The new CBS sitcom "$#*! My Dad Says" has provoked the ire of The Parents Television Council, a conservative advocacy group. At issue is the show's use of "$#*!" as a stand-in for a word forbidden in network television. If CBS doesn't change the name, the group is threatening to challenge the broadcasting license of every CBS affiliate airing the program before 10 p.m.
The group's president, Tim Winter, drives a hard bargain. He said masking the profanity behind money signs and exclamation points isn't fooling anyone. Even changing the name to "Bleep, My Dad Says" wouldn't cut it, he insisted.
It’s not a hint. It’s in your face. Look at the characters. The ‘$’ and ‘#’ are the signs for ‘s’ and ‘h.’ It is intended to conjure up the [swear] word. ... Any station that chooses to air it is a hypocrite about indecency.
But for the show's star William Shatner, the title has already been watered down enough. "Why can't we say shit? Shit is a very natural function of the body. We shouldn't discard it," he said.
As for CBS, the network pushed back against the Council:
The program is inspired by the wildly popular Twitter phenomena, which now has more than 1.5 million followers, and also has spawned a bestselling book of the same name. It will in no way be indecent and will adhere to all CBS standards. Parents who chose to do so will find the show can be easily blocked using their VChip.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.