This History Of Swearing On TV Is Obscenely Fun

Curses, FCC!

Do we have to wash your mouth out with soap, television?

This video history of swearing on the tube, from New York Magazine's culture site, shows how cussing has increased through the years, and how premium cable has led the way.

The video, released Wednesday, is part of Vulture's "Secret History of Television" series.

As the clip recounts, for decades the Federal Communications Commission enforced strict rules on broadcast TV. Sure there were slip-ups, like Jefferson Airplane singing "motherf****r" on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1969, but four-letter words were mostly kept off the air.

Then cable emerged with looser standards. As the video points out, premium cable outlets like HBO and Showtime went full potty-mouth.

In a 1983 HBO special, Eddie Murphy single-handedly moved the profanity revolution forward by saying the f-word more than 200 times. History, ladies and gentlemen:


Watch the video to learn a number of fun facts, such as how "Chicago Hope" and "South Park" advanced the cause for the s-word.

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