So You Think You Can Rate a TV Show?
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1 Vs. 100
By Caroline Schulenburg
The February 8th
episode of 1 vs. 100 (8:00 p.m. ET), though only rated PG, featured
sexual innuendo inappropriate for the Family Hour, and particularly for young
During the competition the
question was posed, "Since 1988, what company's trademarked slogan is 'Just Do
It'?" Along with the correct answer of “Nike,” one of the other possible answers
listed was Trojan condoms. When the contestant answered correctly, host Bob
Saget responded with a ribald riposte: "You're positive it wasn't Trojan?... I'm
just ribbing you." This reference to (ribbed) condom was so out of place that
one of the show’s recurring “mob members,” the nun Sister Rose, felt compelled
to ask Saget, "Family show?"
While a single off-color remark
may seem relatively innocuous, 1 vs. 100 appears to increasingly push the
boundaries. Other now-permanent members of the program’s “Mob” are the Playboy
centerfolds the Dahm triplets...who are prominently seated next to Sesame
Street’s Oscar the Grouch. Why is a Muppet from a children’s educational
program featured on 1 vs. 100, if the producers are not attempting to
attract young children to the audience? And if the show is trying to
attract young children, then the program should be more responsible than to
feature centerfolds and smutty sex jokes – particularly during the Family Hour,
when the largest percentage of children are in the viewing audience.
But whatever the program’s
intentions, a mere rating of TV-PG, with no D descriptor indicating suggestive
dialogue, is not merely inaccurate; it is reprehensible. The entertainment
industry’s favorite response to complaints about content is that parents need to
use the V-Chip to screen out shows inappropriate for their children. But
misrating a program makes the V-Chip completely useless, and actually
prevents it from functioning properly.
By misrating programs, the TV
networks are both denying parents the information they need to make responsible
viewing choices for their children, and preventing the technology the industry
itself touts as a solution from working. The misrating on this episode of 1
vs. 100 may seem minor, but it is only one small example of a much larger
problem – that of the entertainment industry’s refusal to act responsibly.
If you agree that this program was inadequately
rated, please write to the TV ratings advisory board at
firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know that the TV
ratings once again failed to adequately warn parents about inappropriate
For more information about the TV ratings,