New teen shows promise lots of titillation -- and 'Dawson's Creek' and 'Ally McBeal' aren't exactly clean either

By Joe Flint
June 04, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
Guy D'Alema

Fans of sex-filled TV can rejoice. Next season looks VERY promising! The pilot of The WB’s high school drama ”Popular” features one girl having sexual fantasies about a teacher, while another girl divulges her desire to ”go all the way” with her boyfriend. In Fox’s drama ”Manchester Prep,” a teenage girl admires her stepbrother’s manhood while he’s showering. And Fox’s new sitcom ”Action ”is already keeping censors busy with sexual euphemisms like ”hum job.”

You know the Parents Television Council won’t be pleased — the conservative advocacy group is still reeling from this season. Its new study says TV is ”more offensive than ever” and sexual content has ”skyrocketed.” Shows cited include ”Ally McBeal” (particularly the episode in which the waif lawyer discusses penis size with a priest) and The WB’s ”Dawson’s Creek” (including an episode in which the cast discusses porn titles such as ”The Sperminator” and ”Little Oral Annie”).

In contrast, another watchdog group, the Media Project, recognizes that fighting sexual content on TV is an uphill battle and has offered to consult on several shows (including ”ER,” ”Felicity,” and” Creek”). Recently, ”King of the Hill” producers called for advice on an upcoming episode about Bobby’s discovering the joys of self-pleasure (thank God it’s animated).

”We’re not going to get sex off of TV,” says Media Project director Kate Langrall-Folb. ”We can still have sexy, fun, entertaining shows and incorporate the realities of sex.” While Langrall-Folb says most shows try to be responsible, there are a few she’d like to have a say on. ”I would love to meet the producers of ‘Friends,”’ she says. So would anyone who’s ever gone apartment hunting in New York City.