Just because you can cuss does not mean you have to. Lucifer began on network television, which meant it spent its first three seasons with a lot of limits. On that list of "don'ts" is the sort of profanity that you can and cannot say. As in, you cannot drop the F-bomb.
Having moved from the network censorship of Fox to the world of Netflix, Lucifer had newfound freedom creating its next installment. If it wanted one of its characters to drop the F-bomb in Season 4, they could. When it came time to decide on cussing, Lucifer was in uncharted waters.
Co-showrunners Ildy Modrovich and Joe Henderson explained the process that ensued. Modrovich said that while working on Lucifer’s fourth season, Henderson questioned the necessity of its usage. Asking if it was necessary to have the characters use the big “f.” Turns out, it was not right for Lucifer. Henderson explained why, telling TVLine:
We tried an F-bomb and it just felt a little weird. It was good that we tried it, because we sort of wanted to see how it felt. It’s like when you get a toy and you start playing with it, and then you start to realize that maybe this toy, as fun as it is to play with, isn’t the right toy to play with on the show. Families watch our show, like older families, and while we wanted to both make a show that pushed the boundaries, we also didn’t want it to feel unnecessarily profane. We did say 'shit' a couple times. And we used a 'bullshit' when absolutely necessary, or we tried to.
I think it is nice that Lucifer’s co-showrunners were so considerate about it. You have older families who got hooked on a show when it was in its network form.
Just because it has moved to another platform does not mean everything about its original identity has to change. If that were to happen, they could not watch it together anymore or, at least, not as comfortably. That is not something you want to lose just to be a bit more “edgy.”
It is sort of an “if it is not broke” situation. Fans loved the show in its previous form. If it worked, then why mess with the formula? Profanity can be a controversial spice when not used sparingly. Plus, like any ingredient -- too much can be too much. Not using the F-bomb probably did not lose them the viewers that using it non-stop might have.
Lucifer’s showrunners' response regarding profanity sort of runs along the lines of another subject – nudity – that the show’s fourth season carefully maneuvered. Tom Ellis told CinemaBlend’s Laura Hurley why the show used restraint. He explained that Netflix had been “adamant” that they wanted the show as it used to be.
Pushing boundaries enough to keep things exciting without going too far seemed to be Lucifer’s goal. It is an interesting concept for network shows to wrestle with as some series have to transition to streaming. Viewers liked them the way they were.
There is still no word on another F-bomb – Season Five. The show has not gotten renewed by Netflix quite yet. Considering that hellish cliffhanger, fans are undoubtedly clamoring for more. Lucifer’s showrunners indicated that they expect to hear something within the month after Season 4’s release.
Stayed tuned. It should not too much longer now. All four seasons of Lucifer are currently available to binge on Netflix, alongside a lot of other recent premieres.