Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lazy Sunday # 133: Oh, Just Spit It Out!

shit my dad says

Watching the conniptions CBS has gone through trying to re-title the Twitter blog "Shit My Dad Says" for an 8:30 Thursday timeslot has been painfully ludicrous. First it was "Stuff my Dad Says", then "Bleep My Dad Says" and now it's "$#*! My Dad Says".

Have you noticed how similar $#*! and SHIT appear in print?

Maybe that's by design. Maybe it's some CBS executive's way of saying, "How much longer can we be expected to continue this facade?"

I mean, seriously, these are the same supposed paragons of virtue and family values who bring you "Big Brother" every week. We all know what they're really selling.

Ever since I sat in the back seat of my parents' car listening to some guy croon about "Makin' Whoopee!" I've failed to understand why we try so hard to find substitutes for words and phrases everybody hearing them automatically re-translates back to their original expletive.


The first movie I ever did was "The Last Detail". Robert Towne's adaptation of Darryl Ponicsan's brilliant novel had become notorious in Hollywood for its frank language and use of cuss words.

Despite wanting an honest portrayal of Navy life, there was still great concern at the studio that couples on dates wouldn't go to see it and the coarse language might dissuade critics at conservative newspapers from even reviewing it.

So every day after shooting, we'd sit around with the sound guys and redo "cleaned up" versions of our lines. It was a complete joke since sometimes our lines were nothing but a string of expletives.

After a couple of days, nobody even tried to find alternatives that would synchronize with the onscreen lip movements. Part of that was a desire for both realism and to buck the system that permeated the "New Hollywood" of the 1970's.

But mostly it was because we knew everybody would know what we were really saying anyway.

The concept caught on, however, and pretty soon you were watching R-Rated movies on TV with tough cops screaming "Horseshoes!" at their superiors as distraught wives wept about finding their husbands "feeling" their secretaries.

Yet, decades later, when the simple click of a remote button can fill your TV screen with any number of cable series in which adults talk like adults talk, the channels further down the dial still pretend people wouldn't say $#*! if they had a mouthful.

It always makes me wonder why those "cleaned up" versions of the dialogue we used to do couldn't just be broadcast on a separate track that concerned Moms or evangelical preachers could access through their parental controls while leaving the rest of us to enjoy more realistic drama and comedy.

This same pretense at civility has been going on in music for a long time as well. From The Rolling Stones performing "Let's Spend The Night Together" on the Ed Sullivan Show to every Hip-Hop artist appearing at the Grammys, the show doesn't go on unless lyrics are "cleaned up" for a mass audience.

God knows what might happen if fans heard the same words that convinced them to make the song a hit in the first place.

This week, Mad Pulp Bastard Bill Cunningham filled my mailbox with some of the funniest songs I've heard in a while. Songs that wouldn't have anywhere near their impact and appeal if they were scrubbed up for commercial TV. Which, it's fair to say, they can't be.

So you'll have to watch them here -- or any of the million other places on the Internet where they might appear, offering all the more reason to just use your TV for watching DVDs or cable while mainstream television continues to pretend Beaver Cleaver's Mom is their audience.

Enjoy your Sunday.

First up: Rachel "Houston, we have a throb-lem" Bloom

And the incomparable CeeLoGreen "tellin' it like it is".


The Motorcycle Boy said...

Hahaha. Great videos. Reminds me of 3 things:

The awesome vulgarity of Saturday Night Fever and Clint Eastwood's The Gauntlet. Movies that make Judd Apatow's contemporary films look like episodes of Sesame Street.

And my brother's role in Slapshot 2 as the French Canadian goalie, purposely swearing his head off in Quebecois knowing that they'd be fucked trying to dub him for television.

Anonymous said...

Well, you have to love all the "stumblebums" in the cleaned up version of "Smokey and the Bandit".

Not so much the "where did you get that scar, from eating pineapples?" in the "why bother?" A&E version of "Scarface".

Wasn't "Patti Rocks" the first (only?) movie to get an R rating for profanity alone?