We may all be guilty of using the TV as a babysitter occasionally, but Anne Johnston reckons Cartoon Network Australia are creating a nanny state with their frequent, unnecessary censorship.


I remember sitting in the cinema watching Shrek as a kid when something seemingly very unfunny happened onscreen. My dad, along with every other adult in the theatre, burst out laughing.

It wasn’t until I went back and watched them when I was older that I realised that they were all laughing at Lord Farquaad concealing a boner in bed while watching reruns of Princess Fiona on the Magic Mirror.

Adults are dragged along to watch countless kids shows and movies for years of their life so it’s only fair that they get a little something out of it too. I never understood that “snuggling” meant sex in The Simpsons or that Helga from Hey Arnold! wrote in her diary that Arnold makes her “girlhood tremble” until I was an adult, so it’s really not an issue.

Well it is according to Cartoon Network Australia.

Adventure Time is a children’s cartoon about a boy named Finn and Jake, a shape-shifting dog. They spend their days battling monsters, fighting for good and making friends; the perfect recipe for a kids show.

The show has been hugely popular, but not just with children. With psychedelic scenes, witty and insightful dialogue and character development to put any sitcom to shame, it’s often hard to believe that the show is made for children. Not that it’s any way inappropriate like South Park or Archer, but you just feel that children won’t be able to fully appreciate things like the Tiny Manticore’s monologue:

“I am the true coward. Hiding from sincere expressions like a vampire in the nude who hides from the light. Thank you, brave hero. I was freed from bottle jail, but my new prison is shame. My new prison is shame!”

But Cartoon Network has still censored more than a few episodes of Adventure Time.

Words like “patoot”, “suck”, “rascals”, “nuts”, “freaking” and “girlfriend” were cut out, as well as references to any kind of romantic interest (even one character calling another “hot” was cut). How characters deal with relationships and grow because of them is part of what makes the show so great, but most of it is being censored.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s estimated that around 70 episodes have been altered in some way, whether it’s shaving time off the episode to cut out a line, or zooming in on a scene to crop something out (like Finn’s bare butt in the corner of the screen was taken out of the frame).

Aussies are renowned for being down-to-earth, but this kind of censorship is the uptight work of a potential “nanny state”. When did our children become so fragile that they have to be protected from a cartoon bum?

Someone needs to tell Cartoon Network, Australia that they’re really starting to su*k.

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