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October 13, 2015

Was bleeping "Amish" from Earl really necessary?

by Joel Keller, posted Oct 6th 2006 1:33PM
Jason Lee in My Name Is Earl(UPDATE: Series creator Greg Garcia responded in the comments to this post that he was the one that decided to insert the bleep. After he left the comment, I called up his office and talked to him about his decision. That conversation is here.)

As Mike S. pointed out in his review of My Name is Earl, a TV Squadder pointed out to him that the word "Amish" was bleeped out of the show right at the beginning of the episode. That TV Squadder would be me. I noticed that right at the beginning of the episode, as Earl and Randy are helping Catalina wax a hirstute neighbor, Earl's voiceover says something like this: "You know how the <silence> go around the village and raise money to build a barn? That's what we did to get Wilma to wax her moustache."

Of course, you know that weirdly silent moment was a word that was bleeped in post-production. And, given the fact that the Amish community is still reeling from the school shooting that occurred earlier this week, and that the community does exactly what Earl described, chances are pretty good that NBC bleeped the word "Amish" from the show at the last minute, in deference to the school shooting in Lancaster County, PA earlier this week.

Don't get me wrong, the shooting was sad and tragic, something that no family should ever have to go through. But I don't know what NBC's motives were for bleeping the word from the episode. Earl wasn't making fun of the Amish, just stating that they collect money to build a barn. He wasn't talking about the Amish and guns, or about Amish children or schools. He just mentioned something they did.

It seemed like it was yet another network overreaction; they bleeped the word just in case one person in the country might possibly be offended by the non-offensive use of the word. But given it's usage, I'm sure no one would have noticed or cared. Heck, since the Amish don't watch TV, they wouldn't have even known that the word was used in the show.

Yes, it's an unfortunate coincidence that the word was there the same day the folks in Lancaster buried their children, but there was no need to wipe the word from the episode. In fact, by bleeping it, NBC has drawn more attention to the word (like in posts like this) than they would have if they left it alone. Nice work, NBC!

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Wow! The author of the previous comment should get a job in the writing field himself. Such ability shouldn't be wasted on blogging. BTW last week's Earl episode was outstanding.

October 08 2006 at 9:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jon L Stevens

As far as the show is concerned I belive the hole show should be bleepted off the air.

It is totaly garbage

October 07 2006 at 9:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bravo Greg for taking "the buck stops here" stand. You should run for office.

October 06 2006 at 5:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
the chicken man

like the amish, I'll forgive.
seriously, I think they could teach us a thing or two.

October 06 2006 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No matter what is said, someone somewhere will be offended. There are things I hear and see on the tube that are truly offensive and degrading. I could make a big stink about them or I can let it go. I choose to let it go as long as it does not become excessive. Many would benefit to act likewise and lighten up. The FCC has rules to protect us, there is no need for a network to add censorship in order to bolster their agenda.

October 06 2006 at 4:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


Your consideration is admirable, but you've got to understand how people will interpret it as another case of political correctness going overboard. Yours is my absolute favorite comedy, in fact it's one of the few I watch, but I was more offended by the scene of a dog humping Earl's leg in the first season than I'd ever be having him mention the Amish at this time. Just because a recent tragedy befell a group of people, or a country, state, etc. is honestly no reason to worry about offending someone. Either way, you're going to lose in someone's eyes, so I say keep it as it's written and stand by your work.

I take the world(s) of television shows out-of-context with the real world since it's escapist entertainment and I wish all viewers would, too. I completely disconnect with reality when watching television entertainment and if I want commentary on the "real" world, I tune into the news or watch a documentary.

October 06 2006 at 4:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thank you, Greg.

October 06 2006 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Greg Garcia

I did it. I wasn't worried about offending the Amish because the joke wasn't at all offensive. I just didn't want to start off my comedy by putting an image of a recent tragedy in people's minds. It's not censorship because NBC didn't make me do it. I wanted to record an alternate voice over line but there wasn't time. Taking the word out was the best option. Thanks for watching.

October 06 2006 at 3:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah, well screw that. I thought it was stupid that people got offended by the plane crash thing too, but yes, I can blame them for being idotic. I was praying NBC wouldn't apologize for the Emmy thing, and when they did, I was angry. Seriousy,anyone effected had better things to do than watch the Emmys anyway. If I die in a car wreck tomorrow, will they edit out car crashed out of respect? Hell no, and they shouldn't either. People need to realize that these things are in no way actually connected and learn to take a joke for what it's worth. I HATE censorship and disagree with it entirely.

October 06 2006 at 3:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This was just NBC being careful after getting lynched for the plane crash skit the day of the Kentucky plane crash. They were just being careful. I think the may have over reacted but who cares, I'd rather them over react once in a while then have to see Janet Jackson's plastic saline holders or insensitively timed easily deleted scenes of a plane crashing the day of a plane crash.

Can't we just leave these people alone already? They don't want us talking about them or invading their personal lives or judging them .. can't we just respect that?

October 06 2006 at 2:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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