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Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Networks and hypocrisy

A while ago I was reading a sportswriter buddy's blog and he was talking about the Philadelphia Eagles/Dallas Cowboys game. Good game, very pressworthy. But it was more pressworthy for a promo spot than it was for the game itself.

Before the game the network in question aired a spot with a certain Eagles player of repute and a certain actress known for being a loose woman on a show called 'Desperate Housewives' - good guilty pleasure sort of show. Anyway, the spot apparently showed this woman dropping her towel and the player in question deciding to sit out the game.

Now, before you start Googling to find and watch the spot, all you glimpsed was her bare back. Sorry to disappoint. But in this post-Janet SuperBowl halftime show world, it sent folks from the National Football League scurrying to complain, and this wasn't a wardrobe malfunction. This was an on-purpose disrobing.

Here's what I don't understand - and my buddy commented on this too - what the hell was the NFL thinking by complaining about that spot? Don't they realize the blatant hypocrisy that is resident in their actions?

What, you don't think the NFL was being hypocritical with regards to thier complaints over the spots? Well, have you ever watched the sidelines and the cheerleaders? Those poor girls bounce around in almost nothing on just to stay warm, right? I rest my case.

I didn't see the National Football League complaining all that much after the Janet fiasco - I saw CBS complaining. I saw ABC pulling back on content within 'NYPD Blue' because of this; I watched ER pull a 5 second scene of a woman's chest being cracked because you could see the edges of her breasts. They didn't want to deal with the potential fines that they could face that were being rumored as it was from the Janet-Justin fiasco.

Why did that cause such a fuss? After all, we saw Dennis Franz's rear end on 'NYPD Blue' a couple of years earlier, and we heard Anthony Edwards say "shit" as he was collapsing in pain in one of his final episodes of 'ER'. Granted, I did say my piece about this a year ago when it happened but the backlash remains... sort of.

Instead of seeing scantily clad women in commercials, we're greeted with Levitra and Cialis and Viagra commercials. I shouldn't wonder if that isn't worse.

The hypocrites that run the networks really need to take a closer look at things. Fans don't want to see that as part of NFL airings? Why don't I believe that considering the popularity of the cheerleaders and the ratings that can be attributed to shows like Desperate Housewives (which is a good guilty pleasure and has high ratings), or CSI (gore factor and bugs), or Alias, 24, ER, NYPD Blue...all of those being shows that have pushed the envelope on censors in the last few years that they've been on.

People flock to watch those shows - they're among the highest rated, or most critically successful television programming that's been on in the last 10 years. They're the ones with the highest commercial advertising rates because of the eyeballs that are gathered as a result. Sex, drama, violence - it's all there in spades and people continue to watch.

I see conflicting statements here - supposedly people don't want to see that as part of thier football, but they're perfectly happy watching that as part of thier regular prime-time viewing? Something doesn't make sense with all of that. People don't want to watch the sex and violence, yet the sex and violence gets the best ratings, therefore people *must* be watching. To borrow a lyric from a Chicago song, "It's a paradox, full of contradiction..."

... I just wonder if the network executives and the censors have figured out the paradox themselves.