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23 August 2001 @ 10:42 am
Edited for content  
Well, the Cthulhu Coffee webminion Cheb made a comment about how short the 'Edited for Content' version of Blazing Saddles must have been, and that got me thinkin' to a couple other truly bizarre editing choices I've seen. So today, I'm gonna share my experiences, for no particular reason aside from the fact that they amuse me :)

First was the Blazing Saddles one, mentioned yesterday. I didn't watch the whole thing, as I was twitching too badly. For those who've seen the movie, I'll give you just a slight taste of the pain. Every racial and/or religious epithet was duly removed. Any content that could be construed as racist was removed. Any content that could be construed as sexist was removed. Any content that could be construed as sexual was heavily edited. Any speech about violence or violent acts was likewise edited. I didn't watch all of it, but I think it was slated for a standard movie time-slot, so they must've padded out those deleted scenes with lots of extra commercials. I'm sure it pained them to do so! Whcih brings me to my next favorite...

Syndicated Simpsons episodes. I'm not too fond of the normal edits in the syndicated ones anyways, where a lot of the more subtle jokes are cut to make room for commercials (and even sometimes the big and/or plot relevant ones). But the Fox affiliate down in Champaign/Urbana took it even further. Aureth will testify that they're not the most competent station on the planet...quite possibly the least. They'd have station difficulties on a routine basis, they still believe that the whole 'Stereo' thing is a passing fad, and their picture quality made the average Simpsons episode look eerily like a Mark Rothko painting.

I'm specifically recalling one fine day where they started off The Simpsons with a technical flub, putting themselves about 3 minutes behind schedule. This, apparently, put them behind on valuable commercial time! So, what did they do? Why, they would wait until what looked like a slow part in the show, and play a commercial over that! There were at least 3 of these...one second, Homer's walking down Evergreen Terrace, the next, you've got "I feel like Chicken Tonight!" I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe.

In the category of 'Least Intelligent' edit, the award goes to a version of A Christmas Story I saw on TV once. Anyone who's seen this...you know how family-friendly this movie is. The father is supposed to have the worst, most foul mouth in the whole county, and he sounds like Yosemite Sam. However, this station decided to make one single edit to the movie.

You all remember the scene with the tire? Where Ralphie loses the bolts? And it goes into slow motion? And he says, "O-O-O-H ... F-U-U-U-D-G-E-!" Well, they edited that. He ends up saying 'O-O-O-H ... [Really long blank]"

The weirdest part about this edit, aside from the fact that they edited an existing self-imposed edit, was that during the following rant, they didn't edit out the same word! The narrator goes on in the movie for about 30 seconds after that scene, talking about how he hadn't really said 'Fudge', but had actually said a really bad word. And none of the occurrences of 'Fudge' there were blanked out. Weird!

In a side-category, some stations seem to be speeding up shows where they can, to time-crunch 'em so they can fit more commercials. I know one station did this to at least one Peanuts special, cause Vince Guaraldi's famous piano piece was about a half step higher in pitch than normal!

And the last one I'm going to mention is the version of Dead Alive the gang down in C-U ended up with one night. This is quite possibly the goriest movie of all time. That's the charm of it. It's so over-the-top that it's funny! I'd seen it before, an unedited version, and we decided to see it with the whole gang.

It became clear pretty quick that the Blockbuster version had any scene with graphic gore cut. After watching for a few bemused minutes (the plot isn't good enough to support the movie on its own), we popped it out and checked the running time. Somewhere on the order of 50-60 minutes. We check IMDB. The two normal US versions are 97 minutes and 85 minutes, uncut and mildly-cut versions respectively. They'd cut around 40 minutes out of the movie! At that point, I'd think any film cutter would be saying to himself, "Eh, why even bother?"

I've left out of this journal entry the edits that are frequently done to Warner Brothers cartoons, in the name of promoting gentle and proper behavior. These are not amusing, they're tragic! :/ I can't even remember the last time I saw Pepe le Pew. (Cartoon Network, bless its soul, seems to run most WB cartoons unedited. Unfortunately, my cable company doesn't carry it [or Animal Planet, or the Food Network]. Bad cable!)

Something good: Shoving a whole bunch of Altoids in your mouth at once. Not that I just did this, or anything!

Something bad: The above-mentioned WB cartoon cuts. I don't think seeing Daffy Duck get his beak blasted off by Elmer Fudd is gonna cause a rash of violence among teens!

Something disturbing: Only 3 months til MFF. ACK!
Current Mood: amusedamused
Rebeccageloe on August 23rd, 2001 09:45 am (UTC)
The general stupidity of these people continues to amaze me.

But cutting Warner Brothers cartoons? That hurts. That really, really does. >.< I shall go on being grateful for Cartoon Network, even if I rarely watch it. *clings at it*
Chebutykinchebutykin on August 24th, 2001 06:52 am (UTC)
Say baby, how may Altoids CAN you fit into your mouth? *grin* Wow, that could be a pick-up line...

Editing for content consistently amuses me. A lot of films that I have seen on TV rank in the "why bother?" category. One of the most amusing was Full Metal Jacket. It might as well have been a silent film, so much dialogue had been blanked out. It was this massive pantomime of of the Vietnam war, and you never really did figure out what happened to Private Pyle (the gunshot suicide scene was completely missing).

Stand By Me was a close runner up. Of course, a lot of dialoge was missing, but also -- this was the good bit -- during every commercial break, the station ran a placard that read, "Tampering with mailboxes is a federal offense." (If you remember, one 30-second scene featured Kiefer Sutherland playing Mailbox Baseball.)

As for Dead Alive... The first time I saw the film, I saw the rated-R 60-minute edit, and you know what? It was still a pretty good horror film, which says quite a bit about how good Peter Jackson is at directing. Of course, it helped that I hadn't seen the full-on, ear-in-the-custard unedited work, because in its unsullied state, the film is one of the best horror flicks ever put on celluloid... unabashed gory, nasty, lawnmower-filled fun. But it's says a lot when about half of the movie can be removed, and the remaining tatters still can stand up on their own.
Brendanroho on August 28th, 2001 08:26 am (UTC)
TNT was playing Lethal Weapon last night, and they cut the scene where Mel shoots a smiley face onto the police range target! That's one of my favorite scenes!