In 'The good Fight', Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) deserve to swear to she heart’s content (znjke.znjke.com)Source: znjke.znjke.com
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clearly language is provocative by nature, however when used on TV to create realism, it’s no poor thing.

Warning: This story contains strong language that may be offensive to some readers.

You are watching: Can you say the f word on tv

Back in 1972, legend American znjke.comedian George Carlin debuted his famed and very filthy riff, Seven Dirty Words, around the persons you could never gain away v saying on television (you have the right to imagine what castle are). Today, just the C-bomb is still taboo. Time have readjusted and television is reflecting that znjke.come varying degrees in its use of profanity. And also that’s a great thing. Human being swear, it is life, whether you choose it or not.

In the opening episode of znjke.znjke.com’s much anticipated legit drama, The great Fight, esteemed lawyer and epitome of elegance Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) is on the verge that retiring when she to learn a Ponzi plan scandal has decimated her retirement fund. If ever before there was a time znjke.come blurt out, “F***!”, this is it. And so she does.

So, big deal? anyone swears favor a sailor in American reputation TV nothing they? Well, yes and also no. That znjke.complicated. Yes sir a particular vagueness znjke.come what profanity is allowed on the znjke.communication tiers of us television.

Let’s break it down: ~ above free-to-air broadcast television (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, etc.) regulation by the Federal interactions znjke.commission, the F- and S-word is scarce, if permitted at all (milder swearing is OK). An easy cable (more affordable pay TV networks like AMC and FX) is unregulated, but swearing is at the discretion of separation, personal, instance channels. On premium cable (HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc.) and streaming znjke.communication (CBS all Access, Netflix, etc.), that pretty much open slather.


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It means that, unlike its predecessor, The an excellent Wife, i beg your pardon aired in the us on CBS with minimal cussing, The good Fight top top CBS All access can maximise language to tackle controversial subject unencumbered. In one episode taking care of trolling, trolls appear on display reciting their virtual abuse with one an especially nasty tirade including the hatchet “double c***”.

“You’re going to hear world talk the method they speak in life,” claimed The great Fight co-creator Michelle King at the Television critics Association conference earlier this year. “They’re making use of the words that they would in the actual world.”

Similarly, acclaimed legit thriller Damages was permitted to spice up its dialogue as soon as it relocated from basic cable channel FX to the premium DirecTV network.

On the notoriously permissive premium cable channel Starz, it’s pretty lot anything goes in terms of content. For Steven S DeKnight, creator the Spartacus: Blood and Sand and also prequel Spartacus: god of the Arena, it to be liberating to tell the epic story in every its bloody, sexy, sweary glory.

“The good thing around being top top Starz is that, once it znjke.comes naturally in the story, we don’t have actually to cut away native it and we don’t have to water the down,” the told Collider in 2011. “We can go to that place, and they let united state go to the place, which is very liberating, together a storyteller. Top top network television, friend are constantly censoring yourself. One of the hardest points to do, in network television, is finding euphemisms because that cursing because, oftentimes, it simply sounds lame. So, it’s good to have the ability to just take the gloves off and also really go for it.”


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The present marquee fight on Starz, American Gods, takes points one step further (or is the back?), do a statement that, also in a present where something goes, sometimes even the bluntest language is past the pale. When testy “leprechaun” mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) phone call his undead nemesis, Laura Moon (Emily Browning), a an imaginative derivation that the C-bomb, she timeless grabs his bottom lip. “If i hear that word pass her lips one much more time, i’m gonna peel lock off her gums.”

But other TV creators are forced to host their tongues. It’s hard to think that gritty shows favor Sons the Anarchy (FX), Breaking Bad and The go Dead (both AMC), all produced for an easy cable, i can not use been permitted to use the flintiest cussing to enhance their content. Some show creators, choose Sons the Anarchy’s kurt Sutter, stay pragmatic, suggesting that the edgy worlds they have created will consist of for any kind of restrictions ~ above profanity. 

“We just live in a world where words ‘f***’ doesn’t exist,” he told The A.V. Club. “We deserve to pretty much say every little thing else, and also I think what happens is the the emotion is there, the intent is there, and also interestingly enough, if you polled a hundred human being who clock the show, ok bet half of them would believe that we’ve used the native ‘f***’ before. The visceral approach to the display is such that you don’t also realise that you’re no hearing it.”

But in some shows, the lack of tough profanity simply seems ludicrous. Does anyone really believe that, faced with the marauding zombie (and the even deadlier humans) the The walking Dead, you wouldn’t drop the F-bomb and also much more?


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The deficit came to be really evident when the last scene of season four aired in 2014, together Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and also his tape of survivors uncovered themselves trapped by an opponent faction. Rick’s iconic line in Robert Kirkman’s znjke.comic resource material that the same name was znjke.composed as: “They’re f***ing v the not correct people." for broadcast, the expletive to be sanitised znjke.come the more anodyne “screwing”.

At this year’s san Diego znjke.comic-Con, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays the show’s brutal villain Negan, a colourful cusser in the znjke.comics, made light of the show’s predicament. “We are enabled seven s***s, prefer one goddamn, zero f***s.”

When it involves European dramas, it i will not ~ be insignificant to assume TV creators run in the same kind that expletive-peppered wonderland as HBO can. In truth, the literal meaning translation the swear words may prove to be an ext conservative 보다 subtitles suggest.

The BBC learnt this the hard method when it aired the very first series the Danish-language drama The Killing (Forbrydelsen) in 2011. A viewer znjke.complained the “relatively inoffensive” oath words had actually been analyzed as the F-word in English subtitles. Radio Times quoted a resource from Voice and Script International, the agency that subtitled the series, who explained the disparity.

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“‘Svin’ in Danish translates directly as ‘swine’ but also has a stronger meaning. In English you could use either ‘bastard’ or ‘f***er’. The Danish ‘piss’ actually equates as ‘s***’ or miscellaneous stronger. The Old Norse native ‘faen’ literally refers to the Devil but can now also mean ‘bastard’, ‘s***’ or ‘f***’.”

So, to paraphrase George Carlin, the all around context. We’re unlikely to watch the crew that the upznjke.coming Star Trek: Discovery (also a CBS All accessibility production) uttering the znjke.command “Beam me the f*** up, Scotty.” explicit language loser its currency when it’s no warranted ~ above TV. But when that is, the liberty to swear deserve to only include to a show’s veracity. And for The good Fight, it is a an excellent fit.

The great Fight airs every Wednesday in ~ 9:30pm on znjke.znjke.com. Episodes room also obtainable on znjke.znjke.com on Demand after each episode airs.