When vulgarian comedienne Kathy Griffin kissed Anderson Cooper’s crotch on CNN’s New Year’s Eve program a few months ago and wasn’t in any way admonished for it, Americans were given a preview of what the self-proclaimed most trusted name in news was going to look like under Jeff Zucker’s leadership.
On Sunday, CNN's new 9PM show Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, despite airing in primetime, featured numerous audible uncensored S-words and A-words, a number of censored F-words, and a God damn (video follows with transcribed lowlights and commentary):
Within the first three minutes, viewers were treated to their first audible vulgarity when the host said, “Holy s—t.”
It’s important to make clear before we go any further that this was a taped presentation. None of this was live. As such, CNN producers were 100 percent aware of the content. This wasn’t a surprise that censors didn't have time to edit.
With that as pretext, a bit later, a culinary entrepreneur Bourdain spent time with throughout the program said, “I’m very hard-ass” followed by another “s—t.”
After a commercial break, the program returned with the host twice saying “didn’t give a f—k” with the F-word censored but everyone knowing what he said.
A bit later, an artist Bourdain spent time with said, “You better f—king eat.” The F-word was censored, but it’s clear what was edited.
Next up was Bourdain saying, “Who the f—k is that?” Again, the F-word was censored, but it was obvious.
In a subsequent scene, Bourdain said, “It makes no God damn sense at all.”
Then came multiple butt references.
First, the artist commented about Korean dumplings they were about to eat saying, “They all look like buttholes.”
The artist later discussed with Bourdain and his friends at a bar some bizarre practice of sticking ones fingers “up the ass” of a person and then spreading them out. “It’s like opening up an umbrella inside someone.”
Finally, as the program neared its conclusion, Bourdain described a soup he was about to eat as “a fiery, tongue-searing, ass-burning tofu soup that will make you forget every bad thing you ever thought about tofu.”
Add it up, and in the course of what was likely 43 minutes of airtime not including commercials, there were four audible A-words, two audible S-words, three censored F-bombs, and a God damn all in a program about food and culture.
The truly sad part is the show was actually fascinating, especially for people who love food.
But all the vulgarity seemed tremendously gratuitous and out of place making it feel like I was watching MTV, HBO, or Showtime rather than a once-respected news network.
Alas, that wasn’t the case.
This is CNN.
The initial version of this article claimed this was the premeire of the program. Parts Unknowned debuted on April 14.