"Modern Family" Toddler's F-Bomb: A Big Effing Deal or Not?
Despite protest, last night ABC aired an episode of the award-winning comedy "Modern Family" that included toddler Lily dropping the F-Bomb. As promised, the precious moment was bleeped, the girl's mouth pixilated, and the actress only charged with uttering "fudge."
The network stood behind the episode, but a local teen also stood behind his wish to see ABC and the show keep it classy. That teen is McKay Hatch, the 18-year-old South Pasadena native (now attending Brigham Young University) who at age 14 founded the No Cussing Club, a group that has risen to international popularity with pure-mouthed people around the globe. (Hatch was the kid who, in 2010, wanted Vice President Joe Biden to apologize for cussing and join his club.)
Hatch tried to rally the troops last week against "Modern Family," posting a call to action on the No Cussing Club Facebook page:
Thank you for all the support and courage that you guys have shown this far but I think it's time again to take a stand! I think we can do something about this. I think we can stop this from happening, but even if we don't stop it, at least we let ABC and ABC's sponsors know that the No Cussing Club, (it's members and club chapters all around the world) don't approve of this and are disappointed in their decision to allow this to happen. It's a family broadcasted show. This is not what people,(especially not a two year old) should be saying on a family show, let alone TV. I think it's worth a shot. It's better to at least try to do something then to just let it happen.
Unfortunately for Hatch (whose BYU English 101 prof by rights should be cringing at his mechanics), and the other No Cussing Club-ers, their mission was in vain. NY Mag called the No Cussing Club's rally cry a "nontroversy," pointing out that if the NCC wants to wag their finger at filthy-mouthed gals on TV, they should sit down in front of the TV an hour earlier and tune in to NBC and get upset with Whitney and Chelsea. Plus, notes the critic, "'Modern Family' is one of the least profane sitcoms on network TV."
Kids do say the darndest things, and they also tend to pick up those things from the people around them, whether those people are their parents and relatives, or the people on the TV screen. And it's funny, too--as Lily's f-bomb proves--and hard for adults to resist grinning or guffawing in reaction. Sometimes we adults may even have the presence of mind to make it into a "teaching moment" about the power of language. Sometimes.
So is it okay for network television to air profanity, even if it's heavily bleeped? And what about from the mouths of proverbial babes?
It's a battle currently being fought in the courts. "TV profanity was an issue before the U.S. Supreme Court last week, which heard arguments about whether regulating curse words and nudity on broadcast stations is sensible when cable and satellite services offer channels with few restrictions," points out the Associated Press. "A decision is expected by late June."