Rescue Me from this cave! 

Alltel hangs up on good TV.

DROPPED CALL: 'Rescue Me.'
  • DROPPED CALL: 'Rescue Me.'

Over the past few seasons, one of the consistently fine television shows — an island in a seemingly endless sea of swill — has been FX Network’s “Rescue Me.” A gritty, funny, pull-no-punches look into the life of a thoroughly screwed-up New York City firefighter (played by comedian Denis Leary), the show has been a standout since the first episode. Sure, it’s a bit profane, but — STOP THE PRESSES! — life is a bit profane, folks.

Standout or not, that didn’t stop Little Rock telecom giant Alltel from caving to the demands of a bunch of puritano-fascists. In June, it was recently announced, the company pulled their ads from “Rescue Me” at the urging of a right-wing outfit called the Parents Television Council. On their website, parentstv.org, the Parents Television Council praises Alltel, Dairy Queen, tire maker Bridgestone/Firestone, and cell phone provider T-Mobile for yanking their advertising from the show, while hammering companies like Staples, Toyota, Chrysler, Wendy’s and Visa in repeated press releases for not doing the same. Sheesh.

If you’ll remember, the PTC is one of the groups that raised such a ruckus over the Janet Jackson Superboob incident. Billing itself as an organization founded “to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by the sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media,” the PTC has vowed to clean up your TV, whether you want them to or not. Now that they’ve helped turn broadcast television into a bleak and blow-dried wasteland where happy-go-lucky crap like “Dancing with the Stars” and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” can flourish, they’re turning their guns on cable — you know: the channels we pay for in order to escape the constant, slow rain of network drivel.

Because “Rescue Me” is on cable, the PTC can’t use their favorite tactic, having their glassy-eyed minions (they claim a flock of over a million “concerned parents”) write and e-mail complaints to the FCC. Instead, they’ve targeted the show’s financial underpinnings, sending out lurid descriptions of the show’s juicy parts to advertisers: Rape! Sex! Foul language!

It’s a funny thing about the lily white among us. Ever notice that those who claim to want the least to do with sex and profanity are the ones most likely to end up looking for it? Cruising the back streets, marking every dirty bookstore and strip club on a map; flipping through popular novels and highlighting every “fart” and “fuck”; or — in this case — sitting in a dark room somewhere, sweat-varnished face reflecting the blue glow of the boob tube while they jot down every flash of thong and naughty word.

What I’m saying is: Why do the horny rage?

Listen, friends: Because I’m an avid viewer, I know that “Rescue Me” is on at 9 p.m. Tuesday nights in Little Rock — 10 p.m. in some time zones (FX is Comcast Ch. 59, in case you’re interested). First, if your little darlings are still awake enough to be corrupted at that hour on a school night, I feel sorry for them. They’ll be the kids with their heads down in a puddle of drool on their desks the next morning. Second, as folks like me have said until we’re blue in the face, if they do happen to be awake, there is an amazing invention called the remote control. Slap in a couple of batteries, point it in the right direction, and it can even change the channel from “Murder She Wrote” to “Touched by an Angel” from all the way across the room! In lieu of that, you can always shuffle across the rug and jab that little black button on the front of the television marked “OFF.” That way, the Devil can’t get in to show little Johnny that his ding-ding is useful for something more than slamming in the toy box lid.

In the end, Alltel’s ball-challenged behavior in pulling their ads at the urging of these nincompoops is less concerning to me than the fact that victory only emboldens a group like the PTC. They’ll surely redouble their efforts against other advertisers, which will inevitably cause other cable networks to consent to sanitized programming, lest their shows get targeted. (It’s a trend you can already see happening, even on cable. The other night on Bravo! — a network that used to show uncut cinema after 10 p.m. — I sat through as much as I could stand of the expurgated version of “Casino.” You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Joe Pesci call somebody a “motherloving son of a gun” while stabbing him in the neck with a fountain pen.) Once advertisers and networks start caving in — once we start letting the delicate sensibilities of Baptist preachers, octogenarian shut-ins and 8-year-olds determine what gets shown on television and what doesn’t — it’s just a short slide down the slippery slope before we’ve got nothing to watch but “The 700 Club” and “Spongebob Squarepants.”

Oh wait — Spongebob’s gay, right? Scratch that last one.

Rescue me.



From the ArkTimes store



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by David Koon

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Media

  • UA cozy with D-G columnist

    An interesting element of the ongoing story of budget problems in the University of Arkansas Advancement Division has been a divide in outlook in the pages of the state's dominant news medium, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
    • Nov 21, 2013
  • Democrat-Gazette covers one of its own in story of reporter Cathy Frye's rescue

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's reports on the rescue of its reporter Cathy Frye, who was missing for days in the hot scrubby desert that is Big Bend Ranch State Park, are gripping.
    • Oct 10, 2013
  • Hodge shares his OA vision

    Roger Hodge, the new editor of Oxford American magazine, talked about his rise at Harper's, his writing philosophy and his plans for the OA before a full crowd last Wednesday at the Clinton School.
    • Sep 26, 2012
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • The first commandment directly contradicts the first amendment.

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • Arkyguy, try Numbers 31:17-18.


    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • And I quote: "Sounds like maybe some of those descriptors hit a little close to…

    • on July 21, 2017

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation