Here’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”