Curse Counts Show TV Profanity Is Par For The Coarse

How much profanity is now on TV? Let someone else count the ways.

Two sets of data on the subject came to light last month. One focused on series finales and their curse content.

The other measured and inventoried the way the use of some words has increased sharply since as far back as 1985.

In the first one, the series finale of “Succession” (HBO and Max) topped a list of final episodes whose curses were counted by the language-learning web site Preply for

According to this count, the 90-minute “Succession” finale last May led a list of nine other finales with 235 f-bombs -- an average of 2.6 f-words per minute.

That sounds like a big number, and I suppose it is. But to the "TV Blog," this piece of research is flawed.

According to MentalFloss, Preply based its top 10 on 50 series finales it plucked from a list of shows rated by users on the Internet Movie Database,



Preply then counted the f-words in each of the show's scripts, MentalFloss said.

But the result of this method is that the other nine shows are not nearly as current as “Succession.”

They include “The Wire” (finale aired in 2008), “The Sopranos” (2007) and “The Shield” (2008), to name three of them.

This makes for incomplete data because of the evolution and explosion of TV content since the bygone era of “The Wire” and “The Sopranos.”

Today, there are hundreds of present-day shows from which to make an f-word inventory, if someone wants to go about it.

Apparently, someone did -- a content-monitoring service called Enjoy Movies Your Way.

Based in Washington state, Enjoy Movies Your Way (EMYW) is an app for smart TVs and mobile devices that provides “access to family-friendly filters and lots of other features that bring even more fun to your movie watching experience,” said a description on the service's web site.

The company performed a TV-content language analysis for The Wall Street Journal that was reported in the paper last month.

EMYW uses “artificial intelligence to identify crude language in programming, allowing the app to filter thousands of titles,” the WSJ said.

With this capability, Enjoy Movies was able to scan more than 60,000 movies and TV shows released since 1985, said the Journal.

To summarize, the scan revealed that usage of the f-word rose rom 511 in 1985 to 22,177 up to last November, the paper reported. “S--t” went from 484 in ’85 to 10,864.

“Bitch” went up a lot too, and not in reference to female dogs either.

The Journal story carried the headline: “What the %&#!?! Everyone Curses on the Screen Now.”

I was glad to see the story because the "TV Blog" has been writing (harping) on this issue for years.

When I encountered it in the Journal, a silent question formed in my brain: What took you so long?

I was also glad to see some research on the subject. One reason is that the "TV Blog" has no access to the kind of advanced technology (or any technology) that was applied here.

But I do possess two functioning ears. The research merely backs up something everybody already knows.

So, what's the point? The many "TV Blogs" about the f-word that have appeared here over the years are not necessarily intended as complaints.

I like to think of them as reporting, with a little bit of opinion thrown in. The point of view can be boiled down to this: I wish I was not barraged with profanity every time I turn on the TV.

Full disclosure: My language is not 100% chaste either. But I do try -- successfully -- to refrain from using profanity outside the home.

When considering the writing of this "TV Blog," I came up with this analogy. I have nothing against people smoking a little weed if they want to, but at the same time, I wish I didn't have to smell it everywhere.

2 comments about "Curse Counts Show TV Profanity Is Par For The Coarse".
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  1. Ben B from Retired, January 10, 2024 at 11:11 p.m.

    I don't believe that type of data I don't mind swear wods on TV truth be told and I'd be fine if the F word was said on broadcast TV at 10PM or later I don't get why NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC don't try and talk to the FCC to get the F-bomb to fly in the later hours. If I was the president of one of those networks I'd talk to the FCC about it. I know the watch dog groups want to keep staus quo alive when there isn't 3 or 4 channels anymore and a lot of choices now than the 50s, 60s, 70s etc. Mainly The PTC which always lies about TV & Hollywood I don't believe anything they say about TV shows and the research they do which is very flawed and bias as well.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 11, 2024 at 7:10 a.m.

    Ben, it's not so much a question of getting the FCC's permission. The broadcast TV networks are worried that many of their station affiliates will not want to air such shows as they may offend their viewers in  conservative or highly religious communities. So they play it safe and avoid problems. This has always been a consideration----despite exceptions like "All In The Family" which got on CBS  even though its programming execs were against it as going too far. The then president of the network, Bob Wood, took a chance and overrulled them ---thankfully. But that type of bravery remains rare in broadcast TV circles.

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