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October Road on ABC

Rating: TV-PG SV

By Adam Shuler


October Road, currently airing Mondays at 10:00 p.m. ET (9:00 p.m. CT/MT), has been one of the less offensive options for prime-time viewing since its premiere last March. The series is set in a picturesque small town, with likeable characters that move in and out of each others’ lives. Despite its feel-good premise, it has never been a show one could whole-heartedly recommend for family viewing because of isolated yet prominent instances of inappropriate content, such as appeared in the December 17th episode. The episode was rated TV-PG with descriptors for sex and violence. While the violence did not rise above the PG level (Hannah punches a woman who demeans her son), the sexual content would certainly have warranted a higher rating.


In the episode, Nick is trying to get his little brother into the dating scene while simultaneously giving up on his own. He had a chance to get together with a girl named Aubrey, but appeared to have missed the opportunity. However, both Nick and Aubrey have been secretly pining for each other while trying to remain friends. Nick eventually goes to her door, and tells her that he doesn’t want to be just friends. The two immediately have a sexual encounter, after which they exasperatedly share this exchange:


            Nick: “What are you thinking?”

            Aubrey: “That you just ‘friended’ my brains out.”


It’s not that this sexual depiction is strikingly out of place in today’s television landscape, but it is out of place for this series, and was graphic enough to warrant at least a TV-14 rating. Nick lies on top of Aubrey on her bed, and they take their clothes off as they kiss (no nudity is shown, though it is implied). Earlier in the episode, a friend of Nick’s revealed that a good way for a man to turn on a woman is to rub her earlobes. Nick does this, and Aubrey is very responsive. She moans slightly and the action continues.


The scene occurs during a montage of events, cutting back and forth between the couple and other characters. Each time the scene returns to Nick and Aubrey, the scene has escalated.  It is doubtful that parents would want to watch this scene with their children, or that many parents would consider this kind of sexual encounter -- outside of the context of a loving committed relationship – suitable for their youngster. October Road is usually appropriately-rated PG entertainment, but for this instance, the classification is inappropriate.


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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