Network censors prohibit profanities on TV by inserting an irritating “BLEEP” in place of an offending word. Occasionally, TV writers use that prohibition in creative or funny ways. [Note, E-Verse uses it as well, in the phrase “would it kill you to read a #$&^%* book?” – E]
5. The X-Files episode “Jose Chung’s from Outer Space”: Throughout the episode, various characters say “bleep” in lieu of the prohibited words, but with the same intonation as they would use for the censored stuff.
4. On Arrested Development, in the episode “Bringing Up Buster”: Buster starts to stand up to his mother, and he launches into a speech that ends up being entirely bleeped out in a way that’s far funnier than anything he could possibly have said. The conservative Parents’ Television Council objected to the lengthy bleep and the hint of profanity it implied, even then nothing obscene was actually said.
3. Bleep My Dad Says: This TV show was based on the Twitter feet “Shit My Dad Says.” Pretty much every time this guy’s father opened his mouth, one of the words (at least!) was “fuck”. (ex: “Valentine’s day is bullshit. Our DNA demands we fuck each other, so if you need a holiday to talk your wife into screwing you, it’s over” and “These candidates are dog shit. All we’re doing is picking out the dick that’s going to fuck us.” And “There won’t be humans in 500 years. Enough people choke themselves when they jerk off we gave it a name. We ain’t a species made to last.”) So kudos to the people on the show for working around all that and getting the show on TV. Of course, the show sucked and was pulled off the air. But it was a great stepping stone. For example, the writer who is the guy who started the show parlayed that gig into a writing job on the sitcom “How to Be a Gentleman.” Could he ever have gotten a job on such a show if his previous show had the word “shit” in the title? I think not! Yet could he have gotten a job on such a show if his previous show was entitled something like “Super Cute and Adorable Things Hello Kitty Says”? No way. But he was able to hit that sweet spot between sleaze and politeness, and ride it for all it was worth, for at least a little while.
2. A Daily Show episode in which Jon Stewart spends several minutes describing then-first lady Laura Bush having sex with a horse: Why they did this, I don’t know. But the whole thing went on and on and was pretty much the dirtiest thing I ever heard. But it was entirely bleeped out, leaving us all to fill in the blanks. I looked for a clip of this on www.thedailyshow.com, but couldn’t find it. Maybe they didn’t put it up there because they really didn’t want any evidence of it. Then again, they did put an unblurred picture of some of correspondent Jason Jones’ naughty bits as part a segment showing his vasectomy . . .
1. On Celebrity Apprentice, Piers Morgan spoke at length to Donald Trump about the horrors of Omarosa: They showed a bunch of it, but bleeped, so you’re not sure exactly what he said, but you know it was really, really bad. And due to the way reality TV is, the audience could pretty much fill in whatever was bleeped with their own invective, adding an element of audience participation and identification.