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TV's 10 Best Fake Swear Words

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Swearing on television can be a tricky business. There are still a lot of “dirty” words you can’t say, and the ones you can are often limited. For instance, on Mad Men only three "sh**s" are allowed per episode.

To get around such restrictions, some shows replace the "bad" words with benign ones—Castle's "Shut the front door" is one example—while others just make up their own, some of which are even better than actual swears. Just don’t tell the FCC.

1. BLURGH

A Liz Lemon-30 Rock original, blurgh was first said in the 2007 episode "Cleveland," according to GOOD Magazine.

Blurgh was something Tina Fey and the show's writers would say "around the writer’s room," and since being on network television didn't allow them to curse, they’d “run out of non-cursing ways of saying things,” and started to make up their own.

Blurgh shouldn’t be confused with Blërg, Liz’s home office desk from Ikea.

2. CLOFF-PRUNKER

From the British sketch comedy show A Bit of Fry & Laurie, a cloff-prunker is an “illicit practice” in which “one person frangilates another's slimp” and “gratifies the other person by smuctating them avially.” Of course none of this makes sense and just shows the arbitrariness and subjectivity of what's considered obscene.

Other “obscenities” from the skit include pimhole and fusking.

3. FIST BUMP

The One When Ross Gives the Finger—only of course he doesn’t really.

The Friendsfist bump gesture, code for flipping the bird, made its debut in the 1997 episode, “The One with Joey’s New Girlfriend,” and is used throughout the show. In one instance, Ross responds to Rachel’s fist bump with a fervent flapping of elbows, although this is never explained.

4. FRAK

A euphemism for another f word, frak was first used in the 1978 Battlestar Galactica series but spelled as frack. For the 2004 reboot, frack was changed to frak, apparently because the producers wanted to make it a true four-letter word.

Fracking, on the other hand, refers to hydraulic fracturing, the use of high pressure water injections to fracture subterranean rock to obtain oil or gas.

5. FRELL

“It’s more than flawed," says Ka D'Argo. "It’s frelled.”

Frell is Farscape’s favorite curse word, and could be a combination of f*** and hell, as well as influenced by intensives like freaking and frigging.

Other fake swears from Farscape include dren, a synonym for “sh**,” and hezmana, said in place of “hell.”

6. GORRAM

Joss Whedon’s Firefly takes place in a future that’s a mix of Western and Chinese cultures. Non-Chinese characters often lapse into (badly spoken) Mandarin Chinese, and gorram might be one of them.

Actually Chinglish is probably more like it. It’s thought that gorram is "goddamn" spoken with a Chinese accent.

However, Firefly wasn't the first to use gorram in place of goddamn. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word gorm as a “vulgar substitute for ‘(God) damn’" was coined or at least popularized by 19th century novelist Charles Dickens.

7. JAGWEED

Another Liz Lemon creation, jagweed is a synonym for douchebag. The word plays off jagoff or jackoff, both corruptions of jerkoff. The phrases jerk off and jack off, to masturbate, both originated in the 1930s or earlier, says the OED.

Jagweed is also used in another Tina Fey show, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

8. SHAZBOT

Of Mork & Mindy fame, shazbot is “Orkan profanity” that also works as a euphemism for "sh**." Robin Williams is said to have made up the word himself—not surprising for an actor who did so much hilarious ad-libbing on the show, the writers left “blank moments” to let him have at it.

The word shazbot might be influenced by Shazam, aka Captain Marvel, and robot.

9. SMEG

Smeg, from the British science fiction series Red Dwarf, seems to be used to replace "f***." “Why don’t you smegging well smeg off!" says Rimmer. "You annoying little smeggy smegging smegger!”

As for where smeg comes from, it echoes the (disgusting) word smegma, “a whitish sebaceous secretion that collects between the glans penis and foreskin or in the vulva.”

10. SMURF

In addition to being an all-purpose, seemingly random word replacement—“Didn’t you love smurfing with Papa Smurf at the smurf yestersmurf?"—smurf is also a euphemism for God or lord. “Great smurfs!” Papa Smurf cries, and “Name of a smurf!”

In the recent Smurfs movie, the word is used more like a direct expletive replacement: “Where the smurf are we?"

We're at the smurfing end, you smurfing smurf-head.

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Samsung’s Star Wars Vacuums Offer Everything You Want in a Droid
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Hate housecleaning but love Star Wars? Samsung’s got the solution. In anticipation of December’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the newest film in the Star Wars saga, Samsung has transformed a limited number of its VR7000 POWERbot robot vacuum cleaners into two familiar faces from George Lucas’s legendary space opera: a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader (which comes with Wi-Fi connectivity and a remote control).

In order to create a unique device that would truly thrill Star Wars aficionados, Samsung consulted with fans of the film throughout each stage of the process. The result is a pair of custom-crafted robo-vacuums that fill your home with the sounds of a galaxy far, far away as they clean (when you turn Darth Vader on, for example, you'll hear his iconic breathing).

“We are very pleased to be part of the excitement leading up to the release of The Last Jedi and to be launching our limited edition POWERbot in partnership with Star Wars fans,” B.S. Suh, Samsung’s executive vice president, said in a press statement. “From its industry-leading suction power, slim design, and smart features, to the wonderful character-themed voice feedback and sound effects, we are confident the Star Wars limited edition of the VR7000 will be a big hit.”

Be warned that this kind of power suction doesn’t come cheap: while the Stormtrooper POWERbot will set you back $696, the Darth Vader vacuum retails for $798. Who knew the Dark Side was so sparkling clean?


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Tales from the Butterball Hotline
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It’s 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and you just realized you forgot to thaw your turkey. What do you do?

Don’t panic. You just need to call 1-800-BUTTERBALL. Yes, the Turkey Talk-Line is real. And yes, they really do have poultry experts standing by to help you with your last-minute snafus, flubs, and foul-ups. If you wake up in a cold sweat at 2 a.m. thinking about salmonella or whether you can bathe your turkey with your toddler (see below), never fear—Butterball is there for you. And it's not just about Thanksgiving. The line is open in December, too, to help you with those holiday feasts as well.

When the hotline first opened up to panicked chefs in the early 1980s, a mere six “home economists” responded to 11,000 phone calls during November and December. These days, their staff has expanded to more than 50 and they answer more than 100,000 questions. 

Those staff members have heard it all, too. They get the typical questions you’d expect turkey experts to get, of course: How long will it take to thaw the turkey? How do I stuff a turkey? Are there any allergens in Butterball products? But there’s also the, um, unexpected.

Among the more questionable calls the turkey experts have received: “Can I brine my turkey in the washing machine?” and “The family dog is inside the turkey and can’t get out.” (It was a Chihuahua, in case you’re wondering, and the Butterball expert did manage to help the owners get the dog out safely.)

Another inexperienced caller worried that her turkey wouldn’t come out of the oven because she figured it was going to rise like bread does.

One Butterball employee actually stayed on the line while her caller walked through a grocery store and painstakingly picked out ingredients for his Thanksgiving dinner.

More recently, a hotline employee was surprised to hear from a wife who came home to find the turkey floating in the tub while her husband gave the kids a bath. Believe it or not, because the turkey hadn't been removed from the package, it was salvaged—though the kids complained about the chilly water.

Don’t feel bad if you have to call the Butterball hotline for assistance, though. Even President Bartlet knows when to call in the experts:

By the way, there’s also an option for those of you who prefer assistance in the form of written word: you can text your questions to 1-844-877-3456 through December 24. The company is also answering questions via its social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter. And they've recently added Spanish-speaking experts plus their first male turkey-talker.

This post originally appeared in 2011.

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