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So You Think You Can Rate a TV Show?

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American Dad on Fox

Rating: TV-14 LV


“I'm a sex offender. I love offensive sex. I offend people with the sex I have. That's who I am, and that's who I'll always be."


Wouldn’t you think that a television episode containing the above dialogue should have an “S” descriptor in its rating indicating sexual content, or at least a “D” descriptor indicating suggestive dialogue?


If so, you’d be wrong – at least according to Fox.


The November 18th episode of Fox’s vile American Dad, airing at 9:00 p.m. ET (that’s 8:00 p.m. for viewers in the middle of the country), featured multiple “humorous” references to child molestation, as well as other sexual innuendo. Yet nobody at Fox thought that such a storyline required “sex” or “suggestive dialogue” descriptors.


Of course, if the episode did have appropriate descriptors, the V-Chip would work, and children (under 14) would be prevented from seeing the program. Fox would actually be acting like a responsible user of the public airwaves -- and Fox wouldn’t want that, now would they?  


Here are some more examples from this apparently sex-free episode:


  • Randy, a red-haired, freckle-faced young man, knocks on Stan’s door.


Randy: "Hi. Sorry to disturb you. My name’s Randy. I just moved in with my mom down the street…I was recently released from prison. And the law requires me to tell everyone within a 2 mile radius that I'm a registered sex offender…I used to work over at the water park, where I molested a TON of kids! But now I'm out now, so we'll see what happens."


Randy sees Stan’s son Steve lying on the couch in his underwear. Randy’s eyes bulge and he grins.


Randy: "So smooth! Can I come in? I would very much like to come in. I would like to be in your home."



  • At a water park named “Wet, Young and Wild,” Randy attempts to seduce Steve and his friends. Randy is shown walking in a skimpy bathing suit with lollypops sticking out of it (the idea being that the boys would have to touch his groin to get more candy).                


Randy: "Hey, do you kids sometimes kiss your pillow and pretend it’s one of the Little Rascals?"


boy: "Uh, no."


Randy: "Me neither! How’d you boys like to see the old mattress in my secret spy lair behind the waterfall?”


boys: “Yeah!”



  • Randy is shown spraying butter on the boys as they jump on a mattress, then tries to trick the boys into rubbing against him.


Randy: "See? Isn't playing Popcorn fun?..I'm the salt! All kernels have to wrestle me to get salted!"


           boy: “Goodbye, sweet virtue!”



  • Stan bursts in and points a gun at Randy.  Stan: "Aren't you going to apologize and beg for your life?"


Randy: "No. Look, I'm a sex offender. I love offensive sex. I offend people with the sex I have. That's who I am and that's who I'll always be."


Stan: "My God, boys! We can all take a page from Randy the Molester's book! He's comfortable with who he is!”


Steve hugs his father. Randy rubs his hands gleefully and whispers, “Yeah! That’s nice!”


The entire TV ratings system, as it is presently administered, is a pathetic joke. The seamy sex talk and crass humor on American Dad is comparable to that found on such cable mainstays as Comedy Central’s South Park. But while South Park is generally rated TV-MA and shown at 10:00 p.m. ET, Fox thinks that such programming is suitable for 14-year-olds…or even younger viewers, given the network’s reluctance to accurately rate its shows.


Only when TV ratings are assigned in a transparent manner, by an impartial outside organization – not by the networks, who benefit from misrating their own programs --  will the ratings system be legitimate, and the V-Chip a useful tool worthy of the respect the entertainment industry gives it.


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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