Is TBS loosening it's offensive language censorship?

I had the (mis)-fortune of watching part of Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles on TBS last night.

Wait, let me back up a minute. A little background first. Here in Canada, the networks/TV stations are a lot more lax in what is allowed to be said on air. Many times, movies are run “unedited” for language with words such as “shit” and even “fuck” not censored after a certain time at night. There are, of course, the requisite warnings about “offensive language” but, as an example, The Osbournes is run un-edited at about 10 pm in all its “glory”. :rolleyes:

Because my wife and I don’t have young children, and often are just ticked at the poor job the American stations do in editing the movies (“fuck” becomes “fudge”, for example), we will watch the Canadian stations if the same movie is being simul-cast on both.

Fast forward to last night. I know I was watching the TBS stream because their logo was in the lower-right corner of my set. Near the beginning of the movie, when Mick and his Aborigine friend were waiting to pick up their sons at the school, I swear (pun intended) that I heard one of them (Mick or the Aborigine fellow) say “That’s bullshit!”

Was I mistaken? Did that get missed by TBS’s censors? Or is it now acceptable to say “shit” on American TV?

Heck, they let Gene Kranz say “we’re in deep shit” on the History Channel when they did the show about NASA Mission Control.

And that was shown in prime-time, I believe.

I always switch to the canuck stations to view the film as it should be (well with a gazillion commercials but still). TBS’s versions make me ill.

I think that American TV, in general, is loosening up. I’ve heard swearing in various prime time shows and movies in the last few years. One of the most startling was in the pilot of CSI, the new girl accidentally gets locked in a room full of cadavers. She bangs on the door and Grissom finds her and lets her out, shaking. She’s obviously freaked out and he shuts the door and yells back at the cadavers “ASSHOLES!” We hear it slightly muffled through the door, but it’s still completely audible.

How’s this happen? For as long as I know, if there is a show on an American Channel that’s also picked up by a Canadian channel, the American channel gets the Canadian feed too.

South Park broke the S-barrier a couple of years back.

Yeah, I know, that used to be really annoying during the SuperBowl. 22 channels of Global commercials for Canadian Tire and Survivor. yech However, for some reason StarChoice doesn’t seem to do this anymore.

So, I guess it’s true. I was the only one watching Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles last night. Figgers.

I watched it for a moment. Then I washed my eyes out with soap because they’d been bad.

As for profanity, Comedy Central seems to get away with it a lot. More and more words are allowed on television these days… I think (no cite, just a vague recollection) I heard the word ‘tit’ or ‘tits’ the other day, you hear ass and asshole a lot too.

You’re not alone - I watched it last night, and noticed the “bullshit” as well. It surprised me, since TBS is usually so puritannical about swearing and sex.

Was it TBS or TNN that digitally added bikinis so that they could air Showgirls? :rolleyes:

Phew. Good to know I’m not going crazy, the obvious fact that I actually watched an hour of that movie withstanding of course…

Thanks Lord Derfel.

I thought it was noteworthy that Comedy Central ran “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Un-Cut” the other night. It was late at night, but I hadn’t noticed the major cable channels taking the Canadian lead and broadcasting uncensored, even late at night.

I figure if they can show that movie on major cable, the limits are a-tumbling down as we speak.

On ER, in the episode where Dr. Green dies, at one point he’s having a seizure and he screams, “Shit!”

NBC did not bleep this, nor does TNT on the reruns.

It was “Chicago Hope” that first broke the shit barrier (heh heh heh) which was parodied by “South Park” in the episode of 162 shits. I remember they actually did news stories about that “Chicago Hope” episode before it aired. If this was a movement it’s glacial in its speed.

VH1. It’s actually pretty funny to look at, if you’re baked off your gourd.

We’ve get nothing but shit on cable here.

Basic cable used to follow the same standards as commercial network TV. I think Comedy Central has been pushing the envelope more for basic cable.

There is no single rulebook on what can or can’t be said on basic cable television. Sometimes, I will hear the word “ass” deleted out in a film (probably an edit dating several years ago), but allowed in for a rerun of “Friends” from a year ago when “ass” is openly heard on NBC.

(And please don’t tell me when the “ass barrier” was broken).

One thing I’ve always wondered is why PBS is not “censored” or whatver very much. My mom used to think I was “cultured” when I watched ‘Masterpiece Theatre’ in my room Sunday nights. My dad thought I was turning gay. But i just liked seeing the English titties.

Tell me about it. I’ve seen at least two episodes of Frontline where one of the interviewees said “fuck” and they didn’t censor it.

My understanding is that if it’s educational, or a work of “classic” cinema, they don’t have to censor it.

Or if it’s sweeps week, and they want to attract more viewers with the novelty of an uncensored 16-letter “J” word utterance. :wink:

I’ve worked in TV for about 14 years now (god I feel old) and AFAIK there’s no actual stated federal laws about bad language or showing nudity or anything. Every company has its own S&P (standards and practices) and get movies as they were show in the theater to edit as they need for content or time or both. S&P changes over time and is different from net to net, as we can all see.

Often a net will do different edits of the same movie to be shown at different times of day - where I used to work they had 4 different edits of a single movie, at one point. The only thing stopping nets from showing full on hard core porn is their advertisers would refuse to advertise and maybe if enough people complain the FCC might yank their license due to not upholding community standards (which of course doesn’t apply to cable nets).

Please note I’m not nor have ever been in S&P so some of my info might be wrong. I just used to sit down the hall from them and would listen to them swear up a STORM when talking to eachother or on the phone. That always amused me… that plus how our IT guys could never install one of those filters on MS Word that prevented you from typing cuss words since they needed to be able to send memos saying “please remove the words motherfuking cocksucker bitch from 0:39:06 in the movie”


I agree that the standards seem to be loosening for basis cable, I just hate that they let newer films get by with rougher language and don’t go back and change or update their edits of older movies. Most of the stuff TBS edited out of Slapshot is allowed to air on newer films.

Spike TV has made a big deal out of showing films like The Usual Suspects and Midnight Run “uncut”, when only “Fuck” and its variations were edited out and not dubbed over with “motherflipping”, “Freaking”, or other pointless dubs that just draw attention to how out of place they are. Other swear or curse words were let through.

Comedy Central really does let some stuff go. One of Lewis Black’s comedy specials has him explaining the “message” of
Britney Spear’s Pepsi commercial during the Super Bowl as “Ass ass titty ass ass titty titty ass titty ass…” and so on. They don’t even edit it when it airs in the morning. Tough Crowd gets away withs lots as well.

Even Biography on A&E gets away with cussing and nudity when they air clips from movies. They’ve featured Angie Dickenson’s unedited topless scene from Big Bad Mama during the traditional “family hour”.

And yet the old “Pissed off = OK/Pissed on = Naughty” standard seems to apply to much of TV on the networks and cable.