We all know about "banned" episodes – AKA, episodes that were pulled from airing due to being controversial or dark.
But as it turns out, some of these episodes were SO controversial that they literally killed the show or caused people to be fired. Here are some of the offending episodes!
1.Remember the kid's show Ren & Stimpy? It was pretty dark and raunchy for a kid's show — but one episode took the cake as the worst.
I'm referring to the episode "Man's Best Friend,” in which George Liquor adopts Ren and Stimpy. There are multiple tobacco references as well as a scene in which Ren beats George with an oar.
This episode was banned from airing on Nickelodeon, and the show's creator John Kricfalusi was fired along with his team. It later aired on Spike TV. You can watch the episode here.
2.Dana Carvey's sketch show seemed poised to succeed, especially in its spot after the popular Home Improvement. But The Dana Carvey Show was cancelled after only seven episodes.
Why? Well, many attribute it to the first episode — in particular, the very first sketch, which depicted then-president Bill Clinton breastfeeding babies, puppies, and kittens. In just the first few minutes, millions of viewers who'd stayed to check out the show after Home Improvement changed the channel or turned off the TV.
The show never recovered these viewers, and it was ultimately canceled. You can watch the sketch here:
3.I Dream of Jeannnie was an immensely popular sitcom in the 1960s about an astronaut who discovers a genie on a deserted island. Much of the show was focused on the relationship between the astronaut, Tony, and the genie, Jeannie.
However, ratings began to drop after a certain episode, leading to its eventual cancellation. This TV episode, which even star Barbara Eden attributes to killing the show, is not inappropriate, but it was definitely controversial. It's the episode in which Tony and Jeannie get married.
"It broke credibility," Eden told the Today show. Show creator Sidney Sheldon also wrote that it broke the sexual tension between the two, leaving the show nowhere else to go.
You can watch the wedding here:
4.Another show canceled due to a controversial yet not inappropriate episode is Felicity. While there were other reasons for the show's decline in ratings and ultimate cancellation, one factor that even the network admitted to was Felicity's haircut.
The haircut, which occurred in the Season 2 episode "The List," apparently "diluted" the image of Felicity and made it so viewers didn't relate to her as much.
You can watch the haircut scene here:
5.Saturday Night Live has had numerous controversial moments in its 46 year run, but one of the most controversial was when cast member Charles Rocket accidentally let the f-word slip in a Dallas-themed sketch in the eleventh episode of Season 6.
He was fired mid-season for his mistake. Two episodes later, the season ended early due to a writer's strike — and almost the entire cast was fired. Most notably, one of the few players who wasn't fired was Eddie Murphy.
You can watch the moment here:
6.Damon Wayans was also fired from SNL due to a single sketch. In the sketch, which occurred during Season 11, Episode 12, he was playing a straight-laced cop. In an act of protest, he decided to play the role as a stereotypically gay man.
Wayans went off script due to being angry over not being allowed to do the material he wanted to do, saying he knew he'd be fired for it. You can watch the sketch here:
7.Sitcom Heil Honey I'm Home! was canceled after just one episode in 1990. The show followed Hitler and Eva Braun as a classic husband and housewife who live next to Jewish neighbors.
8.Another show canceled after just one episode was the reality series Who's Your Daddy, in which an adopted woman tried to figure out who her birth father was out of a group of men.
The show faced a lot of backlash from adoption agencies, who found it exploitative and trivializing of adopted people's experiences, calling it appalling and destructive. You can watch a clip from the show here:
9.Today, we know Ellen Degeneres for her talk show, but back in the day, she had a sitcom called Ellen. In the show, her character dated men.
However, shortly after Degeneres came out in real life, her character came out on the show in the episode "The Puppy Episode, developing feelings for Laura Dern's character.
While the episode was groundbreaking and award-winning, there was a lot of backlash, and ratings declined for the next season (which some viewers thought concentrated too much on gay issues) until the show was eventually canceled.
However, the episode obviously was hugely important for the LGBTQ community. You can watch a montage/retrospective of the episode here:
10.Megyn Kelly has long been a controversial figure, and her talk show Megyn Kelly Today was no stranger to controversy. However, one segment in which Megyn defended blackface in the October 23, 2018 episode went too far.
After defending the use of blackface for Halloween costumes, Megyn later apologized, but the damage was done. She was dropped by her agency, CAA, and the show was canceled.
You can watch her remarks here.
11.And finally, Fear Factor was known for its scary and disgusting challenges — but one challenge took it too far. NBC ended up pulling the episode "Hee Haw! Hee Haw!" in which contestants drank donkey semen and pee.
In fact, the stunt was so controversial that according to host Joe Rogan, this is why the show was cancelled.
While it didn't air on TV, the clip was later uploaded to YouTube. You can watch the challenge here: