12 of the Most Controversial Episodes in TV History
3. Dallas – “Return to Camelot Part 1”
While many of the entries landed on this list due to racy or controversial content, this Dallas episode got everyone going because of a plot twist that is STILL talked about today. The eighth season of the primetime soap ended with the death of Bobby Ewing (played by Patrick Duffy), where the ninth season dealt with the aftermath of it all. During the highly-anticipated ninth season finale, Bobby’s widow Pam wakes up to find Bobby is alive and well and taking a shower. Fans were shocked and had to wait months to find out how this all came to be.
In September 1986, Dallas viewers were disappointed to find out the past year was simply a dream, or nightmare for some, that Pam had concocted that night. Fans were shocked that the year they had just invested in with the show was all for nothing. To this day, whenever a major cliffhanger hits any drama (daytime or primetime), audiences hit social media with the same statement of “maybe it was all dream” mocking Dallas’ 10th season premiere.
2. Seinfeld – “The Puerto Rican Day”
Speaking of a show that was about nothing, Seinfeld was really good at entertaining viewers, and most of the buzz this comedy received over the years was just how hilarious and captivating it was. That is, until May 1998, during an episode that found George, Elaine, Kramer, and Jerry stuck in traffic during the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City.
For the most part the episode was fine, until Kramer accidentally lights a Puerto Rican flag on fire. The episode upset Puerto Rican activists, and while it did air initially, it was pulled from rotation and wasn’t rebroadcasted until 2007.
1. Pokémon – “Electric Soldier Porygon”
Thankfully this episode didn’t have any questionable content exposed to child viewers. However, it was hazardous to their health.
When “Electric Soldier Porygon” aired in 1997, over 600 individuals were rushed to the hospital in Japan. The issue was around the blue and red lights that started to flash rapidly and suddenly, after an explosion. Audiences complained of blurred vision, dizziness, and headaches, with some people heading to the hospital due to seizures.
As a result, this episode of Pokémon was taken out of rotation and has never aired in Japan since — along with never being localized for worldwide audiences. In fact, Japanese anime studios altered their style to make sure those quick flashing lights were toned down in future projects.