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November 28, 2014

Greatest TV Controversies

by AOL TV Staff, posted Aug 10th 2009 6:00AM
South ParkFrom touchy subjects (abortion, homosexuality, Scientology!) to naughty touches (in all sorts of places), we've got all the bases covered in our rundown of the Top 20 Television Controversies of all time.

So, read through our list of TV's most shocking events, moments and mishaps ... and prepare to be scandalized. -- By Adam Duerson

From touchy subjects (abortion, homosexuality, Scientology!) to naughty touches (in all sorts of places), we've got all the bases covered in our rundown of the Top 20 Television Controversies of all time. So, read through our list of TV's most shocking events, moments and mishaps ... and prepare to be scandalized. -- By Adam Duerson
Jon & Kate Plus 820.) 'Jon & Kate Plus 8' ... Minus One?
If controversy were measured in PEOPLE magazine covers, the Gosselins would go unmatched. The couple from TLC's 'Jon & Kate Plus 8' appeared on five out of six consecutive covers in May and June 2009 as their marriage appeared to dissolve: First he was accused of cheating, then she was -- with her bodyguard. Divorce proceedings began in June, but you'll have to wait for the rest of the lurid details. Season 5 resumed Aug. 3.
The Real World19.) Real World's First Real Mess
They promised we'd see what happens "when people stop being polite and start getting real," and season 2, in L.A., delivered the drama. Early on, 21-year-old comedian David got evicted from the house following what looked like a playful tug o' war with Tami. Alas, Tami was in her panties and thus exposed when David won, yielding comparisons by one roommate to a rape. Of course, one year later Puck came around, making David old news.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force18.) Aqua Teen Bomb Scare
In 2007, Boston's Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens were commissioned to deploy 40 black LED displays (police would later say they resembled IEDs) promoting 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force' and its upcoming movie; they had installed 38 units when people freaked. Saddled with 9/11 paranoia, police called in the bomb squad and later threatened prison time. Perhaps comprehending their overreaction, local officials settled on 140 hours of community service.
Paula Abdul and Corey Clark17.) He Says, She Says on 'American Idol'
Here's what we know: In 2003 Corey Clark made it all the way to the 'American Idol' finals. And here's what Clark said: He was having an affair with 'Idol' judge Paula Abdul, who coached him to success. Abdul denied the claim on 'The View' and lampooned it on 'SNL,' and Fox found "insuficient evidence" of any shenanigans. Think there's any relevancy in the fact that Clark was peddling a CD and working on a book deal at the time?
Petula Clark and Harry Belafonte16.) First Contact
Caucasian songstress Petula Clark had the audacity in April 1968 to touch Jamaican folk singer Harry Belafonte on the arm during an NBC primetime special. That act, stunningly progressive at the time, freaked the bejesus out of sponsor Chrysler Motors, but Clark, who owned the show's rights, refused to excise the shot. The show drew huge ratings and may be the first time a man and woman of different races touched on U.S. TV.
NYPD Blue15.) 'NYPD Blue' Behinds
Dennis Franz, David Caruso, Jimmy Smits -- you'd just as soon recognize their butts in a lineup as you would their faces on the street. Over 13 seasons of soft-core exposure, Steven Bochco's cop drama got gruff from all angles, starting in 1993 when 225 ABC affiliates refused to air the premiere and climaxing in 2008 when the FCC posthumously fined ABC for an '03 episode that exposed actress Charlotte Ross' tuches.
David Letterman and Sarah Palin14.) Palin vs. Letterman
When Sarah Palin resigned as gov of Alaska in July '09, David Letterman quipped, "Was it something I said?" According to the Washington Post: yes. A month earlier Letterman had cracked wise about one of Palin's daughters, suggesting she'd been knocked up by Alex Rodriguez. (He said he meant 18-year-old Bristol and apologized; Palin thought otherwise and declined to accept.) Later, one report suggested the joke fueled her resignation.
South Park13.) 'South Park' Takes on Scientology
The Emmy Academy saw the brilliance in the 2005 Scientology spoof 'Trapped in the Closet,' which included a cartoon satire covering the religion's main tenets, but Tom Cruise, a devout Scientologist and the ep's punching bag, wasn't amused. He threatened to pull out of a 'MI:III' tour (Comedy Central and Paramount are owned by Viacom) if it re-aired, which it didn't. Worse, fellow Hubbard follower Isaac Hayes quit the show. Quoth Chef, "That's not cool!"
Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour12.) 'The Smothers Brothers' Gets Smothered
In 1967 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour' started as a sort of wise-ass variety show, but with its slate of thoughtful writers (Steve Martin, Albert Brooks, Rob Reiner), it quickly evolved into the sort of social commentary -- mostly poking fun at racism and the Vietnam War -- that CBS wasn't comfortable with. The net required a 10-day screening period in which they could censor episodes and finally canned the series in '69, the same year it won a Comedy Writing Emmy.
Star Trek11.) "Try... Not... to... Think About It..."
In the 1968 'Star Trek' episode 'Plato's Stepchildren,' Kirk and co. found themselves playthings for a bunch of toga-wearing nutjobs who used telekinesis to control the crew's every move. That included making Cap'n and Uhura (African American Nichelle Nichols) swap spit, thus marking what is held as the first black-and-white kiss on U.S. TV. Fearing an uproar, NBC withheld the ep in some Southern states.


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