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To BowdlerizePronunciation means to alter existing programs, plays, etc. so they are more suitable for family viewing. Used in a very positive sense, by those who think the alterations are often done with a justifiably high fear of the original works corrupting our youth.
While some changes remove all the hardcore violent scenes that the children shouldn't see , some are minor details, showing how far the censors will go to protect our kids.
The best cases involve editing out emotions like sadness (because it makes no sense for emotions to be shown), removing entire episodes or seasons, or changing plot points.
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. Luckily these evil practices have been discontinued,and most modern Bowdlerisers are rightfully more rigid. 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. See T-Word Euphemism for a mild form of bowdlerization. See also Cut-and-Paste Translation (which specifically refers to Bowlderization 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 Bleached Underpants, 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.
We would show you the related tropes, but those would be too inappropriate.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Live-Action TV
- Myth and Legend
- New Media
- Newspaper Comics
- Video Games
- Western Animation
- Real Life