General Question

janbb's avatar

Am I a prude or does this seem like a flaw in the writing?

Asked by janbb (63038points) March 24th, 2023

So I’ve been watching the Apple+ series “Shirnking” with Harrison Ford and Jason Segel. It’s a pleasant enough show but literally ever character in it, from a 15 year old to a 75 year old uses the f-word in almost every sentence. I’m happy to use it on occasion myself and feel there is a place for it as a strong expression. But to me, the ubiquitous usage degrades the show when it is used continually and is indicative of poorly written characters.

Your thoughts? Has anyone else seen the show?

In General – you know what that means.

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20 Answers

NoMore's avatar

I agree. “Yellowstone” has the same issue.

Dig_Dug's avatar

Yes it is crazy if it is over used. That makes it much less effective and lazy, also very tiresome hearing it too much.

JLeslie's avatar

I haven’t watched it, but I would bet a lot of money ahead of time that I would agree with you.

I felt that way about the word shit on the show suits. I feel that way about too much sex being shown on TV.

I don’t think it’s prudish, I think it’s just recognizing it’s unnecessary and dilutes the emphasis these words can have and also can make some audience members uncomfortable.

Jeruba's avatar

That was true in The Sopranos, which I binge-watched from beginning to end a couple of years ago. That gave me a really immersive experience in the vernacular: every scene among Tony and his business associates was thick with Fs. Even if it was realistic, it was too much for my ears.

I don’t think of it as a flaw in the writing, though. I think that direction probably comes from above and reflects a view of what it takes to be edgy and what the audience is presumed to expect. Maybe it rated higher with test audiences, who thought they were seeing something more realistic if it was heavier on the foul language.

(You’re not a prude, @janbb.)

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

No you are not a prude. Just not your preference. Which you are welcome to have.

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba Actually, I think it is a flaw in the writing. One of the producers is also one of the writers – Brett Goldstein. On another popular show, Ted Lasso, he plays Roy Kent, a foul mouthed soccer player. It is very effective there because it is part of that character and no one else’s. I may be wrong but I think he, or maybe others, brought it over to this show but use it everywhere.

But I agree that the higher ups must approve if it.

Zaku's avatar

“Shirnking” or “Shrinking”? ;-) (on-topic: seems like “a flaw in the writing. j.k.)

I haven’t seen it, but yes that sounds to me like a flaw in the writing, unless it’s intentionally about people with a terrible swearing problem for some actual worthwhile reason.

janbb's avatar

@Zaku Oops! Sorry about that. (And I reread the Q three times before posting!)

chyna's avatar

Hell @janbb, if you are a prude, I’m a puritan!

janbb's avatar

^^ I actually wasn’t too worried, just thought I’d frame the question that way.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@chyna I love your beef stew.

gorillapaws's avatar

I haven’t seen the show. My preference is for verisimilitude. If it’s mafia guys or teenagers than if feels inauthentic if they’re not dropping f bombs on the regular. That said, profane language doesn’t inherently make a characters edgy, or interesting.

jca2's avatar

I haven’t seen “Shrinking” so I can’t speak to that one, but in the case of the Sopranos, I feel like the cursing is authentic, it’s part of the way they are. In the city I grew up in, the types in Sopranos were the uncles and fathers of a lot of my friends, and when I was watching the show, I was continually reminded of the friends and relatives of my friends.

Forever_Free's avatar

Overused and unrealistic.

Poseidon's avatar

I agree totally, there is no need for gratuitous expletives on many shows or movies. I very often detracts from the actual plot.

There are times when bad language has to be accepted in TV series and movies such as prisons or war.

Added to this very often the use of this language completely spoils what is being shown and in many cases if the language was removed it would become lower rated and younger age groups could watch and enjoy the program or movie.

Cupcake's avatar

I saw the show and quite liked it. I didn’t have any issue with the language. The main characters were largely in crisis – perhaps the “foul” language was meant to represent their low levels of well-being and functioning. I was far more offended by their very inappropriate clinical behavior with clients, but I think all of these things were meant to go hand-in-hand.

JLeslie's avatar

I binged Night Agent yesterday with my husband and the use of curse words was excessive and a little annoying. One of the main characters it sounded totally artificial when she said fuck. Actually, her acting was not very good, everyone else on the show was good though.

We liked the show overall if you need something to watch. I think it was ten episodes.

janbb's avatar

@Cupcake I agree that the therapeutic aspects were pretty offensive and the way people just barged into offices. Boundaries crossed all over the place. I did enjoy the series though as well; just think the characterization is weak if everyone is using the same mode of expression.

RayaHope's avatar

I never watched the show but by what you said I think I’m glad I never did. WOW that was 4 I’s in the same sentence. lol I don’t like when they have a lot of cursing in a shows dialogue and if all the characters act basically the same that is poor writing and directing to me. Seems like the script is weak and they are making a vain attempt to be edgy or cool and falling on their face in that attempt.

Zissou's avatar

No, you’re not a prude, and yes, it is a flaw in the writing. Writers who can’t generate emotional force from their plots and action resort to profanity.

I’m really tired of the excessive profanity these days, especially the overuse of the f-bomb. Our middle school English teachers were right when they when they warned us about this, as was Orwell when he wrote about the connection between the degeneration of language and the degeneration of thought.

I saw a LSSC monologue a while back. In response to whatever the latest GOP attack on truth, justice, and the American Way was that day, Steven Colbert served up a heartfelt “F*** YOU”, to rousing applause. Then he told a joke about bagels, and the punchline was that people who liked blueberry muffins should “just get a f***ing muffin.” It shows how the overuse of profanity robs it of its force, as our teachers said. If an f-bomb is an appropriate response to express our disapproval of someone’s choice of bagel flavors, then what are we supposed to say when, e.g., someone spouts disinformation and fallacies in order to excuse and promote sedition, insurrection, and undermining fundamental democratic institutions?

There is also evidence that profanity is processed by our brains differently (from studies of brain damage, Tourette’s syndrome, etc.). It irritates me that profanity comes to my own lips so quickly these days, maybe because of this overexposure.

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