Hollywood Morality: Teen Sex on TV Okay Because Real-Life Teens Do It
Bernhard commented during a Nov. 5 segment on CNN's "Joy Behar Show" that focused on the upcoming threesome episode of CW's "Gossip Girl."
Behar asked Bernhard and her fellow panelists, actresses Aisha Tyler and Fran Drescher, what they thought about the Parents Television Council call for CW affiliates to pull the episode which reportedly contains a threesome scene.
"I don't think any kid is going to watch something about sex and then run out immediately and do it. I mean they may be titillated by it, they may find it, oh this is ooh," claimed Bernhard.
Tyler admitted to being a fan of the show and was even more dismissive of PTC's concerns.
"Let me just break a piece of news to everybody here. If you don't know, teenagers have sex. I don't know if anybody - like, they do it, and you know, first of all, we are not encouraging them to do it, but they do," Tyler told Behar and her co-panelists. "And if you hide it and you ignore it and you fake it and act like your kid is not doing it you are doing them and yourself a disservice because kids have sex."
But what Tyler and Bernhard ignored is that depictions like the "Gossip Girl" threesome feed the perception that "everyone is doing it" and create expectations of teen sexual behavior.
"Perhaps the greatest problem is that what's presented on the screen offers a skewed version of reality to many young people you lack the life experience to understand just how preposterous some the content is," wrote Carol Platt Liebau about sexual content on television in her book "Prude."
Very few sexual escapades featured on television show the physical and emotional consequences of early sexual behavior, a point Fran Drescher was the only one to make on Behar's show.
"In the episode is there a downside to these kids - is there some kind of a lesson?" the actress asked.
Nobody could answer Drescher's question, but given the glamorized view of teen sex the show has previously depicted, chances are this episode will show the "titillating" behavior and little of the damage left in its wake.