This story reminds me of a recurring bit on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, “This Week In Unnecessary Censorship.” His production crew takes completely clean video clips, but blurs the image and drops out the sound on a word or phrase here and there, which makes it seem like the original contained inappropriate-for-TV language. It’s cleverly done and the end result is usually pretty amusing.
Now to the story: Disney+ has added the Tom Hanks/Darryl Hannah classic “Splash” to its streaming roster, but with one slight change.
In the scene where grown-up Hanks first meets grown-up Hannah on the beach, she kisses him, then turns and dives back into the water. Since mermaids don’t wear clothes, viewers of the 1984 release saw Hannah’s naked tush. In the 2020 Disney+ version, there’s now some digital fur (hair extensions?) added by the company’s CGI team so no one has to see a fictional character’s derriere.
Of course, in the intervening 36 years, the movie has aired unedited hundreds of times on both cable and broadcast television, not to mention all those home video (VHS + DVR) editions. But somehow, a movie rated PG upon its 1984 release is just too racy for Disney’s streaming service, where the rule apparently is an interspecies love affair is fine, as long as we don’t see anyone’s rear end.
It reminds me of when I come across late night reruns of “NYPD Blue” on the H&I (Heroes and Icons) cable channel. When the cop drama originally ran on ABC, executive producers Steven Bochco and David Milch convinced the network to loosen its standards a bit so that words like “asshole” and “douchebag” — which the realistic characters on their show would not shy away from — could air without being bleeped. They even got away with a few rear-end shots of Jimmy Smits, Kim Delaney, and other cast members (e.g. getting into the shower or out of bed).
All of that was fine twenty-seven years ago in primetime! But the H&I channel, which airs the reruns after midnight, feels the needs to censor those not-at-all-raunchy words and scenes.The murders, the domestic abuse, the rapes, the cops-beating-up-suspects — all of that is fine, as long as no one is referred to as a “dickhead.”
What’s next? CGI fur on Andy Sipowicz’s butt?
While I’m on the subject of old entertainment being revived, I have to say that watching the return of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” is frustrating as hell. When the game debuted in 1999, its slow pacing and insipid early questions were mildly annoying, but I was willing to put up with them because Regis was so great as the host, and the later elements — as contestants moved up in prize levels — made it worthwhile.
But in the two decades since, everything about our world has gotten so much faster that “Millionaire” drags in comparison. The fake drama, the lights, the soundtrack — even the banter between the celebrity players and host Jimmy Kimmel — all add up to a boring experience. Compare that to “Jeopardy!” as it still hums along, never adding any fake pauses for effect or pseudo-dramatic music to play up the risk/reward of a Daily Double.
It’s no wonder the latter show has been successful for so many years, while “Millionaire” has struggled through a half-dozen hosts and reboots.