Last year, a study from the Culture and Media Institute found that The Walking Dead was the most violent show on television. That sounds about right, too. It’s an incredibly gory show, and that’s very much a large part of its appeal. It’s gotten to the point, in fact, that chopping off a walker’s head with a katana is second-nature to this show. Poking a sword through a walker’s head, or blowing a bullet hole through a zombie’s brains, or smashing a zombie head repeatedly against a wall until it liquefies is a casual occurrence on The Walking Dead. It’s just another day.
Let’s consider some of the things that have happened on The Walking Dead throughout its four season run, OK? SPOILERS, obviously. A little girl turned into a zombie and had to be killed. A pregnant woman, after having her child, was shot to death by her own son. A power-tripping psychopath had a wall of fish tanks containing the decapitated heads of zombies. Characters are regularly ripped apart and eaten alive by walkers.
Michonne shoved a sword through a little girl’s mouth.
A barely teenage boy was held down and nearly raped. Another teenage girl killed her sister, and had to be put down by her surrogate mother via a bullet to the head. Maggie was nearly raped by The Governor. A nice old man had his head chopped off. We’ve seen the wriggling bodies of walkers hanging from nooses because those people tried to avoid turning by committing suicide. We have seen Rick rip out the jugular of another man’s neck WITH HIS TEETH.
But here’s the greatest, dumbest, richest irony of all that. Despite all the blood we’ve seen on The Walking Dead. Despite all the upsetting and disturbing situations. Despite the notion of cannibals. Despite the fact that we’ve probably seen at least 500 violent deaths on this show, and a couple of near-rape experiences. Despite ALL of that, when it came time to deliver one of the most potent lines from the entire series, delivered by Rick in the final seconds of the fourth season finale of The Walking Dead, he couldn’t say “f*ck.”
How unbelievably ridiculous is that, and how unbelievably dumb does that make our society’s television watchdogs?
Don’t think I don’t appreciate, either, that I can talk about the violent acts, and even feature ultra-violent GIFs from the show, but I have to use a star in the word f*ck otherwise ads will not run on this page. Because GOD FORBID we should hear or see the word “f*cking” — even when it’s not even used in a sexual context — while we’re watching or discussing a show about reanimated dead people feasting on the brains and flesh of survivors. Because, you know, the trauma of seeing a woman give birth only to be shot in the head by her own son may stick with us for a lifetime, but hearing the word f*ck is just TOO much, right?
The FCC is severely, traumatically, and irreparably f*cked in the head.
(Update: Some are suggesting that not using an F-bomb was AMC’s call, and not the FCC. That may be true, but I mention the FCC only because on The Talking Dead after the finale, Hardwick asked Gimple why they didn’t use the f-word, and he specifically said, “Because of the Federal Communications Commission.”)