Remember how your parents told you to never talk politics or religion in polite company? Well, many of the following TV shows didn’t take that advice, with a few adding taboo topics such as sex and race. Some shows are so controversial, they last only a few episodes before network executives bow to public pressure and cancel the series. Take The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer, which aired on UPN in 1998. Really, someone thought it would be a good idea to air a comedy about slavery, complete with jokes about hangings, cotton picking and so-called black dialect. That show aired only four times, the same number as the 2006 NBC show The Book of Daniel, which featured a pill-popping priest.
The following shows all attracted controversy, but for the most part, managed to survive longer than a few episodes. Some shows are now legendary for their jaw-dropping moments (South Park). Others, once seen as quite controversial, now seem almost tame given the passage of time (we’re talking about you, Married … with Children).