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January 29, 2007



On a side note, I hate how carefully one has to tiptoe in order to avoid offending someone. Continuing on the Nip/Tuck theme, if we're watching a sex scene, does it make it all that more "wrong" if they are naked? Or when they are doing a breast augmentation, does showing the entire breast but sticking a patch of surgical fabric over the nipple somehow sanitize the scene?Sigh, I'm just getting bitter after a myriad of HBO/Showtime shows. It still makes me cringe when I hear about the censored "fuck" scene from The Wire.

John F. Opie

Hi -AMEN!It's amazing that any problems get solved at all by the folks on the Hill.Great blog, always a pleasure to read...


Ken - my greatest complaint (listed in great detail at my blog Bloody Channels. is that so much of the violence and gore - which I physically cannot stand to watch - is keeping me from watching shows that I am told are excellent. I am told The Sopranos is a top-quality show, but after one try, I had to run to the bathroom to vomit. I enjoy police procedurals, but do we really need autopsy videos? I get the feeling producers - and writers - are afraid they won't have large enough ratings without putting on a sick freak show. I do worry it desensitizes us; never have the graphic effects of violence been so widely available, not only in TV and movies but video games. And I do worry about future generations believing, after shooting up the landscape in some violent game, that that's the way you handle any other problem.(I'm less concerned about language, by the way; words never killed anybody.)


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Mary Stella

Congress examining violence and sex on television = a weapon of mass disruption.


My favorite(?) language subsitution is when the censor uses "Mother Fletcher" for Mxxxxx Fxxxxx.It's bizarre to hear someone insult another by calling them a nun.

The Curmudgeon

I can think of nothing that Congress can investigate that it wouldn't make worse. That's not a slap at the current Congress... it's my belief about all of them.But having said that, would it be so terrible if TV was cleaned up so people could watch it without embarrassment? And without being grossed out? So I could watch it with my wife or kids in the same room?I don't watch the network shows because someone is always showing or talking about body parts or functions -- but if I take refuge in the History Channel, I get Bob smiling from ear to ear because he's now such a 'big' guy in the community. If I flip over to ESPN I get to see Flomax commercials during every timeout. ("It's not a going problem, it's a growing problem.")You bet it's a growing problem! A couple of years ago Viagra got away with listing side effects during the Super Bowl and life has been a living Hell since. And the government got involved then, too -- in Janet Jackson's wardrobe. Missing the problem entirely!Meanwhile, my wife looks at me, if I can't find the mute button fast enough and says things like, "Four hours, huh?"And that's just sex. What about all the profanity on TV?Profanity has it's place, like when I'm trying to collect a bill. But, thanks to movies and television, profanity has lost it's power to shock. Little kids swear like drill instructors -- and it's all written out on their Facebook profiles. Lenny Bruce would be yawned at today -- and now that profanity has lost its power to shock, what are we going to replace it with?(You're in the business: Maybe you have an inside track. Let me know soon, because I'm going to try and copyright the new words like Pat Riley did with "threepeat." We can work out a split....)


Married couples must have seperate beds. One foot must remain on the floor at all times.It must be visually obvious that "the bad guy" is the of whatever violence ensues. Han Solo CANNOT shoot Greedo first.


When it comes to overdubbing "offensive" dialogue, the gold standard remains the network-version of "The Godfather".Sonny, on learning Carlo is beating up Connie: "Son of a buck... son of a buck!"Sonny instructing Clemenza on placing the gun in the restaurant bathroom: "I don't want my brother coming out of there with just a stick in his hand!"


I understand people wanting less violence on television, but running to the bathroom to vomit after one episode of the Sopranos? How do you get through life?And Flomax commercials? Come on. They're for a urinary problem. How delicate are we? Should we return to the days of unmentionables and lady problems?


Over at another site, we were discussing why it is that the "easily offended" always go where they know they will be easily offended, despite all sorts of warnings about the easy offending in store for those who watch a show/read a book/listen to a record, etc., etc.A guy whose background is as an evangelical who works as a prison guard in Idaho had the best answer:"They do it because it's their hobby. They offended easily if you didn't allow them to be easily offended."Unfortunately, it's true.

Buttermilk Sky

Somebody -- I think it was Conan O'Brien but I could be wrong -- had it perfectly: "A&E is showing 'The Sopranos' with all the violence, sex and profanity removed. They're calling it 'Everybody Loves Raymond.'"

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    Ken Levine is an Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer. In a career that has spanned over 30 years Ken has worked on MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, THE SIMPSONS, WINGS, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, BECKER, DHARMA & GREG, and has co-created his own series including ALMOST PERFECT starring Nancy Travis. He and his partner wrote the feature VOLUNTEERS. Ken has also been the radio/TV play-by-play voice of the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres.
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