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The Most Popular Curse Words on Television

curse words on television

Prime time television gets more profane.

According to their website, the Parents Television Council (PTC) exists to “promote and restore responsibility and decency to the entertainment industry in answer to America’s demand for positive, family-oriented television programming.”

So, in addition to condemning the extra-curricular activities of young stars like Miley Cyrus and the cast of Glee, the folks at the PTC watch a lot of prime time television.

But while many of the shows airing between 8 and 10pm have long been an iffy proposition for kids, the PTC says a recent ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has made things even worse.  After the Federal Communications Commission’s authority to enforce the broadcast decency law was thrown out, those in the know predicted a sharp increase in the amount of profanity on television.  And according to the PTC, they were absolutely right.

The PTC watched two full weeks of the new fall television season and kept track of every time a curse word was used.  They then compared the numbers with those of prime time television shows from 2005 and created a report called “Habitat for Profanity.”  Hey, it’s a dirty job but somebody’s got to do it, right?

The full results of the project can be found here, but I will try to give you the highlights without offending anyone:

  • Bleeped F*ck” is the most popular curse word in prime time and has also seen the greatest increase since the ruling.  Use of  “Bleeped F*ck” is up over 1000% at 8pm and over 15,000% at 9pm.
  • Hell” is the second most used profanity during prime time.  Use is down at 8pm but up at 9 and 10pm.
  • Bleeped “Sh*t” has seen the second largest increase in usage.  Overall, it’s up  700%  during the prime time hours.
  • Douche” is the least popular curse word during prime time television followed closely by “Euphemisms for Sh*t“.

I rarely turn the television on before 10pm so I have no idea what shows these guys were watching.  But I am a little surprised at the amount profanity being spewed on television during a time when kids might be watching or just overhearing from the next room.

And another thing:  While I get that profanity is sometimes in the eye (or ear) of the beholder, there is one word on the list that confuses me.  When did “Boobs” become profane?

Image: brizzlebornandbred/Flickr

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