We think of animated shows as harmless kids’ fare, but that isn’t always the case. Each of these cartoon episodes were so raunchy, so stupid, or so downright confusing that they were denied an audience entirely.
From its 1994 debut, Gargoyles gained a devoted fanbase for its complex plots, fluid animation, and serious storytelling. As an action-adventure series chronicling the lives of gargoyles who come to life at night to protect the places and people they love, the series explored themes including frustrated love, urban crime, and corporate greed. This willingness to go to intense places made Gargoyles an enduring hit that lives on in cosplay and tie-in comics to this day — but in the minds of network executives, it also crossed the line.
The season one episode “Deadly Force” is a compassionate, albeit stern story about gun safety, in which fun-loving gargoyle Broadway accidentally shoots human detective Elisa with her own gun. She is badly wounded and barely survives emergency surgery, and Broadway goes on a frantic, guilt-ridden crusade against guns. Ultimately, a very important lesson is learned about the safe handling of firearms — but not before several seconds of Elisa with a bullet in her belly filled the screen.
“Deadly Force” was pulled from rotation for a while, and subsequent airings on spinoff channels Toon Disney and Disney XD re-cut the scene so that only Elisa’s anguished face is visible. Regardless, the Gargoyles team remains proud of the message they sent about gun violence in this episode, and stand by it as a thoughtful examination of firearms and their mishandling.
Watch the video to see more cartoon episodes so controversial they were banned.
#cartoons #animation #bannedcartoons
Deadly Force | 0:12
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The Garbage Pail Kids cartoon | 6:25
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