According to The New York Daily News, Jenny Slate will not be fired for her SNL f-bomb on Saturday night’s premiere. The SNL f-bomb is the latest instance of a curse word to reach the airwaves in the past few weeks. Just two weeks ago, New York’s FOX5’s Ernie Anastos dropped the f-bomb while talking to the weather man. Jenny Slate’s job is safe and she will not be fired for mixing up “freakin'” with the f-bomb on air.
Freakin’, Fracking and Frelling: How TV shows get away with using the f-bomb and avoid censors
It is not uncommon to watch TV and hear words quite similar to the f-bomb that obviously have the same basic meaning. Take the word ‘freakin‘, which was used in the now infamous Jenny Slate SNL Biker skit. Jenny Slate’s lines included the word ‘freakin’ and it is not any wonder that the f-bomb slipped out by accident. Freakin is just another way to use the f-word, but is somewhat more polite in conversation. Freakin’ is also not one of George Carlin’s 7 Dirty Words You Can’t Say on Television.
Fracking was a word heard nearly weekly on Battlestar Gallactica before the show was canceled after four seasons. IMDB lists many quotes from Battlestar Gallactica that used the word ‘frack’ in the same context as one would use the f-bomb. One exchange involving Dr. Gaius Balthar, Laura Roslin and Number 6 had Balthar saying, “Well, quite frankly, I don’t give a flying frak whether you believe me or not, all right?” This is just one of many instances where the word ‘frack’ was substituted in for the f-bomb. Battlestar Gallactica, by the way, ran on SyFy (then SciFi) on prime time on Friday nights last season. Jenny Slate’s SNL f-bomb was not during prime time.
Also a SciFi favorite, fans will remember that Farscape also freely used an f-bomb substitute by using the word ‘frell’ in episodes. Farscape followed the adventures of John Crichton’s, a NASA astronaut thrown into a distant universe who ultimately travels around with a fugitive motley crew while searching for a way home. John Crichton said in one episode, “Ah, screw it. But I am not Kirk, Spock, Luke, Buck, Flash or Arthur frelling Dent. I’m Dorothy Gale from Kansas.” Farscape is no longer syndicated in the US, according to Watchfarscape.com, but is currently available on DVD.
The use of f-bomb alternatives in mainstream TV, including SNL’s use of ‘freakin’ in the place of the f-word to appease censors means that slip ups such as Jenny Slate’s SNL f-bomb can happen on Live TV. At least with SyFy’s shows, these were taped and thus any slips of the tongue that may have occurred during taping were not aired.