James Leroy Wilson's blog

Monday, December 10, 2007

Changing Standards

Have you ever seen the 1934 film The Thin Man? I finally did recently, and boy, I've never seen the protagonist drink so much in a movie - not in a comedy, and not even in tragic dramas about alcoholism. It's amazing what you could and couldn't get away with during the Hay's Code years in Hollywood.

It's the kind of movie you couldn't make today. Nick and Nora Charles are the two most fun characters in movie history - you want to be them, or at least you want to be with them - yet they're perpetually tipsy. You just can't glamorize alcohol like that anymore.

Just as you can't glamorize pipes or cookies.

Oddly, however, reruns of Family Guy and South Park are now syndicated and in many places are shown daily in the early evening hours, when little kids could be watching. I don't hear much of a fuss about it. It's as if the kind of people who normally get upset about sexual references, race jokes, and profanity have just given up. Perhaps if it's animated, nobody takes it seriously, which is probably why Family Guy gets away with everything.

The funny thing is, you never know when entertainers will have gone a bridge too far, which comment or joke will hurt one's career. The best protection, as Don Imus found out, is to behave like Howard Stern and Sarah Silverman, essentially saying "screw you!" to whoever complains. Offend everybody from time to time, and refuse to apologize or show any kind of vulnerability.

1 comment:

  1. Our kids watch Curious George, the cartoon monkey. Both the book and the TV show tell of George having a good meal and a good pipe before getting tired for the evening. How'd that pass?