The "wardrobe malfunction" that launched a national outpouring of rage against televised soft-porn slime continues to reap great benefits for the forces of reason, reticence and decency on television. Look no further than the relatively staid presentations this year at Fox's Teen Choice Awards and MTV's Video Music Awards.
Fox selected as its Teen Choice hosts the sleazy "Simple Life" pair of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Their most memorable awards-show performance had come in December of 2002 at the Billboard Music Awards. Paris stated it was great to be there, to which Nicole responded, "yeah, instead of standing in mud and cow s---t." Fox bleeped that out, but when Nicole added, "Why do they even call it 'The Simple Life'? Have you ever tried to get cow s---t out of a Prada purse? It's not so f---ing simple," Fox inexplicably and inexcusably chose not to bleep those sentences out for the Eastern half of the United States.
Two years ago, the Teen Choice Awards show was peppered with sexual raunch for children, including Jennifer Love Hewitt trying to make a hit out of her song "Barenaked," and an award for Nelly's get-naked song "Hot In Herre." In 2001, four drag queens impersonated the musical foursome who revived the call-girl hit "Lady Marmalade" for the teen audience.
So what would the Teen Choice Awards deliver in the post-Janet Jackson atmosphere? Even Paris and Nicole were relatively well-behaved without any unbleeped obscenities. The show still offered awards for "Best Reality/Variety Jackass" (Simon Cowell of "American Idol") and "Best Movie Your Parents Didn't Want You to See" (the filthy comedy "American Wedding"), but that was pretty much it. The best sign the show wasn't outrageous was that it drew almost no press coverage after it was broadcast.
MTV caused a huge wave of protest last year with the infamous Madonna-kisses-Britney Spears incident (not to mention the forgotten Madonna-also-kisses-Christina-Aguilera incident) during its Video Music Awards. Host Chris Rock also used a bleeped M-F combination on actor Ashton Kutcher and declared that Justin Timberlake was "ready to lick a man for $8."