Original air date: November 14, 1972 (Part 1); November 21, 1972 (Part 2)
Major offense: Abortion
Status: Still in syndication
If you think abortion is a touchy subject in pop culture now, imagine a TV show dedicating a two-part episode to it before the Roe v. Wade decision even came down. That’s exactly what the series Maude did in 1972 when it tackled abortion head-on in an episode where Maude discovers that at the age of 47, she’s pregnant. Throwing typical sitcom gags and quips out the window, this episode deals with the problem in a real world way, explaining the pros and cons of the decision, and letting us as viewers see how something like this can affect a person’s life.
In the end, Maude gets the abortion, but the subject is never treated as an easy decision for laughs. This is a serious matter, and the show did its best to highlight a woman’s right for a national audience. Despite its good intentions, the episode sparked a firestorm of controversy, especially within religious circles. Seeing the importance of such an episode, CBS regularly showed "Maude’s Dilemma" in reruns during summer hiatuses.