Why "Amish" was bleeped from Earl: creator Greg Garcia responds
Joel Keller: So, you were the one who decided to bleep out the word "Amish" from last night's episode?
Greg Garcia: Yeah. I mean it was pointed out to me, but not like in a... we shot that so long ago, um... It was pointed out to me; somebody was watching whatever finalization they do at NBC, and they were like, "Hey, do you remember that this (line) was the Amish thing?" And I was like, "Yeah, ooh... I don't want to start the episode out like that." I mean, it wasn't like we were making fun of the Amish.
JK: No, you weren't. Do you remember the exact line you used?
GG: I think it was like, "You know how Amish people get together and help each other build a barn? Well, that's what we do when it's time to wax Wilma's moustache." So I just decided... I tried real quick to change it to "country people," or something like that, but we didn't have time to re-record it. So I just said drop it out. I'd rather there be a little glitch there... I figure most of the country isn't gonna pick up on it, and you don't want to start out your comedy out with people envisioning a tragedy.
JK: Do you think NBC was a little sensitive to it because of what happened at the Emmys?
GG: I can't speak for them. All I can say is that the people I deal very closely with at the network pointed it out to me, and I said, "Maybe I should take it out." And they were like, "Well, it's your call. We just wanted to let you know." So it wasn't like they said, "Hey, we think you should take it out," or anything like that.
I knew if I would have said on the phone, "Let's leave it in; that's crazy," they would have said "Fine."
JK: So when it gets rerun later in the season, will the word will be back in?
GG: I would imagine it would, yeah. (The tragedy is) just so fresh.
JK: Are you concerned that bleeping out the word drew more attention than leaving it in?
GG: I guess for a second that you worry that it might, then you think "Ah, no one will ever notice it." Then you read TV Squad, and there's a whole article about it. But, um... I wasn't concerned about that. It's not like... um... I'm hiding from anything. I think anybody who I had a conversation about it would say, "Oh, yeah, that makes complete sense. You're a comedy, so why bring that up?"
JK: But can you understand why TV journalists like us become skeptical when we see something like this, given how the networks have behaved the last few years?
GG: Well, I think there's a big difference between being censored for stuff and just showing sensitivity. Tust me, I'm certainly against censorship in any way, but at the same time we're all just human beings living on the earth (chuckle), and so... It wasn't even like a joke, you know what I'm saying? It just happened to, by bad luck and timing, mention Amish, that's all. And so it wasn't even like a joke I desperately wanted to do. I mean, I've certainly had jokes I've wanted to do that got censored (chuckles). But this wasn't a case like that.
I would say in other circumstances, I could see where the media would say, "Hey, this is censorship and it's ridiculous," but in this particular circumstance, it's incorrect to draw that analysis.
JK: But we didn't know it was you that did it until you mentioned it in our comments...
GG: No, I understand the thinking that NBC just did it, and I would have been watching it last night with everybody else saying, "Hey, where did the word Amish go?", you know, as the creator of the show. But what I'm saying is that because it was just me, it's not the case with this one.