So You Think You Can Rate a TV Show?
Brought to you by the Parents Television
Do NOT push play if you don't want to see the explicit video!!!
Ideally, this is the way the
V-Chip should work: The networks responsibly and accurately rate the
appropriate audience for their shows (TV-PG or TV-14, for example). They make
sure to include content labels for suggestive dialogue (D), sexual situations
(S), coarse language (L), and violence (V). Parents then program the parental
controls on their television sets to block certain content according to the
ratings, and their families can watch TV secure in the knowledge that technology
will protect them.
That’s the theory – one that
the networks endlessly claim is the solution for every parent who doesn’t want
their children exposed to graphic violence, profanity, sex or explicitly adult
content. Unfortunately, the networks often misrate their shows, frequently
omitting content labels. One example of this failure on the part of the
networks to rate their program correctly occurred on the July 31st
episode of Big Brother (8:00 p.m. ET). From a ratings failure standpoint,
this show was a no-brainer. There were no ratings at all! No audience rating.
No content labels. Nothing.
The episode’s opening recap
featured a shouting match between Jerry and Memphis. The latter was upset over
Jerry attacking his character. “You calling me a ______ (bleeped, blurred f***ing)
womanizer?” Memphis asks. “You wanna see me get ______ (bleeped, blurred f***ing)
real? I’ll get really real, old man!” Memphis’ outburst was shown several
times, each with another f-bomb. “Are you out of your mind, old man?” Memphis
shouts, “Are you _____ (bleeped, blurred f***ing) out of your mind?” Later in
the episode, Jerry strikes back at the four contestants who have ganged up on
him. “You think I’m going to kiss your ass? You guys _____ (bleeped, blurred
f***) me, I’m gonna kiss your ass?...You come and jump on me with your friends.
Four of you. Four of you on my ass. You want? All four, come on! Let’s go
and get it on. ____ (bleeped, blurred F***) ya!”
Given the frequency and
severity of the swearing, the show should have been rated TV-14 L.
Perhaps one would be
inclined to give the network a pass for accidentally overlooking their
obligation to rate this episode. But in light of the fact that
CBS intentionally aired an unedited F-word in the August 5th episode
of Big Brother, it is clear that the network has turned its back
on common decency over the airwaves. Note: the August 5th episode
was not a live show. CBS deliberately aired the expletive.
And American families must
rely on them for parental controls to work properly?
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,