Dear Advertisers, I am disgusted with the way old people are depicted on television. We are not all vibrant, fun loving sex maniacs. Many of us are bitter, resentful individuals who remember the good old days when entertainment was bland and inoffensive. The following is a list of words I never want to hear on television again. Number one: bra. Number two: horny. Number three: family jewels.
P.S.: I am NOT a crank.
The nice people at Governmentattic.org recently posted a collection of complaints to the FCC about The Simpsons received between 2008 and 2012; it’s a follow-up to an earlier FOIA request for complaints from 2003-2007. We were struck by how many of the complaints sounded like they could have come from Abe Simpson — in fact, we briefly considered setting this piece up as a “can you tell the real FCC complaint from an Abe Simpson complaint letter?” kind of thing, but frankly, Abe’s complaints hold together more logically.
We’re trying to determine what insights about the American Viewing Audience these complaints reveal. Mostly, we think the American Viewing Audience is really fond of the caps lock and exclamation point keys.
- Date: 6/17/2007
Location: Not given
Complaint: THE FCC NEEDS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS NOW AND FAST IT IS TERRIBLE AND WRONG TO WHAT HAPPENED AND THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT GETTING PUNISHED AT ALL, I AM DISUSTED AND HORRIFIED AT WHAT HAPPENED. FOX ALLOWED THE SIMPSONS TO AIR THIS SUNDAY NIGHT JUNE 17 AT 730 PM THAT WAS RATED PG AND IT SHOWED SOMEBODY WEARING S AND M GEAR ON THE SHOW THIS IS TERRIBLE, DISGUSTIING, AND DEGENRATE FOR OUR CHILDREN TO WATCH THE SHOW IS TV PG SO KIDS 8 YEARS OLD AND UP ARE WATCHING THIS AND WE MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT I AM GOING TO I ALREADY MADE A PETITION AND IF ANYMORE OF THESE DISGUSTING EPISDOES OR DISGUSTING FOOTAGE IS SHOWN THAT BREAKS THE FCC CONTRACT AND RULES AND GUIDELINES, THERE WILL BE DIRE CONSEQUENCES. [It goes on Like this for a while more, and closes:] FINE THAT STATION OR AT LEAST MAKE SURE NO MORE SMUT AND GARBAGE AND INDENCENT DEFAMING PROGRAMMING IS SHOWN WHEN BABIES ARE WATCHING TELEVISION AT 7 PM SHOWING S AND M.
Six years later, and the Republic still stands, somehow.
- Date: 10/29/2007
Location: Louisville, KY
Complaint: While watching the world Series. Fox advertised for the Simpson. The Commercial shows a homosexual encounter with an alien. I think this is inappropriate for the audience that would be watching this program.
Not sure if homosexual alien encounters with aliens are inappropriate for viewers of The Simpsons or of the World Series.
- Date: 11/22/2005
Location: Kingsbury, TX
Complaint: This is only one instance of many. Bart Simpson uses sexual innuendos and similarly degrading talk throughout his
‘skits’ to further destroy what’s left of our American culture! I’m sure you realize that our culture is what we use to
pass on our values and traditions and heritage, all of which literally keep us going — surviving! You I contend are
letting us down by allowing this precious culture to be degraded and destroyed. Please do your job or we all will
suffer. Thank you!
What about the culture? Won’t someone please think of the culture?
- Date: 8/1/2006
Location Eureka, CA
Complaint: In this episode, the students of Springfield Elementary School have revolted against the teachers and administrators, taking ‘control’ of the school. The students eventually catch Principal Skinner in the gym… one of the students empties out a large brown-colored drawstring bag that is filled with various sports balls (soccerballs/basketballs/voleyballs etc). Mr Skinner is then placed inside the empty sack and the drawstring was pulled snug around his neck, leaving only his neck and head outside of the bag. My concern, and the basis for this complaint, is in the manner of how the image of Principal Skinner was depicted after he had been placed into this bag and the drawstring pulled. The image of the large drawstring bag very clearly, and undeniably, resembled a non-circumcised penis (flaccid state). Mr Skinner’s height was the reason for the length of the brown sack, depicted the ‘shaft’ and where the sack tapered from Mr Skinner’s shoulders up to his neck where the drawstring had been pulled into a ‘pucker’ depicted the foreskin… [Later in the episode,] Principal Skinner, still inside of a sack drawn to resemble an intact penis, then said to the squirrel:; “Mr. Nibbles, would you please come here and cut my ball sack:’; The secondary intention of Principal Skinner’s statement should be obvious, but since description is key to an effective complaint, I will briefly elaborate… -Principal Skinner’s use of the term “ball sack” would have been a ‘double entendre’ intended to refer to the male anatomical part of ‘scrotum’, which is commonly referred to as “ball sac”.
The amount of thought that went into each detail of this complaint is strangely touching. Somehow, the complainant said nothing about another line in the same episode, where Groundskeeper Willie exclaims, “OK Skinner, that’s the last time you’ll slap your Willie around. I quit!”
- Date: 12/17/2004
Location: Not Given
Complaint: The Simpsons cartoon features two women in swimsuits. While there were no nudity, this scene certainly was
inapropriate because women should be dressed conservatively and obey the wishes of their husbands.
We weren’t even aware that The Simpsons aired in Riyadh.
- Date: 3/6/2011
Location: Not Given
Complaint: This Episode shows the hillbilly girl pregnant, drinking, and smoking. I am concerned young pregnancies will be given false information and take it the wrong way thinking this type of action is alright to do. There is so many pregnancies in todays society ending in shame of bad parenting when they have drank and smoked during their pregnancies … The television should be limited to things like this putting ideas into those young girls minds. Take into consideration to limit the amount of swearing and horrible sick humour about bad pregnancies such as this episode and family guys “prom night dumpster babies” THEY SHOULD BAN IT ALL!
Pregnancies should be warned to carefully evaluate the prenatal health tips they get from animated cartoons.
- Date: 2/14/2011
Location: Miami, FL
Complaint: In the episode, Homer Simpson is imagining unpleasant things that could happen while being uninsured. Among the things Homer was also imagining was Marge Simpson having a lesbian kiss with another woman.This is a show which audiences from as young as 4 years old watch frequently. Because of its animated format and theme of the story (happenings of a middle class family), this is naturally accepted by many parents as an acceptable program for children. The image of Marge Simpson kissing another woman is indecent and the episode should be banned from broadcast to prevent children from seeing this.
Now being uninsured leads to lesbian kisses. THANKS OBAMACARE.
- Date: 12/05/2010
Location; Colorado Springs, CO
Complaint: There was an episode of The Simpsons that featured marijuana leaves being fed to a train as fuel. This is very concerning since it glamorizes drug use to children that may be watching.
This is your train. This is your train on drugs. Any questions?
- Date: 11/9/2010
Location: Chicago, IL
Complaint: Language used was the concern. Talking about taking a poop, found this offensive. Another was having to take a pee, found offensive as well. Need to use better language as in the past when language was more pure.
In my day, we called it “sending a care package to the Kaiser.”
- Date: 10/17/2010
Location: Baltimore, MD
Complaint: during the simpsons a commercial aired for schick which publically aired shots of a woman’s barely covered vagina area of a woman in her underwear which barely covered her vagina with her legs gaped wide open all of which was obscene&lewd&pornographic&unnecessary. you used to have to buy pornographic magazines in order to see female nudity like that while surprise the male was fully covered.
We’re pretty sure they just liked typing “vagina” a whole lot. Or is the complaint that the male isn’t also in underpants, so that they can type “penis” several times.
- Date: 10/08/2010
Location: Chicago, IL
Complaint: One line was about whipping someone’s toosh.
This complaint required a great deal of chootzpah.
Location: League City TX
Complaint: I Don’t Think So, Mr. Simpson, Because I Would Make 20th Century Fox Film Corporation Take This Evil Show Off The Air Only To Get Small Wonder Back Onto The Channel Every Sunday Night.
Viewer yearns for the return of a sitcom that ceased production in 1989. Cant they just be satisfied with the fan fiction?
(Of course there’s fan fiction.)