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CENSOR OVERLOAD

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How does so much violence, sex, and bad taste end up in children’s programming? There are answers in the offscreen battles waged between the networks and the creators of shows. Case in point: Some confidential memos obtained by Entertainment Weekly give an eye-opening, behind-the-scenes look at how much the makers of one children’s program tried to get away with and how the network compromises on some battles to win others. In a series of memos, Fox’s Broadcast Standards and Practices Group asked for the following changes in scripts for Eek the Cat, a Saturday-morning animated series that airs opposite Garfield. Eek’s Long Christmas Night *Page 3: ”I found the shot of Rambo blowing Santa Claus to bloody smithereens excessively violent. We would like to edit this so we don’t see Santa exploding.” *Page 4: ”Even though it is Eek’s fantasy, it will not be acceptable to show the child walking into the surf to commit suicide.”

Catsanova *Page 24: ”As noted, it will not be acceptable to show an irate ex- postal employee murder his coworkers. Perhaps we could see the man entering the post office with a stylized automatic weapon as Eek is leaving, so adults will be able to imagine what comes next, but young children won’t be witness to the violence. Let’s discuss this.” *Page 90: ”Please don’t show Cupid using a switchblade knife, an illegal weapon. How about an ax or a chainsaw?”

Eek vs. The Flying Saucers *Pages 31-32: ”It will not be acceptable for the alien King, Queen, and Princess to resemble a toilet, urinal, and roll of toilet paper, and to discuss the way Earthlings treated them ‘like filth’ on their visit to our planet.” *Page 141: ”Please delete ‘Marilyn Chambers’ and ‘edible underwear’ from Eek’s list of the wonderful stuff on earth.”

Eek’s International Adventure *Pages 3-3A: ”It will not be acceptable for Jed and Ned to pull out shotguns and shoot at the Sticky Bears. Perhaps they would use something not-replicable, like shooting guitars or banjos.”

The Eeksterminator *Page 13: ”Please delete Zip’s line ‘I wear protection’ and Mom’s response, ‘That’s very nineties of you.’ (Also, no reservoir tip on top of his suit please!)” *Page 18: ”Please do not stereotype the boy in home economics class by making him ‘effeminate appearing.”’

Road Trip *Pages 2 and 30: ”Please substitute a teacher’s name that isn’t a form of cancer.” *Page 16: ”Please substitute another name for the band Quivering Schpincters (sic).”

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