When Did TV Get So Ballsy?

When I was a child growing up, I remember how much of a controversy it was when Angelica said “Stupid.” In my teen year’s the first lesbian kiss occurred on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it was a huge deal. These were examples of people’s oversensitivity to non-important issues. Equality should be displayed on television, and Angelica’s language would hardly be considered an issue today.

The 90s and 00s were an interesting time for television. During this time we saw a shift in daytime and primetime television. Family sitcoms dominated TV when I was growing. My family and I were never forced to sit through an awkward sex scene together when watching Boy Meets World. We were never exposed to profane language during 7th Heaven, and we didn’t worry about nudity appearing in Full House.

But, now, in 2017, it seems almost impossible to escape profane language on regular tv. MTV’s the Real World was once considered racy for showing blurred nudity on late night television. Now, shows like Naked & Afraid, and Dating Naked expose bare butt cheeks in frequent daylong marathons.

So, when did TV get so ballsy? Is it a reflection of the desensitization of our culture? Or did we create this from our own innate needs for violent and sexual expression? Is it perhaps, more normal for humanity to be depicted as it “truly is?” Or is it only inevitable that even midday television will begin to use profane language?

Perhaps the downfall of set scheduling has produced the rise in adult content across all times of day. In truth, my family no longer gathers around the tv at 8 to watch our favorite program. Most of the time, we have recorded shows that we watch whenever we can get to. And if not, we are watching Netflix.

American lives no longer revolve around a television schedule. Live viewership is far down. This both forces TV to generate racier content to attract viewers, but also allows them to operate further out of the public eye. TV isn’t a live global phenomenon anymore. Content is no longer tied to time slots, and as such, creators are moving the adult into the everyday.

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