In my concern for the continuing coarsening of language, I last wrote about whether the term “pimp” had become acceptable for children after it was used in the PG film “G-Force.”
The New York Times writes about another word that has crossed into the mainstream and has become a go-to insult on television and in movies.
On many nights this fall, it has been possible to tune in to broadcast network television during prime time and hear a character call someone else a “douche.”
In just the last several weeks, it has happened on CBS’s “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and the CW’s “The Vampire Diaries,” which are broadcast at 8 p.m., during what used to be known as the family hour. It has been heard this fall on Fox’s new series “The Cleveland Show,” which begins at 8:30, and on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” On NBC, its use has spanned the old and the new, blurted out on the freshman comedy “Community” and the seasoned drama “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
In total, the word has surfaced at least 76 times already this year on 26 prime-time network series, according to research by the Parents Television Council, which compiled the statistics at the request of The New York Times. That is up from 30 uses on 15 shows in all of 2007 and just six instances on four programs in 2005….And while the word “douche” is neither obscene nor profane — although this usage is certainly offensive to many people — it seems to represent the latest of broadcast television’s continuing efforts to expand the boundaries of taste, in part to stem the tide of defections by its audience to largely unregulated cable television….”As a writer, you’re always reaching for a more potent way to call somebody a jerk,” Dan Harmon, the creator of “Community,” said about the word “douche.” “This is a word that has evolved in the last couple of years — a thing that sounds like a thing you can’t say.”
Unquestionably, the language on television has become more vulgar. And the argument that this is acceptable because it can be limited to a particular time slot has become less supportable. When television programs like “Law and Order” and “CSI” (and their variations and spin-offs) seem to be on 24/7 and raunchy sit-coms like “Two and a Half Men” run in syndication in the early evening. I find this word particularly ugly and misogynistic and am sorry to see it become mainstream.
Edi Gathegi and Jamie Campbell Bower play bad guy vampires in “New Moon,” the second in the “Twilight” series based on the best-selling books by Stephanie Meyer. I had a chance to talk with them about making the movie. They were enormous fun, exceptionally friendly and happy to talk about making the movie.
NM: To begin with, this film has a different director, Chris Weitz of “American Pie,” “About a Boy,” and “The Golden Compass.” How will we see his influence on the story?
EG: Every director has his own unique style. Even in big franchise film series they’ll often switch off. Chris knows how to direct big stories and he has worked with CGI and special effects. In terms of color scheme and tones, “Twilight” was very blue and “New Moon” is very brown, with the introduction of the wolves. It does look gorgeous!
NM: How do you develop your walk and other movements for these supremely graceful creatures, the Volturi?
EG: Stephanie Meyer said the Volturi glide. So it’s not a clumpy foot stomp. It has to be liquid looking
JCB: My character is very still. For the one small bit of walking I did from my perch to my next perch, I was like a snake almost.
EG: We went to a moving like a cat workshop with exercises and cat movement. The idea is more like a tiger, lion, or panther. This is a new mythology of vampires, no fangs, no crosses. The Volturi have no blood in their bodies. They never have to move. There is a lot of stillness. We are not trying to pass ourselves off as human like the Cullens are.
NM: Tell me about the look of your characters. What do you wear?
JCB: The look of the Volturi is more stylish in its aesthetic. We are very well dressed even though we don’t get out much. We take what we can from our victims, so it is not always coordinated.
EG: It was a collective ensemble, the group look. Laurent was more rock star-y. He’s 300 years old, well traveled, picked from his favorite fashions of the day. He is fearless, doesn’t have to impress anyone. If it pleased him, he would wear a bright purple Russian car salesman suit.
NM: What’s the most fun about playing Volturi?
JCB: Getting to be incredibly evil and stare. We make use of the contacts, even though they are Irritating and decreased my vision.
EG: That’s the funny part! We are supposed to be the most gorgeous, perfect vision creatures in the planet, and with the contacts in, none of us can see!
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group today launched “DVD2Blu.com,” a site that allows consumers to upgrade the movies they already own on DVD to Blu-Ray Disc. Consumers can select from over 50 of Warner Home Video’s most sought-after titles to upgrade including “Body of Lies,” “A Christmas Story” and “Michael Clayton,” with more to come.
I love the way that this program allows viewers to take advantage of Blu-Ray and HD technology with responsible environmental protocols. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group is proud to be a leader in environmental stewardship and is committed to recycling the DVDs that consumers send in as part of the DVD2Blu program. The intellectual property is fully destroyed and all of the physical components are reused or recycled.
Through DVD2Blu, consumers can now experience their favorite movies again for the very first time in stunning 1080p picture quality and crisp, superior sound that only comes from a Blu-ray Disc. Titles such as “Training Day,” “Deliverance” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” can be upgraded for as little as $7.95 plus shipping. Consumers who place orders over $25 will receive free shipping.
The process to upgrade is simple. Consumers select the titles they want to upgrade on DVD2Blu.com, mail in their standard DVDs with pre-paid postage and a short time later receive copies of the same film on Blu-ray Disc. For a complete list of titles visit DVD2Blu.com.
Get ready for this week’s “Star Trek” release with another look at this splendid reboot of the 40-plus year old “Star Trek” series. By boldly going where many, many have gone before, J.J. Abrams of television’s “Lost” and “Alias” has managed to make a thoroughly entertaining film that respects the fans but stands on its own.
Those who will nod knowingly (or shiver with excitement) at the appearance of Captain Pike or the reference to dilitheum crystals and those who remember that Sulu can fence will be reassured that any anomalies or inconsistencies with canon are cleverly explained away and by the appearance of one key member of the original cast. Those who are new to the franchise will be reassured that the story is self-contained. They may wonder why people applaud and laugh at a few in-jokes or the inevitable origins moments of first encounters between characters whose future interactions and relationships are as well known as their own (possibly better), but there is so much happening on screen they will not have time to wonder what they are missing. Indeed, there is so much that I have seen it twice already and look forward to seeing it again. I loved it so much I wanted to Vulcan mind meld with it.
Some things will always be true. The crewman you’ve never seen before who transports to a remote location with two of the lead character is not going to last long. In the future, women will all wear very short skirts and be extremely beautiful. All planets are congenial for human life, with just the right atmosphere and gravity. Fights usually occur on catwalks and other locations with precipitous drops. Kirk has to be hanging from a ledge at least three times and have an encounter with an exotic but very beautiful lady. And everybody speaks English, except when Uhura has to show off her translation skills.
Fans are in for some surprises, especially with one romantic relationship. But Abrams is very consistent with the original show’s tone and humanistic themes. Bad guy Nero (Eric Bana) would be right at home with Khan. The characters and the actors who portray them find the right balance, portraying rather than imitating. I say this with the most tender regard for the television series — every one of these performances is better than the original, especially Zachary Quinto as the half- human, half-Vulcan Spock, Chris Pine as Kirk, Karl Urban as the perpetually choleric McCoy, Simon Pegg as a cheerful Scotty, and Zoe Saldana as Uhura. And of course even the series’ biggest enthusiasts would not claim that the special effects were its strong point. This movie’s are stunning. The story wobbles a bit, especially when one decision with potentially catastrophic consequences is explained away as a life lesson for two of the characters. But it is funny, smart, exciting, purely entertaining and enormously satisfying, and sure to be one of the year’s most enduring popcorn pleasures. The cast has signed on for two sequels and all I can say is, live long and prosper and they can beam me up any time.