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If you took someone who had zero previous knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and asked him or her if Netflix's dark and gritty Daredevil and Jessica Jones looked like they fit alongside the CGI glitz of Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy, I have to assume the answer would be a negative. But just because Marvel doesn't let its big screen villains use car doors to decapitate people like Wilson Fisk did, the comic giant does indeed impart limits that don't naturally exist on Netflix. Here's what Jessica Jones creator Melissa Rosenberg said the show wasn't allowed to do.
No F-bombs! And if anyone was going to say 'fuck,' it would be Jessica Jones. Sometimes I would be like, 'Please just let me put one!' Never. But what's funny is that people said, 'Wait --- she didn't say fuck? I could have sworn she did!' Ritter can deliver 'fuck' with her face. Her look says it! She can be saying 'potato. The other thing is there's sex to some degree, but there's not really nudity.
I guess we all shouldn't be surprised by that, since TV censorship has largely grafted itself to those guidelines since the beginning of TV time. It's perfectly fine to show a dangerous villain taking over the mind of someone and having that person shoot two loved ones in cold blood inside of an elevator, but someone saying "Fuck it all" after stubbing a toe is completely off the table.
Not that I'm actually casting judgment on anyone in this situation, regardless of if it's warranted or not. No one needs to hear endless sprays of profanity or see darkly-lit ass cheeks to enjoy a well-written psychological thriller, especially when, as Rosenberg said, you really get the impression that actress Krysten Ritter really was dropping expletives. As well, Jessica's sex scenes with Luke Cage were aggressive and intense enough to also give an impression as if there were far more naughty things being shown. Ah, the power of suggestion. Something that Kilgore is quite familiar with.
Melissa Rosenberg also isn't up in arms about this or anything, even knowing that Jessica Jones is the rare superhero for whom swearing is all too natural. She seems to be happy with the lax attitude that goes into these particular TV shows.
The beauty of working at Netflix is you don't have those limits. I also work with Marvel, and Marvel has a brand and their brand is generally PG-13. They've kind of let us go to PG-16.
One has to wonder if any of that will change whenever Season 2 of Jessica Jones eventually makes its way to Netflix. You might recall that for Daredevil Season 2, Jon Bernthal's Punisher was allowed to drop an F-bomb when talking to Daredevil on the rooftop in the third episode. Was that just a rare exception allowed for such an extreme character, or was that a foot in the door that will allow for future explicit language in future Marvel/Netflix endeavors? I guess we'll have to fuckin' wait and see.
Netflix's upcoming schedule features more super-shows like Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders, along with many others where F-bombs and boobs are welcomed. Hopefully more Jessica Jones will enter into it all.