Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #757: Talking Filthy Filthy Filthy

The US Supreme Court is going to take a look at the FCC and its enforcement of "decency" rules that govern profanity and sexual content on broadcast television. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals had slapped down some of their decisions and America's self-appointed guardians of decency, the Parents Television Council had to toss in their two cents:
"The high court will have the opportunity to reverse misguided 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals rulings that would open the floodgates for graphic nudity and some of the harshest profanity in the English language,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
He forgot to scream:

Now there are two possible reasons for Mr. Winter to make that sort of statement:

1. He's doing his part as the secret minion of Hollywood publicists seeking to create attention, and hopefully viewers, for shows that probably wouldn't get viewers by other means, like quality storytelling.

2. He really believes his own bullshit.

And yes Mr. Winter, I used a dirty word, because I know for a fact that this blog is not read by children, but by a small, but loyal, following of angry loners, and mental deviants. Children don't go near my blog because I talk business, which children find boring. The market, the collective mass-mind of all humanity, and my own tedious subject matter, does what legislation and regulation cannot do.

The same thing works for TV.

I can tell you exactly what would most likely happen if the Supreme Court completely trashes every decency regulation the FCC has.

Probably nothing.

Now Mr. Winter wants you to believe that every channel on broadcast TV will be nothing but hardcore sex and foul language, 24/7, 365 days a year.

That ain't gonna happen.

What would happen is that some networks may try experimenting with pushing the tried and true controversy buttons of flashing some nipple and butt-crack, but, quicker than you think, everything will be
right back to business as usual. In fact, I think TV would be even less "sexual" by nature in the long run without the regulations.

Because that's where the money is.

The old adage of "sex sells" doesn't really hold water anymore in this jaded day and age. People want interesting stories that make them laugh, cry, and get that thrill you get from tales of suspense and mystery. Something called "entertainment." If the modern cynical audience sees a show offering a constant stream of risque material, they usually back away, suspecting that the show probably doesn't have much else to make it worth their time.

If they want titillation of a sexual nature, they can go to internet. There they can get all the action they want, to suit any fetish they have, and get it without annoying commercial breaks.

Then there's the peer pressure issue.

Who wants to gather around the water cooler at coffee break time and tell their co-workers how they beat off like a bastard to an orgy scene in ABC's new hard-core offering Desperately Horny Housewives. It's the really easy way to get you branded a lecherous pervert.

HBO broke ground by having shows with nudity and rough language, but they only won large audiences and respectability when they offered much more than nudity and rough language with shows like The Sopranos.

In the long run, you could see broadcast television backing down from sexual content in ways not seen in decades. Why? Because it'll slowly sink into their thick skulls that story is what really sells in the long run, and without the FCC, or the PTC to raise hell, and publicity, at the slightest hint of nipple, the notion of "sex selling" will eventually fizzle out and die.

That's my opinion, which is absolutely right in all respects, but feel free to let me know yours in the comments.


  1. What's "graphic nudity"?

  2. I'm assuming that the definition of graphic involves going beyond nipples.

  3. Sex and nudity only helps if it works within the tv show. It works with True Blood, it is about Vampires and Werewolves, which at their core are nothing but SEX itself.

    If I want to see nudity I can go to some prefered "recreational" websites and get better content than what I see on film these days.

  4. PTC also needs to raise a stink because of teh SC ruling aganist Cali's anti violent video game law. People then still do not realize that the average gamer is 25. It is not just some kids toy anymore.

  5. Yes, and Yes.

    There's a reason my favorite movies of the last twenty years all have the name 'Pixar' attached to them.


    Make me laugh, make me cry, make me CARE about the characters.

    Then you can offer me some sex and, if necessary, violence.

    But, unless you have a story, all the sex, violence, and CGI in the world isn't going to sell my your movie.

  6. Jake Was Here29/6/11 10:39 pm

    "There's a reason my favorite movies of the last twenty years all have the name 'Pixar' attached to them.


    Make me laugh, make me cry, make me CARE about the characters."

    Boy, are you going to be disappointed when Cars 2 comes out. John Lasseter appears to have fallen into the trap of didacticism -- the only thing that kills my interest in a movie faster than gratuitous sex, gratuitous violence, or CGI.