What makes television network censors nervous nowadays? According to four TV writers who sat on a great American Cinema Foundation/L.A. Press Club panel moderated by occasional reason contributor Cathy Seipp Saturday night, today's big no-no's include:
* Having sympathetic characters smoke. "If you show people smoking," Boston Legal Executive Producer Scott Kaufer quoted his network as pleading to him, "don't show them inhaling."
* Having anyone, let alone a serial killer (which was the case in question), use the word "retard."
* Using the word "vagina."
* Referring to a specific product, like, say, "Viagra." (It would make Cialis mad, etc.)
Angel writer Tim Minear also fired off a nice one-liner, when asked what he says to people who tell him they don't watch TV: "I run them over with my Mercedes."