History of Swear Words is a 5-part streaming TV documentary series hosted by actor Nicolas Cage. The series was released on Netflix on 5th January 2020. The concept behind History of Swear Words is straight-forward enough – interview comedians and experts to discuss the origins, usage and cultural impact of swear words down the ages.
Well, we guess that looking at the above concept on paper appears to be an excellent idea. Good enough for Netflix to back it to the hilt. The 5 episodes are short as well, 20 minutes each, which allows viewers to binge-watch the entire TV series under 3 hours. So everything seems to suggest that History of Swear Words would be a surefire winner.
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But the reality is something else. Now, the main problem, we believe is that each episode covers a specific swear word. Thus, the series focuses specifically on ‘fuck’, ‘shit’, ‘bitch’, ‘dick’ and ‘damn’. But why limit the coverage? Why not have a documentary about swear words in general. Not only that but your mileage may vary depending on the specific swear word selected.
Fuck of course, is a no-brainer and is definitely the #1 swear word and deserves the time and effort spent. But the rest? Not quite so interesting. Take ‘shit’ for example. One might argue that in many ways ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ overlap. Therefore, much of that episode of shit seemed very repetitive and ultimately boring.
In addition, why bitch and dick without talking about bastard and pussy or cunt? See what we mean? And ‘damn’? Seriously ‘damn’? Is that even offensive anymore? Why dedicate any episode to ‘damn’ when the word when uttered does not even raise an eyebrow anymore?
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Which destroys the bingeworthy value that History of Swear Words conceptually possessed. Taking the order of the TV series, it is the law of diminishing returns in action and by the time you get to the beginning of ‘damn’, chances are the viewer has bailed.
Sure, host Nicolas Cage has comedic value but only for so much – the experts deliver the knowledge and information but the comedians start to wear out their welcome very quickly. So, yes no doubt that History of Swear Words is a top notch concept but the execution is ‘fucking shit’! Heh.
… still there’s more …