Monday, November 06, 2006

Don't Mess With Santa

I was watching my new favorite TV show, The Colbert Report, the other day when I noticed something interesting.

Stephen was interviewing Penn Jillette from Penn & Teller. When Stephen mentioned that Penn was breaking the hearts of children by taking the magic out of magic tricks, Penn turned to the camera and said, "There is no Santa Claus! The Tooth Fairy is your Mother and Father! There is no Easter Bunny! And... No God! Sorry!"

Now there is nothing really strange about the statement itself. What I thought was strange was the way the Comedy Central handled the statement.

It came out like this: "There is no BEEEEEEEP! The Tooth Fairy is your BEEEEEEEEEEP! There is no BEEEEEP! And... No God! Sorry!"

Apparently it is perfectly acceptable to say that God doesn't exist just as long as you don't talk shit about Santa, the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny.

I'm not saying that I think it is wrong, I'm just saying that I found it surprising. Surprising in a good way.

I like the fact that Comedy Central found content that, legally, they didn't have to censor, but made the decision to intervene anyway in the best interest of all the young believers in the audience.

I've had similar experiences with other networks who weren't so vigilant or considerate. In these cases someone would say something like, "Everybody knows there is no Santa Claus." At which point I quickly look at the kids to see if this has registered with them at all. If it has, I have to come up with some way to explain away the statement and fast.

I realize that at some point the kids are going to figure out what is what but I'd much rather let them figure it out on their own and not from some dick like Penn Jillette who is desperately trying to prove how much he doesn't care about what people think of him!


Anonymous said...

You realize that was a joke on Comedy Central's behalf, right? They don't care at all if someone says there is no Santa, it was the contrast of bleeping that and not that there is no god. (which of course there isn't)

CanadaDad said...

From what I understand when this episode aired on Showtime there was no bleeping at all. This would mean that the Colbert Report did not include any bleeping to the finished product that they provided to the networks.

This fact implies that the Bleeping was added by Comedy Central, the network, and not the producers of the Colbert Report.

I find it very hard to believe that the censors at Comedy Central are encouraged to add unneccessary bleeping in order to enhance jokes.

Would it be realistic to think that any other network, like say NBC, would get away with making the decision to bleep out a word in the Oprah show for comedic effect? Hell No! Not without a lawsuit from HARPO productions they wouldn't!

I don't think the networks have the right to tamper with the content of a show unless it is required in order to meet compliance with the FCC.

So you'll forgive me if I disagree with you on that one.

The Complaints Depot said...

Agreed Canada Dad. I like that fact that they bleeped out those words, like you said in your original post. I don't want my kids finding out from some hack magician about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny.....If anyone's gonna spoil my kids childhood memories..its gonna be me:)