Iis this a joke: the censoring of "Are You Being Served?"

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Julian Lalor, Aug 8, 2004.

  1. Julian Lalor

    Julian Lalor Supporting Actor

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    I've come across a few articles, originating from that paper of record "The Sun" which state that several US broadcasters are refusing to show "Are You Being Served?" because of Mrs Slocombe's 'pussy' double-entendres. It's low humour, for sure, but it's so innocous as to be quaint. God forbid that PBS get their hands on the "Carry On" films.

    Tell me that it isn't so! The Janet Jackson furore was Pythonesque enough; this is just plain silly. I mean, who would sue over this? Don't they have channel changes across the pond?

    The Wet Pussy
     
  2. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    I don't know if it's true or not, but I wouldn't be surprised. The FCC threatens to wield a big hammer, and a public broadcasting station would be a much easier target to pound than a radio show under a major corporation's umbrella. From talking to people who work in the business, things have definitely changed since that stupid Janet Jackson brouhaha. Radio and TV execs are much more cautious for fear of being fined, and they've let the on-air talent and programmers know about it.

    Of course, the thing is that there is no big list o' forbidden words/phrases/etc., so even greater caution is being utilized because no one has explicit knowledge of what will get them in trouble.
     
  3. LizH

    LizH Second Unit

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    Public television has been under assault for years.

    The last thing PBS needs to do right now is to throw red meat to its conservative critics in Congress right in the middle of an election year. [​IMG]
     
  4. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    I can't believe that article's true. I realize the climate conservative control in the US in this election year is approaching frightening levels, but the article doesn't really offer up much information, particularly regarding the alleged lawsuits brought against "networks" by offended people. Once again, America may be the world leader in frivoulous lawsuits, but I can't find another article, at least online, that backs up this claim. Perhaps I'm not using the right search words: would "pussy" turn up anything? Hopefully this is just liberal fearmongering to paint the conservatives in a light they should be seen in anyways.

    I haven't watched AYBS for years since I unhooked myself from the idiot box in favour of a movie-only diet with newspapers for my news, but I watched it routinely from my young teen years to early adulthood, fully aware of virtually every double-entendre they were flinging at me. In fact, I'd say I learned a lot about the art of the double entendre from this show and other British comedies. That's just personal experience, of course, but I've yet to find and article on the web (or in print) that speaks to widespread social disease spreading by way of Mrs. Slocombe's wet pussy.

    For the sake of rational broadcasters and viewers everywhere, and if there is indeed any meat to this story, I hope PBS holds out at least until the election, when the tide might turn in their favour. Otherwise, so much wonderful open-minded European programming will fall under the knife of the see-no-hear-no-speak-no-evil-but-create-lots-of-evil-to-stamp-out brigade.

    I know it's probably not my place to comment living in a more liberal country and all, but having lived directly on the border my entire life, PBS was a source of much joy growing up in the form of its British imports, and it would be sad to see younger generations deprived of seeing how truly enlightened other countries really are when it comes to something as natural as sex.
     
  5. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    The younger genmerations will still have cable, which is outside the FCC's jurisdiction.
     
  6. LizH

    LizH Second Unit

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    ^ For now ...

    There's a move in Congress to "clean up" cable and satellite TV as well. [​IMG]
     
  7. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    I don't see how they could. They are pushing it by going for OTA.
     
  8. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    Any attempt to regulate content of cable-programming would be completely unconstitutional. The OTA crackdown is questionable, as Ike said. We do have something called the first ammendment. The only reason OTA is regulatable is the public owns the airwaves.
     
  9. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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    There are people out there that want everything to be "safe" for children to watch. The people proposing to "'clean up' cable and satellite TV" are probably just trying to get more votes from those people.
     
  10. Marc Fedderman

    Marc Fedderman Second Unit

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    This wouldn't surprise me, as PBS has taken a calculated rightward turn. In its June 7th issue, The New Yorker ran a piece by Ken Auletta on this shift. For those unfamiliar with the inner-workings of public television in this country (as I was) the article was both enlightening and shocking. PBS acts under the aegis of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, an ostensibly non-partisan entity. Recently, however, this has changed. The C.P.B. has pushed for a (seemingly) politically-motivated program change. The addition of Tucker Carlson's magazine show and the pressure being put on Bill Moyers to tone down his rhetoric are two prominent examples of this. I haven't seen Carlson's show yet and I actually rather enjoy him on CNN, so I'm not passing judgment on these maneuvers, just pointing out that PBS has become increasingly influenced by the more conservative agenda of the C.P.B.





    Well put Julian. And yes, we have channel changers, it's just that we're too ignorant to decide when to use them on our own[​IMG] .
     
  11. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    Excellent point. And sadly, it sometimes works.

    It just frustrates me that "safe," like "obscene," is entirely in the mind of the beholder. Neither can truly be quantified or regulated, and yet that's what conservative governments have always tried to do, fear-mongering those same "safe"-craving constituents into believing that a more liberal, secular mindset will lead to the downfall of western civilization.

    This continent needs an enlightenment so badly...

    (that way, maybe someday my children (should I have any) can listen to Mrs. Slocombe talk about feeding her pussy just like I did and still grow up to be - SHOCK! - rational, decent people!)
     
  12. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    I think the U.S. system works great. Politicians can complain about the entertainment industry and get elected off of this, but thanks to the constitution and the courts, can't do jack squat. Everybody's happy.
     
  13. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    "I think the U.S. system works great. Politicians can complain about the entertainment industry and get elected off of this, but thanks to the constitution and the courts, can't do jack squat. Everybody's happy."

    Germany had a constitution when Hitler took power, wonder if Goebbels ever used the term "activist judges".
     
  14. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

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    I have AYBS airing on my local PBS currently and there is no censoring.
     
  15. Tory

    Tory -The Snappy Sneezer- -Red Huck-

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    When Mrs. Slocombe says pussy, she is referring to her cat, anyone watching the show and paying attention can tell that. If someone thinks something else it is a perversion in their own mind and they need to think about that perversion, the dirty perverts. As for PBS, on mine, she says pussy a lot and I do not think they are edited but then again maybe it shows up more than I thought. Are the BBCAmerica DVD boxsets free of edits? I think they would be and I am about to pick some up. BBCAmerica, the network, hasher saying pussy allot too. If they edit this what is next Josie and the Pussycats, The Dick Van Dyke Show...?
     
  16. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    The Mrs. Grundy types who always come after these shows - especially in election years - probably know full well she's referring, with a barely disguised wink, to her cat. They just don't like the fact she's using a dirty word to do it. [​IMG]

    Wonder if given the opportunity, they'll take the scissors to the show's catalogue of double entendres about Mr. Humphries?
     
  17. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    Godwin invoked.
     
  18. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    Funny how the true biological word 'penis' can be heard on the air (as heard frequently in later episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway) but people have issues (ie are scared of) any reference whatsoever (in direct usage, colloquialism or double entendre) of female genitalia. Many Americans just don't have a British sense of humour.

    Get a life and change the channel. Better yet turn off the TV and read a good book.
     
  19. Marc Fedderman

    Marc Fedderman Second Unit

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    Sexism Keith plain and simple. It goes beyond penises and vaginas though. How often are two men depicted kissing or engaged in any, even remotely, homo-erotic behavior? The same strictures don't seem to apply to two women though. Moreover, women are often seen in revealing clothing, but rarely, if ever, are men. I know this seems contradictory--it's okay to show women in compromising positions and outfits, but not to mention their genitals--but it's not. It is consistent with the not-so-surreptitious objectification of women on network television. This is not to say that misogyny in the media is a distinctly American trait, but it is an American trait. I wonder if a double entendre using the word "dick" would have been similarly censored.

    I want to stress that I'm not for more censorship-- that's the last thing we need in this country--but for more equality in the way "rules" are applied. I enjoy AYBS and can't imagine why anyone would find it objectionable. It's been on PBS for eons and this is the first I've heard of censoring it. The show hasn't changed, but unfortunately we seem to live in a less permissive (and humorous) environment.


    Dan,
    I thought Godwin's Law only applies when a thread has run its course (or become exceedingly long) and someone invokes Hitler or Nazism. Maybe this thread has run its course[​IMG] .
     
  20. Richard Paul

    Richard Paul Stunt Coordinator

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    Just to defend America I'll point out the fact that almost every nation has some level of censorship. For instance though sex is censored in the US it is violence that is censored in Europe and the UK. In fact the UK actually banned the sale of Evil Dead because of the violence for over 5 years and was then released in an edited form (it was released in the UK uncensored only a few years ago). Germany will only allow Evil Dead in its edited form and Finland still has it banned to this day. To say that the UK and Europe don't censor movies is absolutely wrong. To put it bluntly liberals in the UK and Europe ban and edit movies all the time and that is for what you can buy! The US has the least form of censorship in the world I know of.

    Brian, to say you live in a more liberal country does not mean you do not have censorship. Traditionally most conservatives try to ban sexual material, while most liberals try to ban violent material. As such do you really think that Canada has less censorship than the US? Also I'm not talking just over the air content but also cable and satellite. I know for a fact that Canada regulates your channels far more than America and will not even allow Fox News in the country. Do you really think that preventing certain viewpoints from being allowed in your country is freedom? I would fight any attempt in the US to ban the broadcast of CNN, Fox News, or even Al-Jazeera. Freedom requires you to allow viewpoints that you personally dislike to be spoken, printed, and broadcast. As such how is the US any worse than the Canada in terms of censorship?
     

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