Last Thursday night ABC aired its yearly showing of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” in the 8 o’clock hour, in the spot usually reserved for Grey’s Anatomy. This was all fine and great and seasonally appropriate, but it also led to a bit of a sticky situation around 8:59. See, even though Grey’s Anatomy took the week off, the rest of the Shonda Rhimes Sex & Murder Thursday Night Jamboree proceeded as scheduled. This meant that ABC rolled straight from a family-friendly cartoon about balloon-headed children hunting for a mystical pumpkin into Scandal, which opened with a fairly graphic fantasy sex scene that depicted, among other things, Kerry Washington’s character getting humped doggystyle by the President of the United States. You can see the transition above. It’s … a little awkward.
Enter the Parent Television Council, obviously.
“Shame on ABC for putting a peep show next to a playground. In less than 26 seconds we were taken from the Peanuts pumpkin patch to a steamy Scandal sex scene. Twenty-six seconds, boom. Unless parents had the remote control in their hand, thumb on the button and aimed directly at the TV screen, they didn’t have a chance. Such a transition is grossly irresponsible by the network and entirely unfair for parents. ABC owes families an apology,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
As with just about everything, there are two sides to this. The first is that, yeah, that was kind of jarring, and if I had a little tyke who accidentally caught a glimpse of Olivia Pope dreaming about bedding her two lovers, I might be a little ticked off, too. It probably wouldn’t have killed ABC to throw up a five-second title card between the shows informing viewers that Scandal is an adult show with adult themes, or whatever. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and so on and so forth.
But, with that said, parents, it’s 2014, you know? You have cable guides right there on your TV and smart phone, and many of you have TiVos and DVRs. If you’re super-worried about little Timmy or Sally catching a glimpse of some PG-13 action at 9:00 p.m., you have the tools at your disposal to prevent that. There’s no way you could have known that this particular episode of Scandal would open with that scene, but 30 seconds of Googling would have told you the show ain’t for little eyes. Again, an ounce of prevention, etc. etc. etc.
My take: Let’s all just chalk this one up to a lesson learned and be glad it didn’t happen with the episode about the president’s daughter getting Eiffel towered at a rave. Hoo boy, that was something.