Anorak News | The Words

The Words

by | 23rd, November 2005

‘THE Language and Sexual Imagery in Broadcasting: A Contextual Investigation report by media regulator Ofcom has found a sharp increase in the instances of swearing on TV before the 9pm watershed.

Now then, now then, Carol

Shows like Trisha, The Osbournes and Hell’s Kitchen are full of the stuff. Swearing has become the earthy language of the soul bared, the industrial language of the TV industry. Swearing shows you care. Really, fucking care.

And it’s not just the effing and blinding, but that casual name calling. Whereas in more innocent times EastEnders’ cast members told each other to “Sort it”, now they brand each other “slag”, “bitch” and “cow”. “Tart” is a term of affection. So too “bastard”.

And then there is sex. That’s the bit in the show when the family watching TV together goes quiet. No-one speaks as a breast is flashed. Teenage boys fidget. Teenage girls wonder if a flash of knicker will get them on the telly.

As the report says: “Nearly everyone in the research thought that there was more sexual imagery on television than before, that it was more explicit and started earlier in the evening.”

But surely TV gives us what we want. If we don’t like it we wouldn’t watch. And isn’t it a wonder the watershed exits at all at a time when the Internet and cable TV offer so much more?

In any case, TV loves to think of itself as shocking. TV tells you something is taboo and then sets about breaking the taboo on air.

TV executives are like a classroom full of children asked to say words that begin with a silent ‘k’. Things begin sensibly with words like “knowledge”, “knee” and “knock”.

Then young Reith pipes up, and words are pitched just above the head of the average, words like Wknout”, “knap” and “knickerboker”.

Then young Tynan puts his hand in the air and says “knickers”. Encouraged by the change, someone screams out “knob”, another shouts “knockers” and before long we’ve heard everything and the brave hecklers are thinking about how they can next shock.

The taboo has been broken. And we get shows like KTF (Knickers To Friday) OKIS (Oh Knob It’s Sunday) and The K Word. Thanks to Tynan and the gang we all get to be in on the joke.

And we’re invited to wonder where the next shocker will come from. Will it be sex? No-holds barred sex has yet to happen on live TV, but Big Brother has given us frotting under a table and some alleged coitus below the Jacuzzi bubbles.

What next? Oh, look. Over in the I’m A Celebrity… jungle Carol Thatcher is pulling down her regulation red trousers and squatting over the ants.

It’s a TV first. A taboo has been broken. Now, if Carol can just digest some bugs, we can all move onto level No. 2…’

Posted: 23rd, November 2005 | In: Celebrities Comment | TrackBack | Permalink