Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Whatever happened to the "family hour"?

I was watching "8 Simple Rules..." with my daughter tonight, and one of the plotlines involved a dad taking his teen daughter to a foreign-language film only to sit mortified as a graphic sex scene unspooled. And I know just how that dad felt: Although we at home just heard the sound effects of the film tryst, it was still pretty awkward sitting through it with my 13-year-old. The episode's other plot involved the mom having to teach sex education in the other daughter's class, and hoo-boy, didn't that just open the door to lots of jokes about body parts and "urges."

My girl, thankfully, is still at the "ew, gross" stage when it comes to sex, and only a few times turned to ask me if the characters were talking about doing that thing, but man, for an 8 p.m. sitcom ... I hate to be a fuddy-duddy and mourn the demise of the "family hour," but do family shows have to be quite so risqué? I mean, it's not like I'm letting my kid watch "Sex in the City" and then complaining about them doing "that thing." Maybe I'm wrong, and nobody expects kids to be watching "8 Simple Rules..." -- or maybe everybody just expects kids to find sex jokes funny. But I'd sure be a lot happier if plotlines stayed out of the bedroom until my kids were safely sleeping in theirs.

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