A recent television series that shows how the end of the television code affected the portrayal of sex, violence and other “risqué” scenes is Rick and Morty.
Rick and Morty is a cartoon that involves mythical creatures and worlds that are surrounded by violence, profanity, alcohol abuse, and dysfunctional family relationships. This is typical of television in this day and age. However, this show would never air, let alone get approved by a network before television code was done away with. Television codes were standards that networks followed for their shows in regards for family viewing purposes, adult approval, and steered clear of nudity, violence, or bad language. These standards were instilled because television was so new and centered around family values.
One specific episode that includes vulgar language, nudity, and extreme violence is Episode 6, Season 3, titled “Rest and Ricklaxation”. This episode aired August 27, 2017. The specific scene I have chosen to analyze is the fight scene between the main character, Rick and his evil self, Toxic/Evil Rick. In this clip, Evil Rick begins by swearing at Rick. These curse words are not censored, unless they include the F word. After Evil Rick and Rick cuss each other out they begin to physically fight. Blood splatters everywhere and furniture is destroyed. At times, the fight occurs in front of Rick’s younger grandchildren.
Before the end of the television code a show, especially a cartoon, would not include any of these indecent aspects. The Network Era, also known as the Broadcast Era, was between the 1940s to the 1980s, only aired television shows that were created specifically household viewing. These series were centered around family. They typically depicted a house wife, her husband and their family. They had kid-friendly humor that also related to the adults. Even during the Post Network Era, which occurred between the 1980s and 2000s, television was not taboo.
Rick and Morty, is a series that definitely shows how standards, values, and entertainment have changed since the end of television code. The specific episode I analyzed has scenes and events that networks, and producers would never dream of airing or writing. In a matter of forty years people consider this type of television normal and do not consider it shocking at all. Whereas, people would riot or boycott television if this was broadcasted in the Network Era or Post Network Era.