The Real Boobs At The Grammys? CBS’s Program Practices
Earlier this week, CBS’s program practices department sent a memo to this year’s Grammy Awards attendees:
“Please be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered. Thong type costumes are problematic. Please avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack. Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts is also problematic. Please avoid sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose female breast nipples.”
First of all, I want to know where else would nipples be? And second, there is no mention in the memo of…to be as delicate as possible about this…problematic male bulges. I’m just sayin’.
When the CBS memo came to light earlier this week, it was a flashback to the time between 1930 and 1968 when filmmakers had to answer to the Hollywood censorship offices if their films showed the least bit of objectionable epidermis. Scandalous skin was to be avoided at all costs if a movie expected to be released with a non-prurient seal of approval.
Flash forward to the 21st century; CBS executives—in their relentless (and thankfully unsuccessful) Puritan zeal to save us from our own curiosity–seem to have not gotten the word that we want to see exactly that which they are trying to quash. Flesh can be fabulous—and the more there is of it, the greater the likelihood that viewers may actually watch the Grammys to catch a glimpse of something click worthy, Facebook friendly and Twitterlicious. It’s not like the Grammy show’s audience demographic hasn’t seen much, much more than the daringly draped derrières on display along the red carpet. And if faint-hearted Grammy sponsors get queasy, there is always that bastion of bosoms, GoDaddy.com, to jump right in to make sure the show will go on.
We’re not talking Janet Jackson’s 2004 Super Bowl micro-second costume malfunction that caused FCC cops to have the vapors, or last Sunday’s Super Pole … er, Super Bowl half time dance with Beyonce that seemed a bit over the top for family entertainment. The Grammys is, more than any other awards show, all about beautiful people (okay, women) whose fashions highlight, frame or otherwise show off beautiful bodies. Jennifer Lopez’s Versace stunner from the 42nd Grammys 13 years ago is a case in point. There is no way that was in poor taste, at least from this viewer’s perspective.
As Ellie Krupnick and Jessica Misener wrote in the Huffington Post’s review of the 2012 Grammy fashions, “…the Grammy Awards are the night when music’s hottest stars can let their hair down and wear things that are straight-up and simply fun.” What right does CBS have to put a lid on such fun? Because it’s their show? Hardly a reason to deny an appreciative audience the chance to see a tantalizingly bare side, or a rounded curve or a daring plunge.
In the end, even Neil Portnow, CEO of the organization that hosts the Grammys, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, seems uncowed by the network’s boob memo. Quoted by MTV’s Gil Kaufman, Portnow said “That memo is the same one distributed to artists on our show and presumably other shows for a decade.” Meaning no matter what the guys in program practices say, there’s going to be plenty of skin Sunday night.
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