CBS announced its new fall lineup to advertisers and the entertainment press on May 18. After all the jawing and legal wrangling back and forth over televised profanity, and whether it’s somehow not profane if it’s blurted out accidentally, CBS has ended the debate over accidents. The artists formerly known as the classy “Tiffany Network” have very deliberately introduced a new show called “$#*! My Dad Says.”
That’s right – the fecal curse word starting with an S in the title. They pronounce it “Bleep My Dad Says.” They could simply have called it “Stuff My Dad Says” and not lost a scintilla of descriptive power. All they would lose is the childish wish to offend.
Michael Schneider of the trade publication Variety joked that it’s too bad they didn’t use an exclamation point and then a plus sign in the title after the dollar and pound signs, so the keyboard strokes would look more like the actual curse word. He actually gave CBS credit that they did not “wimp out” and sensibly clean up the show title. In the old black-and-white days a sitcom like this would simply be named after its star, “The William Shatner Show.” Nowadays the title selection requires talent – of a 12-year-old.
This S-bomb show is a spinoff from a page on the social-media website Twitter with the same toilet-plugging name. Perhaps someone would argue that CBS is merely trying to stay true to the spirit of the actual Twitter page by Justin Halpern, where nearly every 140-character tweet of his dad’s cranky “wisdom” is laced with profanities. Halpern already milked his cursing dad for a book deal before turning his excretory ambitions to television executives.
But Variety reported that CBS programming chief Nina Tassler was having fun with the new show title by quipping to reporters that CBS has ordered some “really funny [bleep]” after their sitcom “Big Bang Theory” on Thursdays. Tassler said the new show “proved that new media and traditional media are coming together in very cool ways.” This Tassler has a very twisted idea of what “very cool” is. She also infamously declared that CBS’s last attempt to be cool, the bed-hopping Seventies polyester-orgy flop “Swingtown,” was “fun and fresh” and “right in my sweet spot” of nostalgia.
It’s quite clear that this title gives Hollywood and its media lapdogs a naughty thrill as they “mainstream” the most vulgar lingo. Imagine the network salesmen telling advertisers “You really want to bet on [Bleep].” CBS’s perfect sponsor would be Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, whose ad agency has the same “standards” as CBS. Their radio ad’s “grabber” is a sweet-voiced grandmother type who says of the hot sauce, “I put that [bleep] on everything.” What an appetizing combo plate these merchants would make.
Critics outside the Hollywood bubble scorned CBS for its gaudy attempt to take profanity to a new level, to which CBS responds that the show will “in no way be indecent and will adhere to all CBS standards.” What is clear is that there is no such thing as “CBS standards.” There is only that which CBS can, and can’t get away with.
The network also lamely noted the show can be blocked using the V-chip. But the V-chip can be organized to block out L-codes for crude language, but it blocks the actual episode (if it’s coded), not titles. If there were a “D” for dishonesty, CBS would be banned.
The whole S-word debut was unveiled on the same day that CBS submitted a legal brief in a federal appeals court declaring once again that it cannot be fined for the Janet Jackson breast exposure. In a defense that would make Bill Clinton proud, CBS argued it did not have a “guilty mind” in airing the wardrobe malfunction.
Doesn’t the one hand of CBS really betray the other hand, as much as they try to play ignorant?
CBS lawyers get paid the big bucks to be perpetually clueless, since some people have long enough memories to recall that Viacom president Mel Karmazin took responsibility and owned the guilt before Congress in 2005. He admitted that halftime-show organizers planned out a ripped-shirt finale, and “we take responsibility for it.” Karmazin and CBS clearly didn’t believe a word of it.
Our broadcast television networks are not being shy about their agenda. They clearly intend to drag the American people into the enlightenment of the “21st century,” where all that is putrid is permissible