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27 Temporarily Banned Episodes of Popular TV Shows

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Image credit: Sony Pictures Television

Over the years, a number of TV series have removed specific episodes from their rerun schedules. Some eventually return to the airwaves, while others may be serving a lifetime ban.

1. SEINFELD, “THE PUERTO RICAN DAY”
Controversies: Flag burning, negative portrayal of Puerto Ricans

In this 1998 Seinfeld episode, an early escape from a Mets game leaves the troupe trapped in traffic among the celebrants of the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade. After accidentally lighting a Puerto Rican flag on fire with a sparkler, Kramer stomps on the blazing flag before being attacked by a mob of Puerto Ricans, who eventually throw Jerry's empty car down a stairwell.

The National Puerto Rican Coalition didn't think it was appropriate that the flag was used as a prop at all, and Bronx Borough president Fernando Ferrer, who is Puerto Rican, objected both to the vandalizing of a car and Kramer's comment that it "happens every day in Puerto Rico." NBC apologized for the episode, and though it was only trumped in ratings by the series finale, "The Puerto Rican Day" wasn't included in initial syndication packages. By 2002, however, the episode had begun to appear in syndication on some networks.

2. THE X-FILES, “HOME”
Controversies: Deformities, incest

Though The X-Files has never shied away from disturbing subject matter, there is something especially cringeworthy about the incestuous, deformed family in this episode. One sentence summary: quadruple amputee mother is caught breeding with her disfigured sons, thereby creating more disfigured children. Yup.

“Home” was viewed by 21 percent of households tuned to the tube when it aired in 1996. It was also the only episode of The X-Files banned from repetition on Fox. The fans wouldn’t let the decision stand, though, and in 1997, “Home” was voted the number one episode in a marathon on FX. Today, the episode is commonly regarded as one of the best of the series.

3. PEPPA PIG, “MISTER SKINNYLEGS”
Controversy: Interspecies friendship

Peppa Pig may seem like an innocent British children’s cartoon. But one episode featured the family befriending a spider, during which Peppa learns that “spiders are very small and they can’t hurt you.” This was a fine message in the U.K., but in Australia — where there have been 27 deaths from spider bites in the past hundred years — it was more problematic. The Australian broadcaster, ABC, was concerned that this cartoon would create a generation of children trying to befriend some of the most venomous creatures on Earth. It was deemed “unsuitable for broadcast” and prohibited from ever being aired.

4., 5., AND 6. BOY MEETS WORLD, “PROM-ISES, PROM-ISES,” “THE TRUTH ABOUT HONESTY,” AND “IF YOU CAN’T BE WITH THE ONE YOU LOVE…”
Controversies: Teenagers talking sex, underage drinking

Boy Meets World tackled a number of serious issues and had plenty of hard-hitting moments (Shawn’s dad!). But three particular episodes — two involving sex — were singled out and never replayed on the Disney Channel after the show’s initial run. In “Prom-ises, Prom-ises,” Cory and Topanga contemplate losing their virginity on prom night; sex is also the culprit in “The Truth About Honesty,” and in “If You Can’t Be With the One You Love…” Cory and Shawn’s underage drinking earned the story the ax. All three episodes were included in re-runs on ABC Family and MTV2.

7. MARRIED…WITH CHILDREN, “I’LL SEE YOU IN COURT”
Controversy: Too much sex

This Married…With Children episode aired for the first time in the United States a full 13 years after it was originally taped. In it, Peggy and Al Bundy find a sex tape of Steve and Marcy Rhoades at a nearby motel — and, knowing they could be taped too, decide to have relations anyway. Both couples set out to sue the motel for recording them without their knowledge. The Rhoades are awarded $10,000, but the jury finds there is not enough proof that the Bundys actually had sex. (Their video is much shorter than that of the Rhoades.) When they find themselves alone in the courtroom, the Bundys proceed to have sex in the courthouse … without realizing that they are, again, caught on film.

Fox’s censors pulled “I’ll See You In Court” before it could ever air, though the episode did premiere in the rest of the world. In 2002, FX ran it for the first time in the U.S.—though still not in its entirety, as the network redacted four especially raunchy lines.

8. TALESPIN, “FLYING DUPES”
Controversy: Terrorism

Also the last episode in the series, “Flying Dupes” was immediately pulled after its initial airing. The main plot surrounds Baloo, who is unknowingly transporting a bomb on the instruction of an arms factory that wishes to create a war between two countries, Thembria and Cape Suzette. The episode was shown again on independent stations (and once on Toon Disney in 1999, presumably by accident).

9. THE SIMPSONS, “THE CITY OF NEW YORK VS. HOMER SIMPSON”
Controversy: Taking place near Ground Zero

After Barney gets the Simpsons' car stranded in New York City, Homer and family must travel there to retrieve it. There are horrible drivers, a wonderful khlav kalash street vendor, and a hilariously frustrating attempt by Homer to find a bathroom within the World Trade Center. But its inclusion of the WTC meant that, four years after its original airing in 1997, the episode would be removed from rotation for years to come. Only recently has the episode worked its way back into syndication.

10. THE TWILIGHT ZONE, “THE ENCOUNTER”
Controversy: Racism

11. REN & STIMPY, “MAN’S BEST FRIEND”
Controversy: Dog-on-man violence

Ren & Stimpy is, as a general rule, pretty gross. Though boogers and idiocy never seemed to be a problem with the censors, Ren beating up his new owner with an oar was apparently enough to get this episode yanked off the air for 11 years.

12. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, “EARSHOT”
Controversy: School violence

Sometimes, television shows are guilty of nothing more than bad timing. In this episode of Buffy, a student is seen loading a gun. Keep watching, and you realize that the student, Jonathan, is not loading his rifle to shoot other students, but to kill himself. “Earshot” was originally scheduled to air a week after the shooting at Columbine High School took place, but in the aftermath, the WB decided instead to run an old episode, “Bad Girls.” “Earshot” did not air on American television until five months later.

13. TINY TOON ADVENTURES, “ONE BEER”
Controversies: Underage drinking, driving while under the influence, death

In this episode, the three main characters—all of whom are underage—somehow manage to get more drunk off one beer than most adults ever have in their entire drinking lives. Buster, Plucky, and Hamton proceed to steal a police car and drive off a cliff while running from the cops. After landing in a cemetery, the souls of the newly deceased boys are shown rising up to heaven.

In the last seconds of the episode, the boys come out to say they are alive and well, explaining that they put viewers through the horror of the episode to demonstrate exactly why drinking is uncool. The episode was too much for the U.S., but has re-aired in Canada.

14. AND 15. POKÉMON, “BEAUTY AND THE BEACH", "ELECTRIC SOLDIER PORYGON”
Controversies: Male with artificial breasts, alleged public health crisis

In “Beauty and the Beach,” Team Rocket enters a female beauty contest, during which James dons a suit with inflatable breasts—then teases Misty by blowing up his chest to twice its original size and showing it off. Unaired during the original American broadcast of the Pokémon series, “Beauty and the Beach” was promoted as a lost episode when it ran on Kids’ WB! in 2000. It was not included in the original American box set. When the episode aired in 2000, all scenes of James in a bikini—about 40 seconds total—were edited out.

“Electric Soldier Porygon” was broadcast once in Japan on December 16, 1997. In this episode, Ash is required to go inside the poké ball machination to fix an error. When Pikachu shoots missiles with his thunderbolt attack, a huge explosion creates red and blue lights that flash in a strobe light-like manner. Over 600 children were rushed to the hospital with “Pokémon Shock,” complaining of symptoms that included blurred vision, headaches, and dizziness; some even reported seizures and blindness (150 kids were admitted; the others recovered en route). After the airing of “Electric Soldier Porygon,” the show immediately went on a four-month hiatus.

16. GARGOYLES, “DEADLY FORCE”
Controversy: Gun violence

While pretending to use a gun in “Deadly Force,” Broadway accidentally shoots Elisa and attempts to cover up his crime. Although this episode was initially pulled from the rerun cycle thanks to objections by advisory groups, it was eventually re-aired after editors removed some of the blood from Elisa’s shooting. It has since been added to the DVD collection.

17. DUDLEY DO-RIGHT, “STOKEY THE BEAR”
Controversy: Copyright infringement

In one 1959 episode, the dastardly Snidely Whiplash hypnotizes a Mountie hat-wearing Stokey the Bear, convincing him to start setting things on fire — including the city of Chicago. The Forest Service was not happy with what they viewed as an illegal use of the likeness of Smokey Bear, threatening the animators with prison time for copyright infringement. But the ultimate blow came when the show’s sponsor in Minneapolis demanded that the episode’s prints be destroyed. Somehow, the cartoon survived, and can be viewed today. A few years later, all was forgiven; Bullwinkle even did a PSA for the real Smokey.

18. HAWAII FIVE-0, “BORED, SHE HUNG HERSELF”
Controversy: Off-screen death

Some shows are banned for being risqué. Some for inappropriate humor. But episode 16 of the original Hawaii Five-0’s second season is banned because it allegedly killed someone. The episode featured yoga practitioners who hang themselves for alleged health benefits. A viewer attempted to duplicate this technique and supposedly ended up dying from it. Since then, the episode has never been released again, even in the “Complete Hawaii Five-0” DVD packs, where CBS was forced to add the disclaimer: "Due to viewer reaction following the original telecast of the episode 'Bored, She Hung Herself' (Season 2, episode 16), that episode has not been re-broadcast or released in any manner since its original airing and is not included in this collection."

19.-24. STAR TREK and STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, “MIRI,” “PLATO’S STEPCHILDREN,” “THE EMPATH,” “WHOM GODS DESTROY,” “THE HIGH GROUND,” “PATTERNS OF FORCE”
Controversy: Terrorism, Nazis

The BBC took issue with the Star Trek: TNG episode “The High Ground.” In it, Data comments that, following a successful terrorist campaign, Ireland will be reunified in 2024. Because of his prediction, the episode remained unaired in Britain (except for a heavily-edited version on a minor network) until 2007. It still hasn’t been broadcast in Ireland.

The Germans also had problems with Kirk and Spock’s adventures in “Patterns of Force,” from the original series. That episode featured people wearing Nazi-inspired uniforms persecuting people from the planet Zeon. After more than 40 years of not showing it, German broadcaster ZDF ultimately aired it in 2011 — after 10 o’clock — with the proviso that no one under 16 could watch.

25. BUGS BUNNY, “ANY BONDS TODAY?” (AND 11 OTHER CARTOONS)
Controversies: Negative portrayals of … everybody

It sounded so simple. In 2001, Cartoon Network decided to have a 49-hour marathon called “June Bugs,” dedicated to showing every single Bugs Bunny cartoon ever made. After a dozen of the 'toons were deemed controversial, Cartoon Network made plans to air them at 3 a.m. with a disclaimer running across the screen — then, ultimately, decided to ditch them (perhaps under pressure from Warner Brothers executives hoping to protect Bugs’ reputation). What, exactly, was so offensive? In “Any Bonds Today,” Bugs Bunny dresses up in blackface and takes part in a minstrel show. “Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips” and “Herr Meets Hare” has Bugs fighting Japanese and German caricatures, respectively. Other plotlines insult Native Americans; one even made fun of Australian Aborigines.

26. SESAME STREET (22 DAYS WORTH OF EPISODES)
Controversy: Integration

In May 1970, the Mississippi Commission for Educational Television voted 3-2 against letting Mississippi’s public education channel air Sesame Street. The reason for the vote? According to an article at the time, an unnamed member explained that “[s]ome of the members of the commission were very much opposed to showing the series because it uses a highly integrated cast of children,” and that committee members had objected because “we are not ready for it.” It took a ton of negative national press coverage for the Commission to decide, on May 25, that they were, in fact, "ready for it." But for those few weeks, Sesame Street was effectively banned in Mississippi.

27. LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT, “THE GLORY THAT WAS...”
Controversy: Being harsh on Brazil

Buy the season eight Law and Order: Criminal Intent DVD and you’ll be informed that this episode is not included because of “content issues.” Try and download it off Amazon and you’ll be told “Our agreements with the content provider don’t allow purchases of 'The Glory That Was...' at this time.” How did one episode get such a reaction? No one is quite sure, but it’s probably because it offended Brazilian leaders … and/or the Olympics committee. The storyline involves the murder and blackmail of diplomats in order to get the Olympics staged in Rio de Janeiro.

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8 Tricks to Help Your Cat and Dog to Get Along
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When people aren’t debating whether cats or dogs are more intelligent, they’re equating them as mortal foes. That’s a stereotype that both cat expert Jackson Galaxy, host of the Animal Planet show My Cat From Hell, and certified dog trainer Zoe Sandor want to break.

Typically, cats are aloof and easily startled, while dogs are gregarious and territorial. This doesn't mean, however, that they can't share the same space—they're just going to need your help. “If cats and dogs are brought up together in a positive, loving, encouraging environment, they’re going to be friends,” Galaxy tells Mental Floss. “Or at the very least, they’ll tolerate each other.”

The duo has teamed up in a new Animal Planet series, Cat Vs. Dog, which airs on Saturdays at 10 p.m. The show chronicles their efforts to help pet owners establish long-lasting peace—if not perfect harmony—among cats and dogs. (Yes, it’s possible.) Gleaned from both TV and off-camera experiences, here are eight tips Galaxy and Sandor say will help improve household relations between Fido and Fluffy.

1. TAKE PERSONALITY—NOT BREED—INTO ACCOUNT.

Contrary to popular belief, certain breeds of cats and dogs don't typically get along better than others. According to Galaxy and Sandor, it’s more important to take their personalities and energy levels into account. If a dog is aggressive and territorial, it won’t be a good fit in a household with a skittish cat. In contrast, an aging dog would hate sharing his space with a rambunctious kitten.

If two animals don’t end up being a personality match, have a backup plan, or consider setting up a household arrangement that keeps them separated for the long term. And if you’re adopting a pet, do your homework and ask its previous owners or shelter if it’s lived with other animals before, or gets along with them.

2. TRAIN YOUR DOG.

To set your dog up for success with cats, teach it to control its impulses, Sandor says. Does it leap across the kitchen when someone drops a cookie, or go on high alert when it sees a squeaky toy? If so, it probably won’t be great with cats right off the bat, since it will likely jump up whenever it spots a feline.

Hold off Fido's face time with Fluffy until the former is trained to stay put. And even then, keep a leash handy during the first several cat-dog meetings.

3. GIVE A CAT ITS OWN TERRITORY BEFORE IT MEETS A DOG.

Cats need a protected space—a “base camp” of sorts—that’s just theirs, Galaxy says. Make this refuge off-limits to the dog, but create safe spaces around the house, too. This way, the cat can confidently navigate shared territory without trouble from its canine sibling.

Since cats are natural climbers, Galaxy recommends taking advantage of your home’s vertical space. Buy tall cat trees, install shelves, or place a cat bed atop a bookcase. This allows your cat to observe the dog from a safe distance, or cross a room without touching the floor.

And while you’re at it, keep dogs away from the litter box. Cats should feel safe while doing their business, plus dogs sometimes (ew) like to snack on cat feces, a bad habit that can cause your pooch to contract intestinal parasites. These worms can cause a slew of health problems, including vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and anemia.

Baby gates work in a pinch, but since some dogs are escape artists, prepare for worst-case scenarios by keeping the litter box uncovered and in an open space. That way, the cat won’t be cornered and trapped mid-squat.

4. EXERCISE YOUR DOG'S BODY AND MIND.

“People exercise their dogs probably 20 percent of what they should really be doing,” Sandor says. “It’s really important that their energy is released somewhere else so that they have the ability to slow down their brains and really control themselves when they’re around kitties.”

Dogs also need lots of stimulation. Receiving it in a controlled manner makes them less likely to satisfy it by, say, chasing a cat. For this, Sandor recommends toys, herding-type activities, lure coursing, and high-intensity trick training.

“Instead of just taking a walk, stop and do a sit five times on every block,” she says. “And do direction changes three times on every block, or speed changes two times. It’s about unleashing their herding instincts and prey drive in an appropriate way.”

If you don’t have time for any of these activities, Zoe recommends hiring a dog walker, or enrolling in doggy daycare.

5. LET CATS AND DOGS FOLLOW THEIR NOSES.

In Galaxy's new book, Total Cat Mojo, he says it’s a smart idea to let cats and dogs sniff each other’s bedding and toys before a face-to-face introduction. This way, they can satisfy their curiosity and avoid potential turf battles.

6. PLAN THE FIRST CAT/DOG MEETING CAREFULLY.

Just like humans, cats and dogs have just one good chance to make a great first impression. Luckily, they both love food, which might ultimately help them love each other.

Schedule the first cat-dog meeting during mealtime, but keep the dog on a leash and both animals on opposite sides of a closed door. They won’t see each other, but they will smell each other while chowing down on their respective foods. They’ll begin to associate this smell with food, thus “making it a good thing,” Galaxy says.

Do this every mealtime for several weeks, before slowly introducing visual simulation. Continue feeding the cat and dog separately, but on either side of a dog gate or screen, before finally removing it all together. By this point, “they’re eating side-by-side, pretty much ignoring each other,” Galaxy says. For safety’s sake, continue keeping the dog on a leash until you’re confident it’s safe to take it off (and even then, exercise caution).

7. KEEP THEIR FOOD AND TOYS SEPARATE.

After you've successfully ingratiated the cat and dog using feeding exercises, keep their food bowls separate. “A cat will walk up to the dog bowl—either while the dog’s eating, or in the vicinity—and try to eat out of it,” Galaxy says. “The dog just goes to town on them. You can’t assume that your dog isn’t food-protective or resource-protective.”

To prevent these disastrous mealtime encounters, schedule regular mealtimes for your pets (no free feeding!) and place the bowls in separate areas of the house, or the cat’s dish up on a table or another high spot.

Also, keep a close eye on the cat’s toys—competition over toys can also prompt fighting. “Dogs tend to get really into catnip,” Galaxy says. “My dog loves catnip a whole lot more than my cats do.”

8. CONSIDER RAISING A DOG AND CAT TOGETHER (IF YOU CAN).

Socializing these animals at a young age can be easier than introducing them as adults—pups are easily trainable “sponges” that soak up new information and situations, Sandor says. Plus, dogs are less confident and smaller at this stage in life, allowing the cat to “assume its rightful position at the top of the hierarchy,” she adds.

Remain watchful, though, to ensure everything goes smoothly—especially when the dog hits its rambunctious “teenage” stage before becoming a full-grown dog.

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Animals
10 Juicy Facts About Sea Apples

They're both gorgeous and grotesque. Sea apples, a type of marine invertebrate, have dazzling purple, yellow, and blue color schemes streaking across their bodies. But some of their habits are rather R-rated. Here’s what you should know about these weird little creatures.

1. THEY’RE SEA CUCUMBERS.

The world’s oceans are home to more than 1200 species of sea cucumber. Like sand dollars and starfish, sea cucumbers are echinoderms: brainless, spineless marine animals with skin-covered shells and a complex network of internal hydraulics that enables them to get around. Sea cucumbers can thrive in a range of oceanic habitats, from Arctic depths to tropical reefs. They're a fascinating group with colorful popular names, like the “burnt hot dog sea cucumber” (Holothuria edulis) and the sea pig (Scotoplanes globosa), a scavenger that’s been described as a “living vacuum cleaner.”

2. THEY'RE NATIVE TO THE WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN.

Sea apples have oval-shaped bodies and belong to the genus Pseudocolochirus and genus Paracacumaria. The animals are indigenous to the western Pacific, where they can be found shuffling across the ocean floor in shallow, coastal waters. Many different types are kept in captivity, but two species, Pseudocolochirus violaceus and Pseudocolochirus axiologus, have proven especially popular with aquarium hobbyists. Both species reside along the coastlines of Australia and Southeast Asia.

3. THEY EAT WITH MUCUS-COVERED TENTACLES.

Sea cucumbers, the ocean's sanitation crew, eat by swallowing plankton, algae, and sandy detritus at one end of their bodies and then expelling clean, fresh sand out their other end. Sea apples use a different technique. A ring of mucus-covered tentacles around a sea apple's mouth snares floating bits of food, popping each bit into its mouth one at a time. In the process, the tentacles are covered with a fresh coat of sticky mucus, and the whole cycle repeats.

4. THEY’RE ACTIVE AT NIGHT.

Sea apples' waving appendages can look delicious to predatory fish, so the echinoderms minimize the risk of attracting unwanted attention by doing most of their feeding at night. When those tentacles aren’t in use, they’re retracted into the body.

5. THE MOVE ON TUBULAR FEET.

The rows of yellow protuberances running along the sides of this specimen are its feet. They allow sea apples to latch onto rocks and other hard surfaces while feeding. And if one of these feet gets severed, it can grow back.

6. SOME FISH HANG OUT IN SEA APPLES' BUTTS.

Sea apples are poisonous, but a few marine freeloaders capitalize on this very quality. Some small fish have evolved to live inside the invertebrates' digestive tracts, mooching off the sea apples' meals and using their bodies for shelter. In a gross twist of evolution, fish gain entry through the back door, an orifice called the cloaca. In addition expelling waste, the cloaca absorbs fresh oxygen, meaning that sea apples/cucumbers essentially breathe through their anuses.

7. WHEN THREATENED, SEA APPLES CAN EXPAND.

Most full-grown adult sea apples are around 3 to 8 inches long, but they can make themselves look twice as big if they need to escape a threat. By pulling extra water into their bodies, some can grow to the size of a volleyball, according to Advanced Aquarist. After puffing up, they can float on the current and away from danger. Some aquarists might mistake the robust display as a sign of optimum health, but it's usually a reaction to stress.

8. THEY CAN EXPEL THEIR OWN GUTS.

Sea apples use their vibrant appearance to broadcast that they’re packing a dangerous toxin. But to really scare off predators, they puke up some of their own innards. When an attacker gets too close, sea apples can expel various organs through their orifices, and some simultaneously unleash a cloud of the poison holothurin. In an aquarium, the holothurin doesn’t disperse as widely as it would in the sea, and it's been known to wipe out entire fish tanks.

9. SEA APPLES LAY TOXIC EGGS.

These invertebrates reproduce sexually; females release eggs that are later fertilized by clouds of sperm emitted by the males. As many saltwater aquarium keepers know all too well, sea apple eggs are not suitable fish snacks—because they’re poisonous. Scientists have observed that, in Pseudocolochirus violaceus at least, the eggs develop into small, barrel-shaped larvae within two weeks of fertilization.

10. THEY'RE NOT EASILY CONFUSED WITH THIS TREE SPECIES.

Syzgium grande is a coastal tree native to Southeast Asia whose informal name is "sea apple." When fully grown, they can stand more than 140 feet tall. Once a year, it produces attractive clusters of fuzzy white flowers and round green fruits, perhaps prompting its comparison to an apple tree.

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