How obscene is too obscene for Teletoon and Cineplex?
In the same week that Die Hard 4 gave FCUK a one-up on Toronto's boundary-line of perceivable profanity in public spaces, Teletoon found themselves running afoul of the decency censors at Cineplex Odeon, over a new trailer for nighttime programming that was set to debut at the multiplexes in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver (your Freshdaily hat trick, rar!) on June 8.
The trailer, which was rejected by scoring a hat trick of its own (drugs, profanity, nudity), will not be screened... even in front of R- or 18A-rated movies. It's a quick gag reel for the Detour programming line, and features (in no particular order) Carl from Aqua Teen in drag, an amorphous yellow blob licking itself, and a snowman getting snowblowered within an inch of its life. Here's the clip, care of the great repository of the mass media's dirty laundry, YouTube:
Too much? Too little? Are we still talking about cartoons here?
For my part, I can see CO's point, at least as far as, say, showing the trailer in front of Nancy Drew. But let's take, for example, a film like Knocked Up - a movie that any 11-year-old can go see (if accompanied by an adult), and in which various characters speak their minds on the virtues of anal sex. No good? Cineplex was reportedly only willing to concede to showing the trailer in front of hard-R slasher movies, like the recent debacle in torture porn, Hostel II... which is an offense on human decency of such an other order of magnitude from the Teletoon trailer that even lining the two of them up in sequence would be an exercise in hilarity.
Exactly what sector of the marketplace is being protected from the inane content in a reel like this? Aqua Teen and Robot Chicken have more than their share of the crude, but they're not going to raise any bars in terms of showing their teen-and-twentysomething audiences a level of obscenity that they haven't seen before.
The Die Hard example is a useful one. Leaving aside those gorgeous streetcard ads, any PG-13 movie playing at Cineplex Odeon theatres right now is probably carrying the trailer for Live Free or Die Hard - which, like the bus ads, has Bruce Willis' John McClane tossing out the first 78% of his trademark phrase before cutting away on the second letter of the m-f-word. The moral of the story seeming to be, you can tapdance right up to that line and let the audience's imaginations fill in the blanks, but no amorphous yellow blog shall ever be seen to lick himself on the cinema screen.
Ironically, this past week also saw Cineplex applying for a liquor license, a move that seems precisely engineered to further regiment their audiences into grown-ups and not-so-grown-ups. That being the case, is there a reason why the standing movie ratings system isn't seen as foolproof enough to keep inappropriate children out of harm's way with the Teletoon trailer? If SeaLab 2021 brings down the fuzzy moral center that lives in the heart of every Canadian moviegoer, I'll personally clean the Paramount rubix cube with a toothbrush.
Streetcar photo by Michael Kim.