A Parents Group Is So Mad About ‘The Walking Dead’ That It Wants A New Rating Beyond TV-MA

The TV Parental Guidelines were introduced in 1997, and you’ve been ignoring them ever since. They’re the pesky ratings in the corner of the screen that inform pearl-clutching, common sense-lacking parents whether, say, Sons of Anarchy or Family Guy is appropriate for babies (TV-Y and TV-G), children (TV-PG), teenagers (TV-14), or violent, swearing adults in sexual situations (TV-MA). There’s nothing beyond TV-MA — no NC-17 or X for the shows that would exist behind the mysterious curtain in the video store, if video stores still existed — but after watching last night’s bloody The Walking Dead season seven premiere, the Parents Television Council would like to change that.

PTC President Tim Winter said the episode — in which Abraham and Glenn had their brains smashed in by Negan and his baseball bat covered in barbed wire, — “set a new threshold for basic cable” violence and called it “one of the most graphically violent shows we’ve ever seen on television, comparable to the most violent of programs found on premium cable networks.” I think that’s what showrunner Scott M. Gimple was going for, so good job?

“It’s not enough to ‘change the channel… because cable subscribers — regardless of whether they want AMC or watch its programming — are still forced to subsidize violent content,” Winter continued. “This brutally explicit show is a powerful demonstration of why families should have greater control over the TV networks they purchase from their cable and satellite providers.”

Winter is proposing an “even more severe rating than TV-MA,” something like TV-Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children or TV-I Don’t Know, Go Outside and Read a Book Instead. “I understand violence is inherent to the storytelling here, but the manner in which the depictions were made… it crossed the line,” Winter told the Hollywood Reporter, despite not having actually seen the episode. “With The Walking Dead, the creative team has resorted to the graphic violence as a crutch for what used to be better storytelling. When you can’t figure out what lines to write, you put something in easier, which is a graphic depiction. To me, it’s too much.” Winter’s half-right: The Walking Dead has become increasingly dependent on “shocking moments,” instead of character development, but when did the show cross the line from the right amount of violence to too much violence? Was it literally the first scene of the pilot, when Rick shoots a little girl in the head?

The PTC liked the bunny slippers, though.

(Via the Hollywood Reporter)