PTC Puts NBC on Naughty List
If it was up to the Parents Television Council, NBC would be getting coal in its stocking this Christmas.
The conservative watchdog organization is calling on the network to rethink its decision to post an uncensored version of a Saturday Night Live skit on both its own Website and YouTube, in which the word "dick" is used multiple times. (For the uninitiated, the clip can be seen at nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/uncensored.shtml.)
The skit in question features host Justin Timberlake and cast member Andy Samberg singing a holiday tune about presenting their ladyfriends with the very special gift of their male members, wrapped up in a box with a bow on top.
"It's my dick in a box," the duo croon in the song's explanatory refrain.
When the skit aired on SNL, NBC bleeped out the word "dick" a total of 16 times. However, since the FCC has no jurisdiction over the Internet, the network was able to leave the online clip uncensored.
As of Friday, more than 4 million people had watched the clip on YouTube, with countless others taking it in through NBC's official site, much to the dismay of the PTC.
"This is a new low for NBC," PTC President Brent Bozell said in a statement. "Clearly, the network will stop at nothing to find loopholes for its indecent programming to reach the public."
In NBC's defense, the version airing on YouTube contains a cautionary warning, lest viewers be unclear as to what they are about to watch.
"The following sketch contains explicit lyrics that were not contained in the orignal [sic] broadcast," reads a message appearing before the video begins.
On NBC's site, both the censored and uncensored versions are available. Those who want to watch the unbleeped version must affirm that they are over 18 as of Dec. 15, 2007—a date that may have been a typo on the network's part.
"Moving objectionable content that would not meet FCC standards directly to the Internet is blatantly irresponsible and unacceptable," Bozell stated.
In an interview with the New York Times, SNL producer Lorne Michaels said that posting the equivalent of a "director's cut" of the show on the Internet "will be the exception" in the future.
However, he opined that other networks would be likely to follow NBC's lead in using the Web to broadcast material deemed inappropriate for the airwaves.
Despite its decision to put the clip online, NBC wasn't allowing just anyone to post the uncensored version of the skit. All unauthorized versions of "Dick in a Box" were being yanked from YouTube at the network's request.
The skit is something of a followup to NBC's last viral hit, "Lazy Sunday," which featured Samberg and former SNL cast member Chris Parnell rapping about topics such as eating cupcakes and taking in a matinee of Chronicles of Narnia.
After "Lazy Sunday" popped up on YouTube and became an instant Internet sensation, NBC ordered the site to remove it, later making the clip available for purchase through iTunes Music Store.
The network and YouTube have since reached an agreement where NBC allows certain programming to be posted to a dedicated network page.