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"It's my job to protect you, the viewer, from reality."
Fox Censor, a Fox network censor, The Simpsons

This page has been deemed Too Inappropriate by the Moral Guardians, so they have set up a Family Friendly Substitute.

To BowdlerisePronunciation means to alter existing programs, plays, etc. so they are less rude and/or offensive. Commonly, this takes the form of swapping "curse" words for euphemisms. The term is used in a negative sense, by those who think the alterations are often done with a ridiculously high fear of lawsuits and/or need for political correctness. Sometimes it's understandable — different countries have different standards, so if a distributor wants to keep the same age rating, some of the more sexual or violent content may need to be removed before the Moral Guardians catch wind of it. Or maybe someone noticed that all it takes to change a show from something for teens to suitable for kids is the removal of a few swear words, darn it. Others are fairly reasonable for broadcast, such as toning down violence since Children Are Tender-Hearted. Such modifications are also understandable when the work is being adapted into a play that will be performed by kids, not just watched by them.

But true Bowdlerizing starts when you actually lower the quality of the art or story in some way in the editing, sometimes as little as spoiling jokes or perhaps making villains not look quite as evil, but escalating to damaging the plot, making dialogue confusing, and making heroes look pure and shiny. And at its very "best", it can make a situation less acceptable. In many cases (such as the airing of R- and NC-17-rated films on broadcast television or the release of sexual, violent, or edgy material in countries where such things are known to be forbidden), the viewer/listener/reader is often left wondering why a release in such a venue was even attempted.

Censorship starts at editing out blood splatter and profanity. But it escalates pretty quickly. Beer may become water even when it's adults drinking — even villainous adults. Cigarettes and cigars might be removed even though it's a bad guy smoking. A six-round revolver can become a water gun or slingshot.note  Then they start warping entire characters to the entire show so that a character is Ambiguously Bi, as if a good guy being gay might encourage kids to be gay — when ironically a good guy being bi might just encourage a kid to experiment. Then when a situation presents itself where death should be a given, it's always avoided or explained away, removing the idea of consequences stemming from dangerous activities. A girl hits a boy because he got her dirty, instead of because he might be groping her. A scene of a parent hitting their child is completely removed, making it look like they are running away over nothing.

If they really can't remove a death, they might try to remove emotional depth from it, so somebody doesn't seem to grieve that much over their best friend/lover dying — so now you're encouraged to stifle your emotions. Other emotional conversations may be edited, so characters seem to be friends rather than in love. Vital discussions might be removed because they take place in a bar, leaving plotholes. And at its most extreme, there may be the removal of entire episodes, and you might never even get to see the final season of your show because it's Darker and Edgier.

Named after Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825), who first did it on The Bible and William Shakespeare's plays; for instance, changing Ophelia's drowning from suicide to accident. It's worth noting that Bowdler himself created his "Family Shakespeare" versions as a way to introduce Shakespeare's plays to audiences who would otherwise be barred from experiencing them at all, and actively encouraged people to seek out the originals. Sadly, this cannot be said of most modern Bowdlerisers. Before him, the French Duke of Montausier published "ad usum Delphini" versions of works for the Dauphin (heir apparent) of France. "Ad usum Delphini" is now a synonym of this trope.

Cultural Translation can often contain elements of Bowdlerization, especially due to Values Dissonance. See T-Word Euphemism for a mild form of bowdlerization. See also Dub-Induced Plotline Change (which specifically refers to Bowdlerization in translated works and refers more to the final product than the process) and Disneyfication (which generally goes further, in not only removing content but adding new, "kid-friendly" content). See Bluenose Bowdlerizer for when it happens here on the wiki.

The inverse of this trope is American Kirby Is Hardcore. Yet another related trope is Self-Censored Release, where a creator self-censors his work to appeal to a broader audience. There is also a Censored Title, for when a work seems to be Bowdlerized, but only the title is for marketing purposes. If the censoring is done In-Universe, that's Narrative Profanity Filter.

See also Culturally Sensitive Adaptation.

Tropes that often or always arise from Bowdlerisation include:

  • Abridged for Children: If works are edited to remove material unsuitable for kids, though it's just one reason why that trope may occur.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Making a character's general dress sense more modest in an adaptation, and/or cutting incidents that had them naked or in underwear.
  • Adaptational Weapon Swap: When certain weapons are considered risqué or psychologically toxic for children (like brass knuckles or nunchucks), adaptations or reboots will trade those weapons for something parents will "approve" of.
  • Black Blood and Made of Bologna: Covering up extreme gore and blood through digital editing or redrawing the carnage so it's less shocking.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Removing blood and gore altogether from battles and otherwise violent scenes, even if they would do serious damage to living entities involved if they were to occur in real life.
  • The Body Parts That Must Not Be Named: Resorting to euphemisms to avoid any of the common words for, uh, the bathing suit area.
  • Censored for Comedy: Parodies of Bowdlerism, often showing how poor censorship can make something seem even dirtier.
  • Clean Dub Name: A name is changed overseas because it accidentally sounds obscene in a certain language.
  • Curse of The Ancients: Replacing curse words with old-timey slang such as "consarn it!" or "dagnabbit!"
  • Digital Bikini: Using digital editing to add clothes to naked people or to make someone's clothes less revealing. Can be used in conjunction with Family-Friendly Stripper, though it has also been used in conjunction with bath and shower scenes (at least when Cartoon Network aired anime), hot springs episodes, or any scene of half-naked characters in a locker room-type setting (both animated and live-action).
  • Distanced from Current Events: Editing, delaying, or banning something (mostly TV shows and movies) due to the plot being similar to a real-life current event that may be considered to be done in poor taste. Harsher in Hindsight is similar, but only applies to past media that somehow "predicts" future bad events.
  • Edited for Syndication: Most of the bowdlerization does occur after a TV show is put into syndication or makes its rounds on the international market.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Replacing realistic weapons with more fantastic or less lethal ones.
  • Family-Friendly Stripper: Strip clubs and other sex establishments have the workers in relatively "innocent" skimpy clothes (usually a bikini) rather than being naked, topless, or in some kind of overt fetish costume.
  • Flawless Token: The villain or Butt-Monkey can't belong to a race, ethnic group, religion, or social class that has historically been persecuted. Even when the group the hated character represents hasn't been persecuted, this trope may still come into play if the group the character represents wields a lot of power in society and threatens a boycott of the work. (However, if a character becomes a villain because of persecution, that's usually okay to show.)
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Replacing alcohol with non-alcoholic drinks (usually juice, soda, or water) and hand-waving the drunken behavior as "acting crazy" or "being a jerk".
  • Get Back in the Closet: Gay stuff is treated harsher than straight stuff.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: The creator of a work making excessive revisions to it since its original release, usually to update and upgrade special effects, but sometimes to bowdlerise too.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Replacing sensitive words with their "safer" variants ("damn" to "darn", "hell" to "heck", "ass" to "butt" or "rear", etc). Witch with a Capital "B" is the same thing, only it focuses on toning down the word "bitch".
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Homosexuals with Plausible Deniability.
  • Never Say "Die": Characters can't mention anything about death and the afterlife because it may be too upsetting; even ghosts might be seen as too creepy for kids. In many cases, the word "kill" can never be used, even if it's in a comedic context.
  • No Smoking: Characters can't enjoy a cigarette (be it tobacco — or, in more extreme cases, cannabis, crack cocaine or meth), lest more impressionable viewers imitate what they see.
  • No Swastikas: Removing offensive imagery (usually swastikas or anything having to do with Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime).
  • Orwellian Retcon: When a Retcon is performed by going back and changing the original work, so that subsequent printings of "the same" work are actually different.
  • Pacified Adaptation: When an adaptation is less violent than other iterations.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: Trying so hard to block dirty words that your software censors the same strings of letters when they appear in perfectly innocent contexts, due to lazy programming ***umptions.
  • She's a Man in Japan: When a transgender character is changed to cisgender, or one character in a same-sex relationship is changed to the opposite sex (though this can also be for different reasons, such as the producers making a mistake or for language translation reasons).
  • Tamer and Chaster: Sex scenes and Fanservice are toned down or outright omitted in adaptations and sequels in order to pull in a family audience.
  • Technical Euphemism: Technical vernacular used to avoid saying something rude or unsettling.
  • Translation with an Agenda
  • Thinly-Veiled Dub Country Change: Sanitizing a work created in a foreign country of any and all references to its country of origin, with references to the destination country shoehorned into their place.
  • Video Game Perversity Prevention: Video games have censorship systems to stop players using editing options or crafting systems in offensive ways.


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  • A commercial for Air Action Vigorsol gums released in early 2007 showed a squirrel eating the gum and extinguishing a fire in the woods with a freezing fart. After complaints, the commercial was altered so that the squirrel gets ice breath instead, and the final shot (which had the "R" in the Vigorsol logo lifting a leg to let a small fart out) had the fart sound bleeped out. Curiously, they later made a sequel commercial where the squirrel brings some gums to a couple of penguins so that they can escape from the melting ice float they're on with a rocket-boosted fart, which wasn't censored at all.
  • Parodied in this cinema commercial for Holsten Export in which the editors attempt to remove all instances of the beer in question from a family film on the grounds it's "too strong" for the target audience, with no regard to story context. The result is, obviously, anything but PG/12A-but the editors don't seem to care as long as all the alcohol's gone.

  • The nude saints in the Sistine Chapel The Last Judgement had their genitalia painted over with garments after Michelangelo's death, leaving the schmuck who agreed to do it to forever be known as "the breeches maker." After a restoration effort in the 20th century, the fresco survives unbreeched.
  • That picture of the David statue with the boxer shorts on the main page? It was clearly done in jest, but something like that actually happened. A plaster cast of the statue was made as a gift to Queen Victoria, and since this was one of the more prudish times in history, they felt that male nudity might offend someone, so a plaster fig leaf was made to use during the Queen's visits.
  • The Museum of Reading in England has a replica of The Bayeux Tapestry on display. It was created using a drawing of the original as a guide. However, the drawing put shorts on a figure who was originally naked, so the replica does too.

    Asian Animation 
  • Boonie Bears: In Season 4 episode 1, Logger Vick lets the animals play a game of passing a drink from a wine jar around, but Bramble says drinking is not good and Logger Vick assures them it's filled with juice instead. The English version removes any reference to it being a wine jar, leaving it at just "it's filled with juice".
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf has been a notably example of this trope:
    • Due to the accident that happened in April 6, 2013 on China where a boy accidentally burnt another two of his friends while trying to imitating a scene from the cartoon itself, starting with Paddi the Amazing Chef, ropes were changed into jelly pudding-shaped rope or laser rope (made by Wolffy), the pot that the wolves used to cook the goats lacks the fire (in the later seasons, the pot never appeared again), Wolffy wears the safety hat when get launched into the sky, and Wolnie's uses of frying pan attack has been reduced (also applies in the last two films). In a few scenes, Don't Try This at Home messages were added, although it disappeared in the later seasons.
    • Also applies to Mighty Little Defenders. The National Radio and Television Administration forced Creative Power Entertaining to edit the fighting scenes to make them more suitable for kids. They also forced CPE to change some of the weapons.
    • The official YouTube uploads of episodes 341-380, as well as the Great War in the Bizarre World arc, were edited to make them less violent, including removing violent scenes (including cutting the scenes with Wolnie beats Wolffy with her frying pan repeatedly in episodes) and changing weapons to look less realistic.
      • Notably, in episode 353, the scene where Paddi burns Wolffy's tail outside the Wolf Castle is heavily edited and cut.
    • Official YouTube uploads of Joys of Seasons episodes have a few edits of their own, such as cutting the scenes where Wolnie beats Wolffy with her frying pan repeatedly or changing knives into vegetables.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Sunday edition of the August 26 2018 Blondie (1930) strip in which Mr. Dithers dreams of beating the crap out of Dagwood before his wife wakes him up, removed the panels of him pounding Dagwood over the head with both fists and strangling him.
  • When Scott Adams was told he could not have Satan as a character in one of his Dilbert strips, he introduced "Phil the Prince of Insufficient Light", who wielded a large spoon and would temporarily "darn" people to "heck" over relatively minor offenses. Adams does admit that this character ended up being funnier than what he had planned for Satan. (And given that it allows for any number of "spooning" jokes, is it really better?)
    • When Adams did a story about a police officer shooting a criminal in the leg, he was told he couldn't use guns, so instead the officer shoots the crook with his donut, which makes it funnier.
  • Gary Larson often had his Far Side cartoons rejected because they were "too scatological". Often this meant they only contained innuendoes, such as a boy sitting behind an outhouse and playing a tuba.
    • And as Larson relates in his book The Prehistory of The Far Side, an editor once told him he could not use the term "dork" because it meant "penis" (Larson didn't know this, he says, till he looked the word up later).
  • The For Better or for Worse comic for June 25, 1994 has John reacting to Michael's girlfriend Rhetta all dolled up with a "BOINGG!" above his head. The rerun of this strip published on June 24, 2023 removes this, likely to avoid the unfortunate implications of a middle-aged man being aroused by a teenage girl.
  • The original version of an early FoxTrot strip had Jason leaving a Funny Answering Machine message for the "Satan Hotline". When reprinted in books, it was changed to him singing "A Million Bottles of Beer" instead.
  • In an early Garfield strip set on a farm, Garfield said, "Wanna swap sheep jokes?" Although Jim Davis didn't intend it that way, his editor thought that it sounded like a bestiality joke. It became "dirt jokes" as a result.
  • In a Finnish translation of The Phantom, of the story introducing the Vultures, one of the members of the gang is shot and "wounded" by the police, so the protagonist investigating the gang gets to take a look at him in a forbidding-looking "hospital", where he lies on a slab. For some reason, he's never interrogated...
    Fan Works 
  • Nintendo's tendency to remove blood from its games was referenced in Melee's End episode 5:
    Mario: What do you want, Ganondorf?
    Ganondorf: I have come for your blood.
    Marth: Oh, not my blood!
    Fox: You don't even know what blood is.
    Mario: Guys, this is a Nintendo game. Don't worry.
    Ganondorf: I've coughed up plenty of blood in my day. Nintendo can't save you now!
    Fox: Your blood is green.
  • Although Dragon Ball Z Abridged is, by and large, much more adult than the original series by featuring profane dialogue and loads of Black Comedy, it does edit out one thing that was in the original: genitalia. This is likely because Youtube has very strict rules regarding nudity. That said, their abridged version of Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan does not remove them.

  • Many Physical Pinball Tables have options to tone down racy or possibly offensive voice clips for certain markets, as a form of Adjustable Censorship. A notable example would be Elvira and the Party Monsters , which not only allowed suppressing the saucier quotes, but also came with a "modesty decal" to cover Elvira's massive knockers on the backglass. Other examples include AC/DC muting swearing in the song lyrics and covering up bare breasts on the dot-matrix display animations, as well as alternate photographs of the models in Stern's Playboy. In both cases, there are three levels: completely uncensored, a Digital Bikini variant with mild swearing left intact, and characters fully clothed and no swearing at all.
  • NASCAR allowed operators to replace the default backglass art with one that changed the "Miller Lite" logo on Rusty Wallace's car with a "Rusty" logo instead, in case their location was sensitive to alcohol-related advertising.
  • South Park got this twice over.
    • The "G"-rated Adjustable Censorship option changes the software in various ways - all mentions of farting are altered (Terrence and Phillip's "Super Fart Bumpers" become "Super Pop Bumpers", while the Match Sequence changes from them farting numbers to burping them instead), while the famous "Oh my God! They killed Kenny!" "You bastards!" exchange is cut down to "They killed Kenny!" "Rats!" Furthermore, the game also came with decals to cover up potentially offensive playfield art, such as Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo.
    • The original version of the game software included completely uncensored dialogue (the game's highest setting otherwise is "PG-13", which still bleeps out harsher cursing), as well as a removed Video Mode that involved Cartman and Stan trying to be lesbians by engaging in a literal carpet-eating contest. Comedy Central demanded these changes soon after the game's release.
  • In Devil's Crush for the TurboGrafx-16, the pentagrams were geometrically altered for the U.S. version, becoming eight-pointed. In the Sega Genesis version, Dragon's Fury, anything star-shaped was changed into a simple five-pointed star.
  • The home versionnote  of Bally's Capt. Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy replaces the racy artwork of the original with a family-friendly quasi-psychedelic depiction of Elton John and the Cowboy.
  • Gottlieb's Super Mario Bros. Mushroom World reuses the Video Mode from their earlier Super Mario Bros., but replaces the Bullet Bills with Boos instead.
  • The Super Nintendo version of Pinball Dreams removed the crosses in the "Nightmare" table.
  • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines ships with a gun grip and trigger to launch balls and fire at in-game targets. Operators have the option to replace the grip with a fire/launch button "for sensitive locations".
  • Several of the changes required by Universal for The Big Lebowski include removing Walter's Colt .45 and a marijuana leaf from the playfield art.
  • Universal also nixed the caged female dancers from the backglass art on Monster Bash.
  • Zen Pinball and all its offshoots aim for a blanket E10+ rating, which often means that tables based on more adult subject matter end up censored accordingly. This extends to their recreations of older pinball tables, which alter the artwork to remove cigars, add heavier clothing to scantily-clad women, and relabel beer cans "soda".


    Professional Wrestling 
  • CMLL will edit any blood it can out of any of its televised matches or simply not air them if it cannot.
  • Around the turn of the century, there was a memo circulated by Turner Broadcasting for CNN that declared that "foreign" stories be referred to as "international" stories. WCW received this memo, which wasn't meant for them. This lead to the term "foreign object" (a weapon that shouldn't be part of the match, e.g. a chair at ringside) being changed to "international object." Back in WWF/E Jim Ross called weapons used in matches "international objects" on at least one broadcast as an in-joke.
  • Also in WCW, when the Insane Clown Posse were working there, the "Violent" in Violent J's name was deemed unacceptable, causing the commentators to refer to him as Jake Jeckel. Sometimes. Other times they called him Violent J. Consistency was not a hallmark in late period WCW.
  • When 'asshole' chants first became a thing in professional wrestling, Turner Broadcasting tried very hard at first to figure out a way of censoring the chants. Since there was no way to get the fans to stop and trying to mute the chants without muting whoever was talking was impractical, they gave up after a couple months.
  • During the early 2000s, UPN forced WWF to rename two of its wrestlers.
    • "Badd Ass" Billy Gunn's name was deemed problematic because of the gun reference. He went by Mr. Ass for a few years. (Yes, "gun" was deemed more offensive than "ass." Weird.)
    • Val Venis' name was deemed unacceptable because it rhymed with penis. One of his nicknames had been 'The Big Valboski', and that briefly became his real name.
  • Colt Cabana's flying asshole is referred to as the "flying apple" in Chikara. Similarly, Delirious's shadows over hell is called "shadows over Hades".
  • Since action figures are marketed to kids, when Balls Mahoney was working for WWE, his action figure was named on the box as "B. Mahoney."
    • Billy Gunn pops up here again. His finisher was called the Famasser, which might have angered parents. Initially toy boxes listed his finisher as the Fame-er, but eventually settled on Famouser. Interestingly, WWE now spells the move Famouser after the PG switch.
    • A Chris Jericho figure was released sporting his "SHUT THE HELL UP!" shirt, but it was changed to "SHUT THE HECK UP!"
    • In the "Attitude Era" Jeff Jarrett would come to the ring with a guitar painted with "Don't Piss Me Off" but it was sometimes written "Don't P*** Me Off". His action figure's guitar said "Don't Make Me Mad".
  • As a family friendly publication covering something not really family friendly, Pro Wrestling Illustrated would Bowdlerize some wrestler's names. In PWI Balls Mahoney was simply Mahoney, Razor Ramon Hard Gay became "Razor Ramon H.G."note , and Billy Gunn was never referred to as "Mr. Ass".
  • WWE's Divas Undressed special. Even though it aired during the graveyard block, they still spent a lot of time cutting away to judge reactions during particularly racy bits.
  • In one particularly disappointing example, the heel character of Muhammad Hassan was completely written out of storylines following the London terrorist bombing of the summer of 2005. This despite the character referring to himself as an Arab rather than a Muslim (although his ring entrance did make liberal use of Islamic imagery) and using a garrote made of piano wire as a heel weapon (a more stereotypically Italian way of murdering someone, and in fact Hassan's portrayer, Mark Copani, was partly Italian-American).
  • At WrestleMania 22, Mickie James grabbed Trish Stratus' crotch to break a hold. The DVD edited out Mickie licking her fingers afterward since Vince McMahon didn't like it, or because Mickie received a bigger Face reaction than Trish did.
  • WWE briefly had a show on the CW called Saturday Morning Slam. Because it was in a children's programming block it had to be rated TV-G/TV-Y7. As such, all moves involving the head and neck could not be shown.
  • Indy wrestler Dalton Castle's gimmick includes his being accompanied at all times by two men who form human furniture for him and fan him off during matches. When he made a few appearances in TNA in 2015, they had him accompanied by two women instead, although otherwise they left his gimmick intact.
  • In a confusing case of this, during Kevin Owens "My Son Is A WWE Superstar" minidoc, they identified his mother as Suzanne Steen, rather than Suzanne Benoit, which she introduced herself as. This may be due to her sharing a name with disgraced wrestler and murderer Chris Benoit.
  • All Elite Wrestling has done this on occasion to unsigned wrestlers working on Dark. Jennacide was, after her first appearance, renamed to Bionic Beast Jenna. Luchador Australian Suicide was renamed to El Australianonote .
    • When deathmatch icon Nick Gage showed up to work a match with Chris Jericho on Dynamite, very little was toned down to fit network TV. The only thing that did change was the complete lack of swearing, with MJF introducing him with his catchphrase: "Nick. Freakin'. Gage."
  • The full matches uploaded to WWE's official YouTube channel are often subject to this, especially pre-2010 matches. For example, weapon attacks to the head are censored by freeze-framing just before the weapon connects, then resuming the action after the weapon connects. Weapon attacks to the head are no longer allowed in WWE, in order to preserve the health of the talent, maintain a PG rating, and prevent kids from imitating them. But since the weapon shots remain uncensored on the WWE Network, the YouTube censorship is probably done in order to prevent any violations that could lead to demonetization.
  • Booker T's promo against Hulk Hogan on the 1997 Spring Stampede ended with "Hulk Hogan, we comin' for you, nigga!" on live pay-per-view. The VHS release changes it to "Hulk Hogan, we comin' for you, sucka!" for obvious reasons. The WWE Network featured the unaltered dialogue, but after the acquisition by Peacock, it was changed to the bowdlerized version again.

  • The 1937 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of A Free Soul resulted in massive revisions to the plot. In the film, Jan throws over her safe, dull boyfriend Dwight and takes up with Ace, a charming mobster. After they have sex without benefit of marriage, Ace becomes violently possessive. Dwight kills Ace after Ace threatens to reveal his affair with Jan and ruin her reputation. Dwight is then acquitted of Ace's murder. A Free Soul was made in 1931, during The Pre Code Era, when movie makers could get away with stuff like that. By 1937, when the movie was adapted for radio, The Hays Code was firmly in place, so the plot was completely rewritten. In the Lux version, Ace is a gambler instead of a mobster. He and Jan get married instead of just having an affair. Further, it's Ace who kills Dwight in the radio show, and by a Gun Struggle instead of with malice aforethought as in the film. Making the murder a Gun Struggle allowed for Ace to be acquitted, since by 1937, guilty parties were no longer allowed to escape punishment in Hollywood productions.
  • The Big Finish Doctor Who adaptation of the Doctor Who New Adventures novel Damaged Goods replaced cocaine with a Fantastic Drug called Smile, and doesn't have the Doctor take it. Chris's sex scene with David Daniels is toned down to them just kissing.
  • On Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me:
    Bill: "This guy is such a total pussycat, it's stunning."
    Peter: That was Fox News analyst Ralph Peters, who, by the way, left off the word "cat" in the original quote...
  • CILQ-FM in Toronto, Canada, cut out parts from The Howard Stern Show when they aired it. For example, on July 14, 2000, removed content included a "comment about blacks and the mentally challenged and property value" at 10:07 AM, along with "Howard imitating [a] mentally challenged [person]" and "more comments about the mentally challenged" at 10:10 AM. However, these edits were not enough to prevent the episode from breaking the rules of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

  • Ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir altered a lift in their Moulin Rouge! program to be more family-friendly at the Olympics. The original lift had Virtue straddling Moir's shoulders with her crotch in his face. That being said, the final results is still a highly sensual program.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The German version of Space Crusade, the simplified Warhammer 40,000 offshoot, greatly stressed how humanitarian the Imperium was and rebranded all their ordnance as non-lethal weaponry (giving them nonsensical names in the process) that merely paralyzed or otherwise incapacitated enemies instead of outright killing them. This was done to appease the Moral Guardians who didn't want to see violent content in what was considered a children's game (and who presumably would have gotten a stroke had they read what the setting was actually like). However, it has to be said that if one ignored the part from the manual that didn't refer to the rules and stats, it was otherwise indistinguishable from the normal game.
  • This is one of the reasons why sets in the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game get release schedules that get released months later, as the Western card designers needed time to redesign the cards. This is the reason why for a long time in Yu-Gi-Oh! the Official Trading Card game had huge advantages over the Trading Card game because the Official Card game was always one set ahead.
    • From Strike of Neos onwards however it seems averted, because Western card designers decided that they would design cards that will remain TCG exclusive to balance out the problem.
    • Many of the cards that originally portray religious symbols, nudity, violent weapons and gore were modified for overseas Trading Card Game and anime. You can see the list on this page with examples like Monster Reborn, which turned the ankh into a stylized crystal, and Destiny Board's message, which was changed from "DEATH" to "FINAL".
      • Similarly, the Dark Magician Girl has her bust reduced by editing out cleavage lines, the pentagram brooch replaced by a red jewel, and a single shot in her first appearance edits a close up of her legs to include a mini-skirt (which is gone in the next shot, and from that point on is never seen again). Then again, you can see why some of the cards imagery was toned down. Check out the original art for cards like Last Day of Witch, Final Flame and Soul of the Pure. ...Oh, and Fiend Comedian.
      • She's just one of many who have their busts reduced for the international release. While most of these edits also involved covering up cleavage, some, such as Lady Ninja Yae and Helios -- The Primordial Sun, are purely for the sake of reducing bust sizes, and Deep Sea Diva doesn't appear to have gotten any smaller but has had her clothing slightly recolored to de-emphasize them. Apparently large breasts are considered Harmful to Minors even if they're fully covered.
      • This phenomenon however only happens with OCG original cards (probably because 4Kids motivates them to do so, they need to feature those cards in their original TCG form on the anime after all). There exist a few very sexual TCG exclusive cards (such as this one, Lady of the Lake), that give a whole new light to the matter.
      • Some artwork also modifies characters' agonizing faces in pain and changes them into looking peaceful/calm, and removing implications that they're dying, like from drowning or having their souls drained out from their bodies. References to black magic don't get a pass either, where the Oujia Board from the Destiny Board card has been removed and changes people who look possessed to have them meditate instead. Guns or references to it are also cut out.
    • The TCG itself gets toned down. In the OCG, it happens quite frequently that decks can heavily OTK. To prevent such very fast aggressive decks being played in the TCG they get banned or limited right before they get a release. A good example of this would be Temple of the Kings, a card that was banned before the structure deck that contained that card was released.
    • There is also a difference between the way the OCG obtains cards and the way the TCG obtains cards. In the OCG it's perfectly possible to buy a set and have the set to turn out to have 9 commons. If you turn out to have such an unlucky set in the TCG it's always due to a printing error, as the TCG sets usually will have 1 rare card. Whilst it is debatable whether or not this is actual bowdlerizing, one can't deny that it makes buying sets look less like gambling.
  • Examples from Magic: The Gathering
    • The original Unholy Strength card depicted a man with a burning Sigil of Baphomet behind him. Starting with 4th Edition, the Sigil was removed, leaving just a man making a weird face in a strange pose.
  • In the Red Rising board game, members of the Pink caste are described as "Companions"; the book made it very explicit that they are often sex workers.
  • The Digimon Card Game had to censor some card artwork in the sixth booster set: Sistermon Noir was replaced with Sistermon Ciel (something that already happened before in Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory), BaoHuckmon's art was edited to remove Sistermon Noir in the background (Sistermon Ciel was already in the picture in this case) and both Deputymon and Gundramon have the smoke coming out from their gun barrels removed (albeit the latter still keeps the shots coming out from all his other gun barrels).
  • 7 Wonders: The Manneken Pis started as a promotional Wonder whose B side has a single, very expensive stage that gives you all sorts of stuff, including the right to get a well-chilled beer from whoever ends up winning. When it was re-released in the Wonder Pack, the beer reference was removed.

  • Among the Beanie Babies' poems, Runner's stood out for being exceptionally gruesome, describing his obsession with killing every cobra he sees. It was later changed to a "nice" poem about his species being intentionally vague.
  • One series of LEGO sets from 2005 had two completely different iterations depending on the country it was sold: in North America, the line was called Dino Attack and featured human characters fighting against mutant dinosaurs with armed vehicles, while the rest of the world had Dino 2010, which had near-identical sets but with all the weapons removed and replaced with nets and harpoons, implying that they were capturing the dinosaurs to keep them in a safe place. Curiously, it appears that 2010 was the original intent and Attack a Darker and Edgier retool for American audiences, given that the set numbers are different and higher on the American sets (for example, Dino 2010 set 7295 matches up with Dino Attack set 7474).
  • M.A.S.K. toys suffered from this in Germany. Due to their Old Shame about their involvement in World War II, Germany in the 80's was very sensitive about toys related to combat. Therefore several of the toys are retooled to make them appear less violent. This is mostly done by removing realistic looking weapons or change them to a non-violent object. For example, Rhino's missile is replaced by a "weather satellite", while Switchblade's bomb is completely excluded from the set.

    Web Animation 
  • The YouTube channel for DC Super Hero Girls uploaded a music video for the 2015 iteration of the franchise consisting of the Fifth Harmony song "That's My Girl". The franchise being aimed at young girls resulted in two notable changes to the lyrics: Changing "Who's been working so damn hard" to "Who's been working so so hard" so there'd be no profanity and omitting the lyric "Nod if you've been played by every boo/Just tryna show you off/Thought he was the best you ever had/Until he cut you off" to bring more focus to the song's message of female empowerment and not bring up the issue of abusive relationships (which is seldom discussed in media aimed at children).
  • Parodied in Arfenhouse Teh Movie Too, where one character says "ow" while the subtitle shows "FUCK!!!" struck out before it.
  • The last episode of Let's Go! Tamagotchi has a scene cut out in the English dub where an elderly Tamagotchi stumbles through the streets while drunk.


  • Encyclopedia Dramatica is oh too overly fond of doing this in the case of many of their articles, and even some of the members of the EDF forum members do this.
    • Chris Marek aka Magnum - his username is a Poor Man's Bastardisation of the classic car brand, the ice cream treat, and the gun of the same name as well as the show Magnum, P.I.
  • Google's doodle on December 20, 2012 in honour of the 200th anniversary of the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. The woodsman pulls Red and Granny out of the wolf and sends it to jail.
  • Viner Thomas Sanders isn't squeaky clean, but he does clean up the harsher language in several of his Vines, either self-censoring the word or substituting something lighter, sometimes for comedic effect.
    Well, I'm off to lunch, yes I'm in luck // I'm gonna stuff my face and not give a...darn. Eugh...

    Web Videos 
  • David Near: What appears to be the original cut of "Laughing Jack (Story Time)" has Jack greet a girl with, "Well, hey there, sexy..." before he learns said girl is only 11 years old (which repulses him). The official upload cuts out the word "sexy" for understandable reasons.
  • French Baguette Intelligence: In The Million Dollar Puzzle – Reflection on Intention, Fuck Cares announces that he had to change his name to 'Faux Cares' to avoid getting demonetised, but that didn't stop him from naming the Judge 'Fucking Goddamn Fucker'.
  • Swearing in Connor's SMPLive highlight videos is censored with a beep.
  • Stampy's Lovely World: Some of the first 31 episodes are re-uploaded eight years after their initial release under the title Lovely World Classic, with the swearing edited out after Stampy's channel went family-friendly.
  • In The Unlucky Tug's fandub of the TUGS episode "Sunshine", Zorran calls Izzy Gomez a "rusty old piece of scrap metal" instead of a "South American heap of junk".
  • Also parodied in The Angry Video Game Nerd's review of Action 52, where they show a clip of the "TV Version" of the review:
    AVGN: "Whoever came up with this is an ass[bleep]!... Ass!... Hole?... Ass[bleep]! Television makes a lot of sense."
  • Lampshaded in Paw Dugan's Top 9 Composers video, where Paw is Trapped In Game Land. In the Wolfenstein 3-D portion, he comes upon Bowdlerized versions of the Hitler portraits and comments that something's missing. After a quick Fade Out and Fade In, we see a crudely painted toothbrush mustache applied to the painting as Paw comments "Much better!"
  • This gets parodied mercilessly in the "radio edit" of the Yogscast Christmas song "Carrot For a Cock". The song is renamed "Carrot For a Nose", with the word "cock" being badly replaced by Simon Lane singing "nose" over it, even if the offending word is sung by Sparkles*, who has a different voice and is a better singer. None of the rhymes of the song change to match the censorship, no other bad words such as "dong" or "bellend" are removed, and the rest of the lyrics are exactly the same, meaning that Simon was aiming for the snowman's face and missed, hitting his waist, yet he somehow has a nose anyway.
  • Max of Yo Videogames was extremely censor-happy in the Gal*Gun: Double Peace series. Justified because he didn't want his channel banned from Twitch for illicit content.
  • Stop Skeletons From Fighting: In a special video produced before his review of the 2010 Splatterhouse game, Derek explored the changes made to the original Splatterhouse — including the Bowdlerized elements — in its transition from the arcade to the TurboGrafx-16.
  • Parodied by Stevie T's video "Swearing Songs... After Autocorrect!", where Stevie facetiously cleans up songs known for their cluster f bombs by texting the lyrics to himself with his cellphone's autocorrect function on. A sample from Anti-Nowhere League's "So What" note :
    Well, I faced a queen
    I furled Bach
    I've even sacked an old man's cork
    So what?

  • Forumer (a free internet forum provider) decided to update their terms of service to become more child and general audiences friendly. They also decided to run a program that changed all sorts of words on every single Forumer forum to "work safe" alternatives. The change was based around cooking - for example, 'fuck' became 'bake'. But some of them were just bizarre. 'Little' was auto-changed to 'cilantro', 'video' was changed to 'recipe', 'girl' was changed to 'steak'...
  • Later editions of Don Bluth’s video on how to draw Kimberly from Space Ace removes the scene where he draws her panties as she’s doing a high kick as he talks about it.

Alternative Title(s): Bowdlerize, Bowdlerized, Bowdlerization, Bowdlerised, Bowdlerisation, Bowdlerisations


G.I. Zapp

An in-universe example of this, after receiving complaints from parents that cartoons are becoming too violent, Nixon takes matters into his own hands and tries to censor a G.I. Zapp cartoon as it airs by poorly overdubbing it in order to make it more child-appropriate, even when the screen continues to show horrific violence. The result leaves a lot to be desired.

How well does it match the trope?

4.88 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / Bowdlerise

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