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TV goes below the belt

TV goes below the belt — TV characters come up with creative names for the male anatomy

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It is often discussed but absolutely never seen. It goes by many names, yet its identity is unmistakable. It is a part — a very private part — of the male anatomy, previously unmentionable on network television, but discussed enthusiastically on half a dozen TV series this season. Let’s not mince words any longer. We’re talking about…the woo-woo.

At least that’s what Murphy Brown calls it. ”My baby has a woo-woo!” she announced upon learning she was expecting a boy. But Murphy is just the latest grown-up reduced to using careful euphemisms for Topic P. On the first episode of CBS’ Princesses, Julie Hagerty’s word of choice was ”winkie” — buoyant, slightly British, and distressingly diminutive. Northern Exposure gave us ”johnny,” and lent a sartorial spin to a discussion of circumcision by comparing those with and without ”turtlenecks.” On NBC’s Reasonable Doubts, Mark Harmon brought politics into it when he headed for a men’s room to ”shake hands with Nixon.” Incidentally, Harmon’s character is named Dicky.

But if there were an award for single-minded pursuit of this subject (and good thing there isn’t — just imagine what the trophy would look like), NBC’s Seinfeld would collect it. This season, Seinfeld‘s synonyms have included the vague (”it”), the shopworn (”willie”), the all-purpose (”thingy”), and the formal (”Mr. Johnson”). And in a fantasy chess game between Seinfeld’s intellect and his libido, Jerry even donned a costume to play a life-size personification of his…well, you get the picture. Nice helmet, too.

Is there hope the name game will exhaust itself? Not likely. The Dictionary of Contemporary Slang lists over 80 ways to say the unsayable, from ”plonker” to ”almond.” Almond? Jerry Seinfeld, your work is cut out for you.

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