. . . Tuesday August 10, 2004

Pander, Titillate or Shock, Anyone?

Let me begin by saying that the FCC rejected the complaints by two “conservative” groups that had charged that episodes of Buffy and Will and Grace were indecent.

In the Buffy (and in my teen days of watching scrambled versions of soft adult programming, the word buffy alone would’ve been enough to get us off) case, there was a complaint about a scene that depicted a fight followed by sex (which, ironically may be at the very core of family planning and reproduction in this nation). The FCC explained that, “there was no nudity and there was no evidence that the activity depicted was dwelled upon or was used to pander, titillate or shock the audience.”

To attempt to marginalize titillation and efforts to shock is sad enough. But since when did we have a rule against pandering to an audience? Wouldn’t that standard pretty much knock off the air almost every show on primetime television (not to mention the harm it would do to both Tony Danza’s career and every political ad every produced)?

Not crazy enough for you? In the other case, a group complained about an episode of Will and Grace in which: “woman photographer passionately kissed (a) woman author and then humped her (what she called a dry hump).” (This was the episode featuring Glenn Close as the the dry humping photographer.)

While the commission rejected the complaint, they stopped short (seriously) of indicating that a “dry hump” would always fall within the bounds of decency.

If you find a bizarre need to dedicate your life to tracking and attacking these so-called indecent acts on primetime television, chances are that a dry hump is about as far as you’ve ever gotten. Release the pressure. Embrace your darkest fantasies. And leave the rest of us alone.

Concentration is important!