In-Flight Entertainment: Not Always Suitable for Children

I really feel for parents flying with small children. Over the last 20 years, I have seen a sad degradation of the available in-flight entertainment.  It used to be that you might be bored by what the airline chose to show -- but you didn't ever find yourself wishing that your children weren't on board because of it.

I can remember about ten years ago or so starting to see airlines warn that the in-flight entertainment might not be appropriate to all ages; parents might want to think about whether this was something that they wanted their kids to watch. I don't see those warnings anymore.

I recently had occasion to fly to Chicago and back to participate in a symposium on Second Amendment law. The flight back from Chicago being roughly three hours, United Airlines showed an episode of The Office and the film The Proposal.  In both cases, there was about 1-2% of each that could have been excised with no artistic loss at all -- and it would have turned both presentations into something that would have been unoffensive to almost every traveler.

The Office is a somewhat quirky series shot in a pseudo-documentary style about a bunch of people who work together in an office paper sales company. I found it not very clever or witty -- although trying very hard to be -- but there was one line that seems like it was put in there just to make it disturbing to parents with small children. The line concerns one character’s claimed ability to make a certain body part retract completely inside of his body.

The Proposal was one of those movies that, had I been in the vicinity of a theater when it came out and had nothing better to do, I would have probably seen. Sandra Bullock is a pleasure to watch perform and can be very funny. Overall, I enjoyed The Proposal, even though it was somewhat predictable in a very sweet way. But the sequence with the exotic male dancer was completely unnecessary. It didn't advance the plot at all and it was implausible (at least partly because it is the grandmother who drags the Bullock character along).