• Viewers Beware: NBC’s Undateable Going Live

    by  • September 12, 2015 • Broadcast Decency, Paley2015, Paleyfest • 0 Comments

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    The returning sitcom will be moving to an all-live format this fall…thus increasing the potential for audience exposure to graphic language.

    In its first two seasons, NBC’s Undateable was an unremarkable, sex-obsessed sitcom about a group of friends who hang out in a bar. Then last year, the show’s producers Bill Lawrence and Adam Sztykiel received permission from the network to try an experiment: air a couple episodes live, complete with the potential for fluffed lines and actors trying to make each other break character and laugh. The experiment apparently succeeded, and the season two finale last spring was an hour-long special containing multiple guest appearances by various actors and a veritable tidal wave of missed cues, goof-ups, blunders, and cast member crack-ups.

    Never willing to let a good thing pass, and given the success of its recent live specials like The Sound of Music (not to mention the 40-year popularity of Saturday Night Live), this fall NBC has given permission for EVERY episode of Undateable to air live. Each half-hour episode will air live in the Eastern time zone, while a recording of the program will re-air in the West…with the exception of a few special hour-long episodes (the season premiere and Christmas episode among them), in which the cast will broadcast live in the East, then, a few hours later, will repeat the episode (with variations) for the West-coast broadcast.

    In a Paley Center panel, the producers stated that the live airing will give the program a feel of “danger” and “edginess” – and they weren’t wrong. At the same panel, series star Chris D’Eila displayed his penchant for vulgar language, showering audience members with a torrent of f-bombs, profanity, and graphic sexual commentary. In addition to the potential for cast members breaking the fourth wall, forgetting lines, and bursting out laughing, there is also now a heavy probability that audience members will be exposed to non-stop foul language and sex talk. Though no one has said so, presumably NBC will air the series on a five-second delay; and even so, some network employee will have to have a fast and extremely accurate finger on the “bleep” button…or else children and others in the audience will be exposed to even more sex and profanity than they are already.

     

    Undateable returns Friday, October 9th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on NBC.  

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    About

    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

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