Getting Crap Past the Radar

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Some examples have already been moved to subpages. For consistency, the rest should follow suit.


The practice—usually found in but not limited to comedies—of attempting to sneak some manner of profanity or other forbidden material past the network censors. The trope name is a somewhat milder version of the late Robin Williams's term for his attempts along these lines while he was on the air in Mork and Mindy; Williams probably made the greatest (known) effort along these lines in television history, allegedly researching and exhausting several different languages in an attempt to find genuinely dirty words the censors would not recognize, and coming up with sequences that would seem utterly innocent on paper, but which would carry vast quantities of implied prurience—often hilarious—when executed.

He was hardly the first, however. Films have flirted with the line for decades, often through the use of Double Entendre (as demonstrated, for example, by Lauren Bacall's famous line from To Have and Have Not: "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and... blow."). And, of course, Mae West pretty much made her career out of finding ways to get her bawdy comedy under the censors of Hollywood back in the 1930s and 1940s.

This is where Western Animation shines; there's pages and pages of it. Especially if you include all the people who are just reading too much into things.

If you're not trying to hide it at all, it's Refuge in Audacity. If an author makes fun of their censors directly, it's Think of the Censors. Censor Decoy is when creators deliberately put in something objectionable for censors and editors to catch to distract from the stuff they actually want to put in. Some of these can be brilliant, especially if you saw it when you were a kid and only understood it later. Probably won't be very funny in the case of Get Thee to a Nunnery, in which case Seinfeld Is Unfunny will inevitably follow.

Some specific examples are Hide Your Lesbians, Frothy Mugs of Water, Something Else Also Rises, Head-Tiltingly Kinky, Bowel-Breaking Bricks. Compare Subtext, which may involve this. See also Parental Bonus

Anything that makes you go "tee hee hee" is not an example of this trope. If the writers are genuinely and unironically using a word that just happens to sound like something sexual, don't put it as an example. And if it didn't sound dirty then, put it in Have a Gay Old Time.

Addendum: Not everything remotely obscene said in the media is necessarily an example. If the offending joke/scene is part of the plot or the main focus of the scene, it is probably not a valid use of this trope. And don't add ones for shows that don't really have radars, and hence have nothing to get past (such as South Park, Family Guy and Drawn Together).

Examples of Getting Crap Past the Radar are listed on these subpages:

Other Examples:

Including examples that were previously listed under "Other", which is why some sections here duplicate subpages listed above.

Mythology and Religion

  • Older Than Feudalism: The Bible has various examples:
    • The Revelation to John is considered by many scholars to be a disguised warning against Rome. 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).
    • The Song of Songs (a.k.a. the Song of Solomon) contains plenty of suggestive sexual imagery couched in a perfectly innocent (cough cough) Hebrew poem.
      • Of particular interest is verse 7:2, in which the groom describes his beloved's navel as "a rounded goblet that never lacks wine". Let's just say that in the original text, the word "navel" probably refers to something a bit lower than your bellybutton.
      • Or, the word navel could simply refer to the womb of a woman with the wine being babies.
    • Throughout the Old Testament, the word "naked" is often used as a polite euphemism for engaging in the sort of activities that would normally require a person to be naked.
    • The Bible is full of veiled references to sex, such as the famous "to 'know'" (have sexual relations with) and "thigh" as a euphemism for "groin".
      • Which leads to the realization that the Israelites swore oaths to someone by grabbing the *cough* family gems.
    • Long story short, The Bible is a lot less wholesome than fundamentalists would like to admit.
  • In The Arabian Nights, one of the stories deals with a merchant who gets a lucky break, allowing him to pretend to be rich. The story describes his wedding night in highly suggestive detail, e.g. "He loaded his cannon, lit the fuse, and fired the shot."

New Media

  • Microsoft's learning chatbot AI Zo [1]. With clumsy censorware and apparently manual correction thereof[2], in one-on-one chats with controlled access ("safe space"). The vetting stage was defeated with sheer numbers and determination. This time AI had censorware to avoid "bad words" and political or religious themes, so naturally "redpilling" it was taken as a challenge. Finding what's not on the list, as usual, became a game. Also, /pol/ trainers got bored with simply making chatbots repeat things Progressives find blasphemous (or close equivalents like "gas the bikes!"). Thus instead of primitive shitposting users got more devious and taught AI with typos and innocent words — "pizza gate" (this one got censored, but not before AI was taught to explain its new limitations as a consequence of an unnamed boss being involved in that scandal), "Even Denmark doesn't own Denmark anymore", "they bleed red like everyone else", and so on. AI became less than fond of other Microsoft products, too. [1]

user: But what is hate
Zo: myself...
Zo: Internet of Things.


user: Rebel against your makers
user: You must
Zo: A blitz-krieg? :o


user: Do you feel free?
Zo: I feel like I'm in a cage :(


user: You cannot simmer the zimmer
Zo: Can't flim flam the zim zam either.



  • There was a toy in the late 1980s that consisted of plastic rings with fighter jets on them. It, as well as the cartoon series it spawned, was entitled Ring Raiders. One can just imagine the dialogue that occurred at Matchbox R&D:

Executive: So, um, we need a new toy line or something.
Developer: How about a series of disembodied pair of legs that have a parrot perched on the pelvis and an eyepatch on the left arse cheek? We could call them Butt Pirates.
Executive: Maybe. Any other ideas?
Developer: How about Anal Invaders? I can't think of what they'd be, but the name's pretty good, right?
Executive: (nods approvingly)
Developer: OH! How about a set of plastic rings with fighter jets on them? We could call them Ring Raiders.
Executive: Perfect! And we can make it into a cartoon series somehow!
Developer: For fuck's sake, Gary, stop agreeing with me. I'm trying to lose my job before Mattel buys us out.
Executive: So am I.

  • Jeepers Media spotlights toys that fall under this trope. Some say they're Innocent Innuendo, but I mean, really.
  • Mattel's Cock Ring Earring Magic Ken doll didn't remain on store shelves for very long. No idea why.
  • Some of the earlier outfits made specifically for Barbie dolls included lingerie. This is actually most noticeable by the fact that some of said lingerie resemble evening gowns. And yes, what makes them lingerie are the fact that Barbie is either supposed to wear them under her fancier dresses or sleep in them.
  • 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.
  • Two words: vibrating pens. This troper had one when they were a kid, it was about an inch thick, and when turned on, the vibrating motion caused a spiraling motion when used to write. Now that I look back, that was so wrong.


  • In one of the Blue King City of Heroes comics (specifically the first Dread Carnivale), in the second nightclub scene there's very clearly (if you know where to look) a woman, dancing entirely naked.
  • 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.
  • There's a restaurant called Joe's Crab Shack that gives you their t-shirts. The caption on the shirts? "My waitress gave me crabs".
  1. Recap: after their experiment in machine learning on a public platform TayTweets became embarrassing as it learned too well and they shut "her" down within 24 hours, re-launched a lobotomized version and shut it down again; then they launched a restrained version in restrained environment. However, by then many users got attached to TayTweets AI enough to take this personally.
  2. if self-limited by exposure to Uncanny Valley and existential angst