The Most Controversial TV Shows Of All-Time

Person aiming remote control at the TV
Erik Mclean/Unsplash

The amount of shows that have aired in the history of television is a lengthy one, and the ones we know of are the ones that have been picked up by the networks.

There are tons of other ideas that have been pitched that have not seen the light of day and some that have been produced and presented as pilot episodes but eventually scrapped due to a variety of reasons.

The ones that have come to fruition but caused an uproar were mentioned when Redditor Future-Game asked:

"What is the most controversial TV shows of all time?"

Shows pushing the envelope were so risqué. Some aged well over time. Others didn't.

Taboo Topics

"I don't know about all time but the time it aired here in Canada, the original Degrassi High series. They covered so many topics that weren't really covered on mainstream shows back then. Even still somewhat taboo today. And everyone my age watched it and talked about it the next day."

– YEGMusic43

Outing Ellen

"When Ellen Degeneres's character came out as gay on her sitcom, there was a f'king firestorm."

– seanofkelley

Tame Drama

"Believe it or not the comedy SOAP was highly controversial when it premiered in the late 70s. It's done by the same people who did GOLDEN GIRLS. SOAP is so tame by today's standards a ten year old could watch it."

– ComedianRepulsive955

Chappelle's Show.

"I like South Park as an answer, but if we are talking about pushing boundaries, Chappelle's show at least deserves a mention. The Black, White Supremacist alone was wild to see on TV, and it was the first episode of the show to air."

– WaKa_

Reality bites. So did these reality competition shows.

Trash Talk Show

"Jerry springer, what a sh*t show."

– Jok3r609

When Looks Are Everything

"The Swan - a show about generally average, everyday women with low self esteem (due to a variety of factors), receiving plastic surgery and whole makeovers. Every episode would feature two ladies and a "winner" would be decided between them. At the end of the season, all of the winners would be put in a pageant to compete and see who would be dubbed 'The Swan'"

– DungeonFam30

Questionably Racist

"Takeshi's Castle / MXC wasn't exactly controversial at the time, but the production of that show seems awfully exploitative by today's standards (and for the English dub, horribly stereotypical and downright racist at times). We've since watered it down severely with versions like Wipeout, but the real ones know what the lineage of shows like that is."

– plasma_dan

Ultimate Exploitation Of Privacy

"Big Brother. How about we mix the worst people with the most exploitative form of entertainment whilst also casually normalising invasion of privacy."


Just because it was family friendly didn't mean everyone approved.

Representation Matters

"Sesame Street - When this show debuted in 1969, TV channels in the southern US refused to air it because it’s racially mixed group of children playing together was too controversial."

– virago72

Beavis And Butt-Head

"Surprised I haven't seen Beavis and Butt-Head on this list yet. When it came out everyone was freaking out."

– l06ic


"Southpark, we went from outrage at Bart saying "eat my shorts" to Cartman feeding children their parents."

"I mean swearing on TV was less prominent , then Southpark pushed that forward quickly as well, all of a sudden "A**" and "Bullsh*t" were on standard TV."

– nonaestet

Every now and then a show comes out and sends audiences clutching their pearls.

But sometimes, even an episode from a relatively tame TV show can send viewers reeling with topical moments.

Examples of this include the much-hyped same-sex kiss on Melrose Place in the 90s that was ultimately edited to imply the act and the One Tree Hill arc that explored school shootings–which was considered daring and admirable at the time for addressing a malaise that continues plaguing the US today.

Every family has customs or traditions which are unique to them.

Be it all gathering together to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol every Christmas eve or an annual fried chicken picnic with dark and stormies every fourth of July. They are well aware not everyone does this, which makes it all the more special.

However, depending on the way it was introduced to them, some children are raised to think certain customs or habits done by their family are, indeed, normal.

Only to grow up and realize that theirs might have been the only family in the world which partook in them.

In some cases, this discovery is met with laughs and maybe the tiniest bit of embarrassment.

Other times, it's no laughing matter.

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It might be super easy to find the lyrics to a song now that we've all got the entirety of the internet in our pockets, but it didn't used to be so simple. Unless you owned the album, and it was one that actually came with the lyrics on the sleeve/in the case, you just kind of had to guess if the words were unclear.

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All jobs are important. If they weren’t, those jobs wouldn’t exist.

However, some people view their profession as so important that they begin to develop a superiority complex.

This can be true for all professions, but Redditors maintain it’s more common in certain professions.

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People Break Down The Most Beautiful Places To Visit In The United States
Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

America the beautiful.

So much to see. So much to experience.

Just because we don't have exotic oceans and ancient history doesn't mean there isn't majesty to take in.

There are many vacations to put together.

And now we don't have to use a paper map to plan.

Our apps and GPS have it all planned out.

Redditor driedkitten wanted to compare notes about the greatest ways to see the USA, so they asked:

"Where is the most beautiful place in the United States?"

So far the cliffs of California is my favorite part of the US.

The Falls

niagara falls GIFGiphy

"Subjective of course, but Crater Lake is certainly a sight to behold."


"My home state of Oregon is full of beautiful places, South Umpqua falls, Illinois River, and Multnomah falls. Are some favorites."


Oh Hoh...

"A tie for Acadia, Hoh rainforest, and Rainier in the fall."


"I was going to say Acadia. It's very underrated for some reason. My mom's friend by coincidence ended up being my English professor in college and we went on a trip to see family in ME. We stopped at Acadia for a day and she said it reminded her a lot of her visit to Greece."


"Hoh rainforest is absolutely devastatingly beautiful. Hiked the whole Hoh river trail when I was 17 and it's still near the top of the list for my favorite things I've ever done."


In Awe

"Glacier national park. I was continuously in awe that the place was real life."


"The vistas of this road, on a motorcycle, were beyond breathtaking to experience. Would 100% do it again. Being on a bike allowed for stops at the waterfalls where there was no room for vehicles to pull over, and the views from the tunnels under the road were supernatural."


The Road Ahead

"There is a stretch of the Navajo reservation where there is no cell service, AM or FM radio reception. The road stretches before you for miles surrounded by red rocks touching blue sky. The buzzing undercurrent of modern connectivity fades away and your brain can be truly still."


"We did a little unscheduled off-roading in that area when we came to a road closed barrier. A Navajo couple pulled up alongside us while we pondered the dirt road heading roughly in the direction we wanted to go and assured us it was passable. Really lonely place... but wonderful."


On a Clear Day

Mountain GIF by Sunshine VillageGiphy

"Mount Rainier."


"If I stand right at the doorjamb of my front door on a clear day, I have a beautiful view. I owned this house for 15 years before I figured that out. You can't see it from any other position in the doorway, or if you're outside."


Mountains are hot. That is all.

See the Country

Happy Dance GIF by PLAYMOBILGiphy

"Depends on what you’re looking for. The United States is a big place."

"For me - Hawaii is hard to beat."


Beautiful scenery...

"Zion National Park is the most well-known place in Utah. But my entire state is an outdoorsman's paradise. LOTs of beautiful scenery in both the northern and southern parts of the state."


"Totally!!! And it’s very different. I personally prefer Southern Utah because the red rocks make me feel like I’m on Mars. But I grew up in the salt lake valley, so the mountains lost a lot of their majesty. But if I’m being honest, I miss them terribly."


Smell the old growth

"I’m incredibly biased, but the most beautiful place is the California redwoods. Drive up 101, and then detour towards Petrolia. There is absolutely nothing like it. Roll down your windows and drive 35mph. Smell the old growth. Stop at the pull out. Take a small hike. It’s worth it."


"Yes, 100%. My brother lives in McKinleyville and I am going to see him the end of April. Can't wait. It's my happy place. They are like the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls... you have to see them to believe them. Those redwoods are something else!"



"Yosemite! You drive thru the tunnel and come out the other side. Looks like heaven/Utopia."


"Did a hike in Yosemite on January 1 last year. A spectacular way to start the year. I had seen photos of it, seen it in movies, watched countless videos on Youtube about it but -nothing- prepares you for the sight of El Cap as you turn that corner. I was very nearly moved to tears."



Episode 1 Boat GIF by The SimpsonsGiphy

"The Shenandoah Valley. Its an amazing place if you're an outdoorsman. Hiking, fishing, hunting, bird watching, camping."


All the wonders of the world. I may have to check all of these out.

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below.