In the third episode of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, prosecutor Marcia Clark verbally issues an angry “motherf*cker,” when she finds out that Johnnie Cochran has joined Simpson’s defense team. Usually, television shows that aren’t on premium cable don’t have characters drop f-bombs without some kind of censorship. But FX made an exception for Clark in this scene, and here’s why.
Slate spoke with FX president John Landgraf about why his network risked losing sponsors by allowing this curse word. Landgraf basically says they did it for art.
I don’t think we’re going to use ‘f*ck’ or ‘motherf*cker’ as a noun, adjective, verb, and everything in between. But when it’s important, it’s important. In this particular instance, it was kind of the valedictory line of Sarah Paulson playing Marcia Clark at the end of the episode. We thought the episode would have been weakened for bleeping or cutting it.”
Landgraf goes on to say that this won’t become a trend (though the network previously gave an okay to Louie also using the f-word), but that these things will happen when it comes to “supporting artistic integrity.” Given how respected Johnnie Cochran was at the time, and how much more famous he became during and after the real O.J. Simpson trial, the use of “motherf*cker” is a good underscoring and foreshadowing of that. Also, Sarah Paulson is great as the chainsmoking Marcia Clark, and should get as many groundbreaking dramatic moments as possible on that show.