When it comes to American television, network censors often rule on certain plot points to ensure that the American public isn’t traumatized by anything that might be distasteful.
Although these standards have been relaxed over the years (you can now see toilets on TV!) “, but some episodes were omitted by censors but were banned soon after airing.
If there’s one thing an animator wants to avoid, it’s life imitating art. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened soon after the episode “Comedians” aired on MTV. Beavis and Butt-Head was never a show to restrain itself, but few could have foreseen what would happen after the episode aired.
In “Comedians,” the titular duo attempt to make it as stand-up comics but fail miserably. When they don’t make it, they decide to set the comedy club on fire. They then watched it burn from across the street. For a Beavis and Butt-Head episode, it was actually pretty tame, but it resulted in tragedy.
According to an article in the New York Times, Austin Messner, a five-year-old child, watched the episode, which included a line claiming that “fire was fun.” Shortly after this, the boy’s mother found him playing with matches, and later that evening, he set fire to the family home.
Sadly, this resulted in the death of his younger sister. The tragedy resulted in the episode being permanently pulled from syndication, and it’s only ever been aired once in its entirety. There has since been some doubt about the episode’s influencing the fire, but MTV continues to keep the episode off the air.