Thanks to alert watchdogs
at the Nickelodeon TV network, Nick at Nite and TV Land viewers are being
spared a series of oblique references to marijuana sprinkled across episodes
of the 1960's hit sit-com, the Beverly Hillbillies. In doing so, executives
for Nickelodeon sounded like a character out of another widely syndicated
sit-com: the preacher's wife on the Simpsons, who famously lobbies for
more laws under the battle cry, "what about the children?"
"There are drug references
and kids would be watching," Nickelodeon spokesman Paul Ward told Insight
Magazine on Sunday. "The show was edited because a lot of viewers were
kids. We have a responsibility as programmers, and part of that responsibility
is telling kids that recreational drug use is not okay."
Not that Jed Clampett --
or even Elly Mae, for that matter -- ever advocated marijuana use. In fact,
the bits that were too much for Nickelodeon reflect nothing more than a
passing nod to the cultural phenomenon that was marijuana in the 1960s.
In one censored episode from 1968, in which the Hillbillies hire an Italian
chef, Jethro mistakenly refers to "marinara sauce" as "marijuana sauce."
In a 1967 episode, Granny was detained by police among a crowd of Griffith
Park hippies when she told the officer she was "looking for a little pot"
-- to cook in, that is. And in 1969, a deputy said that Elly Mae's bear,
which was dressed like a hippie, "probably smoked pot."
That daring comedy somehow
made it past the CBS censors when the show first aired, as well as numerous
syndications in the decades since then. But it couldn't make it past the
sharp eyes at Nickelodeon, and they aren't changing their minds. Ward told
Insight that to restore the jokes now might somehow send the message that
Nickelodeon advocates drug use. "A lot of money, time and effort would
have to be spent," he said. "It would seem a long way to go just to advocate
Given Nickelodeon's hatchet-job
on the Hillbillies, which must be viewed either as craven corporate cowardice
or pandering to PC pressures, committed viewers of classic comedy may start
to rethink their support of a network that markets itself as appealing
to TV purists but feels free to wield the censor's pen.
-- END --
Issue #268, 12/20/02
Special Offer Continues -- DRCNet Needs Your Help! | Editorial: Expanding the Chorus | 108 Euro-Parliamentarians Call for Legal, Regulated Drug Trade, Reform of UN Conventions | Congressional Drug Warrior Having Doubts: Dan Burton's Near Epiphany | Michigan Legislature Repeals Mandatory Minimum Drug Laws | Canadian Marijuana Activists Skeptical on Decrim | Canadian Supreme Court Postpones Marijuana Cases, Cites Parliament Report, Justice Minister Statement on Decrim | DRCNet Book Review: "Busted: Stone Cowboys, Narco-Lords, and Washington's War on Drugs" | And the Winners Are | Federal Judge Shows Keen Interest in Raich/Monson Medical Marijuana Case | Bolivia Coca Growers Announce Blockades for January 6 -- Will Continue Dialogue | DC Measure 62 Clears Hurdle, Goes to Congress 268/jeffjones Newsbrief: Oakland Cannabis Co-op Director Founded Guilty on Federal Jury Tampering Charges, Handed Out Flyer at Epis Trial | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Newsbrief: Stop the Presses! Poor, Blacks Face Brunt of Houston Drug War | Newsbrief: Texas ACLU Report Slams Task Forces, Calls for End to $200 Million Annual Boondoogle | Newsbrief: MPP Continues "War on Drug Czar" -- More Complaints to be Filed, O'Reilly Appearance Tonight | Newsbrief: Budget Cuts Free Kentucky Drug Prisoners -- Oklahoma Next? | Newsbrief: Nickelodeon Censors Beverly Hillbillies Marijuana References | Newsbrief: Asset Forfeiture Unconstitutional in New Jersey | Media Scan: Joycelyn Elders in Globe and Mail, George McMahon in Fort Worth Weekly, Jeff and Tracy, Santa Fe New Mexican, Medscape | DC Job Opportunities at DRCNet | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Tulia, Salvia Divinorum | The Reformer's Calendar
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