Why do only fools and horses swear?


Searching for a flower
Aug 22, 2007
Hunting in the woods
So I'm watching some old Only Fools and Horses on DVD and something is standing out to me now that I never really noticed before (and yes I've seen the DVD versions before); and that is how many subtle times that characters (Del often as not) swears in the series. References to the excrement of bulls are made and yet no one is shocked.

Only Fools is one of those classics of comedy that appears near on every single Christmas and whilst I will admit that the BBC has likely muted/cut in broadcasting a few little snippets to fit with legalities, it does surprise me.

It surprises me because they appear to have managed to achieve what a lot of comedies and shows can't; which is the ability to use such language without it actually being picked up on. People pick up on the london lingo "cushty!" but they don't pick up on the swearing. Indeed till I saw it I wouldn't have believed it if anyone told me about it.

So how have they managed it; how can this classic of family comedy manage to use some of the "harshest" language we have and yet get away with it.
It's not going to stop and neither is the graphic death, gunshot blood sprays, decapitations, and all that there gross stuff. Censorship was deep-sixed and a particular group of 'hollywood' types went nuts and now you can't say much because they just point at a hundred examples of stuff that's already out there. The library here, for ex. has endless ultra-violent movies that anyone can walk in and watch. The librarian is supposed to watch over ya, but good luck with that. Swearing, yeah I hear it every day from kids, women, everywhere and loud, and in public. Every day. A real shame.
I'm in a Govt. office at the mo, and some guy is yammering full volume on his phone, and it's !&!&^ and !^!^6 like no-one is around. So that's our conditioning I guess.
*is a fan of Tarantino films - like Kill Bill*

My remark wasn't more to do with the fact that swearing happens, but more that Only Fools managed to blend it into their show so seamlessly that no one remembers it and you have to look for it to find it. You hear it; you don't miss it; but its presented in such a natural normal simple way that its just there as is.

It's not focused upon, its not glorified, its not underplayed or looked down on. It just is. It's something I feel that we don't get normally because we have, by ratings, almost created the extreme situation you seem to dislike Riff.

By creating an Either Or situation we've created one where extremes are more likely to happen because there isn't the same middle ground. Then again the extremes are also promoted by many other interests as well so its certainly not the root cause nor the singular cause and might not even be the most important.
No, it's everywhere, inescapable now. The grade twos and threes do it here, constantly and the teacher can't stop them. From movies they get it, a lot of it. I've talked to teachers and they just shrug. It's the new way, so!^!^% get used to it, you !%%! bu8nch of ^!!^!%.
Indeed till I saw it I wouldn't have believed it if anyone told me about it.

This. I am currently not believing you. After reading your post I tried to think of any point where I could recall swearing in Only Fools and Horses and, I honestly cannot.

Not saying you're not telling the truth, just that it illustrates your point.
I do remember the word bull**** being used at least once, so some of the swearing is memorable. I think Only Fools got away with it because the swearing was mild enough to be PG rather than 15. Also I believe it came out in the 80s, and standards were a bit more relaxed then.
The main series ran 1981 to 1991, with subsequent occasional Christmas specials until 2003.

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