In a series of allegedly humorous ads promoting its new “HBO Go” initiative (via which subscribers can watch the premium cable network’s shows on various devices like iPads, Apple TV, smartphones, Kindles, PlayStations, and others), HBO urges teens and young adults to watch the network’s sexually explicit programming “far, far away from your parents.”
The ads depict older teens/younger adults watching HBO programs like Girls, True Blood, and Game of Thrones, complete with graphic scenes of sexual intercourse, sexual bondage games, adultery, incest, and constant f-bombs. The supposedly humorous twist comes when a parent watches the explicit programming with their child, comments on the action, and makes the child feel uncomfortable.
Of course, what these ads really demonstrate is how much television has changed. Once, prime-time programming was appropriate for the entire family, and there was no discomfort experienced by teens and parents watching together.
The ads also underline the hypocrisy of the entertainment industry, which tells parents to “take control of your TV” and puts all the responsibility for protecting children on parents, while at the same time airing ads urging teens to watch explicit sex on mobile devices “far from your parents.”