Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ratings, Schmatings...


I've bitched about this before, but having run into the very same episode of The Sopranos a few days ago, and confronted with the very same labels, I thought I'd bring it up.

Our version of the FCC (who also won't won't let me be or let me be me so let me see - I hate myself) have recently introduced these tv warning labels. Before every show, these signs come up to inform the viewer whether the show that follows is:

- Suitable for a General Audience,
- Suitable for Ages Seven and Above,
- Suitable for Ages Thirteen and Above,
- Suitable for Ages Eighteen and Above,
- Includes Elements of Violence or Horror,
- Includes Elements of Sexual Nature, or
- Includes Elements that might set a bad example to the impressionable young (whatever that might mean)

Imagine my delight when I sat downa few nights ago to watch Boca, the ninth episode of The Sopranos' first season. For those who don't know or don't remember, the episode revolves around a child molesting girl's football coach and how cunnilingus is Uncle Junior's particular forte in bed. Of course, the episode has all the usual violence or threat thereof, as well as other, assorted mob-related crap.

Anyway, I sit down, waiting for the theme tune to kick in when the signs on the screen inform me that the following programme is suitable for ages seven and above and that it includes elements of violence and horror. I almost pissed myself (not literally, of course; I haven't done that in weeks).

Here is a show about the mafia; very gritty, incredibly violent with one especially disturbing theme particular to this episode and the powers that be here deem it perfectly suitable for an eight year old. It's their hypocrisy I find ridiculous, you understand. They have no idea what the show is about, are most likely oblivious towards the general theme and the episode in question but they see a mafia show and arbitrarily assign it a label.

Conversely, they must have but a vague awareness of South Park as they, once again, randomly deem it suitable for audiences 18 and above just because it's "controversial."

I do see the necessity of having a guide of sorts but I hate such slapdash labels. Besides, I believe that this sort of decision belongs to the parents and not the government anyway. My parents let me watch whatever I wanted to and look how healthy I've turned out. Harvey says hi, by the way.

6 comments:

Matt Krause said...

"cunnilingus is Uncle Junior's particular forte in bed"

That is definitely, definitely not an image I want in my head. Man, I need to go chew some gum, or take a Silkwood-style shower now.

Oz Kanka said...

Did they censor any of last week's show, like they have been doing for quite a while now?

Ali Arikan said...

No, nothing was censored last week.

Jennifer Eaton Gökmen said...

I find similarly inconsistent warning labelling on turkish television shows-- as if an 8 year old is substantially better equipped emotionally to process images of violence than a 7 year old. It's as if the people rating the shows don't actually know the shows. Just going by whatever the marketing copy is on the container.

Oz Kanka said...

Anyone have any idea what the ratings are for the DVD boxed sets of the Sopranos in say, the States, or the UK. I'd guess that would be for over 18s only.

Ali Arikan said...

The DVD's of The Sopranos are not rated in the US. I am not sure about the US DVD ratings system in general, but something to do with their being an HBO show, maybe?

They are rated "18" in the UK and Ireland, mind.