TV NETWORKS BLEEP OUT THE WRONG STUFF

Jesus got bleeped.

It happened during a recent airing of “The View,” the ABC mid-morning show that features a handful of female broadcasters “dishing the dirt.”

On this particular show, they were talking about diets. Cohost Joy Behar apparently had stopped doing her daily weigh-ins.

“Yes, and thank you, thank you, Jesus, is all I have to say,” Behar exclaimed.

Much of the nation, which gets the show live, heard her say that. Apparently, since we are all still here, the world did not end.

Just the same, on the taped version, which airs on the West Coast, ABC edited
“Jesus” out.

“Under the circumstances,” an ABC spokesman said, “we were concerned it would be offensive to our audience.”

Offensive? Hmm. This is the same network that gave us the “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Special,” a show so racy it prompted complaints to the Federal Communications Commission (and also led certain male viewers to use the word
“Jesus,” although not in the same context).

This is the same network that gives us “The Bachelor,” a show in which women throw themselves at a rich Harvard grad in hopes of being discovered by a movie agent, or, failing that, getting married.

This is the same network that airs “NYPD Blue,” which is constantly having to warn us how offensive it might be.

This is the same network that created “The Mole,” which . . . ah, forget it. I don’t want to sink that low.

And Jesus got bleeped?

A woman on a fluffy show

Now it’s true, if Jesus came back today and saw what had happened, his first question would likely be: “What is ‘The View,’ and why is it on five times a week?”

And it’s true, if you are going to invoke the name of Jesus, you might want to wait for something a bit more important than the end of your diet.

But who exactly were the networks worrying about offending? Joy Behar is not a politician. She’s not a newscaster. She’s not a network executive. She is a woman on a fluffy TV show. She wants to thank Jesus that her diet is over. That’s her business.

“The network has no problem with Jesus Christ’s name if it is used in a prayerful and respectful manner,” the ABC spokesman said.

Ah. So when basketball players credit Jesus for making that buzzer beater, that’s OK. Just no diet talk.

The networks would have you think they are ascribing to some high moral code here. But believe me, if their ratings needles jumped every time the word
“Jesus” was uttered, you would have a Jesus game show, a Jesus miniseries and a Jesus behind-the-network-news desk.

“It was stupid to bleep that,” said Star Jones, another cohost on “The View.”
“They let us say all kinds of things on TV, but they bleep Jesus? That makes no sense.”

Heaven help me.

I actually agree with something Star Jones said.

Lowest form of human behavior

Now, I understand, in a perfect, sanitized word, no one would ever utter anything that might offend anybody. But that world does not exist.

When I see Joy Behar saying “thank you, Jesus” for the end of her diet, I see it more as a funny exultation than anything else. I don’t feel excluded or included. I don’t think she speaks for the network, the show or anyone besides herself.

But when I see men picking brides as if shopping at a brothel, when I see game shows designed to bring out the lowest form of human behavior, when I see cop shows that detail rape, lawyer shows that detail murder, shows about high schools in which everyone is pregnant, sleeping with one another or doing drugs, animated shows in which adults are idiots and kids are defecating, when I see reality television that has people lying with snakes, eating bugs or tempting their marriage vows in a hot tub — when I see all that, I wait and I wait.

You know what I am waiting for?

A bleep.

And it never comes.

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or albom@freepress.com.

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