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So You Think You Can Rate a TV Show?

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Big Brother 10 on CBS

Rating: None


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 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.

So You Think You Can Rate a TV Show

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