Rees' Pieces: 7 Things You Should Never Say on Television

Ben Rees

In 1972, George Carlin went on television and performed his comedic monologue entitled “The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” He rattled off a string of obscenities prohibited from cable, and criticized America’s methods of censorship. Forty years later, I, without attempting to equate myself to someone as truly marvelous as Carlin, think we have gone too far. Our civilization is consistently inundated with visual smut, which has inspired a list I have dubbed: “The Seven Things You Should Never Say on Television, But Unfortunately, Due to Lax Regulations and Our Bizarre Interest in Disgusting People, We Are Able to.”

First: “Introducing your host, Ryan Seacrest!” Anything that has his name on it is an intellectual travesty. He was sexy for a few seasons of “American Idol,” but every show that involves a singing contest of sorts is simply embarrassing. All competitive talent programs revolve around false hopes, false eyelashes and falsely emotional obese contestants.

Second: “Spike TV.” Partially excluding “1000 Ways To Die,” this channel is a sad, testosterone-fueled quest for ratings. They don’t show “MXC” anymore, and G4 has “Ninja Warrior;” Spike TV has essentially zero programming that anyone with a functioning brain stem would ever want to watch. Never have I ever heard someone utter: “Dude, let’s see what’s on Spike.”

Third: “You are/are not the father.” We have all sat through an episode or two of “Maury,” and I truly believe each and every one of us pities humanity during it. The universal excuse is: “It makes me feel great about myself,” but this is simply a socially constructed facade. This show goes past being an ego boost; rather, it stymies any sort of hope that people are inherently good.

Fourth: “It will leave you breathless.” Plain and simple–it will not. In fact, the show will probably aggravate you to the point of holding your breath until you have lost consciousness.

Fifth: “On a brand new episode of ‘The Simpsons.’” I do apologize, because it makes me as sad as everyone else, but Fox needs to stop. This show hit the skids a long time ago, and every week I cringe a little more because something I once loved has fallen apart.

Sixth: “World’s,” “Most” or “Extreme.” Whether it’s “World’s Worst Tenants,” “Extreme Cheapskates” or “Extreme Makeover,” any term that implies a hyperbolic comparison of something grandiose is doomed to eternal mediocrity. If someone truly were the worst tenant in the world, then they would be homeless–not collecting alligators in their bathtub. Most of these shows can be consolidated into one overarching character flaw: un-dateable. If the program were entitled, “World’s Most Single,” then we as viewers would probably assume they are extremely cheap, awful tenants and addicted to eating toilet paper. This show could air for an hour per week, thereby saving humanity from the currently inescapable barrage of reality TV.

Seventh: “HWHHHATTTTT?” or whatever that ghastly noise Jon Stewart makes when he attempts to act surprised about something. I think he’s funny the same way I enjoy “Cops.” It’s hysterical the first time someone messes himself in the back of the police cruiser, but after a while, the same old shit gets pretty stale.

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