Time Magazine’s Top Ten Controversial Cartoons

In the wake of the latest South Park uproar, Time Magazine has posted a Top Ten list of cartoon controversies.

Number #2 on their list is Warner Bros. Censored 11 – and Time embeds (via You Tube) the P.D. Tex Avery Bugs Bunny short All This And Rabbit Stew. Eight of the eleven were shown publicly this past weekend at the TCM Classic Film Festival without incident (the restored prints, particularly of Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs were stunning).

Disney’s Song of the South ranks #4 and Aladdin is #8. Speedy Gonzales makes the list at number #10. The rest of the list consists of TV cartoons, mainly The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy. Here’s the complete list:

1. South Park and Muhammad
2. The Censored Eleven
3. The Simpsons and Brazil
4. Song of the South
5. The Boondocks
6. Family Guy and Sarah Palin
7. Pokemon Panic
8. Aladdin
9. South Park and Scientology
10. Speedy Gonzales


  • top cat james

    Hmmm. They forgot “Beavis and Butthead” ?

  • top cat james

    AND Mighty Mouse’s “flower snorting”! AND “The Garbage Pail Kids ” entire series being pulled before the premiere!

  • trn

    no mention of der fuehrer’s face by disney circa 1946? or how about that popeye one where he hunts the japanese at sea. those were both pretty bad

  • top cat james

    AND the firing of John K. from “Ren and Stimpy”, the show itself rife with controversies. This is really a half-assed list, Time!

  • amid

    What a poorly thought-out list. Surely, the collective Brew readership could come up with one that is a lot better. For starters, Bakshi’s Coonskin.

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    Man.
    I’ve been living under a rock.
    I had to Google a few of these to see what they were in the first place and then again to see why they were controversial.
    Aladdin was controversial for a lyric in a song and a misheard snippet of dialogue?
    This makes it the 8th most controversial animated film EVER?
    Are you kidding me?
    Aladdin???
    Speedy Gonzalez is the 10th most controversial character EVER, EVER?
    I’m a foreigner, so maybe I missed something about Speedy.
    A Simpsons episode at number 3????
    The Simpsons??? 3rd most controversial cartoon ever.
    In the history of all animated content, there are only two other more controversial cartoons than this?
    Was the list written by nuns?
    Someone’s old auntie?
    I don’t even know what to say.
    Back to my rock, I guess.

    • cecil

      Actually Aladdin was so controversial because of the fact that it portrayed a very pro-western interpretation of Arabic culture and alot of Arabic groups were offended by the frivoulous depiction of their culture and religion.

      No one really beleives that Aladdin acutally said those things under his breath in that one scene anyways.

  • Brendan Spillane

    I found the “You Have Aids” musical number from “Family Guy” to be more offensive than anything on TIME’s list- yet, somehow or other, it pretty much escaped controversy.

  • Mark

    boondocks “controversial?”

    How about just dull, witless, irrelevant, and badly drawn?

    But certainly not controversial.

    • Joseph

      I’m assuming you enjoy watching family guy and The Simpsons? The Boondocks is so much more “relevant” and “witty” as you would say in comparison to many other animated series out today, you obviously don’t know anything about today’s pop culture.

    • doug

      boondocks is one of the funniest shows i have ever seen, period. and what isn’t controversial about it “nigga”

      • Augustine

        Because portraits the african american culture, just the abuse of the word “nigga” speaks for itself. One episode speaks of, when a white says that word, it’s offensive, but they african american people use it all the time, what about the ” return of the king ” episode? People were actually shocked for the use of the word “nigga” by Martin Luther King, instead of listening to the whole speech. I love the boondocks, they’re funny, what’s funny about it? ” the truth part “..
        My opinion.

  • Stephan

    These are the controversies that seized the public as a whole. Like the South Park thing, it often involved a figure we were familiar with before it caused the controversies.

    These caused death threats, seizures, and lawsuits from a country. The most egrerious missing one here I think is Beavis and Butthead. That killed a kid unfortunately.

    (I think the time The Simpsons responded to G.H. Bush wasn’t bad either, but being sued by a country is a helluva thing as well.)

  • Dave

    Wow, whoever wrote this article for Time Magazine did about 5 minutes of research before lunch; Sorry Time, Entertainmentweekly.com is not a valid source for research – Speedy Gonzalez is not controversial, and there’s no reason to make an issue out of such a great character.

  • http://rsboingboingblog.blogspot.com Roberto Severino

    Geez. I definitely agree with Amid on this one. What’s Speedy Gonzales doing on this list anyway? I don’t recall him being too controversial at all. Whoever made that crummy half-assed list must hate cartoons or something or not know much about the history of animation at all. I can think of plenty of huge controversies from the Golden Age.

    • jules

      you have to click on the link to understand what’s so controversial.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/OriginalGagBonkers OriginalGagBonkers

    Somebody needs to redo the list.

  • Stephan

    You guys. A major media outlet discussed the Censored 11 and you’re COMPLAINING!?!?!? Really guys?

  • Eddie

    I’ll never understand why the fuss over “Song of the South”. Uncle Remus is the smartest guy in the movie.

  • dr. giraud

    “You probably haven’t seen Disney’s 1946 Song of the South. . . .”

    Ouch. Yes, remind me I’m old. I saw it in the early 1970s; was that the last reissue of the film?

    And Stephen, I AM glad whenever the Censored 11 get a mention.

  • http://animationinventory.blogspot.com/ Teodor

    Song of the South has more interesting frogs than The Princess and the Frog

  • Stephan

    @Eddie I mean, its the “Magical Negro” stereotype at its purest. He’s not exactly smart. He’s just kind of magical and amazing, but not through intelligence.

  • Elvis Pudovkin

    TIME magazine claims Elmer Fudd was inspired by the character in “All This and Rabbit Stew”, which was made several years after Fudd’s first screen appearance. Hey, they can’t be expected to know everything. That would take research.

  • Kevin Wollenweber

    This appears to be just another list by people who do absolutely *NO* research at all and really don’t understand cartoons and who watches them. No, I’m not denying that there have been cartoons that might offend, but it seems that, on this list, the same old suspects are dredged up. Someone should send the author of this list a copy of the LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION mini-documentary on SPEEDY GONZALES…and I’m intrigued further by the fact that the TCM theatrical festival aired the Censored 11 without controversy…I’ll say it again, *WITHOUT CONTROVERSY*!

  • Steve M

    Stephan, I agree with Eddie. Uncle Remus is simply a story teller and the brightest bulb in the movie – not a simple storyteller. Johnny is dumb, his parents are dumb, the white trash neighbors are beyond idiotic. They all become better people because of Uncle Remus. Maybe the most offense thing in the film is Remus’ happy slave attitude. Considering the time the movie was made, and the far more offensive examples of African Americans in other films, films available on dvd, this a pretty passive downside to the film.

  • Andrea Ippoliti

    Thanks for that terric lobby card in the post Jerry!

  • Scarabim

    **boondocks “controversial?”

    How about just dull, witless, irrelevant, and badly drawn?

    But certainly not controversial.**

    Amen, brother. It’s just like the comic strip. Which is not a compliment. Both are dull diatribes full of sullen cartoon faces. Whee, what fun.

    I saw Song of the South as a kid and I loved Uncle Remus in it. If anything he made me like black people even more than I already did (the brilliant Bill Cosby and his wonderful kid-centric monologues having started that process). Memories like those stood me in good stead when I was, at one point in my childhood, surrounded by adults who voiced objections about a black family moving into our neighborhood. I was sooooo disappointed in those grownups, who I’d thought better of. But I never sank to their level, and Remus and Bill were the primary reasons for that. Why should today’s kids be deprived of that? SoS deserves to be re-released, and kids of today need to see it. Wise the hell up, Iger.

  • http://www.okgrillo.blogspot.com Oscar Grillo

    Curiously Eveready Harton in “Buried Treasure” is not mentioned.

  • Nancy Beiman

    The very worst, I mean the VERY worst IMHO, is “Angel Puss” by Chuck Jones. He was so horrified and embarrassed by this appalling cartoon in later years that he denied ever making it. Unlike most of the cartoons on the list, it doesn’t contain anything remotely redeemingly funny.

  • Nancy Beiman

    although I feel that The Boondocks richly deserves its position. What an awful show.

    • http://www.yahoo.com brianna

      the boondocks is a contreversial show any one who watches it would know that and any person with brain would know that even though south park is contreversial its also just plain stupid ulike the boondocks which is a show thats dialoge is strongly influenced by the lives of some african american peolpe

  • Austin Papageorge

    I am reminded of the El Tigre Episode “The Grave Escape”.

    In the episode Our Hero Manny and his little girlfriend Frida have eaten the food set out for dead relatives for The Day of the Dead.

    Manny’s father is upset, and it culminates in Manny remarking to the effect :

    “There is no ‘Land of the Dead’. Dead people are just gone.”

    This does not personally offend me, but I was surprised that it was in a kid’s show. I have not heard of any protests against it, though.

    It can be seen here:

    http://nicktoons.nick.com/videos/clip/grave-escape-clip.html

    (The reason the quote from the show isn’t exact is because I can’t listen to the audio right now. I can’t listen to the audio right now because I’m in a library, and I don’t have headphones.

  • http://www.sweetposer.tk/urbmn/ Cameron A.

    I think the list sucks, but not for the reasons mentioned above. The Boondocks, The Censored 11, Pokémon and Speedy Gonzales all have ties to TimeWarner. If one counts TBS and Cartoon Network’s Family Guy reruns, that’s five out of ten spots. Gotta keep that corporate synergy a-flowin’.

  • Anna

    geez… Simpsons go to Brazil? really?? I remember that being hilarious
    an episode few weeks ago of their trip to Israel offended (and bored!) me horribly

    Family Guy stopped being funny 3 years ago and been nothing but boring since. Not even entertaining enough to offend, just boring & repetitive with their random “so remember that one time I was COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT TO EPISODE”

    and I second lack of “Beavis and Butthead”, and add at least couple episodes of “Ren & Stimpy”

  • mick

    jungle burger?

  • http://unlearningartschool.blogspot.com Geneva

    Cameron has it right; this list smacks of “synergy,” which is a word I feel dirty even typing.

    I would flip to see a restored print of Coal Black. I didn’t even know there was one. Is there any chance it will ever make its way to other festivals or anything?

    I’m pretty sure Song of the South is only controversial because it’s Disney, and Disney wants to distance itself far, far away from it. If it had somehow been made by another company, it probably wouldn’t pique so many peoples’ interests in terms of controversy. I understand why people don’t want kids watching happy slave or magical negro stereotypes, but I wish they’d release just the animated segments. They’d surely be the only parts of the move I would have cared about as a kid, anyway.

  • http://kaseygifford.com Killskerry

    well what about Fritz the cat? wasn’t haven’t a rated X cartoon kind of a big deal?

    And I agree wholeheartedly Coonskin (or should I say “Street Fight”) should be at the top of any list. Hell might as well throw Heavy Traffic in for good measure. This list was obviously thrown together with more recent animated controversies in mind.

  • http://otterslide.com Bryoon Carson

    There’s a restored print of Coal Black?! OMG! I must see this, on please please please post when it might show up again.

  • charles

    SPEEDY GONZALES???????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Have they ever ASKED Latinos if THEY think he’s offensive?

  • Karen

    boondocks is only controversial because it’s so bad.

  • http://ramapithblog.blogspot.com David Gerstein

    Geneva: Synergy? TIME appears to be going out of its way to make its sister company’s properties as disreputable as possible, and that’s synergy?

    Not all word of mouth equates to good promotion.

  • Stephan

    I’m going to speak up for Boondocks so it doesn’t seem like its just blindly attacked. I think its smart, has very apt comments on race relations and has a lot of fun scenes inspired by anime. Yay Boondocks!

  • http://chiacheese.blogspot.com ChiaCheese

    They forgot Clone High which sparked a hunger strike in India. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2003/jan/31/pressandpublishing.india

  • Michael F.

    Sounds like they’re all living in the moment. Granted, the South Park/Mohammad controversy is a great controversy simply because of the legitimate death threats that are being involved. Still, that’s just too recent. That’s like saying the Twilight vampires are the best vampires ever and that Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi and Anne Rice’s creations are useless.

  • Charles Carney

    I think we have the seedling for a coffee table book. Jerry?

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    Sounds like there’s no shortage of awfulness in cartoonland.

  • akira

    jerry, you said there’s more looney tunes on the way… PLEASE TELL ME YOU”RE WORKING ON CENSORED 11 BLU-RAY!!!!

  • EatRune

    Looking at the above posts, I love how no one ever agrees with top 10 lists.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    Don Wildmon’s assassination of the Bakshi “Mighty Mouse” didn’t make the list?

  • fishmorgjp

    The Simpsons and Family Guy are about as ‘controversial’ as Garfield the cat. yawn.

  • Mark

    “AND the firing of John K. from “Ren and Stimpy”” Revisionist history aside, everyone knows Jk was fired for not adhering to a budget and schedule HE agreed to–driving both well over acceptable limits. And acting very unprofessionally while doing it.

  • Dave O.

    What about that Studio Ghibli cartoon where the raccoons are stretching their magic ball sacs? That was pretty offensive to raccoons.

  • http://invaderpetblog.blogspot.com Brandon Pierce

    @ Roberto – TIME did go out of their way to say that it took the Latin American community resurrect him back on TV.

  • Vzk

    Any hentai (or semi-hentai anime like Kodomo no Jikan) would make those cartoons look as tame as Winnie the Pooh.

  • s.w.a.c.

    “You probably haven’t seen Disney’s 1946 film Song of the South, but you’ve definitely heard it.”
    I’m guessing there’s a missing “of” there, unless there’s a Song of the South soundtrack CD making the rounds that I was unaware of.

    I’m not *that* old (okay, 42) and I’ve seen it twice in theatres, in its last two theatrical reissues, the final one I believe was in 1986. So unless Time’s readership is completely under 30 (I know that’s the demographic they’re after) chances are good that a fair number of their readers did see it in in their early years.

    And I know people under 30 who have easily nabbed a watchable copy of the film for themselves via bittorents, taken presumably from bootlegs made from the Asian laserdiscs. But I guess that’s a bit too much detail for a quick hit item like this.

  • Mike Russo

    “Boondocks…has a lot of fun scenes inspired by anime. Yay Boondocks!”

    I get the impression that’s the primary reason most people like Boondocks.

  • http://rsboingboingblog.blogspot.com Roberto Severino

    @ Brandon Pierce – That is certainly true, but what I meant to say was that there are other events in animation history that could have been just as controversial or even more so than what happened to Speedy. Remember those Frito Bandito commercials Tex Avery made in the late 60s. I thought those caused a lot of controversy in themselves among the Hispanic community, or at least that’s what I’ve heard.

  • Keith Paynter

    “Elvis Pudovkin says: TIME magazine claims Elmer Fudd was inspired by the character in ‘All This and Rabbit Stew’, which was made several years after Fudd’s first screen appearance.”

    The article says:

    “A 1941 episode called ‘All this and Rabbit Stew showed Bugs Bunny hunted by a dim-witted, black gambler (later reimagined as Elmer Fudd).”

    Unless this is a re-write, the claim is 100% correct, since the log chase in Avery’s cartoon was redrawn to feature Elmer in Clampett’s “The Big Snooze”.

  • Grayson Ponti

    “You probably haven’t seen Disney’s Songof the South..” nonsense. I’m only fifteen and I’ve seen the movie (parts of it multiple times.) Anyways I think the entire list should be mad of just cartoon perverts like Peter Griffin and Eric Cartman and not have heroes like Speedy Gonzales, Uncle Remus, and Aladdin. Also Bob Clampett’s brillant Coal Black gets picked on too. Pick on Seth MacFarlane not Walt Disney and Bob Clampett.

  • http://selcouthblog.blogspot.com Mesterius

    Please let someone post that “stunning” restored print of Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs” online… I wanna see it!

    (Or even better, an actual DVD. Whatever comes first…)

  • http://drunkduck.com/anecdote Marbles

    I didn’t know there was so much hate for The Boondocks. What exactly is the hate about? Do people just not understand the humor or what? People have a lot of misconceptions about that show and the comic that it came from.

    You can disagree with its politics and/or point of view, but calling it “witless” is pretty lazy. The writing cuts very deep. And whether or not you like the visual style, you have to admit its production values are higher than just about any other animated show right now.

    Mike Russo:
    Personally, I’m indifferent to the “anime-inspired” action scenes. Sure, they’re cool, but they’re not why I watch.

    Oh, and regarding this TIME list—-

    Echo. I mean jeeziz….
    I hate to have yet another thing to grouse about, but that list is definitely lazy–the hallmark of some writer who couldn’t be bothered to research the topic. It really is insulting when you think about it. And it makes you wonder how many other articles on other subjects are like this, and we just don’t know because we’re not knowledeable on the subject matter.
    Probably a lot….

  • Obvious Truth

    How can any of you say the Boondocks isn’t funny? Let me guess, you are a middle aged person of non-African decent who clearly cannot relate to any of the happenings or jokes in the show. This is just like pulling a black person from their usual broadcast to watch Friends and expect to put it on the top 10 list of funny shows. Completely one sided argument of it not being funny, because to those who can relate, it is.

    Stop being ignorant and relate to something.

  • Yamen

    I agree with Obvious Truth. Most people I know that watch the Boondocks watch it because of the content. If people would take their heads out their asses and stop being so one sided they’d understand what makes the show controversial. In fact, one episode was banned because it depicted the CEO of BET Debra Lee as a power hungry woman intent on destroying black people. But the majority of y’all wouldn’t understand what makes it funny. I sure as hell do, and it’s damn funny. Compare what happens in the cartoon to the stuff that happens in real life. The Boondocks exaggerates a lot of stuff but it’s similar to what goes on in reality.

  • Waffle

    I think people are def idiots for thinking “The Boondocks” is not controversial simply because they don’t like the show. Boondocks is DEFINITELY controversial. The use of the “N” word, the politically incorrect statements. 10 and 8 year olds saying those statements lol. You people are crazy.

  • Mannie

    I agree with anyone who was pro Boondocks. Although the controversy, that show is funny, entertaining, and exaggeration or not it manages to depict african american culture today in a way most don’t see it. That is the best part about it. It depicts the truth

  • metalvins

    If you don’t think boondocks belongs there u might just b one of d most ignorant mofos reading this post… boondocks is one of the most controversial cartoon ive seen so far.. n they r funny too.. u wont get what their humor is about cz u might be expecting a fart noises or a big douches to tickle ur funny bones.. but boondocks doesnt target cheap humor.. that show is made for intelligent and aware people.. not a bunch of ignorant hooligans…
    … n if u hate boondocks just cz they say the word nigga so many times… ur a nigga… n a big hater!!! peace..

  • Steve Jr.

    Boondocks, YEAH YEAH!!!! One of the greatest shows of all time!!!!!

  • zac

    the only reason we watch the boondocks is because it’s so controversial

  • Awesause

    late but i aptly cosign all pro-boondocks comments.
    and i admit that its only because im a huge fan of the show.

  • Samuel Black

    this list is VERY SPOT ON, reason being is these all have had court cases, and the boondocks not only is funny, but the whole part where they say `the `N` word a gagillion times uncensored. The biggest by far is south park`s two controversial episodes the Scientology was SO FUNNY and made the very lovable CHEF character leave the show. Not to mention the Gandhi episode where they got death threats. Simpsons should be in south parks 8 spot but this list is spot on.

  • Khyrie

    Pokemon? Really? No they should have shows like, betty boop and pop eye. Those shows were EXTREMELY racist not just towards blacks but nearly every race except for white. Those who say the boondocks is crap, I’m sure are the same ones that think south park is gods gift to mankind. Boondocks is a show geared towards black audiences, so if your not black you may not get some of the wit and humor used in the show. Plain and simple, but just because you don’t understand something does not make it bad. Boondocks is a great show that takes social issues, puts them in a comedic light but at the same time says “we need to fix this”.

  • D

    Will someone pleas tll me why pokemon is there?
    And Speedy?(Maybe slight minor racism issues)
    And Family guy is crap!
    Boondocks is the best adult cartoon coming from a 14yr old black/latino guy with a load of latin and black friends.
    But seriously why is pokemon there?

  • Terry

    i like all the shows from south park to family guy to boondocks..all the shit is hilarious..those shows don’t run my life so i don’t care if it’s controversial or not..

  • Sims

    Not to diss anybody im 4rm south africa and i DEFINITELY think the boondocks is super kick ass funny and if you seriously don’t like it you’ve missed the point.

  • boondocks goes hard

    boondocks is more real life unlike other cartoons, shit, id rather have my kids watch that than the simpsons or family guy, there just degrading the youth of today with nonsense propaganda. boondocks = best new realistic cartoon out now, don’t argue with it till you’ve watched it.