With all of the mature, violent, sexual content filling up each episode of FX’s Sons of Anarchy, you’d think the Parents Television Council would have a direct line to series creator Kurt Sutter’s office, where each of their complaints could be addressed accordingly. (With lots of ignoring and deleting, presumably.) The PTC is breathing heavily and seductively down Sutter’s neck for last Tuesday’s episode, which kicked off with an opening montage of nearly all of the main characters engaging in sexual acts. Their advice to FX: go join all those titties and asses on HBO.
The PTC called the opening sequence the “most sexually explicit content the [organization] has ever documented on basic cable,” according to THR. To be fair, they’re pretty spot on with it being one of the most sexually forward things cable has ever shown. Not only did we see Jax having good sex, but we saw Gemma and Nero having bad sex, Marilyn Manson sorta raping Juice, Wendy getting down with a vibrator, and Tig doing…whatever he was doing…with transgender character Venus Van Dam. All before the opening credits. But was it more damaging than the endless amounts of violence on this and many other series across the TV dial? Doubtful.
And so if FX wants to show audiences such skin-tastic material, the PTC feels their audience should have to pay for it as a separate part of their cable package. Here’s how PTC president Tim Winter puts it in a press release.
For years, FX has been pursuing a path to be as explicit as HBO yet still be included in the forced-bundle of advertiser-supported networks that every cable or satellite subscriber must purchase through their monthly bill. If FX wants to be like HBO and air this kind of explicit content, then they should become a premium network.”
Shots fired! Albeit from an offscreen gun with a thunderclap covering up the gunshot.
Of course, in the face of rational arguments that FX airs the series during the latest primetime hour along with ample warnings and TV-MA ratings, Winter then moves the argument to one involving customers only paying for the content that they want a la carte. He compares it to paying for other movies in a theater instead of solely the one he’s going to see, and says that the Sons of Anarchy footage is something of a watershed moment for cable programming.
In order to watch cable news, ESPN, Disney or the History Channel, every family in America must now also pay for pornography on FX.”
Not a lot of hyperbole going on there at all. Luckily for the PTC – and ONLY the PTC – Sons of Anarchy is coming to a close after its next three episodes. But whatever will Tim Winter complain about then? Nobody’s getting on Conan O’Brien’s case for all the sex appeal he unleashed on the world with his spoof S.O.A. cold open.