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  • The Very Special Episode of Family Matters in which Laura causes racial tension at her school after suggesting that black history be taught along with white history usually cuts to commercial before the audience can see that someone has spray-painted "NIGGER" on Laura's locker (once upon a time, there was a TV channel that showed it uncut in reruns, but it hasn't been seen since). With this scene gone, it looks as if Carl is mad at the kids in school putting the note in her locker that read, "If you love black history so much, why don't you go back to Africa?"
  • Some rebroadcasts of Phyllis on TV Land / Nick at Nite cut out the first few minutes of the opening sequence and starts the credits instead with the title superimposed on the scene at Fisherman's Wharf.
  • BBC Kids (at least in Canada) has shown episodes of Red Dwarf with heavy edits. One particular episode, "Holoship," had virtually the entire middle of the episode removed, as the episode dealt largely with a main character's romancing a fellow hologram, making the resulting plot unintelligible. (They pretty much had to cut the bits where the female hologram showed off her superhuman sexual abilities. Not to mention the fact the crew boasted of having sex as part of their daily routine.)
    • Note that BBC Kids, like BBC America, is only part-owned by The BBC. Their relationship to the BBC proper is similar to that of the various UKTV channels in the United Kingdom. They should under no circumstances be mistaken for real BBC channels.
    • Those heavily censored episodes also aired on the Ontario-based kids' channel YTV. Because they were also available on PBS at the same time in fully uncensored version, lack of viewers forced YTV to pull the plug on the show. Honestly? Very much a mercy killing.
    • Also, the episode "Balance of Power." The remastered version of that episode took out the hilarious moment where Kochanski (really Rimmer using her holo-data) looks down her shirt and says, "I've seen something you haven't, squire."
    • Kryten as well, for lawyer-friendly purposes presumably, for the remastered and Dave edits. Rimmer describes a group of skeletons as having 'less meat on them than a Chicken McNugget'. The other versions remove the 'Mc' part from the speech but don't cover Barrie's lips.
      • Even versions of the episode shown years after its original airing had "McNugget" in that sentence. It was removed shortly after McDonald's successfully sued activists under the UK's much-more-liberal libel laws...and won.
  • In the United Kingdom, there are "daytime edits" of American 1990s-to-early-to-mid-2000s sitcoms such as Friends and Scrubs, in which invective and references to sex beyond Double Entendre levels is removed.
  • The UK version of Sy Fy aired daytime repeats of Buffy and Angel, both of which had large portions of violence removed. The censors seem to take particular offense to violence against women and anything that could be construed as an "imitable, dangerous action or stunt," which when it comes to Buffy is... less than rational.
    • In the United Kingdom, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode The Weight of the World was screened without the part where Buffy smothers Dawn with a pillow. So when Buffy goes into a catatonic state and admits to Willow that she 'killed Dawn', even if it was just in her thoughts, it makes hardly any sense at all.
      • Actually it still makes a little sense because she had been captured by Glory and so she could have been blaming herself for that.
  • The syndicated version of The Sopranos survives relatively unscathed sex and violence-wise, as David Chase filmed alternate scenes (the scenes at the Bada Bing Strip Club have scantily-clad dancers who don't take off their clothes and the violent deaths are often replaced with shots of someone's face or shown at an angle so the violence won't be as severe). However, all of the profanity and explicit sexual lines are redubbed with toned-down versions that either weaken the dramatic impact or are just plain Narmy. One particularly notorious instance of editing came when the line "...sucking on a Cub Scout's ass" became "...chewing on a Cub Scout's ear" [1].
    • This inevitable censoring was parodied -- ironically when the show first came out -- in a Mad TV skit which had the Pax network holding the rerun rights to the show and cutting out all scenes of violence, using jump-cuts to remove all offensive language, and even reducing a lap dance scene to nothing, turning it into a five-minute blip of an episode.

 Melfi: Let's talk about your anger, towards your mother.

Tony: Anger? Anger? Anger what?

Melfi: Well, you're clearly angry at her.

Melfi: Yeah, no sh--

--ing genius insight! Who are you, f--

--ing Ray Charles? Lemme tell you something, I didn't have anger AT her, alright, I HATED that bi--

Melfi: Well, why don't we explore this?

Tony: Tell you what, huh? *he stands up* Why don't you explore this (goes to grab his crotch, but the scene cuts away)--

Tony (now sitting down): I got --

--ing better things to do with my life than the spend time yakkin' about my motherf--

  • Happily, as he leaves the office* See you next week!"
  • In Monty Python's Flying Circus, when the Spanish Inquisition arrives late in court, Cardinal Ximénez exclaims, "Oh bugger!" This scene was frequently removed, since 'bugger' was considered too profane back then.
    • It depended on where in the United Kingdom you were watching. Famously the "Oh, bugger!" line was cut from the BBC Scotland broadcast whilst — correct me if anyone knows different — the rest of the United Kingdom got to hear it.
    • The most famous Bowdlerization of Python came in the "Summarize Proust" sketch, wherein Graham Chapman's character, asked for his hobbies outside summarizing, lists "strangling animals, golf and masturbating", resulting in a roar of laughter from the audience. The BBC had generally been pretty tolerant of the Pythons, but they drew the line on saying "masturbating." The troupe took their protests all the way to the BBC offices to no avail. Two edits were produced, one in which "masturbating" is simply muted, creating an odd pause between "golf" and the seemingly disproportionate laugh, and one in which the line is clumsily rearranged into "golf and strangling animals." As Python member Terry Jones would later point out, the fact that "strangling animals" was acceptable in all edits but "masturbating" was unacceptable explained a lot about Britons of the time. Luckily, the unedited master copy was kept and has resurfaced, including on the Internet.
    • In the first US broadcast of selected Monty Python's Flying Circus episodes in 1974, NBC carefully bleeped out offensive words in the line "They washed their arms, their legs, and then they washed their naughty bits." At eleven-thirty at night. How times change.
  • Towards the end of the first season, Power Rangers got hit fairly hard with Bowdlerization following parental outrage over violence and reports of kids getting injured from imitating the fight scenes. Episodes began devoting a lot more to the 'plot' part, and what fighting there was usually consisted of the Rangers fighting an endless stream of mooks while the Monster of the Week hung hurled "witty" lines at them. Once enough mooks had been beaten, the Monster would grow giant, brainlessly charge the Zord, and get fried.
    • This was mostly in the second season, and had more to do with the fact that they were still using the Ranger suits from Zyuranger but the monsters from Dairanger, and thus there was no Japanese footage of the Rangers fighting the monster. For some monsters, they were able to get the suit sent over to record their own fight scenes, but a lot of the time, this wasn't possible.
    • In Power Rangers Samurai most scenes referencing death from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger are altered. In "Deal with a Nighlok" the boy wishes his father back from Afghanistan where as in Shinkenger the boy wanted his dead grandfather back. In "The Blue and The Gold" The Nighlok were going to butcher toys. In Shinkenger it's young women instead of toys. In "The Bullzord" Cody lives with his father. In Shinkenger the boy Hiro lived with his Grandfather since his parents were killed in a rockslide likely caused by The Ushi origami.
      • Averted in Trading Places where those switched with items would die if the object containing them were to be destroyed. Both Shows featured people nearly dying when the object containing them were destroyed shortly after them being switched back.
      • Also Averted in "Team Spirit."
    • Also In Shinkenger Master Xandred drinks Medicine instead of sake (rice wine) as in Shinkenger See Frothy Mugs of Water
  • Spoofed on an episode of The Brady Bunch, of all things. Mike and Carol are trying to convince Bobby that Jesse James was a criminal and not a hero, so they let him watch a movie about Jesse James that's airing on television, hoping that the movie's violence will scare Bobby into seeing Jesse James for the ruthless criminal he actually was. However, said movie is bowdlerised to the point that it cuts out the violence completely, making Jesse James seem more like a roguish hero of sorts. As a result, Bobby becomes even more enamored with the outlaw, and Mike and Carol are not happy.
  • An early episode of Saturday Night Live featured cast members singing the song "Let's Kill Gary Gilmore for Christmas". When the episode's rerun aired after Gilmore's execution, this segment was replaced by a different skit.
    • On the season 32 episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Rainn Wilson, there was a sketch about four guys who remember where they were when they first heard "Danny's Song." Bill Hader's character remembers hearing the song when he was spending the day with his father, and he has so much fun with him, that he now thinks of his father as just his father and not someone affected with Down's Syndrome. In a twisted way, someone can see this as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, but apparently others saw this as offensive and in all reruns, "Down's Syndrome" is bleeped out, making the line sound worse than it supposedly is. What's worse is that the original version with the unbleeped line is nowhere to be found (unless you can find an online torrent of season 32 episodes of SNL).
    • The season 19 episode hosted by Alec Baldwin (with his then-wife Kim Basinger) has some minor edits done to the infamous "Canteen Boy Goes Camping" sketch (in which Canteen Boy [[[Adam Sandler]]] is sexually molested by his scoutmaster, Mr. Armstrong [Alec Baldwin], though none of the edits were for content, despite this sketch being one of the raunchiest ones the show has done in the 1990s (it was cut from reruns whenever this episode is shown in 60-minute syndicated installments). The edited version includes a title card that explains that, despite his name, Canteen Boy is actually a 27-year-old who still lives with his mom and is still a Boy Scout, cut some of Canteen Boy's conversing with the owl while Mr. Armstrong is getting wine, and includes an alternate scene of Mr. Armstrong getting attacked by snakes so that way the shot isn't shown from a low angle.
      • Speaking of season 19 episodes being edited, the Martin Lawrence episode had Martin's monologue (which included vulgar references to women's hygiene) cut off and replaced with a series of title cards explaining that the rest of the monologue will never be televised again, as it nearly got everyone on SNL fired.
    • The season 11 (1985-1986 season) premiere hosted by Madonna originally featured a cold opening in which NBC network executive at the time, Brandon Tartikoff, announced that Lorne Michaels' new SNL cast will all be urine tested for drugs, followed by Anthony Michael Hall turning in his sample. The censors at the time found the sketch to be too gross (yet 26 years later, they would allow a monologue featuring Steve Martin performing a urine test on Alec Baldwin to see if Baldwin breaking Steve Martin's record for being SNL's most frequent host is legit), so it was cut from all reruns (including the 60-minute reruns) in America. The airing of this episode on Canada's Comedy Network has this sketch intact.
  • In an episode of House, Dr. House prescribes cigarettes to a patient suffering from an inflammatory bowel. In France, the cigarettes were changed to two bowls of rice.
  • The Gospel Music Channel (available to Direc TV customers) airs family-friendly programs such as Amen, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, and Promised Land. Despite the already wholesome content of these shows, mild curse words such as "hell" and "damn" are edited out, as are many references to or depiction of sexual activity -- even if it's consensual and between a married couple.
  • The German version of the infamous Star Trek episode "Amok Time" had much of the Ho Yay and references to sexuality altered. Given that the episode is all about Spock needing to Mate or Die, and snapping out of it when he believes that he's killed Captain Kirk, removing the Ho Yay and the references to sexuality from the episode is a little bit like removing the water from the ocean. How bad were the edits? Well, they made Pon Farr into a non-sexual illness, and turned the episode into an All Just a Dream episode.
  • The EO, a Dutch evangelical public broadcast organisation, likes showing nature shows. What they don't like too much is the concept of evolution by natural selection. To solve this, they alter David Attenborough documentaries to suit their creationist ideologies while still presenting them as BBC documentaries. Attenborough was not amused.
  • Hallmark Channel bowdlerizes several of its shows, including reruns of Cheers. Words such as "bitch", "slut" and even "butt" are censored. Oddly, Carla's insult to bald John Hill, "Two heads like that would make a perfectly good butt," is censored when the episode is rerun, yet featured uncensored in the network's ads for the show. Also, the penultimate line in the entire series, when Sam realizes the bar is his true love and says, "I'm the luckiest son of a bitch on Earth," is chopped to "I'm the luckiest son on Earth."
  • In most foreign airings of Season 4 of The Amazing Race, there is no mention of Reichen & Chip being "married", and their kiss at the Finish Line was edited out.
  • The Glee episode featuring songs from Rocky Horror had them all butchered to network standards. Justified by the actual school production censoring the show in-universe.
  • When rerunning episodes of Eerie Indiana on Saturday mornings, Fox Kids bizarrely edited part of the episode Zombies In P Js. In the episode, residents of Eerie turn into shopping zombies when they fall asleep and there's a sequence of Marshall and Simon slapping each other in the face all night to keep from falling asleep. Eventually, however, this fails and they go sleep-shopping with the rest of the town. When Dash finds them later, he's unable to wake them up until he slaps Marshall. In the Fox Kids edit the scene of Marshall and Simon slapping each other is left in but the shot of Dash slapping Marshall is edited out, cutting from Dash snapping his fingers in front of Marshall's eyes to Marshall rubbing his cheek and looking angry, and rendering Dash's line "Thanks, I needed that," senseless.
  • When The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "Be My Baby Tonight" is aired, the scene (after Ashley asks Will about sex) with all the innuendo is usually cut out.
  • BET's reruns of The Wire would not only edit the profanity, sex and violence but also edited the show down into a 1 hour timeslot (including commercials) on the network cutting many scenes and when episodes were aired from the seconds season any scenes featuring the docks storyline that was central to that season, which featured mostly white characters, were completely removed causing the season to be made up mostly of scenes of the criminals from the first season sitting around in prison.
  • When the Disney Channel aired reruns of Boy Meets World several episodes in seasons 5-7 had to be edited because at that point the show wasn't really a kids show anymore and had more mature themes and suggestive content. Many sex references and instances of swearing were removed and at least three episodes were not shown at all due to their content, one that dealt with teen drinking and two that featured sexual situations and dialogue.
  • When Alias made its debut on Channel 4 in the UK, it was shown on Saturday afternoons at 5:30 with the pilot in an hour-long slot; this likely tipped off fans that something was up, as the pilot lasts 70 minutes without commercials (admittedly there is an edited version for syndication in a standard hour-long length, but the series is still not designed for teatime viewing with the family). Indeed, the series did have to be cut for the slot, and was let go by the channel.

Notes

  1. which still implies sexual molestation to a Boy Scout, no matter how you slice it