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NBC edits/censoring

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Dec 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/30/98
I was reading this article in Entertainment Weekly, and I' was reminded of the
edits of alcohol and drug references in the recent 'Later showings of SCTV.
Tv and movies have come along way since SCTV was on the air, an I'm astonished
that there were edits to a TV program that is running way past midnight.

What TV & movies can get away with today:

December 25, 1998
Monica, 'Mary,' and 'South Park' provide a veritable yecch-fest

by Josh Wolk Is it any wonder that Saving Private Ryan was such a hit this
year? It had the perfect recipe: severed limbs and barfing soldiers. Sure,
there was also drama and emotion, but in 1998 the goal was to make audiences
not just oooh and ahhh but ewww and ugghh. Filmmakers took the studios' pleas
for "big grosses" literally. There's Something About Mary, starring Ben
Stiller and Cameron Diaz, made semen fun (while Happiness doubled Mary's
money shots), and Hal Hartley's Henry Fool had a fecal scene. The movies
weren't alone at the gutter ball: Howard Stern brought his aural sex to
network TV, shaving a stripper's pubic hair on CBS. South Park's flatulent
delinquents became '98's poster boys for outrageousness. And Marilyn Manson's
best-selling autobiography, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, told tales of
cow-brain-filled pinatas and his keyboardist spraying Easy Cheese on his
private parts. Apparently, when Jerry Seinfeld bid farewell this year, the
"master of his domain" took with him his subtle way of talking dirty without
actually using dirty words. Even shock pioneers are amazed by how far down
the low road we've gone. Saturday Night Live's recent commercial parody about
the Mercury Mistress, a car so luxurious you could have sex with a hole in
its trunk, dismayed Matty Simmons, founding publisher of The National
Lampoon. "When SNL first came out," says Simmons, "[Lampoon-turned-SNL
writer] Michael O'Donoghue had furious battles over things he could or
couldn't do on TV. But in his wildest moments he'd never suggest a scene
where a guy would drop his pants and screw a car. I was shocked, of all
people!" This trend hit just as America was overwhelmed by the most salacious
White House scandal ever. After months of pundits analyzing the presidential
Rorschach blot on Monica Lewinsky's dress, is it any wonder audiences don't
wince at a little hair gel? "This humor is more easily accepted than ever,"
says self-proclaimed filth elder John Waters, whose Pecker demonstrated the
testicular dance move "tea bagging." "Because of the news, I heard my mother
say semen for the first time." Besides uniting families, Monicagate helped
make PC-ness obsolete--welcome news in the funny business. "I think there's
been a real [cry] for creative people, not just comedians, to backlash this
whole uptight PC thing," says Comedy Central's Eileen Katz. "Fart jokes
aren't my favorite, but what they speak to in the larger sense I truly
support." Now that everything's fair game, how do you avoid simply being
foul? The box office cumes of BASEketball and Orgazmo taught South Park
creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone that America's taste for pure crudity
isn't bottomless. Maybe the buzz on HBO's Mr. Show and Comedy Central's
Upright Citizens Brigade, which pull off lowbrow humor with highbrow wit,
points to where gross needs to go. "Just being disgusting is easy," advises
Waters, "and it never works."

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