A kind of self-censorship born out of sensitivity to current issues. One frequent situation is when a new episode (or possibly an old one) is edited or not broadcast because it coincides with some recent tragic event. Can be taken to ridiculous extremes, especially if Executive Meddling is involved; for example, after President Reagan was shot, The Greatest American Hero had the name of its main character changed because his name was Hinkley, the same as the would-be assassin.
The phrase "too soon" rose to prominence in the '00s to indicate that an observer was still sensitive to the issue at hand and did not feel it was a fit subject for comedy. Likewise a trend of subversions also took hold primarily by referencing an event long since considered to be an Acceptable Target.
A prominent example for Americans was that, for several years, any show featuring the World Trade Center tended to be tweaked a bit. Some older shows and even movies had broadcasts digitally edited to remove it from the skyline. This sometimes happened even when the show or movie was set before 2001. This has Unfortunate Implications, in that it allows the terrorists to destroy the World Trade Center retroactively. Much of the recent popularization of the phrase and awareness of the issue is due to the rather long shadow the World Trade Center attacks cast over the subsequent decade.
In other cases, the result ends up being a Missing Episode (if it's scheduled to air around the time of the tragedy, but has to be replaced with a rerun or another episode) or a Banned Episode (if it aired previously and now has to be shelved until the tragedy dies down, though, in some cases, like the South Park two-part episode "200" and "201," an episode will be considered gone for good if it really caused trouble).
Ironically, sometimes it is the very act of censoring a scene that gives it its Too Soon quality. A seemingly innocuous scene has been edited out of a repeat; the only explanation is that it referred to the same kind of situation as in Current Issue X. What was a vague connection has now been made explicit.
For obvious reasons, what qualifies as Too Soon is a matter of opinion. (See: Black Comedy) Johnny Carson famously found out in the 1970s that the Lincoln assassination was still Too Soon for his audience, and few comedians even today are brave enough to poke fun at Kennedy's murder (although the conspiracy theories have come in for their share of ridicule).
Easier for dramatic series to avert than comedy series, since at least in dramas the sensitive subject matter is being tackled with a degree of seriousness and respect. In contrast, it's the prerogative of a comedy series to satirize and make light of its subject matter, which may be seen as more offensive. If the satire isn't aimed directly at the target, though, audiences might even find it more offensive.
Does not apply to a character going back in time and making a joke that relates to a tragic event that hasn't yet happened. Dude too imminent!!!
Has elements in common with Harsher in Hindsight and "Funny Aneurysm" Moment.
9/11 examples have their own page.
"Her rolls of fat swaying and crashing that a Japanese moo-nami! Let me just stop for a second and talk about moo-namis. One should never speak about moo-namis! One should never joke about moo-namis! And most of all, one should never tweet about moo-namis! But if one were to tweet about moo-namis, he's probably long due enough by now and get his endorsement deal back! So he doesn't have to keep doing these horrible fucking roasts!"
In 1994, the restaurant chain Jack-in-the-Box released the first commercials with the "Jack" character. In the commercials, he referenced the 1980 commercials where they blew up the Jack-in-the-Box head that was their trademark, saying they had fired him. He then claimed that due to plastic surgery, he was back, announced to the board of directors that they were all fired. Immediately after this announcement, the commercial showed a floor of a building, presumably the board room, exploding. Unfortunately, the commercial was Too Soon, and was bowdlerised when the Oklahoma City bombing occurred.
A TV ad for the 1986 Chevy Astro minivan, which compared the van's profile to that of the Space Shuttle, was pulled after the Challenger disaster.
20th Century Fox pulled ads for the Ben Stiller-Vince Vaughn comedy Neighborhood Watch in Florida soon after the controversial Trayvon Martin incident. The film itself was later retitled The Watch.
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, did a Weight Watchers commercial in which she said she got most of her exercise running from the paparazzi. It was released the same week as Princess Di's death and was immediately pulled.
Throughout the 1960's and 1970's, a popular weight-loss-by-meal-replacement programme in Great Britain was frequently advertised on the TV as AYDS Helps You lose A Lot Of Weight - Fast! Following a certain new disease which came to the public eye in the 1980's, however, AYDS, its advertising and the product itself vanished completely.
Anime and Manga
X1999, which has been suspended at 18 out of a planned 21 volumes since 2003, has been struck by Too Soon repeatedly. The series is intentionally violent and disturbing, but uncomfortable resemblances to real-life tragedies have caused repeated suspensions in publication. In particular, beheadings depicted in the story became controversial after the gruesome Sakakibara Incident and the recurring theme of earthquakes as a sign of the end of the world after the Kobe Earthquake. The current publication hiatus does not seem to have a single trigger, but may be due to the general post-9/11 climate towards terrorism (which is essentially what the antagonists are engaging in). CLAMP has stated in interviews that they did not believe that they would be able to get the planned ending published at the time and that they have not abandoned X. Fans have mixed opinions about the likelihood of the series restarting publication.
One episode of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu featured a kidnapping, and was cut from broadcast due to a high profile kidnapping case at around the same time.
The third episode of the most recent Black Jack anime series was left unaired, as it was to deal with an earthquake, and one had just recently struck Japan.
One episode of Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni Kai and the final episode of School Days had to be delayed for a week in Japan because the contents of it were eerily similar to a murder case in Tokyo, where one girl killed her father with a cleaver which was identical to the kind that Rena has. This eventually led to Higurashi Kai and School Days being dropped from several channels' prime time line up and Higurashi's opening song being reworked to change the scene of Rena's cleaver to that of the junkyard where she goes to. In terms of School Days' changes, see this link.
The long-awaited Chinese Federation story arc of Code Geass R2 was delayed a week, presumably due to the earthquake that struck central China in early May 2008.
In Axis Powers Hetalia, the character of South Korea had to be pulled out of the webcast due to protests by Korean groups. This might also explain why Tibet, featured as a part of the East Asian group in one of the strips, was replaced by a panda when said strip was animated.
Also likely the reason there is no canon North Korea. The author also avoids mentioning the Holocaust if at all possible to keep up the series' lighthearted tone (and because Germany's one of the main characters). The English dub, on the other hand, isn't afraid to sneak in a few jabs about it.
The 1995 sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway remain a very bad subject to be insensitive about in Japan. Neon Genesis Evangelion, for instance, being in production at that time, was more or less re-planned on the fly to avoid being offensive in a manner that it was not intended to be offensive. Also notably, the topic was breached in Excel♥Saga's infamous 26th episode (“Going Too Far”) a few minutes in just to establish that yes, this episode is just about as vulgar as they could make it.
A bunch of anime, for various reasons (including "violent content", in the case of Kore wa Zombie desu ka?), have been pushed back a week due to the 9.0 Tohoku earthquake, and the third Pretty Cure All Stars movie was edited in its initial theatrical release to remove a tsunami scene that was subsequently restored for its DVD release.note The scene in question was a flood of fairies pouring into the mall the heroines were in, sweeping them away, ending with Hibiki floating on top and crying out "What is going on?!"
Speaking of Pretty Cure, if you think Suite Pretty Cure ♪ had the Melody of Sorrow's completion just because the creators felt like it, think again. It was due to the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, and much like the Sesame Street example, the creators wanted the kids to relate to the horrific events on that day. Regardless of this, they still had a happy ending where the characters defeat Noise and the Melody of Happiness is sung.
Because of the disaster, a scene in episode 6 of Suite had the glittering effect added to cake mix that Hibiki's brother, Souta, was trapped in to make it look less like the fluid.
One anime, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, got postponed until at least mid-April. This is not helped by the fact that the episode aired 12 hours before the said earthquake featured destroyed and flooded cities, and anyone who knows a bit of this series had reason to believe it would get worse.
Another manga, Coppelion, has both the original manga and its anime adaptation on hold, with the anime being hit with the longer delay, because its plot involves, among other things, a nuclear reactor exploded due to an earthquake destroyed its cooling system and made Tokyo almost uninhabitable for more than 20 years by having a radioactive dust covering the city. That is going to hurt. A lot. Later in 2013, the anime adaptation is revived and later released in October. However, they avoid using words like "nuclear" instead just referring to an "incident"
First half of Soul Eater episodes were being re-aired during the time, and the earthquake happened right in the climax of Kishin Revival arc. As a result, episode 23 and 24 (in which villains succeed in releasing a madness-inducing god from his seal after much violence and destruction) were skipped. They were replaced with an Excalibur episode and much less violent episode 25.
Already incidents such as Penngate have led fans of Ro-Kyu-Bu to accuse its production committee of this trope for banning the series from home video release outside of Japan.
Pokémon had one episode (Battle of the Shaking Island! Barboach VS Whiscash!!) that has never aired anywhere: an episode about Barboach creating earthquakes was never shown on Japanese TV because of a strong earthquake a few days before it was set to air. Judging from the episode list on The Other Wiki it seems as though they're trying to forget the episode even existed.
Speaking about earthquake and catfish, a Whiscash invoke one in an episode that was aired six months prior the Earthqueake. Said move hasn't been seen in the anime since then. Of course you can still cause your own earthquakes in the games.
After the Tohoku earthquake and Nuclear disaster of 2011, the Team Rocket vs. Team Plasma two-parter went unaired. Presumably, this is because the episodes had some destruction of part of Castelia City by nuclear energy.
After Electric Soldier Porygon gave children seizures, Pokemon videotapes were pulled from store shelves, and like the Earthquake move above, in the anime the eponymous Pokémon has never appeared in a major role since.
After Auditiongate, all DVDs and Blu-ray Discs of Kokoro Connect were delayed for a month in the aftermath. It's also the reason why a new opening theme will be recorded for this initial home video release; one member of the band who wrote the original OP was involved in the scandal and decided to take a hiatus from the group as a direct result of the fallout.
Digital Manga Publishing dropped their release of the controversialCure Your Gays manga Houou Gakuen Misoragumi mostly due to the rising amount of LGBT bullying and suicides around the time they released it.
In the Thriller Bark arc of One Piece, Invisible Man Absalom stabs Sanji repeatedly with a knife as Sanji is protecting Nami, which bites him in the ass when he gives his location away by stepping into a pool of blood. However, when the anime reached that part, a massacre involving a knife had occured in Japan, so the scene was altered to make Absalom relentlessly beat Sanji instead, and give his location away by stepping too close to him. The scene was restored to normal in the DVD versions, when it wasn't an issue anymore.
The cover of Preacher #52 was originally supposed to depict an 8 year-old Tulip O'Hare getting a handgun as a Christmas present. After Columbine, it was changed to a standard facial shot of an adult Tulip.
Similarly to the above, the Warren EllisHellblazer story "Shoot" (which would have been issue #141) was yanked, but eventually published in 2010.
On her Tumblr blog, Gail Simone mentioned that she had to rewrite an issue of Batgirl (which featured a Latino youth being brutalized by bigoted security officers) due to some similarities it bore to the death of Trayvon Martin.
It's finally being continued, as proven by the presence of new images in the danbooru pool for it. Not fully translated as of the time of editing, though.
Following the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, FX pulled Armageddon from the schedule because the opening depicted a space shuttle being destroyed.
The page quote from Crimes & Misdemeanors is actually attributable to Larry Gelbart, whom Alan Alda butted heads with on Mash. Neither Woody Allen nor Alda liked Gelbart, and used his quote to show what a shallow person Lester was.
The release of Dr. Strangelove was delayed several weeks due to the Kennedy assassination.
One of Slim Pickens' lines was also re-dubbed: "Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff."
It originally ended with a pie fight in the War Room, and at one point the President is hit, prompting the line "Our gallant President has been struck down in his prime!".
A showing of Die Hard 2 was delayed in the UK and instead replaced with the showing of the Sylvester Stallone movie Cliffhanger. The reason for this was because there had been a recent incident at Glasgow Airport involving a flaming car crashing into the building, and with the movie being set in an airport they probably thought showing it would be in bad taste.
Release of Fly Away Home, about a nine-year-old hang-glider pilot leading a flock of Canada geese to their nesting site, was delayed for several months following the death of seven-year-old Jessica Dubroff in an attempt to become the youngest person to fly across the United States.
The release of Space Camp, originally scheduled for early 1986, was pushed back several months following the Challenger disaster.
Invoked in the RiffTrax of Future Force. Upon seeing the starring credit for David Carradine, Bill riffs "David Carradine? How’d they rope him into this?" After Mike & Kevin protest, Bill apologizes and they try to avoid the subject, but it doesn't last for long.
The release of Ben Affleck's Gone Baby Gone was delayed in the UK because there were parallels to the recent disappearance of Madeline McCann.
ITV pulled an airing of The Railway Children (their adaptation) three days after the Ufton Nervet rail crash in 2004.
NBC's made-for-TV movie Atomic Train was preempted by Denver affiliate KUSA out of sympathy for the Columbine massacre, and the fact that it depicted the destruction of the city.
Phone Booth, the Colin Farell movie with his character stuck in a phone booth at the mercy of a sniper (voiced by Keifer Sutherland), was originally supposed to be released in October 2002. In light of the D.C. Sniper tragedy, it was moved to January the very next year.
The Boondock Saints was also set to be released in theatres the same week as the Columbine shootings, and ended up having an extremely limited release (five theatres in the country, for one week). The film would've been doomed by the coincidence then and there had people not started talking about it to their friends and pen pals and brought about high sales of the DVD, causing it to become a major Cult Classic and leading to a sequel.
Another Columbine example is "O", since the film featured gun violence among high school students. It was postponed from its April 1999 release date and wasn't released until summer 2001.
Advertisements for the 1991 B horror film Body Parts, in which the protagonist whose arm is severed in an accident receives a transplant limb from a dead serial killer, were pulled in Wisconsin because the promotion and release of the film coincided with the discovery of the Jeffrey Dahmer killings.
Trailers for the film The Dilemma were pulled due to Vince Vaughn's character describing hybrid cars as gay ("but not in a homosexual way") after a rash of gay teen suicides.
Wes Craven's original vision for A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) was to make his villain Freddy Krueger a child molester and rapist as well as a child killer, but had to excise this little detail because he wanted to avoid being accused of exploiting a series of highly-publicized child molestations that was happening in California at the time the movie was being made. The 2010 remake, though, restores said detail.
Warner Bros. pulled the Clint Eastwood-directed film Hereafter from Japanese theaters after the Sendai earthquake and tsunami, as the film's opening sequence contains a harrowing tsunami disaster.
In Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery, No. 2 informs Dr. Evil that his plan to end the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales has been overtaken by real life events - an exchange cut from the British release, thanks to another far more tragic real life event involving the Princess of Wales which happened the week before.
The Norwegian theatrical release of We Need to Talk About Kevin (a movie about a mother dealing with the fact that her son had massacred the kids at his school) was postponed from autumn 2011 to 2012 due to the recent Utřya massacre.
The James Bulger murder, which killed any chance of Mikey ever being released in Britain for the foreseeable future (that, and the fact that it isn't really a film worth fighting for), also delayed a re-release of at least one Video Nasty, Zombie Creeping Flesh, for the next several years; the BBFC told the distributors that now would not be the best time to submit the film for rating. It wasn't until 2002 that the BBFC decided to accept a submission of the film, and the distributors' patience was duly rewarded: the film was rated 18 uncut. Interestingly, the video release of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs was held up until 1995 for the same reason.
On the subject of BBFC video classification, Warner Bros. was advised shortly after the Video Nasty crisis that it would be too soon to attempt a home video re-release of The Exorcist (which was always legal to exhibit in theatres, mind you), which ultimately didn't return to shelves until 1999.
This is the reason why then-regular Lucio Fulci collaborator Dardano Sacchetti is uncredited for his work on Zombi 2. Specifically, his father had died before the film premiered, and he didn't wish at the time to be associated with a film where the dead come back to life only to be killed a second time.
The Ben Stiller movie Neighborhood Watch, about suburban dads who form a neighborhood watch and end up fighting aliens, had its marketing pulled from movie theaters in the wake of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch person in Sanford, Florida. The film was subsequently renamed The Watch, with the marketing revamped to focus more on the alien aspect than the neighborhood watch.
A similar example happened with the Walter Hill film Trespass. It was originally titled Looters and was scheduled for release in summer 1992. After the L.A. Riots, the film was pushed back to December and had it's title changed to avoid negative connotations.
The red-carpet premieres of The Dark Knight Rises in France, Mexico, and Japan were cancelled in the wake of the horrific shooting on the film's North American opening day (July 20, 2012), when a gunman stormed a midnight showing in Aurora, Colorado. 12 people were killed, and dozens more were injured. Ads touting the movie have also reportedly been pulled, and Warner Bros. opted to give final box office updates for the film on Monday, rather than through the weekend, out of respect for the victims of the Aurora shooting.
In an in-universe example, Commissioner Gordon decides at the last moment that Gotham isn't ready to hear the truth about Harvey Dent. This happened during a celebration of Harvey Dent Day early in the film.
Speaking of the Aurora shooting, Gangster Squad was hit badly by this. Not only was it pushed back from September 2012 to January 2013, but the entire ending had to be rewritten and reshot due to its depiction of gangsters shooting up a movie theater. The trailer, which included scenes from that shootout (and which played in front ofThe Dark Knight Rises at many theaters), had to be pulled and redone for the same reason. Only time will tell if the offending sequence will be included on a future home video release.
As a result of the Columbine shooting, Scream 3 was delayed several months, and toned down for violence.
When A Night at the Opera was rereleased during World War II, several lines mentioning Italy were deleted from almost all surviving prints, leaving them unheard for several decades until a print with the offending material intact was discovered in Hungary in 2008.
The 3D version of Top Gun was not released until February 2013 due to director Tony Scott's passing; though he lived to see its completion, Paramount apparently didn't want the release to be seen as exploitative, and given that post-converted 3D already has enough of a bad reputation as it is...
The Jack Reacher and Parental Guidance red carpet premieres were postponed in the immediate wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. (The former film is a violent action movie, and the latter is a family comedy.)
The 2013 version of Carrie was delayed from March 15 to October 18, just two months before its planned release date. The studio's explanation was that it was to take advantage of the lucrative Halloween market for horror films, but director Kimberly Peirce contends that the real reason was the Sandy Hook shooting making it uncomfortable to release a film with Carrie's subject matter (a bullied high school student murdering her classmates at the prom) just three months afterwards.
Dean Koontz set up his Frankenstein trilogy to involve artificially-created monsters rampaging through New Orleans during a hurricane. Due to the destruction caused by Katrina the third book was delayed, finally being released in July 2009.
This was also the reason why Animal Farm was made into an allegory involving animals. George Orwell originally intended for it to directly expose some of the horrific crimes committed by the Soviet Union since Stalin came to power, but because the Soviets under Stalin were part of the Allied Forces during World War II, the book publishers could not release the book without risking Stalin either abandoning their alliance, or worse, attacking them.
Live Action TV
Four days after the Boston Marathon bombing, a My Network TV rerun of the Monk episode Monk and the Marathon Man, which features a murderer use an alibi of being in the San Francisco Marathon at the time of the murder of his wife was quietly replaced with another episode without notice; it aired the next week.
In some kind of awkward aversion, the third season of United States Of Tara had in one of its plotlines Kate wanting to teach English in Japan. She wants to go to Tokyo, however, an earthquake hits the country making her change her plans. The episode aired April 11, 2011, exactly one month after the fatal earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region. The episodes were written and produced in late 2010, and screenwriter Diablo Cody apologized on Tumbr beforehand.
Intentionally used in 30 Rock episode "Into the Crevasse," not quite three months after Michael Jackson's death.
Jenna: I don't know if you know this, but werewolves only come out at night.
Liz: Yeah, I think I remember that from the "Thriller" video.
Tracy: Too soon!
The US version of The Office has a scene where regional manager Michael Scott discusses which topics are off-topic for comedy, saying that the Lincoln assassination "just recently became funny."
Two episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ("Earshot" and "Graduation Day") were delayed for several months following the Columbine shootings. One episode featured a student attempting suicide on campus, the other ended with the entire graduating class coming to graduation armed and fighting against a horde of vampires that ended with part of the school being blown up. Two particular instances stand out:
Xander: Who hasn't idly thought about taking out the whole place with a semi-automatic?
(looks from everyone)
Xander: What? I said idly.
Xander: I'm still having trouble with the idea that one of us is just gonna gun everybody down for no reason.
Cordelia: Yeah, 'cause that never happens in American high schools.
Oz: It's bordering on trendy at this point.
That Willow was amused by the joke did not help.
Interestingly, the Graduation Day part 2 episode did air in a couple of places in Canada. Fans started tape trains and Whedon was apparently all for it.
Word Of God has stated that everyone, everyone was in favor of scrapping "Earshot", as it would have aired shortly after Columbine and was a mundane school shooting. However, many (including Whedon, Gellar, and Green) spoke out against the decision to pull the finale (hours before it would have aired) because of kids using axes against a giant snake.
The UK airing of the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation two parter "Grave Danger" was delayed by a week because on the day that it was due to be aired, it emerged that the 7/7 bombings (about a week earlier) were the work of suicide bombers.
An episode of Bones featuring the murder of a college student was delayed because of the Virginia Tech shootings, which happened earlier in the same week that the episode was supposed to air. Those same shootings also forced One Life to Live to curtail its big sweeps storyline involving similar events.
Criminal Minds delayed the airing of "Doubt" until the next season for the same reason.
In April 1995, All My Children was setting up a storyline in which one of the characters was planning on setting a bomb at the wedding of two other characters. When the Oklahoma City bombing occurred, producers immediately canceled the storyline, and appeared at the beginning of one of the episodes to explain their choice. A similar plotline on the season finale of Melrose Place (psycho Kimberley was planning to bomb the apartment complex) had already been filmed, but was edited. It did air for the following season's premiere, when the topic was not nearly as sensitive.
Years later, plans for a school shooting sequence was dropped in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre.
Medium had a two-part episode about a shooting at the aerospace engineer husband's workplace and its aftermath. When the Virginia Tech massacre and the Johnson Space Center shooting occurred during the week between episodes (what the hell), the recap of the previous episode (including the shooting itself) was replaced by a brief lecture and an acknowledgment that "there's been enough shooting" from the two lead actors.
In The Greatest American Hero, Ralph Hinkley's name was changed to Hanley for several episodes after John Hinkley Jr. shot President Ronald Reagan.
And a scene that has June Lockhart saying that his name suggests that he's reliable had to be dubbed over with airplane noise.
Following the Dunblane massacre, the 1996 Doctor Who made for TV Movie was edited on its original BBC transmission, to remove as much of the opening gunfight as possible. This scene has subsequently been reinstated on the DVD release of the episode, but the sound effect of the Master breaking his wife's neck (which was also removed on the original transmission) is still missing on the DVD.
An two-episode story in Homicide Life On The Street was also left out of the UK broadcast because it dealt with a hostage situation in a school and would have been broadcast too soon after the Dunblane massacre.
The most recent series of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries has been delayed (on pretty short notice) due to the ongoing disappearance of Madeline McCann.
Two episodes of Red Dwarf (specifically "Dimension Jump" and "Meltdown") were shunted to the end of Series 4 of the series, because when they were due to air the Persian Gulf War was on, the former for fear that the character of Ace Rimmer would glamorize combat too much (however farcically), and "Meltdown" for its anti-war slant featuring the slaughter of hundreds of (robotic celebrity-wax) soldiers.
The repeat of "Rimmerworld" was also pushed back after the Dunblane massacre and Cat's quote (when following Rimmer's escape pod), "Form an orderly queue behind the gunsight".
Not long after Katrina a re-run of The Price Is Right was aired during which they gave away a trip to Mardi Gras. The prize package included a boat. CBS was quick on the draw; the re-aired episode was only shown west of the Rockies.
Wheel of Fortune has several examples, mostly due to certain things happening between the tape date and air date:
A rather unfortunate example was a 1992 episode that had VANNA'S PREGNANT as a puzzle (in reference to hostess Vanna White). She miscarried not long after it taped, so the only choice they had was to edit out the entire round, and replace it with a segment about San Francisco (where they were taping at the time).
In May 2001, they had ROBERT BLAKE AS BARETTA as a puzzle on an episode that aired shortly after he was accused of shooting his wife. They had to dub in a clip of host Pat Sajak explaining the situation.
Wheel was taping on location in New Orleans right before Hurricane Katrina hit. They got two weeks done, and had to cancel a third (although all of the contestants slated for that third week eventually did get to play). Two episodes from the first taped week had entire puzzles edited out because it was thought that their answers might be insensitive to hurricane victims. In their place, viewers saw clips of Pat and Vanna promoting Katrina relief funds.
In November 2006, they used THE CROCODILE HUNTER on an episode that ended up airing right after Steve Irwin died. Once again, a clip was dubbed in of Pat explaining the situation.
On a lighter note, something similar occurred when THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN came up just after a certain chain of events.
On December 2, 2013, they used THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS as a puzzle just two days after Paul Walker died. Although the events were not mentioned in-show, the staff did make note of the unfortunate circumstances via Facebook, as did Sajak via Twitter.
Only a few days after Hurricane Katrina hit, Jeopardy aired three episodes featuring a contestant from New Orleans. A short clip was added before each episode of host Alex Trebek explaining that they had been taped before the storm hit, and that the show's production had confirmed that the contestant was safe and well.
Casualty rewrote an episode which would have shown a Muslim suicide bombing, because the issue of Islamic terrorism was thought to be too sensitive after the 7/7 London train bombings. (See Western Terrorists)
Coronation Street also changed a storyline in which a character's baby was abducted due to similarities with the Madeline McCann abduction case.
The episode of Coronation Street scheduled to air on the 2nd June 2010 was cancelled by ITV due to the then-breaking news about the Cumbria massacre. The episode in question featured scenes with guns.
The British sitcom Absolute Power postponed an episode with a throwaway but hard-to-cut joke about an MP faking a heart attack to avoid being interviewed, after the death of prominent MP Robin Cook from a heart attack. They also postponed an episode about a member of the Bin Laden family trying to buy British Airways following the London bombings.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: The first episode featured a terminator trying to kill John in a high school, which coincided with the Virginia Tech event. The scene was kept on, but scenes featuring the students' reactions as if to a school shooting were removed.
During the 2001 anthrax scare to spread the disease via mail, the episode of Seinfeld where Susan died from licking toxic envelope glue was temporarily removed.
Interestingly, the FBI concluded that the main culprit in those mail attacks was a disgruntled U.S. Army biodefense researcher who was angry that girls from nearby colleges wouldn't date him, and set the entire operation up as an elaborate revenge/murder-suicide plot. Harsher in Hindsight?
In the Eleventh Hour episode "Miracle", a "healing" spring turns out to be contaminated with tritium, a component in refining nuclear material. In the original UK version, the source of the contamination was a secret government program to manufacture plutonium for the express purpose of planting it in foreign countries as a pretense on which to invade. "It would be really embarrassing if we decided to invade some country on the claim that they had a nuclear weapons program, and there turn out to be absolutely no evidence," hit a little too close to home on the other side of The Pond, so in the US version, it's the work of white supremacists trying to build a dirty bomb.
The episode of Muppets Tonight guest starring Sandra Bullock was delayed for months after the Oklahoma City bombing. The reason was that it contained a parody of Speed in which a mysterious bomber was threatening to blow up the studio if the laugh meter goes below a certain level.
Lauren Graham hurriedly had to voiceover a one-liner involving Bali for Lorelai in Gilmore Girls which aired four days after the 2005 Bali bombings to instead refer to Maui, though the Closed Captioning track wasn't able to be replaced in time.
For Shake It Up, the premiere of the second season was supposed to be a 1-hour special to air on September 18, 2011, but the 1-hour episode was postponed due to a terrifying plane crash that happened that weekend at the Reno Air Show in Nevada (and the episode featured CeCe and Rocky flying on an airplane). However, it was replaced with a new episode that night and has been scheduled to air in early October.
NUMB3RS (which is set in California) aired an episode that featured a horrible train wreck a couple weeks after one of the worst rail disasters in US history happened in California. Naturally, they aired a brief statement beforehand.
The first episode of the BBC sketch show Horne and Corden had a sketch in which a pair of performers magically eliminated gun violence. The following day, a school shooting happened in Germany, and the sketch was removed from the repeats and iPlayer version.
In the final episode of the second season of Bottom Ritchie and Eddie encounter a flasher while camping out on Wimbledon Common. After filming was completed, but before the episode was to be broadcasted, a young woman was sexually assaulted and murdered on the Common. The episode was shelved and first appeared on the VHS release.
The episode of Mr. Bean where he ends up looking after a baby had its premiere delayed by a few months due to the kidnap and murder of James Bulger.
A showing of Child's Play 3 was pulled from British TV screens in the fallout from the James Bulger murder. The murderers (children themselves) had reportedly watched it prior to committing the crime, and their actions bore some similarities to those of Chuckie in the film. This led to a period of demonization of the Child's Play series in the media, reacting as though the films actively encouraged murder.
MST3k in-universe example, right after Joel's final goodbye to the 'bots:
Crow: Well, race you to the Mallow Cups! I found out where he hides them.
Servo: Crow, too soon!
Also consciously averted when they riffed on the movie Overdrawn at the Memory Bank shortly after its star Raul Julia died. In The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, writer/actress Mary Jo Pehl said they tried to make it clear that their target was the poorly-written movie and characters and not Julia, as evidenced by her character (Mad Scientist Pearl Forrester) sincerely calling him as "a very fine actor".
Parodied in Frasier; much to the Crane brothers' horror, their favourite restaurant burns down as a result of "the worst centerpiece disaster in Seattle's history" days before the 2000 millennium celebrations. To lighten the mood, Niles cracks a joke, only for Frasier to soberly tell him that it's too soon for jokes.
There's another Frasier episode where immediately before Frasier starts giving a speech the audience is informed that a beloved local clergyman is missing following a boating accident. The other characters try in vain to warn Frasier before he can tell the joke about a rabbi, a minister, and a priest on board the Titanic.
Comedian Bill Maher received some criticism when he dressed as Steve Irwin (with the stingray in his heart) on the first Halloween after his death. Bill himself referenced this trope in a few episodes of his show, where he made jokes about Mohandas Gandhi and Amelia Earhart.
Mad Men deliberately invoked this in-series, with an ad campaign that would've featured overhead views of a convertible with two couples riding in it, under development at the time of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
And the episode where Pete's father dies because of the American Airlines Flight 1 crashing. Sterling Cooper pulls all of the ads for Tomahawk airlines.
And they also developed ads for Playtex rather daringly using the same model to play both Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe (ie. the same bra lets you be My Girl Is a Slut and My Girl Is Not a Slut for your man). Playtex loved it, but declined because it didn't quite fit their image. A few days later, Marilyn dies and Peggy says, "Well, it's a good thing Playtex didn't buy the ad; we would have had to pull it." Don's again impressed because she was the only woman in the office not weeping for Marilyn and was the only one to make that business connection.
In season 6 Peggy has to rework a campaign for headphones since the slogan "Give us your ears" might come off wrong in light of the reveal that some US soldiers in Vietnam have been collecting ears of the people they killed.
VH-1 cancelled the reality dating show Megan Wants a Millionaire and the third season of I Love Money after a contestant involved in both shows (and alleged to be the winner of the latter) was involved in a murder-suicide case.
Frankie Boyle on the British panel show Mock the Week has turned countless Too Soon jokes into crowning moments of funny. Immediately following Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond's brutal high speed crash, Frankie cheerfully suggested, "That should be the anti-speeding advert; it should be footage of Richard Hammond trying to remember his own wedding day! 'She was … she was wearing black, or was it red? Am I married?'" All of which prompted host Dara Ó Briain to cringe, "There's a line in the sand, right, and you can't even see the line in the sand. You're actually out of sand! You're into, like, tropical tundra regions."
On a "Scenes We'd Like To See" right after Heath Ledger's death, the prompt "Lines you wouldn't hear in a superhero movie" inspired Frankie to say "What's that, Joker? You'll be back? Somehow, I don't think you will be!" In the same round, Frankie said, "Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Whatever it is, it's heading straight for the World Trade Center!"
A few years after Countdown host Richard Whiteley's endocarditis death, Frankie introduced himself as Whiteley and sang the Countdown theme, ending the last note with the familiar beep of a flatlining heart monitor.
Following the Joseph Fritzel incident, under "Things you'd never hear on a quiz show," the following gem: "Welcome to Ask the Family! Mr. Fritzel, where's the rest of them?"
Dara has done this a few times as well: Michael Jackson, Sadaam Hussein, and, incredibly, British soldiers at the Somme. Not to mention the time he jokes about JFK's assassination. The audience groans, leading Dara to reply sarcastically, "What? Too soon?"
An episode of the British Whose Line Is It Anyway? recorded in 1994, just after Richard Nixon's death, has the World's Worst "person to be president of the world during an intergalactic crisis."
Tony: Ladies and gentlemen, Richard Nix—oh dear.
Audience:(laughter followed by loud booing)
Clive: Topical now, it'll be great in six months' time when this goes out.
Tony: He'll still be dead!
Hollyoaks dropped a storyline which would have revealed that two characters had committed murder while underage and were now living under new identities with police protection, because of the similarities to the James Bulger case.
At the beginning of the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards on August 29, 2010, host Jimmy Fallon is playing an acoustic guitar. He jokingly says "NBC asked me, the host of Late Night, to come to Los Angeles to host a different show. What could possibly go wrong?" Cameras panned to Conan O Brien, the previous host of Late Night, then had a brief seven-month stint as The Tonight Show host before leaving the network (because NBC wanted Jay Leno back in his old timeslot of 11:35 P.M. EDT). "Too soon?" Jimmy Fallon asks.
Used in Terriers, when Hank and his tech buddies start fearing that the Big Bad might be gearing up to killing a woman in front of their hidden camera:
"Come on. What can they do to her? They're in a hotel full of people!"
"Yeah. Tell that to Bobby Kennedy, right? (Beat) Really? That's too soon?"
Hawaii Five-0 (2010 reboot): invoked in-show in "He Kane Hewa' Ole"
The Doctor Who 10th Doctor episode, "School Reunion" featured a school being blown up in order to destroy the aliens inside it. This episode was taken of the air in Australia after a similar event involving a student rebel detonating a bomb in a class room killing 5 students happened. The fact that the rebel was called "Ken" didn't help due to this line being featured in the episode:
"Kenny blew up the school! It was Kenny!"
An episode of the UK show Have I Got News for You?" which aired a day after the 7/7 London Bombing aired without sight of a joke which was said in it. During the "Caption" section, in which a screenshot is shown and the panel must come up with a caption to go with it in a spot, a picture of a man holding a pink bag on a tube train while standing next to a child wearing a pink shirt was shown and the caption given was: "Gay suicide bomber kiss 10 gay kids." Many complaints rained in and a public apology was given.
When the audience reacted to his joke about Princess Diana with indrawn breath, Ian Hislop sarcastically asked "What? Too soon?" Diana's death had been well over ten years earlier.
In-universe example from Community episode Beginner Pottery: The pottery teacher (played by Tony Hale note Buster Bluth on Arrested Development) has a rule in his class stating that no one is allowed to imitate the pottery wheel love scene from the movie Ghost. He drives the point home by pointing to a poster of Patrick Swayze with an "X" over it. He then quietly tells the shocked students "I had it made before he died so it's not in bad taste."
In the wake of the Columbine massacre, Lifetime removed a scheduled airing of Death of a Cheerleader, a TV movie about an outcast who murders a popular girl for not wanting to be friends with her.
A 1997 episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun ("Tricky Dick") features Tommy joining a garage band. In the original script, the band was called "Shattered Princess". As it happened, Princess Diana's death occurred just before filming, so the name got changed to "Whiskey Kitten". The funny part is that that episode was filmed out of order due to scheduling conflicts, so the delayed shooting date ultimately saved them the trouble of looping out "Shattered Princess". (All this is explained in the DVD Commentary for that episode.)
Silent Witness had to postpone two episodes (about Pakistani gangs forcing underage girls into prostitution) of series fifteen, due to similarities to a high-profile case in the news.
Neighborhood Watch, an A&E reality series that looked like it was about overzealous watch-people, changed its name to Small-Town Security in the wake of the Trayvon Marting shooting by an overzealous watchman.
A scene from an early October 2009 episode of Shortland Street involving a character returning from Samoa and boasting of sunshine and drinking on the beach had to be re-shot in the wake of the Samoan earthquake and tsunami.
Rudy Coby: The Coolest Magician on Earth was going to refer to the cardboard bomb at the end as the "Bomb of Death", but due to the Oklahoma city bombing that had just happened, they said "Doomsday Device of Death" instead.
Craig Ferguson had filmed a monologue for The Late Late Show that was mostly about Batman, to be aired on the US premiere date for The Dark Knight Rises. After the mass murders at an Aurora, CO theater, the monologue was replaced with Craig, sitting at his desk, sending condolences to friends and relatives of the victims.
The episode that aired the night of the Sandy Hook tragedy had been pre-recorded a week earlier and Ferguson was out of the country for his Christmas break, but apparently on his orders CBS cut out the traditional "it's a great day for America" monologue open.
After Pee Wee Herman got arrested for indecent exposure at an X-rated movie theater, CBS pulled Pee-Wee's Playhouse from their Saturday morning line-up (though at the time, the show was already over as Paul Reubens decided to end the show and move on. CBS was just airing reruns until the incident). In addition to this, Pee Wee Herman dolls were pulled from store shelves for the same reason.
One episode of The Cosby Show, "The Dentist", was originally to have had Danny Kaye as the eponymous dentist persuading a child character into his chair by propelling it up and down and saying "This is the tooth shuttle, and I need an astronaut!" The episode's original broadcast was scheduled for less than one week after the disaster aboard Space Shuttle Challenger, so Kaye overdubbed the line with "This is the tooth ship, and I need a pilot!"
Super Sentai has been hit with this at least a couple of times.
Chouriki Sentai Ohranger: The show's entire direction suffered from this, as the season had the unfortunate luck to come right between the Great Kanto Earthquake and the 1995 Aum Shinrikyo sarin gas attacks. Because of these and the resulting inconsistencies in tone, ratings suffered and it was thought to be the Franchise Killer for quite a time (until it was revealed that Ohranger toy sales had reached record highs at the time, thus saving it from doom.)
Engine Sentai Go-onger: Shortly after the debut of the Go-on Wings, whose primary weapons are the high-tech Rocket Daggers, the Akihabara massacre occurred, where a man stabbed at least a dozen people using a dagger. Afterwards, the toy versions were renamed "Rocket Boosters" and the Wings avoided calling their attacks for a while.
Power Rangers Ninja Storm had an episode in the queue about a Hate PlagueMonster of the Week trying to start World War III by infecting everyone at a peace conference — then The War on Terror got rolling. The episode was pulled, and heavily edited to be about a city council meeting trying to increase energy efficiency, and aired later - way later. This means (1) there's a quest to acquire the ancient and powerful Turtle Mace some 20 episodes after it originally debuted by being used as if it had always been there, (2) apparently everyone except the first three Rangers had the day off, and (3) that is the most ethnically diverse city council ever.
The episode of Haven named "Reunion", in which there is a shooting at an alumni reunion, was pulled off Syfy's schedule shortly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and replaced the episode with a holiday-themed episode of Eureka from the previous year.
The 2012 season finale of the Biography Channel series I Survived was to feature the stories of those who survived the mass shooting in Norway. It was scheduled to air on 12/16/12—until the freakishly similar Sandy Hook shooting occurred two days beforehand. The episode was immediately replaced with a repeat. Not until almost a year later, in October 2013, did the episode finally air. Very tellingly, episodes featuring survivors of the Virginia Tech, Columbine, and other mass shootings haven't been re-run in a long time, and the show's 2013 season premier was considerably delayed.
The BBC has done a fair deal of "Too Soon" damage control since the 2012 revelations that one of its most famous presenters, the late Jimmy Savile, was a prolific pedophile/sexual abuser.
The scandal broke when ITV ran a special, Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, that revealed that the BBC newsmagazine Newsnight was working on an investigative report on his alleged sexual abuse at the end of 2011, shortly after his nationally-mourned death. The Newsnight report was spiked for disputed reasons...while the BBC aired Savile tribute specials that Christmas. Indeed, one of those possible reasons for the cancellation was that it would have ruined the tributes to bring up such horrific stories.
New Tricks swapped the airing order of the ninth and tenth episodes of Series 9 because the ninth, "Glasgow UCOS", featured a recently uncovered child abuse scandal from two decades earlier — Savile's alleged crimes dated back to The Fifties.
BBC Four was in the midst of airing every archived Top of the Pops episode from April 1976 onward when the scandal broke. First, all the episodes Savile helped present were dropped from the rerun rotation, and after another presenter, Dave Lee Travis, was arrested as part of the Scotland Yard investigation into Savile's crimes, episodes he appeared in were dropped too.
The BBC were forced to apologise after parents objected to the content of a January 2013 rerun of a Tweenies episode on CBBC. The 2001 episode in question featured a Top of the Pops spoof with Max dressed as Savile.
Averted with the 2003 HBO miniseries adaptation of the play Angels In America. Because it takes place in 1985, the Twin Towers were digitally inserted into the backdrops for historical accuracy.
The Castle episode "Still," in which the characters have to disarm a bomb in order to save Beckett, was postponed so that it would air two weeks after the Boston Marathon bombing instead of just one week, and was never seen in the Boston area outside of areas which received the Boston ABC affiliate's sister station in New Hampshire, online, and then seven months later when it hit the rerun cycle. Unfortunately, just three days after the Boston Marathon attack, TNT inadvertently aired a rerun of the other episode that has a bomb plot, "47 Seconds." They then had to issue an apology for it.
Glee took a three-week hiatus before airing "Shooting Star." Speculation says it was out of respect for the Newtown school shootings a few months earlier. The episode was prefaced with a slide that warned of school violence, although this did not appear on online streams.
Kylie Minogue's album Impossible Princess, released in 1997, was retitled Kylie Minogue in the UK following the death of Princess Di.
The Black Sabbath album Paranoid was originally going to be called War Pigs, but was retitled due to the Vietnam War. Of course, the war was already going on, and "War Pigs" (the song) was probably about the Vietnam War on some level. The retitle was intended to make the album marketable, and the song stayed on.
"Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus contains the line "Her boyfriend's a dick; he brings a gun to school". However, the single was released around the time of the Columbine Massacre, and so the clean version had "gun" bleeped out along with "dick". Of course, if you hear the clean version on the radio or somewhere these days it can be a source of confusion.
On the day of the Bradford City fire disaster (11th May 1985) one BBC Radio 1 news bulletin, on the Janice Long show, was followed immediately by U2's single, "The Unforgettable Fire." Even for a station known at the time for the vacuous idiocy of its DJs, this was a jaw-dropper.
The last verse to "I Get a Kick Out of You" was originally: "I get no kick in a plane / I shouldn't care for those nights in the air / That the fair Mrs. Lindbergh goes through." Following the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, however, Cole Porter changed it to the familiar "I get no kick in a plane / Flying too high with some gal in the sky / Is my idea of nothing to do."
Pam Tillis withdrew her 1995 single "I Was Blown Away" over concerns that the title would be insensitive in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombings.
Defied by Sara Evans, who released the song "Coalmine" (an uptempo praising an attractive husband who works in a coalmine) right after a mine accident in West Virginia in 2006. Although others had expressed concerns that it would be too soon, she discussed the song with relatives of mine collapse victims, who were fully in support of the single. However, it completely bombed at radio.
In December of 2004, a major tsunami hit most of Indonesia and other islands. Radio stations in Germany removed "Die Flut" (The Flood) by Witt/Heppner, "Land unter" (high floods) by Grönemeyer and, most (in)famously "Die perfekte welle" (The Perfect Wave) by Juli from regular schedules.
Stone Temple Pilots re-recorded an early demo called "Only Dying" with the intention of giving it to the soundtrack of The Crow - Once the film's lead actor Brandon Lee died in a stunt mishap during filming, the title was considered to be in poor taste, so a previously released song, "Big Empty", was used instead.
Radiohead's "Sulk" was originally going to have the line "just shoot your gun, you'll never change" as part of the refrain, and early live performances included this lyric. By the time it was recorded for The Bends in late 1994, "Just shoot your gun" became "Just like your dad", due to Kurt Cobain's then-recent suicide by gun. The song was actually inspired by a different tragedy, but one that would have been less fresh in listeners' minds at the time: A lone gunman's killing spree in Hungerford, England that had occurred in 1987.
In late July 2000, a newspaper announced a competition on the bottom of its first page, with the prize a two-person travel aboard Concorde. The upper half of the same page showed the Concorde in flames, with a huge title saying there were no survivors to the crash.
Speaking of Jim Davis comics and bad timing, on September 6, 2012, a devastating earthquake struck China. The U.S. Acres webcomic of the day when it occurred, which was part of an arc about sneezing jokes, had Orson recieving a phone call from China in it. Luckily, unlike the "National Stupid Day" Garfield comic, nobody noticed this because the comic changed 30 minutes after said earthquake happened, because the earthquake happened at 11:30PMEST, 30 minutes before both the Garfield and U.S. Acres comics changed.
In FoxTrot, the strip published July 22, 2012 was supposed to be showing Paige in the crosshairs of Jason's squirt gun. However, two days before it was supposed to run, a person named James Holmes wearing a gas mask entered a Colorado movie theater that was showing The Dark Knight Rises and proceeded to wildly fire his gun at the audience, killing 12 people and injuring 59 others. Bill Amend then pulled the strip and replaced it with a rerun of a 2009 strip.
An episode of WWE SmackDown! featured men dressed similarly to terrorists in the various beheading videos that have come out of the Middle East attacking The Undertaker at the behest of Muhammad Hassan (an Arab-American wrestler); after their attack, they carried Hassan's manager Daivari out of the ring and up the entrance ramp like a martyr. The episode unfortunately aired on the very same day as the London train bombings (it was taped two days before), causing general viewer outrage and leading UPN to demand that Hassan and Daivari be removed from the program.
Most of the people who were truly outraged weren't even WWE fans. Pro wrestling fans recognize that the point of heels is to offend the viewers (hence a standard part of any heel's dialogue being direct insults to the audience). Hassan was developing into one of the WWE's most effective heels in years, to the point that he was purportedly scheduled to win the WWE Championship at the SummerSlam pay-per-view event that year. Of course, they could have just moved him to RAW, which wasn't on UPN, but that would've made too much sense.
WWE stumbled into another Too Soon moment during the airing of a live broadcast. On the day it was discovered that Chris Benoit and his family were dead, WWE replaced a scheduled three-hour RAW episode with a tribute to Benoit's career. During the airing of the tribute, it became clear that the deaths were a murder-suicide, and that WWE was honoring a murderer; it was both Too Late (as the show was on the air) andToo Soon. (WWE just has rotten luck when it comes to tragedies.) WWE instantly turned a 180 — not only did Vince McMahon apologize for the tribute show, but ever since that apology, Benoit has never been mentioned by name on any new WWE programming that has aired since his death, his name is almost completely wiped from their website (save for some minor mentions in title histories and whatnot), and footage containing Benoit in which he was a major part of the footage has not been used on WWE programming. Hooray for Hand Waving. Classic Benoit footage is popping up here and there on WWE's OnDemand network, several passing mentions of Benoit have come up on recent DVD releases, and — starting with Shawn Michaels a few months after Benoit's death — several WWE wrestlers have used the Benoit's signature submission hold, the Crippler Crossface (including the man who tapped to it at WrestleMania 20 — Triple H — and, on the same night, Trips busted it out for the first time, so did The Great Khali.)
Ironically, once questions about Benoit's mental state and whether he was responsible for his actions that night arose, some fans and critics complained about McMahon's apology for the tribute. The WWE really just couldn't win in that situation.
During Comedy Central's roast of Flavor Flav, Jimmy Kimmel said while roasting Flav that "Chris Benoit is a better father than Flavor Flav." This was about a month after it happened.
Hot off the heels of the Steve Irwin tragedy, during a September 2006 segment of Matt Striker's classroom, he praised his intelligence and remarked that people would never see him swimming with stingrays. An apology was quickly posted on WWE.com.
Late in its run, the braintrust at WCW decided to repackage evil German dancer Alex Wright into the Goth-likeForeign Wrestling Heel Berlyn. Trouble was, Berlyn debuted shortly around the time of Columbine, and his attire (specifically, his ring jacket), apparently drew too many comparisons to the killers. WCW was then forced to drop the character after a handful of appearances, and Wright went back to being himself, and partnered with Disco Inferno as the Boogie Knights.
On an episode of RAW in 2012, wrestling manager A.W. said "Titus O'Neil is like Kobe Bryant in a hotel room: unstoppable!" That was a reference to Bryant's rape charges, which had happened a few years earlier. With WWE trying to paint themselves as a family-friendly program, and with Linda McMahon running for Senate, WWE fired A.W. for the reference.
A 1955 Goon Show episode, "The Pevensey Bay Disaster" which featured a train crash was postponed and replaced by a repeat of an earlier episode because of a real-life crash at Didcot in which 10 people died and 116 were injured. Annoyed by the show's cancellation, Spike Milligan re-submitted the script under a new title, "The Hastings Flyer — Robbed", and this version was duly recorded and broadcast five weeks later. "The Pevensey Bay Disaster" was finally broadcast at the end of the series, five months after it was originally scheduled, and confusing listeners who had already heard the same story under a different title.
After the December 2004 Tsunami in the Indian Ocean most radio stations pulled a popular song at the time, "Die Perfekte Welle" ("The Perfect Wave"). There was nothing official but it was conspicuous that a song placed high in single charts wasn't played anymore.
The Athenian playwright Phrynichus' (now lost) play The Capture of Miletus was produced around 511 BC, soon after the Persian conquest described in the play, and since Miletus was a colony of Athens, this play was deemed to be Too Soon. Phrynichus was fined "for reminding [of] familiar misfortunes" at the theater.
After a performer in Cirque du Soleil's KAdied from a fall during the late show on June 29, 2013, the show went on hiatus until July 16 as the company and authorities began investigating the disaster. Beyond the logistical reasons for the hiatus, much of the show's Spectacle involves characters falling, sometimes to their doom, so going on with it in the immediate wake of the company's first onstage death would come off as poor taste. When the show reopened, the Battlefield sequence that the death occured in was gone (even though it was the climax; luckily the scene preceding it was The Centerpiece Spectacular and can work as a substitute); depending on the results of the investigation this may be a permanent alteration to the show. This is also the likely reason that the premiere and afterparty of a sister production in Las Vegas, Michael Jackson ONE, was not chatted up at Cirque's official website, YouTube channel, Facebook pages, etc. when there was quite a lot of buildup to its launch. As it happened, the accident took place the same night, during the new show's afterparty.
Although it was first of a two-part video game, Persona 2: Innocent Sin was not translated into English despite Atlus' interest in localizing the title. Ostensibly, this was due to the game's storyline involving Nazis and the resurrection of Adolf Hitler, as well as fighting the main character's high school principal and a teacher in the game committing suicide in a school's belltower. The aforementioned No Swastikas issue was actually used as cover for a far more serious reason, though; Innocent Sin may have been translated had it not been at the time of the Columbine High School Massacre (it should be noted that the main characters of Innocent Sin are high school students, and one of the game's gimmicks involves equipping them with guns.
And even though the Updated Re-release managed to make it stateside, any references to Nazis were removed, and Hitler was disguised with sunglasses and a trench coat, and referred to as "The Fuhrer" (though the censorship occurs in the Japanese release as well.)
Subverted. The reason Innocent Sin was never released in America for PSX was because Atlus didn't want to release it while the Christmas sales season was on. The censorship of Hitler was due to a rule change at CERO, the organization that rates Japanese games.
The NES game Bionic Commando involved Nazis resurrecting Hitler, but the US release was edited to change the group to the Badds and the resurrectee to Master D. The animations were not changed, though, and he still had the signature moustache (and his head still explodes when you kill him at the end).
The Japanese version of Fallout 3 has part of a quest removed where you can nuke an entire town; specifically, the NPC Mr. Burke. Without him, you can't set off the nuke. Also, the Fat Man (named after the bomb dropped on Nagasaki) was renamed to Nuka-Launcher. However, in Fallout: New Vegas, the upgrade kit for the Fat Man that halves its weight is called "Little Boy" (the Hiroshima bomb). That made it to the Japanese version unchanged.
Future information on the Visual NovelRoot Double: Before Crime * After Days (about a group of people trapped in a nuclear reactor after it goes through a meltdown) was postponed for nearly five months due to the 2011 Sendai Earthquake in Japan, which led to the partial meltdown of several nuclear reactors.
The Zettai Zetsumei Toshi series (which is basically a Survival Horror series in which the "horror" is a collapsing Japanese city) is effectively dead because of the Sendai tsunami and earthquake.
Motor Storm: Apocalypse (which features racing through an earthquake-ravaged city) was delayed due to the 2011 Japanese earthquake.
The Joker: "You're making me late for my spa appointment! I mean, it's not like you have a girlfriend to save anymore, is it-oh, I'm sorry! Too soon?"
In-universe example from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: The present ruler of Solitude feels this way about the annual festival where a hated tyrant is burned in effigy - enough so to cancel it, in fact. Her husband, the High King was just murdered, so a festival celebrating the death of a king, even a tyrant, is probably less than appropriate.
Interestingly, the modified version of the effigy burning (which is part of the Bard's College entry quest) can be seen as supporting the old High King, by painting the hated tyrant as a false king who came to power by force and treachery, just as Ulfric Stormcloak (the murderer of the previous High King) plans to become.
An example that actually did occur in the Pokemon games; specifically, the first generation remakes. In the original, published in 1996, one of the exhibits in the Pewter City museum was the Space Shuttle Columbia. In the international remakes, published in 2004, it was a nameless spacecraft. The Columbia burned up in reentry in 2003. It is notable that the shuttle kept its name in the Japanese version of those remakes.
The NES version of Super Contra was retitled Super C to avoid connotations with the Iran-Contra scandal that was going on at the time.
When Metal Gear Solid 2 was first conceived, the plot was going to involve Solid Snake and Liquid Snake fighting in the Middle East, and Liquid revealing that he had actually faked his death in MGS1. This concept was scrapped once the Middle East conflict began in real life. However, they did keep the Middle East idea for Metal Gear Solid 4.
The Sega Dreamcast launched with House of the Dead 2, and an official Sega-made light gun controller was set for release along with it. But the Columbine school shootings prevented the official gun from being released, while third-party companies got away with releasing theirs.
Weeks before Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back was released in Japan, a murder was committed in Japan in which the murderer left only the head and feet of the victim. Because of this, a death animation that involved Crash being pressed down to merely a head and feet had to be cut from the Japanese release, in fear that the Japanese would find it tasteless due to said real-life murder.
An in universe one in The Last of Us, when Ellie reads jokes out of a pre-apocalypse joke book, the last joke she reads is about 'the apocalypse' and invokes this in both her and the Player Character. Note that the apocalypse happened 20 years ago, six years before Ellie was born, and it's still too soon.
Ellie: "People are making apocalypse jokes like there's no tomorrow"... [Beat] Too soon.
Joel: Too soon.
Street Fighter X Tekken, as a joke, featured an overweight loser version of Mega Man based on the infamous american box art of the original game. Unfortunately, the Mega Man series had suffered a string of long-anticipated projects getting cancelled that year, and the fandom was less than amused now that this was the only Mega Man they were getting anytime soon.
The Green Grocer: Soon you will be late as well. Late as in dead!
Stephen:Aorist just died. It's too soon to tell dead jokes.
The Green Grocer: Oh. Late as in, um, pregnant?
Averted in Irregular Webcomic!. After one of the strips in the "Steve and Terry" theme coincided with Steve Irwin's death, the theme continued anyway. Of course, David Morgan-Mar's tongue-in-cheek denials that his characters are in any way based on something else are almost a running gag.
Morgan-Mar also explained that his comics are produced and added to the upload buffer weeks in advance, so he had no way of knowing that particular strip would go up on that particular day.
It's better (worse?) than that. The strip that happened to coincide with Irwin's death featured the comic's Steve waking up in his hospital bed, having recovered from a fight with a croc. In a sense, the coincidence can be seen as a tribute to the man - and Morgan-Mar wrote in the annotation that he would trade the comic Steve's life for the real one if he could.
Note that the creator, Duke, has no qualms about flaunting this trope. In fact, he proudly claimed that he was the first to make a joke at Patrick Swayze's expense after he died.
And sort of subverted here once Fridge Brilliance kicks in: because he's traveling through time, Axel doesn't know about the tsunami that wrecked Japan, therefore doesn't know he's making a joke in bad taste. Duke's still flaunting this trope, though.
An attempt to use the Japanese tsunami to indicate Bob the Angry Flower's lack of empathy ended up reflecting on the webcomic the same way.
The Platypus Comix story "Vess MacMeal Starring in: The More You Know!", which has a Ludd Was Right ending, experienced a two-week delay. Otherwise, it would have appeared a few days after Steve Jobs' death.
The creator of Megatokyo had been working on a separate, unreleased comic called "Warmth" for several years. But then the 2011 earthquake/tsunami in Japan destroyed much of Sendai, the comic's intended setting. At this point, it's indefinitely in Development Hell, and may never be released in its original form, or at all.
The lonelygirl15 episode "Bree's Mom" was originally supposed to be entitled "Girl, Abducted", but was hastily retitled to avoid offending the fan community, after the vanishing and death of Nadia Kajouji, a friend of a prominent fan of the show.
Subverted in The Nostalgia Critic's review of Blank Check. After making a joke about Michael Jackson, he launches into a monologue where he tells the audience that it is now all right to laugh at him again because no matter how odd Jackson was, he will always be a genius and nothing can take that away from him.
Yet played straight in the Nostalgia Critic's 200th review for Ponyo, in which he tries really hard to avoid making jokes about Japan being hit by tsunamis less than a year after it happened in real life.
He also delayed his review of The Good Son after Macaulay Culkin's sister died.
Cracked.com's Michael Swaim's S.W.A.I.M. series shows Homer Simpson beating up Michael Jackson in open-source fighting game "Mugen." He responds to the fight apologetically saying: "Aw, Homer. Too soon, man."
A list of "The 5 Major Cities Most Likely to Be Spectacularly Destroyed", putting a few possible natural disasters (volcanos in Italy, mud slides in Seattle, earthquakes in San Francisco and basically everything in Wellington) came out the same day of a tragedy. They took it down in respect temporarily. It was put back up the following day with the title of the article changed to "5 Major Cities Most Likely To Be Wiped Away By Natural Disasters".
A running gag in Dragon Ball Abridged where Krillin constantly making jokes about something right after it happens.
There's also a scene where Tenshinhan, Chaotzu, Yamcha and Krillin are training in Mr. Popo's time room. The characters remark about how desolate and run down everything looks, leading Krillin to remark "Where are we, New Orleans"? Tenshinhan berates him for it with the above line.
In light of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 Film Brain delayed his 2012 Bad Movie Beatdown review from its intended March release, removed a couple of lines which he felt were callous and put up a disclaimer at the front of the review when it was released in May.
In Clan Of The Grey Wolf's 16 bit Gems #6: Zombies Ate My Neighbors, A Steve Irwin-like character who the characters save is met with this line.
In universe example for Red vs. Blue:Season 10, Sarge makes a joke regarding Donuts habit of wanting to show his "holes", which is quickly followed by Church reminding him that Donut is dead; this exchanges happens a moment afterwards.
Sarge: Probably has a few more holes in him huh? ha, heh, heh, heh.
Church: What's the appropriate amount of time to go by for that joke to be ok?
On What the Fuck Is Wrong with You?, whenever Nash covered a news story involving extraordinary Jerkassery, it was accompanied by a Douchequake. This was temporarily retired after the 2011 earthquake/tsunami in Japan.
Played with on Hollywood Babble On when Ralph Garman made a joke about the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, prompting an audience member cried out "Too tsunami!"
Yahtzee's Zero Punctuation review of Yakuza 4 also coincided with the aforementioned earthquake and tsunami, prompting this to appear onscreen.
The recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan was an unqualified tragedy, and Yahtzee offers his deepest sympathies to a country that has long held his admiration and respect. This Statement was given to karmatically balance out the following one the following one.
Yahtzee: Boy the Japanese are into some weird shit, aren't they?
Due to the death of Pope John Paul II, FOX temporarily banned The Simpsons' Season 16 episode "The Father, The Son, and the Holy Guest Star," since it centered on Bart going to Catholic school (after once again getting expelled from public school) and Marge trying to stop him from converting (since Marge is against Catholicism). It ended up being the season finale while the intended season finale ("The Girl Who Slept Too Little," where Lisa becomes too scared to sleep after the Springfield Cemetery is moved next to the Simpson house) was aired as a season 17 episode with a season 16 production code.
Another Simpsons example: in the UK, Channel 4 received complaints after airing the season four episode "A Streetcar Named Marge" (where Marge stars as Blanche DuBois in the musical version of "A Streetcar Named Desire" after the director sees how depressed and beleaguered she is when dealing with Homer, and which included a song about how New Orleans is "full of pirates, drunks, and whores" and is referred to as "the Sodom and Gomorrha on the Mississip'") around the time that New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Channel 4 made a public apology.
Yet another Simpsons example: the season nine episode "The Cartridge Family" (where Homer buys a handgun to protect his family after the town is plagued by a soccer riot — which seemed to disappear from the plot as quickly as it came) was scheduled to air in the UK, but due to the Dunblaine School Massacre (and the fact that the BBFC despises scenes of characters — be they heroes or idiots — fooling around with weapons in such a way that impressionable viewers will see it as fun to imitate), this episode was banned (though it does appear on the "Simpsons: Too Hot for TV" VHS and the Simpsons season 9 DVD set).
On the season four episode, "Duffless," the scene of Barney mistaking a pile of rags for Princess Diana (and driving his car up to get a look, leaving Homer to fall on his butt after throwing himself out a window to escape a giant spider) was edited in the UK following Princess Diana's death to make it look like Homer fell and missed the mattress on the car entirely.
On the season five episode "Rosebud" note The one where Mr. Burns finds his long-lost teddy bear, Burns's line, "Damn you, paparazzo!" after a camera man flashes a picture of Burns playing with Maggie in her sandbox was cut down to "Damn you!" note The paparazzi was largely implicated in causing Princess Diana's death
In a parody of this trope, a later episode has Homer crash the Duff blimp in a baseball stadium. This exchange occurs:
Buck Mitchell: This is the second worst zeppelin crash ever!
Abe: Too soon!note For those curious, Abe Simpson's line was in reference to the Hindenburg disaster, which, given how long he's lived, he would have seen and remembered.
In the season 11 episode "Bart to the Future," where Bart is shown his future as a drunken wannabe rock star while Lisa is the President of the United States, Bart tries to come up with a coolness plan at Camp David, and Krusty suggests opening with a joke: "What's the difference between Pakistan and a pancake?" The punchline: "I don't know any pancakes that were nuked by India!" Bart and the others stare at Krusty in shock, and Krusty replies, "What? Too soon?" Apparently, it was — around the time that India and Pakistan really were on the brink of nuclear war, the UK airing of "Bart to the Future" cut that entire part.
Back in the late '90s, the episode "Homer Badman" note The season six episode in which Homer is branded a pervert by the town and the media after peeling a rare gummi candy off the butt of a college-aged babysitter was edited on UK's Sky TV to remove the part where Groundskeeper Willie accidentally shows a video clip of Mayor Quimby making out with a floozy in the backseat of his car. For those who think the edit was yet another cut to keep the show "family-friendly," there is actually another reason behind the edit: at the time, the UK was plagued by "The Sex Murders," in which a man or woman cheating on his or her spouse with someone else who was married and wanted to have an extramarital affair would kill his or her lover and send the hand of the murder victim to the spouse of the murder victim. Considering this episode aired in the UK around the time that this was in the news and would have been on everyone's minds, Sky1 did the right thing in censoring the scene.
After the March 2011 meltdown at Fukushima, episodes that prominently feature the nuclear plant were withdrawn from broadcast for a while in Germany and Switzerland. A spokesperson for German Pro 7, however, recently stated that hadn't had to change its scheduled episodes in the first weeks after the disaster, and didn't edit the opening credits.
The 400th episode "You Kent Always Say What You Want" was originally titled "The Kent State Massacre", but the title was change due to the Virginia Tech Massacre occuring one month before its scheduled airdate.
Originally, the episode "Stop Or My Dog Will Shoot" was scheduled to air on April 26, 2007. However, again due to the Virginia Tech Massacre on April 16, the episode was pulled (due to scenes of gun abuse and a school emergency calling for evacuation [only on the show, it was because of Bart's pet snake running loose, not from a gun-toting maniac]) and didn't air until May 13th.
Two Freakazoid! episodes featuring Diana, Princess of Wales, were pulled for several years after her death.
The usually shameless Drawn Together delayed the release of the episode "Terms of Endearment" (in which Captain Hero gets confined to a wheelchair as a side-effect of giving up his powers, a reference to the real-life accident which paralyzed actor Christopher Reeve) for over a year following Reeve's death. It was then almost delayed again when shortly before the rescheduled airdate, Reeve's widow announced she had a terminal illness.
Happens to Family Guy quite a bit. The episode "The Fat Guy Strangler"note The episode with Robert Downey, Jr. as Lois's estranged brother who was sent to a mental hospital after walking in on his mom giving a blowjob to Jackie Gleason from The Honeymooners was nearly delayed due to the cutaway of Brian forcing George W. Bush to come out of his treehouse and actually deal with the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
Family Guy occasionally parodies this trope; note the page quote, but in the third season episode "Mr. Griffin Goes to Washington", Brian notes that Peter's excuses are "lamer than FDR's legs", only to be met by shocked, appalled stares from the family. His response was to flatly ask "Too soon?"
Played with in the multi-verse episode when in an alternate universe, Stewie mentions Lee Harvey Oswald shot Mayor McCheese instead of JFK. Cut to a clip of McCheese getting shot in the back of a convertible; a Jackie Kennedy expy stares for a minute, then begins to eat his destroyed head. That leads to this exchange:
Then there's the preschool play "Terri Schiavo: The Musical". Brian and Chris discuss whether this is Too Soon or too late to mention.
On May 1st 2011, FOX's Sunday night Animation Domination line-up was supposed to include a three-part crossover special featuring all three Seth Mac Farlane cartoons (The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, and American Dad!) meeting each other during a hurricane. Sadly, because the Southern and Midwestern United States was already getting pounded by tornadoes and floods, the episodes were pulled at the last minute and replaced with reruns of their respective shows. The three-part crossover eventually aired on October 2nd, 2011.
Christmas episodes for Family Guy ("Jesus, Mary, and Joseph") and American Dad ("Minstrel Krampus") were supposed to air on December 16, 2012, but were replaced with repeats in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Masssacre due to the episodes containing "insensitive" material. The Family Guy episode aired the following week as it was pulled more due to its religious themes (with the regular cast retelling the Nativity story) than anything else, but the American Dad episode didn't air until December 15, 2013 since it has gun violence, along with a undeniable Christmas theme that would've been awkward to air in the middle of April. The episodes they were replaced with were pre-empted anyways by coverage of a memorial service for the victims.
"Turban Cowboy" was removed from streaming on Hulu and the official FOX website (and probably won't be rerun during the summer of 2013) after the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013 thanks to a double whammy: it has a terrorist-themed plot and a cutaway gag where Peter drunkenly runs over marathon runners with his car. The fact that someone put up a video claiming that the episode "predicted" the bombings by editing the two clips together (which Seth Mac Farlane called "abhorrent") really didn't help matters.
In the American Dad! episode "The Vacation Goo," there's a scene where the family walks into the living room to find Stan watching a Georgetown game on TV and wearing Georgetown gear. According to the DVD commentary, Stan was originally going to wear Virginia Tech gear and be a Virginia Tech fan, but then the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech happened, so they had to change it to a less controversial school at the time.
In the episode "Francine's Flashback" the scene where Stan brings in Whitney Houston to sing a private apology performance for some cocaine is removed, jumping straight from when Stan yells in horror from midnight fishing with his coworkers to Francine saying she will never forgive him for forgetting their anniversary.
The ending to "Pulling Double Booty" originally involved Hayley taking a matchbook and setting fire to a forest after realizing Stan tricked her into dating him by pretending to be his body double Bill. This ending was cut from the episode's premiere showings on FOX and Adult Swim due to a large wildfire in Southern California that occurred shortly before (making the episode end with Hayley yelling, "Oh my God! Are you KIDDING ME?!"). The ending is restored on later airings and on DVD.
The fourth season of the Western Animation/Total Drama series, Revenge of the Island takes place on a polluted Camp Wawanakwa that has become a toxic dumping ground since the events of Total Drama Island, resulting in many unsightly mutations of the island wildlife whom the contestants must dodge in the million dollar prize competition. Originally scheduled to debut in 2011, the nuclear disaster in Japan that year as a result of the tsunami forced the show's Canadian producers to delay the season and edit it extensively to mitigate any sort of insensitive reference to anything that could be tied to the disaster, like renaming the "Radioactive Rats" as the "Toxic Rats" for instance; the season eventually debuted in 2012.
Jimmy Dore has a stand-up routine on Comedy Central where he jokes about JFK, and when the audience laughs a bit nervously, he asks, "Too soon? I waited the standard forty years, but—" and goes off on a short spiel about how he should've known.
Bill Hicks often raised the Kennedy assassination in his acts, and once when the audience nervously tittered at the mentioning of the subject, innocently said "no, wait -- there's more."
Comedian Rodney Carrington told a joke that if President Kennedy had been wearing Toughskin jeans on his head, he would have survived his assassination. "Guess I'm the only one who finds that shit funny."
Mike Birbiglia got a somewhat subdued "Too Soon" reaction during his Two Drink Mike standup. After asking how Abraham Lincoln gets credit for really vague quotes, he states he should also get credit for stuff like "How are ya?", "My dad's a really great guy!", and "Well, we already bought the tickets". This last one (after a long pause for the audience to get the joke) is greeted mostly with groans to which Birbiglia responds "Alright, no more assassination jokes. It hasn't been long enough."
After the Virginia Tech shooting, many colleges cracked down on the game Humans Vs Zombies for this reason, either banning it outright or banning the use of Nerf guns. Even today, several years later, some schools are still squeamish about the game.
One issue of the Vertigo Comics title Hellblazer, containing a story entitled Shoot (written by Warren Ellis) was never released due to its resemblance to the Columbine shootings - it would have come out only weeks after the shootings occurred. As with the above example, the issue had been in the works for several months, the timing was merely coincidental.
The British Sunday papers were caught badly on the wrong foot about reporting the death of Princess Diana, because it occurred very late on a Saturday night. The most the tabloids could do was to replace their original front pages hastily with respectful coverage of what was known about the tragedy. The inside pages, including opinion pieces written earlier in the week, reflected the previous orthodoxy about Diana: that she was a dumb blonde who intended to bring down the Royal Family with the maximum embarrassment and was most likely going to present them with a half-Arab sibling for William and Harry. The complaints caused much embarrassment among hacks, but the Stalinist revision made by the papers after her death was probably the most noteworthy thing.
One comedian made the following joke about this (paraphrasing): "What if the balcony fell down right now, crushing everyone there, and I said, 'Ta-da!' Years from now, people would say 'You know, it was funny, it was just too soon.'"
Roger Ebert condemned Penn State for removing the statue of Joe Paterno, never mind the division about his legacy caused by his former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's actions.
After Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast at the end of October 2012, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City initially announced that the famous New York City Marathon, due to take place the following Sunday, would go on as planned as a morale-boosting move. Stricken New Yorkers, and from there media and online commentators, were angered by the planned use of vital resources (water, electricity, etc.) for a marathon. To make matters worse, the race was to start in the devastated borough of Staten Island. The marathon was subsequently cancelled out of sensitivity, but not before many runners came to New York at great expense to participate.
When Seth Mac Farlane hosted the 2013 Oscars, he makes a joke about how John Wilkes Booth really got "inside" Lincoln. Everyone reacts with disgust, to which Seth responds "Oh, 120 years and it's still too soon?"