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11 Times TV Shows Had Massive Controversies That Now Seem Really Dumb

Some TV shows actively court controversy, because as we all know, there's no such thing as bad publicity. On the other hand, there have been others that have all the best intentions, but still end up making a bunch of people angry. In the case of these 11 shows, the reasons people got angry were pretty ridiculous.

The Simpsons


Controversy: A 10-year-old boy talked back to his parents

Bart Simpson was America's Bad Boy (I mean, he even said it himself) and he had a reputation to match it. Parents were shocked by a 10 year old hellion rarely being punished for his misbehavior, and President George Bush (the first one) personally blasted the show (which resulted in an episode where him and Homer duke it out)

I Love Lucy


Controversy: Pregnancy

When Lucille Ball was pregnant with her husband and co-star Desi Arnez's child, it wasn't the pregnancy itself that was the problem. The network considered the word "pregnant" and any permutation of it to be obscene, meaning the show couldn't use it.

Murphy Brown


Controversy: A single mom raising a child

Vice President Dan Quayle specifically took a shot at the show for portraying a female character who was not married to her child's father, saying that it devalued men's place in the American family. Yeesh.

I Dream of Jeannie


Controversy: Too much bellybutton

The character of Jeannie got the network a lot of complaints for showing too much skin; specifically in that she showed her midriff. They also couldn't show her and Tony going into a room together and closing the door.

If you thought THESE controversies were stupid, wait 'til you see the rest...

Married... With Children


Controversy: Explicit content

In the episode "I'll See You In Court," Al and Peg get a hotel room to get away from the kids (wink wink nudge nudge) only to find a recording of their neighbors doing the same. Turns out the hotel's been recording couples, and after the ensuing court battle, the Bundys finally get their alone time... in an empty courtroom.



Controversy: Main character comes out

Matching the actress' real-life coming out that happened shortly beforehand, an episode of Ellen had her character reveal herself as a lesbian. What the network thought would be a proud moment for the show resulted in tanked ratings and angry messages from viewers.

Star Trek


Controversy: TV's first interracial kiss

Captain James T. Kirk and Lt. Nyota Uhura share a kiss while hypnotized by an alien presence, resulting in a scene that made TV history. Viewers at the time were positively furious, and the network caught a lot of flack for their decision.



Controversy: One of them was purple

A Southern Baptist preacher vehemently implied that the character of Tinky-Winky was trying to force homosexuality onto children, due to his color, symbol, and handbag. This was denied by the network.

Ren and Stimpy


Controversy: Violence

Ren and Stimpy was always a pretty edgy show thanks to its plentiful gross-out humor, but apparently it was violence that audiences drew the line at. When Ren is taken by a new owner, he savagely beats him with an oar; a move that resulted in tons of complaints from parents.

Sesame Street


Controversy: Integration

The state of Mississippi banned the show from airing on its public networks for several weeks in May 1970. The reason was because “[s]ome of the members of the commission were very much opposed to showing the series because it uses a highly integrated cast of children,” and that committee members had objected because “we are not ready for it.”


Warner Bros.

Controversy: A haircut

When its lead character decided to get a new lease on life, and to represent this by cutting her hair short, the show's ratings began to plummet and the network received tons of angry letters from fans. The show's ratings apparently never recovered.

What strange controversies do you remember from TV? Let us know in the comments!