Too Soon

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"Comedy is tragedy plus time. For instance, the night Lincoln was shot, you couldn't make a joke about it, but now it's fair game, see? Tragedy plus time."
Lester, Crimes and Misdemeanors
"No humor column today. I don't want to write it and you don't want to read it."
Dave Barry, Just for Being Americans (written just after 9/11)

A kind of self-censorship borne out of sensitivity to current issues (although Your Mileage May Vary as to whether this is oversensitivity or not). One frequent situation is when a new episode (or possibly an old one) is edited or not broadcast because it coincides with some recent tragic event. Can be taken to ridiculous extremes, especially if Executive Meddling is involved. After President Reagan was shot, The Greatest American Hero had the name of its main character changed because his name was Hinkley, the same as the would-be assassin.

The phrase "too soon" rose to prominence in the '00s to indicate that an observer was still sensitive to the issue at hand and did not feel it was a fit subject for comedy. Likewise a trend of subversions also took hold primarily by referencing an event long since considered to be an Acceptable Target.

A prominent example for Americans was that, for several years, any show featuring the World Trade Center tended to be tweaked a bit. Some older shows and even movies had broadcasts digitally edited to remove it from the skyline. This sometimes happened even when the show or movie was set before 2001. This has Unfortunate Implications, in that it allows the terrorists to destroy the World Trade Center retroactively. Much of the recent popularization of the phrase and awareness of the issue is due to the rather long shadow the World Trade Center attacks cast over the subsequent decade.

In other cases, the result ends up being a Missing Episode.

Ironically, sometimes it is the very act of censoring a scene that gives it its Too Soon quality. A seemingly innocuous scene has been edited out of a repeat; the only explanation is that it referred to the same kind of situation as in Current Issue X. What was a vague connection has now been made explicit.

For obvious reasons, what qualifies as Too Soon is a matter of opinion (see: Dead Baby Comedy). Johnny Carson famously found out in the 1970s that the Lincoln assassination was still Too Soon for his audience, while few comedians even today are brave enough to poke fun at Kennedy's murder (although the conspiracy theories have come in for their share of ridicule).

Easier for dramatic series to avert than comedy series, since at least in dramas the sensitive subject matter is being tackled with a degree of seriousness and respect. On the other hand, it's a comedy series' prerogative to satirize and make light of its subject matter, which may be seen as more offensive. If the satire isn't aimed directly at the target, though, audiences might even find it more offensive.

Does not apply to a character going back in time and making a joke that relates to a tragic event that hasn't yet happened.

Has elements in common with Harsher in Hindsight.


Examples of Too Soon include:

9/11 Examples[edit | hide | hide all]

Advertising[edit | hide]

  • Ford recalled the 2002 U.S.-market showroom brochure for the Focus just as the model year was getting underway, because the towers were reflected in one of the cover car's windows. A second edition was released, identical except that the towers were photoshopped out.
  • Starbucks recalled a promotional poster for their Tazo Citrus drink in 2002 because it portrayed a dragonfly flying (or divebombing) two of the drinks set side by side, in an eerie parallel to September 11's events.
  • A teaser poster release for the 2002 Spider-Man film (much like the trailer example below) was recalled a few days after its initial pressing due to the image showing the reflection of the Twin Towers in Spidey's eyes. The remaining posters that weren't scooped up have since become very valuable collector's items.


Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • In the United States, Cowboy Bebop had delayed reruns of episodes featuring a building bomber because of 9/11, and an episode featuring the space shuttle Columbia after the real one was destroyed in an accident in 2003.
    • A year after 9/11, "Cowboy Funk" (the episode featuring the building bomber) returned to Adult Swim rotation. "Wild Horses" (featuring the space shuttle) returned to rotation in even less time.
    • "Waltz for Venus" was similarly cut from the original run on Adult Swim because it depicted a plane hijacking in the first few minutes. "Sympathy for the Devil" was removed from the line up as well because there was a scene where a man fell out of a high rise building.
    • Although the American release wasn't hindered by 9/11, the Cowboy Bebop movie was released on September 1, 2001. Since the film involved a terrorist bomber and it was released just 10 days prior to the attacks on the Twin Towers it seemed like the US theatrical release might be held back. In the end, though, the drawn out process of translating and doing a high quality theatrical dub was long enough that enough time had passed for the movie to not be taboo.
  • Similarly, the North American airings of Mobile Suit Gundam was brought to a grinding halt by 9/11.
  • The first anime adaptation of the Full Metal Panic! light novel was scheduled to premiere in 2001, but was delayed due to its Too Soon themes (the first major arc even kicks off with the hijacking of a commercial airliner). When it was released, Sousuke's homeland was bowdlerised from Afghanistan to a semi-pronounceable Qurac. This was carried over into the Engilsh translation of the light novels.
  • An episode of Pokémon was pulled from rotation after 9/11 because a giant Tentacruel destroyed a large building that didn't even remotely resemble one of the Twin Towers (it was longer than it was tall). Particularly bizarre because the scene it was banned for was, and continued to be, part of the opening montage of every Kanto episode. Another episode, Tower Of Terror, was pulled simply because it was called "Tower Of Terror" (the titular tower is a haunted tower that's an important location in the games). Another episode, "A Scare In The Air", about the main characters winning a blimp trip to the Orange Islands, had to be renamed because of 9/11. These bans lasted until the show Channel Hopped to Cartoon Network many years later.
    • Not to mention the one episode (Battle of the Shaking Island! Barboach VS Whiscash!!) that has never aired anywhere: an episode about Barboach creating earthquakes was never shown on Japanese TV because of a strong earthquake a few days before it was set to air. Judging from the episode list on The Other Wiki it seems as though they're trying to forget the episode even existed.
    • The move Earthquake hasn't been seen in the anime since then. Of course you can still cause your own earthquakes in the games.
    • After the Tohoku earthquake of 2011, the Team Rocket vs. Team Plasma episodes were postponed. Presumably, this is because the episodes have some destruction of part of Castelia City (by an energy beam, not an earthquake/tsunami) or simply because the Tohoku earthquake messed up production and airing schedules of the anime. Thankfully, the episodes are too important to the plot for them to be cut entirely, so they've only been postponed, not banned.
  • The third arc of Digimon Adventure is about the Chosen Children trying to find their eighth member before Vamdemon/Myotismon does. They follow him to what just-so-happens to be the district where they all used to live, and start wondering why all of their families moved away. In the first runs of the dub, Joe, the oldest in the group, tells everyone that a terrorist bombing happened around that time and that nobody knew who was behind it, so their families probably all moved away out of fear. Later in the episode, the kids discover they've repressed their memories of the night of the bombing, and that it was really a battle between two huge Digimon. They conclude that witnessing this battle was probably the common factor that led to them being chosen and that the Eighth Child saw it, too—obviously, this is very plot-relevant, so the episode couldn't just be cut. More recent broadcasts of the episode on Jetix just cut every bit of dialogue relating to "terrorists" or "bombs."
    • Digimon Tamers also had minor edits in several episodes. Images of exploding buildings were cut, due to being aired very soon after 9/11.
    • Digimon Adventure 02 suffered arguably more - there was an entire arc devoted to see the children taking down the Control Spires ("Dark Towers" in the original). Therefore, some very inconsistent censoring of those ones took place, with the most common method being cutting out the scenes completely (in some of those cases, the scenes were rendered utterly nonsensical as characters were celebrating... seeing their Digimon using their attacks, apparently).
  • Dragon Ball Z's American airing had the misfortune of reaching an episode about Gohan and Videl saving people trapped in a burning skyscraper just a few weeks after 9/11. The episode was skipped over during its first run, although subsequent rotations on Cartoon Network have restored it.
  • The law of "Too Soon" pretty much devastated Transformers: Robots in Disguise. Only three episodes into its American broadcast run when 9/11 occurred, multiple episodes of the series had to be held back so their dub scripts could be reworked, three episodes didn't air in the United States at all, and one for which the dubbing had already been completed had to be held back for weeks until it's entire opening sequence could be disassembled and rebuilt using footage from another episode. In every single case, it was because some buildings were destroyed during the course of the action, and it resulted in a series that was aired thoroughly out of order up until the very end of its run.
  • The original Japanese version of Mirai Nikki contained a building called the Twin Towers, which was assaulted by several characters, including Yukiteru Amano, the series' protagonist, and Minene Uryuu, an established terrorist bomber. In the English translation, the building was named "The Double Tower Building."
  • The American premire of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime was delayed for a few weeks as a result of the attacks.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • A panel of Adventures of Superman #596 depicting the aftermath of an alien assault on Metropolis, including a partially-collapsed LexCorp towers (the Superman analogue to the WTC). Its cover is a typical chest-barring shot of the S-shield with an atypical black background (Supes in mourning for said alien attack) and the line "This is NOT a job for Superman" on it. The issue was due to hit newsstands on September 12, 2001 and came a day late with a coincidence in timing positively eerie in an industry where the product is made months in advance.
    • DC made the issue returnable without penalty by purchasing comic shops.
  • A Spider-Man/X-Force comic crossover in the early '90s had part of the WTC destroyed by supervillains. Try finding it now. Notably, it was the last of Todd McFarlane's run before he jumped ship to Image Comics.
    • Even more, a Spider-Man special from Wizard calls the crossover pointless and (in the wake of 9/11) distasteful.
    • Similarly, the Marvel graphic novel Revenge Of The Living Monolith, which shows the Monolith punching through the WTC on the cover, will likely never be reprinted. Nor the first Damage Control miniseries, in which the WTC is being rebuilt after a superbattle. The WTC got kicked around a lot in Marvel comics of the 70s, 80s, and 90s.


Film[edit | hide]

  • At least one trailer for the first Spider-Man movie was pulled from distribution because it showed a helicopter filled with bank robbers getting caught in a web stretched between the towers of the World Trade Center. In a more positive note, the movie was edited to feature New Yorkers throwing things at Green Goblin and shouting Narmic yet uplifting things like "You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us!" The WTC can also be glimpsed in the reflection of Spidey's eyes during one of his initial webslinging tests.
    • In the part during the first Spider-Man film where various New Yorkers are talking about Spider-Man not long after he started showing up in the news, one of the "testimonials" is from two workers in Ground Zero.
  • The original ending of Men in Black II was scrapped after 9/11 because it featured the World Trade Center opening up and disgorging hundreds of flying saucers.
  • In September 2001, Jackie Chan was supposed to start filming Nosebleed, about a World Trade Center window-washer who foils a terrorist plot. It was scrapped entirely.
  • On the night of 9/11, The BBC pulled its scheduled evening film involving a tunnel explosion in New York.
  • Later that week, an Australian channel pulled The Towering Inferno.
  • Big Trouble, a film based on a popular comedic novel by Dave Barry in which some people sneak a bomb onto an airplane, was due to be released the Friday after 9/11 but was delayed.
  • View From The Top was shelved for 2 years by Miramax after it wrapped up filming in 2001, because the execs felt it would be in poor taste to release a comedy that made light of flight-attendants so soon after 9/11.
  • A particularly infamous post-9/11 edit of Back to The Future removed all references to terrorism. As Marty goes back in time while escaping Libyan terrorists, that scene made no sense, understandably overshadowing the also Egregious blurring of a great deal of Product Placement.
  • The 2002 film Bad Company was held back from its original release for several months because of the terrorism related plot revolving around planting a bomb to blow up New York's Grand Central Station.
  • Pretty much any film adaptation which originally had Islamic terrorists as the antagonist in the source material. In The Sum of All Fears, the antagonist was changed to a neo-Nazi. In Jumper, it was changed to a bunch of crazed Christians, etc.
  • One sign that it is no longer Too Soon after 9/11 is in Watchmen, where the villain's final plot levels much of Manhattan, with the World Trade Center looming in the 1985 skyline.
    • Though the film does rather explicitly avoid the "midnight" panel from the graphic novel (and all the attendant shattered buildings and dead bodies). And film!Ozymandias's "M-bombs" go off it multiple cities, not just New York.
  • Collateral Damage, about a man chasing down the terrorist who killed his family in a bombing, had its release delayed from October 5, 2001 to February 8, 2002. It also originally contained a scene involving an airplane hijacking that was later cut from the movie.
  • Subverted by Lloyd Kaufman's refusal to remove the Twin Towers from the opening shot of Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV. His choice to keep them was met with thunderous applause by the audience at its New York premiere.
  • The Postal film, intended to be shown in 1500 American theaters, ended up only being shown in four of them, 7 1/2 months after it was intended to, apparently because the opening scene portrayed the 9/11 attacks as an accident on the part of hijackers who merely wished to head to Arizona. A bit extreme, considering the film was released in 2007.
  • The film of BS Johnson's Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry, about a bookkeeper who turns to terrorism, was due for its British release in the autumn of 2001. However due to events that September, which made terrorism seem less like a fun response to life's iniquities, the film's release was postponed and it barely made it into cinemas at all.
  • Cloverfield received negative criticism from Fox News for being "insensitive" to the victims of 9/11 because it showed New York buildings being destroyed and clouds of debris.
    • Parodied recently by Robot Chicken, with New York citizens bashing the monster as it destroys buildings.
  • Margaret Cho's Notorious C.H.O., released as a film in 2002, opens with a joke about her giving blowjobs to rescue workers at Ground Zero.
  • Certain television stations when airing The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! show the film without the full beginning having the assembled terrorists talking about concocting a terrorist act to show the weakness of the United States.
  • The original script for Terminator 3 had an insanely destructive finale, showing several major American cities and landmarks being obliterated by nuclear blasts. By some accounts this was chopped down to a much-abbreviated sequence because the studio felt that showing such detailed death and destruction wouldn't sit well with audiences that soon after 9/11. However, it has also been suggested that the original ending got changed because it would have been way too expensive to produce, leaving this one up in the air somewhat.
  • Buffalo Soldiers shows the bored US soldiers stationed in West Germany (in 1989) selling stolen weapons to terrorists, who are portrayed somewhat sympathetically. Miramax bought the film on September 10, 2001 and had to delay it for a year or two.
    • The film's eventual US release wound up being Too Soon as well; the film was released near the beginning of the Iraq War, when public support for the War On Terror was quite high. The film wound up making barely $350,000 at the box office.
  • In the Netherlands, Con Air was programmed to air just a few days after 9/11. Being a film about criminals hijacking a plane and eventually crashing it into a building, the network programmers thought this would invoke this trope, and replaced it with Batman and Robin. Tiny mistake though; can you guess what kind of mass transit vehicle gets blown up by a madman less than five minutes into the film?
  • The ending of Remember Me reveals that the film was set in 2001, and that Robert Pattinson's character is about to die in the 9/11 attacks. This angry review says it all.

Why was it titled Remember Me? Because Never Forget would have been too obvious.

  • The 2002 version of the film The Time Machine suffered from a three month delay because of the original script that was abandoned shown sections of the shattered moon crashing into the skyscrapers of 2037 New York City.
  • There was a call for The Two Towers to be renamed because of 9/11. Never mind that The Two Towers was the original title of the book on which the film was based - and that book had been published back in 1954.
    • The original petition on petitionline was (supposedly) a joke/parody on the entire "remove any reference to The Two Towers" craze in movies. Then it got out of hand (see Real Life below)
  • When ET the Extraterrestrial was re-released, a throwaway line was changed. The original line was, "You are NOT going as a terrorist for Halloween!" The edit replaces "terrorist" with "hippie."
  • Early versions of The Incredibles featured a scene where a frustrated Mr. Incredible vents his emotions on an abandoned building, but ends up accidentally damaging a neighboring building as well. This was considered too reminiscent of the World Trade Center collapse, and was replaced with a scene where Mr. Incredible and Frozone rescue trapped civilians from a burning building.
  • Scenes of the WTC were removed from People I Know.
  • A planned sequel to True Lies was cancelled.
  • Averted in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. The World Trade Center towers are seen in the New York scenes of the film, set many years into the future after 2001. Less than three months after the film's release, they were destroyed. Though risking controversy and criticism, Steven Spielberg left the twin towers in the DVD release.
  • Subverted with Gangs of New York. The final shot is of the Manhattan skyline, with the World Trade Center prominently featured. Its release was delayed; but Scorsese insisted on the shot remaining in the movie, saying the movie was about those who built New York, not those who tried to destroy it.


Game Shows[edit | hide]

  • An episode of Jeopardy! which aired in November 2001 featured footage of The Pentagon; at the next regularly scheduled break, host Alex Trebek explained to viewers the episode had been filmed prior to September 11. Jeopardy! champion Kevin Laude's one win, slated to air September 11, never aired in its run in most of the country, until it reran on GSN for the first time in June 2005.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • This is the most common complaint from critics about Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The harsher ones say that the book was written specifically to cash in on an American tragedy, the nicer ones simply say that Americans have not yet had time to fully process 9/11 and that Foer is preening by offering contrived insights dressed up in flowery language. It doesn't help that the movie was widely panned as pure Oscar Bait.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • CBS ran a special -- 9/11—about the first fire station that handled the alarm when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. By coincidence, a film crew was doing a documentary about that station and was there with cameras in hand on September 11, 2001. There was a great deal of controversy because the show about the firefighters and how they handled the events was run exactly six months—March 11, 2002—after the towers fell.
  • Another exception: the new Battlestar Galactica Reimagined has prominently featured three different storylines involving suicide bombing and four involving torture of prisoners.
    • Not a complete aversion in the first such story, as Executive Meddling prevented the show's producers from showing or explicitly stating there were passengers aboard the suicide ship when it was shot down. However, it was more or less stated later on that there were civilians aboard.
  • The first episode of Scrubs (premiering in the Fall of 2001) featured a frustrated outburst "I swear to Aisha" which didn't quite seem to match the actor's lip movements. "Allah" would have matched far better, however.
  • Also in 2001, the producers of the Law and Order franchise planned a huge multi-part Crossover between all three series, which would have revolved around a terrorist plot. After 9/11, the plan was scrapped, and no major Crossover has ever been attempted.
    • However in a rare and nearly total aversion, Law and Order:Criminal Intent, which premiered in fall '01, did have a story about a suicide bomb plot by a group of Islamic extremists during their first season. While 9/11 isn't really directly invoked, it really didn't have to be.
    • Each series was delayed in its opening, in part because the last shot of the opening credits was of the Manhattan skyline, including the Twin Towers. The towers were edited out, each season premier also began with a dedication to the victims of 9/11.
  • Power Rangers Time Force experienced an exceptional number of episodes edited before being re-broadcast in order to modify or remove the series staple of exploding buildings during mecha battles. The franchise has never entirely gotten over it since; sparkle effects are added to most instances of fire, and what few exploding buildings that remain from source footage are always empty beforehand. Usual explanations for this consist of Abandoned Warehouse districts or building occupants all successfully evacuating off-screen.
    • Also, footage of the Time Shadow Megazord standing on twin skyscrapers was edited from the series, and the shot of it in the opening credits was replaced by the Q-Rex posing.
  • This was parodied by a Saturday Night Live sketch where the Turner Classic Movies channel tries to edit the World Trade Center out of the 1970's remake of King Kong. The final ten minutes of the movie (where Kong climbs the World Trade Center) are replaced by new footage (starring TCM employees) of people looking out a window, describing Kong climbing the Chrysler Building.
    • The first SNL episode following 9/11 had then-NYC mayor Rudolph Guliani as the guest star. He opened the show by introducing various rescue workers as heroes, then states that SNL should continue on as a testament to the human spirit. Lorne Michaels asked if it's okay to be funny again. Guiliani's response: "Why start now?"
    • Possibly because the writers and actors of SNL actually live in New York, some of the best close-to-the moment jokes came from SNL. There was a skit about people whose personal lives were in tatters after 9/11 because of their first names. Two of them were Al Kyda, and Tallulah (Tally) Bands. They had businesses using their names, and had been forced to close, and their friends were even afraid to say "Hi" to them in public.
  • The pilot episode of The Agency featured a terrorist plot by Osama bin Laden/Al Qaeda; that episode was delayed after 9/11. Another episode featuring an anthrax scare was delayed after several real-life anthrax attacks.
  • Less than a year after 9/11, the Fox sitcom Titus featured the titular character suffering an emotional breakdown on an airplane after smelling a turkey dinner and being reminded of his mother (who recently committed suicide), his younger brother wearing a towel around his head while making loud gargling noises, while their friend was on his knees in the aisle, arms raised, shouting "A la! A la!" after a fellow passenger continually referred to his meal as "Chicken King" instead of Chicken Al la King. Though this was in line with the series' rather dark humor.
  • The weekend after 9/11, the scheduled rerun of Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda was to be an episode opening with an eco-terrorist group ramming a small fighter into a commercial space liner, killing everyone aboard. It was replaced with a rerun of a different episode which was more of a sweet love story transcending time. Ironically, some stations owned by the company which made the show, which run episodes a week later than independent stations that syndicate the series so as to not cut into their ratings with possibly earlier-scheduled airings available over cable or satellite TV, ran that week the previous episode in the rerun schedule...which featured a would-be suicide bomber.
  • Shortly before Touched By an Angel started its eighth season in September 2001, CBS was scheduled to repeat the Season 7 story "Netherlands" from the previous May. The plot has heroine Monica witnessing a building being destroyed by a bomb; many are killed, and though she's an angel she has a crisis of faith that culminates in her being tempted to forsake God by Satan himself. Plus, the B-plot has new angel Gloria interacting with one of the victims—a little girl who ultimately succumbs to her injuries. The repeat was pulled, but Seasons 8 and 9 each had a Christmas Episode ("A Winter Carol" and "The Christmas Watch") in which the angels had to help people who were affected by 9/11.
  • Fringe inverted and possibly ended the application of this trope when, at the end of the first season, Olivia switches to a parallel universe where William Bell has offices in the World Trade Center, revealed by a dramatic pullback crane shot.
    • Although we do see a newspaper headline with "Obamas prepare to move into new White House", meaning that, well...
    • 9/11 clearly happened in the alternate universe as it can be seen from Walter's questioning of a survivor from the other side. Said survivor was working on designs for the "New Pentagon" and mentions that during 9/11 Pentagon was destroyed but not the Twin Towers.
    • A few months before this, the American Life on Mars provided a harbinger: a stunning reveal of World Trade lets Sam Tyler know he's no longer in 2007.
  • Australian kids' show Play School, which runs in a 9AM timeslot, had as its theme for the day of September 12, 2001, building up towers made of wooden blocks and knocking them down, all to a tune. Playschool records its episodes more than six months prior to having them on the screen, it was completely unintentional, and it still marked the first time the producers received hate mail.
  • In the DVD releases of Friends, one particular season had an episode where Monica and Chandler are married and on their honeymoon about to board an airplane while leaving Joey and Phoebe in charge of Monica's apartment. The original version was revised at the last minute because its plot involved Chandler seeing a sign saying 'no jokes about bombs', making a joke about it, and guards swarming them and asking for a luggage search because they take those jokes seriously. Later, as they're searching, Joey and Phoebe call saying that there's an apparent gas leak in Monica's apartment. Monica replies into the phone: "Do you think I want that place to blow up!?" The guards come in hearing everything except the first three words, and rekindle their search for the 'bomb'.
  • Frequently committed by Daniel Tosh on Tosh.0. Nothing is sacred to him.
  • 24 was delayed in its release, as it focused on (preventing) terrorist attacks, and the first episode ends with a plane blowing up. After that, the first season gradually morphs from a paranoid, X-Files-style conspiracy thriller featuring the main character's counter-terrorism agency out to assassinate a Presidential candidate over funding cutbacks, into a "safer" storyline about Eastern European warlords out for revenge.


Music[edit | hide]

  • A list of songs that radio stations owned by Clear Channel Radio were advised to avoid playing in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 did the rounds on the internet. Some of the entries were obvious, others much less so. As the Snopes link above shows, some people misread the list as being songs that were outright banned from playing on the air, instead of suggestions about what might not be well-received by the audience.
  • The Dream Theater live album Metropolis 2000: Scenes from New York was scheduled to hit store shelves on 9/11. The original album artwork had a burning apple wrapped in barbed wire with a silhouette of New York City in the flames (with the World Trade Center towers clearly visible), in what is a very scary coincidence. The album was pulled, given new artwork, and put back on shelves in a few weeks.
  • The Jimmy Eat World album Bleed American was released on July 18, became self-titled following 9/11, and has since switched back for the 2008 reissue.
  • "A Dream" by Jay-Z, a tribute to the Notorious BIG, includes a sampled verse from Biggie's classic "Juicy," but the line "Blow up like the World Trade" (referencing the 1993 attack) is edited out. However, this doesn't stop people who know and love the original from keeping the line in when singing along.
  • A rap/hip-hop duo actually called The World Trade Center made an album that featured an exploding building that oddly enough wasn't the WTC.
    • Not to be confused with The Coup, a hip-hop duo whose scheduled November 2001 release was to have an exploding WTC on the cover. See here.
  • The band I Am The World Trade Center, whose debut album was released a few months before September 11, briefly changed their name to I Am The World.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Christmas at Ground Zero" stopped being aired duing the winter holiday season after 9/11, due to the site of the attacks being commonly known as Ground Zero. The actual song refers to celebrating Christmas in the middle of a nuclear war.
  • After the 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States, Anthrax put out a press release joking that they were going to change their name to Basket Of Puppies, but ultimately kept the name. They did, however, temporarily put up information about the disease on their official website, since concerned people were typing anthrax.com into their browsers.
    • Anthrax kept a very good sense of humour about their unfortunate coincidence at the time. During a talk show appearance, when jokingly asked if they still received fan mail (referencing the infamous delivery method at the time) a band member responded along the lines of "Yeah, but we don't open it." while another quickly added "Yeah, no ironic death for us".
  • The early Cure single "Killing An Arab" was somewhat controversial to begin with due to the Unfortunate Implications of the title (though it's actually about the shooting scene in The Stranger), but gained further controversy during the Persian Gulf War and again after September 11. The 1986 compilation Staring At The Sea included the song, but had a sticker on the front cover explaining its meaning, and it was conspicuously the only non-album single of the period not included in the 2004 reissue of Three Imaginary Boys. It has been played live post-September 11, but with the chorus changed to "Killing Another", or more humorously "Kissing An Arab".
  • The song "No Hard Feelings" by the Bloodhound Gang includes the line "I'm missing you like a hijacked flight on September eleventh/I don't know who got on you but I'm not wrong in thanking them since it/ain't my job to fuck you on your birthday anymore." The album came out two years (almost to the day) after the attacks.
  • German musician Farin Urlaub of Die Ärzte fame was due to release his first solo album "Endlich Urlaub" (translation: "At last: Vacation") in October 2001, with promotional material already published before September 11, including the originally planned cover, depicting Farin in front of a burning resort hotel with a jerry can in hand. The cover was pulled and replaced in time, showing burning palm trees in the background instead.
  • The Strokes' Is This It was first released in the UK in July 2001, but came out in the US a little after 9/11: the band voluntarily demoted the song "New York City Cops" to a b-side for the US release, due to it's unfortunate refrain of "New York City cops/ they ain't too smart" (though in context it was just a Non Sequitur comment made by a character in the song). What made this worse is that there were several reviews by American critics already published before the song was removed that called the song one of the album's best tracks.
  • Sugarcult's "Stuck In America" was released as a single just a little before 9/11 - it prominently featured the line "Everybody's talking 'bout blowing up the neighborhood", so a single version was recorded with the lyric altered to "Everybody's talking 'bout moving out the neighborhood".
  • Inverted by Rush on their album Vapor Trails": the song "Peaceable Kingdom" was originally an instrumental was changed to have lyrics in honor of the 9/11 attacks.
  • ACDC's video for "Safe In New York City", released in 2000 as a Take That at Rudy Giuliani, was still getting airplay in August 2001. Don't know if it was ever broadcast in the U.S. again.
  • Insane Clown Posse's 2001 rarities collection "Forgotten Freshness Vol. 3" included a new track called "Cartoon Nightmares." One of Shaggy's lines - "I hijack planes and head for record label towers" - was deemed too tasteless (even by ICP's standards), and the line was scrambled beyond comprehension.
  • Funker Vogt's "Body Count", released about a year before 9/11, describes a terrorist attack "much worse than Oklahoma". Not surprisingly, the song was omitted from their subsequent US tour.
  • Capsule's 2011 album was set to be released shortly after the tsunami but was delayed so the title could be changed from "Killer Wave" to "World of Fantasy."
  • Averted by the band Burning Airlines, who formed in 1998 and were named after the Brian Eno song "Burning Airlines Give You So Much More": Although they had understandable difficulty booking concerts after 9/11, they refused to change their name. They did ultimately break up in 2002 anyway though.
  • Brian Eno's song in turn was the subject of Too Soon. It was originally titled "Turkish Airways Give You So Much More," referencing a then-recent plane crash. (Eno was fond of Gallows Humor and Dead Baby Comedy at the time.) The record company made him change it, though they somehow found a song about burning airlines acceptable.


Music Videos[edit | hide]

  • Disturbed's video for "Prayer" was banned for its focus on devastation, specifically the earthquake scene with rubble falling from the buildings which several deemed too similar to 9/11. The video is meant to be a reference to the book of Job, with its themes of adversity, calamity and recovery.
  • Similarly, Machine Head pulled the video for "Crashing Around You" due to its theme of planes smashing into buildings. It was released shortly before 9/11 and was in rotation on several music TV stations at the time.
  • The music video for the Blink-182 song "Stay Together For The Kids" was originally supposed to have the band performing inside an abandoned house that crumbled and fell. When 9/11 happened, the video had to be reshot so that way the house is being destroyed by a wrecking ball rather than falling away from destruction (like the World Trade Center towers did).


Puppet Shows[edit | hide]

  • New material was quickly added to Sesame Street following the attacks addressing issues raised. The first episode of the season involved a grease fire at Hooper's Store which traumatized Elmo until he meets some real life firefighters.


Radio[edit | hide]

  • The BBC were at pains to point out that the episode of the Hitchhikers Guide series featuring the destruction of an office building (or to be precise, one of two large towers, albeit connected by a bridge) was originally aired in the early Eighties and wasn't a reference to 9/11. It's best not to speculate about the people that disclaimer was aimed at.
  • An aversion: Miami sportscaster Hank Goldberg had long ridiculed Miami Herald columnist Linda Robertson, who had advocated that the University of Miami Hurricanes "change their offensive nickname" in the wake of Hurricane Andrew. An out-of-town reporter being interviewed by Hank only a few weeks after the September 11 attacks asked whether Robertson had written an article calling for the New York Jets to change their name.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In Deus Ex, during sections of the game where the New York skyline is visible in the background, the two towers of the World Trade Center are noticeably missing; the real towers were destroyed a year after the game was released. Harvey Smith has explained that due to texture memory limitations, the portion of the skyline with the twin towers exists in the game's data files but had to be left out of the final game, with the other half mirrored in place of it. According to Smith, during the game's development, the developers justified the lack of the towers by stating that terrorists had destroyed the World Trade Center earlier in the game's storyline.
    • Of course, there's the wreckage of the Statue of Liberty, which was publicly stated as being destroyed by terrorists. (Which turns out to be a government lie.)
  • A last minute cut to the ending of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, which originally involved a huge mobile fortress destroying a large portion of Manhattan, compounded the game's Gainax Ending with illogical scene-switches. Most of these were restored in the Novelization.
    • A line in which Raiden states that the "U.S. President is a terrorist" (after finding out that the President was willingly cooperating with the Sons of Liberty) was re-recorded as well.
    • Some lines were also deleted outright: For example, in the scene that Vamp reveals that Arsenal Gear contained a purified hydrogen bomb, there was originally supposed to be an exchange between Raiden and Vamp that revealed that Dead Cell and Solidus actually had different plans on exactly how they were going to launch the Purified Hydrogen Bomb: While Solidus intended to launch it into the sky to cause an EMP wave to short out the Patriots main computer in Wall Street, Dead Cell intended to simply use it to nuke Manhattan outright.
    • Also, the Ocelot (after becoming Liquid Ocelot) also was originally supposed to state that he set Arsenal Gear's navigation systems on a direct course to Manhattan. This fact, evidently, was left out in the final version.
  • The first mission of the Soviet campaign in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 tasks the player with invading Washington and destroying the Pentagon. In a later Soviet mission where the player must set up a Psychic Beacon near the World Trade Towers, if the towers are damaged, they look eerily like they looked after the September 11th attacks. The game was released in October 2000, nearly a year before the attacks. After the attacks, Westwood pulled all remaining covers that showed a plane flying towards the Twin towers, and re-named the famous landmarks. The Trade Towers are now just Towers, and the Eiffel Tower is "Paris Tower", the Arc of Triumph is the "Paris Arch of Winning" and The Louvre is "Generic World Famous Art Museum". (Though Game Mods can restore the names if you wanna.)
    • A bit further down the line, The German version of Generals, named Generäle, attempted to preclude this. The entire GAME was essentially changed. Why? The German authorities were fearful the original version would allow children to play out the (then-on-paper) war in Iraq. Factions had their names changed (since Generals proper used the United States, China, and a knockoff of Al-Queda), all infantry units became cyborgs (like they infamously did in the first game) - save for the Terrorist, who became a rolling bomb. This continued into the German version of Zero Hour, Stunde Null.
  • Grand Theft Auto III (release date: October 2, 2001) went under a few changes following 9/11. They changed the color scheme of the Liberty City police from the distinctive blue and white scheme to a Los Angeles inspired black and white color scheme. They also removed Darkel, a revolutionary urchin who wanted to bring down the city with acts of terrorism and violence. (They merely removed the framework of these missions—most of the Darkel missions were given without context as Rampages)
    • Also removed was the ability to hi-jack airplanes.
  • Averted in KOF'98: Ultimate Match. The original '98 featured a background of what was ostensibly New York, with the WTC off in the distance. UM's new background (as well as the usable original background) still features the towers. Justified Trope in that this takes place in 1998 (non-canonicity aside)... and in that SNK Playmore probably didn't care either way.
  • The final boss battle of the Spider-Man 2 PlayStation 1 game originally took place on the World Trade Center. The game's North American release was shortly before 9/11, and at least one UK magazine had published a walkthrough based on that version. The re-release of the US version and the PAL version changed the building to a nameless skyscraper, removed any dialogue referencing the WTC and renamed the level from Top of the World to Best Laid Plans. They also renamed a few other levels: Aces High became The Gauntlet, Downward Spiral became The Corkscrew and Crash Flight! (in which Spidey has to prevent a plane from crashing) became Wind Tunnel.
  • The Japanese version of Advance Wars, Game Boy Wars Advance, was slated for an October 2001 release in Japan. It was pulled and wasn't properly released until 2004, when it was included in a 2-in-1 bundle with its sequel.
  • Six Days in Fallujah, a video game account of several real US Marines during Operation Phantom Fury, has drawn quite a lot of flak. Notably, the brains behind the idea are the actual Marines themselves working with the developers, who wanted to tell their story in a medium that people actually experience; people play more video games than they read books these days. According to official material, the game is being designed with a Survival Horror mindset to emphasize the tension and fright of actual small-unit urban combat. Early first-hand accounts of the game being shown in preview-form have accused the developers of flat-out lying, however, claiming that it plays more like Gears of War.
  • On the gaming front, it's never too soon for the internet! At least as far as flash goes. Anyone who frequented Newgrounds in the following days was privy to many Trade Center parodies already, those which survived landing squarely in the Bastard category of flash games/movies. Among these was the infamous WTC/NYC Defender, later deleted to make room for the finished product a couple months down the line. However, the game's main site took it down for the usual reasons, as pointed out in this Sep1401 article. Yes, it really was made that soon. Eventually requested NG removal when they began trying a more serious angle. Of similar note is a flash game revolving around that one Marine who lobbed a puppy. For anyone that missed WTC Defender, you had to shoot down hundreds of planes flung at the trade centers as if launched by catapult. Due to the oddly random scoring system, many surmised it represented the amount of people per plane. Ironically the far more offensive fly a plane into the trade center remains, as the author never asked for it removed.
  • The backstory for The Conduit (release date: June 2009) features a near-future terrorist attack on Washington D.C. ... on 9/11 (again).
  • The Modern Warfare 2 "Infamy" trailer has a part where Washington, D.C., gets pretty beat-up into a war zone, including partial destruction of the Washington Monument. And guess what happened next.
  • The Virtual Console release of Combatribes, a Technos beat-em-up set in Manhattan, renamed the main bad guys from "Ground Zero" to "Guilty Zero".
  • In an extreme case of bad timing, the PlayStation 2 port of Silent Scope 2, featuring a mission with a plane being hijacked, was released on 9/11, although with a disclaimer sticker.
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002, set to be released in September 2001, was delayed so that the Twin Towers could be removed from the game.
  • In the first level of Twisted Metal: Black, released three months before 9/11, you can shoot down a jetliner to reveal a secret passage. This was removed from the PAL version, which came out in December of that year, and possibly the Greatest Hits rerelease. Later, the Rooftops level has the wreckage of a plane embedded in one of the buildings, which may have also been removed.
  • Prototype and In Famous pretty much shattered this particular brand of Too Soon for games, both having been set in Manhattan,[1] which is cordoned off and a superpowered maniac runs around murdering random people.
  • In 2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game, there is an establishing shot of Manhattan with the World Trade Center conspicuously absent. For those who don't know, the game takes place in 1991.
  • Post-9/11 Sim City games removed the plane crash disaster.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Futurama Couch Gag where the spaceship crashes into a building was cut out for a while after 9/11.
    • Also, the Futurama episode "A Taste of Freedom," in which the Decopodians take over Earth after Zoidberg is found guilty of eating the Earthican Flag, was in production during 9/11. As a result, several shots during the invasion scene had to be removed or reanimated, as most of them showed buildings being destroyed (It should be noted that one of the replacement scenes is the infamous Visual Innuendo shot of the Decopodians cutting the tip of the Bill Clinton Monument).
  • A pre-9/11 episode of Family Guy showed Osama Bin Laden getting past airport security by singing "I Hope I Get It" from A Chorus Line. The scene was cut for subsequent broadcasts. Incidentally, series creator Seth MacFarlane had been scheduled to be on one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center, but he missed the flight (thanks to oversleeping from a hangover) and decided to catch another one—until he saw news footage of the attacks.
    • Family Guy also had an episode where Peter tries to destroy James Woods' career. He does this by stealing James Woods' identity and saying on live TV that he (James Woods) is making a new movie about 9/11 called September 11th, Two-Thousand FUN.

Peter: It's real old school comedy. It's like two pies in the face...and one in a field in Pennsylvania.

    • Another case comes from an episode where Brian and Peter are reliving The Eighties. Brian runs afoul of a woman's boyfriend and his response is to schedule a meeting atop the World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 (this was cut when aired on FOX, but shown on Adult Swim and the DVD release). You really have to wonder if Seth is that hung up about what could have happened to him.
    • Another example from "Padre de Familla" (which was also a scene that was cut on FOX, but aired on cable and DVD): Brian tries to tell Peter that there is a fine line between patriotism and the overzealous love he's developed for his country. Peter tries to defend himself stating that "9/11 changed everything!", and Brian points out that Peter wasn't even aware of what had happened that day until 2004! Flashback to Lois watching the news coverage and crying. Peter walks in, unfazed, and cracks: "Heh, musta been a woman pilot!"
  • The Simpsons had one episode that took place in and around the World Trade Center (the season nine premiere "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson"). While no official move was made by Matt Groening or FOX themselves, several stations acted individually and pulled the episode from their syndication schedules. The ban lasted several years in some cases, but most have re-inserted the episode by now.
    • A 2009 British repeat hacked some bits out at random—the towers, being pretty central to tone of the plot threads, were still present, but the scene with the fighting office workers (one of whom says, "They stick all the jerks in Tower 1") was cut.
    • Even the writers on the DVD commentary feel sorry for doing the episode because of how much of an Unintentional Period Piece it's become due to 9/11 (and they really felt bad when they saw the scene of the man telling Homer that "They stick all the jerks in Tower 1.")
  • An episode of Invader Zim was delayed so that a scene depicting hypothetical destruction of a city (Zim's prediction of doom if a family didn't buy the school fundraiser chocolate bars) could be toned down.
    • Toned down into something even more nightmare inducing.
    • AND THE ORIGINAL STILL GOT SHOWN ON THE PREMIERE! (Admittedly, this was due to someone at Nickelodeon accidentally putting in the master tape instead of the remade version.)
  • Liloand Stitch had to reanimate much of its climax as a response to 9/11; originally Stitch commandeered a 747 to rescue Lilo, flying around the skyscrapers of Honolulu. The plane was changed to a spaceship, although you can still tell it was once an airplane by looking at its doors. This scene, however, was included on the special edition version of the DVD.
  • South Park also spoofed The War on Terror with a Looney Tunes routine, with Cartman as Bugs Bunny and Osama Bin Ladin as Elmer Fudd.
    • And then taken to a new level in "It's a Jersey Thing": when the Jersey Shore is about to overrun South Park, the day is saved by none other than Al-Qaeda crashing hijacked passenger planes into the army of Jerseyites! Directly preceded by the line:

"What about the families of the victims of 9/11? Their feelings matter for another ten months dammit!"

  • An episode of Justice League was originally to feature a plane crash but was rewritten into a train wreck.
  • An episode of the 90s Spider-Man: The Animated Series involving an incident with the World Trade Center was edited post 9/11 in such a manner the episode's opening is confusing.
  • A Season 4 episode of Robot Chicken featured Cloverfield (see above), with people in the movie yelling out "Too soon!" at the monster as it rampaged through NYC.
    • In the Star Wars special, one skit has Owen Lars calling Anakin "Little Orphan Annie" while he's carrying his mother's body, and refuses to accept that it's not funny.

Owen: Comedy is tragedy plus time!
Anakin: No time has passed! I'm carrying her body!

    • And in another sketch later in the special, as a pair of stormtroopers prepare to torch the Lars homestead, Owen and his wife included, the stormtrooper gives him a message from Darth Vader:

Stormtrooper: He says "You may now laugh about the 'Little Orphan Annie' joke."

  • After 9/11, the Hey Arnold! episode, "Married", was never shown again (until a brief rerun after being voted one of the Top 100 Nicktoon Moments) simply because the World Trade Center was shown in the background of one scene. This was a pivotal episode of the series and a fan favorite to boot.
  • An Episode on a Plane of Rocko's Modern Life became a Missing Episode after 9/11 because the episode involved being on a plane (and in a crash) a plane flying into a control tower for some reason, and dangerous people getting through the metal detector.
  • An episode of Jay Jay the Jet Plane that depicted a plane crash was cancelled.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants edited a scene from the episode called "Just One Bite" because it features a lit match and a bucket of gas being in contact, causing The Krusty Krab to explode and burn. Jay Lender eventually confirmed the 9/11 theory in an email posted on the Spongebob fansite Spongebuddy Mania. However, the episode premiered one month after the attacks. The only logical explanation for this edit would be that the Nickelodeon censors didn't want kids to think that playing with matches and gasoline was a good thing.
  • The two-part climax for the "Neogenic Nightmare" arc in Spider-Man: The Animated Series hasn't been seen in years, due to scenes taking place at the World Trade Center.


Other[edit | hide]

  • The Friars Club roast of Hugh Hefner took place barely a couple of weeks after 9/11, with the result that none of the comedians involved really knew how far they could go with the jokes. Rob Schneider delivered a very tame set, which wasn't well received, but then up stepped Gilbert Gottfried. His first line was that he had been delayed because "he had a connecting flight at the Empire State Building", which was met with booing and calls of "too soon". His response was to launch into The Aristocrats, probably the most "too far" joke in existence—and utterly brought the house down, largely because his fellow comedians appreciated the catharsis of what he was doing (and largely because Gilbert Gottfried's voice can make pretty much anything funny). The footage wasn't aired when Comedy Central showed the roast, but it did turn up as part of The Aristocrats film.
  • George Carlin's 2001 HBO Special changed its title from I Like It When a Lot of People Die to Complaints and Grievances because of the attacks, and he added a 5-minute set about 9/11 in front of it. He would similarly have to change his 2005 HBO special from the same original title to Life is Worth Losing after Hurricane Katrina.
  • Prentice Hall's 2001 Algebra II textbooks had an image of the twin towers. Later copies of the textbook has the cover showing Baltimore
  • In order to trap the hard-of-thinking into a knee-jerk "Too soon!" reaction as a way of satirizing what he saw as a morbid obsession with 9/11, Kevin Klerck set up a petition at PetitionOnline.com that claimed the second film of the Lord of the Rings trilogy had been named The Two Towers in order to exploit the disaster, and demanded it be renamed. A corresponding protest site was also established at www.twotowersprotest.org (now unclaimed). The fact that the book had used this title in 1954 apparently didn't register to most of the initial signers of the petition.
  • The furor surrounding protests of the so-called "Ground-Zero Mosque" is rooted in the claim that after nine years it is still too soon. Ironically enough, this was whipped up several months after several conservative commentators (who would either go on to bash the mosque themselves or would sit back and watch their colleagues do it) praised the people behind setting up the Islamic Community Center for their work in using said center for promoting inter-faith dialogue.
  • Life Imitates Art - By complete coincidence - as it must have been planned and randomly selected long before - the Dilbert desk diary for 2001 featured, for September 11, a cartoon where owing to the incompetence of the Pointy-Headed Boss, a jetliner is seen to crash in the direction of tall buildings. Asked about it later, cartoon creator Scott Adams agreed it was a "really odd coincidence."
  • On the 12/09/2011 edition of Countdown, Keith Olbermann used the phrase in his denunciation of an architectural project from the Rotterdam firm MVRDV that featured paired skyscrapers connnected by a "pixilated cloud". The firm's statement said in part: "It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks, nor did we see the resemblance during the design process." Really? Seriously?!


Other Examples[edit | hide]

Advertising[edit | hide]

  • An unfortunate aversion: Mere hours after Billy Mays' death, the Discovery Channel ran a regularly-scheduled episode of the Mays-featuring Pitchmen, while several other networks ran infomercials (programmed well in advance of the news of Mays' death) which starred Mays.
  • Either the a case of Too Soon or the worst luck ever, Corona rolled out an ad for the NFL that showed two gorgeous women sitting on the beach when a football accidentally lands near them. A cute guy comes over, picks up the football and wordlessly flirts with them. The next thing you know, footballs are landing all around the women. This ad premiered less than a week after a Mexican sports reporter named Inez Sainz alleged that she was sexually harassed at New York Jets' practices when the players deliberately threw balls near her so they could "accidentally" bump into her as they retrieved them.
  • Barely a day after the devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, comedian Gilbert Gottfried began Tweeting tasteless jokes about it. Aflac Insurance, whose products he endorses (he provided the voice of the duck), fired him less than an hour after discovering these Tweets. It helps that Aflac is VERY BIG in Japan (though someone else does the voice there). He responded to this by tweeting jokes about shoes and/or witches and apologizing after each one.
  • TV coverage of Heath Ledger's untimely death from an accidental Ambien overdose ran with commercials for... Ambien.
  • In 1994, the restaurant chain Jack-in-the-Box released the first commercials with the "Jack" character. In the commercials, he referenced the 1980 commercials where they blew up the Jack-in-the-Box head that was their trademark, saying they had fired him. He then claimed that due to plastic surgery, he was back, announced to the board of directors that they were all fired. Immediately after this announcement, the commercial showed a floor of a building, presumably the board room, exploding. Unfortunately, the commercial was Too Soon, and was bowdlerised when the Oklahoma City bombing occurred.
  • The preview cover of Sonic the Hedgehog #217, which shows Sonic distressed while nearly submerged in a lake of crude oil, may prove to be a Too Soon moment, considering the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010.
    • Youtube videos featuring the Oil Ocean Zone music were swiftly marked by comments suggesting that it should be BP's new theme song.
  • A TV ad for the 1986 Chevy Astro minivan, which compared the van's profile to that of the Space Shuttle, was pulled after the Challenger disaster.
  • Because of the way ad servers work, online newspaper articles about tragedies and disasters are not infrequently accompanied by ads for a product or service that was instrumental in the tragedy or disaster.
  • 20th Century Fox pulled ads for the Ben Stiller-Vince Vaughn comedy "Neighborhood Watch" in Florida soon after the controversial Trayvon Martin incident, where Martin was killed by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch, after a confrontation. The controversy of the incident (Zimmerman claimed self-defense, despite the fact that Martin was unarmed, and local police have yet to charge Zimmerman with any crime) was enough for Fox to decide to pull the ads.
  • Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, did a Weight Watchers commercial in which she said she got most of her exercise running from the papparazzi. It was realeased the same week as Princess Di's death and was immediately pulled.


Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • X 1999, which has been suspended at 18 out of a planned 21 volumes since 2003, has been struck by Too Soon repeatedly. The series is intentionally violent and disturbing, but uncomfortable resemblances to real-life tragedies have caused repeated suspensions in publication. In particular, beheadings depicted in the story became controversial after the gruesome Sakakibara Incident and the recurring theme of earthquakes as a sign of the end of the world after the Kobe Earthquake. The current publication hiatus does not seem to have a single trigger, but may be due to the general post-9/11 climate towards terrorism (which is essentially what the antagonists are engaging in). CLAMP has stated in interviews that they did not believe that they would be able to get the planned ending published at the time and that they have not abandoned X. Fans have mixed opinions about the likelihood of the series restarting publication.
  • One episode of Full Metal Panic Fumoffu!? featured a kidnapping, and was cut from broadcast due to a high profile kidnapping case at around the same time.
  • The third episode of the most recent Black Jack anime series was left unaired, as it was to deal with an earthquake, and one had just recently struck Japan.
  • Two words: nice boat.
  • One episode of Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni Kai and the final episode of School Days had to be delayed for a week in Japan because the contents of it were eerily similar to a murder case in Tokyo, where one girl killed her father with a cleaver...which was identical to the kind that Rena has. This eventually led to Higurashi Kai and School Days being dropped from several channels' prime time line up and Higurashi's opening song being reworked to change the scene of Rena's cleaver to that of the junkyard where she goes to. In terms of School Days' changes, see the link in the entry above.
  • The long-awaited Chinese Federation story arc of Code Geass R2 was delayed a week, presumably due to the earthquake that struck central China in early May 2008.
  • The Dragon Ball Abridged has a scene where Tenshinhan, Chaotzu, Yamcha and Krillin are training in Mr. Popo's time room. The characters remark about how desolate and run down everything looks, leading Krillin to remark "Where are we, New Orleans"? Tenshinhan berates him for it with the above line.
    • Berating Krillin for joking about stuff too soon is a Running Gag.
      • "Where's Chaozu?" "Oh, he's here...and there....and there..
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, the character of South Korea had to be pulled out of the webcast due to protests by Korean groups. This might also explain why Tibet, featured as a part of the East Asian group in one of the strips, was replaced by a panda when said strip was animated.
    • Also likely the reason there is no canon North Korea. The author also avoids mentioning the Holocaust if at all possible to keep up the series' lighthearted tone (and because Germany's one of the main characters). The English dub, on the other hand, isn't afraid to sneak in a few jabs about it.
  • The 1995 sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway remain a very bad subject to be insensitive about in Japan. Neon Genesis Evangelion, for instance, being in production at that time, was more or less re-planned on the fly to avoid being offensive in a manner that it was not intended to be offensive. Also notably, the topic was breached in Excel Saga's infamous 26th episode (“Going Too Far”) a few minutes in just to establish that yes, this episode is just about as vulgar as they could make it.
  • A bunch of anime, for various reasons (including "violent content", in the case of Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?), have been pushed back a week due to the 9.0 Tohoku earthquake, and the new Pretty Cure All Stars movie is being edited to remove a tsunami scene.
    • One anime, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, got postponed until at least mid-April. This is not helped by the fact that the episode aired 12 hours before the said earthquake featured destroyed and flooded cities, and anyone who knows a bit of this series have reason to believe It Would Get Worse.
    • Another manga, Coppelion, has its anime project cancelled, as well as the original manga postponed. That is because its plot involves, among other things, a nuclear reactor exploded due to an earthquake destroyed its cooling system and made Tokyo almost uninhabitable for more than 20 years by having a radioactive dust covering the city. That is going to hurt. A lot.
  • In-universe example in Fairy Tail: When Gildarts asks Natsu if he is dating Lisanna, he reminds him that she died years ago. (Gildarts has been away since before Lisanna died and therefore didn't know.).


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The British adult humour comic Viz satirised the tendency of companies to cash in on tragedy, by running a spoof advertisement for a commemorative plate (of the kind that cropped up en masse following the death of Princess Diana) celebrating controversial comedian Bernard Manning, who had himself recently died. It was headlined "Fat Racist Cunt of Hearts", a parody of Diana's tabloid nickname (quoted by no less than Tony Blair) "Queen of Hearts". At one point it also ran a comic strip about serial killers Harold Shipman and Fred West competing to be the first to murder a new neighbour. This resulted in a small-scale media outcry, including complaints from the families of some of Shipman's victims.
    • The comic's creator, Chris Donald, wrote a book about the origins of Viz in which he admitted he wanted to satirise the mawkish outpouring of public grief over the death of Princess Diana, but feared Too Soon-related backlash because she was so beloved. Instead the comic ran a spoof news article about Monkees fans mourning Micky Dolenz, despite the fact that they knew he wasn't dead.
  • Parodied in Comic Book Guy: The Comic Book #2, where after CBG's apparent death, the guest star opens his funeral eulogy:

Stan Lee: Face Front, True Believers! That is, those of you that aren't lying face up! (beat) What? Too soon?

  • After the death of Peter Parker in the Ultimate Spider-Man series, Miles Morales undergoes a similar transformation after being bitten by an OZ-enhanced spider. He gains Spidey's powers, as well as some new ones, and decides to fight crime. Problem is, he also decided to wear the same costume as the recently deceased wall-crawler. Some spectators point this out.

Miles: "Maybe the costume is in bad taste"

  • There was a story in 1963 that had a story that Superman was able to cover his secret identity at a public event by having John F. Kennedy impersonate him as Clark Kent. Unfortunately, the issue as released in November so soon after JFK's assassination that it seemed like that Superman trusted him because the superhero knew he would soon be dead. Consequently, DC pulled the issue as soon as they could.
  • The cover of Preacher (Comic Book) #52 was originally supposed to depict an 8 year-old Tulip O'Hare getting a handgun as a Christmas present. After Columbine, it was changed to a standard facial shot of an adult Tulip.


Fan Fiction[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • The release of Dr. Strangelove was delayed several weeks due to the Kennedy assassination.
    • One of Slim Pickens' lines was also re-dubbed: "Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff."
    • It originally ended with a pie fight in the War Room, and at one point the President is hit, prompting the line "Our gallant President has been struck down in his prime!".
  • A showing of Die Hard 2 was delayed in the UK and instead replaced with the showing of the Sylvester Stallone movie Cliffhanger. The reason for this was because there had been a recent incident at Glasgow Airport involving a flaming car crashing into the building, and with the movie being set in an airport they probably thought showing it would be in bad taste.
  • Release of Fly Away Home, about a nine-year-old hang-glider pilot leading a flock of Canada geese to their nesting site, was delayed for several months following the death of seven-year-old Jessica Dubroff in an attempt to become the youngest pilot to fly across the United States. Similarly the release of Space Camp, originally scheduled for early 1986, was pushed back several months following the Challenger disaster.
  • The release of Ben Affleck's Gone Baby Gone was delayed in the UK because there were parallels to the recent disappearance of Madeline McCann.
  • ITV pulled an airing of The Railway Children (their adaptation) three days after the Ufton Nervet rail crash in 2004.
  • Done in a (rather cowardly) way in Disaster Movie. No references to The Joker himself in the movie but rather to Ambien, the drug that killed Heath Ledger.
  • Hours' before Brunos red-carpet premiere in Los Angeles, Michael Jackson died, so Universal cut a scene that joked about him, a trim that was confirmed for the general release as well.
  • In Zack and Miri Make a Porno, an in-text example occurs when the two are speculating titles for the movie they're planning to make:

Zack: Fuck-back Mountain? [Miri cringes] Too soon?

  • NBC's made-for-TV movie Atomic Train was preempted by Denver affiliate KUSA out of sympathy for the Columbine massacre, and the fact that it depicted the destruction of the city.
  • Phone Booth, the Colin Farell movie with his character stuck in a phone booth at the mercy of a sniper (voiced by Keifer Sutherland, aka, Jack Bauer), was originally supposed to be released in October 2002. In light of the D.C. Sniper tragedy, it was moved to January the very next year.
  • The Boondock Saints was also set to be released in theatres the same week as the Columbine shootings, and ended up having an extremely limited release (five theatres in the country, for one week). However, word-of-mouth led to high DVD sales, causing it to become a major Cult Classic and leading to a sequel.
  • Advertisements for the 1991 B horror film Body Parts, in which the protagonist whose arm is severed in an accident receives a transplant limb from a dead serial killer, were pulled in Wisconsin because the promotion and release of the film coincided with the discovery of the Jeffrey Dahmer killings.
  • Trailers for the film The Dilemma were pulled due to Vince Vaughn's character describing hybrid cars as gay ("but not in a homosexual way") after a rash of gay teen suicides.
  • Wes Craven's original vision for A Nightmare on Elm Street was to make his villain Freddy Krueger a child molester and rapist as well as a child killer, but had to excise this little detail because he wanted to avoid being accused of exploiting a series of highly-publicized child molestations that was happening in California at the time the movie was being made.
  • Warner Bros pulled the Clint Eastwood-directed film Hereafter from Japanese theaters after the Sendai earthquake and tsunami, as the film's opening sequence contains a harrowing tsunami disaster.
  • Completely averted in Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three. Between filming and release, the Berlin wall went up, which completely ruined the entire plot (American heiress embarrasses Coke executive by getting hitched on a trip to East Berlin). Instead of counting his losses, Wilder simply inserted a prologue acknowledging recent events and ending with, "Let's go back to last June..."
  • Similarly, Ninotchka, set in Gay Paree and released a few months into World War II, showed this caption at the opening:

This picture takes place in Paris in those wonderful days when a siren was a brunette and not an alarm - and if a Frenchman turned out the light it was not on account of an air raid!

  • Space Camp is a family film about a couple of kids who get launched into space thanks to a shuttle malfunction... released five months after the Challenger disaster.
  • The Norwegian theatrical release of We Need to Talk About Kevin (a movie about a mother dealing with the fact that her son had massacred the kids on his school) was postponed from autumn 2011 to 2012. The distributor tried to portray it as a partially random decisions, but especially because there were still survivors in the hospital at that point, it was a obvious case of too soon after the Utøya massacre.
  • The James Bulger murder, which killed any chance of Mikey ever being released in Britain for the foreseeable future (that, and the fact that it isn't really a film worth fighting for), also delayed a re-release of at least one Video Nasty, Zombie Creeping Flesh, for the next several years; the BBFC told the distributors that now would not be the best time to submit the film for rating. It wasn't until 2002 that the BBFC decided to accept a submission of the film, and the distributors' patience was duly rewarded: the film was rated 18 uncut.
  • The Ben Stiller movie Neighborhood Watch, about suburban dads who form a neighborhood watch and end up fighting aliens, had its marketing pulled from movie theaters in the wake of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch person in Sanford, Florida. The film was subsequently renamed The Watch, with the marketing revamped to focus more on the alien aspect than the neighborhood watch.
    • A similar example happened with the Walter Hill film Trespass, it was originally titled Looters and was scheduled for release in summer 1992, after the L.A. Riots, the film was pushed back to December and had it's title changed to avoid negative connotations.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Dean Koontz set up his Frankenstein trilogy to involve artificially-created monsters rampaging through New Orleans during a hurricane. Due to the destruction caused by Katrina the third book was delayed, finally being released in July 2009.
  • This was also the reason why Animal Farm was made into an allegory involving animals. George Orwell originally intended for it to directly expose some of the horrific crimes committed by the Soviet Union since Stalin came to power, but because the Soviets under Stalin were part of the Allied Forces during World War II, the book publishers could not release the book without risking Stalin either abandoning their alliance, or worse, attacking them.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In some kind of awkward aversion, the third season of United States of Tara had in one of its plotlines Kate wanting to teach English in Japan. She wants to go to Tokyo, however, an earthquake hits the country making her change her plans. The episode aired April 11, 2011, exactly one month after the fatal earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region. The episodes were written and produced in late 2010, and screenwriter Diablo Cody apologized on Tumbr beforehand.
  • In the Supernatural episode "My Heart Will Go On," a lawyer, Shawn Russo, is hit by a bus and immediately killed. On the back of the bus is an advertisement for Shawn Russo's personal injury and wrongful death services. Dean notices the advertisement, points it out to Sam, and chuckles.

Dean: Sam, check it out.
Sam: What?
(Sam sees the advertisement that Dean is pointing at and is less amused than Dean)
Dean: Too soon?
Sam: Yeah, Dean. I'm pretty sure six seconds is too soon.

  • Intentionally used in 30 Rock episode "Into the Crevasse," not quite three months after Michael Jackson's death.

Jenna: I don't know if you know this, but werewolves only come out at night...
Liz: Yeah, I think I remember that from the "Thriller" video.
Tracy: Too soon!

  • The US version of The Office has a scene where regional manager Michael Scott discusses which topics are off-topic for comedy, saying that the Lincoln assassination "just recently became funny."
  • Johnny Carson, on the other hand, learned in the mid-1970s that audiences would groan and even hiss if he made a joke about the Lincoln assassination. This naturally became a Running Gag of his.
    • This was revisited with the Leno-era Presidential Jeopardy. When Lincoln (played by Fred Willard) gets a turn, he says, "All right, I'll take a shot." Audience groans.
  • Two episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ("Earshot" and "Graduation Day") were delayed for several months following the Columbine shootings. One episode featured a student attempting suicide on campus, the other ended with the entire graduating class coming to graduation armed and fighting against a horde of vampires that ended in part of the school being blown up.
    • Two particular lines stand out:

Xander: Who hasn't idly thought about taking out the whole place with a semi-automatic?
(looks from everyone)
Xander: What? I said idly.

    • And...

Xander: I'm still having trouble with the idea that one of us is just gonna gun everybody down for no reason.
Cordelia: Yeah, 'cause that never happens in American high schools.
Oz: It's bordering on trendy at this point.

    • That Willow was amused by the joke did not help.
    • Interestingly, the Graduation Day part 2 episode did air in a couple of places in Canada. Fans started tape trains and Whedon was apparently all for it.
  • The UK airing of the CSI two parter "Grave Danger" was delayed by a week because on the day that it was due to be aired, it emerged that the 7/7 bombings (about a week earlier) were the work of suicide bombers.
  • An episode of Bones featuring the murder of a college student was delayed because of the Virginia Tech shootings, which happened earlier in the same week that the episode was supposed to air. Those same shootings also forced One Life to Live to curtail its big sweeps storyline involving similar events.
    • Criminal Minds delayed the airing of "Doubt" until the next season for the same reason.
  • In April 1995, All My Children was setting up a storyline in which one of the characters was planning on setting a bomb at the wedding of two other characters. When the Oklahoma City bombing occurred, producers immediately canceled the storyline, and appeared at the beginning of one of the episodes to explain their choice. A similar plotline on the season finale of Melrose Place (psycho Kimberley was planning to bomb the apartment complex) had already been filmed, but was edited. It did air for the following season's premiere, when the topic was not nearly as sensitive.
    • Years later, plans for a school shooting sequence was dropped in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre.
  • Medium had a two-part episode about a shooting at the aerospace engineer husband's workplace and its aftermath. When the Virginia Tech massacre and the Johnson Space Center shooting occurred during the week between episodes (what the hell), the recap of the previous episode (including the shooting itself) was replaced by a brief lecture and an acknowledgment that "there's been enough shooting" from the two lead actors.
  • In The Greatest American Hero, Ralph Hinkley's name was changed to Hanley for several episodes after John Hinkley Jr. shot President Ronald Reagan.
    • And a scene that has June Lockhart saying that his name suggests that he's reliable had to be dubbed over with airplane noise.
  • Following the Dunblane massacre, the 1996 Doctor Who made for TV Movie was edited on its original BBC transmission, to remove as much of the opening gunfight as possible. This scene has subsequently been reinstated on the DVD release of the episode, but the sound effect of the Master breaking his wife's neck (which was also removed on the original transmission) is still missing on the DVD.
  • The most recent series of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries has been delayed (on pretty short notice) due to the ongoing disappearance of Madeline McCann.
  • Two episodes of Red Dwarf (specifically "Dimension Jump" and "Meltdown") were shunted to the end of Series 4 of the series, because when they were due to air the Persian Gulf War was on, the former for fear that the character of Ace Rimmer would glamorize combat too much (however farcically), and "Meltdown" for its anti-war slant featuring the slaughter of hundreds of (robotic celebrity-wax) soldiers.
    • The repeat of "Rimmerworld" was also pushed back after the Dunblane massacre and Cat's quote (when following Rimmer's escape pod), "Form an orderly queue behind the gunsight".
  • Not long after Katrina a re-run of The Price Is Right was aired during which they gave away a trip to Mardi Gras. The prize package included a boat. CBS was quick on the draw; the re-aired episode was only shown west of the Rockies.
  • Casualty rewrote an episode which would have shown a Muslim suicide bombing, because the issue of Islamic terrorism was thought to be too sensitive after the 7/7 London train bombings. (See Western Terrorists)
    • They have previously achieved an unfortunate aversion; the producers were sharply criticised for an episode where an ambulance crashed down an embankment onto railway tracks, which was made and broadcast mere months after a collision between an express passenger train and a vehicle that had landed on the line in very similar circumstances, with twenty people killed in the resulting wreck.
  • Coronation Street received viewer complaints about a scene with a crazed woman driving her teenage daughter across Saddleworth Moor, where the victims of the infamous "Moors Murders" were buried.
    • Coronation Street also changed a storyline in which a character's baby was abducted due to similarities with the Madeline McCann abduction case.
    • The episode of Coronation Street scheduled to air on the 2nd June 2010 was cancelled by ITV due to the then-breaking news about the Cumbria massacre. The episode in question featured scenes with guns.
  • Australian comedy show The Chaser's War on Everything was highly criticized for an episode which contained a song about the tendency for people to gloss over the faults of someone who has just died. It referenced a whole bunch of dead celebrities, including the recently deceased Steve Irwin. The following week's show had them pull a stunt on the then-Prime Minister John Howard, who told them "You're a lot funnier when you pick on someone who's alive."
  • The British sitcom Absolute Power postponed an episode with a throwaway but hard-to-cut joke about an MP faking a heart attack to avoid being interviewed, after the death of prominent MP Robin Cook from a heart attack. They also postponed an episode about a member of the Bin Laden family trying to buy British Airways following the London bombings.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles—the first episode featured a terminator trying to kill John in a high school, which coincided with the Virginia Tech event. The scene was kept on, but scenes featuring the students' reactions as if to a school shooting were removed.
  • During the anthrax scare to spread the disease via mail, the episode of Seinfeld where Susan died from licking toxic envelope glue was temporarily removed.
    • Interestingly, the main culprit in those mail attacks was a disgruntled CIA forensics lab tech who was angry that girls from nearby colleges wouldn't date him, and set the entire operation up as an elaborate revenge/murder-suicide plot. Harsher in Hindsight?
  • Top Gear received criticism for broadcasting a feature in which they demonstrated the importance of taking care on level crossings by crashing a locomotive into a car, shortly after a train crash had made the news. More reasonable voices pointed out that it was an ideal time to broadcast it with rail safety high in the public consciousness.
    • The show themselves defended the bit by saying that that segment had already been bumped from its scheduled airing a few weeks earlier—because of another train crash. Concluding that there was never going to be a perfectly safe time to air the segment, they just said "the hell with it".
    • This trope was intentionally flaunted with Richard Hammond when he returned to the show after his near-fatal high speed crash. Jeremy Clarkson even made a point of saying "speed kills" and James May asked Hammond if he was "now a mental?".
    • They also apparently had a pact that, should any of them die, the remaining hosts would appear at the beginning of the next episode, make a mournful comment, pause for a moment of silence, and then say "Anyway," and cheerily continue with the show.
    • Clarkson was criticised for a segment in which he described the complexities of driving a lorry as involving the driver quickly alternating between changing gear and killing prostitutes, a supposed reference to the so-called 'Suffolk Strangler' two years before.
  • In the Eleventh Hour episode "Miracle", a "healing" spring turns out to be contaminated with tritium, a component in refining nuclear material. In the original UK version, the source of the contamination was a secret government program to manufacture plutonium for the express purpose of planting it in foreign countries as a pretense on which to invade. "It would be really embarrassing if we decided to invade some country on the claim that they had a nuclear weapons program, and there turn out to be absolutely no evidence," hit a little too close to home on the other side of The Pond, so in the US version, it's the work of white supremacists trying to build a dirty bomb.
  • The episode of Muppets Tonight guest starring Sandra Bullock was delayed for months after the Oklahoma City bombing. The reason was that it contained a parody of Speed in which a mysterious bomber was threatening to blow up the studio if the laugh meter goes below a certain level.
  • The Fox News Channel news parody show Red Eye made several jokes at the expense of the Canadian military, which had announced that it wouldn't be taking part in operations for a year after it would withdraw from Afghanistan in 2011, owing to the toll that Afghanistan has taken on it (underfunded and understaffed as it is). Canadians instantly blew up, as four Canadian soldiers had just been killed by IEDs and Canadian soldiers were still fighting in some of the most dangerous parts of the country. (Your Mileage May Vary.)
  • FOX considered changing the name of the family on Married... with Children due to it being the same as infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. Fortunately, most people didn't notice or found the connection hilarious.
  • For Shake It Up, the premiere of the second season was supposed to be a 1-hour special to air on September 18, 2011, but the 1-hour episode was postponed due to a terrifying plane crash that happened that weekend at the Reno Air Show in Nevada (and the episode featured CeCe and Rocky flying on an airplane). However, it was replaced with a new episode that night and has been scheduled to air in early October.
  • Numb3rs (which is set in California) aired an episode that featured a horrible train wreck a couple weeks after one of the worst rail disasters in US history happened in California. Naturally, they aired a brief statement beforehand.
  • The first episode of the BBC sketch show Horne and Corden had a sketch in which a pair of performers magically eliminated gun violence. The following day, a school shooting happened in Germany, and the sketch was removed from the repeats and iPlayer version.
  • In the final episode of the second season of Bottom Ritchie and Eddie encounter a flasher while camping out on Wimbledon Common. After filming was completed, but before the episode was to be broadcasted, a young woman was sexually assaulted and murdered on the Common. The episode was shelved and first appeared on the VHS release.
  • The episode of Mr. Bean where he ends up looking after a baby had its premiere delayed by a few months due to the kidnap and murder of Jamie Bulger.
    • Similarly, a showing of Child's Play 3 was pulled from British TV screens in the fallout from the murder. The murderers (children themselves) had reportedly watched it prior to committing the crime, and their actions bore some similarities to those of Chuckie in the film. This led to a period of demonization of the Child's Play series in the media, reacting as though the films actively encouraged murder.
    • The Bulger killing is still considered such a sensitive issue in Britain that in 2009, seventeen years after the murder, Holly Oaks abandoned a Christmas storyline (which would have revealed that two characters had murdered a child and were now living under police protection) because of potential similarities to the Bulger case.
  • MST3k in-universe example, right after Joel's final goodbye to the 'bots:

Crow: Well, race you to the Mallow Cups! I found out where he hides them.
Servo: Crow, too soon!

    • Also consciously averted when they riffed on the movie Overdrawn at the Memory Bank shortly after its star Raul Julia died. In The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, writer/actress Mary Jo Pehl said they tried to make it clear that their target was the poorly-written movie and characters and not Julia, as evidenced by her character (Mad Scientist Pearl Forrester) sincerely calling him as "a very fine actor".
  • Parodied in Frasier; much to the Crane brothers' horror, their favourite restaurant burns down as a result of "the worst centerpiece disaster in Seattle's history" days before the 2000 millennium celebrations. To lighten the mood, Niles cracks a joke, only for Frasier to soberly tell him that it's too soon for jokes.
    • There's another Frasier episode where immediately before Frasier starts giving a speech the audience is informed that a beloved local clergyman is missing following a boating accident. The other characters try in vain to warn Frasier before he can tell the joke about a rabbi, a minister, and a priest on board the Titanic.
  • Parodied in an episode of X-Play. Adam Sessler makes a jab at a GTA knock-off's controls stinking worse than archduke Franz Ferdinand's rotting corpse...to which he pauses before adding a "Too Soon?"
  • Comedian Bill Maher received some criticism when he dressed as Steve Irwin (with the stingray in his heart) on the first Halloween after his death. Bill himself referenced this trope in a few episodes of his show, where he made jokes about Mohandas Gandhi and Amelia Earhart.
  • Mad Men deliberately invoked this in-series, with an ad campaign that would've featured overhead views of a convertible with two couples riding in it, under development at the time of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
    • And the episode where Pete's father dies because of the American Airlines Flight 1 crashing. Sterling Cooper pulls all of the ads for Tomahawk airlines.
  • VH-1 cancelled the reality dating show Megan Wants a Millionaire and the third season of I Love Money after a contestant involved in both shows (and alleged to be the winner of the latter) was involved in a murder-suicide case.
  • Frankie Boyle on the British panel show Mock the Week has turned countless Too Soon jokes into crowning moments of funny. Immediately following Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond's brutal high speed crash, Frankie cheerfully suggested, "That should be an anti-speeding advert--Richard Hammond trying to remember his own wedding day! 'She was wearing black, or was it red...am I married?'" All of which prompted host Dara Ó Briain to cringe, "There's a line in the sand, right, and you can't even see the line in the sand...you're actually out of sand! You're into, like, tropical tundra regions...."
    • On a "Scenes We'd Like To See" right after Heath Ledger's death, the prompt "Lines you wouldn't hear in a superhero movie" inspired Frankie to say "What's that, Joker? You'll be back? Somehow, I don't think you will be!" In the same round, Frankie said, "Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Whatever it is, it's heading straight for the World Trade Center!"
    • A few years after Countdown host Richard Whiteley's endocarditis death, Frankie introduced himself as Whiteley and sang the Countdown theme, ending the last note with the familiar beep of a flatlining heart monitor.
    • Following the Joseph Fritzel incident, under "Things you'd never hear on a quiz show," the following gem: "Welcome to Ask the Family! Mr. Fritzel, where's the rest of them?"
    • Dara has done this a few times as well: Michael Jackson, Sadaam Hussein, and, incredibly, British soldiers at the Somme.
    • Not to mention the time he jokes about JFK's assassination. The audience groans, leading Dara to reply sarcastically, "What? Too soon?"
  • Possibly subverted with Police Camera Action, which edited out 2 pieces of footage from the 2007 episode "Less Lethal Weapons" where Michael Todd from the Greater Manchester Police was being shot at with a Taser to demonstrate its use. The Other Wiki has info on him here. The cut hasn't been reinstated since, and an In Memoriam at the end of the episode would have been far better judgment. This is a case of where this trope collides with Executive Meddling and, more possibly Fridge Brilliance. This is also a possible case of Harsher in Hindsight too.
  • An episode of the British Whose Line Is It Anyway? recorded in 1994, just after Richard Nixon's death, has the World's Worst "person to be president of the world during an intergalactic crisis."

Tony: Ladies and gentlemen, Richard Nix--oh dear...
Audience: (laughter followed by loud booing)
Clive: Topical now, it'll be great in six months' time when this goes out...
Tony: He'll still be dead!

    • In an American episode, the suggestion of Bill Cosby and Hitler as two unlikely roommates for a 70's sitcom didn't go too well with the censors, and Hitler was replaced with an insurance salesman. The cast- especially Drew Carey- seemed to think it was a bogus call and took every opportunity to mention Hitler for the rest of the episode such as with Ryan doing the Nazi salute during the skit.

Drew: "If Tarzan and Tonto were roommates"... I love that, let's make fun of Native Americans all we want, who gives a (bleep) about them!
Brad (as Tonto): Will you go upstairs and tell Hitler to be quiet?

  • Holly Oaks dropped a storyline which would have revealed that two characters had committed murder while underage and were now living under new identities with police protection, because of the similarities to the James Bulger case.
  • A variation on this occurred on early Saturday Night Live. On the Christmas episode that aired just before Gary Gilmore's execution, cast members sang a parody carol called "Let's Kill Gary Gilmore for Christmas." But when the rerun aired several months later, after Gilmore's execution, the segment was replaced by another skit. Granted, the segment was no longer timely, but that had never been an issue with SNL reruns before. Did NBC decide it was no longer in good taste—or was it too soon after the execution?
  • At the beginning of the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards on August 29, 2010, host Jimmy Fallon is playing an acoustic guitar. He jokingly says "NBC asked me, the host of Late Night, to come to Los Angeles to host a different show. What could possibly go wrong?" Cameras panned to Conan O'Brien, the previous host of Late Night, then had a brief seven-month stint as The Tonight Show host before leaving the network (because NBC wanted Jay Leno back in his old timeslot of 11:35 P.M. EDT). "Too soon?" Jimmy Fallon asks.
  • The Season 6 finale of Grey's Anatomy involves a shooting at the hospital. It was replayed on September 16, 2010...just hours after a man shot a doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital, then killed his mother and himself.
  • In September 2010, NBC greenlit a comedy show called Outsourced (TV series), which involves an American company in India. Yeah, THAT kind of outsourced. Very bad idea to air this kind of show while many jobless Americans are still suffering from the after effects of the 2008 recession and there were complaints over this (along with complaints that the sitcom was not as good as the movie and it basically ripped off The Office, 30Rock, and Community). The show has since been canceled due to mediocre ratings.
  • Used in Terriers, when Hank and his tech buddies start fearing that the Big Bad might be gearing up to killing a woman in front of their hidden camera:

"Come on. What can they do to her? They're in a hotel full of people!"
"Yeah. Tell that to Bobby Kennedy, right? (Beat) Really? That's too soon?"

  • Hawaii Five-O (2010 reboot): invoked in-show in "He Kane Hewa' Ole"

McGarrett: Okay, what about our John Doe #2?
Danno: You mean Jack?
McGarrett: You got an I.D.?
Danno: No Ja - his head was in a box. Jack.
Chin Ho: That ain't right, bro.
Danno: Too soon?
McGarrett: Little bit.

  • The Doctor Who 10th Doctor episode, "School Reunion" featured a school being blown up in order to destroy the aliens inside it. This episode was taken of the air in Australia after a similar event involving a student rebel detonating a bomb in a class room killing 5 students happened. The fact that the rebel was called "Ken" didn't help due to this line being featured in the episode:

"Kenny blow up the school! It was Kenny!"

  • An episode of the UK show "Have I got News for you?" which aired a day after the 7/7 London Bombing aired without sight of a joke which was said in it. During the "Caption" section, in which a screenshot is shown and the panel must come up with a caption to go with it in a spot, a picture of a man holding a pink bag on a tube train while standing next to a child wearing a pink shirt was shown and the caption given was: "Gay suicide bomber kiss 10 gay kids." Many complaints rained in and a public apology was given.
  • In-universe example from Community episode Beginner Pottery: The pottery teacher (played by Tony Hale [3]) has a rule in his class stating that no one is allowed to imitate the pottery wheel love scene from the movie Ghost. He drives the point home by pointing to a poster of Patrick Swayze with an "X" over it. He then quietly tells the shocked students "I had it made before he died so it's not in bad taste."
  • In the wake of the Columbine massacre, Lifetime removed a scheduled airing of Death of a Cheerleader, a TV movie about an outcast who murders a popular girl for not wanting to be friends with her.
  • A 1997 episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun ("Tricky Dick") features Tommy joining a garage band. In the original script, the band was called "Shattered Princess". As it happened, Princess Diana's death occurred just before filming, so the name got changed to "Whiskey Kitten". The funny part is that that episode was filmed out of order due to scheduling conflicts, so the delayed shooting date ultimately saved them the trouble of looping out "Shattered Princess". (All this is explained in the DVD Commentary for that episode.)
  • Silent Witness had to postpone two episodes (about Pakistani gangs forcing underage girls into prostitution) of series fifteen, due to similarities to a high-profile case in the news.
  • Neighborhood Watch, a reality series that looked like it was about overzealous watch-people, was apparently canceled in the wake of the Trayvon Marting shooting by an overzealous watchman.
    • Aversion: NCIS: Los Angeles didn't change the title of it's "Neighborhood Watch" episode.
  • A scene from an early October 2009 episode of Shortland Street involving a character returning from Samoa and boasting of sunshine and drinking on the beach had to be re-shot in the wake of the Samoan earthquake and tsunami.


Music[edit | hide]

  • After Hurricane Katrina, many radio stations made it a policy to avoid playing "New Orleans is Sinking" by The Tragically Hip as well as "Walking on Sunshine" just because the name of the band is "Katrina and the Waves."
    • Another Katrina example: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' cheerleading squad caught a lot of flak for using "Rock You Like a Hurricane" by Scorpions in their halftime routine during a game against the New Orleans Saints.
  • Kylie Minogue's album Impossible Princess, released in 1997, was retitled Kylie Minogue in the UK following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.
  • The Black Sabbath album Paranoid was originally going to be called War Pigs, but was retitled due to the Vietnam War. Of course, the war was already going on, and "War Pigs" (the song) was probably about the Vietnam War on some level. The retitle was intended to make the album marketable, and the song stayed on.
  • Teenage Dirtbag contains the line "Her boyfriend's a dick, he brings a gun to school". However, the single was released around the time of the Columbine Massacre, and so the clean version had "gun" bleeped out along with "dick". Of course, if you hear the clean version on the radio or somewhere these days it can be a source of confusion.
  • Aversion: The Boomtown Rats' "I Don't Like Mondays". The song was written by Bob Geldof in response to Brenda Ann Spencer's (who was 16 at the time) shooting rampage outside of an elementary school back in 1979. The reason she gave when she was finally arrested was: "I don't like Mondays." Somewhat subverted in that Geldof wrote this song due to how horrified and revulsed he was about the ordeal. This wasn't a case of "cashing in on a horrible event" or "releasing an innocent, unrelated song that can be taken the wrong way in light of a tragedy."
  • John Adams wrote a piece of classical music called "Short Ride in a Fast Machine". It has several times been scheduled to be played at the Last Night of the Proms (an annual British classical music concert), with terrible timing. The first time, in 1997, would have been just a few weeks after Princess Diana's fatal car crash, so the piece was pulled9-. It was scheduled again a few years later—for September 15, 2001. The mood of the entire concert was changed that year of course, but that piece in particular had to go. (It finally got performed at the Proms in 2004.)
  • In 2004, after the devastating tsunami in the Indian ocean, many German radio stations stopped playing a song by the band Juli, which was a great hit at the time. The song was called "Die Perfekte Welle", aka "The Perfect Wave".
  • Around the time of the first Gulf War, British bands Massive Attack and Bomb The Bass both released singles under modified names ("Massive" and "Tim Simenon," respectively).
  • On the day of the Bradford City fire disaster (11 May 1985) one BBC Radio 1 news bulletin, on the Janice Long show, was followed immediately by U2's single, "The Unforgettable Fire." Even for a station known at the time for the vacuous idiocy of its DJs, this was a jaw-dropper.
  • The last verse to "I Get a Kick Out of You" was originally: "I get no kick in a plane / I shouldn't care for those nights in the air / That the fair Mrs. Lindbergh goes through..." Following the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, however, Cole Porter changed it to the familiar "I get no kick in a plane / Flying too high with some guy in the sky / Is my idea of nothing to do."
  • One Los Angeles-area DJ was admonished for making an obvious joke about O.J. Simpson after playing "Backstabber" by the O'Jays.
  • Related: Chris Brown's "Deuces" has guest Kevin McCall singing "I finally noticed it, it finally hit me/Like Tina did Ike in the limo, it finally hit me". Given Brown's... similarities to Ike Turner, Todd in the Shadows asked how the hell that line was kept in. (and a lyrical analysis website added: "I would say maybe not the most sensitive reference to make, Kevin.")
  • Averted in "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones; the line "Who killed Kennedy?" was changed to "Who killed the Kennedys?" after Robert Kennedy was assassinated in the middle of the recording sessions.
  • The album WORLD OF FANTASY by the Japanese electro duo capsule was originally titled KILLER WAVE until the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
  • Averted by Billy Joel, who played "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)" at a 9/11 benefit concert shortly after the terrorist attacks, particularly because some of the song's imagery (particularly the falling skyline) had become all too real. He instead lampshaded Harsher in Hindsight / Funny Aneurysm Moment, saying "I never thought it would really happen. But unlike the end of that song, we ain't going anywhere."
  • In 2012, "Die Young" by Ke$ha was temporary taken off the air following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting despite the song being released in September, months before the tragedy.

News[edit | hide]

  • In late July 2000, a newspaper announced a competition on the bottom of its first page, with the prize a two-person travel aboard Concorde. The upper half of the same page showed the Concorde in flames, with a huge title saying there were no survivors to the crash.
  • Is it too soon to make fun of the Boston Massacre?
  • Football pundit Rodney Marsh was sacked by Sky Sports for making a pun about Newcastle United fans (the "Toon Army") shortly after the tsunami in 2004.


Newspaper comics[edit | hide]

  • A Dilbert strip received complaints when the Pointy-Haired Boss survived a plane crash thanks to the 'padding' of the Catholic nuns that were on board, which coincidentally ran the same week Mother Teresa died.
  • Bizarro demonstrates an excellent loophole: use a tragedy that was narrowly averted in a joke that could be about an actual tragedy, if there had been one.
  • In an extreme case of bad timing, a Garfield strip involving a spider telling Garfield that if Garfield kills the spider, a day of remembrance will be held in his honor, resulting in a day called "National Stupid Day". It ran on November 11, 2010, Remembrance/Veterans Day.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • An episode of WWE Smackdown featured men dressed similarly to terrorists in the various beheading videos that have come out of the Middle East attacking The Undertaker at the behest of Muhammad Hassan (an Arab-American wrestler); after their attack, they carried Hassan's manager Daivari out of the ring and up the entrance ramp like a martyr. The episode unfortunately aired on the very same day as the London train bombings (it was taped two days before), causing general viewer outrage and leading UPN to demand that Hassan and Daivari be removed from the program.
    • Most of the people who were truly outraged weren't even WWE fans. Pro wrestling fans recognize that the point of heels is to offend the viewers (hence a standard part of any heel's dialogue being direct insults to the audience). Hassan was developing into one of the WWE's most effective heels in years, to the point that he was purportedly scheduled to win the WWE Championship at the SummerSlam pay-per-view event that year. Of course, they could have just moved him to RAW, which wasn't on UPN, but that would've made too much sense.
    • A minor upside to this: Hassan got to call out the New York Times on an article proclaiming that the attackers were Middle Eastern, despite wearing ski masks which disguised their true identities.
  • WWE stumbled into another Too Soon moment during the airing of a live broadcast. On the day it was discovered that Chris Benoit and his family were dead, WWE replaced a scheduled three-hour RAW episode with a tribute to Benoit's career. During the airing of the tribute, it became clear that the deaths were a murder-suicide, and that WWE was honoring a murderer; it was both Too Late (as the show was on the air) and Too Soon. (WWE just has rotten luck when it comes to tragedies.) WWE instantly turned a 180—not only did Vince McMahon apologize for the tribute show, but ever since that apology, Benoit has never been mentioned by name on any new WWE programming that has aired since his death, his name is almost completely wiped from their website (save for some minor mentions in title histories and whatnot), and footage containing Benoit in which he was a major part of the footage has not been used on WWE programming. Hooray for Hand Waving. Classic Benoit footage is popping up here and there on WWE's OnDemand network, several passing mentions of Benoit have come up on recent DVD releases, and—starting with Shawn Michaels a few months after Benoit's death—several WWE wrestlers have used the Benoit's signature submission hold, the Crippler Crossface (including the man who tapped to it at Wrestlemania 20, Triple H...and, on the same night Trips busted it out for the first time, so did The Great Khali.)
  • Brazilian network Globo dared to defy this trope twice: first, in 2001 they released a soap opera partially set in Morocco and with many Muslims in the cast, just three weeks after 9/11; then, ten years later, they decided to keep an earthquake in Japan that was part of another telenovela's opening chapter.
  • In a September 2006 segment of Matt Striker's classroom, he praised his intelligence and remarked that people would never see him swimming with stingrays. An apology was quickly posted on WWE.com.
  • Late in its' run, the braintrust at WCW decided to Retool bland babyface Alex Wright into the Goth-like Evil Foriegner Berlyn. Trouble was, Berlyn debuted shortly around the time of Columbine, and his attire (specifically, his ring jacket), apparently drew too many comparisons to the killers. WCW was then forced to drop the character after a handful of appearances, and Wright went back to being himself, and partnered with Disco Inferno as "Boogie Knights."
  • On the February 19, 2001 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, The Magnificent Seven held a mock funeral for Kevin Nash, whom they defeated and forced into retirement the previous night during the Superbrawl PPV. Problem was, this was one day after Dale Earnhardt was killed during the 2001 Daytona 500.


Radio[edit | hide]

  • A 1955 Goon Show episode, "The Pevensey Bay Disaster" which featured a train crash was postponed and replaced by a repeat of an earlier episode because of a real-life crash at Didcot in which 10 people died and 116 were injured. Annoyed by the show's cancellation, Spike Milligan re-submitted the script under a new title, "The Hastings Flyer -- Robbed", and this version was duly recorded and broadcast five weeks later. "The Pevensey Bay Disaster" was finally broadcast at the end of the series, five months after it was originally scheduled, and confusing listeners who had already heard the same story under a different title.
  • After the December 2004 Tsunami in the Indian Ocean most radio stations pulled a popular song at the time, "Die Perfekte Welle" ("The Perfect Wave"). There was nothing official but it was conspicuous that a song placed high in single charts wasn't played anymore.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • The Athenian playwright Phrynichus' (now lost) play The Capture of Miletus was produced around 511 BC, soon after the Persian conquest described in the play, and since Miletus was a colony of Athens, this play was deemed to be Too Soon. Phrynichus was fined "for reminding [of] familiar misfortunes" at the theater.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Although it was first of a two-part video game, Persona 2: Innocent Sin was not translated into English despite Atlus' interest in localizing the title. This was due to the game's storyline involving Nazis and the resurrection of Adolf Hitler, as well as fighting the main character's high school principal and a teacher in the game committing suicide in a school's belltower. Innocent Sin may have been translated had it not been at the time of the Columbine High School Massacre (it should be noted that the main characters of Innocent Sin are high school students, and one of the game's gimmicks involves equipping them with guns.
  • Shadow the Hedgehog contains a stage in which Shadow can assist an alien attack (by characters branded 'terrorists') on a capital city by detonating a series of bombs. The game, famous for being pretty heavily bowdlerised just before release,[4] was released four months after 7/7.
    • Some were more offended by the "assassinate the president" mission which occasionally followed Central City, also highly inappropriate in 2005. This was a time when many people abroad were angry enough about the war to joke about assassination, much to many an American player's anger.
  • The NES game Bionic Commando involved Nazis resurrecting Hitler, but the US release was edited to change the group to the Badds and the resurrectee to Master D. The animations were not changed, though, and he still had the signature moustache (and his head still explodes when you kill him at the end).
  • Silent Scope 3 (for the PlayStation 2) was released during the Washington DC sniper spree.
  • The Japanese version of Fallout 3 has part of a quest removed where you can nuke an entire town; specifically, the NPC Mr. Burke. Without him, you can't set off the nuke. Also, the Fat Man (named after the bomb dropped on Nagasaki) was renamed to Nuka-Launcher. However, in Fallout: New Vegas, the upgrade kit for the Fat Man that halves its weight is called "Little Boy" (the Hiroshima bomb). That made it to the Japanese version unchanged.
  • By sheer bad luck, the indie game The Oil Blue (where the player is in charge of running an ocean oil rig) was released around the same time of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. While the game isn't centered around an oil rig bursting (though it is a possibility in the game), according to the developer people have accused it of being a cheap cash in on the tragedy or it being a PR stunt by BP.
  • Deliciously averted in Prototype, whose plot basically revolves around the US Army letting a virus get loose in Manhattan (and later planning to nuke the entire island when it starts fighting them back.)
  • Future information on the Visual Novel Root Double: Before Crime * After Days (about a group of people trapped in a nuclear reactor after it goes through a meltdown) was postponed for nearly five months due to the 2011 Sendai Earthquake in Japan, which led to the partial meltdown of several nuclear reactors.
  • The Zettai Zetsumei Toshi series (which is basically a Survival Horror series in which the "horror" is a collapsing Japanese city) is effectively dead because of the Sendai tsunami and earthquake.
  • Motorstorm: Apocalypse (which features racing through an earthquake-ravaged city) was delayed due to the 2011 Japanese earthquake.
  • Is it too soon to recreate the Japanese disaster in video games? (The recent earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis)
    • Not according to Tropico4 which contains a Tweet that says "trust me it could withstand 9 on the Richter scale" when you build the Nuclear Power Plant and Tweet it.
  • In-universe example in Batman: Arkham City, made literally two minutes after the death of Talia Al-Ghul...

The Joker: "You're making me late for my spa appointment! I mean, it's not like you have a girlfriend to save anymore, is it-oh, I'm sorry! Too soon?"

  • In-universe example from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: The present ruler of Solitude feels this way about the annual festival where a hated tyrant is burned in effigy - enough so to cancel it, in fact. Her husband, the High King was just murdered, so a festival celebrating the death of a king, even a tyrant, is probably less than appropriate.
  • Fandom example. As a Guest Fighter Megaman was put into Street Fighter X Tekken. The problem being it is the Bad-Boxart Megaman from the first US Megaman games boxart. Considering Megaman's year in 2011 [5] this is seen as another Take That against the fanbase. Like many other Too Soon moments, none of 2011's defining indignities had happened when they decided upon the joke, and the poor timing was largely the result of being a joke that took months to set up and deliver.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

The Green Grocer: Soon you will be late as well. Late as in dead!
Stephen: Aorist just died. It's too soon to tell dead jokes.
The Green Grocer: Oh. Late as in, um, pregnant?

  • Averted in Irregular Webcomic. After one of the strips in the "Steve and Terry" theme coincided with Steve Irwin's death, the theme continued anyway. Of course, David Morgan-Mar's tongue-in-cheek denials that his characters are in any way based on something else are almost a running gag.
    • Morgan-Mar also explained that his comics are produced and added to the upload buffer weeks in advance, so he had no way of knowing that particular strip would go up on that particular day.
  • Mocked by Zexion in this Ansem Retort.
    • Note that the creator, Duke, has no qualms about flaunting this trope. In fact, he proudly claimed that he was the first to make a joke at Patrick Swayze's expense after he died.
    • And sort of subverted here once Fridge Brilliance kicks in: because he's traveling through time, Axel doesn't know about the tsunami that wrecked Japan, therefore doesn't know he's making a joke in bad taste. Duke's still flaunting this trope, though.
  • Between Failures had one of these early on.
  • Averted in Scary Go Round. The final story arc, "Goodbye", which began in June 2009, featured an unnamed Michael Jackson look-alike. As most of the strips had already been drawn, creator John Allison stuck to his guns and kept the character's increasingly prominent role even after Jackson's death partway through the arc.
  • An attempt to use the Japanese tsunami to indicate Bob the Angry Flower's lack of empathy ended up reflecting on the webcomic the same way.
  • The Platypus Comix story "Vess MacMeal Starring in: The More You Know!", which has a Ludd Was Right ending, experienced a two-week delay. Otherwise, it would have appeared a few days after Steve Jobs' death.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The Lonelygirl15 episode "Bree's Mom" was originally supposed to be entitled "Girl, Abducted", but was hastily retitled to avoid offending the fan community, after the vanishing and death of Nadia Kajouji, a friend of a prominent fan of the show.
  • The Fine Brothers parody this in the seventh episode of their Lost parody, where the cast refuses to kill the Nolanverse Joker because it's Too Soon. Christian Bale, however, isn't dead, so Batman is fair game...
  • Subverted in The Nostalgia Critic's review of Blank Check. After making a joke about Michael Jackson, he launches into a monologue where he tells the audience that it is now all right to laugh at him again because no matter how odd Jackson was, he will always be a genius and nothing can take that away from him...
    • Yet played straight in the Nostalgia Critic's 200th review for Ponyo, in which he tries really hard to avoid making jokes about Japan being hit by tsunamis less than a year after it happened in real life.
  • AH Dot Com the Series also had a (lampshaded) Michael Jackson example.
  • Cracked.com's Michael Swaim's S.W.A.I.M. series shows Homer Simpson beating up Michael Jackson in open-source fighting game "Mugen." He responds to the fight apologetically saying: "Aw, Homer. Too soon, man."
  • A running gag in Dragon Ball Abridged where Krillin constantly making jokes about something right after it happens.

Goku: Wait, where's Chiaotzu?
Krillin: Oh, he's here...and there...and there...and th-
Gohan: KRILLIN!!!
Krillin: What?
Gohan: Too soon

  • In light of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 Film Brain delayed his 2012 Bad Movie Beatdown review from its intended March release, removed a couple of lines which he felt were callous, and put up a disclaimer at the front of the review when it was released in May.
  • In Clan Of The Grey Wolf's 16 bit Gems #6: Zombies Ate My Neighbors, A Steve Irwin-like character who the characters save is meet with this line.
  • In universe example for Red vs. Blue:Season 10, Sarge makes a joke regarding Donuts habit of wanting to show his "holes", which is quickly followed by Church reminding him that Donut is dead; this exchanges happens a moment afterwards.

Sarge: Probably has a few more holes in him huh? ha, heh, heh, heh.
Everyone else: (Beat)
Sarge: What, too soon?

  • In-universe example from RWBY: Asked by Sun Wukong of Blake after he makes a comment about her former membership in the White Fang in her presence and she just glares at him.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Due to the death of Pope John Paul II, FOX temporarily banned The Simpsons' Season 16 episode "The Father, The Son, and the Holy Guest Star," since it centered on Bart going to Catholic school (after once again getting expelled from public school) and Marge trying to stop him from converting (since Marge is against Catholicism). It ended up being the season finale while the intended season finale ("The Girl Who Slept Too Little," where Lisa becomes too scared to sleep after a graveyard is moved next to the Simpson house) was aired as a season 17 episode.
    • Another Simpsons example: in the UK, Channel 4 received complaints after airing the season four episode "A Streetcar Named Marge" (where Marge stars as Blanche DuBois in the musical version of "A Streetcar Named Desire" after the director sees how depressed and beleaguered she is when dealing with Homer, and which included a song about how New Orleans is "full of pirates, drunks, and whores" and is referred to as "the Sodom and Gomorrha on the Mississip'") around the time that New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Channel 4 made a public apology.
    • Yet another Simpsons example: the season nine episode "The Cartridge Family" (where Homer buys a handgun to protect his family after the town is plagued by a soccer riot—which seemed to disappear from the plot as quickly as it came) was scheduled to air in the UK, but due to the Dunblaine School Massacre (and the fact that the UK does NOT like to show characters fooling around with weapons, especially guns), this episode was banned (though it does appear on the "Simpsons: Too Hot for TV" VHS and the Simpsons season 9 DVD set).
    • In one episode, Homer plans to jump out of a window on to a car-mounted mattress. Barney, the driver, thinks he sees Princess Diana and drives forward to take a closer look. In the BBC edit following Diana's death, Homer is seen jumping out the window and falling to the ground for no reason.
    • In "Rosebud", Mr. Burns is photographed playing in a sandpit with Maggie with a pacifier in his mouth, and shouts "Damn you, paparazzo!". The word paparazzo was cut out soon after Princess Diana's death, seeing as paparazzi were largely blamed for the tragedy.
    • In a parody of this trope, a later episode has Homer crash the Duff blimp in a baseball stadium. This exchange occurs:

Buck Mitchell: This is the second worst zeppelin crash ever!
Abe: Too soon!

      • For those curious, Abe Simpson's line was in reference to the Hindenburg disaster, which he actually would have bore witness to at a young age.
    • In the season 11 episode "Bart to the Future," where Bart is shown his future as a drunken wannabe rock star while Lisa is the President of the United States, Bart tries to come up with a coolness plan at Camp David, and Krusty suggests opening with a joke: "What's the difference between Pakistan and a pancake?" The punchline: "I don't know any pancakes that were nuked by India!" Bart and the others stare at Krusty in shock, and Krusty replies, "What? Too soon?" Apparently, it was—around the time that India and Pakistan really were on the brink of nuclear war, the UK airing of "Bart to the Future" cut that entire part.
    • Back in the late 90s, the episode "Homer Badman" [6] was edited on UK's Sky TV to remove the part where Groundskeeper Willie accidentally shows a video clip of Mayor Quimby making out with a floozy in the backseat of his car. For those who think the edit was yet another cut to keep the show "family friendly," there is actually another reason behind the edit: at the time, the UK was plagued by "The Sex Murders," in which a man or woman cheating on his or her spouse with someone else who was married and wanted to have an extramarital affair would kill his or her lover and send the hand of the murder victim to the spouse of the murder victim. Considering this episode aired in the UK around the time that this was in the news and would have been on everyone's minds, Sky1 did the right thing in censoring the scene.
    • After the March 2011 meltdown at Fukushima, episodes that prominently feature the nuclear plant were withdrawn from broadcast for a while in Germany and Switzerland. A spokesperson for German Pro 7, however, recently stated that hadn't had to change its scheduled episodes in the first weeks after the disaster, and didn't edit the opening credits.
    • The 400th episode "You Kent Always Say What You Want" was originally titled "The Kent State Massacre", but the title was change due to the Virginia Tech Massacre occuring one month before its scheduled airdate.
      • Speaking of that episode, announcer Don Imus was fired from CBS after his racist and sexist remarks about the Rutgers University women's basketball team, which more-or-less paralleled the events in this episode. Even the executive producer -- Al Jean admitted that they used this current event for their episode, making this a strange mix between Too Soon and We're Still Relevant, Dammit!.
    • Originally, the episode "Stop Or My Dog Will Shoot" was scheduled to air on April 26, 2007. However, again due to the Virginia Tech Massacre on April 16, the episode was moved to May 13 due to scenes prominently featuring gunplay ("The Boys Of Bummer" aired in its place).
  • Two Freakazoid episodes featuring Diana, Princess of Wales, were pulled for several years after her death.
  • The usually shameless Drawn Together delayed the release of the episode "Terms of Endearment" (in which Captain Hero gets confined to a wheelchair as a side-effect of giving up his powers, a reference to the real-life accident which paralyzed actor Christopher Reeve) for over a year following Reeve's death. It was then almost delayed again when shortly before the rescheduled airdate, Reeve's widow announced she had a terminal illness.
  • Happens to Family Guy quite a bit. One episode was pulled back due to a gag featuring Brian finding President Bush hiding in a tree house, and urging him to do something to help the Katrina victims.
    • Family Guy occasionally parodies this trope; note the page quote, but in the third season episode "Mr. Griffin Goes to Washington", Brian notes that Peter's excuses are "lamer than FDR's legs", only to be met by shocked, appalled stares from the family. His response was to flatly ask "Too soon?"
    • Played with in the multi-verse episode when in an alternate universe, Stewie mentions Lee Harvey Oswald shot Mayor McCheese instead of JFK. Cut to a clip of McCheese getting shot in the back of a convertible; a Jackie Kennedy expy stares for a minute, then begins to eat his destroyed head. That leads to this exchange:

Brian: "That joke's not in bad taste, right?"
Stewie: "Who cares? He's a cheeseburger."

    • Then there's the preschool play "Terry Schiavo: The Musical". Chris lampshades this by asking if it was too soon or too late.
  • On May 1, 2011, FOX's Sunday night Animation Domination line-up was supposed to include a three-part crossover special featuring all three Seth MacFarlane cartoons (The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, and American Dad) meeting each other during a hurricane. Sadly, because the Southern and Midwestern United States was already getting pounded by tornadoes and floods, the episodes were pulled at the last minute and replaced with reruns of their respective shows. The three-part crossover eventually aired on October 2, 2011.
  • South Park has toyed with controversial concepts on many occasions.
    • An episode that aired soon after Steve Irwin's death ("Hell on Earth 2006") featured Satan throwing a costume party for Halloween. When someone showed up dressed as the dead Steve Irwin (complete with stingray through his chest), he was informed that it was "too soon"... until it turned out that it actually was Steve Irwin, at which point he was thrown out for not having a costume. This led to a fannish outcry over the joke, shocking Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who were surprised that fans drew the line there of all places, considering all the other offensive jokes they'd made on South Park. Their reaction? They threw gratuitous jokes about Steve Irwin's death into another episode shortly afterwards.
      • "That kid's got as much hope as Steve Irwin in a tank full of stingrays"..."If you don't win this game, that boy will be deader than Steve Irwin in a tank full of stingrays."..."That little boy is gonna die faster than Steve Irwin in a tank full of stingrays."
      • To briefly mention "Hell on Earth 2006" again, it is amusing that the media paid a lot of attention to the depiction of Steve Irwin (despite being dead, he was depicted as attending a party with a drink in his hand and a smile on his face) and yet paid no attention to the fact that the C-plot of the episode featured Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and Jeffrey Dahmer, three of modern-America's most notorious serial killers, as a gory pastiche of The Three Stooges.
    • In "Jared Has Aides", Subway's Jared Fogle declares he lost all the weight because he had aides (as in assistants), but his failure to elaborate further makes everyone think he's promoting people getting AIDS. When the misunderstanding is finally straightened out, everyone laughs. It turns out that because 22.3 years have passed since the discovery of AIDS, it can officially be declared as being funny, and a huge parade is held in Times Square under the banner, "AIDS IS NOW FUNNY." Despite this, the episode is almost never shown on cable, for different reasons. It was aired on June 17, 2009, though.
      • There was also this exchange in the same episode:

Cartman: Dammit, Butters! Keep eating or I'll kick your ass 'til you're deader than Kenny!
Stan: Dude that isn't cool, you shouldn't joke about Kenny being dead. Enough time hasn't passed.
Cartman: So how long do we have to wait to joke about it?
Kyle: 22.3 years. That's how long it takes for something tragic to become funny.
Cartman: Oof, that's a long time to wait!

    • In the South Park universe AIDS can be cured by concentrated money (Magic Johnson's money, initially).
    • In "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride", one of the two football announcers controversially says he hasn't seen... "a beating like that since Rodney King", "an Englishman take a blow like that since Hugh Grant", and "a Jew run like that since Poland 1938"; also "I haven't seen so many children molested since...". It's rumored he mentioned Michael Jackson and it was censored, but that line's apocryphal. The other announcer warns him each time that it's not cool. A similar moment occurs when a Chinese announcer says he hasn't seen an American (Kenny) die like that since Abraham Lincoln.
  • Subverted when Siegfried and Roy urged NBC to continue with production of Father of the Pride after Roy got mauled by one of their tigers.
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker was scheduled to be released in May 1999 but the Columbine massacre occurred so the scheduling was delayed, eventually it was released but it was heavily censored removing most references to death and gun play including a scene where A brainwashed Tim Drake shoots the Joker with a spear gun killing him. Eventually an uncut version was released due to fan outrage.
  • In the American Dad episode "The Vacation Goo," there's a scene where the family walks into the living room to find Stan watching a Georgetown game on TV and wearing Georgetown gear. According to the DVD commentary, Stan was originally a Virginia Tech fan, but the scene had to be reanimated in the wake of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
    • The ending of "Pulling Double Booty" involved Hayley burning down a forest (offscreen). This ending was pulled from its premiere airings on FOX and Adult Swim in the wake of a large forest fire in Southern California. The ending was restored in future airings and on DVD.
  • Interestingly, the trope was somehow averted in the Adventure Time epsiode "No One Can Hear You" showed a scene in which Finn takes off his hood and shirt and take a shower in a public fountain stating, "Hope no one jumps out of the bushes and peeps my bod." The scene was still shown despite the fact that the episode primiered only days after the 2011 accusation of former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky of child molestation charges. The actions of Sandusky were said to have occured in the Penn State showers.
  • The fourth season of Total Drama was at first going to be released in 2011 but when Japan suffered a massive earthquake and had many issues with their nuclear reactors, the cast had to edit the season (due to it taking place on a radioactive island) and the editing pushed the show to be released in 2012.


Other[edit | hide]

  • 4Chan is guaranteed to be rife with all sorts of jokes about horrendous tragedies before most of the public are even aware anything has happened. This includes Rule 34 on the Virginia Tech Massacre scant hours after it happened.
  • Ricky Gervais got into trouble for making jokes about murdering prostitutes during his stand-up act, just after 5 prostitutes were murdered by a serial killer in the English town of Ipswich.
    • In early 2011, a theatre attracted controversy for staging a musical about the murders, less than three years after the killer was convicted.
  • Jimmy Dore has a stand-up routine on Comedy Central where he jokes about JFK, and when the audience laughs a bit nervously, he asks, "Too soon? I waited the standard forty years, but--" and goes off on a short spiel about how he should've known.
    • Bill Hicks often raised the Kennedy assassination in his acts, and once when the audience nervously tittered at the mentioning of the subject, innocently said "no, wait -- there'smore."
    • Comedian Rodney Carrington told a joke that if President Kennedy had been wearing Toughskin jeans on his head, he would have survived his assassination. "Guess I'm the only one who finds that shit funny..."
  • Mike Birbiglia got a somewhat subdued "Too Soon" reaction during his Two Drink Mike standup. After asking how Abraham Lincoln gets credit for really vauge quotes, he states he should also get credit for stuff like "How are ya?", "My dad's a really great guy!", and "Well, we already bought the tickets". This last one (after a long pause for the audience to get the joke) is greeted mostly with groans to which Birbiglia responds "Alright, no more assassination jokes. It hasn't been long enough."
  • Completely averted during the memorial service for Graham Chapman where John Cleese, who was giving the eulogy, played the first half like you'd expect from a Python, stating

Cleese: And the reason I feel I should say this is he would never forgive me if I didn't, if I threw away this glorious opportunity to shock you all on his behalf. Anything for him but mindless good taste. I could hear him whispering in my ear last night as I was writing this.

  • The (numerous) jokes about Michael Jackson's death almost invariably get this response. Also see Dude, Not Funny.
  • The Onion ran a story titled "Columbine Jocks Safely Resume Bullying" in every market except Denver.
  • In January 2010, juniors at Irvington (NY) High School were forced to change a T-shirt design that featured a humorous riff on the long-dead Soviet Union after one student objected because, essentially, it was too soon after some of his distant family members were killed during the regime of Josef Stalin, nearly 80 years earlier.
  • "Dude, it's not gonna hurt you, it's just an animal." "Yeah, tell that to Steve Irwin." Too soon?
    • A couple of months after Irwin's death, Bill Maher dressed up as Irwin for Halloween, wearing a khaki outfit with a bloody stingray barb sticking out of his chest. Most people were not amused.
  • After the Virginia Tech shooting, many colleges cracked down on the game Humans vs. Zombies for this reason, either banning it outright or banning the use of Nerf guns. Even today, several years later, some schools are still squeamish about the game.
  • After Venezuelan boxer Edwin "Inca" Valero (famous for having a tattoo of the actual Venezuelan president on his chest) pulled a Chris Benoit act on his wife and himself, satirical weblog "El Chiguire Bipolar" speculated that he would have had tattooed for certain former presidents on his buttocks. The backslash was so bad, that the very next day the blog posted an article titled (Roughly translated) "Dark Humor kidnaps and harms blog readers", a clever lampshade of this very trope.
  • At the 1994 FIFA World Cup, BBC commentator Alan Hansen said of a play gaffe in the Round of 16 game between Argentina and Romania that "The Argentine defender wants shooting for a mistake like that." The day before, Colombian player Andres Escobar had been shot dead in his hometown of Mendellin, an act to this day believed to have been spurred by an own-goal he scored in the Group Stage that gave the United States a win and contributed to Colombia's elimination.
  • Brazilian soccer fans are experts in making "attack songs" on the personal life of players. Going on the previous relationships of their wives, or shameful incidents of the players (such as Ronaldo hiring transvestites) can lead to Actually Pretty Funny songs. But more serious affairs, such as the recent death of a player's father, the tragic death of a player who was going to the opposing team, the kidnapping of another player's mother, or the daughter of a striker having Down Syndrome, are definitely not funny.
  • In July 2010, at the "Love parade" (a big Techno festival), several people died in a tunnel. Only a few days later On the same day, this joke came up:

Q: What do a cell phone and a visitor of the Love Parade have in common?
A: They go dead in a tunnel.

  • One issue of the Vertigo Comics title Hellblazer, containing a story entitled Shoot (written by Warren Ellis) was never released due to its resemblance to the Columbine shootings - it would have come out only weeks after the shootings occurred. As with the above example, the issue had been in the works for several months, the timing was merely coincidental.
  • The theatre director Peter Brook discussed this trope in his book 'The Empty Stage'. He reported how he once gave an acting course and asked for a volunteer to do a reading. Someone came up and was horrified when the reading he was given was a list of the dead from Dachau and read it with due emotion and sincerity. He then gave a reading from Henry V to someone who read it with typical over-the-top bombast. Peter Brook pointed out that the Henry V reading was a list of the dead from the battle of Agincourt and asked why we should treat one reading with respect and not the other, just because of the time lapse involved.
  • Sickipedia is known to go down after some "tragic" event (such as Michael Jackson or indeed Amy Winehouse), indicating a lot of people want to read or submit jokes.
  • The British Sunday papers were caught badly on the wrong foot about reporting the death of Princess Diana, because it occurred very late on a Saturday night. The most the tabloids could do was to replace their original front pages hastily with respectful coverage of what was known about the tragedy. The inside pages, including opinion pieces written earlier in the week, reflected the previous orthodoxy about Diana: that she was a dumb blonde who intended to bring down the Royal Family with the maximum embarrassment and was most likely going to present them with a half-Arab sibling for William and Harry. The complaints caused much embarrassment among hacks, but the Stalinist revision made by the papers after her death was probably the most noteworthy thing.
  • In Phineas and Ferb episode "Let's Bounce," Doofensmirtz spurts out a corny John Wilkes Booth joke while he's being attacked by his Abe Lincoln bot. He then remarks, "What? Too soon?"
  • In general, good luck telling a joke about Steve Irwin's death. You will likely draw more wrath, from Irwin fans and animal rights groups, than you would if you simply told a joke about the Holocaust.
    • Norm MacDonald joked about Irwin's death just 10 days after it happened.
  • The day after Jerry Falwell died, Christopher Hitchens famously remarked:

"If you gave Falwell an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox." [8]

  • Steve Jobs (Died on October 5, 2011) has many jokes related to his death. One example is You thought all Apple fans were hipsters before? It will only be worse now that Steve Jobs is underground.
    • What about an earlier one that said "Jobs couldn't attend a presentation because of his illness. Which was very unfortunate, since Apple had planned to announce the thinnest CEO in the business."
    • Sometimes followed up with a "Too Zune?"
  • One comedian made the following joke about this (paraphrasing): "What if the balcony fell down right now, crushing everyone there, and I said, 'Ta-da!' Years from now, people would say 'You know, it was funny, it was just too soon.' "

Notes

  1. In Famous is in an expy city, but Prototype is actually in Manhattan
  2. Gensou to Yamugu Hibi
  3. Buster Bluth on Arrested Development
  4. Though not for the usual reasons; the ESRB introduced the E10+ rating in the middle of the game's development and Sega, who originally aimed for a T rating out of lack of a better option, made haste to take full advantage of it
  5. The cancelling of Megaman Legends 3, lack of appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and the cancelling of Megaman Universe
  6. The season six episode in which Homer is branded a pervert by the media after trying to get a rare gummi candy off the butt of a college-aged babysitter
  7. Known as Nevada-tan due to a class photo where she was purportedly wearing a University of Nevada sweater
  8. That's Chris's way of saying that Falwell was full of shit.