So, while being home with what appears to be a 24-hour stomach flu, I was reading Ron Moore's blog at the Sci-Fi channel's website. Amidst some interesting Q&A, he addresses the question of sexuality on the show.
He makes a good point.
Let me preface this. One of the questions involved is a fan who is upset that they can't watch with their young children because of the sexuality.
Ron Moore's response is that BSG is an adult's show. It's not meant for young kids to watch. He doesn't let his young kids watch.
To be more accurate, it is, at least, TV PG. Like most sci-fi, especially apocalyptic sci-fi, there are battles. Like her male predecessor on the original BSG, Starbuck is...well, of the randy sort.
(Really, in a situation like that, I would expect many people to go a little carnally crazy, so to speak -- certainly, to be overcome with fatalism and chuck society's rules out the window...with the "what does it really matter" point of view intact as well. Really...what chances for survival do they really have? And what would you do if you suspected you wouldn't survive the next year? But that's beside the point -- and, besides, I'm not a sci-fi anthropologist.)
He also makes an even better point.
Why on Earth, except through the weirdness of America's puritanical culture that thinks nothing of showing exploding car bombs on the 4:00 news but fines people for brief wardrobe malfunctions during the SuperBowl halftime show (not known as a bastion of high-class entertainment, anyway), would we be more concerned about Baltar gets it on with the Hot Bad Girl (TM) than about the complete (save 150,000 or so survivors in the caravan) destruction of 12 freaking planets of people?
Full-on, billions-killed genocide.
Mushroom clouds, shooting, and "much dying."
And we get bent out of shape 'cause of the sex.
Or, more to the point, what makes one more inherently bad -- or, inappropriate for younger viewers -- than another?
It's like the people that took their kids to see The Passion of the Christ...many of whom also stridently protested Janet Jackson's...eh...issues.
Now, don't go getting all religious on me. Understanding Jesus' sacrifice and all that.
Possibly a bad example...though I certainly don't recall learning how horrible, exactly, a death crucifixion was during my first grade religion class. We were taught it was Bad. It hurt A Lot. It wasn't until 6th grade or so that we went into some details...suffocation, and the like. It wasn't until high school, at least, that we learned some of the gory details...so I still don't necessarily buy it that very young children needed to -- or even should have been -- exposed to that.
Not to mention the fact that the whole thing is subtitled, and the poor little guys probably couldn't keep up with half of what was going on.
But I digress....
To get back on topic, and way from religion, here, the same could be said of The Lord of the Rings. Why is it okay to see Boromir riddled with bullets, Frodo's finger bitten off, thousands of people die during both the battles of Helms Deep and Minas Tirith, and so forth?
There were tons of little kids when I saw both The Two Towers and Return of the King in theaters (I didn't see FOTR in the theaters 'cause I didn't think I'd like it)...not so much at the special screenings of the Extended Editions at the Cineramadome, but anyway....
Would the same people have taken their kids if we'd seen Arwen and Aragorn do it? If we'd seen Rosie and Sam go at it? If we'd seen Faramir and Eowyn consummate their marriage?
All of this happened, though not explicitly, in the books. Arwen and Aragorn have children, after all, as do Sam and Rosie. I'm not certain about Faramir and Eowyn, but they do marry, and one would imagine they weren't celibate.
I think it just points out exactly the duality Ron Moore talks about. BSG gets flack for sexuality but not for genocide. In either case, it's not something for little kids. Most sci-fi isn't, really.
That said, I watched sci-fi from the time I was very young...but that was the original Star Trek, which isn't quite the same.
Imzadi, by Peter David, (who has a great blog, by the way) depicts sexual acts (the phrase "impressions that would puzzle future geologists" still makes me giggle), and I read that when it first came out.
I was, probably, about 12.
Did it scar me? Well, no.
Would it scar another kid? Who knows? But that's up to the parents.
It always comes down to that, doesn't it? If you think your kid can handle the sexual images (or, you know, the genocide), go for it. If you don't...record it...TiVo it...whatever...and save it until your sci-fi-ally inclined child is ready for it.
Parental responsibility...what a concept.