In America, the 1987 episode "Adoption" was banned due to fears that adopted children would find some of the sketches offensive (despite a very clear warning at the beginning stating that the jokes weren't meant to hurt anyone), as a lot of the sketches depicted adopted kids being used as slave labor and pets, which would rightfully make a lot of American viewers cry out, "Dude, Not Funny!." In Canada, this episode was allowed to air, but the part where Lance Prevert tries to give his adopted kid (Adam) back to the agency, only to learn that "adoption is forever"note even though, with the way Senator Prevert treated Adam, the agency still should have taken him away had the line "You get over here, right away, you damn bureaucrat!" cut to remove "...damn bureaucrat!".
In Canada, the 1984 episode "Divorce" was banned for the same reason America cut the "Adoption" episode (a lot of jokes about a subject matter that many viewers would find inappropriate on a children's show), but returned to circulation for the YTV re-runs.
The Danza: The entire cast of children had the same names as their "characters", with one exception: Darryl Lucas as Barth's (sub-)minimum wage employee, Zilch.
The 1981 series was shot in a similar format to the 1979 live series, running for an hour and featuring musical guests and viewer contests. The Nickelodeon versions of the episodes were edited down to half an hour, preserving only the sketches and link segments.
The 1982 series featured Parody Commercials as a lead-in to the actual commercial breaks; these were cut from Nickelodeon broadcasts when the network switched to advertiser support in 1983.
Three episodes on the American Nickelodeon version had parts censored:
The 1981 episode "Safety First" had two scenes where Barth says "that damn cat." Nickelodeon originally aired the episode with the scenes intact, but when they edited the episodes for commercial time they removed the scenes.
The 1984 episode "Body Parts" was cut to remove a lot of sexual innuendo and scenes that wouldn't fly on American children's TV — one sketch had Alasdair and Ben Schreiner reading a Playboy magazine, another sketch was an "Opposites" sketch where Mr. Schidtler shows his class a porno film, and the last thing cut was Karen Grant's line about how her favorite body part is "what's in the pants" (a wallet). In the new cut of the episode, two dress rehearsal sketches were shown: one where Moose eats a chocolate-covered grasshopper, and another where a boy with a backwards leg goes to the Groucho Marx-esque doctor.
"Fears, Worries, and Anxieties" from 1985 had a sketch where Alasdair is afraid of going to school because there's a bully there who picks on him named "Killer Curtis." At the time this episode aired in America, there really was a serial killer in the news named "Killer Curtis." The Nickelodeon version redubs "Killer Curtis" with "Crusher Willis" (though one can tell it's a redub because the Nickelodeon censors re-used Alasdair Gillis' voice, and Gillis was going through puberty at the time and had a noticeably deeper voice for the redub).
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The show was Nickelodeon's first huge hit in the United States (in fact, the green slime and irreverent aesthetic of the show is what transformed the channel from a kids' cable channel that aired educational shows and imported cartoons to one that was purely entertainment and is best remembered for a lot of loud and outrageous programming). Many of the cast members have said they were treated like celebrities in the US, causing Beatles-like hysteria wherever they went, but back in Canada they were just normal kids.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: A DVD release has been imminent since at least 2003, but hasn't come to fruition due to issues with the cast members' royalties. The first 27 episodes are available for download on Amazon in three 7-episode volumes, however.
Missing Episode: For many years, only two episodes from the 1979 season, which aired live in the Ottawa area only, were known to circulate. However, when various YCDTOTV and 1980s Nickelodeon fans contacted producer Roger Price, he revealed that he had a full set of tapes of the 1979 season, all of which are now available on YouTube (though with the music videos and disco segments cut for copyright reasons).
Name's the Same: Shockingly, there was also a pilot show of the same name called You Can't Do That On Television, which premiered on ABC back in 1968 but was unable to become a weekly series. Emceed by Alan Hamel of Nightcap and featuring McLean Stevenson and future Laugh-In regular Ann Elder, it was one of the few Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In clones that didn't work out... though thankfully and oddly enough Roger Price may have channeled whoever did the 1968 version first, retooling it to the familiar kid show we all know.
Christine McGlade's father appeared as himself in the 1981 episode "Work, Work, Work". Her sister, Lisa, played Christine as a child in the 1982 episode "Cosmetics", while her brother, Michael, appeared as both himself and as Ross as a kid in the same episode. Lisa McGlade was also an extra in various classroom scenes.
Several sibling pairs appeared in the series: Matthew and Amyas Godfrey (1986-87 and 1986-89, respectively), Roddy and Eugene Contreras (1982 and 1982-85, respectively), Vikram and Sidharth Sahay (1986-87 and 1989, respectively), Jill and Amy Stanley (1989-90), and identical twins Kyle and Korbett Matthews (1984).
Throw It In!: Leaving aside the various flubbed lines and Corpsing that made their way into the finished products, there were two notable examples of the performers' offscreen lives being mined for recurring references.
Christine McGlade mentioned during production of the 1979 series that her childhood nickname was "Moose"; writers and producers Geoffrey Darby and Roger Price promptly worked this nickname into the next seven years of scripts.
Lisa Ruddy was late for a read-through of the 1981 episode "Nutrition" after receiving a detention for talking in class. Darby and Price proceeded to re-write the script to include a Running Gag in which Lisa annoys everyone by talking incessantly, and it became one of her defining character traits (her nickname was Motor Mouth).
Urban Legend of Zelda: For the longest time, there was a rumor that the master tapes were destroyed in a fire at CJOH Studios, a rumor which thankfully proved untrue.
Written by Cast Member: The writers for the 1989-90 episodes included Kevin Ward, a member of the cast at the time, and Adam Reid, a member of the cast from 1984-87 who appeared in the 1989 episode "Punishment" in his capacity as a writer.
The whole idea of dumping green slime on a cast member for saying "I don't know" came from Episode 7 of the 1979 Ottawa-only series. The dungeon master Nasti agreed to free his prisoner, Jim Stechyson (who only appeared in the 1979 series), if he could answer two questions, but if he failed, he would get the green slime. The first question was, "What is the largest lake in Canada," which Jim correctly answered with, "The Great Bear Lake." The second question was, "How many fish are in it," which brought forth the first "I don't know." This became a Running Gag for other "How many fish are in it" questions, and eventually the words themselves instead of just an admission of ignorance became the trigger.note The very first sliming occurred in the series' very first episode; Tim Douglas (another 1979-only cast member) was chained up in the dungeon/detention room by the principal and told not to pull on a chain. He gave in to temptation and triggered a bucket of green slime (which wasn't originally supposed to be slime- it was a bucket of food scraps that got left out for a few days before they got to filming the sketch and they didn't have time to replace it).
Among the cast members who were never slimed, Marjorie Silcoff appeared in the most episodes, with eight appearances in 1984 and 1985.note A sketch in the 1985 episode "Revenge" in which she would have been slimed was cut before filming. She was, however, soaked with water in three episodes. This fact was mentioned in the "Project 131" special from 2004 featuring Marjorie, Brodie, and Vanessa (with cameos from Alasdair and Justin)... in which, once again, Marjorie escaped without a sliming.note Although she did get water dumped on her for a fourth time.
Christine "Moose" McGlade hadn't planned to try out for YCDTOTV, and only tagged along to support a friend. She was forced to give one herself after being told by Roger Price to either audition or leave. Despite having no prior acting experience, her charisma and quick sense of humor led to her being cast on the show over her friend. Here it is straight from the Moose's mouth, along with the audition tape.
The 1984 episode "Clubs" was the only episode in the entire run to feature no green slime, water, pies, or any other form of "stage pollution".
Strangely enough, none of the cast members of YCDTOTV went on to become cast members on adult-oriented sketch shows, particularly Saturday Night Live. This might not be significant if it wasn't for the fact that two former Nickelodeon sketch show actors (Kenan Thompson from All That and Taran Killam from The Amanda Show) actually became cast members on that show (and Killam is also notable for being on Saturday Night Live's rival showMA Dtv, another sketch show that the You Can't Do That On Television cast could have joined either as writers or cast members). You'd think Lorne Michaels or Quincy Jones would've at least considered the possibility.