Censorship is one of those things we always tend to scoff at, wondering how some television shows can get away with certain things while others can’t. The very nature of what is and isn’t allowed on television has led to attacks from some shows themselves, such as South Park and Family Guy, two shows frequently threatened with having episodes pulled due to content.
And this isn’t exactly a new thing, either. Network fights with the FCC have taken place for decades, going back to shows like Happy Days and All in the Family. What you may not have been able to guess is that, of all of the television shows in history to face censorship, one such program was Leave it to Beaver, which nine out of 10 dentists agree is so overly saccharine that it’s actually bad for your teeth.
So what raised the ire of the FCC? Did they finally realize that it might be a little awkward having a woman tell her husband he was being hard on the Beaver? Nope. It was the show’s audacity to attempt to show…wait for it…a toilet.
Think back on the classic sitcoms, and try to remember ever glimpsing a toilet. You can’t, right? A frequent joke is that the Brady Bunch’s house had nine residents and zero toilets. The FCC was steadfastly against toilets being shown on television, because God forbid anyone remember that, just like the book says, everybody poops. And it wasn’t like Wally and the Beav were even trying to drop a deuce in the episode in question, either. Instead, they were simply trying to keep a baby alligator in the tank behind the actual toilet bowl.
The episode was originally pulled, but ultimately a compromise was made that allowed them to show the tank, but not the actual bowl. It kind of made history in that it was the first show in TV history to show even part of a toilet on the air. Since people never had sex on TV shows back in the day, it can only be assumed that the reason there were no toilets was because bathrooms were used exclusively for frustrated teens to wank whenever they weren’t getting up to assorted adorable shenanigans.