Animated TV shows can be made for people of all ages, but even the most comedic ones can cross the line sometimes. Over the last several decades, animated shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, and more have become as popular as they are by pushing the limits of what their viewers will laugh at. But, even the most innocent and child-friendly shows can accidentally become the source of controversy.
No matter what the target audience is, there are several different jokes that will not fly with audiences, but plenty of controversies have been the result of unintentional references. Whenever one of these hotly debated moments or episodes arrive, the conversation around them quickly becomes what should be done about them. In some instances, the shows can be altered to still allow them to be seen in a new light – but that is not what always happens.
Related: 25 Family Guy Deleted Scenes That Were Too Much For TV
In Screen Rant’s latest video (featured at the top of this post), we take a look at 15 episodes of animated TV shows that were pulled from circulation due to some form of controversy. The Simpsons and Family Guy both find a place on the list thanks to very different reasons, but not every one mentioned is the result of difficult subject matter. In the case of Peppa Pig, they removed an episode about spiders not being so bad after some parents didn’t want their children to learn to play with potentially deadly arachnids.
The most recent controversy to make the list, though, is The Simpsons. Producers recently made the decision to pull the season 3 episode “Stark Raving Dad” from circulation and eventually phase it out of box sets and off of streaming. The episode features pop singer Michael Jackson voicing Homer’s cellmate, and the producers made this decision following the release of HBO’s Leaving Neverland documentary that chronicles first hand accounts from two men accusing Jackson of taking advantage of them as children.
Beyond pulling episodes featuring controversial guest stars, most of these examples come from a variety of different claims. Politics and religion are two extremely sensitive topics for many and were directly responsible for a few of the episodes mentioned before being taken down. But, not all of these instances are as serious as politics, racism, or drugs, and sometimes it can just be as simple as the episode of Pokemon that features flashing lights that made people sick. Of course, these are just a few controversies to arise for animated shows, and there are several that have yet to be resolved or were handled poorly (like The Simpsons‘ ongoing Apu controversy), let alone seen the episodes pulled from the air.
MORE: The Simpsons’ Apu Controversy Timeline