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Keeping Up With the Kardashians on E!

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 replies.


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 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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