Michael Cudlitz, the actor who plays Abraham in The Walking Dead, revealed on Twitter that the show’s fifth episode–aka the episode where viewers decided they hated Eugene–was almost pulled from the air by the FCC. This may not come as a surprise to regular viewers of the Walking Dead—even diehard fans of the show have been surprised at the amount of violence and gore that the show has been allowed to air. But fans might also notice that the episode was not nearly as violent or gory as previous installments. Why, then, was the fifth episode of season five almost pulled from the airwaves?
There are two likely culprits which may have led the censors to object to the episode. The first is a scene where Abraham beats several men to death with his own two hands—and a can of beans. His family flees after the incident and Abraham later found them lying dead in the grass. The scene showed an explicit shot of Abraham’s dead and partially eaten wife—and his two dead and, once again partially eaten, children. A shot of two dead children may not have set well with the censors, although it wouldn’t be the first time that the show depicted dead children.
The more likely culprit is something that may have fans rolling their eyes: a scene between Abraham and Rosita where the couple is obviously engaging in intercourse while Eugene watches from behind a bookshelf. The scene wasn’t particularly explicit, but considering the fact that television censors are often far more considered about nudity or implied nudity than they are gratuitous violence, it would not be surprising if the objectionable content was not violence—but an implied and relatively tame scene depicting two consenting adults together.
This particular theory is bolstered by the fact that the AMC network’s social media accounts have been contacted by numerous parents complaining about the sex scene in the current season’s fifth episode; these same parents, however, had no objections to the gratuitous violence in the show, nor did they apparently pay attention to AMC’s warnings about adult content prior to each return from a commercial break.
Unfortunately, this would not be the first time that parents—and television censors—objected to sexual content while ignoring gratuitous and extreme violence.
Thrilled that censors didn’t pull epsiode 5 from the airways? You need this hoodie in your closet.