So You Think You Can Rate a TV Show?
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Keeping Up With the Kardashians
Rating: TV-14 L
By Caroline Schulenburg
One of the most-watched series
on cable is the E! network’s Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Both the
program and its star Kim Kardashian are the subject of gossip magazines, talk
shows and in all likelihood, teenagers everywhere. The episode that aired on
March 30th contained sexual dialogue including discussions about sex
toys, menstruation and the facts of life -- yet was only rated TV14 L.
The episode begins with Khloe
opening a package she has received in the mail, only to find that it is full of
condoms. She offers one to her stepfather Bruce and then suggests that he buy
her mother a vibrator for Christmas. Sister Kourtney tells Khloe that their
mother probably has one already, and they decide to look for it. Kourtney
describes the vibrator to her sister: “It’s big and black!” “Like a dildo?...Do
you think she uses it?” asks Khloe. “We’ll know by the way it smells,” Kourtney
This unsavory focus shifts when
Kendall’s moodiness starts to raise a few heads. Khloe and Kourtney are soon
speculating that Kendall might be reaching puberty, and decide that it is their
job to teach her about menstruation. Khloe grabs a tampon and a pad and asks
their other sister Kylie if she knows what to do with them. Kylie identifies a
tampon by saying, “This is the little thing you stick up your va-jay-jay.” They
wrap up the talk by watching the video of her birth. While the tiny bit of
nudity that occurs is pixilated, there is a larger issue here: childbirth (not
to mention discussions of menstruation and sex toys) are sensitive matters that
most parents would prefer to discuss with their children themselves, rather than
having their children exposed to such subjects while watching TV. At the very
least, because of the discussion of sex toys this program should have received a
“D” descriptor, warning of sexually-charged dialogue.
Cable networks have the freedom
to air more racy content than do broadcast networks. With that freedom comes the
responsibility of rating programs accurately so that parents can shield their
children from unsavory content.
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,