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The Curse Reversed?

Thirty years ago, the Supreme Court allowed the FCC to regulate language used in broadcast media. This summer, it may reconsider that judgment when it rules on the dangers of “fleeting expletives” on live television. A salute to recently amusing, sometimes illicit filth.

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“I’m thinking about maybe having my tits done.”
Rosie O’Neill, on The Trials of Rosie O’Neill, 1990.


“Jell-O-pudding-eating motherfucker.”
Eddie Murphy, in Raw, first aired on HBO on 1992, recounting Richard Pryor’s take on Bill Cosby.


“You are always fucking with me.”
Madonna, on The Late Show With David Letterman, 1994.


“Shit happens.”
Mark Harmon, on a 1999 episode of Chicago Hope, uttering the word shit for the first time on network television.


“It Hits the Fan,”
A 2001 episode of South Park that used shit 162 times.

“He gotta lotta heart for a cocksucker,”
Russell “Stringer” Bell, talking about Omar Little, in the first season of The Wire, 2002.


“I Ain’t Dead Yet, Motherfucker,”
From a 2003 Richard Pryor special on Comedy Central, two years before he died.

Have you ever tried to get cow shit out of a Prada purse?”
Nicole Richie, at the 2003 Billboard Music Awards.

“I Piss on You.”
—from a skit on Chappelle’s Show, 2003.


“Fucking brilliant!”
Bono, 2003 Golden Globes.

“The ‘C’ Word”
Episode of 30 Rock, 2007.


“I’d like to have lips like [yours]. Then I wouldn’t have worked on my fucking personality.”
Diane Keaton, to Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America, 2008.


“I live in Georgia, okay? And I was asked to do a monologue called ‘cunt.’ ”
Jane Fonda, discussing her role in The Vagina Monologues with Meredith Vieira, 2008.


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