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Fuck the FCC… Don’t screw them… Fuck them…

Ross_Charlotte_NYPD_Blue_002Here’s a little secret about me that you might not have guessed. I like fucking. Really, fucking is very fun. It’s awesome. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it. Best thing ever. But, do you know what’s significantly less fun than fucking? Screwing! Fucking is hot. It’s sexy. It just sounds like a a good time.

Screwing sounds painful… I’m a boy. When I’m having sex, I have the benefit of having possession of the anatomical boy parts, and even still, screwing sounds really painful to me. I imagine having the girl parts would be even worse. I’ve been lucky enough to have sex at least two or three times in my life… and in none of those occasions did I lie on top of the other person and rotate. Furthermore, I’ve not done extensive research into penis shapes across humanity, but at the risk of giving too much information, I will announce that I personally lack threaded ridges along my shaft. Therefore, I’d venture to say that I’ve never actually “screwed” anyone. Now of course, if any woman out there wants to come by and experiment, I’m willing to give it a try and write a followup article later… you know… for science. But as of now, I’m going to go with “screwing” makes way less sense than “fucking.”

That said, I watch a LOT of TV. And I came to the conclusion after watching last night’s episode of Under the Dome that I’m clearly having sex wrong. In about a 2 minute period, two separate characters (both female, though I’m not sure it matters) used the verb “screw” to denote sexual intercourse in two different occasions. “You just want to screw me” and “I’m supposed to sit around here and wait while you screw her?” This of course happens all the time on TV, but for some reason it really stood out to me last night. Mostly, I think, because in both cases, the two characters, Julia and Nori, clearly wanted to say “fuck.”

I’m a huge fan of George Carlin. He may be the most brilliant thinker that ever walked the planet. And because I am such a fan, I know that the filthiest words in the English language are: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. But, the Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say on Television was in 1972. That was over forty years ago! Have we seriously not evolved beyond this as a people?

FCC control over the public television airways *sort of* makes sense in the 1950s. If you’re trying to get television off the ground, maybe it makes sense to try and not offend anyone. But really, we’re not doing that anymore… in fact, we never really were… certainly not in decades. Have you ever watched an episode of Days of Our Lives? The sex scenes there are as steamy as anything that ever appears on Cinemax… except that you never see a female nipple, of course. But other than that, it’s totally softcore porn… for stay-at-home-moms… in the middle of the afternoon. And we wonder why 50 Shades of Gray was so popular. And no one ever uses the word “fuck” even though they fuck on screen ALL THE TIME. Instead they say “screw” or “lay.”

But what’s the point of banning the word “fuck” but not the concept. When Nori says “you just want to screw me” there is zero ambiguity at what she means. If you have a small child that you want to pretend is not sexually aware, and you’re ok with them hearing a character say “you just want to screw me” but not “you just want to fuck me,” then you are a fucking moron! See how much better that works? If I said you were a screwing moron, you’d think I was a retard. And I used the word retard on purpose there, because if you haven’t noticed, that’s a word that we’re not really supposed to use anymore either.

This gets even more ridiculous with rules about nudity. Back in the 90s, the show NYPD Blue started “pushing the boundaries” of nudity on TV and had stuff like Charlotte Ross walking around naked, but it was ok because you “never say anything.” Except, you DID! You saw everything with the exception of her nipples and labia. I’ve watched the scene with Charlotte Ross walking around naked a million times (purely for research purposes of course). The careful placement of camera angles to not reveal nipple or labia during the entire minute is actually quite masterful. But it certainly isn’t child appropriate. In fact, as is obvious from the very end of the scene, that’s the whole point. But rather than make me not think about the sexual nature of the scene, it makes it all more the obvious. Yes, she’s covering the “naughty bits” with her hand, but each time I see it, I go “wow, she’s just done a perfect job of shaving there!” And yes, maybe that’s the point there. Bochco was clearly trying to make fun of the guidelines and point out how ridiculous they were.

 

But other shows aren’t doing this. They’re trying to “play within the rules.” The Days of Our Lives clip is ridiculous. In trying so hard to make sure we see as much of then man’s chest as possible, but making sure the blanket is pulled up high enough that you never see the woman’s tits, I watch that and I go “how exactly are they fucking through that blanket anyway?”

But the language is the most egregious. Because when I watch two characters arguing on a TV show like I did last night, and I watch a girlfriend (Julia) accuse her boyfriend (Dale) of cheating and say “I’m supposed to sit around here and wait while you screw her?” and then he gets so mad that he punches through a wall, I just lose all sense of suspension of disbelief in the show. I can’t help it. I was just completely totally aware that I was watching a broadcast TV show. All I could think was “she didn’t say that… she said fuck!!!!” because it’s ridiculous. There’s no reason for her to censor herself in that situation. This is called a break in diegesis. There is suddenly a point in the world of the movie that makes it impossible to take seriously.

This gets even worse on cable shows that DON’T have FCC regulation, but just have actors/actresses with different levels of nudity comfort. Sex and the City was a huge one here. All four main characters had sex almost constantly. In any given episode we were almost guaranteed to see Samantha or Miranda naked. And then, we’d pan over to a scene of Charlotte or Carrie having PG-13 broadcast sex. This was worse than Days of Our Lives, because there we never see nudity. On Sex and the City I was constantly aware of the actress rather than the character because of how hard they were working to not show anything. This is true of Game of Thrones currently. Boobs, Penis, Boobs, Vagina, Boobs, Ass, and tastefully covered up character…. WHAT?!?!?!? Emilia Clarke has this problem a lot. She was naked pretty much in every scene for the first season, but by the most recent she is constantly having sex with a soap opera blanket of modesty, while her lover walks around naked as a jaybird.

There are ways to tell a story without swearing or showing tit. I’m a big fan of the Big Bang Theory. I’m a big fan Arrow. Both of these shows have a fair amount of sexual situations, but at no point have I ever said “hey, what gives? Where’s all the tit and cock?” and that’s fine. But when a show has to go out of its way to not break a rule at the cost of the story, then that’s a problem. It’s 2015. The V-chip was invented more than 20 years ago. It’s been mandatory in all televisions since for 15. I’m not sure I know anyone who even bothers to use it. But if you do, good for you. And if it’s the kind of show that warrants parental discretion, but you think it’s suddenly ok because “they said screw and there was a well placed vase blocking that nipple,” then I have serious doubts about not only your parenting ability but your place as a thinking member of our society. And I think this may include just about everyone who works in the FCC decency department (or at the MPAA for that matter).

But seriously… if you’re the kind of person who has a problem with these words, or those images… fine. Good for you. Not all TV is for everyone. But if you are, why the fuck are you watching these shows anyway? I’m perfectly happy with there being family appropriate TV on the air. Some of it, I even like. But sadly, a lot of TV is shitty now, both family oriented and not… so for the love of HOVA… STOP TRYING TO RUIN UNDER THE DOME!!!

Or, in the words of Rosie Perez, in the theatrical classic, White Men Can’t Jump…”Screwing is for carpenters”

62 comments for “Fuck the FCC… Don’t screw them… Fuck them…

  1. avatar
    July 10, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    After you mentioned Carlin, I read the rest of this with his voice in my head.

  2. avatar
    July 10, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    I have been waiting for this rant, so I could legitimately add the following comment and be on topic:

    The word “fracking” (Battlestar Galactica, for the one person on your friend list who didn’t know) is “fucking”. It is used in all the same ways and even conjugated the same way. Same meaning, thus the same bloody word. Allowing one and refusing the other (yes, BSG was on cable, but Big Bang Theory has used the word on network TV) is pure stupidity.

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 5:23 pm

      I was actually ok with it on BSG. It worked well in the context of the show. I was never “brought out of the show” by it. Same thing with “oh my Gods.”

      In the diegesis of the show it was consistent and clear.

      On the other hand, their handling of nudity was more problematic. Oddly enough it didn’t bother me at all during the sex scenes. Where I really noticed it is when Boomer was doing naked yoga and they went out of their way to cover naughty bits.

    • avatar
      July 11, 2015 at 12:58 pm

      Similar to “frell” in Farscape. There’s a little extra license in far future/alien scifi to invent a word and use it consistently. Presenting as semi-modern though, while using awkward slang is, well, awkward.

      The first is swearing in a slightly different language. The latter is the middle school game of not-swearing to make it clear that you are swearing, but no one can bust you for it.

  3. avatar
    July 10, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    What about fart, turd and twat?

  4. avatar
    July 10, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    I object to your using the word “diegesis” where you clearly meant “fucking.”

  5. avatar
    July 10, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Naught bits — makes me giggle

  6. avatar
    July 10, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I hate when people use sci-fi TV slang in real world conversation.

    Like when people say “shiny” or “rutting”. We get it. You liked FIREFLY.

  7. avatar
    July 10, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I am reminded of possible the greatest line ever uttered in the history of cinema. “Goin’ on a year now I ain’t had nothin’ twixt my nethers weren’t run on batteries!”

  8. avatar
    July 10, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Jesus Christ, it wasn’t that great a show. 😉

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 6:56 pm

      It was good. It wasn’t as amazing as geeks make it out to be. Basically it was a “good” show that was also sci-fi. The reason it’s notable is that most sci-if/fantasy geek shows (especially then) SUCK. There was actually a lot about it that wasn’t amazing. It was a formula melodrama in many many ways.

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      Yes. It was good. I own it. I’ve watched it once. Whereas I’ve watch MAX HEADROOM at least once a year and MILLENNIUM nearly every Nov/Oct.

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      Max Headroom really doesn’t get enough recognition. It was brilliant for what it was trying to do.

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 7:02 pm

      It was, genuinely, way ahead of it’s time.

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      Constantine still needs to be saved, just saying. 😉

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      Constantine is over… let it go….

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      But I dont WANT to. Ha I wanted a story arc with the Swamp Thing!

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 8:07 pm

      so in all seriousness, that was my point with the “please don’t save constantine” post and kinda what Mikey and I are getting at now.

      Constantine wasn’t “good.” It was just a geek show. You don’t want it saved because of anything that happened but because of what you were hoping might happen one day.

      If Swamp Thing had shown up, you weren’t going to get the Vertigo Swamp Thing, just like you didn’t get Hellblazer. You were going to get “Plant Guy” in a random pointless mystery of the week.

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      Mmmmm. I have to disagree with that. It was decent I thought. Who knows, maybe it will get picked up later down the line. Id like that.

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      I liked Constantine. I thought, with another season, they could have really found its footing…BUT an “accurate to HELLBLAZER” show would never work on network TV. Average audiences would hate him.

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      I’ll buy that for a dollar, Mikey.

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      It’s never getting picked up. it’s over. Seriously. Daniel Cerone announced that everyone had been released from their contracts….

      and then the few geeks who were still holding out hope turned on him something fierce. Which totally sucks, because he did all he could. But really VERY VERY VERY few shows survive cancellation to get picked up by another network. And those that have been successful after surviving you can count on one hand,

      You are far more likely to get a rebooted version a few years from now than to ever see what was on last season again.

      Maybe he might get a guest shot on Arrow or something, but really, that would just be fan service.

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Oh, yeah. It’s done.

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Wow, dude. Downer. :/

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      You guys are givin’ up?! I’ll never give up! #saveconstantine. 😉

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      #PleaseDontSaveConstantine

      http://www.chrismaverick.com/wp/2015/05/08/please-dont-save-constantine/

      That’s mostly just for blog cross promotion in case anyone ever happens by this that didn’t see the original post.

      ##LetChrisMaverickDie

      That’s mostly for Jameel.

  9. avatar
    July 10, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    I defy you to turn a better phrase than “twixt my nethers”

  10. avatar
    July 10, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Well, “Rescue Me” did push the envelope. If I recall correctly, they said everything but “fuck,” “motherfucker,” and “cocksucker.” They even said “cock” a handful of times. Since then, most cable network shows after 8pm will allow “shit” and “goddamn” with no problem. “South Park” especially, even though they had to fight to get to say “Shit” 167 times uncensored.

    But the FCC is pretty much Sheila Broflovski from the “South Park” movie:

    “Violence and sex and gore are okay, but God help you if there’s naughty language!”

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      Cable is not regulated by the FCC. They never have been. Each individual network has their own internal Standards and Practices division which sets the rules the shows behave by. As such, for some (HBO) they allow adult content after 8. Some progressively more the later it gets (Comedy Central) and some all bets are off (Cinemax). Others have very bizarre things. A&E for instance had a quota of one “fuck” per season on Breaking Bad, but unlimited “bitches” which is why it became Jesse’s swear word of choice. Or, you end up with things like @midnight where Chris Hardwick discovered that the censors would allow him to say the word “pussy” (even in reference to a vagina) and the word “eat” but if he said “eat pussy” they bleeped the word “eat” (leaving “pussy” intact)

      The reason this ends up happening is that the networks worry that if they’re too offensive some advertisers might drop them. But they have to weigh this against the content creators and the demands of the viewers. So some really ridiculous things end up happening, because basically, S&P often makes shit up as they go along.

  11. avatar
    July 10, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    The girl in that picture has a really cute bum.

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      Charlotte Ross, the actress from NYPD Blue in the clip I linked to.

      Just for a glimpse into how my mind works when I write these things and choose my examples, I picked her because she was on BOTH that show AND Days of Our Lives. But I couldn’t find a clip of her in a sex scene from Days (she was on the show in the 80s, so there’s a dearth of youtube clips)

      For bonus points, she also plays Felicity’s mother on Arrow, which I mentioned in passing, but that was just lucky.

      Anyway, yes… she has a nice butt, which I’m sure is why they wrote that scene. Of course, NYPD Blue also showed Dennis Franz’s butt a lot too.

      Oh, and she’s aware of it. She did a whole PETA campaign based on it. (Ok, yeah, I maybe have a bit of a crush on Charlotte Ross that goes back like 27 years… just a little)

      Charlotte Ross in PETA ad

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      Ok. Um I like nice bums.

  12. avatar
    July 10, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    So they’re still under that dome, then?

    • avatar
      July 10, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      Some of them got out of the dome and went back in. Then almost everyone got out, but it turned out they were just dreaming and were still really in the dome all along and…. Hey, just leave me alone!!!

  13. avatar
    July 10, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    O M G

  14. avatar
    July 11, 2015 at 4:07 am

    “I could stand to hear a little bit more.”

  15. avatar
    July 11, 2015 at 4:44 am

    Charlotte Ross, the actress from NYPD Blue in the clip I linked to.

    Just for a glimpse into how my mind works when I write these things and choose my examples, I picked her because she was on BOTH that show AND Days of Our Lives. But I couldn’t find a clip of her in a sex scene from Days (she was on the show in the 80s, so there’s a dearth of youtube clips)

    For bonus points, she also plays Felicity’s mother on Arrow, which I mentioned in passing, but that was just lucky.

    Anyway, yes… she has a nice butt, which I’m sure is why they wrote that scene. Of course, NYPD Blue also showed Dennis Franz’s butt a lot too.

    Oh, and she’s aware of it. She did a whole PETA campaign based on it. (Ok, yeah, I maybe have a bit of a crush on Charlotte Ross that goes back like 27 years… just a little)

  16. avatar
    July 11, 2015 at 5:48 am

    The other thing that’s so annoying? The murders on TV are so obviously fake! The FCC won’t let them actually kill anyone for “moral” reasons, and it really ruins the dramatic moment for me. I mean, you can tell the way the blood spurts… what? Why is everyone slowly backing away? I’m just talking about diegesis here.

    • avatar
      July 11, 2015 at 7:03 am

      So, in all seriousness, that is a good point too. Obviously I’m not calling for murder in the lame of screen realism, but I do have an issue with the way in which television and film portray violence as ok so long as it is fake enough. “It’s ok to have someone shot or stabbed so long as they don’t bleed too much.

      I mean, I realize you’re joking, but that is an actual problem… Not the lack of realistic murder, but the insistence on non-realistic fake murder.

  17. avatar
    July 11, 2015 at 8:38 am

    THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!! DO YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT YOU WATCH “UNDER THE DOME?”

    • avatar
      July 11, 2015 at 9:07 am

      Hey! It’s a perfectly adequate show for summer viewing! I don’t think it would make my list in the fall. But in the lower competition in the summer, it’s good.

  18. avatar
    Mark Seeley on Facebook
    July 11, 2015 at 9:26 am

    TV self censorship: pork that!

    • avatar
      July 11, 2015 at 6:57 am

      Sigh… Yeah, that one is ridiculous. At least “screw” makes sense. When they overdub with words that make the dialogue meaningless it’s really dumb.

  19. avatar
    July 11, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Mark Seeley on Facebook commented on ChrisMaverick dotcom:

    TV self censorship: pork that!

  20. avatar
    July 11, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Another issue with people these days…. tl;dr (all of it). But I will like it anyway!

    • avatar
      July 11, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      it’s only 1500 words! That’s pretty short for me. Also… I’m special because I’m like fascinating and stuff!!!

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