Dexter's Laboratory "Rude Removal" (lost original recording of animated series episode; 1997)
|Title card originally released by Adult Swim.|
|Status|| Found (Censored version)|
Lost (Uncensored version.)
|Date found||22 Jan 2013|
|Found by||Adult Swim|
"Rude Removal" is a 1997 episode of the 1996 animated series Dexter's Laboratory. The episode revolves around one of Dexter's inventions separating both himself and Dee Dee into respective rude and polite versions of themselves, resulting in a tirade of swearing (albeit censored) and general rudeness. It was originally intended to be aired but was pulled after Cartoon Network got cold feet, fearing backlash due to the amount bad language present. Incidentally, the episode ended up being screened at several conventions in the late 1990s (sometimes even, allegedly, in uncensored form), before shrinking into obscurity for over a decade, finally receiving a mass release by Adult Swim in early 2013.
Before "Rude Removal"’s relatively recent unearthing, many dismissed it as fake until 2010, when Frederator's Fred Seibert (who served as president of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons from 1992 to 1996) confirmed its existence and the fact that it was indeed pulled before airing via his Tumblr page, after consulting Genndy Tartakovsky (creator of the show) during a senior animation class, in which the episode's existence was brought into question by a student.
Roughly two years later, cartoonist Craig McCracken, who worked on Dexter's Laboratory as art director and storyboard artist for seasons 1 through 4, also attested to the episode's existence via his DeviantArt account. Shortly after that, in September of 2012, Tartakovsky conducted an IAmA session on Reddit to promote his then-upcoming, animated feature film directorial effort Hotel Transylvania. Eventually, a comment regarding "Rude Removal" came up and quickly gained traction, rising to become one of the thread's top comments. After giving a first-hand account quite similar to Seibert's and McCracken's, when asked if the episode would ever find its way online, he replied "it might", also stating that he would bring it with him to his next public appearance.
Adult Swim's Involvement
In the weeks following Tartakovsky's IAmA session, Adult Swim, realising the increasing amount of public interest in "Rude Removal", began airing bumps suggesting that they were going to attempt to acquire the episode and have it aired on TV. After a handful of bumps regarding the episode, Adult Swim went quiet on the issue until December 1st, when they sent out a tweet asking if there was still interest in the episode. Following an overwhelmingly positive fan response, Adult Swim aired a follow-up bump the next day stating that they had succeeded in obtaining a copy and were in negotiations to get it put online "in the next week or so", advising users to "remind us to tell Jeff to put it up" by using the Twitter hashtag #tellJeff.
Weeks passed with no word from Adult Swim whatsoever; people started becoming bitter, some suggesting that Adult Swim never actually had the episode in the first place and that the whole thing was nothing more than a cruel publicity stunt. However, on January 21st, 2013, Adult Swim destroyed any doubts by tweeting a picture of the episode's title card, along with the notification that the episode was to be uploaded the afternoon of the following day. Keeping to their word, Adult Swim uploaded a (censored) high definition rip of "Rude Removal" to their YouTube account on January 22nd, 2013 at around 1:00PM Atlanta time (Atlanta being the location of Adult Swim's Williams Street headquarters), along with a tweet simply stating "With love, from Adult Swim.", also containing a link to said YouTube video (albeit embedded on a page via Adult Swim's official website).
The episode's unearthing was generally well received despite some people's disappointment at the fact that it was censored, and Adult Swim's efforts were met with mass praise. Curiously, the episode was removed from Adult Swim's YouTube channel just a few weeks after it had been uploaded, with no explanation, although by that time, many mirrors had popped up, ensuring that the episode can still by watched by the general public.
However, there are rumors of the alleged uncensored version actually existing, possibly on a VHS tape of one of the show's former crew members. It's unknown if the copy Adult Swim obtained had the censoring on it originally or if they added it themselves, and none of the rumors have been confirmed or denied. On July 15, 2017, Craig McCracken officially confirmed via Twitter that uncensored audio was originally recorded for the episode. In another tweet, Craig said that he doesn't know if Cartoon Network has the original uncensored version. He only knows that Adult Swim uploaded one of the versions in 2013, and that was the censored version.
- United States Copyright Office entry for "Rude Removal"; 14 Oct 1999. Last retrieved 13 Oct 2014.
- Archive of a fan's testimonial, in which he claims to have seen the episode at Comic-Con (in uncensored form), via archive.today; 22 May 2007. Last retrieved 17 Oct 2014.
- Fred Seibert's Tumblr post confirming the existence of "Rude Removal"; 26 Oct 2010. Last retrieved 13 Oct 2014.
- Screenshot of Craig McCracken's DeviantArt post on the episode; 2012. Last retrieved 17 Oct 2014.
- Genndy Tartakovsky's Reddit IAmA; Sep 2012. Last retrieved 17 Oct 2014.
- Adult Swim's first tweet regarding the episode; 01 Dec 2012. Last retrieved 17 Oct 2014.
- Adult Swim's tweet containing the episode's title card; 21 Jan 2013. Last retrieved 17 Oct 2014.
- Adult Swim's final tweet regarding the episode, in which a streaming link to it was provided; 22 Jan 2013. Last retrieved 17 Oct 2014.
- Adult Swim's first bump regarding the episode, via YouTube; 07 Oct 2012. Last retrieved 17 Oct 2014.
- Adult Swim's second bump regarding the episode, via YouTube; 21 Oct 2012. Last retrieved 17 Oct 2014.
- Adult Swim's third and final bump regarding the episode, via YouTube; 02 Dec 2012. Last retrieved 17 Oct 2014.
- Craig McCracken's tweet on the supposed "orginial non-bleeped out version." Last retrieved 15 Jul 2017