Thursday, November 11, 2010

"$#*! My Dad Says"

Have you ever seen Gordon Ramsey on television? Well, I don't know what it's like in Britain, where (a) he's from, and (b) broadcast regulations are a bit less silly. I have seen some of his programmes here in Canada, broadcast either on local channels or on American channels whose feeds we get up here. And inevitably it's the same thing: a torrent of beeps imposed by the network over top of whatever string of invective Ramsey is carrying on about. After all, that's why you watch Gordon Ramsey, right? Not to learn about cooking or restaurant service or about exotic foods of the world: you watch Gordon Ramsey programmes to watch Gordon Ramsey swear. That's the sole reason.

So that being the case, American networks air him (and several of his programmes are, I believe but can't be bothered to confirm, American-made) knowing (a) he'll swear like a sailor, and (b) people will tune in for that reason. This being the case, there is an inherent ridiculousness in the barrage of bleeps. It'd be like launching a porn site where all the activity is hidden behind black bars. It's not like a news broadcast, where the network has to balance its own standards and sensitivities with the reality of 'outsourcing' its soundbites: if a witness drops a few f-bombs while describing the plane crash he witnessed, what is the network to do? Ask him to speak again but keep his language clean? Obvously a censor needs a beep-button. But in the case of Gordon Ramsey (or a million other examples, particularly on so-called 'reality' programmes), the people in question are employed by the production company, are contracted to them. If you don't want to air dirty words, ask your on-air personalities not to say them. Or if you want to show your on-air personalities to be short-fused potty-mouths, then grow up and play the words unbeeped. It's just common sense.

Make no mistake, the TV show "$#*! My Dad Says" does not have an awesome name. It's not a good name or even a 'meh' name. It's a god-awful name. What drives me crazy about it is the following: if you've decided that you want to name a TV show after a Twitter account (and that in itself is a strange thing), and if the name of the Twitter account happens to include a four-letter-word in it, there are really only two possibilities as I see it: (1) include the four-letter-word in your title, damn the consequences (i.e. grow up and accept that a word is just a word) or (2) change the damn name of your show. In other words, either $#*! or get off the pot.

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