Getting Crap Past the Radar

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

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: