So I <i>wasn't</i> hallucinating!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

So I wasn't hallucinating!

Nudity Advisory

I'm not certain what induced me to check out the debut of "Breaking Bad" on January 20, 2008 since Cable AMC was not even on my "favorites" list 32 months ago.

In its early years, American Movie Classics, which launched in 1984, showed uncut, com­mercial-free films on basic cable.

(And naturally it was included on our local cable system since AMC is wholly-owned by Cablevision.)

It was a decent film resource until two things happened over the years:

  1. Our system expanded to include cable channels such as TCM with its outstanding library of films.
  2. AMC unabashedly edits for content... no nudity, of course, and no salty language.

And AMC is really fussy about the latter... they don't limit their censorship to the more pun­gent Anglo-Saxon-isms. If a "hell" or a "damn" occurs in the dialogue, there's a blip or "dip" in the audio signal.

Closed Captioning icon

Even with the Closed Captioning feature enabled, the letters of the offensive word are garbled.

It's annoying sometimes, but there's always the no-words-barred "premium" cable channel alternatives of HBO, Showtime and Starz.

So one can imagine my surprise when I tuned in the "Breaking Bad" pilot that 2008 Sunday evening, and almost immediately spotted a bare-breasted woman in the brief scene where viewers are introduced to meth-head/dope-dealer "Jesse Pinkman" (Aaron Paul).

Wearing only boxer shorts, "Pinkman" is seen dropping from a second floor bedroom window while a woman wearing only briefs, tosses the rest of his clothing out after him.

This is observed from the point of view of cancer-diagnosed chemistry teacher "Walter White" (Bryan Cranston) who had accompa­nied his DEA agent brother-in-law on a drug raid and was waiting in the vehicle while agents took the door of an adjoining house.

Decent narrative start... but I was puzzled.

When did AMC relax its "Edited for Content" guidelines to allow nudity?

The rest of censorship thing was certainly still in place, as any and all "Mature Language" was blipped, dipped and scrambled.

When AMC cablecast an "encore presentation" of the pilot show, I re-watched the beginning, and this time the "Sexy Neighbor" (Linda Speciale) was wearing a decidedly modest top, almost like a sports bra, which might have been digitally "painted" on the actress.

This was making no sense... AMC's "Standards and Practices" were clearly still in place, and the channel certainly didn't have anyone rush off to the editing room to work some digital wizardry between the series premiere and that "encore" immediately following.

I asked some acquaintances about that scene, but no one else had caught it or, too much to expect, recorded it!

"You must have been hallucinating," one in­sisted. "AMC is the biggest prude on the cable! It would never show bare breasts!"

Yeah? Well, I know what I saw.

That Summer, when AMC reprised that first season of "Breaking Bad," I watched that pilot episode a third time... and again the woman appeared modestly covered.

I dunno... mebbe I was hallucinating!

Whew!

Bare-breasted woman from the pilot show of "Breaking Bad"

Yesterday, one of the other fans of the series I'd asked about that curious scene, sent me a screen capture from his DVD of the First Season of "Breaking Bad."

And there it was, just as I remembered it!

Accompanying the image was a note:

"I never doubted you, fella!"

Right!

Unanswered is the question of just what hap­pened on January 20, 2008?

Did someone at AMC screw up and cue up the wrong version of that pilot episode, which error was corrected an hour later?

I think it's more plausible that a conscious decision was made to suspend the AMC "no nudity" policy for that one showing to gull viewers into thinking that the channel was now allowing more "adult" content.

I'm open to knowledgeable suggestions.

Comments

1. Rob F. said...

It is often said that people see what they want to see.

I'm just sayin'.

That's what I've secretly been afraid of for the past 32 months.
Dean

2. Frank Wheeler said...

This isn't the most timely item you've done. AMC explained (in general) what they'd done with the premiere showing of the pilot episode the week it played. It seemed other viewers had noted the different versions (in much more detail than you did) as well, and were confused.

Missed that. Too much "Corporate P.R. Speak" for me.
Dean

3. Seeker said...

More importantly - is that woman about to throw a cat out the window?????

No... as noted in the blog, the woman with whom "Pinkman" was engaged when the DEA raid next door spooked him, bundled up his pants, shirt and shoes and tosses the bundle out the window after him.
Dean

4. Seeker said...

I know what you said in your blog, but I SWEAR my eyes read that bundle of clothing as a calico cat (complete with tail)... and at the size you have the photo I think others might see it my way too. If you'd printed the photo the same size as the one of the eyeless actress with the smiling dachsund, there could be no mistake as to whether clothing or cats were being thrown out the window... but I guess such a large scale bare breast might be too much for your more fragile readers... (now, where IS that card for the optometrist?)

As Rob F. commented earlier, "people see what they want to see."

You probably imagine every nondescript bundle to be an abused feline about to be heartlessly discarded.

Yes!, I could have made the image larger, but this isn't about the undraped female form, it's about censorship and the curious choices made by AMC.
– Dean

5. MJP said...

One is guessing that the cat in the photo here is related to the dog in the photo from your 7/28 post.

Similar MOs IMO.

There is no "cat in the photo here," so there is no relationship. Your "opinion" has just been drastically downgraded.
– Dean

6. Tugboat Bertha said...

I thought it was a cat she was holding in the photo too. We must all be blind.

7. Josh E. said...

It's funny... the night when "The Walking Dead" first premiered on AMC, immediately beforehand, the channel ran Zack Snyder's "Dawn of the Dead" remake, and cut out every last snippet of blood and gore they could find.

Immediately afterward, "The Walking Dead" premieres, and it's blood-and-gore-splatter city. Apparently AMC has zero issues with their own properties airing uncut, but freak out over broadcasting actual movies with a bit of "edgy" content in them.

AMC's policies in this regard are best described as "quirky."
Dean

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