The entertainment industry is apparently bent on pushing graphic sex into every home. But rather than serving as a critical counter-balance of the industry’s worst impulses, the entertainment trade press is in the tank for the industry’s sleaze-mongers – as a recent issue of TV Guide demonstrated.
In an article in its June 3rd issue listing “The 60 Best Shows That Were Cancelled Too Soon,” one of TV Guide’s choices was Action – Fox’s 1999 self-referential Hollywood spoof about a foul-mouthed movie producer named Peter Dragon. The first two episode of Action included extended and explicit discussions of Dragon’s ex-wife’s new husband’s genitals – “I swear to God, it was like the biggest thing I’ve ever seen, it was like an anaconda”; Dragon mentioning a film’s music is electronic, to which his secretary replies, “So’s my vibrator”; Dragon’s regular prostitute Wendy discussing “a working girl with no legs. She made $2500 a night just sitting there spinning”; and Dragon yelling a waiter in the studio commissary, bellowing, “I would’ve peed in every (bleeped) cobb salad every (bleeped) day so every (bleep) in the commissary would’ve had a taste of Peter Dragon.”
TV Guide also mourned CBS’ 2008 sex series Swingtown, which glamorized drug use, sex orgies and “open marriage.” In the opening scene of Swingtown’s first episode, lead character Tom appeared to be receiving oral sex from a stewardess, with the woman’s head shown near his lap as he moans. After the stewardess worried that “your wife will kill me,” Tom smirked, “My wife is going to love you.” Immediately thereafter, Tom was shown in bed with both the stewardess and his wife. Throughout the course of the series, every couple in the neighborhood was shown “swapping” spouses with every other one, while a high-school girl was shown having sex with her teacher. Like Action, Swingtown proved a miserable failure, being deserted by droves of major sponsors and drubbed in the ratings by game shows and reruns of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. But CBS’ Entertainment President, Nina Tassler, was an enthusiastic proponent of the program’s prime-time glorification of wife-swapping and drug-fueled sex orgies, proclaiming, “If we had abandoned or buried Swingtown, I would never have been able to live with myself…This is a labor of love!”
As recently as this year, in fact, when a group of TV executives was asked by TV Guide, “Which series is ‘the one that got away?’, Tassler replied, “Swingtown.” Apparently, the staff of the weekly magazine shares Tassler’s taste in what represents quality entertainment.