I just finished watching the preview tapes for Weeds and Californication and I was struck by how often everyone peppered what appeared to be average conversation–OK, average for people unrelentingly in the middle of busted up drug deals and rocky relationships–with enough four-letter words to deplete more than one bagful of Scrabble tiles.
Being a journalist with kids to put through college, I do not get Showtime or HBO, so this level of language is not the norm unless I come across it in on my hotel room TV while channel surfing for noncommercial public affairs programming, which is what I assume most guys do on travel.
I am all for salty language to spice up entertainment programming where appropriate–Jackie Gleason swearing in the ‘Bandit’ films, for example, is a must. But this barrage reminded me of nothing so much as kids who, having discovered the shock value of swearing, go on swearing binges among themselves that are merely comical unless you are a member of the FCC, of course, or a parent who happens upon them when you were expecting that kid in the choir robe you remember raising.
Anyway, does everyone in California swear at every possible opportunity, by which I mean the "pass the f-ing butter, you f-ing s-bag" dinner table conversation kind of talk. For me, it just started getting silly.
Now, the barrage of muttered extremeties of Mary Louise Parker when she discovers her stash is missing was right on target, or would have been had it not been simply another wave in a sea of swearing by everyone.
I must also say that Showtime’s new Californication, a named sure to earn it warm reviews from the Parents Television Council, earns its name from the get-go and never lets up. Now that, I’m sure, they do in California with just as much regularity as is shown on the screen, which means every five minutes or so.
By John Eggerton