Media Watchdog

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
    (Redirected from Media Watchdogs)
    These dogs aren't good with kids.

    "Here in the US, we are so schizoid and deeply opposed to government censorship that we insist on having unaccountable private parties to do it instead."

    Bill Cole

    There are rules of taste and decency on TV. There are also legal requirements to be followed.

    In order to enforce these, governments set up Media Watchdogs. People (more often than not Moral Guardians) complain about a program, the body looks at it and rules whether their complaints are justified.

    The current UK record for most complaints (over 39,000) about a TV program is held by Celebrity Big Brother, due to the bullying and possible racial abuse directed at eventual winner Shilpa Shetty.

    The US version is the Federal Communications Commission, while the latest name for the UK television one is Ofcom (in addition there is the ASA for adverts and the voluntary PCC for print media). Many stations (in the US, at least) also have their own self-regulating "Standards and Practices" department (commonly known as "the network censors"). In Japan, the relevant body is the Eiga Rinri Kanri Iinkai, or Motion Picture Code of Ethics Committee (colloquially abbreviated as "Eirin;" don't ask it for help).

    These Media Watchdogs are frequently subjected to Double Standards. In the U.S, sex and nudity, no matter how mild, will be censored and critisized to hell, even though huge and over-the-top violence is left alone. In Europe, the opposite (and yet, similar) Double Standard happens: sex and nudity can be found easily, but any violence is censored to hell.

    Getting Crap Past the Radar is the art of outsmarting the Media Watchdogs. See also: Executive Meddling.

    Examples of Media Watchdog include:

    Anime and Manga

    • Oruchuban Ebichu was designed to push the boundaries of the Japanese broadcast code, trying to get away with as much as possible without being censored. However, certain parts did end up getting censored, though a lot of edgy material made it in.
    • In Fushigi Yuugi, Miaka is told to remove her clothes as part of a test to see if she is worthy to receive an object of power; she starts stripping, but stops while still wearing a one-piece undergarment and says "This is the limit of what the broadcast code allows."
    • Notoriously, the final episode of Excel Saga was designed specifically to violate the standards of Tokyo Air Check (the Japanese version of the BS&P). Everything down to the length of the episode (one minute longer than normal) was designed to make it impossible to air. The episode was titled, appropriately, "Going Too Far". (And indeed, it didn't make the air in Japan; it ended up a Baker's Dozen.)


    • In Wes Craven's New Nightmare there is a psychiatrist who blames violent movies to be the cause of the (pre-teen) protagonist's mental condition. Her name is Doctor Heffner, a hint at the MPAA´s former chairman Richard Heffner, who gave Wes Craven a hard time repeatedly.
      • An extra Take That was in just how out-of-touch the psychiatrist was. She tells the actress who was in the Nightmare On Elm Street movies that her son apparently knows who Freddy Krueger is, and from this assumes the mother has been showing her child her old movies (all of this in a disapproving tone). The actress snaps back, in exasperation, "Every kid knows who Freddy Krueger is! He's like Santa Claus!"
    • Head of the British Board of Film Censors at the time, John Trevelyan, didn't like the early James Bond movies, making cuts to them. EON named the villain of GoldenEye after him.
    • This Film Is Not Yet Rated is all about how this works for movies in the US.
    • Team America: World Police had a scene where two non-anatomically correct marionettes simulate various sex acts. The censors made them cut two extreme examples (both involving bodily waste), but allowed the rest of it...along with scenes of puppets being blown up, decapitated, eaten by live cats, shot to pieces and defenestrated. Evidently that was okay, but puppet scat was a no-no.
    • UHF: The film ends with the villainous Channel 8 getting its broadcasting license revoked by the FCC. Partly because they had failed to file paperwork to renew, but mostly because a recording of Channel 8 manager R.J. Fletcher giving a slanderous and negative appraisal of the population of the city was secretly recorded and rebroadcasted publicly. (On Channel 8 no less) The FCC even tells Fletcher that they'd normally overlook a late filing, but considering his "latest comments", they're pulling the plug.
      • Similarly, Tapeheads ends with Tim Robbins and John Cusack arrested by FBI agents for airing a sexually explicit video of a politician to discredit him. This includes a Shout-Out to Jello Biafra's PMRC-inspired obscenity case by Biafra himself, cameoing as an agent.

    FBI Agent: Remember what we did to Jello Biafra?


    Live Action TV

    • Painfully obvious in NCIS which depicts borderline realistic, and often gruesome, autopsy scenes...but the corpse's genitals are always conveniently blotched out by what looks like glare from a high-powered lamp.
      • In one episode, DiNozzo tests a theory by asking the coroner, Ducky, to see a deceased man's member.
    • BBC Sketch Show The Mary Whitehouse Experience took its name from an infamous self-appointed British moral guardian.
      • Mrs Whitehouse is also satirized as one of the three "Pigs" in Pink Floyd's song of that name.
      • She was also satirized in an episode of The Goodies. It seems she wrote to the show to compliment them as being one of the few "clean" shows on TV. They didn't like that.
    • The Gong Show: Chuck Barris, producer and host, tired of network censors nixing acts which he thought were fairly innocuous, began throwing deliberately outrageous ones at them so as to distract the Watchdogs from the acts he really wanted to broadcast. Naturally enough, in accordance with Finagle's Law, several of these intentionally over-the-top acts were allowed on the air, including the infamous Popsicle Twins, a pair of women made up as teenaged girls who sat on stage and provocatively sucked popsicles while the audience howled.
      • It was allowed on the East Coast broadcast of the episode, but after the quick and predictable outcry it generated, NBC removed it from the West Coast broadcast that aired a few hours later.
    • Parodied in an old Smothers Brothers sketch where the Smothers Brothers hand their new script to a team of censors. Each one reads a page and laughs even harder than the last one, before throwing the page away and saying "no." Only the last page remained because it wasn't funny at all.
    • Many fans of Veronica Mars joke that the storm of double-entendres present in the dialogue simply overloaded the censors' filthometers and they gave up.
    • A moment that should have been dramatic was turned almost narmy in an episode of the 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica when Starbuck started dropping fraks like nobody's business. We know exactly what she's saying. Why do we have to have drama ruined by good but ultimately fruitless tries at alternate swearing?
      • Brilliantly parodied in this Robot Chicken sketch, with most of the actual Battlestar Galactica cast.
        • "Frak" is the last remnant of the original Battlestar Galactica's habit of having alternate names for almost everything: seconds became centons, years became yahrns, fuck became frak. While the alternate time system was dropped, frak was specifically included as an homage to the original. Originally, there was some bowdlerization involved, but that's not the only reason its there.
    • In early episodes of Lost, ABC's Standards and Practices insisted that Charlie's heroin use could not be shown. Instead, it had to be implied with cutaway shots.
    • Les pieds dans la Marge, a Québécois TV show that collects various stunts for teenagers (in the large understanding that "teenage" extends at least to the mid-twenties) gives a meta example of media watchdogs and executive meddling. The show presenter and narrator is often shown during an executive meeting where he interrupts the sequence asking if the show is sending the right message to the teenagers. The funny part being that the actor that plays the complaining part is also taking parts in all of the stunts (such as trusting your friends blindly to choose a tattoo that will end on your bum, Skydiving, Forest survival and so on).
    • The production staff for Star Trek: The Original Series wanted to show a several-second blurb of (what was considered to be, at the time) excessive skin, but one member, knowing that the Media Watchdogs would disapprove, is reported to have told the rest of the staff to double the time of skin shown, so that they could "negotiate" the time down to half, thus keeping the amount of "Questionable Material" the same as they originally wanted, but also satisfying the Media Watchdogs.
      • Star Trek: The Original Series was subjected to what would today be considered a quite extraordinary degree of censorship. (You can still make old-line Trekkies laugh with the phrase "Avoid the open-mouth kiss", which NBC's Broadcast Standards department rubber-stamped onto any mention of kissing in a script.) In the episode "That Which Survives", Lee Meriwether wears a crop-top and harem pants—with a rectangular tab about four inches by five extending up from the waistband to conceal the forbidden sight of her navel.
    • In 2002, The View had a recurring segment on weight loss, for which the hosts weighed in periodically. The day after the final segment, Meridith Viera stated that the scale had been removed from the set, to which Joy Behar replied "Thank you, Jesus." This was broadcast live to the U.S. East Coast, which prompted a moral outcry about using His name in a joke. ABC responded by bleeping "Jesus" out of the West Coast broadcast, which prompted another moral outcry for treating the name, in Jerry Falwell's words, "as if it were profanity."
    • In May 1970, a state commission in Mississippi voted to ban Sesame Street, because it portrayed characters of all races as equals. When the vote was leaked to the New York Times, the counter-guardians pressured Mississippi to release the ban after 22 days.

    Newspaper Comics

    • In a Dilbert comic, the syndicate made Adams remove a police officer's gun, which he replaced with a doughnut. This would be pretty standard, except for the fact that the punchline was the officer shooting an unarmed suspect, which he still does...with the doughnut. Someone get Dunkin' to start selling those.

    Professional Wrestling

    • After being repeatedly badgered by the Parents Television Council (PTC) for its raunchy programming, WWE (WWF at the time) lampooned the organization with a wrestling stable known as Right to Censor (RTC). Clad in business suits, the RTC would openly harass any wrestlers who acted too profane, sexy, etc. Of course, they weren't above using violence to get their point across. For the record, despite the parody, Right to Censor pretty much did exactly what the PTC wanted, and many of the edgiest elements of the WWE are gone to this day.


    • The Goon Show opted to take the piss by putting in completely out of context punchlines to dirty jokes, then pointing out that anyone who got the joke had no right to be offended. And let's not even get started on the brandy.
    • Similarly, the radio comedy Round the Horne (itself a victim of overzealous censorship) aimed a number of Take Thats including one where a team of censors object to the title of a then popular TV Show 'Have A Go With Wilfred Pickles' (the joke being that it's not the obvious innuendo in 'have a go' but the name 'Pickles' was promoting alcohol abuse).

    Horne: Will you take my case?
    Julian: Well, it depends on what it is. We've got a criminal practice that takes up most of our time.
    Horne: Yes, but apart from that? I need legal advice.
    Sandy: Ooh, isn't he bold?

    • Parodied by Stan Freberg in his classic Elderly Man River sketch.

    Stand Up Comedy

    • American stand-up comedian and social commentator George Carlin famously dealt with the situation soon after its inception in the U.S. by making it part of one of his concerts.

    "How about this? The FCC, the Federal Communications Commission, decided all by itself that radio and TV were the only two parts of American media not protected by the free speech provisions First Amendment to the Constitution. I'd like to repeat that because it sounds vaguely important. The FCC, an appointed body, not elected, answerable only to the President, decided all on its own that radio and TV were the only two parts of American media not protected by the free speech Amendment of the Constitution. Why did they do that? Because they got a letter from a minister in Mississippi! A Reverend Donald Wildmon heard something on the radio he didn't like. Well hey, Reverend, didn't anybody ever tell you that there are two knobs on the radio? Two! Knobs! On the radio! However, I'm sure the Reverend isn't too comfortable with anything that has two knobs on it anyway. Anyway, Reverend, there are two knobs on the radio. One of them turns the radio off, and the other one, changes the station! Imagine that, Reverend! You can actually change the station! It's called freedom of choice, and it's one of the principles this country was founded upon. Look it up at the library, Reverend, if you have any left when you finish burning all the books!"


    Video Games

    • Atelier Iris Eternal Mana has a little fun with this: In one dialogue exchange, Verbally Ticked Catgirl Norn is afraid of monsters, so she asks the hero, Klein, to sleep with her. She thinks what she's saying is totally innocuous, but a flustered Klein responds by saying: "I can't! The ESRB would go nuts!"
      • This line is actually missing in the PAL version (though the game retains its fourth-wall wonders), and Klein simply answers with a flustered "'re joking..."
        • "The PEGI and both OFLCs would go nuts!" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.
    • No More Heroes parodied the censorship issue by joking that putting anything more extreme into the game would get the game an AO rating. (An Adults-Only rating is suicide for a game, because a certain large retailer refuses to stock games with the AO rating.) In the dialogue before the final battle, no less. There's also the implication that the game would have to be re-edited if the plot point referenced was actually uttered, thereby delaying the game. To top it off, this is all followed by the line, "You don't want this game to become No More Heroes Forever, do you?" This line is in the original Japanese version as well, since CERO (Japan's equivalent of the ESRB) is similar in how they act.
      • They also went for broke in the dialogue that they skip through. It's a REALLY, REALLY bad story!
      • You can slow down the speed so you can hear what is really being said.
    • Parodied in Sam and Max Season 2: What's New, Beelzebub?, where we find that the FCC is run by the forces of Hell.
    • Parodied in Mortal Kombat 2 and 3 with babalities and friendships.


    Western Animation

    • Francine Clara Censordoll (FCC) from Moral Orel is probably the only recurring character here that's all about making vicious attacks on the FCC. First she never procreates, considers her view of morality to be above all others (believing herself to be just as holy as God), is an enormous hypocrite, doesn't care about actual harm to people (in a un-aired script she's the one who orchestrated Orel getting shot) and, if it wasn't for Clay Puffington, would be the worst character on the entire show.
      • Of course ever since SOPA/PIPA she more resembles the MPAA nowadays...
      • And no, "never procreates" aren't as bad as the folks who use their kids as pretext to dumb everything down to a preschool level because, well, Think of the Children.
    • Ever subversive, American cartoons are rife with jabs at their resident network's Media Watchdog. A few examples:
      • In the Futurama episode "Bender Should Not be Allowed on Television", Professor Farnsworth and Hermes form the TV watchdog group Fathers Against Rude Television specifically to protest Benders behavior on "All My Circuits".
      • During the first two seasons of ReBoot (which is actually a Canadian show, but the concept is the same), several jokes were made at the expense of ABC's Broadcast Standards and Practices Department (BS&P). These include a weapon that fires life rafts being labeled "BSnP Approved", and a thinly-disguised parody of the Village People singing a song to the tune of "YMCA" about the BS&P.
        • And during the third season, once they had cut ties with ABC and moved to syndication (giving them much more control over their own show), one can see a tombstone in a game that reads "Here lies the Mainframe Joint Venture, an unholy alliance."
      • When Beavis and Butthead did away with Beavis' pyromania-induced Catch Phrase of "Fire! Fire! Fire!" they replaced it with him shouting "Water! Water! Water!" whenever he saw a large body of it as a not-too-subtle jab at the censors. When Senator Fritz Hollings (D- S.C.) tried to cite the pair as a bad influence on kids, but misidentified them as "Beaver and Buffcoat", the animators used it as an in-joke, coming from the mouth of a prison inmate.
        • In an episode involving Burger World, Beavis can be heard screaming "Fryer! Fryer! Fryer!" after he dumps all the patties on the grill.
        • Similarly, while they were watching the video for Rollins Band's "Liar", Beavis began to chant: "Liar, liar! Liar, liar, pants on -- whoa."
        • In another Video Segment, they watch a Video that has a Man On Fire. Beavis is totally overwhelmed with delight that he couldn't say anything intelligible, and when Butthead questions him, he didn't even remember what happened.
      • The Beetlejuice cartoon also spoofed ABC's Broadcast Standards and Practices in one episode, where a bossy fairy-godmother figure named Goody Two-Shoes, sent from the Bureau of Sweetness and Prissiness (BS&P), ordered the gang to clean up their act, and eventually used her magic to briefly turn the show into a syrupy Sitcom a la Leave It to Beaver.
      • The Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Washingtoon" dealt with a media watchdog destroying Acme Acres to prevent the further existence of funny cartoons. Of course, this is a show that openly mentions network censors in the theme song, so...
      • One episode of The Fairly OddParents featured Vicky being arrested by the FCC for using the word "moron" on the radio. (Apparently it's okay to use that word on TV, but not on the radio)
      • The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes series features a regular character known as The Censor Lady who constantly butts in to demand the characters behave in a more kid-friendly fashion.
      • In an episode of Animaniacs, two network censors objected to every violent act the Warner siblings did and showed them a parody of The Smurfs as how they want them to act. Later on, Attila the Hun attacks them, and the censors try to win him over with kindness. It doesn't work.
        • Another episode had a B-plot in which the show's characters are berated for being too violent, and Slappy Squirrel had to build an IKEA constructed machine to remove on-screen violence by making it off-screen - only Slappy made it even more violent than it was originally planned and used it against the lawyer/attorney/whatever who forced her to use it. (Incidentally, the A-plot was Skippy Squirrel trying to stop bullying through nonviolent means and utterly failing at it.)
        • One mainstay of the show was the Wheel of Morality, spoofing And Knowing Is Half the Battle. When Wakko and Dot complain about it and ask whose stupid idea it was to include morals, Yakko informs them that it was the Fox Kids execs.
      • In Histeria! there was recurring character, much like The Censor Lady, named Lydia Karaoke, who showed up every time someone said or did something inappropriate.
        • One episode featured David Farragut delivering his famed "Damn the torpedoes!" line at the Battle of Mobile Bay (and yes, he did say "damn"), at which point Lydia Karaoke appeared, trying to convince the Admiral to try out "darn the torpedoes" and "I have a problem with the torpedoes."
      • Parodied on House of Mouse with the Censor Monkeys.
      • In one Freakazoid! short, all scenes that would have shown the characters fighting were replaced with calming stock footage (some fish in a tank, etc.). The meddling executive (voiced by Ben Stein) calls it "soothing Relax-O-Vision".
    • The original Looney Tunes shorts would often make fun of the Hays Code, the restrictive regime of self-regulation that defined what could and couldn't be done in films until the early 1960s. Furthermore, the writers and animators would often put material into the cartoons specifically to be cut, the idea being that the censors would cut the obviously over-the-top stuff and leave the borderline material that the animators really wanted in. Sometimes, though, the sacrificial material was unexpectedly left alone. In one example, a dog suffering from flea-bites starts dragging his rump around Elmer Fudd's house. The animators threw in a line where the dog breaks the Fourth Wall to tell the audience, "I'd better stop this, I might get to like it!" That line was meant to be sacrificed but the whole sequence was left in.
      • A direct jab at the code was made in a Tweety Bird Wartime Cartoon involving two cats, Babbit and Catsello (transparent pastiches of the comedy team Abbott and Costello). Catsello goes up a ladder to get Tweety, and his partner tells him "Give me the bird!" The exasperated Catsello makes a comment, saying "If the Hays Office would only let me, I'd give him the bird alright!"
      • The Animaniacs would later respond to the same demand with "We'd love to, really, but the Fox censors won't allow it."
    • Ren and Stimpy: The creators of Ren and Stimpy did not want to create an "educational" series. This stance bothered Nickelodeon. As the show grew in popularity, parent groups complained that Stimpy was subject to repeated violence from Ren. Other sources for complaint were the toilet humor and harsh language.
    • The South Park episode "It Hits the Fan" was meant to push the limits of censorship, since the characters utter the word "shit" 162 times, even using a counter at the bottom of the screen to indicate exactly how many times it was said. The plot of the episode itself spoofed the hooplah over the use of the phrase "Shit happens" on NYPD Blue: overuse of the word "shit" following its appearance on the Show Within a Show Cop Drama ends up spreading a horrible plague and letting loose a dragon, which is battled by the ancient Knights of Standards and Practices.
      • Similar to the above example, but thrown against the MPAA, South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut was originally designed to test just how far they could take an R rated movie before it became NC-17. The answer was made clear in the film: "Remember what the MPAA says: Horrific, deplorable violence is okay, as long as people don't say any naughty words! That's what this war is all about!"
        • The MPAA also made them change the original title, "South Park: All Hell Breaks Loose" because of the word 'hell'. (Having "Hell" in the title would have meant the trailers could only be shown accompanying R or NC-17 rated movies; at the time, movie trailers were either G or R, there was no PG or PG-13 middle ground.) The implications of "Bigger, Longer, and Uncut" were hilariously lost on them.
        • Also, Parker and Stone followed the examples set by Looney Tunes and The Gong Show — every time the MPAA would mark a scene as unacceptable, they would replace it with something even worse. If their accounts of making the movie are to be believed, the MPAA would nearly always approve the more offensive revision. Apparently they don't care what you replace the scenes they don't like with, just that they're replaced. Maybe they were afraid that if they complained about the "improved" version, the result would be even worse than that.
      • According to interviews, Matt Stone and other writers spent hours bickering back and forth on the phone with executives during the production of "Cow Days" to determine just how many times they could get away with having Cartman say "Sucky sucky five dolla!" (thinking he is a Vietnamese prostitute) without the episode being censored.
      • South Park is pretty much Refuge in Audacity by this point.
    • In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Gee Whiz" Meatwad and Frylock watch a mock PSA about network censorship that ends with the line "By following standards and practices you're guaranteed to make a mediocre product that no one can relate to." In fact, gags aimed at censorship liberally sprinkle the episode, ending with a No Fourth Wall moment at the end where Frylock and Master Shake angrily ask the camera if the censors liked it. The answer: "ACCEPTABLE!" This take on the episode emerged after a previous version was rejected for being too offensive. The plot circles around Meatwad believing that a mysterious image on a billboard, which he thinks looks like Jesus, has gotten him pregnant; in the episode as aired, the characters circle the Jesus Taboo by using the term "Gee Whiz", thus the episode title.
      • Later, ATHF would have an episode called the "Dickisode". Prior to censoring the word "dick" was said 53 times, and there were 4,437 visible "dicks" (4.93 a second). All of the offending objects were covered with NTSC test bars.
    • This is spoofed in Drawn Together when Wooldoor, Xandir, Spanky Ham, and Captain Hero celebrate Wooldoor's questionable show being aired despite censorship. They toast to the show being aired and to freedom of speech, each chiming in random vulgarity. The conversation ends with Captain Hero giving a long and detailed description of him mutilating, disemboweling, and molesting a pig while the others watch in awe and horror.
    • The Family Guy episode "PTV" revolves around and spoofs this concept — after a Wardrobe Malfunction during the Emmy Awards leads to all TV being ridiculously censored, Peter launches his own pirate station that features everything that viewers miss. When Lois gets fed up with it she alerts the FCC, but comes to regret it when they arrive in town not only to shut down the station, but also to censor real life. "His chin kinda looks like balls. Should I censor that, too?" They even strap a sensor to Peter that turns his farts into Stephen Wright jokes. (Watch as Peter strains, only to hear: "I spilled spot remover on my dog, now he's gone.")
      • In the commentary for the episode "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater", it is mentioned the original skit for the DeBeers commercial parody involved the woman going all the way down off screen, followed by the slogan "She'll pretty much have to". When the FCC wanted to censor it but the writers wanted to keep it, they argued about how far down she can go for it to still be appropriate, even down to which EXACT FRAME does "too far" begin.
    • Parodied in one of the earlier Halloween episodes of The Simpsons, where the cartoon figure of a network censor is stabbed to death while crossing out parts of the script, with the episode rating going up with each stabbing, eventually reaching "TV-666". Whilst his demise is bloody, the sentiments he utters during his murder ("Oh what the fudge! Oh Jiminy Christmas! Darn it!") are far from offensive.
      • Taken to greater Strawman levels than usual in the episode "You Kent Always Say What You Want".
      • In the episode where Homer takes to medicinal marijuana, they weren't allowed to show him putting a joint in his mouth. Of course, this is mocked on one of the commentaries as "So kids won't find out about that mysterious last step."
    • In an episode of MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch, the show's hosts, Johnny Gomez and Nick Diamond, were arrested by the Broadcasters Opposing Offensive Behavior for showing offensive content on the show, namely airing an illegal "cockfight" fight between Tommy Lee and Ron Jeremy (both of which were in their chicken suits).
    • In one episode of The Thirteen Ghosts of Scooby-Doo a watchdog stops the show, insisting that the flame attacks from a dragon are too violent. Scrappy turns it around, however, insisting she has something personal against dragons.
    • Parodied in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Raging Bully", where school bully Buford van Stromm challenges Phineas to a fight. Phineas and Ferb even build a boxing ring outside the Googleplex Mall... and then the ringside announcer tells Phineas and Buford "In no way should this ensuing fight contain the image of potentially harmful, hurtful, or psychologically disturbing physical acts that could be found imitable by an impressionable child viewer" (quoting Disney's Standards and Practices policy word-for-word). This is much to the disappointment of Buford, who has to settle for a thumb-wrestling match.
    • Beakman's World: Fear of the Media Watchdogs was one of the contributing factors as to why the show saved answering the most popular question sent into the show, "Why do we fart?", for the very last segment, after the show was canned for good. After all, they couldn't cancel the show twice... or could they?
    • Say what you will about SpongeBob SquarePants, he's managed to outrage conservatives twice! Once for being gay, despite sponges being asexual; more recently for talking about global warming.
    • Similar to The Gong Show and Looney Tunes examples, this was the method Bruce Timm and Paul Dini used to outwit the censors with their work on the DC Animated Universe. If they made a sequence that got banned, they would take it and replace it with something worse. They never noticed.

    Real Life

    • America just barely avoided this. The MPAA (a non-government organization) along with VIACOM, Disney, and several other companies wanted to pass SOPA/PIPA. This would have allowed corporations to pull down entire websites without any due process what-so-ever if a website so much as had a link to a link to a link to a link to a link to a link to a website with a few blurry images of copyrighted material. One of the excuses used was 'it stops pirating' (it wouldn't since piraters have found ways to hide their websites due to fear of being sued) and 'it's good for the economy' (even though less than 400,000 are employed by the movie/TV industry while literal millions are employed or have their own businesses online). Luckily millions of Americans called bullshit on this and constantly pointed out how large corporations could use this to simply crush their legal online competitors and the bill has since become dead-in-the-water.
      • Less fortunately, that didn't stop a few video websites like Megavideo from getting cracked down as retaliation.
    • Ironically, while France has some "classical" media watchdogs, some of them actually complain because they believe that French TV and movies are not bold enough.
      • Possibly because without bold programs, they'll be out of a job.
    • In Canada, broadcasters have to present a certain minimum amount of Canadian content. In a case of Tropes Are Not Bad, while there has been some griping about it, these rules worked wonders for Canadian popular music over the years. Once, before these regulations, Canadian artists were so ignored that radio broadcasters literally broke records in front of some musicians pleading for some airtime; now the Canadian music scene has flourished to the point where all-Canadian music stations exist with big international stars who wouldn't think of leaving the Great White North.
    • In 2011 a documentary film about bullying in U.S. schools called Bully was released. The reason the film was made was to encourage inspiring advocacy, engagement, and empowerment not just in people who are being bullied and in their families, but by those of us who all too often stand by and do nothing. In other words, one of the target audiences were young people being bullied, in order to let them know they can get help. However, the MPAA rated the movie "R" for language (a few kids interviewed use the "Fuck" word. Because of the R rating, most kids won’t get to see this film. No one under 17 will be allowed to see the movie, and the film won’t be allowed to be screened in American middle schools or high schools. Only through massive protest and slight editing were the producers able to get it changed to "PG-13".
      • Quite a number of writers mentioned that had "Bully" been produced by a major studio (they run the MPAA) there would have been no problem but the MPAA always sets ratings to favor the large studios over the small independent ones and there is no way to hold the MPAA accountable.