Last year, G4TechTV Canada made the delightful inclusion of Adult Swim’s hypnotically violent series, Superjail!, to their line-up. Despite the fact that the series may very well be the most excessively violent animated program to ever run on North American commercial television, G4 mistakenly ran the entire series with a “PG” rating.
Just for kicks, blogger doconnor decided to submit a complaint to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council using their online form. Last month he showed us the results.
While Rogers Media, G4TechTV Canada’s owners, did admit (one week after the deadline) that the PG rating was an error, they still insisted that a 14+ rating would have been more than adequate to accommodate Superjail!‘s disembowelments and eye gouging. While doconnor was impressed by the efficiency of the process, which could be done entirely online, it took the CBSC ten months to reach a final verdict on the issue.
What is truly amazing was how blasé the Council was about the whole situation. This is the same organization that, in an eager gesture to show its teeth months after being created, had The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers effectively banned from being broadcast on a Canadian station. Make no mistake, I love Superjail! I feel that its violence only adds to its psychedelic tapestry. I also hate intrusive regulatory censorship, especially the fine-based actions of the FCC in the United States. However, it’s still surprising that the process for such a huge oversight related to extremely violent content would be so impassive.
Cases like this often give the impression that Canadian attitudes towards content standards have become much more Americanized in recent years. Traditionally Canadian audiences and broadcasters have been less responsive to sexuality than violence, which is considered the opposite to the more Puritanical values held by those in the United States.
For instance, I was very surprised last year to see that District 9 had been given a 14A on home video, despite the fact that the movie contains vivid depictions of people blowing up and being ripped apart. Yes, they are being blown up and ripped apart in a subversive and exaggerated manner within a science fiction context, but they’re being blown up and ripped apart nonetheless! On the flipside, virtually every film that Judd Aapatow has been involved in has been given an 18A rating, despite their content being comprised mainly of explicit sexual dialogue. I’m fairly confident that this would NOT have been the case in the late 90s.
Superjail! is no longer on the air. If it does resurface, which is likely to happen after the long-promised second season is completed, it seems unlikely that moral outrage will erupt from its presence.
While the series has been available on DVD in the United States for nearly a year, Amazon.ca indicates that it will be getting a properly distributed Canadian release on 21 October 2010.