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Trump just barely suitable for TV

Recently, the Trump took name-calling to a whole new level on Twitter, referring to potential House Intelligence Chairman, Adam Schiff as “little Adam Schitt.”  Very quickly, the profane posting made its way around the world and then, onto late night TV.

Stephen Colbert gleefully explained that he could say “Schitt” as often as he liked as long as his graphics department showed Trump’s Tweet while he said it.  So they did and he did.  A lot.

But that’s not the first time Colbert’s show managed to air something that can’t be said on TV.  During their live show on the mid-term election night, John Heilemann, host of Showtime’s political program The Circus, dropped an f-bomb that was missed by the obligatory sensor-bleep.

Ah, those sensors.  They mute, they bleep, and they cover the speaker’s mouth with graphics or blur it to protect us from the ugly words that in my childhood would reap a mouth full of soap.

And that’s not the only way the sensors have stood between us and foul language.  Back in the 70’s and 80’s when theatre movies finally hit our TV screens, the audio was routinely dubbed over with alternate dialogue.  It lead many young viewers to deliriously play “Guess the Swear Word.”  And it wasn’t just the occasional f-bomb that was targeted.  “Hell,” “heck,” even the occasional “you suck” was switched out for something creatively benign.

But language wasn’t the only thing made squeaky clean in the early years of television.  Breasts were outlawed.  Even for cartoons.

That is, until PBS managed to air a bare breast in 1973’s Steambath because it was not specifically mentioned in the dialogue.  After that until 1990, you could occasionally see a boob, but you couldn’t say “boob.”

However, it was the stuff south of the border that upset TV sensors the most.  No, not sex.  Toilets.  In the 1960’s, a sink and a shower were fine, but networks could not show a toilet for nearly 20 years.  Even the word and any associated euphemisms were black-listed lest people think about those body parts and what other things they can do.

Speaking of which, husbands and wives were not shown in bed.  Furthermore, American icon, Lucille Ball was pregnant for an entire season of I Love Lucy without ever saying the word.

Of course, over time people were allowed to be in bed together.  Then, once that line was crossed, daytime television also began getting particularly raunchy for bored housewives and students.  And finally, gay couples were also allowed under the sheets together.  They just couldn’t kiss or show any physical affection for quite a while after that.

Today, fortunately for Trump, TV rules have loosened as much as our sexuality and new words are being created faster than the sensors can rate them.  Ironically, The Goldbergs, a sitcom set in the more sensor-filled 80’s, has an upcoming episode titled “Yippee Ki-Yay Melon Farmer.”  I’m guessing Bruce Willis and Die Hard is somehow involved.

Guess what the real title is.

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