Are network TV shows getting more explicit?

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by Sparty99, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. Oct 25, 2011 #1 of 104

    Sparty99 Well-Known Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Ferndale, MI


    Let me start this out by saying I'm not a prude by any means, I hate the PTC, and I don't have any issue with the subject matter of this thread (if that makes sense). Hell, as I post this I'm watching something called "Rated A for Adult". So this isn't meant as a complaint.

    But I'm wondering if anyone else is noticing an increased explicitness in network TV. The dramas have been fairly realistic for years, at least since L.A. Law and NYPD Blue. But to me, the sitcoms were always a bit more subtle. There were plenty of jokes but a lot of things would go unsaid.

    But last year I started noticing with Mike & Molly was a bit more up front both with sexual talk and drug issues (I can't remember any specific issues, but they haven't really toned it down much). Then this past week/weekend I was catching up on 2 Broke Girls and was surprised at some of the jokes. There was a joke a few episodes back about wads in the face and last night there was a bit about one of the girls needing 9 1/2 inches.

    Like I said, this isn't something I have an issue with, I'm just curious if it's something only I'm noticing. It seems it was almost an overnight switch.
  2. Oct 25, 2011 #2 of 104

    TiVo'Brien Now with 2.6% Fewer Organs TCF Club

    Feb 8, 2002
    Yes, definitely, I've noticed this, too. 2 Broke Girls is rife with this talk. Last night it was explicit talk from a guy about his balls while riding a horse. :rolleyes:

    A lot of it I welcome, though, particularly the use of proper words for parts of the anatomy. Growing up in the 60's, 70's, and 80's, you *never* heard the words penis, vagina, etc. uttered on prime time television. For me it's kind of liberating for our society that these words are used openly now.
  3. Oct 25, 2011 #3 of 104

    Sparty99 Well-Known Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Ferndale, MI
    Agreed. Hey, that's how my friends and I joke around. We discuss filthy things and we're crass and make jokes similar to the jokes on these shows. So like I said, I'm fine with it, it just seems as though it came out of nowhere on some of these shows.

    In fact I find it less believable when guys on Rescue Me and The Shield never dropped an f-bomb.
  4. Oct 25, 2011 #4 of 104

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Except maybe on "All in the Family"?

    Though one thing that I find annoying is that now they're "allowing" swearing on lots of regular prime time shows nowadays, but they ALSO bleep it (and blur the mouth -- sheesh). I can understand bleeping for live (or tape-delayed live) shows.. but planning it in and doing it that way is weird.

    Also, besides the "proper words for parts" you mention, there are a few more slang words that are acceptable nowadays too. Richard's nickname, for example. The Daily Show uses that a lot, but I am pretty sure I also hear it on network TV. (Yes, I KNOW that cable channels are not covered by the same rules, but most of the "basic/expanded cable" channels generally follow _at least_ as strict rules as OTA stations.)
  5. Oct 26, 2011 #5 of 104

    sieglinde Active Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    Sebastopol, CA


    I was watching the newest versions of Iron Man and Wolverine on G4 and I was surprised when Wolverine called someone a dick. They used damn and hell as swear words which surprised me also. The show was broadcast at 11 pm though.
  6. Oct 26, 2011 #6 of 104

    jsmeeker Notable Member TCF Club

    Apr 2, 2001
    G4 isn't a network channel.. ;) Heck, Comedy Central lets the S word through now on South Park.

    Anyway, yes, they are.. Not really a new trend though. They started allowing married characters to sleep in the same bed years ago. That's when it started to go downhill.. ;
  7. Oct 26, 2011 #7 of 104

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

    Mar 10, 2003
    New Jersey
    I just think it's just the way things have progressed. A little more explicit each year. In the 50s and early 60s husband and wife were in separate beds. It gradually changed in the 60s and 70s. Sex was talked about a bit more open in shows like MASH, and All In the Family allowed us to face demonized words head on. The 80s had more actually "sex" scenes, but by the 90s we started to hear either direct or slang words for genitalia. One trend I DO notice is that referencing taking drugs is a whole lot less taboo. I find it interesting in an era where, on radio, "smoking funny things" lyric is changed in the Kid Rock Song "All Summer Long" and cocaine is regularly "bleeped" out of songs, yet on TV, it's discussed openly, even on the 8 o'clock sitcoms. Seems a strange dichotomy to me.

    And of course, on cable, it's up to the actual network, so some networks are even more explicit (FX is more explicit than USA for instance). So really, for any generation after cable became prevalent, what's the difference between watching FX and ABC? It's just a different channel number for anyone born after 1980 say. If I say broadcast networks, my 12 year old gives me a funny look. To her, there's no difference between ABC and Nick.
  8. Oct 26, 2011 #8 of 104

    Azlen Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Peoria, AZ
    They had an episode ten years ago where they said it 162 times, so it's not exactly a new development.
  9. Oct 26, 2011 #9 of 104

    Azlen Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Peoria, AZ
    I think the reason were seeing more of it is because of cable television. Cable shows have much more freedom so the networks in order to compete have to up the ante a bit. That's not saying that we wouldn't have seen it otherwise but I think the competition with cable has definitely accelerated it.
  10. Oct 26, 2011 #10 of 104

    justen_m Cheesehead TCF Club

    Jan 14, 2004
    Boise, ID
    This isn't quite a network show, but it is somewhat ontopic.
    Broadcast time has a major affect. I've heard the F-Bomb and seen full frontal animated nudity on _Drawn Together_, on Comedy Central, late nights (actually, my Tivo recorded it as a suggestion!) I don't get any premium cable channels. When I was watching this, my jaw dropped. Did they just say that? I jumped back to hear it ago. Wow. The nudity wasn't quite as shocking, as it is animated, after all. I watched the show when it originally aired a few years ago, and it was majorly censored.

    From wiki...
    "...Occasionally, episodes of Drawn Together are shown with less editing for content during Secret Stash, a Comedy Central program aired on weekends at 1 A.M. that showcases movies, comedy specials, and animated programs with uncensored language. Though Secret Stash programs typically have the nudity still censored, Drawn Together is an exception to this. Some nudity not seen in the original broadcast is shown in the Secret Stash version..."

    While I doubt the networks will ever go that far (FEAR THE FCC!!!), it is definitely going farther. 2 Broke Girls is a great example of much more suggestive and explicit dialog. Seeing as that we have broadcast TV ratings, I think digital broadcast channels should have a lot more leeway, especially for stuff aired late (like after the local news).
  11. Oct 26, 2011 #11 of 104

    Tivortex Cherished Member

    Feb 29, 2004
    Oh, we are all so modern today. And yet, All In The Family used racial slurs that you would NEVER hear on the politically correct TV of today in any context.

    So I think that broadcast standards are only opening up in certain areas, such as sex.

    I guess it is up to the viewer to decide if it contributes to the coarsening of our society or not. I'm an adult and can handle it, but I think it does.
  12. Oct 26, 2011 #12 of 104


    Mar 21, 2007
    I think 2 Broke Girls had the potential to be funny but every episode is filled with these types of jokes that borders obsenity. Its too bad, I was hoping to keep the SP but enough is enough. I remember Seinfeld being funny without going overboard.
  13. Oct 26, 2011 #13 of 104

    TAsunder Debates Ghee vs Gi

    Aug 6, 2003
    Madison, WI
    Funny you should mention NYPD Blue... that show was one of the first to use nudity and profanity in a network show. I don't know why anyone would expect that comedies would be immune to the NYPD Blue effect.
  14. Oct 26, 2011 #14 of 104

    jlb Go Pats!

    Dec 13, 2001
    Burlington, VT
    I've seen a lot of stuff on TV lately about schweddy balls.....!
  15. Oct 26, 2011 #15 of 104

    Frylock Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2002
    Just West...
    Has it gotten more prevalent? Yes. But it's always been there. Remember 'In Living Color' at 8 PM on Fox? They used to have Damon Wayans as 'Handi-Man', probably one of the most politically-incorrect characters of all time!

    There's also been shows like this. We are just seeing more of them now as society changes over time. And as the big 4 have to compete more with cable than ever before.
  16. Oct 26, 2011 #16 of 104

    jsmeeker Notable Member TCF Club

    Apr 2, 2001
    But that was a one off epsidoe created for effect.

    Now, it's every episode in the normal context of the show.
  17. Oct 26, 2011 #17 of 104

    dthmj Hinky TCF Club

    Mar 12, 2002
    We watched 2 Broke Girls the other night and decided that was enough.

    Of course I'm watching with two teenagers. If it was just me, it would be fine.

    But I thought the show was rather funny without the crude jokes - so it's a shame that we can't watch it as a family anymore.
  18. Oct 26, 2011 #18 of 104

    getreal postcrastinator

    Sep 29, 2003
    The last episode of "2 Broke Girls" was the stand-out for me as well. It really made me aware of not only the crass talk, but the robotic line delivery by Katt specifically. If they can have that sort of language and having the guy on the horse grabbing her boob, and have her talking in the previous episode (when the girls were in the cooler) about protruding nipples, at least give that to us! Those restaurant uniforms leave too much to our imagination. ;)
  19. Oct 26, 2011 #19 of 104
    That Don Guy

    That Don Guy Now with more GB

    Mar 13, 2003
    Benicia, CA
    I don't know about other shows, but on Seth MacFarlane's three shows, it's done so the DVDs can have both the "uncensored" and "as broadcast" versions.

    As for "getting more explicit," it's not that new - an episode of Friends (not exactly a "recent" show) had a subplot about who would get to use the last condom in the house, and it aired at 8 PM (wasn't that part of the "Family Hour" time period at one point?).
  20. Oct 26, 2011 #20 of 104

    Sacrilegium that weird guy

    Dec 14, 2006
    Just posting to say hello, fellow Playgrounder ;)

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