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“Transformers 2” M&Ms will corrupt your children.

“Transformers 2” M&Ms will corrupt your children. (photo)

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Long ago, when the ratings system was new, its standards wouldn’t necessarily make a whole lot of sense to today’s zealous parents. In 1968, “Planet of The Apes,” was a G movie, and in 1976 “The Bad News Bears” was PG — alleged family fare with enough beer consumption and racial tension to make Paul Haggis blush.

Over the years, parents got pickier; mild profanity got elided from the “G,” and the gap between “PG” and “R” got too broad. After “Gremlins” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” came out in 1984, scaring the holy crap out of kids and angering their folks, “PG-13” came along. And then parents never complained about ratings ever again, because they finally had enough information to make good judgments about what was appropriate for their children.

Nah, just kidding. Maybe it’s a cliché to say that today’s parents are overly over-protective, but it rings too true when an organization like the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood comes along. The CCFC is all about new ways to give parents more control over TV (besides, like, being in the room and watching it with their kids). Today — as Current‘s Matthew Lasar notes — the CCFC is annoyed because TV ads for PG-13 movies are being aired during Nickelodeon and Disney shows, “targeting children as young as preschoolers.”

How to fix this? The CCFC would like a new V-chip-like device to filter those wicked PG-13ish spots out, so that mature, adult fare like “Transformers 2” doesn’t tempt their kids. “A 2004 study found strong evidence of ‘ratings creep,'” the CCFC’s scoldy response to the FCC notes. “A PG-13 movie in 2003 was likely to have significantly more violence and sexual content than a PG-13 movie ten years earlier. In other words, many of the PG-13 films that are routinely marketed today to children as young as seven-and often marketed to preschoolers-are films that would have been rated R fifteen years ago.”

That’s ahistorical nonsense, but whatever. Current‘s Lasar is right to be confused about what the big deal is: “One wonders what bad behaviors these films might inspire in Junior. [We] can see him having a go at dad’s old eight-track player or scrapped lawn mower; not a lot else.” Sure. And that goes for “Star Trek” or “Iron Man,” other movies that seem to keep the CCFA up at night, according to their report. All have their moments of mild sexuality and plenty of explosions, but it’s hard to imagine that warping a kid.

The CCFA (which, to be fair, decries rampant commercialization across the board) is even concerned about “ads for branded food products such as ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’ M&Ms and ‘Star Trek’ Movie Eggos.” Are ratings here to protect children against stuff that would be genuinely destructive? Or just stuff that’s loud and designed to turn off your critical impulses? Because anyone who wants to argue “Star Trek” is going to morally cripple the youth of today has their work cut out for them. It seems like PG-13 is becoming less a warning to parents than a guarantee of certain blockbuster staples, which I suppose for blockbuster-hounds could be even more helpful than whatever function the rating’s supposed to serve.

[Photo: “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” M&M’s. Of doom.]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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