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#1 Edited by Carlos1408 (1489 posts) -

Hey everyone,

So I recently started watching Battlestar Galactica (2004). I've never really watched any other Battlestar Galactica series consistently, so I don't know what the general consensus on the quality of this series is, and I do expect someone to shout at me for watching it. But so far it's watchable and I do enjoy it, I just needed a Sci-Fi series to mong out to.

However, almost immediately I noticed the replacement of the word fuck for the word frack. This made me laugh the first few times I heard it (and still does so occasionally) as it reminded me of a quick look a while back that Jeff and Vinny did. I believe it was a Sci-fi MMO of some sort.

So the point is I remember Jeff mentioning how he isn't too keen on Sci-fi making up its own swear words when they replace our own, as he finds them silly. I don't really mind, it did slightly annoy me at the beginning; especially since this series still uses words like bitch and shit. However, it has kind of grown on me and has a charm to it. Although I do prefer made up swear words that stand on their own; like in Star Wars (e.g.: Nerfherder).

So you frackin' frackers! What's your opinion on this subject? Discuss!

#2 Posted by MattyFTM (14328 posts) -

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy does this fantastically. It goes for several books using made up swear words - especially "Zark" and it's derivatives, for example "Zarking". It also states that "Belgium" is the most offensive word in the galaxy, which is hilarious.

Then Life, The Universe and Everything mentions a character who won an award for "The Most Gratuitous Use Of The Word `Fuck' In A Serious Screenplay". As far as I'm aware it's the only use of real swearing in the books, and it's absolutely hilarious in the context.

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#3 Edited by NoelVeiga (1063 posts) -

It's interesting if it helps people bypass censorship or something, but unless they are doing a lot of language work to make it sound different but understandable... yeah, it sounds weird. Not a dealbreaker unless it's really bad, though.

Also, it's great used for comedic effect, like in Red Dwarf, for instance.

#4 Posted by ShaggE (6290 posts) -

I usually find it awkward and annoying, but Red Dwarf's fictional cursing is one example I've always been smegging fond of.

#5 Posted by TruthTellah (8409 posts) -

@carlos1408: Battlestar Galactica was one of my favorite TV series of the 2000s, and those first few seasons are hard to top in any series. Its quality is stellar, and when you really get into it, it grabs you quite well.

As for making up swearwords, I'm fine with it. Often, they're little comedic points within otherwise tense episodes, and after a while, they just tend to fade into the background. You hear their tone more than the specific word.

It's certainly better than a million bleeps.

#6 Edited by Jimbo (9769 posts) -

I liked how Firefly handled it.

#7 Posted by Morningstar (2125 posts) -

Sometimes it fits, but mostly it comes of as more than a little stupid.

#8 Posted by Scroll (593 posts) -

It doesn't bother me in the slightest. It's science fiction after all.

#9 Posted by Dagbiker (6939 posts) -

It depends, in Defiance it was weird because 99% of the time they would speak english, then anytime they would curse they would say some alien word, it would bring you out of the world. It was also just written badly. Also the writers don't understand the basic reason why sewers are four letters, because they are one syllable, short, and quick to say, and interject. I shouldn't have to take a breath in between a swear.

If the writers for Defiance had made the swear-words of the future some english word repurposed to be swears, like boss, or chair. That would sound better then shitako ( which doesn't even sound like an alien word, it just sounds like they wanted to say shit, but couldn't )

#10 Edited by BBAlpert (1354 posts) -

I think that making up a substitute swear word only works if enough other words have been replaced. If it's been established that the language has evolved over time (as languages do), then an occasional "frak" makes sense. If it's supposed to be 2550 and everyone speaks with a late 20th century broadcast standard American accent and vocabulary, "shazbot" sticks out like a sore thumb.

#11 Posted by Carlos1408 (1489 posts) -

Thanks for all your contributions people. Some good points have been made, and I must say that I completely forgot about the comedic value of this. I have watched some Red Dwarf before, although I haven't read any of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books (I did watch the movie though, which I found quite funny and charming). In that context it could never really annoy me, it's only in a more "serious" context where during certain dramatic scenes it can break the immersion. Although now I kind of prefer frack to fuck haha.

That's also what I found with Battlestar Galactica @bbalpert, although I am very much enjoying the series they have only changed the word fuck and left everything else, as well as kept todays language. Of course, writing in fictional futuristic english would not only be incredibly hard but also make the series less accessible to people, and so far it seems to be aimed at a rather general public. However, as someone mentioned earlier I do appreciate the fact that it is a way to avoid censorship.

#12 Edited by Clonedzero (4039 posts) -

I think it works great in BSG. It works and sounds exactly like fuck. It feels natural.

Firefly it works too, to a lesser extent. They often went on in little rants. Also pretty sure they're speaking a real language (chinese i think?).

They tried it in that new Defiance show, it feels SO awkward and out of place. Pulls me out of every scene. "shatako" or whatever. Ugh...

Farscape did it as well with Frell. Not as good as Frack, but close enough. Need that hard K sound at the end for the impact of the word imo.

#13 Edited by gaminghooligan (1403 posts) -

@jimbo said:

I liked how Firefly handled it.

#14 Edited by cloudnineboya (761 posts) -

this is a load of frack

#15 Posted by Carlos1408 (1489 posts) -
#16 Posted by JasonR86 (9582 posts) -

It's dumb. It's a lazy way to try to set yourself apart. And no matter how often I hear it, I'll keep thinking 'they're just trying to say fuck / shit / whatever'. It immediately takes me out of the experience.

#18 Posted by RollingZeppelin (1908 posts) -

@jasonr86 said:

It's dumb. It's a lazy way to try to set yourself apart. And no matter how often I hear it, I'll keep thinking 'they're just trying to say fuck / shit / whatever'. It immediately takes me out of the experience.

Yeah, I feel the same way, just can't get into the show because of this silly word.

#19 Edited by Budwyzer (538 posts) -

No problem with any of them, except Shtacko in Defiance. Dumbest fracking made-up swear word ever. It's just pure shtacko. And the writing to work it in is really bad too. In fact that whole show is pure shtacko.

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#20 Posted by JasonR86 (9582 posts) -
#21 Posted by BBAlpert (1354 posts) -

@carlos1408: Yeah, it is true that making a lot of other changes to the language has plenty of hazards of its own. There's always the chance that you go too far and make things nearly unintelligible or not far enough and just being kind of dumb (see: Warhammer 40K novels where buildings are made out of "rockcrete," vehicles and machines with combustion engines run on "promethium," and advanced calculations are done by machines called "cogitators").

#22 Posted by psylah (2161 posts) -

@bbalpert: Yeah, when there are plenty of new words in the show / book's vernacular, it works fine. When it's just the swear words, it just makes the writers look like a bunch of ham doctors.

#23 Posted by oraknabo (1453 posts) -

The Legion of Superheroes comics have some great future swearing.

#24 Edited by MariachiMacabre (7039 posts) -

@mattyftm said:

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy does this fantastically. It goes for several books using made up swear words - especially "Zark" and it's derivatives, for example "Zarking". It also states that "Belgium" is the most offensive word in the galaxy, which is hilarious.

Then Life, The Universe and Everything mentions a character who won an award for "The Most Gratuitous Use Of The Word `Fuck' In A Serious Screenplay". As far as I'm aware it's the only use of real swearing in the books, and it's absolutely hilarious in the context.

Yep. Only time in sci-fi I liked when they made up swear words. Otherwise, it just feels cheesy.

EDIT: Forgot Firefly. That too. That was good.

#25 Posted by wjb (1621 posts) -

SITHSPAWN!

#26 Edited by Funkydupe (3305 posts) -

SHITSTORM!

#27 Posted by DonChipotle (2693 posts) -

Nerfherder isn't a swear.

#28 Posted by Melos (237 posts) -

I'm more amused by the Deadwood approach, where the silly words are replaced with extreme profanity.

#29 Edited by tread311 (352 posts) -

It's dumb. Saying frack is saying fuck and it isn't fooling anyone.

#30 Posted by Zidd (1836 posts) -

@clonedzero: its also super weird when there is normal profanity in the ambient dialogue found the game.

#31 Edited by Sign (291 posts) -

In some instances I am fine with it. In BSG specifically I can't stand it and it takes me out of the show every time I hear it. I also doesn't help that they say it so often to really make it stand out. Every time someone says it I involuntarily cringe.

#32 Posted by MideonNViscera (2257 posts) -

I don't like it. Everything else they say is totally normal (besides future tech talk or whatever) but for some reason swear words changed.

#33 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

I know a guy that says "frack" in real life and it makes me want to punch him in the face.

But I did like Firefly's cursing in Chinese and The Wheel of Time's (though not sci-fi) use of "blood and bloody ashes."

#34 Posted by Osaladin (2514 posts) -

I think any made up cursing that sounds like real cursing won't work. It took me a while to be able to ignore "frack" so I could actually enjoy Battlestar Galactica.

#35 Edited by Arabes (338 posts) -

It's just done to bypass censor boards. They probably would be better off just not saying it all and stick ing to the rest of the swear words. But being put off a TV show because of one word is bit fucking ridiculous.

#36 Posted by forkboy (1108 posts) -

It's fine for what it is. It certainly doesn't take me out of the show, I mean Battlestar Galactica isn't set on Earth so they don't say fuck. I'm totally OK suspending my disbelief about something like that when I'm also suspending it for the myriad of much more "out there" ideas in that show. If BSG was on HBO they'd say fuck, but it wasn't so you need to compromise a little. It's a bit annoying that the censorship is viewed as necessary, but I can't say it detracts from one of the best shows of the past decade.

#37 Edited by EkajArmstro (379 posts) -

Frelling dren.

#38 Edited by MarkWahlberg (4578 posts) -

There's actually a precedent for this before any Sci-fi whatnot. Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead, a novel about soldiers in the Pacific during WWII, substituted 'fuck' with 'fug' to get past the censors at the time (they curse up a storm in that book). It's a bit corny, but it sounds similar enough to someone just not enunciating that I think it worked.

#39 Posted by PeasantAbuse (5137 posts) -

Tartar sauce!

#40 Posted by GnaTSoL (790 posts) -

I stopped watching Defiance because of that........ oh and the game sucked...... and the acting sucked........

oh Sci-fy channel. Are you the secret reason why I don't watch Smackdown as much anymore....

#41 Posted by fleabeard (164 posts) -

I don't mind made up replacement words as long as the actors can make it sound natural.

#42 Posted by NegativeCero (2973 posts) -

I eventually got used to it in BSG, and I wouldn't have issue with it after first noticing it when I started that show.

#43 Posted by Red (5994 posts) -

I like the way Firefly does it. I actually just noticed I do a similar thing, and whenever I feel like swearing I just say a string of made-up German words.

While not sci-fi, 30 Rock's variety of replacement swear words are also pretty great.

#44 Edited by Carlos1408 (1489 posts) -

Nerfherder isn't a swear.

Yes you're right, frackin' shitacko balls! I think what I meant in the OP was to include insults as well.

#45 Posted by hidys (1029 posts) -

Battlestar Galactica was so fucking good.

#46 Edited by DeShawn2ks (1051 posts) -

@carlos1408: It never really bothered me. I actually find it more weird when they say things like go to hell. Unless it is the human race in the future.

#47 Posted by Reisz (1455 posts) -

@jimbo said:

I liked how Firefly handled it.

Firefly's the gorram best.

#48 Posted by Fearbeard (822 posts) -

When it's just a cheap substitute like Frak instead of Fuck it kind of gets on my nerves. Especially when all the other swear words they can actually say on TV remain the same. Just seems like lazy writing to me.

#49 Posted by Mezmero (1767 posts) -

I wonder how many people remember that Pirates of Dark Water had its own swear words. Those were really good because they sounded really vulgar especially in the context of a cartoon. Haven't seen it in a while but I think it was stuff like: noi ji'tat, scote pango, and chungo lungo. Good stuff.

#50 Edited by Sploder (917 posts) -

I don't like it. They use all this colloquial language for every race and species, but when it comes to swearing it's this made up bullshit when nothing else in the show is like that.