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The preceding program contained scenes of extreme violence and should not have been viewed by young children.
—The Simpsons, "Deep Space Homer"
"Well, we warned you."
—Edward Van Sloan, Frankenstein (1931)
Warnings given before the airing of a TV show or film, on the box of a video or computer game, on a movie poster, or in a fanfic's summary/header.
In other words, to the right (or wrong) mindset, an invitation to watch.
Usually added due to uproar created by Moral Guardians, who don't seem to realize there is No Such Thing as Bad Publicity and that Do Not Do This Cool Thing, so the warnings frequently have the opposite affect of what they intended. Sometimes works are deliberately made with this in mind when they're Rated "M" for Money.
On UK videos, the content warnings used to be under the headings Language, Sex, Violence, Other, which (with minor modifications) became the title of a Stereophonics album. It's since been replaced with an optional paragraph of text in the ratings label instead.
The United States has, since 1997, adopted content warnings at the beginnings of all programs in the form of MPAA-inspired letter symbols appearing at the top left corner ("TV-Y" through "TV-MA"), usually supplemented with smaller letters giving details as to why the warning applies. The networks air them on just about everything, no matter how old or new it is.
Some standard Content Warnings:
- "This show contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing".
- "Viewer discretion advised."
- "Intended for mature audiences only." (Mature takes on a double meaning.)
- "Contains scenes of a sexual nature." (Namely, explicit, bare-breasted sex on a kitchen table, to give but one example)
- "This programme contains strong language."
- Or the more foolish version "This programme contains language." Or "mild language," even.
- An example of a program using the "language" varriant.
- Or the more foolish version "This programme contains language." Or "mild language," even.
- "Strong, bloody violence."
- "Mild peril."
- In Shrek the Third: "Swashbuckling Action".
- "The opinions expressed in this show do not necessarily reflect the views of (the network or production company)"
- ABC Family has one just before The 700 Club that deletes the "necessarily".
- Monty Python's Flying Circus really made fun of this:
Eric Idle: "There are scenes of violence, people's heads being ripped off and their toe nails being pulled out in slow motion. Then there's a scene where you can see everything, but my friend says it's just all in the way he's holding the spear."
- "All suspects are innocent until proven guilty (in a court of law)." (For Cop Shows where real people get arrested on screen.)
- "The following program/report contains flashing images/flash photography."
- The best warning is probably "Mild Themes" which has been making a number of appearances in Australian content warnings recently.
- There's also "Moderate Themes" (for Batman Begins) and according to the OFLC these are actually clearer terms as part of a overhaul of the previous ratings system. The vaguer old term? "Adult Themes". So the only thing that they got right with this is that "Adult Themes" doesn't really make sense.
- To quote Calvin and Hobbes: "What do they mean by Adult Themes?" "Tax returns, paying bills, and so on," "Wow. No wonder they warn you about this stuff."
- There's also "Moderate Themes" (for Batman Begins) and according to the OFLC these are actually clearer terms as part of a overhaul of the previous ratings system. The vaguer old term? "Adult Themes". So the only thing that they got right with this is that "Adult Themes" doesn't really make sense.
- "Pervasive language" shows up on movies under the MPAA rating sometimes. Think about that for a moment. That phrase literally means that there are words throughout the movie.
- "Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" is used on the cover of music albums. There are no hard and fast rules for what warrants the label and what doesn't; some albums drop f-bombs with no warning at all, while many other artists treat it as a badge of honor to show how "edgy" and "hardcore" they are.
- And Frank Zappa once got an "Explicit Lyrics" warning imposed on an instrumental album for what could only have been purely political reasons.
- And the oft-cited "Imitatable Acts" warning preceding Pro-Wrestling pay-per-views, as well as R ratings to any movie that shows a lot of Kung-Fu action—even if there's nothing else in it that would warrant higher than a PG-13 otherwise.
- The incredibly vague "thematic elements" content descriptor, which essentially means that "this is a movie where stuff happens". Often used to describe things not covered by any other descriptor which might push a movie's rating past G to PG (like a child briefly running away from home, or someone cheating on a test).
- Cookbooks —and some books on food that actually have no recipes— have started to bear the warning "The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that require medical supervision."
- Some shows dealing with ethnic minorities may give out warnings in regards to the portrayal of dead indigenous people (Australian Aborigines consider it taboo to directly mention the dead by name), for example, or the content features the portrayal of a certain race and advising viewer discretion.
- In Japan, anime broadcasts on TV are usually preceded by a disclaimer along the lines of "When watching [(series title)/TV anime], please make sure the room is well-lit and do not sit too close to the screen." This was originally added in response to Pokémon's infamous "Electric Soldier Porygon" episode, which caused an epidemic of seizures in kids sitting too close to the TV with the lights off or dimmed. The disclaimer (as well as stricter limits on strobe effects) has been industry standard practice ever since.
- Similarly, arcade games often have a warning sticker somewhere near the monitor to caution people not to play if they have epilepsy.
Anime and Manga
- Viz Media seems to make a habit of putting unusual content warnings on its English-language M-rated manga. The English version of the Black Lagoon manga has the following content warning:
Black Lagoon is rated M for Mature and is recommended for mature readers. This volume contains graphic violence, strong language, nudity, adult situations, drinkin', smokin', ass-kickin', law breakin', gun-love, running with scissors and just about everything your mother ever told you not to do.
- Similarly, Biomega contains "motorcycle violence, mind-blowing cinematic stunts and extreme grizzly bear."
- Daily Lives of High School Boys, despite a plain Slice Of Live work, has two examples of this.
- In High School Boys and Mochi Soup, each time when one of the main trio choked on mochi, there is an on-screen advisory, and when Tadakuni became the last of the trio to get chocked on mochi, the on-screen advisory gets annoyed:
"This might seem annoying, but please eat mochi slowly by carefully chewing small portions."
- In High School Boys and UFO Catchers, the main trio tried to shake a UFO Catcher machine to get a teddy bear plush which narrowly missed the hole, while the following advisory appears below—and appeared again when Tadakuni's little sister succeeded in shaking it out:
"Good boys and girls mustn't do this."
- The Kuroshitsuji manga, rated Older Teen by Yen Press, usually gets from Yen Press LV for language and violence. The exception was LSV for language, sex, and violence for the volume containing the infamous (but totally non-sexual) corset scene. Later on, when an actual on-page sex scene appears, the volume in question still only gets the usual LV. The scene without any sex in it was just that much more explicit.
- On what is becoming an increasingly common fandom habit, the standard disclaimers have expanded to include "Trigger Warnings" and "Content warnings" whenever appropriate. Some websites, like Archive of Our Own, tend to encourage this practice.
- From My Immortal: "WARNING: SUM OF DIS CHAPTA IS XTREMLY SCRAY. VIOWER EXCRETION ADVISD."
- Viewer excretion is right, considering the nature of this fanfic.
- Some vowel discretion would have been nice.
- The best part is the chapter with this heading doesn't really contain anything particularly scary.
- She didn't say "scary." She said "scray." While I don't know what that means exactly, for all we know, the chapter could in fact, be one of the most "scray" things on Earth.
- A certain fanfic began with the following warning:
Concepts contained in this story may cause SAN Checking in any mind not inherently stable at the third level of stress. Story may cause extreme existential confusion. Story is insane. The author recommends that anyone reading this story sign up with Alcor or the Cryonics Institute to have their brain preserved after death for later revival under controlled conditions. Readers not already familiar with this author should be warned that he is not bluffing.
- "WARNING: This is an ANTI-RAPE piece, speaking out against erotic rape scenes in fanfictions. In no way is this meant to be "hot" or anything, it's supposed to be disturbing to show how horrible an criminal rape is. But there are a buncha funny parts an it's not all depressing. I just wanna get a message across to my readers that RAPE IS NOT GOOD."
- In the introduction for Wing Commander 4.123106: The Price of Entertainment, in addition to warning about adult language, graphic violence, gratuitous nudity, and sexual content, there's "EWSH Extremely Warped Sense of Humor".
- Chapter 14 of Land Before Time: Revenge has this warning: "Warning: THIS SCENE CONTAINS SOME INTENSE VIOLENCE!"
- "Contains irresponsible behaviour" -- Mr. Bean's Holiday UK poster
- The video and DVD releases of Dogma start with a disclaimer that states that the movie is a work of comedy and not intended to be taken seriously or offend, before going off into a long meandering rant about the platypus intended to represent that God does, in fact, have a sense of humor even if some viewers don't. What else could explain the platypus, really?
- He then makes a disclaimer apologizing to all lovers of platypuses.
- The BBFC caution that Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets contains "Fantasy Spiders". Well, it's a real fear... as is seen, of course, with Ron in both the film and the book. It tends to amuse because BBFC warnings are rarely so specific.
- A more recent highly specific content warning: Aliens in the Attic contains misuse of fireworks. Of course, children playing with fireworks has been a major safety concern for decades.
- "The Environmental Protection Agency wishes to strenuously object to its depiction in this film. We are a competent, well-meaning government bureaucracy, and if we were ever granted any real power we would never, ever abuse it, we promise. -- Russ Cargill, Acting Head"—from the beginning of The Simpsons Movie DVD.
- The Fight Club DVD has another warning after the copyright notices that only flashes up for a second. If you freeze it, it tells you you're wasting your life freeze-framing DVDs to read it.
- The first two The Lord of the Rings DVDs were rated PG-13 for "violence and scary images."
A capsule review for Fellowship of the Ring cautioned that it contained "epic battles, scary monsters, body-piercing swords, and smoking."
- The Australian OFLC just loves to give with examples here. The Incredibles is rated PG for Medium Level Violence, Mature Themes and Low Level Coarse Language, whereas The Godfather is rated R18+ for just Medium Level Violence. For real fun, compare video games with movies, the MA15+ rating has more ridiculous examples than you would believe.
- From the Gantz box set:
"R18+: Strong animated violence, Strong animated sex scenes, High level theme, Strong coarse language"
- The DVD case for XXX warns that it's rated PG-13 for, among other things, "Non-Stop Action Sequences". So, how much did the producers pay the MPAA to insert those first two words?
- If anyone wants conclusive proof that the MPAA are being paid off, The Simpsons Movie was rated PG-13 for, I swear this is real, "Irreverent humor throughout." I guess they really wanted the inclusion of Bart's willie to stay a secret.
- Team America has the ever-amusing MPAA warning of "graphic crude and sexual humor, violent images and strong language - all involving puppets". Which is pretty much accurate. The BBFC's warning is similar.
- After the credits of Cannibal! The Musical, there is a message reading "Due to the graphic nature of this film, it should not have been watched by small children".
- More MPAA evidence: On The Powerpuff Girls Movie, they warn of "non-stop frenetic animated action".
- At the end of the theatrical release of Borat, before the MPAA rating card at the end, the film announces its approval from the Kazakh board of censors ("Just antisemitic enough," as noted by the title character on his The Daily Show appearance.)
- James Whale's 1931 Frankenstein begins with a "friendly warning" by actor Edward Van Sloan that is classic.
We are about to unfold the story of Frankenstein, a man of science who sought to create a man after his own image without reckoning upon God. It is one of the strangest tales ever told. It deals with the two great mysteries of creation -- life and death. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even...horrify you. So if any of you feel that you do not care to subject your nerves to such a strain, now's your chance to...uh, well, we warned you.
- One of the reasons Twister was given a PG-13 by the MPAA was "intense depiction of very bad weather".
- Public Enemies has "Gangster Violence" as a descriptor.
- The film North was rated PG for "a few words".
- Prior to airing the infamous nuclear war film Threads, at least two broadcasters aired extended disclaimers telling viewers that the film is incredibly disturbing, but that the decision to air it was ultimately made due to the importance of its message.
- The Spitting Image parody of Margaret Thatcher's memoirs bore a sticker on the front that said "WARNING! This book carries a salacious warning on the front that is an OBSCENE attempt to sell more copies".
- Older Than Steam: Geoffrey Chaucer uses a content warning in the "Miller's Prologue" from The Canterbury Tales.
- Dave Barry's novel Big Trouble comes with a warning at the beginning saying that the book contains bad words and is not for children. His next novel, Tricky Business, had a similar warning in a larger typeface, because apparently not enough readers of Big Trouble got the warning.
- Terry Pratchett's Nation has a couple of Author's Notes at the back where he explains some of the science used-with 'Don't try this at home' warnings. He then subverts it with his final note:
- A Series of Unfortunate Events.
- The first page of Helter Skelter, Vincent Bugliosi’s recounting of the Manson Family murders (he was the prosecutor), is blank save for the statement "The story you are about to read will SCARE THE HELL OUT OF YOU."
- In the book Someone is Eating the Sun which is about various farm animals reacting to a solar eclipse, it shows them looking straight at the sun during the eclipse, at the beginning of the book, it warns people not to do this.
Live Action TV
- The Hogan Family: The second-season episode "Bad Timing," where a frank discussion between David (Jason Bateman) and his girlfriend involves the use of the word "condom." The episode—one of the first DomComs to address safe sex—had a parential guidance discretion read before the episode, and again during commericals for birth-control products and safe-sex PSAs. (And yes, David and his girlfriend decided to "wait.")
- Little House On the Prairie: Several episodes dealing with racism were not shy about using the word "nigger", and each of them had a discretionary message alerting viewers beforehand that characters were going to use the word. Michael Landon's excellent-as-always scripts reflected the harsh realities of the 1800s, where men who hated African-Americans regularly used the word in reference to them.
- Read out before episodes of The Daily Show in the UK:
The show you are about to see is a News Parody. Its stories are not fact checked. Its reporters are not journalists. And its opinions are not fully thought through.
- That is shown before any international broadcast. In the US we get no such warning... probably because (in the words of Jon Stewart) it's lead-in is "puppets making prank phone calls".
- Though the Wonder Showzen theme song claimed it to be a "kid's show, kid's show, oh good lord it's a kid's show," viewers were warned in no uncertain terms by a disclaimer shown in the beginning and after commercials:
- Scare Tactics: "You know how some shows say 'don't try this at home'? Well, this is one of those." You have to hear it in Tracy Morgan's voice to get the full effect, though.
- "Before we begin the fourth episode of Quatermass II we'd like to say that in our opinion it is not suitable for children, or those of you who may have a nervous disposition." - Retraux content warnings, 1955 style.
- Particularly dangerous experiments (or anything involving microwaves) on Brainiac are preceded by Richard Hammond popping up and saying "Do not try this at home." Then, a few seconds later, popping up again: "No, really. Don't."
- "Parents should not watch this except at their children's discretion"
- MythBusters both parodies and plays this trope straight. At several intervals before and during the show, members of the Mythbusters team will appear and warn viewers not to try any of their experiments at home. However, they will also playfully put up a screen saying WARNING: SCIENCE CONTENT! before some of the more detailed explanations.
- Adam Savage has stated he hates the disclaimers, because there are a lot of things he does want people to try at home.
- The disclaimer that came before the first episode of All in The Family (followed by the sound of a toilet flushing):
"The program you are about to see is All in The Family. It seeks to throw a humorous spotlight on our frailties, prejudices, and concerns. By making them a source of laughter we hope to show, in a mature fashion, just how absurd they are."
- The DVD of Doctor Who Series 5, Volume 1 warns that it contains "smoking scenes." Yes. Winston. Flippin'. Churchill.
- Parodied by Steve Coogan on one of his DVDs which warned that the show contained bad language, almost all of it in the warning itself.
- The Red Dwarf episode Polymorph has a 'built-in' content warning at the beginning of the episode.
- One skit on The Muppet Show opened with Kermit warning the audience, "some scenes may not be suitable for adults".
- Spoofed by The History Channel show Weird Warfare, which has a warning before each segment that describes the bizarre military concepts it will explore: "The following program features a Hitler sex change and exploding pancakes. Viewer discretion is advised."
"The following is a graphic depiction of a violent prehistoric battle. Viewer discretion is advised."
- Parodied by Top Gear, which has a sign warning live audiences that they don't have potentially seizure-inducing strobe lights, because they ran out of budget.
- Most Toku in Japan would have the a disclaimer along the lines of "Please make sure the room is well-lit and do not sit too close to the TV" shown on the bottom of the screen in the beginning of every episode. The Tomica Hero duology (Tomica Hero Rescue Force and Tomica Hero Rescue Fire) has a variation, by having the Good guys say the said Content Warning in a separate scene before the show's opening theme.
- Shortly before the UFC's first broadcast on FOX, a rather boastful disclaimer aired reading "The following might be the most exciting live sporting event in the history of television, and it's our duty to say: VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED."
- PBS kids show Square One partly spoofed this at the beginning of its "Angle Dance" music video, which actually does have mildly suggestive lyrics:
The following song includes graphic descriptions of obtuse and acute angles. Viewers who might be offended by this subject matter should not view this program.
- The Animal Planet show Too Cute!, which is basically just footage of newborn puppies and kittens with a narrator, has a warning at the beginning:
The following program contains material that is just too cute. Viewer discretion is advised.
- The 90s Are All That has this similar notice at the start of the block:
The following block may not be suitable for people who did not grow up on '90s Nick.
- Betty White's Off Their Rockers has this hilarious warning:
The following contains senior citizens pranking real unsuspecting young people. If you find this offensive...too bad.
- Back in the late nineties-early 2000s, when Latin-American adult animation channel Locomotion still aired, the series would start with a content warning featuring Playmobil-like figures doing a slapstick version of what the warning was about. Shortly before the channel changed name to Animax Latin America, the figures were replaced with actual footage from anime series (for example, Neon Genesis Evangelion for violence or Agent Aika for sexual content) representing the warning.
- In a serious variant, shows on Australian television which feature deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders feature warnings that the shows "may contain the image and voice recordings of people who are now dead", in order to respect the traditional cultural beliefs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, wherein discussion of the deceased is a taboo. Gotta be sensitive of the natives, man. This occurs significantly more frequently on the public broadcasters, The ABC and SBS, than it does on any of the commercial broadcasters, to the point where it's practically unheard of on the commercial channels' part. Make of that what you will.
- For a short time, BBC America ran a warning suggesting that viewers unfamiliar with the accents of the United Kingdom would be well advised to turn on Closed Captioning.
- One network in Canada's content warning (possibly CTV?) states that the following program "may" contain offensive content. It also "may" contain extended scenes of toddlers hugging puppies. It rarely does.
- YTV's Bionix anime(/Canadian-Content-we-need-to-please-the-CRTC/Invader Zim) block has the exact same warning throughout, even when they are showing shows that really aren't that violent. That said, the more violent shows usually get modified warnings.
- Usually, your standard Shounen Anime and so on have the warning, "This program contains mature themes and is intended for an older youth audience. Viewer discretion is advised." There are several cases where "older youth audience" is changed to "older teen audience" (for things like Ghost in the Shell and Death Note)... sandwiched between two "older youth audience" shows.
- In the early days of the UK's Channel 4, programmes of a sexual nature were marked with a 'red triangle'. Dropped after realising that this essentially marked out the good bits for everyone to find.
- Similarly, for many years Mexican TV networks would superimpose a capital "A" (for "adultos") in the corner of the screen on more mature shows.
- The Canadian Global Television Network used to precede religious programming with, "The opinions expressed in the following program are those of the participants, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Global Television Network".
- ABC Family runs one of the "the opinions expressed in this program do not reflect those of ABC Family" variety before The 700 Club, as part of its efforts to divorce itself and its image from the program's leanings.
- Canada's Teletoon network runs content warnings during the Teletoon At Night block, featuring a snarky announcer reading them. Initially, the announcer was extra snarky, punctuating content warnings with lines such as "If you're under 14, then why are you even awake?", though they toned him down however, more recently.
- The WWE's programs in the late '90s Attitude Era often had a content warning about violence and sexual situations—delivered by one of the resident Divas, who would vamp it up through the entire announcement. Sunny had the hottest way of saying, "Viewer discretion is advised"...
- On WWE DVDs, all of the trailers before the main menu are skippable—except for the mildly graphic one that shows the end result of any number of in-ring injuries, with the stern request to "Please DO NOT try this at home".
- A sticker on the cover of some Guns N' Roses albums reads "This album contains language which some listeners may find objectionable. They can F?!* OFF and buy something from the New Age section."
- CAUTION: "Three Minute Warning" is not for the musically faint-hearted, impatient, or critics of extreme self-indulgence. If you fall into any of the above categories, please hit the stop button on your CD player after track #8.
- The cover for the PDQ Bach album Oedipus Tex & Other Choral Calamities bears this humorous sticker:
Warning! Contains "Classical Rap"
- Metallica's Master of Puppets
"The only track you probably won't want to play is "Damage, Inc." due to the multiple use of the infamous "F" word. Otherwise, there aren't any "Shits", "Fucks", "Pisses", "Cunts", "Motherfuckers" or "Cocksuckers" anywhere on this record."
- In the music video for "Inside the Fire" by Disturbed, just before the video starts the lead singer warns the audience that the following song contains themes of suicide, advertising the national suicide prevention hotline as well. He probably did this by choice (since he appears to have done this in his house).
- Not too surprising, since it's based off a past experience of his (Girlfriend killed herself, though he didn't kill himself).
- Capitol Steps recordings: "Warning: this CD contains parodies!"
- The Offspring uses it on it's Ixnay on the Hombre album. See the Quotes Wiki.
- Mindless Self Indulgence had an inversion. The radio-friendly version of Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy had a sticker with the following disclaimer: "This recording has been carefully wiped clean and has absolutely no filthy words like FUCK so that you can play it at your radio facility. Now hurry the fuck up and play the fucking thing." Also, all vowels in the song titles on the back cover were *'d out.
- Steel Panther, an Affectionate Parody of the hair metal genre, has two warning stickers on its album Feel The Steel. The one on the front is a standard Parental Advisory label, while the one on the back has this to say:
"The CD/LP you are about to listen to contains parodies that feature foul language, adult content, satanic imagery and depictions of sexually deviant fantasies that may offend the religious right, the unreligious left, fat girls, skinny girls, metrosexuals, animal lovers, animal haters, hippies, skinheads, the current presidential administration and people with ears. The record label and its parent companies do not endorse or support the opinions of Steel Panther. They just think they f--king rock."
- Iggy Pop's American Caesar bears the sticker "Parental Advisory: THIS IS AN IGGY POP RECORD."
- One episode of the third radio series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy finishes with the warning: "The preceding program contains scenes of extreme violence which may be disturbing to some viewers. Time travellers of a nervous disposition may wish to consider listening to something else for the previous half-hour."
- Another straight example, this time from The Archers: An episode where Owen raped Kathy was preceded by such a warning, and immediately followed by a number to call if you are raped.
- The '40s horror series Lights Out routinely opened with one of these:
"Lights Out brings you stories of the supernatural and the supernormal, dramatizing the fantasies and mysteries of the unknown. We tell you this frankly, so if you wish to avoid the excitement and tension of these imaginative plays, we urge you calmly - but sincerely - to turn off your radio now."
- Comically exaggerated in an episode of Hello Cheeky.
"Is it suitable for children?
- The box for Chez Geek, as well as its spinoffs, contains the tongue-in-cheek warning "For adult audiences only. Actual maturity not required."
- Book of Vile Darkness, a splatbook devoted to evil-aligned abilities, got a mature content warning that was somewhat out-of-proportion to the level of sex and violence actually present in it. Then Book of Exalted Deeds, a good-themed splatbook, got one too! (According to the designers, this was because you need to be mature in order to not be tempted to abuse the overpowered abilities present in both books.)
- Avenue Q has warnings such as "PARENTAL ADVISORY: 60% adult situations and 40% foam rubber" and "Not appropriate for children due to language and adult content such as full puppet nudity".
- Jersey Boys has this disclaimer: "This musical contains smoke, loud gunshots, strobe lights, and authentic, offensive Jersey vocabulary".
- Games which allow players to send each other content were given the ESRB warning: "Game Experience May Change During Online Play". This is even true for certain games outside the ESRB's region. It's recently been replaced by "Online Interactions Not Rated by the ESRB", maybe for that reason.
- There is a similar one also for Music games with downloadable songs: "Music Downloads Not Rated by the ESRB".
- "Some parts of this game may be considered violent or cruel", from the Silent Hill series, usually shown over a picture of the protagonist beating the snot out of a monster.
- Please note that beating the snot out of monsters is rarely the most disturbing, violent, or cruel things about the games.
- Silent Hill Origins has a screen which says that parts of the game may be "disturbing". The idea that someone could buy a video game with fearsomeness plastered all over the back cover without knowing that it could disturbing is disturbing in and of itself.
- Silent Hill: Shattered Memories starts with a warning that the game uses psychological profiling to gather information about the player, that the game world changes in response to the player's choices to make it more personally terrifying, and concludes that the game plays you as much as you play it.
- Eversion contains the following: "Not indicated for children or those of a nervous disposition." on the screen right before the title screen... right underneath an H.P. Lovecraft quote. The warning is quite appropriate, particularly the latter group. Those who do not heed the warning will become slightly paranoid because of the game.
- Modern Warfare 2 goes beyond having a content warning, and actually allows you to skip the 'No Russian' level, which, it warns, might be considered offensive. Given the fact that the level allows you to participate in a simulated terrorist attack, striding through an airport and gunning down civilians, the warning is definitely justified.
- Devil May Cry always opens with a warning about the violence in the game. Which Dante then destroys.
- Despite being entirely bloodless, its violence being near-entirely slapstick (the most disturbing scene in the game is Gene losing his arm - which, to be fair, actually is pretty creepy), God Hand gets a violence warning in the USA (over a picture of Gene nailing someone in the crotch). The reason? The "Head Slicer" God Reel.
- Europa Universalis III has "alcohol and tobacco references" (i.e. the presence of wine and tobacco as tradable goods) contributing to its 12+ rating, alongside (very) "mild violence" consisting of sprites bloodlessly shooting at each other.
- Soul Bubbles has an amusing one, warning the player of the absence of orcs, wizards, soldiers, etc, and assures that "everything will be hunky-dory". Which indeed it is.
- Heavily subverted in StepMania with one of the announcer packs (more exactly this one). When showing the usual "don't play this in a small room" warning, the girl will sometimes say "Who reads this crap anyway?"
- Star Soldier R has a Content Warning for, of all things, its gameplay length. When you go to buy it in the Wii Shop Channel, you are given a warning (in red text, no less!) that the game only offers 2-minute, 5-minute, and "Quick Shot" modes, and the purpose of the game is to score attack the former two modes. Presumably, this is to warn people that it isn't a "full" game; it's their own fault if they buy the game and then later complain that It's Short, So It Sucks.
- Tecmo's Deception offers us this little blurb on the back of the jewel case:
"WARNING: This game contains satanic references and may be inappropriate for some individuals."
- Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side on the Sega CD, besides the normal ESRB rating, came with a custom Sega rating known as "Deep Water", denoting a definitively adult-themed game. The "Deep Water" label was also used for the Sega Saturn port of Duke Nukem 3D and a Genesis game called X-Perts, but after that it pretty much died out.
- Graffiti is art. However, graffiti as an act of vandalism is a crime. Every state/province has vandalism laws that apply to graffiti, and local entities such as cities and counties have anti-graffiti ordinances. Violation of these laws can result in a fine, probation and a jail sentence. SEGA, this document, and its author do not condone the act of real life vandalism in any form.
- The classic warning from Resident Evil: "This game contains scenes of explicit violence and gore". Strong language was added in RE 4.
- Most over the top M rated games have a laundry list on the back of the box. No More Heroes, for example, lists: Blood and Gore, Crude Humor, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, and Strong Language. All understated, of course.
- Vegetable Game opens with an ominous screen which cryptically states: "WARNING -- Do not play Vegetable Game."
"WARNING! The clip you are about to see is FAKE. All the places, characters, and events are more or less fictitious in their presentation and you are expected to know it never happened. It ain't a biography, people, it's an internet cartoon. Expect nothing but lies. LIES! P.S. You cannot refund time, so if I end up wasting yours, then do us both a favor and get over it. Using levitation! Using levitation! P.S. You cannot refund time, so if I end up wasting yours, then do us both of a favor...then do us both a favor and get over it. Using levitation! Using LEVITATION!...PSYoucannotrefundtimesoifIendupwastingyoursthendousbothafavorandgetoverit Using LEVITATION! LEVITATION! LEVITATION! Using LEVITATION! Ti revo teg dna rovaf a htob su od neht, sruoy gnitsaw pu dne I fi os, emit dnufer tonnac uoy S.P. P.S. You cannot refund time, so if I end up wasting yours, then do us both a favor and get over it. Using levitation! Peeeeeeeee.Eeessssssssss. Yooooouuuuuuu canooooooooott refuuuuuuuuuuuuund tiiiiiiiiiiime soooooo, if Iiiiiiiiiiii eeeeeeennd uuuuuup waaaaaaaaaasting yoooooooooouuuuuuuurs, theeeen doooo uuuusssssss booooooooth a favooooor annnnnnd get ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooveeeeeer iiiiiit."
- "Venus Envy is Rated WEB-14 and probably isn't suitable for younger viewers or those who find the following things offensive: Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Transsexuality, Jews, Slapstick, Mixed-Religion Marriages, Women in the Workplace, Women in Pants, Plot, Girls' Soccer, or Chickens teaching Hard Science. If you find any of the above offensive, please go here."
- Xkcd has the message "Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)."
- Sluggy Freelance has this warning at the start of the "K I T T E N I I" arc:
The following story contains graphic violence not suitable for anyone. Parental guidance is suggested. Or you can just staple the kid's eyelids shut. That's not suggested, the parental guidance thingy is suggested, but we can't deny that staples are a timesaver.
- They also had a number of similar labels at the bottom of particularly gory strips during the original "K I T T E N". These started out as fairly straight warning labels and grew increasingly satirical throughout.
- Referenced and parodied in Least I Could Do, when the main character is asked what he hears when the MythBusters give their famous warning "Don't try what you're about to see at Home." "Ever.". The answer? "Do it. Do it at home." "Do it bigger."
- I'm Fa-Teen, the NC-14 panda, and this comic is now rated me. How joyous... Notable in this is a side comic, and the main comic, according to the artist (Who makes Ratings Pandas for others to use) is PG. The aformentioned Ratings Pandas can be found here.
- Brawl in the Family makes sure to warn you, at great length, that its "Nasty" strip contains "excess gore, racism, foul language, public indecency, [and] frightening imagery" before you get to the actual comic. Which it does... in the form of several work-safe VisualPuns.
- The print-only The Order of the Stick prequel Start of Darkness contains on the back cover a long list of warnings about "unpleasant things" ranging from murder to taco night.
- There is also an introduction by the Well-Intentioned Extremist paladin Miko Miyazaki that amounts to her spending a lot of words to tell the reader to not read this evil, evil book.
- In Survival of the Fittest, topics containing either extreme violence or graphic sex are expected to be given content warnings. This usually just results in more people reading it.
- This Chromagic post contains a parody of this at the very start.
- After December 2018, Tumblr will often display "warning" messages instead of content that might offend advertisers; ultimately, though, this is a subversion, because the message implies the user can click through to the content -- but if they do, they end up at a page about Tumblr's content policies instead.
- "All characters and events in this show -- even those based on real people -- are entirely fictional. All celebrity voices are impersonated... poorly. The following program contains coarse language and due to its content it should not be viewed by anyone." --South Park
- "Just in case that last disclaimer wasn't enough, this episode contains extreme violence. We would rather run this than cut the violence from the episode because we are American Cowboys." --Adult Swim before really bloody episodes; as stated, it follows a more traditional (and bland) content warning advising that Adult Swim is not for viewers under 18... err 14.
- Code Monkeys contains a different gag disclaimer at the beginning of each episode, such as this one from "Super Prison Breakout":
- There was also an episode of the show which focused on this. "The Story of 420" poked fun at this backfiring with video games. First Lady Nancy Reagan forces Game-a-Vision to put warning labels on all of their games stating "Playing this game increases the likelihood that you will engage in drug use and deviant sex". While Larrity objects at first, he's then extremely happy as the labels cause their game sales to skyrocket to the point where Reagan then has to ban them from having the labels on their games.
- Beavis and Butthead had, not one, but two different Content Warnings during its run; apparently the first one wasn't quite serious enough, so they changed it up a bit without sacrificing the funny:** Beavis and Butt-head are not real. They are stupid cartoon people completely made up by this Texas guy who we hardly even know. Beavis and Butt-Head are dumb, crude, ugly, thoughtless, sexist, self-destructive fools. But for some reason the little wiener heads make us laugh.
- Beavis and Butt-head are not role models. They're not even human, they're cartoons. Some of the things they do could cause a person to get hurt, expelled, arrested... possibly deported. To put it another way, Don't Try This At Home.
- As the image at the top of the article shows, they even had to put in content warnings during the episodes "Stewart's House" and "Way Down Mexico Way". Sadly, not even this bold act can save those episodes from being removed from circulation.
- The DVDs of Futurama has copyright warnings in several languages, including alien script.
- In the episode where Bender becomes a TV star, a scene of him setting himself on fire was given the disclaimer "Don't try this at home, kids", while Bender himself said "try this at home, kids!"
- "You're watching Futurama, the show that does not endorse the cool crime of robbery"
- Batman Beyond:
TV announcer: We'd like to warn our viewers that the following footage may be disturbing to young children.
- Rob Zombie's The Haunted World of El Superbeasto begins with a very straight faced rendition of the Frankenstein "friendly warning."
- The Simpsons' first few "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween Episodes had these. The first one was a direct parody of the Frankenstein warning.
- In 1997, when the TV ratings were introduced, Nickelodeon put a content warning at the begining of KaBlam!!, as it was the first Nicktoon (and the only show at the time, the others were TV-Y, TV-G, or not rated (game shows, Kids Choice Awards) to be given a TV-Y7 rating (The Ren and Stimpy Show was the first Y7 show, however it was cancelled at the time). It was dropped in season 3, when Nickelodeon didn't feel the need to use it anymore.
Nickelodeon announcer: Sometimes on KaBlam!!, things go Kablam!, And that's why it's rated Y7 (cue to Henry holding up a (heavy) TV-Y7 logo)
- The Boondocks occasionally features a disclaimer, most notably before its episode focusing on closeted rapper Gangstalicious, assuring its audience that no, Gangstalicious was not based on any real artists, no, not even the one you're thinking of, and we'd really prefer to avoid the requisite hate mail and death threats, thank you.
- In Total Drama Island and 6teen, when they both first started airing on Cartoon Network they had a warning message before each episode that stated they were rated PG (shows with that rating usually air on Adult Swim). Seeing as both shows only BARELY qualify for a PG rating to begin with, they eventually dropped the warning message.
- Clerks the Animated Series has some great ones, especially when the narrator (Kevin Michael Richardson) wonders aloud "And is anyone still watching after all that?" or talks about how the first episode is supposedly awful: "Tune in next week for a much better episode! For now, though-courage."
- Made fun of on Family Guy at the beginning of Homicide: Life on Sesame Street: "This show contains adult content and is brought to you by the letter H."
- The Phineas and Ferb episode "The Monster of Doctor Phineasnferbenstein" opens with one, as a parody of the Dracula example above.
- The Anime Boston convention has an extended warning segment before the AMV contest with clips from anime series showing what the warning represents, usually humorously. The Fan Service warning featured a clip from Golden Boy and a character in a Stripperiffic costume that had the audience rolling on the floor laughing.