Mr. Robot's Finale and 12 More TV Shows That Had Controversial Episodes Postponed or Banned

Incest, stereotypes, bomb jokes and more have caused TV shows to be postponed and/or banned

By Chris Harnick Sep 02, 2015 4:30 PMTags
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The season one finale of Mr. Robot was a victim of bad timing, but it's certainly not the first time TV episodes have been pulled, pushed or banned due to sensitive subjects and controversial episode content.

Originally scheduled to air on Wednesday, Aug. 26, the USA series' season ender was pushed a week after the shooting deaths of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward. "The previously filmed season finale of Mr. Robot contains a graphic scene similar in nature to today's tragic events in Virginia," USA Network said in a statement on the day of the murders. "Out of respect to the victims, their families and colleagues, and our viewers, we are postponing tonight's episode. Our thoughts go out to all those affected during this difficult time."

The episode is now scheduled to air Wednesday, Sept. 2 on USA. Mr. Robot now joins a long list of other shows that have seen episodes pulled, postponed and totally shelved due to content. Learn about some of the most recent yanked or altered shows below.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season three of Buffy the Vampire Slayer had two episodes postponed until well into the summer. "Earshot," originally the 18th episode of the season, saw Jonathan (Empire co-creator Danny Strong) take a gun up to the school clock tower, not to shoot other students, but to kill himself. Buffy, with temporary telepathy, heard somebody planning to kill students and it turned out to be the lunch lady. The episode was pulled and pushed to September 1999, two weeks before the season four premiere, because the Columbine High School massacre occurred one week before the episode was scheduled to air. The season three finale, "Graduation Day Part Two," was pushed from May to July amidst concerns over depictions of school violence. People, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, weren't pleased, but the episode eventually got a whole lot of viewers.


NBC shelved an episode of Hannibal featuring guest star Molly Shannon in 2013 after the Boston Marathon bombing and school shooting in Sandy Hook. The episode featured Shannon as a character brainwashing kids and having them kill other children. Creator Bryan Fuller was behind the decision. It was eventually posted online, but never aired.

Sonja Flemming/CBS

Mike and Molly
The Melissa McCarthy-fronted comedy had its 2013 finale pushed because of its plot involving a tornado. CBS decided to postpone the episode out of sensitivity to victims of a deadly tornado in that happened in Oklahoma on the same day the finale was originally scheduled to air.

Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show
Family Guy is no stranger to controversial episodes, but this three-part crossover was delayed for several months in 2011. Originally scheduled to air in May 2011, the Fox crossover was delayed until October 2011 after the deadly tornado outbreak that struck the Southern Midwestern and Northeastern parts of the United States in late April 2011.


The beloved sitcom from Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David aired "The Puerto Rican Day Parade" episode in late season nine in May 1998, but that was it. After viewer outcry over the radical stereotyping of Puerto Rican people, NBC pulled the show from reruns and syndication packages, but it has since returned to some networks.

"Reunion," Syfy's late season three episode of Haven, was scheduled to air on the day of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The episode featured murders at Haven High School and Syfy rescheduled the final episodes of the season for mid-January, about a month after the Sandy Hook shooting.


Family Guy
Remember when we said Family Guy is no stranger to controversial episodes? We weren't kidding. Fox has never aired the season eight episode "Partial Terms of Endearment" in the United States because of its content. In the 2010 episode, Lois decides to be the surrogate for an old college friend. However, when the friend dies, Lois is forced to decide what to do with the unborn baby. Does she carry it or terminate the pregnancy? Eventually they decide to abort the embryo. Yeah, you can see why this never made it to air.

Degrassi: The Next Generation
"Accidents Will Happen," a two-part episode of the Canadian soap that originally aired in Canada in 2004, featured Manny (Cassie Steele) discovering she was pregnant. Over the course of the two episodes she debates what to do about her pregnancy, ultimately deciding to have an abortion. The episode did not air in the United States until August 2006.

The X-Files
One of The X-Files' creepiest episodes, "Home," was banned from rerunning on Fox after its initial 1996 airdate. The controversial episode featured incest and infanticide. It's now considered one of the show's best.

The Simpsons
"The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" was pulled from syndication following the September 11 terrorist attacks. Portions of the episode were set at the World Trade Center. The episode has since returned to syndication. Several other shows altered episodes following the terrorist attacks. The Friends episode "The One Where Reachel Tells…" had scenes cut where Chandler (Matthew Perry) joked about a bombs in an airport. Scenes were cut from a syndicated episode of Married…With Children, in addition to Invader Zim, and SpongeBob SquarePants. Law and Order: SVU changed its credits, as did The Sopranos.

Mr. Robot's season one final airs Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 10 p.m. on USA.

(E! and USA are both a part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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