Fall TV preview: Nudity, profanity, and obscenity
Having concluded his season of The West Wing by having the fictional president call God a "feckless thug" and telling him "to Hell with you" (albeit in Latin), show creator Aaron Sorkin is eager to take the Lord's name in vain this season. If it happens, reports The New York Times, it would break a longstanding taboo. Other shows are scrambling to break different taboos. NYPD Blue creator Steven Bochco wants to use "a scatological reference that has never before been uttered on an ABC series" on his new show Philly. The pilot for CBS's Wolf Lake contains "a particularly revealing sex scene." And an unnamed CBS script includes a word "considered to be on the furthermost reaches of decorum." (God bless The New York Times for its apparent in-house rules on profanity—it neither prints the words themselves nor the dash-dash-dash euphemisms.) "Standards have eased gradually over the decades," explains Times writer Jim Rutenberg. "But the struggles behind the scenes are growing more strident and more complicated—making some people wonder where the boundaries of taste will settle in the next few years." The television show creators are pointing to the popularity of HBO's The Sopranos as evidence that Americans want more nudity, profanity, and violence in their entertainment. But if nudity, profanity, and violence were what made The Sopranos so popular, wouldn't Cinemax be the highest-rated cable station? What's particularly ironic is that Sorkin, Bochco, and other show creators who are saying network TV should be more like The Sopranos are the same people who are always complaining about the lack of original network programs.

Street price for cocaine hit now apparently 30 pieces of ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.