The United States was struck by utter tragedy nearly two decades ago today. As people headed to work in New York City, disaster struck. Within hours, the Twin Towers, iconic symbols of Americana, had vanished. Although time has progressed and the World Trade Center has been slowly rebuilt, the Twin Towers will always be a part of the public conscious. From their erection in 1973 to their destruction in 2001, the towers appeared in countless movies and TV shows, standing proud as emblems of New York City. After the September 11th attacks, many of these pieces of media had to be edited, to remove references to the buildings, with Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Simpsons, Spider-Man, The Sopranos and Armageddon all serving as examples.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
In the film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, protagonist Kevin McCalister has once again become separated from his family. Unlike in the previous film, Kevin doesn’t remain at home, as the title would suggest, but instead gets whisked away to the titular Big Apple, where he gets into various misadventures and encounters the nefarious Wet Bandits once more. Early on in the film, Kevin visits several iconic New York landmarks, including the Twin Towers. After climbing to the top, Kevin gazes at the rest of the city, after which the movie continues onward.
After 9/11, many TV stations edited out the scene and for years, broadcasted the film without it. Given that the scene was relatively minor, the removal did not significantly affect the pacing of the film. Still, it was eventually re-edited into the film for some TV broadcasts, as time passed by after the attacks.
The Simpsons is a long-running hit animated TV series centering around the exploits of the eponymous Simpsons family. A success since its premiere in 1989, The Simpsons has aired many episodes set in locations outside of Springfield, the suburban center of the series. One such episode took place in New York City. In the aptly titled: “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson”, Homer is forced to travel to Manhattan after his car gets impounded for months, due to the antics of his best friend Barney Gumble. After arriving, Homer’s family gets to experience the fun and glamour of the city, while Homer is forced to wait to retrieve his car. Eventually, Homer needs to use the restroom and he is forced to ascend the Twin Towers to do so. Upon realizing he climbed the wrong tower, Homer shouts out “D’oh!” in frustration, forced to ascend the other.
The episode was one of many pieces of media to undergo editing after the attacks. In its case, the episode’s censorship may also be due to one of the characters proclaiming: “They stick all the jerks in Tower 1!”. It remained off the air for years, until it eventually returned to TV in 2006.
In one of the trailers for the hit 2002 superhero film based on the titular character, Spider-Man stops a bank robbery via capturing the helicopter of the criminals between the Twin Towers with a web that he created.
After the attacks, the scene was removed from the film proper. Posters containing the Twin Towers in the reflections of Spider-Man’s eyes have proven to be very popular collector’s items.
In earlier seasons of the crime drama series The Sopranos, the Twin Towers can be seen in the opening credits of the show. Following the attacks, the towers were removed from the opening credits.
In the science fiction film Armageddon, the Twin Towers are hit by a meteor in the beginning of the film. In a notable exception to the trend of altering films containing the towers post-9/11, director Michael Bay refused to engage in such edits, believing that the towers are a part of the city’s history and therefore should not be removed.
The September 11th attacks were a horrific tragedy and loss not only to America but also to the world. Innocent civilians lost their lives and their friends and family will always remember this day. In terms of the Twin Towers, I believe that it is right to leave them in the pieces of media that they originated in. While we cannot change what happened, we must acknowledge their place in our history. When we remember every aspect of our history, we truly grow and heal as a nation.