Friday, January 12, 2007


Okay, so here's a first. I'm going to come right out and say, this time, that this gripe might just be my opinion. In fact, I can even understand why some people might want an item like this

On the other hand, as an artist, this kind of thing aggravates me to no end. Some of you may have heard of a little box called a TV Guardian. The TV Guardian is a computer that, when plugged into your TV, recognizes adult language and filters it out.

This might not be so bad if it didn't replace the missing dialogue with closed captions. Now, I know it's a valid question to ask what else could they replace it with. I know they don't have the actors' voices recorded on the box. My best friend's mom had one of these growing up. We watched The Usual Suspects, on one occasion, and I remember listening to silence for the majority of the movie. I'm sorry, but this thing can definitely ruin some seriously good shows and movies. I remember it even filtered out "darn". How Puritanical can you get?

Just look at how the TV Guardian would take a wonderful, hilarious movie like Snatch, and shoot arguably it's best scene to pieces:


Bullet Tooth Tony: So, you are obviously the big [jerk]. The men on the side of ya are your [jerks]. There are two types of [jerks]. There are big brave [jerks], and there are little mincey [stupid] [jerks]

: These are your last words, so make them a prayer.

Bullet Tooth Tony: Now, [jerks] have drive and clarity of vision, but they are not clever. They smell [coward] and they want a piece of the action. And you thought you smelled some good old [coward], and have brought your two small mincey [stupid] [jerks] along for a good old time. But you've got your parties mangled up. There's no [coward] here, just a dose that'll make you wish you were born a woman. Like a [jerk], you are having second thoughts. You are shrinking, and your two little [jerks] are shrinking with you. And the fact that you've got "Replica" written down the side of your gun...

[Zooms in on Vinny's gun, which reads 'REPLICA' in bold letters down the side]

And the fact that I've got "Desert Eagle point five O"...

[Places his gun on the table, which reads 'DESERT EAGLE .50']

Written down the side of mine...should precipitate your [jerks] into shrinking, along with your presence. Now... [gosh] off!


Admittedly, my language is colorful from time to time, so it's almost a given that I would be against something like this. But, honestly, sometimes a character just isn't the same when you take away the language they use, rough though it might be. That's one reason that unsaved characters in Christian movies and books are never believable. They always seem like Christians acting like non-Christians, or caricatures from the Evangelical point of view.

Our job is to monitor what our kids watch, not to spend a hundred dollars on a glorified baby-sitter to do it for us.

However, since I am a magnanimous fellow, if you'd like to purchase one of these devices, you may do so here:

Family Christian Stores - TV Guardian 201 Series


Allen said...

Somehow, I think I'd prefer a comic strip-style censorer. Instead of [jerk] or [coward], you'd get @#$% and *^!#, etc. But that's just me...

Say No to Crack said...

It would seem strange that people who objected to foul language would all of a sudden enjoy lewd rated R movies with the bad language taken out.

80's comedy would probably be rather funny to watch a Guardian, Eddie Murphy's Raw comes to mind.

Gregory said...

Allen, I'm with you there. It would be much more interesting.

Watching Raw with a Guardian would be the same as watching it on mute.

Miss Kitty said...

Thank you for this post! Parenting involves a lot more than buying some machine. It involves...well, being involved. A machine is a poor substitute for parental guidance.

Diesel said...

Is there a machine I could get to read Eragon for me and go, "Ehhhhh"?

We Tivo'd Boondock Saints a while back (it was on some basic cable station). Supposedly it's a very good movie, but after 15 minutes of listening to every other word of the dialogue, I deleted it and added it to my NetFlix cue. I believe in in more danger from incoherent dialogue than the occasional f-word.

Claire said...

I agree with you totally on this one! "Say no" is right on target--the sort of movie that is likely to have lots of strong language is also likely to have sex, drugs, rock and roll-the works. If you can't take the heat...

Joel Bezaire said...


My favorite scene is when they realize the driver they hired can't drive:

[Tyrone just backed into Franky Four Fingers' van]

Tyrone: I didn't see it there.

Vinny: It's a four ton truck, Tyrone. Its not as though its a bag of {stinking} peanuts, is it?

Tyrone: It was at a funny angle.
[All three turn and look back at the truck]

Vinny: It's behind you Tyrone. Whenever you reverse, things come at you from behind.

Gregory said...

That movie is classic Joel!

"You could land a jumbo-(stinking)-jet in there!"

Scott said...

I've got a five year old who has a pretty mature taste in movies, which has led us to discover this class of movies which are fine for her in all ways except language.

Take "War Games" for example, which we watched the other day. No serious violence, no sex, a good plot she can follow, but sprinkled with lines like the following (courtesy IMDB):

"what kind of an asshole grows up in Seattle and doesn't even know how to swim?"

"Goddammit, I'd piss on a spark plug if I thought it'd do any good!"

"I don't have to take that, you pig-eyed sack of shit."

Its movies and lines like these that led me to research this device, and found me on your blog today. When she is old enough for the material of the Usual Suspects, Goodfellas, or Reservoir Dogs, she'll be more than old enough to handle some foul language.

I just wonder how it will bleep "pig eyes sack of shit?" LOL

PraiseDivineMercy said...

If you think this is bad, try researching anime censorship.
Much anime is made for teens and adults, but American companies try to repackage it for kids. Naruto for instance, is geared towards ages 15+ but is edited for Y-7.
I laughed so hard when I bought the DVDs for Rurouni Kenshin and found out that the reason Saitou always has a toothpick in his mouth is because he's a chain smoker, and well, that's a bad example for the kids. Oh, and the reason Kaoru has a bubble bath in the TV version is to conceal a tiny bit of cleavage most women would show above their shirts anyway.
In Naruto, there's an amusing scene in one of the first few episodes in which Naruto, eyes closed, aims to kiss a girl he likes, but his lips land on his male rival instead. That the humor is in the fact that the two are obviously straight did not occur to the censors who cut it.
These same censors then leave in all the scenes of killing people, but edit out the blood, removing the consequences of the acts protrayed.
My point for writing all of this? Censorship is unreliable and often hypocritical. Best to just watch TV with your kids rather than depend on tech or censorship.