The Parents Television Council has fired off a letter to Gordon Smith, who in addition to heading NAB is also Chairman of the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board. PTC says there is too much violence and harsh language in the AMC program The Walking Dead to warrant the TV-14 rating the show carries. Alternate children’s watchdog Common Sense doesn’t quite agree.
“Throughout its run, the AMC program The Walking Dead has featured some of the most graphic and brutally intense violence and gore imaginable. In the current season alone the show has depicted hundreds of scenes of grisly murder both of living and “undead,” but human, characters. The intensely violent content has included depictions of the cleaving of human skulls with a machete, extreme gun violence including graphic depictions of blood and brains splattering after gunshot wounds, and the use of a sharpened human bone as a weapon to stab another character,” wrote PTC President Tim Winter
PTC also has problems with the language, including, “including the unedited use of the word ‘shit’ as well as many other instances of foul language.”
It would like the program to use a more accurate age-based rating, without suggesting what that rating should be.
Common Sense also warns about the programming on its website, and provides three age-based recommendations: its own, one from 19 parents who have reviewed the program and one from 43 kids who have reviewed it.
The parental rating may come as a surprise to the Parents Television Council, because it is exactly the same as the program’s rating – they call for caution when allowing 14-year-olds to watch it. Common Sense is a bit more conservative – it gives a caution range of 14-17 and emphasizes 16. The kids, as might be expected, are the most lenient – but even they were close to the actual rating, suggesting 13 as the caution point.
RBR-TVBR observation: The age old problem with ratings is the fact that they are necessarily subjective, a matter of opinion. PTC has shown time and again that it is easily offended – and if you too are easily offended, we suggest you take PTC’s advice. We have found personally that our views are much closer to those we find on the Common Sense site, and yes – we have children.
By way of offering friendly advice, we will point out once again to PTC that all television sets we’ve seen come equipped with the means to change the channel.
As for using ratings to block programming you would personally rather your children do not see, we make this suggestion to PTC believers – if you believe the TV-14 setting as commonly used today is too lenient, then set your V-Chip to TV-16 or TV-17. Just because you disagree with the face value of a rating doesn’t mean you cannot use it to your advantage!