Bombs AwayComplications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty Screenwriting, TV and Game Writing Blog


April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

June 2015

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

January 2016

February 2016

March 2016

April 2016

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

January 2017

February 2017

March 2017

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

January 2018

March 2018

April 2018

June 2018

July 2018

October 2018

November 2018

December 2018

January 2019

February 2019

November 2019

February 2020

March 2020

April 2020

May 2020

August 2020

September 2020

October 2020

December 2020

January 2021

February 2021

March 2021

May 2021

June 2021

November 2021

December 2021

January 2022


Friday, October 02, 2009

Q. I'm currently writing a television pilot in the veign of Lost, Flashforward, etc. I was able to get a hold of the Flashforward pilot and noticed a lot of f-bombs in the dialogue. Obviously this won't get past the script stage. So my question is; why would the writers use language they know can't be used on network, or even cable TV, for that matter? Is it to just try and impress the reader, or because they knew knew they had a pilot order?
That's a good question. It's naughty, but I've done it myself.

I think it's because cable has accustomed us to hearing people on TV drop f-bombs, just like in real life. So you hate to censor your characters, especially when the line calls out for foul language. "Fine, then, let's just screw" isn't funny as, well, you know. You figure it'll read better now, and then you can replace the word later.

It is naughty, though. I wouldn't do it unless you're sure you can get away with it. If you're an emerging writer, you run the risk of looking like you don't know you're writing for network.

(Incidentally, Canadian broadcast TV has slightly looser rules. You can say a lot of, er, stuff after 9 pm.)



You just reminded me of the deal Haddock made with CBC for Intelligence. Any time I was watching the show, I knew I was coming up on the midpoint 'cause that's when the "f-word" would start showing up. For some reason, CBC told him "after 9:30" He didn't always stick to that rule. Gave me a chuckle though.

By Blogger Daniel, at 1:53 PM  

What're the general "rules" for other swear words? *somewhere in the darkness the TV version of the MPAA tick off swear words on an abacus*

By Blogger Amy Butler, at 4:50 PM  

@Amy: They depend on time of day, and they vary by network or cable channel. They also depend on how popular the show is. Popular shows get away with more borderline language than unpopular ones do. Just watch the shows at that hour on that network and hear what they're not saying...

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 5:06 PM  

In the UK, rules are pretty much anything post watershed (9pm), occasional swears past 6pm, and nothing in the day (bar live mishaps), from what I've heard this a lot more forgiving than in the US and Canada.

This is on the BBC too, not just satellite/cable.

By Blogger James Boocock, at 5:54 PM  

@James: Yeah, but we can have people say "bollocks" or "bugger" any time of day.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 6:05 PM  

Flash forward was originally developed for HBO that's why there are a lot of F bombs. I believe HBO still owns it but preferred to release it to a network so that it could make more money if you wanna know more about flash forward check out the Blog and podcast Blackout 2:17 at

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:22 PM  

Hello, I am a student writer. How does one get the Flash Forward pilot episode script?

Thank you!

By Blogger Unknown, at 1:07 PM  

Lost scripts have a lot of curse words, especially the f-bombs. My understanding is that they stand out in that way from other non-cable tv scripts. And since Flashfoward is trying to be the new Lost, I'm not surprised they follow suit in the writing of the script.

Having expletives enhances the drama and excitement while reading, which is the primary reason I've heard the Lost writers used them so much.

And if you're writing an action spec, you want to thrill your reader as much as possible.

By Blogger Claude, at 8:19 PM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.

This page is powered by Blogger.