Saturday, 2 February 2008

Industrial Designer Viktor Schreckengost Passes On

You may have never heard of him, but chances are you have seen his work. Viktor Schreckengost was an industrial designer who designed everything from dinnerware to pedal cars to flashlights. He died last January 26 at the age of 101.

Viktor Schreckengost was born on June 26, 1906 in Sebring, Ohio to a family of commercial potters. He attended the Cleveland School of Art (now the Cleveland Institute of Art). After graduation he studied ceramics at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna. There everyone spelled his name with "Viktor" instead of "Victor," which he started doing himself. He returned to the States a year later and at the age of 25 became the youngest instructor at the Cleveland Institute of Art. In 1933 he started the Institute's industrial design programme, the first of its kind in the United States. His work would be displayed at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, among other places. Among his most famous pieces was the "Jazz" bowl, a large bowl decorated with New York City's skyscrapers, ships, and so on, which he made for the soon to be First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

During his career as an industrial designer, Schreckengost created designs for some of the best known products in 20th century America. He created the first modern mass produced dinnerware for American Limoges, called Americana. Schreckengost created many other patterns of dinnerware, including Flower Shop and Jiffy Ware. Schreckengost's best known items may well be the many bicycles and pedal cars he designed for Murray, Ohio, over the years. For Murray he designed the Mercury bicycle in 1938, which utilised the look of a motorcycle in its design (even down to the chrome). He also designed the Champion pedal car in 1938 for Murray, perhaps the first truly affordable pedal car. Over the years for Murray he would design the Murray Torpedo pedal car, the Murray Pursuit Plane pedal car, the Murray tricyle and the Beverly Hills lawn chair. As their chief designer, Schreckengost saw Murray, Ohio become the world's biggest bicycle and pedal car company. He also designed he Sears Spaceliner, the 1968 Campus Compact, and the 1948 J.C. Higgins bicycles. For Delta he designed various flashlights, including the Delta Buddy light and the Delta Rocket Ray bicycle headlamp. Early in his career, in 1932 he designed the first cab over engine truck for White Motor Company. Schreckengost's career spanned over seventy years, during which time he designed everything from dinnerware to bicycles to toys to printing presses.

Schreckengost served in the Navy during World War II, helping design radar-recognition systems and later prosthetic limbs.

Although he may not be as well known as Buckminister Fuller, Charles and Ray Eames, or Harley Earl, Viktor Schreckengost was every bit as influential. In fact, for most of the Twentieth century his work was ubiquitous in the American landscape. Children rode bikes and pedal cars designed by him. Adults served their meals on dinnerware designed by him. And everyone sat in his lawn chairs (when I was growing up I know we had a set of the Beverly Hills lawn chairs). Of course, it wasn't simply that Viktor Schreckengost designed so many products. Quite simply Schreckengost was of the great masters of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne. Today his bicycles and pedal cars are even displayed in museums. He was truly was one of the great industrial designers of the 20th century.

Thursday, 31 January 2008

Answers to the Power Pop Quiz

Okay, as I promised on January 24, here are the answers to the power pop quiz:

1. On what television show was America first exposed to The Beatles (clue: it wasn't The Ed Sullivan Show....)?

Hard as it may be to believe, it was not on The Ed Sullivan Show or even on The Jack Paar Show that Americans were first exposed to The Beatles. It was actually on a Rate a Record segment of American Bandstand in September of 1963. Out of a score from 35 to 98, "She Loves You" was rated only 73. Even a news report on The Huntley/Brinkley Report on November 18, 1963 (also known as the NBC Evening News) pre-dated both Sullivan and Paar.

2. Who coined the term power pop? Pete Townshend, in an interview with The New Music Express in 1966

3. What mid-Sixties American power pop band even outsold The Beatles at times? The Monkees. In fact, in 1967 they actually outsold The Beatles and Elvis combined for the year.

4. What was The Raspberries' first hit song? "Go All the Way." It went all the way (no pun intended) to #4 on the Billboard singles charts.

5. What is Cheap Trick's hometown? Rockford, Illinois

6. What was the name of the band to which Doug Fieger belonged before The Knack? Sky. a country rock band which released only two albums before breaking up.

7. What was the name of Dwight Twilley's hit single from 1984? "Girls." It reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100.

8. What Posies song was featured in the movie Reality Bites? "Going Going Gone."

9. The Fountains of Wayne song "Stacey's Mom" was a salute to what Seventies and Eighties band? The Cars.

10. What do the titles of the parts of my "A History of Power Pop" have in common? They're all taken from the titles of power pop songs.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Yet More Deaths

It seems as if this January has seen more celebrity deaths than usual. Two actors died recently that I did not get around mentioning. Today the daughter of an American president and author died.

Stage, film, and television actress Lois Nettleton died January 18 at the age of 80 after a battle with lung cancer.

Netttleton was born in Oak Grove, Illinois on August 6, 1927. In 1948 she won the "Miss Chicago" title. She was a semifinalist in the Miss America pageant. She studied at Chicago's Goodman Theatre and the Actors Studio in New York. She made her debut on Broadway in the play The Biggest Thief in Town. Over the years she appeared in several Broadway productions, among them Darkness at Noon (1949), Silent Night, Lonely Night (1959), a revival of A Streetcar Named Desire (1973), and Strangers (1979). She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play in 1976 for They Knew What They Wanted.

Nettleton also had an extensive career in television. Her first appearance on the small screen was guest starring in an episode of Man Against Crime in 1953. Throughout the Fifties she guest starred on such shows as Captain Video, Studio One, Kraft Television Theatre, and The U.S. Steel Hour. She was a regular on the series The Brighter Day. In the Sixties she guest starred on The Twilight Zone, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Dr. Kildare, The Fugitive, Bonanza, and Daniel Boone. She was a regular on the series Accidental Family. From the Seventies to the Naughts she guested on such shows as Night Gallery, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Kung Fu, The Flash, Babylon 5, and Seinfeld. She appeared in the mini-series Centennial and was a regular on In the Heat of the Night and a semi-regular called Crossing Jordan.

She made her film debut in a bit appearance in the movie A Face in a Crowd. Over the years Nettleton appeared in such films as Period of Adjustment, Echoes of a Summer, The Man in the Glass Booth, and Deadly Blessing.

Lois Nettleton was an extremely talented actress who had a very rich career. Many will perhaps remember her for her guest appearance on The Twlight Zone in the episode "The Midnight Sun," in which she played one of two women trying to cope when the earth fell out of orbit.

Character actor Jack Eagle died January 10. He is perhaps best known for his role as Brother Dominic in a Xerox commercial which aired during the 1977 Super Bowl. He was 81 years old.

Jack Eagle was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 15, 1926. He was a stand up comedian in the Catskills for over forty years. He also played trumpet during the Big Band era. By the early Sixties he started doing commercials. Over the years he appeared in over fifty commercials. Eagle also appeared on television shows ranging from The Merv Griffin Show to Captain Kangaroo.

Although he never appeared in a major role in movies or TV series, Eagle was undoubtedly talented. His Xerox commercial is often counted among the 100 greatest commercials of all time, it is largely because of his performance. He was truly gifted when it came to acting in ads.

Today Margaret Truman Daniel, the daughter of President Harry Truman and well known mystery writer. She was 83 years old.

Margaret Truman was born February 17, 1924 in Independence, Missouri. Growing up she had aspirations to be a singer. Following her graduation from George Washington University in Washington D.C., she trained to be an opera singer. Ultimately, Truman would not have a singing career. Instead she would host her own radio show, Authors in the News for several years. She also co-hosted the radio show Weekday with Mike Wallace and hosted The CBS International Hour.

Besides being Harry Truman's daughter, it would be as a writer that Truman would become best known. Her first book, the memoir Souvenir, Margaret Truman's Own Story was published in 1956. She would write several other nonfiction books over the years, including Harry Truman (1973), First Ladies, and The President's House: 1800 to the Present. She was perhaps better known for her mysteries, the first of which was Murder in the White House first published in 1980. She would write over twenty mysteries, including Murder at the Kennedy Center and Murder at Ford's Theater.

Although no one would mistake her works for Shakespeare, Margaret Truman's mysteries were always entertaining and rich in detail. She was a fairly gifted writer. Her nonfiction works were always informative and, like her mysteries, full of detail. While she is perhaps best known as the daughter of President Harry Truman, she definitely deserves to be remembered as a writer.

Monday, 28 January 2008

You Need a Bit of....Shock Treatment

I would be surprised if the vast majority of Americans (not to mention many people elsewhere) have not heard of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but I rather suspect that not many people beyond Rocky Horror fans know that a follow up was made to that cult film of all cult films. There has always been some debate as to whether Shock Treatment is actually a sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, as many of that film's major characters (namely, the Transylvanians) do not appear in the film and it makes no concrete references to them. That having been said, the main characters in Shock Treatment are Brad and Janet, who were also primary characters in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Producer John Goldstone always maintained that Shock Treatment wasn't a sequel, but an equal, to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Regardless of whether one regards Shock Treatment as a sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show or not, it certainly would not have existed if it were not for that film, just as The Rocky Horror Picture Show could not have existed without the stage musical The Rocky Horror Show. By 1978 The Rocky Horror Picture Show had gone from a film that had bombed in its first release to an outright phenomenon, playing weekly and even twice weekly in midnight shows. Like any other big American studio, 20th Century Fox thought it might be a good idea to follow up such success with a sequel. In 1978, then Richard O'Brien wrote a treatment titled Rocky Horror Shows His Heels. The treatment is set after the events of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when it is learned that Janet is pregnant. Of course, the question is whether the child belongs to Brad, Frank-N-Furter, or Frank's creation, Rocky. Complicating matters is the fact that both Frank-N-Furter and Rocky are revived, and Frank is convinced that Janet's baby is his. As might be expected, both Riff-Raff and Magenta return to Earth to deal with the matter of a baby who have been conceived by Frank. Rocky Horror Shows His Heels fell through because Tim Curry did not want to reprise his role as Frank-N-Further and director Jim Sharman did not like the idea of a movie so similar to The Rocky Horror Picture Show (which he had also directed). Having written many new songs, O'Brien simply developed a new concept, entitled The Brad and Janet Show, around those songs. The Brad and Janet Show would develop into Shock Treatment. From Rocky Horror Shows His Heels, The Brad and Janet Show retains the characters of Janet's parents and the rock group Oscar Drill and the Bits, as well as many of the songs.

The Brad and Janet Show would experience several problems on its way to becoming Shock Treatment. Barry Bostwick was occupied with another project, and so he could not return as Brad. The dual role of of Brad and Farley Flavors was then offered to Tim Curry. Curry ultimately turned it down for fear that he could not get the accent right. As in Rocky Horror Shows His Heels, the character of Dr.Scott was in the initial scripts of The Brad and Janet Show, then it was learned that Jonathan Adams did not want to return as the character. The character of Dr. Scott was then rewritten as Bert Schnick (eventually played by Barry Humphries of Dame Edna fame). Since The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Susan Sarandon had gone onto success in various films, so she asked for a starting price of $250,000. The Brad and Janet Show was slated for a budget of only $4 million, so in the end it was decided Susan Sarandon would not be playing Janet.

In the end the producers were in the position of having to recast both of their leads. Cliff De Young had been Jim Sharman's original choice to play Brad in The Rocky Horror Show (he was unable to take the part because of prior commitments), so he was cast in the dual role of Brad and Farley Flavors. Jessica Harper, who had starred in The Phantom of the Paradise and Suspira, replaced Sarandon as Janet. Of the characters from The Rocky Horror Picture Show returning in Shock Treatment, only one would be played by the same--Jeremy Newson played Ralph Hapschatt in both films. Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn played new roles, that of Doctors Cosmo and Nation McKinley. Although some fans have theorised that they are actually Riff-Raff and Magenta, Richard O'Brien has categorically denied this (even though both sets of siblings are uncomfortably close for brother and sister...). Nell Campbell (who played Columbia in The Rocky Horror Show) returned as Nurse Ansalong, although she does little more than sing and provide the film with a bit of eye candy.

Unfortunately, casting the film would not be its only problem. Initially the movie was going to be shot on location in the United States. The production team even scouted Denton, Texas for locations (I always thought Denton, Texas was the "Home of Happiness...). Unfortunately, in 1980 the Screen Actors Guild went on strike. As a result the movie had to be filmed entirely in a studio in England. It is due to this necessity that Jim Sharman and Richard O'Brien hit upon the idea that Denton had been turned into one gigantic television studio.

After all the problems The Brad and Janet Show experienced in becoming Shock Treatment, the movie would not have a happy ending. Shock Treatment had been set for release in September 1981. Unfortunately, the movie tested poorly with audiences, so its release was then moved to select cities in early October. This was then changed to the film being given a limited release in November. Ultimately, Shock Treatment would not be released until December 1981, and then only in a few cities. It was never given a wide release. Indeed, as of 1997 (a whole 16 years after its release) it had only grossed $100,000.

In 1981 Shock Treatment was released to generally poor reviews, an indiffernet audience, and a hostile reaction in the case of many Rocky Horror fans. No less than producer Michael White and creator Richard O'Brien have expressed disappointment (to put it mildly) in the film. While I cannot explain while either Michael White or Richard O'Brien dislike the film, I do have some thoughts about why some Rocky Horror fans do. I have no doubt that many Rocky Horror fans wanted the return of Frank-N-Furter, Riff-Raff, and Magenta. These characters play no role in Shock Treatment. And while Rocky Horror Picture Show was simultaneously a parody of old horror movies and one of the most overtly sexual films of its era, Shock Treatment is a spoof of television and its relationship with its audience. Because of this, some Rocky Horror fans have viewed as shedding a bad light on the Rocky Horror phenomenon and its emphasis on audience participation.

While I know there are many Rocky Horror fans who would disagree with me, however, I must state that I have always liked Shock Treatment. While the only major characters from The Rocky Horror Picture Show to appear in the film are Brad and Janet, it clearly continues their story. Given the events which unfolded in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, it would be understandable if Brad and Janet experienced difficulties in their marriage. And it is at this point that we meet them in the film. The entire town of Denton having been turned into a gigantic television studio, ostensibly by fast food magnate Farley Flavors, the two soon find themselves on the game show Marriage Maze. And unfortunately for Brad, the prize they win is a trip for him to Dentonvale, the local asylum. Of course, pulling the strings behind it all is Farley Flavors, who has own reasons for wanting Brad out of the way and his own secret to keep.

While it is not a direct sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Shock Treatment does stand up quite well on its own in my opinion. In transforming the town of Denton into a gigantic television studio, Richard O'Brien is able to comment on the nature of the media and its manipulation of the audience. The audience is wholly involved with the shows they watched, responding to the television personalities with worshipful adoration. And not only do Bert Schnick and Farley Flavors manipulate ruthlessly manipulate the audience, but the "performers" as well. Indeed, in some ways I think the movie was a bit ahead of its time. In the gigantic television studio that is Denton, there are cameras everywhere and the real lives of Denton citizens are played out as TV shows for the audience's enjoyment (there is even the soap opera Dentonvale, set at the asylum...). This not only pre-dates such movies as The Truman Show and EDtv, but the entire reality show phenomenon from The Real World to Survivor. In this respect, then, Shock Treatment did not simply spoof television, but foresaw the current reality show craze to come. If anything, Shock Treatment is more relevant now than it was when it was first released.

Of course, none of this would matter if Shock Treatment wasn't truly entertaining. I know that many Rocky Horror fans may accuse of me of blasphemy, but I think I actually prefer Cliff De Young as Brad to Barry Bostwick as Brad. Quite simply De Young's Brad seems less like the world's ultimate square than simply a straight arrow seeking to do the right thing. This makes Brad a much more likeable character. Barry Humphries is also a delight as Bert Schnick, the blind, off the wall TV personality--I rather suspect his performance owes a bit to both Peter Sellers' Dr. Strangelove and Jonathan Adams' Dr. Strangelove. And I thought Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn were delightful as the Doctors McKinley (while O'Brien denies it, I still have to wonder if they aren't Riff-Raff and Magenta--even a billionaire like Farley Flavors couldn't turn a whole town into a TV studio on his own...).

The movie also has some great songs and some great musical sequences, even if there is nothing that quite matches "The Time Warp" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The song "Shock Treatment" may well be the best song from the film, and it is also one of the better sequences in the film (Nell Campbell even gets a bit in the song beyond standing around). Other musical sequences have some rather nice touches to them. For instance, the "Farley's Song" sequence involves Farley Flavors singing the song from a television set, bringing home the movie's theme of media manipulation. As to "Breaking Out," performed by Oscar Drill and the Bits, it is an enjoyable piece of garage rock in with the movie's All-American milieu.

Naturally, Shock Treatment has its flaws. Some might find the narrative a bit difficult to follow at times. And while one can easily understand how Janet could be manipulated by Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, it is more difficult for me to understand how she so easily falls under the sway of Farley Flavors, the Doctors McKinley, and Bert Schnick. This brings me to another complaint I have about the film. While Jessica Harper certainly has a great voice, but in other respects I think she was a poor choice to play Janet. I say this only because Susan Sarandon played Janet in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Sarandon's Janet was initially very conservative in her views at the start of the film, but she was still undeniably sexy. To put it more bluntly, Susan Sarandon was a total babe. While Jessica Harper has a great voice and is a very good actress, she isn't exactly a sex symbol in the way Sarandon was.

While Shock Treatment was either ignored or abhorred in its initial release, the film has slowly developed a cult following over the years. In September 2006 a special, 25th anniversary DVD was released, bringing the movie a new generation of viewers. While it might never become the phenomenon that The Rocky Horror Picture Show. is, Shock Treatment might well be redeemed in the end. Over a quarter of a century after its release, it could yet become more than a footnote in the history of Rocky Horror.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

The FCC and "Indecency"

For those of you who have not heard yet, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced Friday that it intends to fine the American Broadcast Company (ABC) $1.4 million for the 2003 episode of NYPD Blue, "Nude Awakening," which aired all the way back on February 25, 2003. The episode in question featured a full view of a woman's bare posterior and upper legs. The FCC alleges that the episode is indecent because "...it depicts sexual organs and excretory organs — specifically an adult woman's buttocks." The FCC claims that it received several complaints about the scene. The $1.4 million fine is one of the largest in television history.

As to ABC, they are contesting the fine and plan to appeal. They point out that NYPD Blue aired with "appropriate parental warnings" and "V-chip enabled program ratings from the time such ratings were implemented." ABC has also argued that the human posterior is not a sexual organ (here it must be noted that the pubic region was never visible).

If the FCC's intention to fine ABC for that particular episode of NYPD Blue has received a lot of press coverage, it is perhaps because for most of television's history such fines for indecency have been exceedingly rare. In fact, many might be surprised by what has aired on television in the past with not even an eyebrow being raised by the FCC. In fact, it was all the way back in 1974 that full female nudity first appeared on television on, of all places, PBS. It was in a broadcast of the play Steambath that actress Valerie Perrine appeared fully naked. In 1976 the NBC miniseries Captains and the Kings featured the first exposed nipple on network broadcast television. It was in 1981 on Saturday Night Live that actor Charles Rocket let slip the F-bomb. Rocket was fired, but the FCC did not fine NBC.

That is not to say that FCC fines for indecency were totally unknown to television prior to the Naughts. In 1987 the FCC levelled a fine at Kansas City station KZKC-TV for a discussion on a talk show of the R-rated movie Private Lessons. The fine was eventually cancelled. In 1997 the FCC fined WJPR-TV in Lynchburg, Virginia for airing a movie in 1993 which included "non- literal uses of the 'F-Word' and the 'S-Word.'" The fine was eventually rescinded. Telemundo would not prove so lucky in 2001. The Spanish language network had aired a show which included a scene of a couple taking a bath together, among other things. Telemundo would become the first television outlet in the United States who was forced to pay a fine for indecency, in their case one of $21,000. In a skit airing in 2002, KRON-TV in San Francisco would violate FCC rules in a way that makes Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" look mild--a young man exposed himself briefly. The FCC fined KRON $27,000 for the incident, making them the first television outlet in the continental United States who had to pay a fine for indecency. In 2003 Fox would become the first network to be fined for a reality series. The series Married by America featured digitally obscured nudity, for which the FCC fined the network a then record $1,183,000. A 2003 unedited broadcast of the movie The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper on St. Louis station KTVI, in which the S-word is uttered several times, resulted in a $27,500 fine for the station.

As to why fines for indecency were relatively rare until the Naughts, this perhaps has to do with the fact that for most of its history, the television industry has been rather conservative with regards to content. As late as 1966 it was forbidden to say the word "Hell" on television and the networks were nervous about showing as much as a woman's belly button. As time passed the networks would loosen their restrictions. It was in 1971 that audiences first heard a toilet flush, on the sitcom All in the Family. This process of the networks easing their restrictions on programme content would accelerate once the television ratings system went into effect in 1997 While for much of their history the television networks were very cautious about the content of their programmes, the Federal Communications Commission has been nervous about engaging in anything that might be construed as censorship. It is perhaps for this reason that incidents such as Charles Rocket uttering the F-bomb were overlooked.

All of this would change on February 1, 2004, when during the Super Bowl half time show Janet Jackson briefly exposed a breast. Swiftly becoming a cause celebre, the FCC fined CBS $550,000. Following the incident the United States Congress increased the FCC's fines for indecency, settling upon the amount of $325,000 for each violation. The FCC also started paying much closer attention to the broadcast networks with regards to "indecency," so that fines for indecency were levelled much more often. A February 2004 episode of the WB reality show The Surreal Life would result in a $27,500 fine for the now defunct WB over digitally obscured nudity. In 2006 the FCC levelled a record $3.6 million fine against CBS for an December 2004 episode of Without a Trace which suggested a teenage orgy (there was no nudity whatsoever in the scene).

I must admit that in some respects I can see the need for the FCC's rules on indecency and the fines that go with them. I think most of us can agree that the incident in which a young man exposed himself on KRON in 2002 was quite deserving of an indecency fine, as I suspect a vast majority of Americans would have found that objectionable (in fact, I dare say that the fine should have been greater). And I think most of us can understand why the FCC decided to level a fine when U2 front man Bono dropped the F-bomb on an NBC broadcast of the Golden Globes. That having been said, I think there are times when the FCC seems very inconsistent in their approach to what is indecent and what is not.

To wit, the FCC fined KTVI for airing The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper with the S-word unedited, yet they let ABC air the movie Saving Private Ryan complete with its swearing intact. The FCC determined that "deleting offensive words would have altered the nature of the artistic work and diminished the power, realism and immediacy of the film experience for viewers." I may be wrong, but it seems to me as if the FCC is saying that it is all right for soldiers to swear but not for skyjackers or anyone else. The FCC's lack of consistency is even more glaring with regards to NYPD Blue. The series had featured nudity from the very beginning, so that over the years on the show we have seen the bare bottoms of David Caruso, Jimmy Smits, Gail O'Grady, and even Dennis Franz. Now granted I am a guy, but I personally find Dennis Franz's posterior more offensive than that of any of the women on NYPD Blue...

While I admit I can see a need for the FCC's indecency rules, I think that they should be administered with a bit of consistency and common sense. If the FCC is going to fine ABC for one instance of nudity on NYPD Blue, then perhaps they should fine them for every instance of nudity on NYPD Blue for the past fifteen years. If they are going to fine KTVI for airing The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper with its swearing uncut, then they should fine ABC for airing Saving Private Ryan with it swearing uncut. I don't understand why it is acceptable for soldiers to curse, but not skyjackers... Finally, when a series airs with the appropriate rating (allowing for a TV set's V-chip to block it if necessary) and the appropriate parental warnings (which NYPD Blue always has), I see no reason to level fines of indecency for anything less than exposure of the pubic region or explicit sex. I can understand the FCC levelling the fine over Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl half time show, because in theory children could have been watching and parents would have had no warning that their children might be exposed to something they might not want them to see. That having been said, unless someone has been on a deserted island for the past 15 years, I do not see how they could not realise that NYPD Blue often contains material that many might find objectionable. Quite frankly, if the proper ratings and proper parental warnings are in place, then it is a parent's own fault if he or she allows his or her child to watch NYPD Blue with all its swearing and nudity. I can understand the need for the FCC's indecency regulations, but of late it seems to me that they have not been applied properly.