Holy [Bleep]! Swearing in Infomercials

Donald TrumpIf you watch the Donald Trump seminar infomercial being aired these days until the end, you’ll see something that isn’t all that common on infomercials. When asked what he would say to people who won’t take the step of attending his wealth building seminar, The Donald tells viewers, “Get off your [BLEEP]. Go out and learn something.” And what you hear is not just the kind of short blip over one letter that is so common on TV today. This is a long, loud, old-fashioned BLEEP that lasts from the end of “your” to the beginning of “Go.” I doubt many people would have even noticed that Trump said the word “ass” if they had left it uncensored. So I think this is a good case of censorship actually bringing more attention to the curse word being covered up. (Listen to the audio here: trump_bleep.mp3.)

This is not the first time I’ve heard swearing bleeped in an infomercial. In the mid-90s there was an infomercial for a motor engine additive. (I think it was the infomercial for “Motor Up” but I’m not sure.) As a test they brought two mechanics out to an auto junkyard. One of these men was short and mustached with a gravelly voice; the other was tall and lanky, his skin permanently discolored by years of contact with motor oil, his mouth missing several teeth. The host picked out one old car with a long-dead engine and asked the men if the product could restore it. Both expressed doubt. The product was added to the engine, and sure enough the car started right away. “Oh [BLEEP]!” “[BLEEP]ing [BLEEP]!” and many other curse laden expressions came out of the mouths of the two grease monkeys as they articulated their astonishment that the dead engine could be brought back to life.

Because infomercials are scripted and pre-taped, you just won’t find many opportunities for bleeping curse words. Cathy Mitchell or Matthew Lesko may well let out a frustrated “Oh, shit!” or two during the taping of their infomercials, but you can be sure that the entire incident will be edited and long gone before the program ever makes it on air. To the best of my knowledge Trump’s and the motor engine additive infomercials are the only two that have ever used bleeps.


  • 1 Response to “Holy [Bleep]! Swearing in Infomercials”

  • you guys rule

    Comment by Daniel on October 8, 2008 at 9:19 am