1 ‘Lizzie McGuire’ Episode Was So Taboo At the Time It Almost Didn’t Air

Before Hilary Duff launched her pop music career (including multiple Platinum-certified albums) and an Emmy-nominated film and TV career, she got her start on Disney‘s Lizzie McGuire sitcom. The show was relatively short-lived, airing just 65 episodes from 2001 to 2004.

It launched Duff to stardom and expanded into a theatrical movie, several soundtrack albums, and even a modern Disney+ reboot, which was recently scrapped. Despite its short run, Lizzie McGuire and its cast tackled the challenges and adventures of junior high school and was never one to shy away from the difficult situations many young teenagers face.

However, there was one specific Lizzie McGuire episode that almost took it too far, and almost never made it to air.

‘Lizzie McGuire’ gave viewers an inside look at high school life

Hilary Duff
Hilary Duff | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Comedy Central, Paramount Network and TV Land

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The titular McGuire character, played by Duff, was an introverted, clumsy 13-year-old. The show (and subsequent movie and book novel series) followed McGuire as she tackled many of the difficult situations facing young teen girls. 

Many episodes took on the stressful situations teens face, such as peer pressure, trying to be popular, and forging your own identity and self-purpose. Throughout it all, Duff’s character would often break the fourth wall.

Using an animated, cartoon version of McGuire, McGuire would interact directly with TV viewers and share her inner thoughts, fears and worries. 

And while the Disney Channel was okay with discussing difficult things like peer pressure, there was one specific episode of Lizzie McGuire that pushed the envelope a little further than normal. It was so controversial, this specific episode was almost blocked from being shown on television.

The low-down on ‘Between a Rock and a Bra Place’

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The controversial episode entitled “Between a Rock and a Bra Place” was part of Lizzie McGuire‘s first season and aired on May 11, 2001. In it, McGuire and her best friend Miranda Sanchez (played by actress Lalaine) go shopping for their first bras. 

The two girls convince McGuire’s mother, Jo McGuire, to take them to the mall. The episode revolves around McGuire’s mom not wanting to miss this important coming-of-age moment, and how the girls navigated the ins and outs (and ensuing embarrassment) of buying a bra for the very first time. 

After getting very upset with her mom, the episode ends with McGuire and Sanchez admitting that they need guidance from an older woman, and apologizing to the elder McGuire for getting mad at her.

The controversial ‘Lizzie McGuire’ episode was almost banned from TV

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When the writers of Lizzie McGuire pitched the bra-themed storyline to the executives at Disney, the media company balked at the idea. Stan Rogow, who was the producer of Lizzie McGuire, says they pitched the idea and were immediately shut down.

“They [the Disney Channel executives] said, ‘Oh my god, you can’t do that!,'” recalls Rogow in an interview with E! Online. “It was little bit groundbreaking at the time.”

Disney has always been very cautious about anything that might push the envelope and alienate the audiences who trust Disney to provide wholesome, age-appropriate entertainment. And so the crew of Lizzie McGuire pushed back, arguing that buying a bra was an important milestone in many girls’ lives.

Because the show’s audience was primarily young girls, the producers wanted to normalize the process and take away the fear and embarrassment that many young women feel when they need to purchase their first bra. Duff agreed, and told Today that this specific episode was one of the most important ones for her. 

“I definitely think that the bra episode is one that stands out in my brain,” Duff told the outlet. As a young girl herself at the time, she recalls how scary it can be going through this process. “[I remember] being like, ‘How am I gonna get that? I have to talk to my parents about that. That’s gonna be the worst thing ever,'” she reminisces. 

Luckily for the show’s fans, the Lizzie McGuire producers got their wish and were able to air the episode, helping to show thousands of young viewers that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about this coming-of-age moment.