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Bowdlerise: Live-Action TV
  • 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.)
    • 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.
    • Prior to the premiere of Series X, Dave reran the previous 8 series. As the episodes were broadcast in the daytime and afternoon (i.e. pre-watershed), a number of edits were made to the episodes for usages of the word "bastard" and instances of characters flipping the middle finger and making the v-sign gesture (which is considered obscene in the UK).
  • For some reason that only BBC America would know, every airing of the Doctor Who episode The Eleventh Hour on said channel cuts the change room scene. The only thing even close to nudity is Matt Smith shirtless from the shoulders up. This leaves audiences confused as to where he got his tweed coat, shirt and bow tie from.
    • Proof that Tropes Are Not Bad: For their broadcast on the ABC in Australia, episodes of Doctor Who had scenes deemed too scary or violent cut from the film. The Australian National Archive had kept the censored clips as proof that they had been removed. Because of this, many of these clips are the only footage of some of the show's various Missing Episodes (notably The Macra Terror, The Highlanders, The Smugglers, and Fury from the Deep).
  • 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. Sitcoms from later eras, such as Suburgatory and Melissa And Joey, are also cut for language when shown in daytime slots.
  • The UK version of SyFy 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.
    • BBC2 also got the scissors out for the Slayer in its 6:45pm slot, not always because of violence (in the episode "Hush" Buffy, Spike and Anya all had various hand gestures they made removed, which presumably means the opening titles of those episodes that included Spike's were also cut; language also fell victim, such as Spike's response to Buffy's query "What are you doing here? Five words or less" in "No Place Like Home"note ) - they eventually had late night uncut repeats, which reportedly weren't "uncut." Sky1 also cut episodes in daytime slots for similar reasons.
  • Angel was severely cut by Channel Four in the UK for its screenings at 6pm in the first season (one episode began at 6pm and ended at around quarter to seven. And it ran with commercial breaks), one of several reasons why Angel had a much worse time terrestrially than the Slayer (see Channel Hop for more information).
  • 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" note .
    • Before the show went syndicated, MADtv had a parody of the show that depicted just how disjointed they thought the show would be if it was shown on a non-premium cable channel and edited for all manners of violence, sex (the scene of Tony getting a lap dance was so severely edited that it just showed the stripper coming in and finishing up), and foul, abusive language. The actual syndicated version on A&E isn't as bad as the parody MADtv came up with (which depicted The Sopranos on PAX, of all channels, and featured an entire episode lasting less than five minutes), but it's still pretty funny that the show predicted how the show might be Edited for Syndication.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • In the "Black Spot" cartoon sketch, the narrator's reference to "cancer" was overdubbed with "gangrene" spoken in a completely different voice.
  • Towards the end of the first season, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers got hit fairly hard with Bowdlerization following parental outrage over violence and reports of kids getting injured from imitating the fight scenes (which explains why New Zealand banned the original series). 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 general, skimpy or silly villainesses are NOT adapted into Power Rangers. But then again, Power Rangers has their own fair share of good villainesses including(but not limited to) Astronema, Trakeena, and Tenaya.
    • 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. 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.
      • Also in Samurai, Master Xandred regularly 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.
  • 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 Four 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.
  • In the pilot for Fairly Legal Kate complains about her cellphone service and says "I'm gonna tear Verizon a new one" - but if you watch the scene with subtitles (at least when shown on the UK's Universal Channel) the screen's sexiest mediator is apparently saying "I'm gonna buy a new one."
  • UK broadcasts of Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Conspiracy" edit the scene where Remmick is shot by Picard and Riker. Remmick's head is not seen exploding (his flesh just gets burnt off) and we don't really see the mother creature emerging from his body. (That said, the head-exploding scene was left intact when BBC2 screened the Clip Show episode "Shades Of Grey," which includes it.)
  • The Office: The episode "Koi Pond" was edited in reruns and on the DVD version to remove the cold opening where Michael pretends to hang himself to scare a group of children, after the American Society for Suicide Prevention criticized the sequence for making light of suicide (and, possibly, condoning this kind of act to more vulnerable/idiotic viewers). Despite being cut from the DVD set, this scene is availible on NBC's official site and on the iTunes release of the episode.
  • The WWE of late is beginning to edge back to the Attitude Era that was more violent and adult in tone, in comparison to the kid friendly PG era. However the WWE was heavily bowdlerised in 2002 with a case involving the World Wide Fund for Nature (originally the World Wildlife Fund, which remains the legal name of the charity's US and Canada branches). For years they had an issue with the World Wrestling Federation, and after taking them to court won to force the name change to World Wrestling Entertainment. But they did not stop there, every single instance and use of WWF had to be censored. References to WWF were bleeped or muted, the logo had to be changed and it had to be blurred out down to the turnbuckle pads and referee outfit. The WWF showed absolutely no mercy whatsoever on the now WWE, and it is at least partially blamed for the PG era.
    • Although a later settlement between WWF and WWE now allows WWE to air archival footage (i.e., pre-2002) with "WWF" references, whether spoken or visual, uncut. WWE, for its part, continues with and expands on the "WWF" ban in new footage; notably, when WWE produces an "old school" show, it now uses a redesigned retro logo with the "F" removed.
  • 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?" Thankfully, the season 2 DVD has the uncut version.
  • 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. 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 or you recorded the episode when it first came on in February 2007).
    • 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 note , 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 and InspirationTV air 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. This is not as extreme now that the Gospel Music Channel is now UP Channel, as they have begun to air more contemporary movies.
    • The GMC cut of Sister Sister is absolutely painful to watch. Several lines (i.e.: "stupid", "dumb", "pervert", a majority of Roger's lines) are muted to avoid offending GMC's target audience (Christians).
    • Despite 7th Heaven already being an incredibly clean and saccharine show the word "butt" of all things is muted making it come off like the characters were saying much worse, i.e. the context was Simon calling Mary "Big Butt'
  • 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 redid it so that the whole thing was a lucid dream that Spock was having.
    • And that was only the tip of the iceberg. The series had a very bad history of Bowdlerization in Germany. It started when public station ZDF for whatever reason showed an interest in the series. The question of the why this series of all things arises, since at that time it was filled to the brim with self-proclaimed ultra-conservative moral guardians. They first cherry-picked 39 of the 79 episodes, then cut out tons of material they didn't like and put everything though a dubbing process that today would just be seen as a Gag Dub. Amok Time was the worst example of this. The rest of the episodes was finally dubbed in 1988 by private station Sat.1 and while it generally had a more faithful dub and only few cuts, some episodes were still hackjobs. One episode, Patterns of Force, was still avoided and all kind of stupid excuses were used, until finally Paramount themselves dubbed it in 1995. Of course it fell onto everyones feet hard once the DVD editions were in the planning stage. Paramount was absolutely livid at this Cut-and-Paste Translation and it took pains and lots of money to put the episodes back into uncut state, dub the missing scenes and re-dub many scenes that were completely unusable due to censorship or a shoddy dub script.
  • 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 pleased.
  • 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."
    • Hallmark does something similar for old episodes for The Golden Girls, leaving silence for similar words and rendering a few punchlines moot, yet they still aired that one episode where the ladies are mistaken for prostitutes.
  • In most foreign airings of Season 4 of The Amazing Race, there is no mention of Reichen & Chip being in a relationship, and their kiss at the Finish Line was edited out.
  • Parodied in an episode of How I Met Your Mother: Marshall is recapping a vulgar conversation with his boss regarding another company that has done a lot of environmental damage. Lily reminds him that she is pregnant and wants him to censor himself so the child won't hear vulgar language. Marshall then recaps his story, replacing the raunchy words he said at work with clean ones (i.e, "grab them by their big sweaty hands, "sons of mothers", etc). Barney notes the scene is like watching The Breakfast Club on TBS. Also, there are things Ted isn't prepared to tell his kids. E.g. in a flashback to their college days, Marshall was obviously smoking a joint, but what we get to see is Marshall enjoying a sandwich in his dorm room, giggling as he does so, and hiding the sandwich under some papers when he thinks the Dean is going to visit. Ted also self-censors certain words and replaces them with more innocent substitutions like "grinch" and "fudge".
  • The British Reality Show Snog Marry Avoid is named after a game more usually known as "Fuck, Marry, Kill."
  • It was inevitable that Torchwood: Miracle Day would probably face the censors once the pay-cable season began airing on BBC America. But the BBCA airing of "Dead of Night" managed to sneak a bit of a Double Standard in as well. For obvious reasons, the fairly explicit sex scenes between Rex/Vera and Jack/Brad were cut. But Rex/Vera were still shown about to hook up, then post-coital. Meanwhile, the entire scene of Jack even going to the bar and flirting with Brad was cut, along with his drunk phone call to Gwen afterwards (which also happened to include the moment when Gwen sees her family again and the pair's mournful wish that Ianto was still there). Which also meant that Jack vanished one evening and reappeared the next morning, hung over, without any explanation. Well done, BBCA censors.
  • Frasier:
    • In the US, Hallmark Channel deletes all mentions of the words "ass" and "butt", leaving exchanges like Martin telling Frasier he's "behaving like a jack... with a stick up his...". Jokes with rude punchlines are often rendered unintelligible, with the subsequent laughtrack looking like a non-sequitur.
    • In the UK, Channel 4 (which airs the show in the mornings) usually leaves in references to "ass" and "butt" but removes the word "bastard" and any references to drugs, providing a similar non-sequitur effect when it seems the audience are laughing mid-sentence, and that the actors are leaving sentences hanging in the air unfinished.
  • Nickelodeon UK has trimmed the odd episode of Sam & Cat:
    • "#FavoriteShow" was cut to remove the shot of Cat leaping onto the hood of a moving car and all shots of her on the car as it's in motion due to fear that impressionable audiences will imitate the stunt and end up injured or dead from it. note  That said, Cat's TJ Hooker impersonation can still be seen in the opening titles of every episode, making this a little pointless.
    • Goomer's alley fight in "#MommaGoomer" is also edited to cut down on violence.
    • The final scene in "#OscarTheOuch" where Oscar is struck by lightning while holding a golf club and basically shrugs it off with a cry of "Predicament!" has the Running Gag and the shot of the lightning hitting him removed (although as with the Star Trek: The Next Generation example above, the latter still appears in Nickelodeon UK's airings of "#BlooperEpisode").
  • You Can't Do That on Television:
    • The episode "Body Parts" when aired in America cuts out three risque sketches: an "Introduction to the Opposites" sketch where Mr. Schidtler shows his class a porno film as part of his anatomy lesson, a sketch where Alisdair sells Playboy magazines to his friends, and a locker wall joke where Karen Grant describes her favorite body part as "what's in the pants" (though she means "a wallet"). On the American version, the sketches were replaced with extra commercial time and two sketches that didn't air in Canada: one where Moose is tricked into eating a grasshopper and another where Alisdair visits the Groucho Marx-esque doctor about the leg he put in backwards.
    • "Fears, Worries, and Anxieties" was also cut when it came to America. In the sketch where Alisdair tells his mom (Mrs. Prevert) that he doesn't want to go to school because of a bully named Killer Curtis, the name "Killer Curtis" was replaced with "Crusher Willis" as there really was a serial killer in the news at the time named "Killer Curtis." The change is obvious, as Alasdair's voice had changed from puberty between the episode's premiere in Canada and its premiere in America.
    • "Adoption": In Canada, Senator Prevert's line "You get over here right away, ya damn bureaucrat!" after learning that he can't return Adam to the orphanage after using him to do chores all day (though Adam still would have been taken back, due to Senator Prevert abusing him by making him work without feeding him) was edited to remove the "damn" in "damn bureaucrat." In America, the scene was left in, but the episode ended up being banned after only two airings due to complaints about the adoption jokes note .
  • Certain broadcasts of The Story of Tracy Beaker: The Movie of Me replace Hayley's line of "Life's a bitch" with an alternate take of her sighing (in response to learning the policeman and his wife cannot make babies).
  • Incredibly, some British airings of Magnum, P.I.'s "Did You See The Sunrise?" remove the gunshot when Magnum kills the man who murdered his friend.
  • In Constantine, adaptation of Hellblazer, the character's chain-smoking habits were removed for this reasons. Which is a rather strange decision, considering the show is set to feature demons, torture, murder, and moral ambiguity galore.
  • The aired live versions of Breaking Bad were hilariously bowdlerized. One particular example is badass hiding in plain sight from the DEA, Mike Ermentrout, is looking after his beloved granddaughter at the park. He leaves a note by where he was sitting and walks away. The DEA run over and pick up the note (thinking it's drug related communications). The note reads "Fuck you." Except AMC doesn't allow nudity or swearing on their channel, so it reads "F**k you", with a poorly-done and very obvious blur bar over the offending word.
  • Mostly averted in France, where one channel goes as far as to air unedited episodes of SexAndTheCity during daytime.
  • Cold Case airings on ION Television have edited out several words heard on the original CBS airing, such as "bitch", "bastard", "sp*c", "p*lack" and "f*g" and "f***t", even though the last two words were thrown around endlessly in the season one episode "A Time Of Hate".
    • Also, the season one episode "The Letter" note  has the actual murder scene changed from its original 2004 airing after complaints were made about it. However, the brutal murder scene from season two episode "Strange Fruit" note  was not edited. Similarly, in the season five episode "Family 8108", the derogatory terms "g**k", "Jap" and "Tojo" are left intact.


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