Then there's Fox's "Prison Break," the less-than-credible drama about the guy who gets convicted of robbery so he can spring his wrongly convicted brother out from Death Row. In the Sept. 5 episode, a prisoner is looking for a grisly weapon of torture, and another inmate presents him with a weapon known as "The Gutter," which he describes at length: "You jam it up there in his stomach, and these bits right here hook the intestines, and you give it a pull back. The poor sucker's guts are hanging right out of his stomach, and he'll get a real good look at them 'cause the wound's not fatal, at least until the infection sets in."
All that's on broadcast television where, supposedly, those who use the public airwaves agree to conform with community standards of decency. But cable TV is where this trend started -- and continues.
FX's thoroughly sickening plastic-surgery series, "Nip/Tuck," is back for another degenerating season. In its premiere -- sponsored in its entirety by the gang at Sony, a company so devoid of any sense of corporate responsibility that no one should buy any more of their products -- viewers witness doctors removing a morbidly obese woman from a couch to which she had become grafted. Extreme close-ups of flesh being cut, gaping wounds and blood-soaked surgical tools were shown. In another surgery scene, leaky breast implants are removed and replaced. The camera shows the doctor's hands grabbing a woman's breasts, slicing into them and the surgeon's hand being thrust deep inside the breast to grab and yank out the defective implant, a bloody, stringy mess. The chest is then violently refitted with new implants and sewn back up.
In an article in the New York Post, lead actor Julian McMahon proclaimed of the show's sex and violence, "I'd like to be even more brutal and more weird ... I feel very lucky that we've gotten away with what we have, but I'd like to go even further." Which his industry will, at least until the next Columbine, at which point they'll all be oh, so upset again.