Being creative, funny, or shocking consistently when writing TV is a challenge; sometimes, writers take it too far. Check out 15 highly controversial TV episodes, many of which have been pulled from cable and streaming services because they were so offensive.
1. “Conflict” (Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood)
Mister Roger’s Neighborhood was among the most endearing and positive shows. However, Mister Rogers wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is and try to help children understand complex topics. In this controversial episode, he discusses the inevitability of nuclear war.
2. “Partial Terms of Endearment” (Family Guy)
Of course, at least one Family Guy episode would make this list. The episode that stands out to me is Partial Terms of Endearment, which tackles the topic of abortion with a complete lack of sensitivity and class.
3. “Home” (The X-Files)
As an avid X-Files watcher, I urge you to skip this episode when it comes on. Scully and Mulder investigate a strange disappearance in a rural town with a highly unusual and ostracized family. Well, it turns out that the family is highly controversial, and the episode becomes quite explicit.
4. “The Puerto Rican Day” (Seinfeld)
Seinfeld was no stranger to pushing my boundaries, but they went too far with this one. In The Puerto Rican Day, Kramer lights the Puerto Rican flag on fire, igniting controversy and offending an entire culture.
5. “200” and “201” (South Park)
For the show’s 200th and 201st episodes, the South Park creators decide to go all out when it comes to being offensive. The convoluted plot is a lot to explain, but Trey Parker and Matt Stone essentially offended radical Muslim groups, leading to genuine threats.
6. “The Puppy Episode” (Ellen)
The Puppy Episode was highly controversial then but is now seen as a massive moment in LGBTQA+ representation. Ellen Denegrnes had recently come out as gay in real life, and her character followed suit, angering the homophobic public.
7. “Blame It On Lisa” (The Simpsons)
In this episode of The Simpsons, the family travels to Brazil to find Lisa’s pen pal. Brazilians were unhappy with how the show represented their country, causing massive outrage toward the episode.
8. “Breaker Of Chains” (Game of Thrones)
Game of Thrones has been criticized for its excessive and unnecessary intimate scenes. This episode features a very adult scene between Jaime Lannister and Cersei Lannister, crossing the line too far for many fans.
9. “Plato’s Stepchildren” Star Trek
This episode of the iconic series Star Trek shows the first interracial kiss on television ever! This on-screen kiss was a colossal step socially, but the episode received an exorbitant amount of hate and backlash.
10. “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” (Community)
Netflix and Hulu both banned this episode of the cult favorite series Community. In it, one character wears whole-body blackface and says he is a “dark elf,” but it offended many viewers.
11. “Mixed Blessings” (Golden Girls)
Even charming and lovable shows like Golden Girls have highly controversial episodes. In this one, all the girls greet a black man covered in dark mud masks, alluding to blackface. It offended many, and Hulu removed the episode from their platform.
12. “I’ll See You in Court” (Married… with Children)
Married… with Children welcomed controversy but went too far with this episode. Two characters discover they were filmed having adult time in a motel, and the episode was simply too raunchy for TV.
13. “Episode 1” (The Dana Carvey Show)
In the pilot episode of his skit comedy show, Dana Carvey impersonates President Bill Clinton and breastfeeds a baby. While Carvey wanted to stir people and create controversy, the show never came back from this and was canceled after only eight episodes.
14. “The Gang Turns Black” (Always Sunny in Philidelphia)
The name of this episode says it all. While the larger message of the episode is about racial inequality and social justice, the jokes and overall plot were still so shocking and offensive that the episode was pulled.
15. “Return To Camelot Part 1” (Dallas)
Return To Camelot Part 1 is not controversial because it’s raunchy or inappropriate; it just enraged loyal watchers. The episode reveals that the entire last season of the show was just a dream, upsetting most fans.
Veronica is a food, fashion, and entertainment writer from Boston, MA, with a passion for all things lifestyle and culture. She graduated from Boston University in 2019 with a bachelor's in English literature. From Anna Wintour to Angelina Jolie to Alton Brown, she has her finger on the pulse of all things Hollywood and celebrity.
If she's not in the kitchen crafting new recipes, then she's binging the latest HBO series and catching up on the hottest trends in Vogue.
She has written for and been syndicated by publications like The Weather Channel, The Daily Meal, The Borgen Project, The Good Men Project, The Express, MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and Not Deer Magazine. Her writing experience ranges from global news articles to celebrity gossip pieces to movie reviews to homemade recipes and more.