For the past year or so one of my favorite shows on TV has been the law drama "Suits" on USA Network. It is tactfully written with a good plot and not nearly as predictable as many other shows on TV now a days. I was out of town when the season finale aired last month and have just now had the opportunity to blog about it.
As interesting as it is, over the last season I have grown increasingly concerned with some of the content featured in the show. The more I watched the more profanity I noticed, and I consider myself to have a relatively high tolerance for profanity. It was not just that the characters cursed, but how and when they cursed. It wasn't the occasional d*m* or sh*t but the excessive use of GD, which, for me, crosses a line that the other words don't. It was the fact that at times it seemed as though these vulgarities were thrown in just for the sake of being thrown into the script, so people know these are "bad a**" lawyers.
I know what these comments will seem like to many people, that I am young and naive and don't know how the real world works or how people in the real world talk. And you are wrong. I know how people talk. For goodness sakes, I just graduated from college and there is no shortage of it there. I was even at a healthcare conference with my parents recently and upon entering the hotel heard a twenty-something year old at the conference using horrific language in the loudest voice he could muster with my mother, whom he did not know, right next to him. That kind of behavior is classless and poorly represented not only him but the company he worked for.
And the same goes for television. Let's be honest, it's nothing but sloppy and lazy writing. If you have to throw out that many obscenities to prove how bad or tough you are, are you really that tough? Are you really that crafty of a writer that you have to add unnecessary expletives to establish the character of the role?
So this was one thing that bothered me about the show this past season and then the last episode really pushed it over the edge. Since the beginning of the show there has been a budding (and at times, dying) romance between two of the main characters, Mike and Rachel. It has been one of those together, not together, together, not together type of plots. Well, **SPOILER ALERT** in the last episode, they end up together, like reeeeeaaaaaaal together. My problem with how the writers and producers decided to portray their relationship is not that they had sex, plenty of shows have the characters under the sheets and they leave the rest to the viewers imagination. However, "Suits" left nothing to the imagination and no room for any other interpretation. Although, I have been told pornography is much more than just sex nowadays, Suits clearly crossed a line in the realm of porn.
What is more disturbing to me is that "Suits," nor any other program on tv now, takes responsibility for or even acknowledges the effects that this type of content has on viewers or our society as a whole. It is not simply degrading to society but studies have linked "everyday tv porn" to higher uses of more explicit pornography which is a "gateway" to even more explicit acts like child pornography, prostitution, sexual assault, and human trafficking/sex trafficking. If you don't believe it consider this, the fastest growing demographic for pimps who force girls against their wills to sell sexual services is high school age boys and most of these were introduced to this "industry" through pornography.
Like I said above, it is extremely disturbing to me that "Suits" does not seem to have any idea what type of effect this content has. This is evident in the conflicting messages they send with their brief ads for the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) about women's equal rights in the work place that aired during episodes featuring a storyline concerning a lawsuit dealing with gender discrimination in the work place. The company at fault, "Folsom Foods," was sued because they failed to promote or hire women because they felt that women are less devoted to their work because take time off for things like pregnancy or taking care of their children.
This simply doesn't add up. It appears that "Suits" and USA Network are very concerned with women being treated fairly and not discriminated against in the workplace but, by featuring such sexually explicit content, contribute to the sexual exploitation of women and underage girls. Not to mention the fact that sex in the workplace is never a good idea and certainly does not help women break that "glass ceiling" we hear so much about.
So I'm sorry "Suits," but I will not be watching you any more. Clean up your content and learn about the effects your materials have on society and I'll consider tuning back in.
Oh and to anyone reading this who feels similarly, USA Network wants to know how you feel! Please click here for a link to their feedback form and feel free to tell them you heard about it here.
For more info on sex trafficking check out the Polaris Project.
For more info on how pornography feeds the sex trafficking industry check out this recent study, although others are out there too.