deign to air those historic episodes in their original formats. Unfortunately, as the Australian Simpsons superfan podcast Four Finger Discount pointed out yesterday, those reasonable Simpsons fans would be wrong.

In the original airing of the beloved Season Six episode “Homer Badman,” the unnamed newsman says of the shower curtain shot, “Simpson scandal update: Homer sleeps nude in an oxygen tent, which he believes gives him sexual powers.” Seeing as the entire episode is about (alleged) sexual harassment, thats exactly the kind of joke setup and Michael Jackson reference that would make sense for the scene, considering the word “sexual” is written four other times in the episode's script. But apparently, the U.K.’s Channel 4 has a “four, and no more” rule for the word and decided to ruin one of the most quotable lines in the episode to be in compliance.

As many U.K. Simpsons fans have pointed out, this is, unfortunately, not uncommon for Channel 4's Simpsons broadcasts. When they air the Season Four classic “Mr. Plow,” Channel 4 cuts the punchline of another legendary joke when, after an insurance adjuster asks Homer what kind of establishment this “Moe's” could be that is open so late, they skip his hilarious response, “Its a pornography store. I was buying pornography.”

Typically, youd assume the Brits to be much more lax when it comes to the content of jokes considering they dont have the puritanical roots of The Simpsons home country. Seeing as thats not the case, its definitely disconcerting that young, prospective U.K. Simpsons fans are starting their potential love affair with the series without access to some of its best jokes. Hopefully, and despite the disservice Channel 4 is doing to their viewers, the watered-down version of these episodes are enough to put big British smiles on their faces.


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