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Rude Removal: The 'Dexter's Laboratory' controversy.

Dexter's Laboratory, a classic in the history of Cartoon Network, was an American animated television series created by Genndy Tartakovsky that followed the misadventures of a boy-genius named Dexter, who ran an undercover laboratory in his room that he managed to conceal from everyone, including his parents. Unfortunately for Dexter, his sister Dee Dee is aware of the existence of the lab and thus begins the saga of Dee Dee regularly finding ways to enter the lab and wreak havoc, ruining all of Dexter's experiments, much to his dismay.

From Dee Dee's reckless behavior and the constant bickering between the two siblings to the infamous "Omelette Du Fromage" episode that still gives birth to memes, the cartoon sets off a wave of nostalgia and a longing for the simpler times when the only stress in life was finishing your homework on time just so you could get access to TV privileges and not miss out on the next episode of Power Puff Girls.

However, there is definitely an episode of the chaotic series that you may have missed out on, unless you decided one day that you were bored out of your mind and had nothing better to do other than re-watching all your favorite cartoons.

"Rude Removal" is an episode that was initially meant to air as a part of the season 2 of the show, but was banned not once, but twice, and sure enough, the episode truly is quite problematic if you ask me.

The episode follows Dexter's latest invention "The Rude Removal System" which is a machine that will allow him to remove Dee Dee's rudeness. However, as in most episodes, Dee Dee's involvement messes up Dexter's plans and he ends up accidentally splitting up Dee Dee and himself into two halves, a well-mannered one and a rude one.

What is interesting to note here is the portrayal of the two halves.

The rude halves were seen spitting profanities and obscene remarks throughout the episode, much to the surprise of their mother who displays exaggerated responses to these halves such as passing out every time a child swears. While these were all bleeped out and censored, it is still shockingly hilarious considering that the show was meant for children.

Another thing that was interesting to note here was that the rude halves had thick 'New York City' accents whereas the well-mannered halves were quite eloquent and had British accents. I may not have payed much attention to this detail before but now that I think about the implications that the choice of accent had in portraying rudeness and politeness is messed up on so many levels.

The episode, however, never aired and was only shown at a couple of secret screenings at Comic Con and the young audience was shielded from the disaster that this episode was set out to be. Nonetheless, the thought of a cartoon that I hold so dear to my heart having a potential episode as controversial as "Rude Removal" never fails to send me in a fit of giggles.

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5 comentários

Don't think I've seen this episode. Dexter was one of those cartoons that had very little profanity and was generally child friendly. This is so astonishing!


Such a fun read, I used to love the show!


the difference in accents is very interesting as it shows the attitude of the two halves. I think the swear words used by the rude halves were probably also a tactic to make new yorkers looks inferior.


The accent thing is interesting because a lot of shows think British accents are synonymous to sophistication. In the past, they positioned themselves as the champions of "culture" and "civilization" deeming everyone else as uncultured, and uncivilised, and then deeming all other culture as being primitive. This is still carried forward with a lot of shows and cartoons that depict this.


You mentioned the different accents and it reminded of the reading on Shrek that pointed out how only Fiona had a standard American accent and the others did not. Just goes to show how much we stereotype to the point that an accent becomes indicative of how polite or rude a person might be! But an episode like this one on a kids show with all the *bleeps* must’ve been a riot!

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