Dexter's Laboratory "Rude Removal" (found episode of animated series; 1997)
Title card originally released by Adult Swim.
Status: Found (censored version)
Lost (uncensored version)
Date found: 22 Jan '13
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 of 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.
In 2015, 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, realizing the increasing amount of public interest in "Rude Removal", began airing bumpers suggesting that they were going to attempt to acquire the episode and have it aired on TV. After a handful of bumpers regarding the episode, Adult Swim went quiet on the issue until December 1, 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 bumper 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 21, 2013, Adult Swim ended 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 22, 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. The episode, however, 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.
Ever since the episode's original resurfacing, rumors of an alleged uncensored version actually existing, possibly on a VHS tape in possession of one of the show's former crew members, float on the web. 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, only knowing that Adult Swim uploaded one of the versions in 2013 – the censored version.
The unreleased nature of the unedited audio eventually attracted the attention of fans trying to earn an advantage from the situation. Forgeries coming from people claiming to own copies of the uncensored episode arose, with the most famous one being sourced from a "YouTube Poop" published by mrSimon (at the time known as electricthecheese) shortly after the episode's airing in early 2013. In this edit, the censored episode has its bleeps replaced with audio clips from other episodes altered to resemble profanity, giving the illusion of uncutness. Users abusing of bad faith took advantage of this and reuploaded the video without proper credits, passing it as the official uncensored version.
- Adult Swim's first bumper regarding the episode. 7 Oct '12.
- Adult Swim's second bumper regarding the episode. 21 Oct '12.
- Adult Swim's third and final bumper regarding the episode. 2 Dec '12.
- United States Copyright Office entry for "Rude Removal." Retrieved on 13 Oct '14.
- A fan's testimonial, in which he claims to have seen the episode at Comic-Con (in uncensored form). May 22, 2007. Archived from the original on 10 Apr '13.
- Fred Seibert's Tumblr post confirming the existence of "Rude Removal." Retrieved on 13 Oct '14.
- Screenshot of Craig McCracken's DeviantArt post on the episode Retrieved on 17 Oct '14.
- Genndy Tartakovsky's Reddit IAmA Retrieved on 17 Oct '14.
- Adult Swim's first tweet regarding the episode Retrieved on 17 Oct '14.
- Adult Swim's tweet containing the episode's title card Retrieved on 17 Oct '14.
- Adult Swim's final tweet regarding the episode, in which a streaming link to it was provided Retrieved on 22 Jan '13.
- Craig McCracken's tweet on the supposed "original non-bleeped out version" Retrieved on 15 July '17.
- Craig McCracken's second tweet on the subject matter Retrieved on 16 July '17.
- Discussion on the unearthing of the episode and mrSimon's YouTube Poop. Retrieved on 22 Jan '13. Retrieved on 18 Sept '17.
- Reupload of mrSimon's edit. Retrieved on 25 Mar '15.