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The Worst Cable Content of the Week

 

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Ugly Americans on Comedy Central

Episode Summary

 

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

 

When future generations look back and wonder when America’s cultural decline began, they may consider a variety of possible starting points; but there will be no argument that, at least in terms of entertainment, the metaphorical apocalypse was well underway by 2010.

 

As recently as twenty years ago, zombie movies were frightening, and excessive and graphic bloodshed, displays of bodily organs, and cannibalism were considered repulsive by everyone in civilized society. But today, graphic gore and sickening storylines are considered not only appropriate, but even hip and popular, entertainment for the younger generation. Classic literature is warped into books like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, while even superhero comics are transformed from the light-hearted adventure romps of years past into entire series featuring “Marvel Zombies” (with kiddie favorites like Spider-Man now turned into cannibals with flesh rotting off the bone), and the horrific death-glorifying DC Comics series Darkest Night. Now, this same sensibility is being promoted in cartoons. As proof, consider exhibit #1: Comedy Central’s latest attempt to fill the post-South Park timeslot, Ugly Americans.

 

Ugly Americans takes place in an alternate New York, one in which everyday individuals are mingled with demons, zombies, and other supernatural and bizarre creatures. Everyman Mark is the protagonist, who must content with Randall, a zombified roommate with rotting flesh, who wants to eat Mark’s brain; Callie, a demon-spawned woman who invites Mark to snack on aborted babies; and Leonard, a drunken wizard whose spells frequently go wrong in spectacularly gory fashion. The episode shown on Comedy Central on Wednesday, March 24 at 10:30 p.m. ET was a particularly disgusting mélange of violence and gore, and richly deserves the title of Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.

 

The episode opens with a werewolf gashing another man’s face, then ripping his arm off at the shoulder, blood and bone visible. The werewolf is placed in Mark’s “tolerance” class, which is shown a film on New York’s history. According to the show, vampires ruled New York – until the Irish arrived, whereupon society fell into disorder. Graphically shown are a knife being graphically thrust through a man’s throat; another man being strangled, with his eyeballs popping out and dangling by their nerves; a baby being burned alive; snakes bloodily devouring a vampire (at which a Buddha-like figure exclaims, “Jesus Christ!”); and a decapitated corpse, the head resting in a pool of blood with the body impaled on a huge pitchfork, blood streaming everywhere. A pantsless Irishman is shown urinating into the neck hole of the mutilated corpse.

 

Meanwhile, Mark has other problems. With the onset of the full moon, Randall gets cravings and fantasizes in graphically-shown detail about cutting open Mark’s head and feasting on his brain, while Mark is still alive and conscious. Randall attempts to cope by calling a friend and describing his fantasies, only to blurt out, “Dude, are you masturbating to this? You are the worst sponsor!”

 

Mark also tries to encourage Leonard. The wizard is despondent because his brother, stage magician Christ Angel (whose biography is titled “The Body of Christ”) has become famous, while Leonard is a pathetic nobody. Mark, Randall and Leonard attend Angel’s stage show, where Angel performs his famous “dove” trick: a woman volunteer from the audience suddenly grows a huge pregnant belly. After a stream of urine is shown graphically pouring from beneath her skirt, the woman screams, “I’m going into labor!” A blood-covered baby shoots out of her crotch, umbilical cord still attached, then grows into Christ Angel.

 

At Mark’s urging Leonard develops his own magic act, which he advertises by turning into a lion, then exploding and splattering everyone in the office with blood and entrails, as the lion’s ripped-open corpse is shown. As part of his act, Leonard asks Mark to shoot himself in the head: “I’m going to kill a man and bring him back to life! Let’s see your Christ do that!” Mark obliges, with a huge mass of blood gushing out of his head and pooling on the floor beneath him. In the afterlife, Mark observes what happens next: Randall graphically gnaws on and tears the flesh from Mark’s toe, devouring it. Mark returns to life, but Leonard resigns himself to being a failure, ending the episode with the uplifting advice, “Forget about shooting for the stars; just have a few drinks, and pass out on your desk.”  

 

To call Ugly Americans “violent” is like calling Hurricane Katrina a gentle spring shower. Extreme and graphic gore completely dominates the program – indeed, it IS the program. The obsession with blood and guts alternates with sickening “jokes” made about subjects like cannibalism and suicide.

 

Comedy Central is clearly eager to attract a young audience to the program. The show is rated TV-14 (despite being on after South Park, which always garners a rating of TV-MA). Clearly, Comedy Central’s corporate owner, Viacom, is comfortable with showering teens with this kind of extreme content; but then, given the same company pushes the almost-as-graphic Glenn Martin, DDS at kids on Nickelodeon, this does not really come as any surprise. Comedy Central even advertises an Ugly American game on its website, and invites (implicitly) young viewers to join in the carnage.

 

This is where the entertainment industry’s corporate media conglomerates are taking America’s children, culture, and future: to a place where abortion, cannibalism, dismemberment, gore, graphic sex, and incessant profanity are considered delightful entertainment – and where everyone who subscribes to cable or satellite television is forced to finance it. 

 

For further degrading the American republic, Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans is the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.

 

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