Friday, May 18, 2012

TV shows and advertisements tap into citizen hatred of the TSA

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is a frequent target of criticism by government watchdogs and citizens’ rights groups. It also has been lampooned by the entertainment and advertising industries.
Prime-time cartoons “South Park” and “The Simpsons” have taken aim at the TSA this season. A villain on the sci-fi drama “Fringe” turned out to be a TSA agent. The lead characters of the NBC comedy “Up All Night” endured the indignities of a TSA screening this season. And Barney Stinson (portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris) on the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” also faced off with the TSA on a recent episode.
The TSA has been parodied by comedians on “Saturday Night Live” and “Conan.” It has been mocked in music videos (Sean Paul’s “She Doesn’t Mind”), porn parodies (“TSA: Your Ass Is In Our Hands”) and commercials for everything from chocolates to power tools.
For a sampling of advertisements that have portrayed the TSA in an unflattering light, check out this post on One Stop Video.
It’s a case of art imitating life. Creative professionals are tapping into citizen outrage over the TSA and its procedures for a laugh or to get people to think and take action.
In December 2010, I did a roundup of the funniest TSA parody videos at the time. As long as the TSA exists, it will continue to be a target of the entertainment and ad industries, because artists know it’s a hot button for viewers.


“South Park” parodied the TSA in the episode “Reverse Cowgirl.” (Top)

“The Simpsons” also took on the TSA this season.

The NBC comedy “Up All Night” made fun of the TSA in an episode titled “Travel Day.”

The Fox sci-fi drama “Fringe” featured an evil TSA agent in one episode this season.

Barney Stinson, played by Neil Patrick Harris, squared off with the TSA recently on “How I Met Your Mother.”

Olivia is searched by airport screeners in the children’s book “Olivia Goes to Venice” (2010).

Actress Pamela Anderson as an abusive, but hot TSA agent, in a PETA advertisement titled “Cruelty Doesn’t Fly.” (See video here. And read articles about the controversial animal rights video on Ace Show Biz and the Boston Herald.)

Hustler takes on the TSA in the porn movie “TSA: Your Ass Is In Our Hands” (2011).

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