Goodies from the FCC "TV decency" complaints database

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47 Responses to “Goodies from the FCC "TV decency" complaints database”

  1. madjo says:

    The bad spelling, and the bad sense of humour and the inane requests and complaints about nothing. Is that all these people worry about?

    Oh and what about that person that sits their children in front of CSpan because those words will enter their ears and educate them.
    And then complain that they didn’t censor the F-bomb uttered by Jon Stewart, in such teaching their kids those words… As if they learned that from one instance on TV. Haha.

  2. engwar says:

    Sweet! I’ll be adding some of these to my blog “Consarnit!” which features items usually clipped from newspapers with cranky old people complaining about things.

    My best post so far was “Water just isn’t what it used to be.”

    http://consarnit.wordpress.com

    But something tells me I’ve now hit the motherload of fodder for my blog!

  3. slbgraphics says:

    SEE ‘BALL SACK’, IBID, OP CIT.
    This pricelessly worded complaint is from page 7 of the FCC complaint deck re: The Simpsons.

    Complaint Summary:
    In this episode, the students of Springfield Elementary School have revolted against the teachers and
    administrators, taking ‘control’ of the school. The students eventually catch Principal Skinner in the gym. As they
    begin to overtake and subdue Principal Skinner, one of the students empties out a large brown-colored drawstring
    bag that is filled with various sports balls (soccerballs/basketballs/voleyballs etc). Mr Skinner is then placed inside
    the empty sack and the drawstring was pulled snug around his neck, leaving only his neck and head outside of the
    bag. My concern, and the basis for this complaint, is in the manner of how the image of Principal Skinner was
    depicted after he had been placed into this bag and the drawstring pulled. The image of the large drawstring bag
    very clearly, and undeniably, resembled a non-circumcised penis (flaccid state). Mr Skinner’s height was the
    reason for the length of the brown sack, depicted the ‘shaft’ and where the sack tapered from Mr Skinner’s
    shoulders up to his neck where the drawstring had been pulled into a ‘pucker’ depicted the foreskin.; Principal
    Skinner appears in this depiction several more times during the episode.; Toward the end of the episode, Principal
    Skinner has managed to hop around while still inside this sack and escape from the gym. Alone in the schoolyard,
    he encounters a squirrel who just happened to be holding a knife or scissors (some type of cutting device).
    Principal Skinner, still inside of a sack drawn to resemble an intact penis, then said to the squirrel:; “Mr. Nibbles,
    would you please come here and cut my ball sack:’; The secondary intention of Principal Skinner’s statement
    should be obvious, but since description is key to an effective complaint, I will briefly elaborate…. ; -Principal
    Skinner’s use of the word ‘cut’ was an inferred reference to the procedure of circumcision, whereas a circumcised
    penis is commonly referred to as being ‘cut’ and a non-circumcised penis is commonly referred to as being ‘uncut’.;
    -Principal Skinner’s use of the term “ball sack” would have been a ‘double entendre’ intended to refer to the male
    anatomical part of ‘scrotum’, which is commonly referred to as “ball sac”.; I believe the above described content
    from “The Simpsons” that was broadcast on June 02, 2006, from 7:30pm to 8:00pm, on KBVU channel 29 (Eureka,
    CAl was indecent. I hope I have provided sufficient information to assist you in reviewing this complaint. I look
    forward to our response.

  4. Gilbert Wham says:

    Shit, I encouragemy kid to watch south Park. It should be mandatory viewing. It’s edumacashunal.

  5. Wingo says:

    5ive: I also like how people assume just because it is in cartoon form, it must be for kids.

    Totally.

    I love this quote: “I didn’t think this was a subject for a cartoon character. I would have expected to hear this on a nightime, adult theme television series or on a talk show, but not as a general discussion for a cartoon character.”

    Ummm, yeah. The Simpsons IS a ‘nightime, adult theme’ show, jackass.

  6. drivenbyboredom says:

    I started reading this and at first I thought it was funny. 20 complaints in I just started getting really depressed. What kind of world are we living where someone can be “shocked and offended” by tit cones?

    It is so sad.

  7. Gloria says:

    Well, God forbid parents need to TALK to their children, impart some kind of value system upon them, and trust their children to make the right choices. Best to simply not give kids any ideas at all, because that’s always worked.

  8. Harisn says:

    This one was my favorite:

    “15 minutes into the program called ‘the daily show with jon stewart’ a caption came up, beneath a flutist that read
    ‘fuck yeah.’”

  9. Guy Smiley says:

    I have committed some of the complaints about South Park to Haiku:

    3 seconds of boob
    sadly nick execs forget
    kid’s entertainment

    the woodland critters
    the mountain lion comes down
    now stan feels guilty

    all say “hail satan”!
    they then hold a sacrifice
    forthcoming savior

    kill the porcupine
    how abortions are performed
    he isn’t baptized

    kyle who dies of AIDS
    the antichrist is removed
    show left me in shock

    every foul word aired
    on basic cable mind you
    this was very shocking

    small child kills jesus
    usually i enjoy this show
    stabbing him to death

    obscene grunts and groans
    promoting homosexuals
    happened to view it

    disrespecting blacks
    this is unbelievable
    on wheel of fortune?

    extremely graphic,
    “asshole” didn’t bother me,
    sick pornography!

    mrs. garrison,
    having sex and showed her boobs,
    bothers me real bad

    flurry of cursing!,
    trivializing scenes of death!,
    leads to mass murders

    goes beyond bad taste,
    bloody death! careless murder!
    a fan in times past

    man laying face down,
    “put it in my monkey hole”,
    reveal grotesque breasts

  10. Brother Provisional says:

    “Please do your job or we will all suffer.” Ha. If I had a nickel for every time I heard that…

  11. Moon says:

    #2 (Whoa, probably should use “#2″ – somebody will report me!)

    Anyway, to the person who posted SECOND, that was a good one! I love how the complainer is all upset about how they showed the “Cain and Abel” story. Better get rid of your Bible, honey – that story is in the first book!

  12. Tits McGee says:

    I liked this one.

    “Who do we turn to when these kids get pregent and kill 14 kids in school.”

    Awesome.

  13. Takuan says:

    do any of these complaints deal with the graphic images of killing, rape, torture etc. that make up so much television? Does violence offend “decency”?

  14. Antinous says:

    @#2,

    Good selection. I’m appauled. I mean appaled. Oh darn, do I have to be able to spell to influence national censorship policies? I’m fixin to study that BJ on the Sundance channel some more.

  15. Mim says:

    @#2 – that’s a good one
    “Once I saw the Simpsons episode I started to look at more examples of such indecent acts.”

  16. Chris Griswold says:

    My favorite:

    “Although I do enjoy raunchy humor on occasions, I was somewhat taken aback by the topic discussed on The Simpson’s television show last night. Homer was discussing “masturbation.” ; I didn’t think this was a subject for a cartoon character. I would have expected to hear this on a nightime, adult theme television series or on a talk show, but not as a general discussion for a cartoon character. ; I enjoy watching the Simpson’s. I find it is very
    funny. As I am typing, I’m beginning to realize that just because it is presented as a cartoon does not lessen the importance of the message or the impact it may have on those listening. ; It is adult entertainment where topics involving our everyday lives are played out in a satirical view point to minimize, maximize, or simply bring to the
    forefront issues which are not always addressed in a open, non-hostile manner. Just a thought. Maybe it isn’t real! a “cartoon” after all.”

    It’s like an installment of Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey

  17. crank says:

    if i am not mistaken, the daily show isn’t even covered by the fcc’s regulation because it is a cable show. makes reading the comments that much better.

    the time i was most offended (?!) by watching tv was coverage of the o.j. simpson sex tape on fox news. they should really look into trying to pixelate things better… i saw some o.j. wang swinging around.

  18. Chris Griswold says:

    Holy crap. I just got to the one about Principal skinner in the gym bag looking too much like a flaccid penis with a foreskin.

    The complaint reminds me of when I worked at JIm Hanley’s Universe in Manhattan; this guy would come in all the time with these manila envelopes full of photocopies he had made of Archie Comics and news stories in which he had found Satanic references, writing in footnotes and drawing in pentagrams that he had “found.”

    It was so awesome. I still have one somewhere; I’ll have to scan it.

  19. wynneth says:

    You know what always gets me? There are more complaints about regular parts of life (i.e. sexual innuendo, masturbation, nudity) than violence. Two people having sex is how life works, and yet more people complain about it than about a guy getting his head chopped off. Look at movie ratings. You can severe body parts bloodily and manage to keep a PG-13, but the minute you show a breast it’s R. What’s the deal? Is this an intentional plan to desensitize the nation to violence? I personally would rather my 4 year old accidentally watch the playboy channel than see Saw IV!!!

    This country is full of idiots.

  20. Chris Griswold says:

    No, the Daily Show is not governed by the FCC…YET.

    They had to keep sending out letters to that effect.

    Another good one:

    “A few months ago, I happened to hear a very disturbing comments by Homer in the program. He said that “he wants to have sex with his wife infront of their son (Bart). That statement is very troubling, aWful, bulgar, unacceptable, deplorable, you name it, and those descriptions are an understatements. It has troubled my spirit so much hearing it, up to this time whenever I think of it. Such statement should never be said in TV especially by a father. I cannot wait for the day when Simpson will finally not be shown in TV!”

  21. tazzy531 says:

    Wait.. How do they know it was homosexual? What if alien beings had 3 different sexes?

  22. Antinous says:

    The FCC regulates cable. They just have different rules for cable than for broadcast, presumably on the assumption that you have to do something to get cable versus broadcast just flying through the air into your TV.

    The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 as the successor to the Federal Radio Commission and is charged with regulating all non-Federal Government use of the radio spectrum (including radio and television broadcasting), and all interstate telecommunications (wire, satellite and cable) as well as all international communications that originate or terminate in the United States.

  23. jables2002 says:

    #3
    #9

    Well, the news has different standards than entertainment, but it’s debatable whether they should. They can get away with talking about horrible violence and rape, yet in the same broadcast comment about someone being fired from radio or T.V. for offending a small group of people. What causes more damage? I personally think neither should cause damage. Ultimately, lack of parenting causes damage. There’s bad shit in this world, and if you don’t explain that to to your kids and prepare them, they’re going to run into eventually, and then it can become damaging.

  24. Antinous says:

    I want to amend that. Since cable is covered in the interstate communications section, that’s probably why local cable access can do pretty much anything that they want. But The Daily Show is still regulated by the FCC.

  25. Roach says:

    Aw, nothing from The Shield? I figure showing dead naked women splattered with semen would at least get ONE complaint.

    Actually, it’s because that show hasn’t been done yet by this site. There aren’t necessarily more complaints about sex than violence – it’s just that all of the shows on the site, with one exception, are not violent shows (Simpsons, Daily Show, etc). The one exception is Law & Order: SVU, and there the majority of the complaints are about violence. A few are even the polar opposites of commenters #9 & #3 here.

    Still, I’ll never forget the day my stuffy university president introduced the showrunner of The Shield and then sat down to watch a couple episodes. I don’t think he was warned what he was in for. So I hope this site does The Shield next.

  26. Oddity says:

    Hehe – this cracks me up.

    “My kids were up at 9:30 watching TV and this stuff is inappropriate!”
    “I make my kids watch C-SPan, and John Stewart was on…”
    “I shouldn’t have to listen to this kind of talk”

  27. Cpt. Tim says:

    p.s. I am not a crackpot

    abe simpson.

  28. gameshints says:

    I was browsing the South Park complaints. Their response to a few of them were:

    “Programming considered indecent, obscene, violent or otherwise offensive to some viewers may be transmitted over cable systems. The FCC cannot restrict Non-Broadcast (Cable) Programming.”

  29. Antinous says:

    Hmmm. Contradictory statements. Then why aren’t they showing full nudity. If the gloves were really off, Spike would be showing GYN exams. There must be some kind of understanding in place.

  30. ill lich says:

    There’s an episode of the Simpsons where Ned Flanders is writing the FCC to complain about Kent Brockman accidentally cursing on live TV. As he’s typing away his kids ask him what he’s doing. He yells [I'm] “Imploring people I never met to pressure government with better things to do to punish a man who meant no harm for something nobody even saw, that’s what I’m doing!”

    The kids say “Daddy, I think you need a new mommy.”

    (I wonder if anybody complained about that episode, as if maybe they felt they were personally being mocked on the Simpsons).

  31. jere7my says:

    Hrm. Acrobat can read them, but I’m getting white text on white in both Preview and the Firefox plugin I use for PDFs.

  32. calan says:

    “The web told me to fill out this complaint form for obscene problems on the Television. This company SNL on NBC had animated people with thier cloths off making love (excuse me) lust on a stage where the president was and the president of the usa was accepting these acts done in front of him. This trash needs to be removed!! Jerry Springer can”t do it I don”t think Saturday Night Live should be alowed!”

    priceless.

  33. Takuan says:

    so, if the complainant made formal reference to the new “The Violent Radicalization Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007″, in regards to this insulting the dignity of the the king – I mean;”president”, what would be the result?

  34. hoffmanbike says:

    “The FCC is not pennitted to censor or restrict the availability of non-broadcast programming shown over cable systems,
    even when the program in question may be offensive to some viewers. Cable operators do not have the same restrictions
    on program content as regular television broadcast stations.”

    pg. 17 of the Daily Show complaints. thank you private corporation Comedy Central, that’s also why after 1am Comedy Central will play completely unedited shows and movies. i love it, it really is the way things should be. (not sarcastic but for some reason it feels that way to me)

  35. Antinous says:

    If on broadcast, waterboarding. If on cable, strip search.

  36. BQAggie87 says:

    My favorites are the complaints about Jon Stewart on C-Span.

  37. 5ive says:

    What is always amazing about complaints like the one posted about the kids and the Simpsons is that people let their kids watch the stuff and then complain about it. If you don’t want your children exposed to whatever it may be, it is very very simple. Turn. Off. The. Television.
    I also like how people assume just because it is in cartoon form, it must be for kids. Like kids have the corner on the animated market. View something before your kids see it and you will have no one to complain to except ourself.
    sigh.

  38. 5ive says:

    What is always amazing about complaints like the one posted about the kids and the Simpsons is that people let their kids watch the stuff and then complain about it. If you don’t want your children exposed to whatever it may be, it is very very simple. Turn. Off. The. Television.
    I also like how people assume just because it is in cartoon form, it must be for kids. Like kids have the corner on the animated market. View something before your kids see it and you will have no one to complain to except ourself.
    sigh.

  39. occupant says:

    If the gloves were really off, Spike would be showing GYN exams.

    My local cable provider stopped carrying the Independent Film Channel because they got too many customer complaints about boobies and bad words. Only when they finally implemented digital service did it return.

  40. Talia says:

    Is there any country in the world not populated by large quantities of raging morons? Please tell me, because I want to move there.

  41. Contrasoma says:

    Given the number of literal calls to “please, think of the children!”, I’m guessing the majority of the letter writers didn’t watch The Simpsons long enough to catch Helen Lovejoy’s catchphrase. Then again, I’m not sure these people’s satire meters are properly tuned.

    Bonus tidbit – the truly bizarre footer on the letter on page 27 of the Simpsons doc:

    “How to Connect with Our Living Earth:
    Telepathic Love from the Dolphins
    A true story of the author’s experiences with real dolphins. Healing our
    bodies and preserving our environment is indeed a spirituaal (sic) action. Find out why…
    Deborah A. Frenette, Author
    http://hometown.aol.com/debfrenette

  42. Takuan says:

    the reason why so many of these complaints are generated is because the TV is never turned off in some households. Video wallpaper, the babysitter,the familiar noise, the constant companion…. This inculcates a mentality that programming must never betray whatever values (no matter how shallow) that household has. Control over what the children see never even comes up.

  43. TimmerCA says:

    First, let me say that I believe that you should be able to broadcast anything you want at any time on any medium, be it cable or broadcast or FM radio or whatever.

    “Though I disagree with everything you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – Friends of Voltaire

    That said, I have a great solution for preventing children from seeing “offensive” stuff on TV: get rid of your television. With the possible exceptions of the Discovery channel and the History channel (for children and adults), and maybe Sesame Street for children there is virtually no content on television that’s worth watching, so why watch any of it at all. Cable is expensive and all it does is suck the IQ right out of your brain.

    Read a book. Paint a picture. Go to a museum. Go play outside in the park. There are better ways to be entertained than to sit in front of the old boob tube.

  44. Dan B. says:

    #17, I believe one of the reasons we don’t see full frontal nudity or other, more explicit, acts on commercial cable television is that the channels are only willing to push the envelope as far as their advertisers will allow. This is why HBO, which does not depend on ad revenue, can get away with more than Comedy Central.

  45. loudiamondphillips says:

    “With the possible exceptions of the Discovery channel and the History channel (for children and adults), and maybe Sesame Street for children there is virtually no content on television that’s worth watching”

    Timmerica, that’s an absolutely ridiculous and uninformed generalization.

  46. Takuan says:

    so, what’s good?

  47. raisedbywolves says:

    To be fair, a lot of people do seem to be complaining just about the programs’ time slots. I don’t agree with just letting kids watch TV all evening, but I can see how if South Park is on at 6 PM in some places it would make it rather easy for kids to come across it.

    None of that, though, accounts for how preoccupied the complainants were with anal sex. Or the hilarity of this complaint:

    “Last night I was watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, on the Comedy
    Channel, 7 PM, during one of the pieces about Madonna visiting Isareal, he
    mentioned her “TIT CONES” on TV. This type of ‘humor’ shocks and offends me. What
    do you plan on doing about this type of behavior and what type of constraints
    will be put in place to prevent this type of behavior again?”

    That’s right, TIT CONES! On NATIONAL TELEVISION!

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