09 November 2009

Parents Television Council's mission to block tonight's Gossip Girl sort of worked

According to this Twitter post by Ego Salon & Studio in Chattanooga, TN, the local CW affiliate there pre-empted tonight's controversial episode of Gossip Girl. The episode, titled "They Shoot Humphreys, Don't They?" and rated TV-14-LS, reportedly will contain a scene of a threesome between three of the college-aged characters. The show premiered in September 2007, and during its first two seasons focused on the lives of upper-class New York City prep school students. This season the students have begun their college lives in the Ivy League and other big-name universities like New York University.

Well I'm not sure what to say about The CW Chattanooga bowing down to the PTC. And apparently the CW was NOT joking about the "3some" that it printed in the promotional posters for tonight's episode. Twitter was EXPLODING around 9:50PM Eastern Time (the show currently airs Mondays at 9PM Eastern/Pacific, 8PM Central/Mountain, opposite CBS's nearly-as-risque sitcom Two and a Half Men and Fox's crime drama Lie to Me). They varied from: "disappointment", "not the 3some that I saw coming", "why can't I stop laughing", "SO WEIRD!", "hot", "don't do it", "didn't see that coming", "The CW is risque", "got me steamy", "WTF", "NOFAIR!", "not as cool as I hoped", "WHAT IS GOING ON?", "EPIC", "my dream 3some", and "whole lotta yuck". In real standard English, viewers were disappointed, shocked, amazed, and disgusted all at once. One Tweeter I noticed remarked: "I could've sworn it was Jenny havin the 3some". Well that's a lie. As far as I know Jenny Humphrey (younger sister of Dan Humphrey in the TV show) is still in high school as of this season, and if CW really had Jenny on, the network would've straight-up pre-empted this episode nationwide.

Still, the best words of wisdom came from the Ego Salon & Studio: "If you don't want your child watch[ing] a 3some episode turn it. But don't sensor (sic) it." I agree. Why is PTC singling out Gossip Girl when tonight's Two and a Half Men episode has a plot CENTERED around the two main characters in bed with a woman? Doesn't PTC think that sort of plot is much MORE harmful to teenagers than a mere scene of three-way sex within a more general and tasteful plot?

Gossip Girl has now made its mark as having one of TV's most controversial moments. Back in 1971, CBS's sitcom All in the Family made headlines for including the sound of a toilet flushing. (That episode was "Success Story", from its first season). Despite that, All in the Family went one to become America's favorite show during much of the early- and mid-70s. In 1991, L.A. Law (at the time a 10PM Thursday legal drama on NBC) broadcast the first-ever lesbian kiss on primetime TV (that episode apparently aired 20 days before I was born!) (Wikipedia expands on this.) And later we've had NYPD Blue (ABC cop drama, another 10PM show) showing male and female buttocks, but in 2008 the FCC managed to fine ABC over a 2003 episode of Blue ("Nude Awakening") that depicted a woman character's buttocks for a few seconds. The indecent moment on TV that most likely explains why you can't ever heard words like "f--k" and "s--t" on broadcast networks or you need to shell out a bunch of money to watch Entourage on HBO is the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, broadcast on CBS in 2004. Performer Justin Timberlake ripped off part of co-performer Janet Jackson's costume, exposing her breast (covered by a nipple shield) for just over half a second. Nonetheless, the PTC raised hell over that, and by September the FCC fined CBS nearly half a million dollars. A federal appeals court overturned the fine, but the US Supreme Court ordered the appeals court to reconsider. There's always been something on TV for the nation to raise a fuss over. From hearing a toilet flush on a sitcom in the early 70s to women kissing each other in the 90s and then the numerous sex scenes mirroring people's daily lives to the accidental exposure of undesirable body parts . And now a show aimed towards teens and young adults daring to show three-way sex. Tomorrow, we'll see what the reaction of the PTC and the future cultural impact.

No comments: