Monday, 9 November 2009

Long Live Decent Television Programming

Yes, another Daily Fail fuelled rant. Olivia Someone decided to have a go at True Blood, if I hadn't been sent the article this particular week maybe it would have passed me by with a mere tut.
"Sexually explicit: But True Blood can be accessed at any time by children via the internet"
With regards to children and teenagers watching television, surely this should be the responsibility of parents. I like to think that online content as a gift from a television heaven. At last! I can now actually watch what I want to before the watershed, and as all online television content (at least terrestrial channels) has parental control options, what is the problem?
I remember wanting to watch Grease when I was about twelve and was informed by my mother that it had adult themes and couldn't. *Gasp* When I did finally see it, we watched it together and she explained any adult content to me. I think she was a little embarrassed by the lack of boom boom, it was tamer than perhaps she recalled.
"Content that would have had viewers up in arms 15 years ago rarely causes concern today."
If I think back to what was on television when I was a teenager, off the top of my head I remember watching Band of Gold (prostitutes), Cracker (psychological violence) and X-files (supernatural) not to mention Eurotrash! With my best friends we would watch older films such as Pretty Woman (more prostitution), Dracula and The Lost Boys (more vampires), Singles, Dirty Dancing, Cocktail, (sex casually or within relationships) not to mention the coming of age films. We have always been intrigued by sex and/or vampires, add a decent soundtrack and we were truly smitten.
At the time, I had a television and the old family Betamax video recorder in my bedroom. Also, I remember my male peers swapping jazz mags and adult videos. The internet may have adult content all too easily find its way to teenagers but that's all, it's easier not new.
"As the tale unfolds, we learn there has been a horrifying reversal of events and that some humans, known as vampire drainers, like to drink the blood of vampires as it increases their strength, sexual appetite and performance."
What the fudge?! Is she completely oblivious to the symbolisation in the show?
Back to True Blood, if she had looked past the sex, it's damning to those with loose morals:
- The cast are God-fearing folk.
- Sookie - the strong female protagonist is a virgin way into her twenties, she doesn't tolerate foul language or thoughts.
- The promiscuous brother of Sookie is continually reprimanded for his foolish sleeping around. Actually every time he has sex, he seems to get arrested! He is literally guided by his cock, but berated for such behaviour. If he hadn't been so good looking *cough* erm... integral to the story, he would have easily been sacrificed in episode one as comeuppance.
- The male protagonist - Bill Compton: Quiet, brooding and mysterious; blood-sucking tendencies aside! Bill has the ability to love deeply, emotionally and physically. Caring, gentlemanly, he may be our last hope to revive chivalry.
- A selection of the Fang-bangers (those that have sex with vampires) get fatally punished for their heinous gallivanting.
"But a glance at our schedules reveals that sex, violence and vulgar language have become the staples that make up the British TV diet."
Channel 4 is showing True Blood after its success in the US and here in the UK first shown on a satellite channel. It wouldn't have been bought without having advertisers in place. Advertisers wouldn't have been on board is people were not going to watch it. It's entertainment, it's fantastical, it's escapism.
"There's oral sex, overt discussion of genitalia, graphic sex scenes bordering on the deviant, and foul language."
I feel like I am justifying myself. It is a parent's responsibility to explain sexual content, context of swearing and such, it's called preparing teenagers for life. In the real world, people have sex, people do use slang and swear words to express themselves. Considering her worry about teenage pregnancies, oral sex is an exciting alternative to penetrative sex!
Why does sex get such a bad name?
I lost my virginity at sixteen. I was in a relationship, we started with kissing, then petting to six months later reaching penetration. We were careful and talked maturely about making that decision. I was taking the pill and we used condoms. I didn't talk to my parents as we didn't have the birds and the bees chat until I was about 21! I did however speak with my peers, I had a group of eight of so female friends, three I was very close with.
Teenagers are always going to have sex, we can't stop that, l and thinking of ways to try and stop that is madness. What we need to do is educate them properly, without the stigma of embarrassment and of a no sex please, we're British attitude.
How about using the time and energy it took to complain about reasons that could or might be contributing to horny teenagers - did someone mention raging hormones?! - how about using that time to effectively communicate with them?
As such programming highlights sex to teenagers and actually has the ability to keep their normally short-lived concentration span - what a great opportunity to engage with them a conversation about sex, virginity and more importantly safe sex.
I'm not one to judge but if I was:
If she wants to talk about what is available to minors, look a little closer to home, no further than the Daily Mail's easy underage sister publication The Metro. Free to school kids using public transport completely unsupervised, always more than happy to show which celebrity has happened to let a nipple slip or showed her knickers accidental or otherwise.
Bookmark and Share


  1. *stand and applauds*

    That was a TOP rant madam ;)

  2. Explicit sex on 'True Blood'? I'm clearly going to have to start watching it, especially now they've taken 'The L Word' off, here at home! Thanks for the tip.

  3. Squatter

    Thanks! I almost feel the need to apologise after a rant...

    Fat Controller

    Enjoy :)

  4. Personally I think the violence shown is far more worrying than the odd nipple. At least sex is natural.

    Kate x