Networks will put just about anything on television...from a naked dating show to documenting a woman's
600 pound life.
The more extreme the better—and if you want some serious bonus points, throw in some shocking
Here are a few of TV's most controversial plots.
Game Of Thrones’ sexual assault
No stranger to controversy, one of Game of Thrones’ season five episodes left fans
calling for a boycott.
Sansa Stark, played by Sophie Turner, was sexually assaulted on her wedding night by
her new husband Ramsay Bolton—who also forces Sansa's childhood friend, Theon Greyjoy, to
watch from the corner.
Tough to watch?
Tough to act out?
Turner revealed to Entertainment Weekly,
"When I read that scene, I kinda loved it.
I love the way Ramsay had Theon watching.
It was all so messed up.
Fans did not all agree, and US Senator Claire McCaskill decided to publicly announce a boycott
of the show.
The Newsroom's campus rape
In HBO's The Newsroom, Don, played by Thomas Sadoski, goes to a college campus to interview
a female student who had created a website to out rapists anonymously after she was raped
Don is supposed to find out more information about the woman, but, for many reasons, he
ends up discouraging her from going on his news show to debate her attacker.
This led to an attack on series creator, Aaron Sorkin.
According to The New York Times, viewers felt Sorkin was victim-blaming women and showing
more concern about the after-effects of a man who was wrongly accused of rape.
Sorkin responded in an interview with Observer, saying,
“I knew that one of the stories was controversial and I’m not someone who courts controversy
so I was a little surprised by the vitriol and misunderstanding this morning of what
was going on in that episode and terrible inferences drawn from it about me personally.”
Sons Of Anarchy’s school shooting
There are a lot of over-the-top, gruesome scenes in Sons of Anarchy, but when a young
boy brings a KG-9 machine gun to his elementary school, opening fire on his classmates and
teachers—that's when fans thought the show really crossed a line.
The episode aired just nine months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, so
the scene hit a little too close to home for some.
Series creator Kurt Sutter defended the value of the scene to TV Guide, saying,
“I believe that it's about mental illness, which is why I layered that in.
I believe it's about parent neglect, which is why I layered that in.
I believe it's about the gun laws and illegal guns on the street.
All those things contribute to that perfect storm.”
The Ellen Show’s coming out episode
In April 1997, Ellen DeGeneres and her sitcom, The Ellen Show, changed television history
when her character, also named Ellen and based on herself, came out on national television.
Even though she’d only publicly come out a few days earlier in Time Magazine, it was
still a risky move for the late '90s.
Only a handful of scripted shows starred gay characters, and the approval rating for gay
marriage was at a low 27 percent.
Advertisers reportedly started pulling their ads from the show, although only Chrysler
actually admitted to it, citing a corporate policy to avoid controversial clients.
While coming out on TV wasn't the popular thing to do at the time, Ellen said she didn't
do it to make herself a standard-bearer for the gay community—she just had to do it
South Park and Muhammad
South Park is not afraid to go to extremes to get laughs.
But when the show's creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, tried using an image of the Islamic
prophet Muhammad, it was like all hell broke loose.
"Well after that episode ran, the following quote appeared on a pro-jihadi website targeting
the creators of South Park.
'We have to warn Matt and Trey,' they are the creators, 'that what they are doing is
stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh.'"
Though an image of Muhammad had aired before, the network blocked the showrunners from using
a visual of the prophet due to recent world events and safety concerns.
This did not make Stone or Parker happy campers, so rather than showing a picture of Muhammad,
they posted a message onscreen reading, "Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image
of Muhammad on their network."
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