A fucking interesting history of swearing on television!


#1

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#2

At the risk of sounding like a fucking pedant…

According to creator Norman Lear, Maude was the first character on network television to use the term “Son of a bitch”.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0644396/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv


#3

To be fair, most things were pioneered by Bea Arthur.


#4

And yet, she was always so Maudest.


#5

I don’t know if it was particularly groundbreaking or anything, but I remember when I was working on Will & Grace, on one of the later episodes we heard Megan Mullally’s character say “tits” on network television before 10:00. I was surprised at the time, knowing it was one of Carlin’s seven words, and it was on NBC.

I just finished working on the sitcom Clipped for TBS, and since it’s basic cable we were allowed to say a certain number of shits per episode… but never in reference to actual shit. That struck me as a pretty meaningless distinction.


#6

I’ve heard tits uttered on television before that, but mostly on British import shows. The earliest utterance I can remember was, of all places, in the middle of the day on the game show Password. Strangely, it wasn’t Betty White who said it.

Every time they would put Carol Burnett and Elizabeth Montgomery on the show together, things would get quickly out of hand, so the producers would deliberately give them provocative words that would escalate the fun.

When the password was “nipple”, Carol Burnett gave the clue “booby”, and Elizabeth Montgomery used “tit”.

I really wish that they had done a movie together.


#7

A certain generation remember there existed a Before this event and an After this event…


#8

did you ever meet one of the Knights of Standards and Practices!?


#9

I’d like to see some of the pre-1965 examples. Or is that when history began?


#10

Heh. No. The BS&P people I’ve met have been unfailingly nice and surprisingly cool.

We kinda ran circles around the NBC guy on Will & Grace, but he never held it against us.


#11

Arsenio was the first to start intentionally saying “ass” (as in booty, not as in mule) on TV. He would just say it normally, e.g." …with your fine ass" or whatever. FOX in the early days was always trying to be provocative. After the dust settled and it was determined that the FCC or standards and practices weren’t going to call out the dogs, I remember Letterman just came out in his monologue: “Paul, did ya hear? You’re allowed to say “ass” on television now.”

and that was that.


#12

What do American nature documentaries do when their talking about Great Tits?


#13

What do you think? They titter.


#14

That’s an interesting case, anyway. There are other viable words to describe excrement, but often swearing doesn’t have easy, accurate alternatives. When they are applied, they are much less effective. Listening to Jackie Gleason utter the words “scum-bum” dubbed over “sum-bitch” in a movie made me die a little inside. He had such a good sum-bitch.


#15

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