Tuesday 14 October 2008

Did MediaCorp blow it with Shopgirl?

Most of you probably didn't catch Channel 5's telecast of the movie Shopgirl on Saturday afternoon. So you missed the scene where one female character gave this tip to another on snaring a man:

"And fellatio, the sooner the better - and a lot. Act like you love it. After he's addicted, cut him off. That's when you got him."

While that was undoubtedly sage advice, since when did oral sex become appropriate weekend daytime television fodder?

There are a few possible scenarios.

Whoever vetted the movie at MediaCorp simply missed the fellatio reference. This is highly likely, considering the endless hours of programming that have to be cleared by our national broadcaster.

There's also a chance that the MediaCorp censor actually didn't know what fellatio meant, which would be very sad. Right up there with Zoe Tay's "I swallow" goof.

Or maybe the censor did know what fellatio meant, but was under the impression that the movie would only air late at night when more adult-oriented content was permitted.

So MediaCorp erred not in the non-excision of the dialogue, but in the time slot that the movie was shown.

Then again, perhaps there is absolutely nothing wrong with discussing a sexual albeit non-reproductive act on free-to-air television during family-viewing hours. There are worse things on TV, like the S-League.

Who watches a movie like Shopgirl anyway, whatever time it's on? Certainly not children.

Starring and written by Steve Martin, based on his novella also called Shopgirl, the low-key 2005 film is no slapstick Pink Panther remake. There's a reason it aired on Saturday afternoon when most people are out having a life.

This wouldn't be the first time something has slipped through the MediaCorp censorship cracks and it won't be the last.

Earlier this year, the broadcaster was fined $15,000 by the Media Development Authority for airing a show that "normalises and promotes a gay lifestyle".

And no, it wasn't The Ellen Degeneres Show. Despite recently marrying her lesbian partner and being quite public about it, openly gay Ellen is still very much on Channel 5.

At least we know she won't be advocating fellatio on her show.

- Unpublished