In late June, the USA network premiered Mr. Robot, a dark drama about a young, anti-social cyber security engineer named Elliot Alderson as he struggles with the decision to either join the cold, massive E Corp that was responsible for his father’s death, or Mr. Robot, the terrorist/hacker organization working to take it down.
It’s an intriguing premise, and there is a lot of room for exploring complex moral issues. But of course, all of that was pushed aside in favor of gratuitous sex. Just three episodes in, Mr. Robot featured a graphic sexual encounter between E Corp employee Tyrell, who wants to become the company’s new Chief Technology Officer, and his boss’s assistant, who he seduced just so that he could access confidential information.
It would have been more than sufficient for the writers to imply a sexual encounter, or to use some other means to show that there is nothing Tyrell won’t do in his quest for power. Instead this TV-14-rated program featured an extended scene of the characters engaging in anal intercourse. The camera angle is from the adjacent hallway, and so a small portion of their bodies (enough to hide the genital area) is hidden behind the door frame, but everything else is fully visible to the audience at home — the movements, the sounds, nothing is left to the imagination. Again, this was on a program that was rated not for mature audiences only, but as appropriate for a 14-year-old child.
If content like this is deemed by the networks that rate the shows, as suitable for a 14-year-old, then it’s time we take a hard look at how those ratings are applied. Oh, and by the way, if you are a cable subscriber, your cable dollars helped pay for it, too.