First, we mocked their creative use of censorship (most often s*x, but also s*xual, p*rnographic, er*tic, etc.) A few months later they started adding an explanation to their action alert emails:
An asterisk '*' is used to ensure our emails get through to those who have signed up for our alerts. Otherwise specific words referenced would be blocked by some internet filters.(It's worth noting that in their most recent alert they censored "m*rijuana". That is so funny. "Sex" I can understand, but since when does "marijuana" effect email filters? Are people being bogged down by too many emails about marijuana? Does anyone even call it marijuana?)
Anyway... we also pointed out the parental guidance rating on some of the shows that they were criticizing for not being "child-friendly" when they really weren't intended for viewing by young children. (Many had a TV-14 advisory or higher.) Shortly after that, they started including the TV ratings in their action alerts as well.
Now, a mere five days after we questioned why the OMM were still obsessing over The Secret Life instead of moving on to another show, like Pretty Little Liars... they sent out this alert!
ABC Family's New Program 'Pretty Little Liars'So it's official. They read our blog and they use us for inspiration.
Imagine a junior version of "Desperate Housewives" and you have ABC Family Channel's newest program "Pretty Little Liars." This new show is geared toward teens and airs on Tuesday nights at 8:00/7:00 central. The past several episodes have been rated 14-DL or PG-L.
The Secret Life (I mean, c'mon) and two, because it gave us an excuse to check out Pretty Little Liars. The commercials seemed... interesting, but we wouldn't have actually sat down and watched an episode without some other kind of incentive.
What better incentive is there than making fun of the OMM?
Anyway... back to mocking their action alert...
Since we already mentioned the parental ratings issue, let's just readdress what TV-14-DL actually means. TV-14 doesn't mean "for 14 year olds", it means it's not appropriate for children under 14. Now you can argue semantics on this one that it's the same thing, but really, it's not and here's why...
According to the Parents Television Council, a TV-14 rating means "Parents Strongly Cautioned".
TV 14 Parents Strongly CautionedTelevisions are not babysitters. "PG" doesn't mean "for kids" it means "parental guidance suggested". Parental... that's you, one million moms. That's what advisory ratings are for. To advise parents of the content of a show. TV-14 is your clue that it is not a children's program and contains some objectionable content above and beyond the PG rating. It's up to you, the parents, to decide whether it's appropriate for your child (at any age). Fourteen is not a cut-off age for "I no longer have to supervise my children's activities or have conversations with them about what they saw on TV".
This program contains some material that parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age. Parents are strongly urged to exercise greater care in monitoring this program and are cautioned against letting children under the age of 14 watch unattended. This program contains one or more of the following: intense violence (V), intense sexual situations (S), strong coarse language (L), or intensely suggestive dialogue (D).
What you need to know: Most TV-14 shows contain sex, violence or adult language. Not all of those shows are labeled with the content descriptors. TV-14 shows with the highest levels of sex, violence or adult language are usually labeled with the content ratings. A TV-14 rating without content labels may also indicate a program with a mature theme.
I can totally understand why someone might not want their 14-year-old to watch Pretty Little Liars, but the OMM wants shows like this off the air completely and that doesn't make sense. They seem to be confused by the fact that the network is called ABC Family. Listen moms, it's not called ABC Children-of-All-Ages or ABC Kids-Can-Watch-Unsupervised. It's ABC Family... and that's not ABC Christian-Conservative-Closedminded-Family. I know it's hard to grasp, but there are lots of different kinds of families out there and sometimes they include teens (because surprise, young children typically become teenagers) and sometimes family members want to watch TV after the younger kids have gone to bed. Shocking, I know.
Now if this show was rated TV-Y or TV-G, I'd be complaining right there with the OMM... but it's not. I wouldn't let Lil' Lilith watch this show unsupervised, but I think it could actually be a good idea for parents to watch shows like these with their older children/teens because it opens up the possibility for discussions on a lot of issues that teens are facing today. Sorry OMM, but no matter how much you try to shield your kids from reality, they are going to eventually learn about this stuff somewhere... from friends, at school, on the Internet. Watching a show like this gives an easy, no-pressure way to bring up these topics and put forth the information you really want your kids to get.
More from the OMM's action alert:
Content from the first three episodes includes:
1) A 17-year-old girl is at a bar, drinking alcohol. She meets a man, has s*x with him and lies about her age. The same girl's father had an affair. She caught her Dad and the other woman and he has asked her to lie to her mother about it.
2) On the first day of school, the man this girl has s*x with turns out to be her teacher and the two continue to have a relationship anyway.
3) A friend shoplifts, gets caught and her mother has s*x with the detective in order for the charges to be dropped. The mother also tells the daughter to lie and say it was a misunderstanding. Later her boyfriend turns her down when she wants to sleep with him because she seems desperate by throwing herself at him. She steals his car and wrecks it to get even. She is also bulimic.
4) A different girl thinks she is gay, has a female friend over for a sleep over and they share a bed. They cuddle. Later, they kiss in a photo booth at a party.
5) Another teenage girl is kissed by her older sister's boyfriend when he enters her room and tries to seduce her. We discover later that she has kissed another older man.
6) During a flashback, this group of friends lit a bottle rocket and threw it into another less popular girl's garage. Unfortunately, it sets the whole house on fire and there is an explosion. We know that someone was inside and she was blinded.
7) Two girls smoke m*rijuana.
8) Foul language written in letters and with lipstick on mirrors from a mystery person who is taunting them over a friend who was murdered. They are all hiding what really happened to her.
This series will deal with homosexuality, adultery, eating disorders, family dysfunction, deceit and underage drinking. In this new program everyone is lying about something.
Hm... underage drinking, sex, infidelity, lying, shoplifting, bulimia, homosexuality, vandalism, bullying, drug use, murder and stalking. Sounds like all topics I'd want to discuss with my child at some point in her life (if I haven't already). These shows aren't "How-Tos" and the characters aren't role models. Get involved in your children's lives and you be the role model. If you're concerned with the "horrible" stuff the TV is exposing your kids to... here's a crazy idea, TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT IT. Embrace these shows for what they could be - tools for helping you educate your kids on the issues that they are probably already facing. (Now I'm sure that the lessons I would be teaching my daughter on these topics would be very, very different than those of the OMM, but the point still stands.) And if that doesn't work for you... here's another solution that's a hell of a lot easier than harassing huge corporations: TURN OFF THE TV.
Update: We just a few minutes ago received the most recent action alert for the OMM. Apparently they finally got wind of the fact that Bristol Palin was guest starring on The Secret Life. And it's causing their heads to explode. Just like one of our commenters predicted on July 3. Either they're reading our blog or they're just getting really predictible.