I've been wanting for several weeks now to comment on how raunchy the new sitcoms were this season. The pilot for 2 Broke Girls, for example, showed a customer in a restaurant snapping his fingers at a waitress (Kat Dennings) to get her attention. She walks up to him, snaps her fingers in his face and says, that sound "dries up my vagina." There are references to "spank bank" in later episodes, as well as various colourful nicknames for penis and vagina.
On the mid-season ABC show Apartment 23, a young woman has sex with her roommates boyfriend on a birthday cake and complains later about getting "a lot of frosting in my crack." Even relatively tame New Girl refers at least once an episode to its "douche bag jar."
I wrote about this trend this week for The Canadian Press, suggesting, "Getting those lines in this column is still enough to give an editor pause." True and, in fact, they were all taken out. CP stories appear all over the wire, are quickly picked up by on-line and print affiliates, and the agency must act responsibly when servicing readers of more family friendly publications.
Still, it's curious that we can watch and hear all kinds of sex jokes each week on Two and a Half Men, Whitney or Mike & Molly and not even blink, yet the same jokes in your local newspaper are verboten. Does sexual content or language just have more of an impact in print? Has even broadcast TV become an anything goes zone?
Maybe its a generational thing. My 18-year-old son, who grew up with The Simpsons and, later, South Park, Family Guy and the animated, adolescent raunch of Seth Green’s Robot Chicken, simply laughs at these jokes. When I asked him if he was shocked or offended by anything he saw in the pilots of 2 Broke Girls or
, he looked at me like I'd just ordered The Clapper, or left my turn indicator on for an hour. Apartment 23
Still, it doesn't seem that long ago when I was at a TCA press tour in Los Angeles and critics went nuts because a child star in some forgotten sitcom uttered the phrase, "you suck!" That comedy probably launched before the advent of Sex and the City, which, I argue here, changed everything.
One interesting side note: ABC announced last week that the Bitch is back in Apartment 23--sort of. They reverted back to the original title Don't Trust the B--- in Apartment 23. As with last year's S#*! My Dad Says, seems you can say all sort of s#*! on TV as long as you fudge it in the title.