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Getting Crap Past the Radar

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"The stuff they're gettin' away with on kids' shows these days..."
Yakko Warner, Animaniacs


Getting Crap Past the Radar refers to instances in which a writer, artist or other creator puts inappropriate content — stuff that blatantly violates the censorship standards that are normally applied to that kind of work — into their material with the deliberate intent to get past said censorship.

How this is accomplished may vary. The content submitted for ratings may be so offensive that the demands to cut it down end up missing things that would have otherwise been obvious (AKA the Censor Decoy). The creators may hide offensive content as Easter Eggs. Sometimes the Media Watchdogs are just asleep at the wheel. Such events can result in bad (or good) press for a work, or angry calls to a network or studio.

It is important to distinguish this trope from other tropes like Parental Bonus, Subtext, and Accidental Innuendo. In these cases, younger audience members are expected to miss the messages, but adults will read them loud and clear. Censors are usually fine with such things, so it's not a violation of media standards. Indeed, this is often a deliberate and widely accepted ploy to engage older audiences in what is nominally a family-friendly work. As such, it is not Getting Crap Past the Radar.


Compare Does This Remind You of Anything?. Contrast with Defying the Censors, in which the creators fight to have their controversial work shown to the masses. See also Crosses the Line Twice, which can be the end result of gradually increasing the level of inappropriate content.

Important note for editors: To qualify for this trope, content must meet three criteria:

  • Radar: It must be in a medium and format where Media Watchdogs exist and actively censor content. Self-censorship does not count. Post-censorship, such as by advertisers on a webcomic, also does not count.
  • Crap: It must be something that a reasonable person would expect to be censored by said Media Watchdogs, given the rating or classification of the work. Innuendo and subtext do not count.
  • Get Past: The inclusion of the content must be intentional, and the creators of the work must be aware that it ought to be censored. Accidental Innuendo does not count.

Please note that U.S. censorship standards allow minor incidents of profanity and innuendo in PG works.

Examples Subpages:

Other Examples:

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  • When Swedish sculptor Carl Milles tried to make a statue of Poseidon for the town of Goteborg, he was prevented from making it anatomically correct. He got around this issue by cleverly placing the fish in Poseidon's hand, so that when you look at it from the right angle...
  • There is a theory that paintings of Saint Sebastian being pierced by arrows are so numerous because they gave the artist an opportunity to draw his pretty male model with something elongated (and often marked with the artist's name) in his body.
  • At first glance, American artist Georgia O'Keeffe specialised in loving depictions of flowers in bloom, especially orchids. Look more closely.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Older Than Feudalism: The Bible has various examples:
    • The Revelation to John is considered by many scholars to hold an underlying message of "Romans go home." Since it was to be read by a Roman audience, it had to get past Rome's censors, so it couched its accusations in crazy imagery. For instance, the Beast was said to have 7 heads, and a later passage said "The seven heads are seven hills" (referring most likely to the seven hills of Rome). It's also theorized that the Number of the Beast is code for Nero's name in Greek, which when rendered in Hebrew adds up to 666 (or 616, depending on the translation), as every Hebrew letter has a number corresponding to it.
    • The entire Song of Songs is a poem about a young couple meeting and deciding to hook up. And, yes, it's in The Bible.
  • Pre-printing press monks were notorious for placing sexual, scatological or downright strange imagery in the margins of illuminated manuscripts. Some are theorized as just being a sort of "signature" by the monk who copied the book, while others may have symbolic meaning lost to time.
  • In some Medieval and Renaissance period religious works, Satan and various incubi are drawn with large noses as a metaphor for being well-endowed.note 

  • Williams Electronics' Scared Stiff:
    • The backglass has a flashlight that's turned on, even though there are a pair of batteries next to it. This was intended to be a reference to another battery-operated toy Elvira is using...
    • The remote control on the playfield reads "Elvira's Control", with buttons for On/Off and Hot/Cold...
    • Averted with the side of the cabinet, which shows a clawed-out sticker reading "RRR". It was originally meant to be a decal reading "Rated RRR - Real Raunchy and Ribbed for your Pleasure", but management nixed it for being too explicit.
  • The Palace tower in Hurricane has windows showing several large-busted women flashing themselves at the crowd below, as well as someone mooning.

    Print Media 
  • Nintendo Power
    • The September 2008 issue of (The One with... Sonic the Hedgehog on the front) is chock-full of this:
      Steve Thomason: [With Sonic's new sword skills], he'd probably make a good guest fighter in the next SoulCalibur game. Hey, it'd be less absurd than Ivy's... um... "enhancements".
    • The picture they used to show the Judge from the Ace Attorney games in the January 2008 Ninja Gaiden DS issue, they showed him imagining a pair of panties.
    • The purchase of the magazine by Future Publishing, in 2008, significantly toned down the radar, as they allow crude humor and sexual references in their magazines.
    • Even the old Nintendo Power comics had some there - you'll very clearly see that Fara Phoenix wears no undergarments under her pilot suit.
    • The June 2012 issue had this line about No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle in the Wii Essentials article:
    "Protagonist Travis Touchdown slices and dices his way through even more baddies than before to avenge his best friend's death-and, perhaps more importantly, to get some, um, affection from femme fatale Sylvia Christel."
  • This Korean children's book gets 1337 crap past the radar.
  • In 2011 in Chicago when a blizzard stranded cars on Lake Shore Drive, the Chicago Tribune initially went with the headline, "Bad LSD trip: Who's to blame".
  • A 2012 column by New York Times conservative columnist Ross Douthat snuck this one in:
    The promise of a Lincoln-Douglas-style showdown with the president has been one of Gingrich's more effective rhetorical flourishes... [but] it's hard to see how Gingrich's Master Debater reputation recovers from his poor showings in the debates in Florida.
  • One non-sexual example came on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1972 featured the Miami Dolphins backfield tandem of Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick (nicknamed Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). Apparently, no one noticed Csonka subtly Flipping the Bird.
  • In 2004, when the city of San Francisco briefly permitted same-sex weddings, Rosie O'Donnell went there, married her girlfriend, and gave a speech harshly critical of the then-president (who opposed same-sex marriage). The Chicago Sun-Times ran a story with the headline, "Rosie Weds Longtime Girlfriend, Slams Bush".
  • The 2005 film of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka) did very good box office on its opening weekend. Reuters covered this in a story with the headline "Depp's 'Chocolate Factory' has tasty opening."
  • A local Minnesota newspaper artfully juxtaposed two headlines on its front page, in May 2014: "Boy Scouts to accept gay boys" and, on a different story below it, "In through the back door".
  • In October 2004 the Chicago Tribune decided to run an article in their "Womanews" section about the most vile word in the English language. Why anybody thought this was a good idea is not explained. The title of the article was "You C*nt Say That". It was pulled at the last minute, making this crap that almost got past the radar.
  • Total Gamer was an Australian A4 sized video game focused magazine that was apparently targeted at kids. It was sold in the same sections you would find other children's magazines such as Magazine/K-Zone. The biggest difference however was that TG was filled with satirical humor, articles on things like a gang war that broke out in Ireland over a PlayStation and the editor sometimes giving some less than friendly responses such as calling a kid out on mispelling "hedgehog".
  • French prescholar magazine Astrapi once made a aztec special. Their take no shame of the fact than brother-sister incest was a common tradition in the imperial court.
  • Private Eye tried to publish an issue with the word fuck on the front cover. They were advised that if they did this, the biggest ditribution chain in the country would simply refuse to handle the magazine on profanity and morality grounds. Artist Willie Rushton designed an elaborate front cover based on mediaeval monastic scrolls. Hidden in each of the four corners were the ornately drawn letters F, U, C and K. The W.H. Smiths print distribution system handled the issue and got it to retail outlets - only realising afterwards that they had been had. This was the beginning of a long feud between Smiths and the Eye which led to the Eye renaming their distributors ''W.H. Smug's''.
  • Philippine President Benigno Aquino III gets this a lot from his critics in print, including, but not limited to Manila Times writer Rigoberto Tiglao. As his complete first name is Benigno Simeon, Tiglao and other "P-Noy" critics often refer to him as "President BS Aquino".

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the 2nd-edition days of Dungeons & Dragons, a large number of Forgotten Realms guidebooks (particularly the "Volo's Guides" series of in-universe travelogues) made reference to "festhalls" scattered across the Realms in just about every city and town. And by "festhalls" we mean "brothels".
    • Ed Greenwood himself once actually made a statement to the effect of "TSR won't let us say 'brothel,' so if you see the word 'festhall'..."
    • Made even more blatant by 3rd Edition, when Sharess, goddess of sexual pleasure, also became goddess of festhalls.
    • And in another example of this trope and 2nd Ed Dungeons & Dragons, pretty much every Planescape supplement ever written falls under this to greater or lesser extent...seeing as the term "Berk" was used in this setting as "Chummer" was in Shadowrun and quite gratuitously at that. The problem is that...well...note  and was primarily released in a country in which, because of the false association with a certain other word, the term "Berk" is a far stronger expletive than in its native Britain (where it usually tends to be used in the context of being a complete dumbass).
  • Possibly the case with finger of death. While the finger part isn't explained, one possible interpretation is that you're Flipping the Bird to whoever your casting on.
  • In the game Pirates and Plunder, in the rules for port cities, it is explained that when sailors come ashore from the uncultured environment of shipboard, what they most want is to enjoy polite conversation over a cup of tea with a genteel young lady. It then gives a detailed list of the tariffs of the houses providing this service, from your basic cup of tea, up to such pricey luxuries as tea, iced cake, spicy biscuits and extremely refined conversation with two young ladies.
  • The RPG Hol may have been created just to release a supplement titled Buttery WHoLsomeness. Inside contents go straight to Vulgar Humor.
  • In Warhammer there's been a certain iconic image of a Beastman that's appeared in Beastman-related supplements since the Realms of Chaos books...which has a very Vulgar Humor version of "Mary Had A Little Lamb"note  written on its sword. The pic has lasted through at least seven editions of supplements as the phrase in question is written in the runes of the (in-game Chaos language) Dark Speech, which the editors apparently don't read.
  • The Mutants & Masterminds supplement for comic book fantasy gaming, Warriors and Warlocks, includes a sample character with the following quote.
    Ha! Did I ever tell you the story of how I stole the giant's staff and his twin orbs of power?
  • In Warmachine, Skarre, pirate queen and Cryx's satyxis warcaster, has a weapon called "Great Rack." Sure, it's actually her horns.
  • The HäT company has an impressive range of figure sets aimed at scale modellers and tabletop wargamers. Every so often a little joke slips in to their released figure sets. Regard this set of ancient Macedonian war elephants. You get war elephants, crewmen, and weapons. You also get an impressively modelled pile of elephant dung. On its own base. No doubt a keen wargamer can generate hazard rules for anyone at ground level who is either hit by a large pile of elephant crap descending from above, or else doesn't look where he's going and slips in it.
  • The pose of the Reaper Miniatures model "Tiviel, Hellborn Rogue" #77118, taking into account her facial expression and the bizarre shape of the dagger hilts, is likely to remind you of something.

  • The naming of racehorses is governed by Jockey Club Registry Section 6:E(x)note  which, among other things, prohibits anything that could be thought of as lewd, licentious, or bawdy. One owner with a sense of humour named his contender Four Quenelles, arguing that a quennelle is a shaped fried delicacy found in French cuisine. Now imagine a typical televised horse race with a commentator like John O'Sullivan firing off the names of the horses, quickly, as they jockey for position on the final straight. And then imagine what Four Quenelles might sound like if spoken very quickly (Irish accent optional) with no gap between the two words. Other examples from around the world include racehorses called:
    • Artisan Fire
    • Hard Dawn
    • Peony's Envy
    • Norfolk And Chance
    • Not quite as bad as the previous, but stil funny - Iced Ink
    • Muff Diver and Golden Showers weren't even trying to hide anything, but were allowed in Australia.
    • The Jockey Club did, however, refuse to register the names Cunning Stunt and Hoof Hearted.
  • As noted elsewhere, a racehorse named Liquor In Excess's name was vetoed due to the possible double entendre ("lick her in excess"), so the owner changed the horse's name to Censored.
  • Rally driver Lorenzo Bertelli, who just happens to be the son of fashion house heir Miuccia Prada, somehow managed to slip in his team's name, "Fuckmatiè World Rally Team", in the World Rally Championship, despite the obvious ramifications it might bring with broadcasters and perhaps the FIA, on top of the WRC All Live hosts having to apologise for many a "merde" or "perkele" the drivers might blurt out in frustration. Bertelli did register his team under the acronym "FWRT", but the car itself and their helmets do have the name intact more or less—the livery on his Fiesta has the "u" in "FUCKMATIE'" inverted, but his co-driver's helmet is shown uncensored. Considering his relation to the fashion house and all, it isn't like he's going to change it any time soon.

  • Mattel's Cock Ring Earring Magic Ken doll didn't remain on store shelves for very long because of its resemblance to a Camp Gay man.
  • A Revoltech model of Toy Story's Woody has a particular swappable head that has been exploited in various ways. It seems that Revoltech figurines have interchangeable parts, which account for some of the riskier gallery entries.
  • One of the early Harry Potter movie tie-in toys was a Nimbus 2000 replica aimed at children in the 8-12 age bracket. This battery-operated gizmo had sound effects and vibration. Somehow, nobody seems to have noticed what they were making until after it was already on store shelves.
  • The Hannah Montana dolls seem perfectly harmless until you discover where you press the button for them to sing.
  • My Little Pony once had a pony named "Pillow Talk." And currently has a pegasus named "White Lightning."
  • Ever After High has Cerise Hood, daughter of Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. WHAT?
    • Then again, the series reveals the Wolf can take on a human form, so maybe it's not all bad?
  • In 1971, Mattel introduced a Hot Wheels car called the "Strip Teaser". They've had several more questionable names over the years, including but not limited to Sixy Beast, Bad Mudder and Haulin' Gas.
  • In 1975, Mego marketed a board game called Ball Buster. The mom's wink at the end gives away that they knew exactly what they were doing.
  • GoGo's Crazy Bones has a character named Rufistar whose special ability is called "Hell Raiser". They don't use "hell" as a swear word here, but it's still worth a mention. The fact that his ability is a reference to Christianity does not help, since kids' media rarely does those sort of references unless it's a Christian kid's show.
  • LEGO has a strict "no modern-day weapons" policy regarding its model kits, which means that kits of military vehicles are strictly forbidden (with maybe one or two exceptions). One way they've gotten around this in recent years is to release models that look like military vehicles, but aren't identified as such. For example, this set is clearly meant to be a Lockheed F-35 Lightning II strike fighter, but since it's labelled simply as a "Blue Power Jet" instead, it technically doesn't violate the company's non-violence policy.

    Web Animation 

In-Universe examples only, as Web comics generally don't have a radar to get past.

  • The Comics I Don't Understand site has an entire page devoted to this. They call it the "Arlo page."
  • Erfworld apparently has a profanity filter built into the physical laws of the universe (causing cusswords to come out as "boop"), but clever phrasing can get the point across anyway. The word "crap" doesn't trigger the profanity filter, making it a literal example of the trope title. And then "Fuck... You!!" at the end of Book 1 isn't a straight example of this trope, but Parson defies the world/game's mechanics through sheer force of will.
  • Played with in this Stolen Pixels.
  • Normally, Carrie from Everyday Heroes doesn't use anything stronger than "Holy cow!"; however, extreme shock will cause her to exclaim "Saint Francis University!!" ... which is her way of saying ST F U.
  • In-universe example: Agatha in Girl Genius doesn't realize the implications of some of her lines in The Socket Wench of Prague until she finds out the context for them.
  • In Rascals, this is done through the power of hair, curves, and well placed objects. Best example is this page here.

    Web Original 
  • One of The Nostalgia Chick's images in the slowed-down "Chipmunk Song" is a silhouette of a dragon graphically fucking a car, visible cum and all. The radar in this case being Blip, who probably would not have let that through if they'd noticed.
  • While The Nostalgia Critic does oblige to Blip's guidelines and censors nudity whenever it appears, he still manages to get "Duck Tits" past the radar. Granted, those were an example of the trope to begin with, since Howard the Duck was only rated PG...
  • The YouTube channel "Ray William Johnson" and his logo, which obviously looks like a simulation of anal sex.
  • PONIES The Anthology managed this on itself in its sequel. Anthology II was made Lighter and Softer w/o any unbleeped swearing... except for one Harry Potter parody where Princess Luna uses the word "shitty", except in classical English which makes it sound like "shy-tee," immediately before getting bleeped at "you'll be *bleep*ing pleased abou' it."
  • MyMusic gets this gem:
    "Getting used to things is like a wife's sacred duty. Like swallowing, your pride, when your husband upsets you. "
  • An In-Universe example occurs in The Hardcore Kid's review of Jungldryed Hugo 2. As he was reviewing the film he noted that it got rather sexual dialogue past the radar and called out on it. Then a furry, who wants to censor stuff that brings the fandom into a different light comes along to ask him to remove all of it because it would give furries a bad name. Saying with it that he reviewed lots of other movies that brought the fandom in a bad light. Then he sees the actual movie and comes upon the actual realization that it is just a stupid kids movie and that they were all fooled by him and decides to not disturb The Hardcore Kid any further. Must be the same thing that the censors thought when they saw the film at first glance.
  • Dead End: Character looking at a porn site, not so much. Character looking at a porn site based on an actual porn site, definitely.
  • awsomnia streams - Top 100 worst commodore 64 games (see here for part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4) is possibly the heaviest case of this trope ever. The average guy on Lemon 64 already knows that some entries on the list (which will not be displayed here due to how outdated the video is in comparison to the list now) are heavily Not Safe for Work, with blatant (albeit poorly drawn) Hentai in some entries of the list (even back then). The only reason that YouTube could have allowed stuff this hardcore is either because the guy on the video wanted nothing more than to stream the awfulness of some Commodore 64 games or because the video itself is composed of just a few seconds of Hentai, which for about 4 hours of streaming is very little. You still however might get shocked by the fact that kids could end up watching it.
  • Vinny's Tomodachi Life streams feature an odd version of this: since his particular brand of comedy is usually blocked by the game's curse filters, he attempts to circumvent them in various ways (misspelling, phonetic pronunciation, etc.) Sometimes it works (i.e. getting the islanders to say "fuck" by spelling it "fuhck"), and sometimes it doesn't ("Honk honk fhuker" ends up pronounced as "Honk honk few-ker"). Not to mention the various dirty allusions that the filters don't catch...
  • YouTube carries a lot of porn: amateur porn, official previews from professional sites, and pirated full videos from those same sites. The catch? It's all fetish porn that doesn't feature sex or nudity, but serves the same purpose regardless.
  • "10 DIRTY JOKES HIDDEN Inside DISNEY MOVIES!" by Matthew Santoro is about dirty jokes hidden in movies made for kids by Disney.
  • In the webseries Ten Words of Wisdom, a usually kid-friendly web competition, contestants sometimes sneak questionable material past Cary. Some include Riley's controversial dog-slaughtering response, SpicyMan33's ode to Riley, SpicyMan33's (partially censored) angry discord messages to Midnight Light, and TheMightyMidge's TWOW 17 Fun with Acronyms confessional (The words spelled "Yessoan," and the "A" was "*sscr*k"). Cary himself unintentionally used an offensive word when he combined the words "TWOW" and "chat" into "TWAT".
  • Dark Dungeons: Marcie is implied to be a closeted lesbian and attracted to Debbie. At some point, Debbie points out that the alternative to going to the RPG party was "spending all Saturday alone together in their dorm room" and asks "how much fun [they] could have doing that". Marcie clearly thinks for a few seconds before answering... She also gets into the occult scene when Debbie says some of their rituals are performed while "sky clad" (naked). Marcia is clearly attracted to the idea of seeing Debbie in the nude (as fundamentalist Christians, presumably they don't change in front of each other). Then there is the clear subtext while Debbie comments on just how good Marcie's hands must be for "doing things".
    • In Attacking the Darkness, it's made clear this was done intentionally in the fictional account of the movie's making.
  • In a Foil, Arms and Hog sketch. The extra dialogue at the end of “Ceoil agus Ól” probably wouldn’t have gotten past YouTube’s filters if not for the fact that it was in Irish.
  • Vsauce's video on the Twizz Mug goes right up to the line... then cuts away to explaining something else.
    Michael: As you can see, when it's closed, it looks a little bit like—
    Michael, after a sudden [1]: Uranus...
    (The camera zooms out to reveal a diagram of planets)
    Michael: ,,,has a diameter of more than 50,000 km.

  • Topps' "Wacky Packages" stickers were aimed at child consumers and had strict limits on the kinds of humor that could be included (there wasn't so much as a fart joke in any of the sticker series). However, the artist managed to sneak a rather ... suggestive image onto the lower-middle of this sticker.
  • Frasier stars Jane Leeves and Peri Gilpin invested some of their money in a TV and film production company. They chose to call their production company Bristol Cities as the name sounded like it meant professional business to American ears. "Bristol Cities" is, however, rhyming slang for "breasts" ("titties"), a subtlety they worked in as a hidden joke.
  • The radar of Japanese media is odd, as its censorship laws are both very draconian and very narrow. The portrayal of uncensored adult human genitals is not allowed (to the point that even Japanese porn has to be censored), but it doesn't particularly care otherwise, thus people got...creative. Many of the things that would stereotypically paint Japan as "weird", like "Naughty Tentacles", started out as attempts to skirt around laws like these.
  • The Department of Motor Vehicles has rules about what is allowed on a vanity plate. The details vary from state to state, but generally they amount to "anything that might be even remotely offensive is disallowed". That said, there's so much crap you can get past the DMV when you want a vanity license plate.... For example, you can use features of the license plate to get "(picture of a moose) KNUKL", "(University of Michigan 'M') ORONS", "A55 (Florida orange) RGY" note , or the ever-popular "EATTHE (Kids First)". Or you can use markings on the car itself to get "GIVE ME A (Hummer)". Or any of a number of other options.
  • Some TV versions of movies like 48 Hrs. and Friday leave the N-word intact.
  • One of the Indian Nickelodeon channels runs a campaign for children celebrating their birthday, featuring an anthropomorphic butt character named "Birthday Bum". The character makes a couple of fart jokes, and at one point in his rap song he makes a joke about "no GPLnote , but BPLnote ". Now, this sounds fairly tame... until you learn that it was made for the country's local feed of Nick Jr., which is aimed at preschoolers.
  • "Goatse" was an internet meme of the late 1990s and early 2000s, and featured a picture of a man pulling his anus open with both hands. According to this video by Guru Larry, the design of the Nokia N-Gage console deliberately mimics the goatse picture. An engineer fed up with constant Executive Meddling created the design as a joke, and management liked the new design and didn't spot the reference. No evidence is presented for the claim, but the video does show several bits of corporate artwork which clearly reference the original picture.


Alternative Title(s): Get Crap Past The Radar, Radar, Other


The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police

Sam, Max and Granny Ruth enter the prison showers.

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Main / GettingCrapPastTheRadar

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