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Broadcast Standards and Practices

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Broadcast Standards and Practices are the ABC Network censors. In the United States, Standards and Practices (also referred to as Broadcast Standards and Practices or BS&P) is the name traditionally given to the department at a television network which is responsible for the "moral", ethical, and legal implications of the program that network airs—in the vernacular, "the censors". They also ensure fairness on television game shows, acting as an adjunct to the judges at the production company level.

During the first two seasons, when ReBoot was aired on ABC, BS&P made many strict and often bizarre decrees restricting the show's content. These included:

  • Forbidding effective violence of any kind, on a show that the network bought as an action-adventure.
  • Completely desexualizing Dot by giving her the famed monobreast. Villains (and characters of dubious morality) were permitted a degree of sexuality; the suggestion is that sex is evil.
  • Forbidding Bob to smash through a window, lest children try to emulate him and injure themselves. (This ruling was in regards to, and was lampooned in, a scene in The Quick and the Fed.)
  • Outlawing the word "hockey" - and thus the game itself - because it was supposedly slang for something vulgar.
  • Outlawing the word "wuss" on similar grounds.
  • Forbidding Dot to kiss Enzo on his birthday, because they claimed it suggested incest.
  • Censoring the characters from utilizing any guns, yet it was perfectly acceptable for Frisket to wield a bazooka, as he was a dog.
  • Forbidding all episodes being closed on cliff-hangers, to prevent younger children in the audience having 'traumatic tension'.
Hockey

Bob playing hockey

Emma's badge

Emma See

Oddly enough, they appear to have had no problem with skull and skeleton imagery, which was widely used. The television show ReBoot also featured several jabs at ABC's Broadcast Standards & Practices department. In "The Quick and the Fed", Bob uses a command called "BS&P" to teleport through a window (according to the producers, Standards had nixed the idea of Bob breaking the window with a rock). "In the Belly of the Beast" featured Enzo firing a gun with the words "BS&P approved" on it that shoots rubber life rafts. "Talent Night" featured a "prog censor" named Emma See who kept complaining about objectionable content in the acts Dot wanted; and a group called "Small Town Binomes" singing their smash hit song called "BS'n'P".

The show's early jokes at the expense of BS&P came from frustration encountered by the show's makers by an abundance of script and editing changes that were imposed upon Mainframe before episodes were allowed to air. These changes were all aimed at making the show appropriate for children, and to prevent even the slightest appearance of inappropriate content, imitable violence or sexuality.

For instance, the character Dot was considered too sexualized by exposing too much mammary cleavage, so the animators were forced to make them less curvy and form them into a lumpy "monobreast", as lightly referred to by the staff. However, starting with season three, the monobreasts of all adult female characters were replaced with more anatomically correct versions. In another case, the word "hockey" was banned from all episodes as in some countries it was supposedly used as a vulgar slang term. In the episode "Talent Night", one scene of Dot giving a kiss to her brother Enzo was cut due to BS&P's fear of promoting incest, an insinuation which Ian Pearson described as "one of the sickest things I've ever heard."

In an interview with the creators, there was a discussion of broadcast network standards and practices at the time. According to the panel, shows were routinely rejected for no reason whatsoever during the ReBoot days. A character landing on her butt and then rubbing it was considered risqué.

The script for "Bad Bob" written by Dan DiDio an episode that parodied the "Mad Max" movies, received a report from the censors with but a single line: "Show completely rejected." Ian Pearson, ReBoot producer and co-creator, called Broadcast Standards directly and said, "We made the show just for you". They resubmitted it soon after and it was approved without a single change. Dan commentated how the struggle was so crazy, in fact, that animators had the cityscape lights read (in binary code) "F*** you, broadcast standards" in one episode. They even placed the initials of the broadcast representative in an episode titled "Talent Night" -- as a person who rejects every single act.

Broadcast Standards and Practices had no control over content outside of the episodes themselves. As a result, the creators were able to include a couple of moderately sexy images of Dot on the trading cards, as well as images of Bob and Enzo with actual, sharp weapons in A Dungeon Deep; a desktop image of Bob playing hockey, available on the official website; and some blatant violence and sexual material in the PlayStation game.

During the second season, ABC Network TV was bought by Disney. Both DiDio's division and the show's producers in Mainframe Entertainment knew they would be inevitably cancelled. At this point co-creator Gavin Blair decided the team may as well ignore the rules, hence why episodes themes such as Trust No One were much darker. Hexadecimal even used profanity during the episode "Painted Windows". During the "Web World Wars" arc, characters were constantly being put in mortal peril as the drama and violence escalated, and even the final episode of the season finished on a cliffhanger.

After ABC dropped ReBoot completely from their line-up, Mainframe Inc began syndicating the third season for other networks and broadcasters, free from its prior excessive censorship. The first episode of the third season, To Mend and Defend, the first without BS&P moderation, quickly made significant changes to the series. This including a much darker and violent story and the change of Dot's body. This is exemplified by the Game Malicious Corpses, with the User wielding a shotgun and chainsaw and the very low neckline of Dots dress.

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