For excessive and graphic violence and sexual dialogue rated appropriate for young teens, the Saturday, November 14th premiere of Esquire Network’s Spotless was definitely Misrated.
Formerly known as Tech TV, the G4 network programmed for the interests of computer, technology, and videogame fans, with a bit of geekiness thrown in (live-casting from the San Diego ComiCon was an annual favorite). While the network’s audience was small, it was also extremely loyal. Then, without any input from subscribers, cable companies, or the channel’s fans, corporate owner Comcast unilaterally decided to “rebrand” G4 as “the Esquire Network,” doing so with a back-handed slap at its previous viewers: the new network is “dedicated to reaching today’s educated, upscale man,” says the new network’s publicity. Apparently, Comcast believes video-game and tech fans are neither “upscale” nor “educated.”
Even though absolutely nobody was crying out for a TV network aimed at hipsters and beer snobs, at least Esquire had a mission statement. But now, bare months after it came into existence, the network is betraying even that concept. Instead of shows about narrow scarves, plaid shirts, and fixed-gear bicycles, Esquire has decided to air Spotless, an allegedly “sexy and bold one-hour drama” with the following scintillating premise: Frenchman Jean Bastiere, his wife Julie, and his outlaw brother Martin, all cooperate in running Jean’s Crime Scene Cleaning, which wipes walls and mops floors after gory murders and serial killer crime sprees have taken place.
Well, credit where it’s due: that is a “bold” programming choice, all right — combining the sleazy sexuality and graphic gore of Dexter with a story about a glorified janitor and his thug of a brother. No doubt, in between lighting up an American Spirit and swilling down PBR, those at whom the network is aimed would tell everyone else that they simply don’t understand the brilliance of the show’s premise; but even those who like programs containing graphic violence and sex would have to agree that this show’s content is not appropriate for the 14 year old audience Esquire says it is.
Here’s a sample of what Esquire thinks is suitable for young teens:
Jean performs oral sex on Claire. Claire’s is lying on her back and she is only wearing a sheer white top, fishnet stockings and no underwear. Jean’s face is covered by her thigh.
Jean and Claire talk.
Claire: “So why do you [muted f***] a mistress?”
Claire: “I’m tired of this game and I want to [muted f***] you right now. I’m thinking, you might be the second best lover I’ve ever had.”
Jean: “Second best? Well, not so bad.”
Claire: “I don’t know, it’s a very short list.”
Jean: “You’re a little passive-aggressive today.”
Claire: “I get like that when I’m horny.”
Jean and Martin discuss Martin having sex with a drug “mule.”
Jean: “You [muted f***ed] her?”
Martin: “Of course I [muted f***ed] her. When she was alive. In fact, I think I might have burst one of the balloons inside. You know, I’m pretty big.”
Jean: “She swallowed the ballons? So the drugs are still in her stomach?”
Martin: “Yes, but I [muted f***ed] her up the ass.”
Jean: “Trust me big guy, your penis wouldn’t have traveled up her colon, through her small intestine, into her stomach to pop the little balloons.”
Martin: “Yeah, she’s got fantastic tits. Julie, fantastic tits. I didn’t know that English women had tits like that. Tell me, were your kids vaginal or cesarean delivered?”
Claire: “I’m tired of this game and I want to [muted f***] you right now.”
Martin: “Then stop moaning like a little bitch and go to bed.”
Gareth: “We’ll see how you like that, you French prick.”
Martin: “Damn right, I’m a French prick. And you know what? Your wife might like it.”
Martin: “Hello, English cock suckers. How do I find the baddest [muted motherf***er] in this shithole?”
A young boy lights and smokes a cigarette. He hears a woman’s screams in the next room so he opens the door and finds a man on top of a woman having sex. They both have their pants off but their privates are obscured. The man sees the young boy and chases after him. When he catches the boy he begins slapping him over and over again in the face. The woman strikes the man in the back of the head with a hatchet, killing him.
Martin opens a freezer and shows Jean that a woman’s frozen body is inside.
Jean picks up a knife and a moment later he is shown, wrist deep inside of the corpse’s torso. He holds up her intestine and then cuts into it with a knife. The corpse is shown lying on the table with her shirt open and her breasts exposed. Jean pulls out several small bags of drugs from the corpse. Suddenly two men walk into the building with their guns aimed at Jean and Martin. One of the men pushes Martin on the floor. Suddenly, more men run in holding guns.
Is this content appropriate for kids? Esquire Network thinks so. That’s why they rated it TV-14 DLSV. Obviously, they’re wrong.
The entire point of having TV content ratings is to assist parents, and to activate the V-Chip so that children don’t see this kind of thing. But when ratings are grossly inaccurate, they are not helping anyone. This is why the TV content ratings needs to be reformed.
To learn more about ratings reform, click here.