Parents Television Council Goes After “Two and a Half Men”

I don’t know how much truth there is to this story (It comes from OneNewsNow, so take it with a grain of salt):

In January, a study conducted by the Parents Television Council (PTC) found 94 advertisers for the CBS show Two and a Half Men. According to the PTC, the show features countless jokes involving adult themes, and many include dialogue with a child actor.

Glen Erickson with the PTC says sponsors were contacted about the show’s content. “So often we find the advertisers are not aware of the content issues the show has,” he points out. “We are continuing to bang our drum, and we have seen some terrific success.”

So far, 31 advertisers have dropped the show.

Really, PTC? “Two and a Half Men” is too edgy for you? You would think they’d go after the show immediately after it, “The Big Bang Theory”…

Come to think of it, what does the Parents Television Council deem worthy and unworthy for children to watch?

There’s a color-coded chart on their own website that tells parents what they should allow their children to watch or not watch:

Green = Ok
Red = Not Ok
Yellow = Somewhere in the middle (perhaps similar to a PG-13 movie)
Gray = Not yet rated

For example:

Monday


Tuesday

So let’s see…

PTC green-lighted two game shows that encourage risk-taking with money (and, frankly, the idea that you can win money without having any real knowledge or education). In fact, they green-light most game shows.

They think “Survivor” and just about every drama on television are unsuitable for children.

Meanwhile, they still haven’t gotten around to rating “Cougar Town.”

I guess one upside is that “The Simpsons” is no longer considered absolutely unsuitable. When that show premiered twenty years ago, groups like PTC were denouncing it left and right.

It just seems so useless to rate shows this way. It’s up to every parent to decide what they want their children to see, and it’s fine that PTC has their recommendations. But there is a lot to be gained from watching shows that discuss controversial topics. Based on their lists, the PTC seems to want to discourage children from seeing them. I find that unhealthy. Parents ought to watch those programs with their children and discuss them afterwards.

I wonder how many parents who try to follow the PTC’s recommendations have kids who find ways to watch these “red-light” shows, anyway. I suspect many of them do…

Is there anyone reading this who was not allowed to watch certain shows as a child?

How did you subvert the system?

  • Shawn

    I feel dirty watching it (very low brow, lots of literal toilet humour), but I can watch it.

    My son is three, so he has no interest in it. But if he was older, I still wouldn’t like him to watch. The main character is very Charlie Sheenish (he is, in fact, Charlie Sheen). He usually has sex with at least one or two different women per episode. I think that promotes unrealistic expectations of the amount of sex any of my offspring are likely to get once they reach adulthood. :)

    Also, Charlie Sheen is a 9/11 conspiracy nut (IRL), the other main character is a chiropractor, and they have had Jenny McCarthy on several times. While I wouldn’t avoid a show based on these things, they rub me the wrong way.

  • Shawn

    Is there anyone reading this who was not allowed to watch certain shows as a child?

    How did you subvert the system?

    I don’t remember not being able to watch anything from any age. Of course, we only had 2 channels. I remember being embarrassed a lot as a young child while watching movies containing nudity with my parents. And I saw Jaws 3D in the theater when I was seven, and a bunch of violent movies (Bronson, Eastwood, Governator, Stallone) around that age or younger. I don’t think they did me any damage (other than being terrified of the lake, bathtub, puddles, etc.). But I don’t think I’ll be quite as liberal with my kid, especially in terms of violence.

  • TXatheist

    Man, that’s one of my favorite shows and I don’t have that many I enjoy watching.

  • Steven

    I’ve always found it sourly amusing that television shows, movies, and video games with violent or gruesome themes seem much more “acceptable” to the North American public than anything with, gasp, sex or nudity. It just seems odd that it is OK for children to see plenty of violence but if they are accidentally exposed to Janet Jackson’s nipple during the superbowl it’s a national calamity.

  • Kaylya

    I don’t recall ever being specifically disallowed from watching a show. Now, naturally, that doesn’t mean I was watching super gory things at 6, the scheduling of TV shows and interest in stuff takes care of that. My brother and I definitely did watch some of the more violent kids shows like Power Rangers though.

    I watched plenty of the early 90′s Simpsons in elementary school, as did most of my peers. We used to watch X-Files together as a family, when it aired on Friday nights. When it switched to Sunday we stopped as the time slot was too late for a school night. So I would have been 10-11 or so while we watched it. I’m not sure at what age I started watching Law & Order reruns on A&E in the summer or when I was home sick but somewhere in there as well.

    I’m pretty sure I saw a number of episodes of America’s Most Wanted when I was pretty young.

    I’m kinda amused at their weekly picks of Family Friendly shows.
    A summary of the sorts of things that are there
    - A number of home improvement / first time homebuyers type shows
    - Makeover / Fashion shows
    - Nature shows (e.g. Animal Planet)
    - Food Network
    - Something on Disney or Hallmark
    - Maybe a kids movie airing on some channel
    - History or travel shows

  • penn

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with PTC’s recommendations. It apparently nixes anything with adult themes, foul language or violence. It’s a fine list in that respect.

    What is ridiculous is actively trying to get non-child friendly shows kicked off the air. Their goal of child friendly programming on every network TV channel until 10 PM is just insane. Your preferences for your children shouldn’t dictate what shows my wife and I can watch.

  • http://skepticdad.wordpress.com/ Rob T.

    “How did you subvert the system?”

    Well… This isn’t exactly answering that question, but…

    Back in 1979, I was in 4th grade, and I wanted to watch the David Soul / James Mason TV-movie of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot.

    My mom said “No”, because it would be too scary — but she was willing to let me read the book. In fairness, she knew it would scare the pants off of me – she just wanted to get me interested in reading.

    It took me like a month to get through the book, and it did scare the pants off of me. And it did get me into reading more.

    But the funniest part was when my 4th grade teacher called home to talk with my mom because I turned in a book report on Salem’s Lot. My mom had to reassure the teacher that I had, in fact, read it.

  • http://redheadedskeptic.com Laura

    We weren’t allowed to watch anything on tv growing up except Sesame Street. I remember when my grandparents bought us a VCR, along with a copy of Fantasia, and my parents were not happy. We were, though! But they put Fantasia in the drawer and said it was inappropriate (I have NO idea why!). They replaced it with Winnie the Pooh and a few other Disney movies (of course, not all G movies were allowed, because Disney tries to hide a “homosexual agenda” in some of their movies like Hunchback of Notre Dame, and tries to convert kids to the New Age movement through Pocahontas!) Of course, anything before 1960 (and many movies between 1960-1970) were perfectly fine, because it was “good, clean murder.” My brother and I tried to call them out on their hypocrisy many times, but of course they didn’t listen.

    If we wanted to watch cartoons on tv, we would go to a friend’s house or my aunt’s house. When I became a teen, I spent many weekends with friends watching movies my parents didn’t know I was watching. When I was 18, I bought my own television. Of course, since we didn’t have cable, I was only barely able to make out a few shows on CBS. I watched such horrible things like “Touched by an Angel” and “Judging Amy.” yup, I was rebellious!

    And look at me, I grew up and became an atheist! The sad thing is, my parents think it proves their point. Of course, now they let my youngest brother watch Walker, Texas Ranger, so I have no idea what’s going on there.

  • http://notinthepink.blogspot.com Ceri

    I think the best thing my parents ever did was get my a television for my room when I was 9. I’d stay up all night watching all the shows I wanted too. Half of those that are ‘red-lighted’ on there though I’d have been able to watch anyway.

    My parents were pretty easy going and let me watch most things.

  • http://dadtheist.blogspot.com/ Stephen

    Is there anyone reading this who was not allowed to watch certain shows as a child?

    How did you subvert the system?

    Growing up in Northern Virgian in the late 90′s, we have a cable box on our TV. The package my parents subscribed to included MTV. Well, they would show Madonna! So my mom used the lock-out feature on the cable box. At this point, it physically required a key. So when we wanted to watch, we just picked it with a paperclip.

    Otherwise I just went to a friends house and watched Cinemax and rated R films recorded off HBO.

    Highlander and Robocop changed my life!

  • http://kitchenfallout@blogspot.com DianaG

    When I was growing up, my parents would not allow me to watch shows like the Simpsons and Married with Children. I don’t think they thought there was anything morally objectional in the shows, just that they were stupid and a waste of time – a concensus I know fully agree with. However, at the time, I would wake up at 2 am to watch reruns while everyone else was asleep. :D

  • georgie

    I wasn’t allowed to watch SNL. Only because it was past my bedtime , but when my parents fell asleep I would sneak in the family room to watch it. I could see the hallway from the couch and if the light came on, I’d hide in the corner behind the bookshelf while my dad snuck his snack. I guess we were a sneaky bunch. Ahhh the memories!

    I agree that if kids want to watch something bad enough they will find a way and telling them no about certain shows will only make them want to see them more.

  • Michelle

    When I was really young, my parents would not allow me to watch “Rugrats” or “Full House”. There were a bunch of other shows as well, but those are the two I remember most because it seemed all of my other friends were watching them. “Rugrats” was deemed offensive because the title was derogatory towards children, and “Full House” because some of the catch phrases my sisters and I picked up from the characters were “disrespectful towards adults”. We got around it by watching television on our basement t.v. and quickly changing the channel when we heard footsteps on the stairs. It’s funny how banning those shows just made us want to watch them more!

  • http://asajoh.blogspot.com Ása Johannesen

    I can’t remember ever not being allowed to watch a show. There were times when horror movies would be on tv and my mum would say no to me watching it at that time, but it would just be a matter of her wanting me to be a bit older first or maybe because she couldn’t watch it with me (so she could assure me it was just a film if I got too scared). Most shows and films that weren’t too gory or scary she’d let me watch knowing full well that I wouldn’t understand the adult material anyway until I was old enough to get it.

    I suppose there was only nightmare prevention censorship in our home. I would watch scary films when I was with my friends, but I wouldn’t get in trouble for watching them so it wasn’t because I was breaking any rules or anything.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    If it ain’t Little House on the Prairie then it shouldn’t be on no dang teevee.

  • Jones

    As someone whose parents let me watch A Clockwork Orange at 9, I feel I can only say so much…

  • Matt

    scrambled porn on channel 72 and watching MTV at other people’s houses! Until my working parents stopped being around after I got home from school, on account of them being working. Then it was whatever I wanted.

  • stogoe

    Nobody in my parents’ house was allowed to watch Seinfeld. Mostly because my parents thought it was stupid and annoying.

    I should note that we never had cable. My parents didn’t even get cable until after my younger sister went to college.

  • zoo

    There were a lot of things we didn’t watch (incl. Simpsons and MTV) but I don’t remember a lot of them. It usually didn’t make sense, but it rarely truly bothered me. . . I’ve never been that into TV. What bothered me was my sister’s insistence on watching the same movie 200 times in a row (I’m not exaggerating much), so I -still- know songs from Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, The Little Mermaid (Disney versions), etc. And she always wanted to tape Gilmore Girls while she was watching it, even though it came on at the same time as NOVA (which I never got to watch ‘live’ because she was watching her show).

  • False Prophet

    I watched A-Team and a bunch of those “super vehicle” series (Airwolf, Knight Rider, etc.) in the 80s. They were basically live-action cartoons. I did start watching the cop-drama Hunter when I was around 10 or 11. But by that point, I was watching Bond movies with my dad, and starting in on the R-rated Stallone and Schwarzenegger oeuvres. My parents never really regulated my TV or film viewing, since it never manifested as violent or anti-social behaviour (I was also a good student). Video games were a bit different–although the crude graphics and bleeps of early 80s games didn’t really prod anyone into violent behaviour, they had a frustrating difficulty curve that sometimes prompted tantrums.

    In adolescence, I also started playing D&D and listening to heavy metal music. Today, I have a masters degree, a mortgage and a secure job in my field. Can we check how PTC-raised kids turn out? There has to be a study in there somewhere.

  • JenV

    I didn’t get to watch much TV growing up, just Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers when I was little and then assorted game shows/prime time TV with the folks. I wasn’t exposed to much violence or sex until I was a teen…I think my parents did a good thing by screening what I watched. I was a very sensitive kid, and the only time I ever saw a snippet of a horror movie (by accident), I about had a nervous breakdown. I still don’t like watching horror flicks to this day, nor do I like really violent, gory stuff. I think I’m much too empathetic and think too much about how the poor, murdered person felt right before he/she died. Funny, that.

    Anyhoo, my kid is going to be raised much the same way. Right now he watches an hour or so of PBS kid shows on weekend mornings (he’s only 2), but otherwise the TV is off until after he goes to bed. He can play outside or with his toys and his imagination. When he gets older I will screen what he watches as much as possible…without being over protective or controlling. Everything in moderation, ya know.

    To sum up: yes, I was the kid who didn’t watch Jaws or get to see Thriller when it came out, but it didn’t make me into a freak; in fact I think it was a benefit. I learned how to think for myself, and not be spoon fed ideas. I want the same for my kiddo(s). The less TV, the better.

    I did see ET and Star Wars when they came out in the theater… Rock on, mom!

  • http://riotingmind.blogspot.com BeamStalk

    I wasn’t allowed to watch The Simpsons at first. I watched it at some of my friend’s places. Eventually my parents got over trying to limit what I watch.

  • Colin

    Is there anyone reading this who was not allowed to watch certain shows as a child?

    Funny you mention the Simpsons. That show, along with Beavis & Butthead, was banned in my household when I was a kid. My mom thought it was “mean-spirited”, and I suppose she’s right, to a point.

    But myself, my brother, and my sister each independently managed to watch the Simpsons when we were kids, proving that, if you ban something, you just make it more appealing. I’ll play “finish that Simpsons quote” with my siblings at family gatherings, and my parents have no idea what we’re doing!

  • incunabulum

    When I was very young, “Three’s Company” meant it was time for bed.

    Later it was Benny Hill and David Letterman that were banned. My brother and I would simply get up in the middle of the night and watch them anyways.

  • Alec

    heh, I let my younger cousin watch House with me one night (it was a marathon) when I was watching him, and my uncle got all mad at me for it. The next day however, my cousins teacher sent a note home with him praising him on how much he new about medical procedures and human biology. When his father (my uncle) asked him where he learned that stuff, my cousin replied “On that show I watched with Alec.”

    Needless to say, my Uncle is a lot more lenient to letting my cousin watch more now.

  • Raven

    My parents never particularly stopped me from watching anything, though the kinds of things they might’ve discouraged me from seeing (like horror movies) I had no interest in anyway.

    From what I’ve heard, the PTC is basically insane. They are literally responsible for something like 95% of FCC complaints, and they’ve tried to strip programs too offensive for their puritanical sensibilities of sponsors, because they want to dictate what can and can’t be on primetime television.

  • Shannon

    I was allowed to watch anything, mainly because I wasn’t really being paid attention to a lot. The only thing I watched that I really probably shouldn’t have was Saturday Night Fever. I think I was a little too young for the rape scene (if I remember right, it wasn’t overly graphic, but it stuck with me). Also possibly Jaws. When they’re going to the boat and that body/head (?) pops out. (shudder).

    For my kids it’s mainly what Asa said – nightmare prevention. When the kids do want to watch something that might be scary (like Coraline or the Pirates of the Caribbean movies) we watch them during the day with the lights on. Both kids still needed a blanket to put over their head at times for Coraline.

  • reader

    I was not allowed to watch MTV, Beavis & Butthead, and The Simpsons.

    I watched them when I went to my grandmother’s house. My parents were somewhat strict.

  • Colin

    Sorry, this was too good to pass up. I just visited the PTC’s website, and aside from the two game shows listed above, only one program qualifies as a “Family-friendly show promoting responsible themes and traditional values.”

    That show is “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”.

    So, it’s “responsible” to provide two lucky people with a pimped out home? Are traditional values “rather than save, we’ll let ABC just give us what we want”.

    Not to mention the fact that several extreme makeover homes have gone up for foreclosure. The show has been mercilessly skewered elsewhere on the blogosphere.

  • AlysonRR

    My brother and I were each allowed to choose one show a week. Our choices were often ridiculed for their inanity or repetitiveness (my father commented frequently about the number of times he’d seen particular Star Trek episodes). It wasn’t a religion thing – my mom just thought we shouldn’t watch tv.

    I got to college and watched spent the next four years in the dorm TV room watching cable reruns of all the sitcoms I’d missed as a child. So I guess any lack of accomplishment in college could indirectly be blamed on my lack of free choice regarding childhood tv ;-)

  • TJ

    Nobody in my parents’ house was allowed to watch Seinfeld. Mostly because my parents thought it was stupid and annoying.

    Good call.

  • http://zerogirl.blog.is Tinna G. Gígja

    I can’t remember anything being expressly forbidden. Like others have described it was more about ‘nightmare prevention’ or due to the show being on after bedtime.

    Funnily enough I only got TV-induced nightmares twice. A couple of nightmares after watching Gremlins 2 resulted in my brother (who is, by the way, 15 years older than me) mocking me mercilessly for years. The other time my nightmare was caused by watching a documentary about the great fire of Copenhagen.

    I remember staying up late to watch a show called (IIRC) Lipstick on your collar. It was on fairly late, and I remember reading letters in the papers about this absolute filth they were showing, so naturally I snuck out of bed to watch it. I don’t think my mom ever forbade it, though.

  • ursulamajor

    I was pretty much allowed anything as a child in the 60′s and 70′s. Surprising, since both my parents would have been Birchers if they weren’t such lefties. Maybe I was saved by the fact that they were also agnostic.
    An aquaintance of mine wouldn’t let her son watch The Simpsons, but took him at age 9 to see “The Passion of the Christ”. I took her to task for this, but she seriously didn’t get it.

    To Steven:
    Your mention of America’s confusion between sex and violence reminds me of a statement I once heard, “In America, cutting off a tit is fine viewing, but kissing a tit? Get the kids out of the room!”

  • cicely

    I wasn’t allowed to watch Dark Shadows; too dark, supernatural, blah blah blah.

    But other girls in my Scout troop didn’t have such restrictions, so when we were supposed to be learning how to square dance….

    • Grasshopperonthecreek

      At least you probably got to stay. I had to watch to watch toy story in the living room with the little sister of one of my scoutmates.

  • Amyable Atheist

    When I was 12, Dirty Dancing had just come out on (VCR) tape and we watched it at a friends sleep-over birthday party. My parents were appalled that the parents would screen a PG-13 movie for 12 year olds (because those ratings are nothing if not absolutely bright white lines, right?). Looking back on the movie, none of us had any idea what was going on with the abortion theme, it was so subtle! Still, that movie today would probably get an R rating because, you know…S-E-X!

    Other than that, my parents weren’t terribly restrictive about tv other than time limits but when NYPD Blue first came out in 1993 I was *16* and in love with David Caruso, but was banned from watching because of all the news coverage about Sipowitzs’ butt – anyone remember that? :-D I watched it like porn in our basement family room (not for Dennis Frantzs’ butt, I swear), quickly switching away when I heard a creak on the stairs. It always maddened me that my parents never just *sat down and watched it with me* to see what it was about.

    There were only a few dogmatic aspects of my childhood (Catholic school was the other) but those stand out as the things that I rebelled the most against, and the process was not insignificant in my development as a rational atheist, but still, there’s got to be a healthier way to get there, right?

  • http://noadi.blogspot.com Noadi

    But they put Fantasia in the drawer and said it was inappropriate (I have NO idea why!).

    Mythological scenes, big scary mountain demon, and the topless centaurs and harpies. That would be my guess. I think I first watched it when I was about 6, still my favorite film Disney has ever created.

    I was never told not to watch shows, movies, or read a book. I know there were shows they didn’t like me watching (like the first few times I got nightmares watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents reruns) but they never stopped me. The only time they got mad was if I tried to sneak in tv after bedtime, they were pretty strict about that because I was a cranky kid without enough sleep.

  • J B

    So there are only three shows for kids? I bet they allow them to laugh at the pain and misfortunes of others while watching America’s Funniest Videos and the like. Those aren’t on their website. I can’t imagine laughing at most of the situations they show but for some reason the audience does.

    What do we teach them with Deal or No Deal? That something that could be resolved with the flip of a coin should take 1/2 an hour and deceive the contestant into believing they have control? Doesn’t that set them up to be victims of fraud? If nothing else, it promotes innumeracy.

    What do they learn from Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? That they should be getting big bucks for being able to answer the questions on their tests at school? Doesn’t that set them up to feel cheated?

    And Extreme Makeover–Home Edition? If you have lots of great neighbors and you seem worthy, a TV show will give you an awesome gift (even though with that many neighbors you shouldn’t need the help of TV), but if you are just as worthy and needy, but you don’t have a cohesive neighborhood (who, if you did, should be helping without the TV show turning it into a spectacle) your house can rot out from under you and no one cares.

    I was allowed to watch everything, and the only problem I had was with a movie in a theater, about man-eating ants–nightmares for a week.
    My youngest accidentally got to watch Pink Flamingos (some really horrible porn) and she was not harmed. In fact, she was rather disappointed she couldn’t be watching something she would enjoy more and was pretty much just bored.
    She is middle aged now, and still remembers it, but as a humorous incident, and nothing more.

  • Guffey

    I’m old… Dark Shadows. And I remember turning the TV audio super low and getting right next to the TV… maybe 3 times tops. Good thing I didn’t get away with it often, the dang program scared me so much that I still have a scary memory of a vampire costume (my mom was right!?!? oh my!)

  • muggle

    Fuck them! Hell’s Kitchen is in red! Why? His language? There’s no sex or violence, that’s for sure. Ooh, cooking. Gasp! Men cook. Gasp! Oh, yeah, and there’s that whole hell themed restaurant I guess.

    We love Gordon Ramsey and my six-year-old grandson could have worse examples. (Like some of these upright prigs in this thing.) Gordon demands conscientious effort and quality. Sure, he’s loud about but c’mon that’s half the fun. I’d be thrilled if my grandson grows up to be half the Rennaisance man Gordon Ramsey is.

    “Is there anyone reading this who was not allowed to watch certain shows as a child?”
    I had to giggle at this. My mother would not allow a television in the house in my early childhood because she considered it a false idol. I kid you not.

    When I was 12 (circa 1970), Dad (and 8 begging children) finally wore her down. Once it was in, it was in. I’m not sure what convinced her it wasn’t a false idol. Billy Graham most likely. But she kept it even after finally divorcing Dad after 20 years of putting up with the abuse.

    I do remember that she couldn’t drag us away from “The Monkees” at noon Saturday when we first got it. No matter how she threatened and pleaded.

    I was a huge fan of Paul Simon’s and a teacher assigned a book report based on a movie. No way was I getting to go to a movie so I was left with one on television. “The Graduate” was playing and using the homework as an excuse, I tuned it in. Needless to say, it was gone with “Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?” LOL! I’m surprised it lasted that long. I couldn’t even tell you what lame movie I wound up doing the report on.

  • Randy

    I have to ask why NCIS is out but NCIS-LA is ok?

  • Kaylya

    NCIS-LA isn’t “ok” it’s “not yet reviewed”.

    I’m not familiar with that show but I assume NCIS-LA is a newer spinoff of NCIS?

  • James H

    I usually disagree with them, but I can’t help sympathizing with PTC on a couple points. “Glee,” for example, is a great, cynical little show, but it’s also very much adult material. Complete with some out-and-out sexual humor and themes.

    But the show is being marketed to … tweens?

  • Faemorpheus

    Ug, 2 and 1/2 Men is crap. (and yes I’ve seen it). I irritates me that shows like this stay of and brilliant show like Pushing Daisies gets cancelled. Grr.

  • John L

    I too was allowed to watch anything I wanted. The idea of not being able to watch something didn’t exist to me till I met some friends that couldn’t watch The Simpsons because Lisa and Bart were disrespectful to their parents. Even at this young age I thought it was pretty dumb to censor a child who will just watch it anyway. Are children’s minds that fragile or are parents just too lazy or incapable to explain the complicated things in life? I guess it goes much farther than that for some who wish to censor what adults watch which is ludicrous and sad to me.

  • http://www.kimberlyjt.com Kimberly

    My sisters and I were only not allowed to watch rated R movies. And even then if it was not sexual, our parents let us watch scary movies like Arachnophobia, Pet Sematary, and Pumpkin Head.
    I knew kids that had restrictions for TV and they went behind their parents back. They grew up learning to hide a lot from their parents.

  • Kayla

    My parents had never limited my viewing of ~anything~ as a child. I was watching gory, boobie filled R rated movies since I was 2 years old or so. Granted, up until I was 10 they would half heartedly tell me to cover my eyes for sex scenes, but if I didn’t, they wouldn’t care.

    The closest I got to TV restrictions was the fact I had a bedtime.. which could be extended if there was a show I loved. (Notably wrestling and star trek.)

  • llewelly

    No tv in the house until I was 15.
    So I did an enormous amount of reading. I got some flak from various adults about what I read – but it was always based on the cover art. A trashy adventure novel by Lin Carter, with a scantily-clad female on it? I had to hide the cover. A book on the Kinsey Report? It seemed adults never had any clue what might be in it. I was constantly told I should never judge a book by its cover, and I ruthlessly exploited the fact that adults of all sorts nearly always judged every book by its cover.
    Occasionally my mother would hear I had watched something she disapproved of at a friend’s house. Usually this was a “horror” movie so boring I was glad I’d brought a book along (like those incredibly dumb movies about the hockey-mask-wearing zombie with the machete). She’d lecture me about what I should and shouldn’t watch. She had all sorts of restrictions in mind, but I never paid much attention to the topic; tv, with a few exceptions like Cosmos, was horribly boring, and filled with deceitful and annoying commercials.

  • http://redheadedskeptic.com Laura

    @Noadi: Ah! Thanks! I actually never went back and watched it when I was an adult, so I didn’t know. Still kind of silly, but at least I know why now.

  • gribblethemunchkin

    My folks wouldn’t let me watch 15 rated movies when i was in primary school (under 11) and 18 rated movies up until about 14ish. But it wasn’t exactly a cast iron rule and my dad could be a bit more flexible. Mostly it was nightmare prevention.

    I was encouraged to read heavily and did so. Funny how stuff in books is so much more mature and adult themed than stuff in TV but adults were happy to let me read but not watch. Odd. I still hope for movie adaptations of some of my favourite books but i realise that due to adult themes, they’d never be made, even as 15/18 rated films. Shame. And a lot of these are books i read when i was a wee lad.

    As some have mentioned, if you try to stop kids, they’ll just find ways around it. Better to watch stuff with them so that you can talk about anything controversial. And maybe try to aim them to quality rather than tat.

  • Anna

    My mom didn’t allow us to watch anything but children’s morning cartoons, but our dad let us watch anything as long as he was in the room so he could explain it. I grew up on spy (James Bond, mostly), cop (can’t remember, so I guess it wasn’t that entertaining) or mystical shows like Buffy, Highlander or Blade. I also remember horror movies, but I never stayed for them. Way to boring, and predictable. Um…my mother actually had a fight with my dad over Buffy because of the ‘demons’ in them, and she didn’t want us to get used to them as entertainment, since she believes they are real. Oh, and I wasn’t allowed to watch sex or torture scenes, my dad covered my eyes with his hands. I usually left for the torture scenes on my own accord, though. I thought they were disgusting, and I didn’t care if it was a major plot point.

  • Mikko

    when i was younger one of the children programs had a lot of breast and bikinis :)

  • Alec

    Why the hell is The Big Bang Theory colored red? The only somewhat “inappropriate” part of the show is when Howard goes off on his little shenanigans (spelling?), and that’s not all that bad.

    BTW, did anyone catch the season premiere? They had a couple wonderfully funny, yet true parts.

    First, Sheldon calls his mother after the guys return from Antarctica, and says that the trip was a huge success, and that he discovered what he was looking for (magnetic monopoles). Since he’s on the phone, all one can do is infer what his mother said. I think she said, “Did you feel me praying for you?” because Sheldon then says something similar to, “No, I did not feel you praying for me. That logic is ad hoc propter hoc”. Haha, I love that.

    Second, Sheldon moves back to Texas (his mother’s home) after his friends humiliate him (they tricked him into thinking he discovered the magnetic monopoles). Anyways, the guys go after him and try to convince him to come back with them to Pasadena, and he says something like, “No. I’ll stay here and try to teach evolution to Creationists”. Then his mother says something along the lines of, “Sheldon, watch your mouth! Everyone has the right to their own opinion”. Sheldon replies with something like, “Yes, but evolution is a matter of fact, not opinion”.

    My favorite part.

    • Grasshopperonthecreek

      Its not that bad at maybe thirteen or fourteen but at eight years old if someone says sex you acted like someone said a bad word. And even though the ptc is saying they’re nonpartisan or whatev they are against sex before marraige because of religion. They also seen to be against fun.

  • Alec

    Also, I was not the other Alec near the top. That is someone else.

  • Jen

    I remember two things being forbidden to me, Married with Children, which I would try to watch because it was forbidden to me, not because I understood any of it, and an episode of Jenny Jones where they showed a video that was probably The Silent Scream (a video supposedly of an abortion). I don’t remember if I had even a slight concept of abortion, and I had to be ten or maybe eight. My dad was watching it and my mother got mad when she saw me trying to peek over the staircase. Incidently, I was just thinking about this last week, because I was thinking about Christina Applegate and then it occured to me that Jenny Jones probably showed TSS and I have still never seen it.

    I also remember seeing the movie Kids on TV when I was probably 13. That was probably not something I should have watched. Freaked me out more than any scary movie I watched.

  • Amy G

    It’s funny. I never thought that my parents were strict about TV, but when I got older, my friends told me it was crazy that I was never allowed to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Power Rangers because Mom thought they were too violent. There’s no way I would have even considered asking to watch something like The Simpsons or Beavis and Butthead. In fact, a lot of the Nickelodeon shows were “inappropriate” but it didn’t matter too much because we didn’t have cable until I was in middle school anyways. I was a good girl and didn’t argue about what was good or not.

  • CAL

    My mother wouldn’t let me watch ‘Simon and Simon’ (I think that is what it was) with her, but I was only one or two then and in my crib by that time. But as a life long night owl I would stand up and dance in my crib to the opening music. Other than that only really gory or sexual shows were sensored untill I was more mature, the nightmare issue that’s been mentioned.

  • AxeGrrl

    Jones wrote:

    As someone whose parents let me watch A Clockwork Orange at 9, I feel I can only say so much…

    I have that beat….my mother let me read ‘Helter Skelter’ at 7 and watch the same-titled tv-movie when I was 8! (the funny thing is that the only thing I remember being ‘confused’ about was the word ‘pimp’)

    And she let me watch Polanski’s “Repulsion” when I was under 6yrs old…

    Needless to say, she had some ‘boundary issues’.

  • agent0014

    Faemorpheus Says:

    Ug, 2 and 1/2 Men is crap. (and yes I’ve seen it). I irritates me that shows like this stay of and brilliant show like Pushing Daisies gets cancelled. Grr.

    I’ll second that, what an awful, predictable and recycled show. Also completely agree with your sentiments towards Pushing Daisies.

  • muggle

    Oh, yeah, llewelly, those books did fill the no TV void, didn’t they? That’s the one cudos I’ll give my wackadoodle mother. She did encourage reading. She had an extensive library on a very limited budget and did not censor what I read. Not that I read anything until my ‘tweens that would have horrified her. I’m still glad, though, that there were times she didn’t check what I was reading — especially when I was in the teen stage of reading (shudder) romance novels.

  • Alex

    My parents had faith in my intelligence. If I liked a show I watched it, if I didn’t, I didn’t. The PTC’s move to make all of television into 24/7 Barney (or Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader) because of the remote chance some kid “might” be watching at 3 AM is the best case yet for the increase in commercial-free programming so they don’t have a leg to stand on. What would these people do if they lived in the UK or Canada where far more mature content than Two and a Half Men is commonplace?


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