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Carpoolers on ABC

Rating: TV-PG DL

By Caroline Schulenburg


Most people would reasonably assume that a television program rated TV- PG DL does not contain sexual content, certainly not protracted jokes about pornography and sexual harassment. But most people would be wrong – at least, according to the ABC network.  The January 8th episode of Carpoolers, titled “The Seminar,” followed the characters as they attend a sexual harassment seminar and discover the joys of vintage Swiss pornography.


Laird is a self-professed playboy who tries to have sex with every woman he finds attractive. When he finds himself fantasizing about Dorrit, a woman who is giving a seminar on workplace sexual harassment, Laird launches an elaborate plan to make himself appear a victim of sexual harassment as an excuse to talk to her. Aubrey, who has been appointed Harassment Captain and is on the lookout for harassment in the office, is horrified by Laird’s scheme.


In one particularly non-PG scene, Laird demonstrates a gadget that allows him to watch pornography in the privacy of his office. Laird shows off his extensive collection of Swiss porn. Aubrey is outraged and takes the box away from his office, only to crash into another worker, sending porn flying everywhere.  Later, Aubrey confronts Laird about his having crossed out the “Har” in “Harassment,” leaving Aubrey with a badge that says “Ass Captain.” Aubrey tackles Laird and pins his arms behind his back on the floor. As Dorrit walks by she sees the two men struggling. “It hurts, doesn’t it?” demands Aubrey. “It hurts,” groans Laird, as the two lie on the ground in a compromising position.


Dougie, who had viewed several moments of a woman having sex with a donkey in Laird’s porn video, suddenly confesses to his wife Cindy that he has “cheated on her” by watching the video. Cindy is tremendously upset and wants to see who her husband cheated on her with. The two of them go to Laird’s house and ask to see his collection of pornography. Ultimately the two decide to make their own pornographic video.


In the face of all this sexualized material, one wonders whether the network officials who rated this program TV-PG without an S-descriptor even bothered to watch it. From beginning to end, this episode was chock-full of sexual content highly inappropriate for any child who might have inadvertently been exposed to it – and with the V-Chip unable to block the program due to this misrating, who knows how many children were?


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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