Despite internal strife and decreased funding, the Parents Television Council has released a study claiming that naughty language on primetime network television is up almost 70% over the last five years. As you can see from the chart above (full table here), that language includes dirty words like “hell,” “crap,” and “suck.” Ow, my freakin’ ears!
Most disturbing to the PTC is that the time period showing the biggest gains is not the 10 p.m. hour when more adults are watching, but the 8 p.m and 9 p.m. hours, which attract younger viewers…
“Hollywood’s creative personnel and their TV network distribution outlets have deliberately unleashed literally unparalleled levels of profanity and graphic language upon the public -– the most egregious of it in a time slot in which children are most likely to be in the audience,” the PTC said. “A 69% increase in scripted profanity on pre-planned, filmed entertainment is not equivalent to a couple slips of the tongue during live events. The statistics above demonstrate that use of such language by the networks is both deliberate and pervasive.” [LA Times]
Or maybe — just maybe — the networks are deliberately and pervasively letting TV characters use the same words used by ACTUAL PEOPLE IN EVERYDAY LIFE. Listen, I don’t think five-year-olds should talk like the characters in “Oz” (although it would be funny and kind of adorable), but it bothers me that people are making a living out of being offended by language that Bart Simpson was using twenty years ago.
Also, I’d like to see some of the detailed findings of this report. “Other genitals”? Are there genitals I don’t know about? Is there a rise in hermaphrodite-driven plots?