So You Think You Can Rate a TV Show?
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Rating: TV-PG DV
NBC’s adventure series Chuck
tells the story of a computer nerd who finds himself thrust into the
exciting world of the CIA when government secrets are “downloaded” directly into
his mind. In the episode “Chuck Versus the Third Dimension,” which aired
February 2nd at 8:00 p.m. ET, Chuck was assigned to protect rock star
Tyler Martin, whose life is in danger.
The episode was rated TV-PG DV,
the D and V indicating sexual dialogue and violence; but despite the episode’s
PG rating, it was rife with adult content. In the opening scene, Chuck dreams
that his CIA partner Sarah is trying to seduce him. Wearing mostly-sheer
lingerie which reveals her cleavage, Sarah massages Chuck’s feet, then straddles
him while slowly crawling up the length of his body as he lies in bed. Sarah
also threatens Chuck with a knife before he wakes up. Later, two groupies take
Chuck and Tyler up to a hotel room, where Tyler leaves Chuck alone with the two
women. The groupies grope Chuck, kissing his neck and fondling him below his
belt, then unzip and take off his pants and throw Chuck on a bed. Chuck babbles
frantically about his lack of sexual experience as he runs out of the room. Many
parents were likely tempted to run their own children out of the room.
While the episode’s content was
bad enough, NBC’s promotion of the program was even more egregious. Chuck
was heavily promoted during the Super Bowl, a program with the single largest
audience in America, including millions of children. The promotion focused on
the fact that the episode was filmed in 3-D; with the result that aspects of
every sex scene popped out into the living rooms of the viewing audience.
Finally, the fact that the show aired at 8:00 p.m. ET (only 7:00 p.m.
Central/Mountain time) with a PG rating practically ensured that there were
young children in the audience. If the episode had been rated properly, TV-14
DVS, parents would have been able to anticipate the adult content and have
chosen a more family-friendly program.
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,