Column: The U.K. versus the U.S.: a tale of two tellys

Thom Carter | Staff Writer

With the new school year comes a brand-new season of primetime television, and people are feverish for the return of some of their most beloved shows. This made me begin to ponder the difference between television here in the U.S. and television in the U.K. Spending much of my summer across the pond, I couldn’t help but notice the drastic difference in how showsare rated in each country.

Beyond 8 p.m. here in the States, it’s common to come across a CSI or similar crime drama where grisly murders are quintessential to the overall plot. However, profanity isn’t uttered once while the bodies keep piling up. Things are entirely the opposite in the U.K. Past 9 p.m., or what is commonly called “the watershed,” cursing is entirely unedited, whereas scenes of violence garner a much more mature rating. The same goes for movies. Some films here that achieve a PG-13 rating often get what is the equivalent of an R rating in the U.K., simply because of the mindless violence that plagues them. It begs the question, which is worse?

In a school like Mason, language has become second nature, and with each passing year the normality of an f-bomb becomes greater and greater. So, what if language took the place of fiery explosions and bloody shootouts on nighttime telly? Perhaps light-hearted American adults are too enthralled in the battle over profanity that they don’t realize what their children are really watching. Witnessing a toddler doing his best Jack Bauer impression and saving his parents from a nuclear holocaust is quite a sight to behold.

I’m not that knowledgeable of the law, but I believe the repercussions are much greater for someone who has blown something up than someone has blurted out a curse in public. Of course, I’m not asking you to go home and begin mouthing off to your parents, but to merely take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Maybe, just maybe, Britain has got something here.

*Carter is an avid moviewatcher who loves music and pickup soccer games. He plays cello. happens to be a dual-citizen, all while living on the southern tip of Mason. Carter’s favorite television network is the BBC.
“I have a cat called Stubbs, with two ‘b’s,’” Carter said. “He’s an American bobtail.”