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By Katherine Kuhn


Private Practice on ABC

(9:00 p.m. Eastern)

Rating: TV-14


Even before the first commercial break, it was clear that the premiere episode of ABC’s new drama Private Practice was misrated.


A spin-off of the hit show Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice’s heavily-hyped premiere episode supposedly told the story of Dr. Addison Montgomery’s choice to relocate and change her life. In fact, the episode was about sperm -- and the many creative ways to describe its collection. The episode was littered with dialogue about collecting semen in a cup, extracting semen from a corpse in order to impregnate the mistress of the deceased man, a discussion of seeing Addison naked, and a statement that one doctor is a sex addict.


The episode’s plot revolved around a couple, Ken and Leslie, who were trying to get pregnant. Because Leslie is having difficulty conceiving, the couple turns to Oceanside Wellness Group for help. Ken is required to produce a sperm sample, leading to crass dialogue like:


Ken: "Put my boys in a cup!  We're gonna get Leslie pregnant."

Leslie: "I'm ovulating, finally."

Sam: "Uh, congratulations.  That's great."

Ken: "I've never done it in a cup before."


And as if discussion about ejaculating into a cup weren’t enough, at one point the viewer hears the patient moaning while “giving a sperm deposit.” Naomi, Addison, Sam, Cooper, Pete, and Violet are all talking together when they hear Ken moaning in the room where he is attempting to produce a “deposit”:


Cooper: "Somebody's getting happy."

Naomi: "No, Mr. Wilson is giving a sperm deposit."

Sam: "That's a loud deposit."


Suddenly Leslie yells for a doctor, saying that she was just “trying to help him get in the mood, and now he’s not moving!”  Ken is taken to the hospital, where he is pronounced dead:


Leslie: "We were going to have a baby.  He was going to be a father.  Uh...I, I want his sperm."

Sam: "Uh, he didn't get a chance to make his donation before he died."

Leslie: "You can take it from him now."

Sam: "What?"

Leslie: "I want his sperm.  I want Ken's sperm, now!"


This discussion continues throughout the entire episode. The viewer eventually learns that Leslie is Ken’s mistress, and that his wife (soon to be ex-wife -- his wife was “divorcing Ken’s sperm,” as one of the characters so delicately puts it), did not want Leslie to have the sperm.


Over the course of the episode, the word “sperm” or a reference to sperm  was used 22 times. But according to ABC, discussion about ejaculating into a cup, and then hearing the act being performed, and then a woman asking for a dead man’s sperm, is not “intense” enough to warrant the “D” descriptor, indicating sexual dialogue, in the episode’s rating.


The Private Practice premiere’s TV-14 rating gave parents no warning of the constant and consistently intense sexual dialogue that this episode contained. If you agree that this program was inadequately rated, please write to the TV ratings advisory board at tvomb@usa.net and let them know that the TV ratings once again failed to adequately warn parents about inappropriate content.    


For more information about the TV ratings, please visit http://www.tvguidelines.org/contact.asp


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