ByTanner Reber, writer at

There is a widely believed myth that a movie rated PG-13 used to allow just one F-word within the movie and that the Motion Picture Association of America has changed this rule to allow more. The truth is, there are no rules within the MPAA, nor are there any type of guidelines to give a basis in which movies will be rated. Because of this, movies are subject to receiving inconsistent grading over time. By studying both Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and its sequel, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues it is evident that more profanity was admitted in the second equally rated film. This analysis will provide a recognition that the movie rating system is shifting towards more profanity without audiences realizing.

Because the original Anchorman already had crude humor and Anchorman 2, is equally rated at PG-13 you would think that both films would be equal in their language. With information from IMDb, the Internet Movie Database, we are able to statistically compare the two films. Both films possess 1 use of the F word and 14 sexual references. But when it comes to scatalogical and anatomical terms there are much more in the second film. The first Anchorman has 5 scatalogical and 19 anatomical terms while the second Anchorman has 14 anatomical terms and 27 scatalogical terms.

Anatomical terms are considered, “words referring to parts of the human anatomy, mostly the private parts, and are considered crude” (IMDb).

Scatalogical terms refer to, “words that have to do with feces, urine and defecation” (IMDb).

This side by side comparison shows a clear increase in obscenities from the first to the second film. This is a very blatant depiction showing how the MPAA has become more lenient over time, but if that is not enough evidence already, both films are given the exact same five out of ten evaluation on profanity.

In a perfect world we could take one glance at the rating given to a movie and know exactly what we are getting ourselves into, or more importantly know exactly what our children are asking us to see on a Friday night with their friends. The MPAA gives a general idea of the categories you should be aware of within a film such as sex, violence, and language, but the specifics are not there. Even harder for parents, is the fact that the guidelines are always changing.


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