Last Thursday, the Parents Television Council announced their “Top 10 Worst Shows in Primetime Broadcast TV” for the 2002-03 season. Sure, that season ended over three months ago and some of the charting programs are long since canceled—the PTC is about 50 years behind the curve on everything else, so it figures.
Only annoying neighborhood busybodies (and the media in slow news cycles ... like last Thursday) even know what the Parents Television Council is: An 800,000-member group of boring people who insist that everything on television be as dull as they are. They harass advertisers and petition the FCC to kill your favorite shows instead of taking the far simpler action of switching their sets to Pax and just ripping the knob off.
Even better, the PTC added a local chapter earlier this month: “The time has come for concerned parents of Salt Lake City to fight the onslaught of violence and vulgarity that assaults our children through the media,” said the SLC chapter director, apparently unaware of how a remote or personal house rules work.
While the local chapter is busy making TV viewable for 10-year-olds and only 10-year-olds, they must be aware that four of the PTC’s 10 Worst for last season aired on NBC “Broadcast Ward” affiliate KSL 5, right? Let’s look at the count and the amount:
10. Big Brother (CBS), cited because “Any one episode of Big Brother can contain upward of 20 bleeped and un-bleeped curse words. Sexual activity tends to be commonplace in the house, too.” And yet, no one watched it.
9. Friends (NBC), cited because “All six regulars have been sexually promiscuous ... and Joey’s many sexual partners have served as fodder for jokes.” If only he’d married ‘em all, eh?
8. Will & Grace (NBC), cited because “Content this season included vulgar anatomical references, jokes about alcoholism and drug addiction, references to oral sex, masturbation, kinky practices and infidelity.” So do my holiday family get-togethers, but you don’t hear me whining.
7. Girlfriends (UPN), cited because “Script writers will mine any topic for a cheap laugh, including adultery, pornography and kinky sex practices.” Upside: It’s about black people, so no one in Salt Lake City has ever seen it.
6. Angel (The WB), cited because “Despite its young target audience, Angel routinely features gory violence and graphic sexual encounters. Scenes frequently involve intense fighting, blood, decapitations and more.” More? Like that overarching good-triumphs-over-evil thing? Shame!
5. Fear Factor (NBC), cited because “It’s a sad reflection on the viewing tastes of the American public that this series has survived as long as it has.” Um ... next?
4. NYPD Blue (ABC), cited because “In one episode this season, a recurring character [Charlotte Ross] is shown completely naked. [She] is shown at full-length, barely covering her breasts with one arm and her pubic area with her hand.” Hey, if not for that scene—which takes up about 14 megs on a hard drive, FYI—I wouldn’t have known NYPD Blue was even still on.
3. Fastlane (Fox), cited because “Episodes regularly contain high volumes of explicit sex [and] graphic depictions of violence. A fast-paced series that employs the quick-cut techniques used in music videos and intended to appeal to a young male demographic.” Not so much: Fastlane was canceled at the end of the season, but the PTC posts a list of Fox affiliates at ParentsTV.org you can contact to get it even more canceled.
2. Kingpin (NBC), cited because “In six episodes [Kingpin’s entire run], PTC counted 16 raunchy depictions of sex, 23 murders, eight depictions of torture and 16 instances of drug use. In one particularly gruesome episode, a man is shown tossing a human leg to his pet tiger.” Oh, now you’re just going to piss off those other crusading nuts, PETA.
1. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS), cited because “This season, episodes of CSI have included storylines about cannibalism and pornographic snuff films. Episodes have also contained scenes depicting the mutilated victims of a deranged killer and a man in bed with two women.” Note how cannibalism and snuff films are on the same level of depravity as a pair of women consensually bunking with one dude. There are sickos out there, all right—they’re called the Parents Television Council.