Mrs. Patridge Promotes Drug Abuse and Intergernational Sex?
So Shirley Jones, AKA Mrs. Partridge, is in a new movie! You can read all about it in an AP story headlined “Mrs. Partridge in Sex Romp in New Movieā€¯.
What’s this — the matriarch of the Partridge family in bed with a 24-year-old stud? It happens in “Grandma’s Boy,” a boisterous comedy produced by Adam Sandler’s company. “It’s a different role for me,” laughs Jones, the star of “Oklahoma!,” “Carousel,” “Music Man” and other squeaky-clean movies… The fun starts, she related, when three housemates — played by herself, Shirley Knight and Doris Roberts — find a jar left in the kitchen by a previous tenant. The contents look like tea, so they heat up a brew. What they’re actually sipping is hashish. That’s when things get wild with a group of fun-loving young men.
Sounds like fun—and the commercials I’ve seen for it are pretty entertaining. And I love hash and fun-loving young men. But I can’t help but wonder what a certain TV mom who appeared in a series of newspaper ads decrying Hollywood’s love affair with sex and drugs would have to say about Shirley Jones appearing in a film that glamorized drug use and intergenerational sex.
The ads were taken out by a conservative group known as the Parents Television Council, and they complained about the “filth, vulgarity, sex and violenceā€¯ promoted by Hollywood, which “is undermining the morals of children, encouraging them to have premarital sex, encouraging lack of respect for authority and crime, and shaping our country down to the lowest standards of decency.ā€¯ The Parents Television Council still exists and claims to be “reaching millions of potential supporters with the message that we are here to help families take back the airwaves and stop Hollywood’s corrupting influence,ā€¯ and pitching fits about Desperate Housewives and Paris Hilton eating a burger in a Carl’s Jr. commercial. (The PTC’s Wikipedia listing walks you through the groups founding and their involvement in the Janet Jackson’s Boob War.)
So who was that TV mom who appeared on the PTC ads? Why it was Shirley Jones, Mrs. Partridge. She not only appeared in the ads, she was the PTC’s co-chair at the time. (Steve Allen was the other co-chair.) You could argue that there’s nothing hypocritical about Jones portraying a character who uses drugs and bangs 24 year-olds in “Grandma’s Boy”—it’s a movie, not a television program. (And not, praise God, a documentary.) Since “Grandma’s Boy” is rated R—”for drug use and language throughout, strong crude and sexual humor, and nudityā€¯—kids under 17 can’t get in to see it. But like all R-rated movies, “Grandma’s Boy” is going to wind up on cable—first, HBO or Showtime, then on basic cable—where it will, without a doubt, be seen by children who will, without a doubt, demand sex from their grandparents immediately after the credits roll.
And that’s why the Parents Television Council is calling on the Feds to regulate cable—to protect impressionable children from the kind of smut that their former co-chair is starring in:
Over-the-air broadcast networks have to abide by decency standards. There is, however, no such jurisdiction over cable television, which is far more offensive. Cable companies enjoy a virtual monopoly forcing consumers not just to take offensive programs, but to pay for them. This is unconscionable.
The PTC kicked-off its campaign to call attention to grossly indecent content on basic cable at a national press conference on Capitol Hill. Less than a month later, lawmakers in both the House and Senate are echoing our sentiments by calling for a crack-down on cable indecency and urging the cable industry to give consumers better options.
I have nothing against Jones appearing in a movie about a hash-using, young-stud-banging grandma—the woman has to make a living. (And it’s not as if this is her first intergenerational sex romp: She played Drew Carey’s much, much older girlfriend for a couple of years on “The Drew Carey Show.”) But it seems to me that someone—like, say, the AP reporter who interviewed Jones in her home—should ask about the contradiction between her past work with the PTC and her current willingness to appear in a movie like “Grandma’s Boy.”