I’m reading more network pilot scripts this year than in years past, so I can’t say whether this is a new trend or just something I was unaware of:

What’s with all the swearing?

These are network pilots, not HBO or even basic cable. You can’t say shit or fuck in any combination. But characters in several pilots say both of these words a lot — at least in the drafts I read.

What gives? Why write words you can’t say?

I know some shows have a house style where the scene description is loaded up with a lot of profanity to give it texture:

Wallace turns to see --

THE BIGGEST FUCKING MONSTER ever. Seriously, this thing eats Girl Scouts and shits Trefoils.

That’s fine. It’s amusing for the staff and crew, and makes for a better read.

But I don’t understand the instinct to use never-okay swearing in dialogue. You’re going to have to replace it later, and you’ve made your job more difficult by setting up a dialogue structure that seems to demand a certain word. It’s going to sound wrong to everyone who has read the dirty version.

On D.C., I chastised a writing team for doing this. Now I see bona fide showrunners doing it. And I’m stumped.