Follow TV Tropes


Cluster F Bomb / Live-Action TV

Go To

You can all thank Christi for my mood! She stood at my front desk and yelled the F-word, seventeen times! That’s sickening!
Abby Lee Miller, Dance Moms

  • Any HBO show (other than Big Love) could be accused of this.
    • Deadwood is a particularly strange example, as it features characters using modern obscenities in a setting where "God damn it to Hell" was still shockingly profane. The producers were well aware of this and decided to use anachronistic dialogue anyway, reasoning that historically-accurate dialogue would sound too tame. After all, the real Deadwood was home to many a miner, and they weren't known for their restraint as far as language, so the count of curse words are accurate... from a certain point of view. In the words of Geoffrey Nunberg: "If you have your characters use historically accurate swearwords, they're apt to sound no more offensive than your grandmother in a mild snit."
    • Advertisement:
    • The Wire, which usually uses profanity regularly but not to ridiculous degrees, features a particularly brilliant example: an entire three minutes and thirty seconds of two detectives, Bunk and McNulty examining a crime scene, the only words exchanged being variations on the f-word. It kind of has to be seen to be believed. (Definitely NSFW.) The best part is that it's entirely coherent as a scene and doesn't seem out of character for a second. A CMOF has one of them almost say "shit", but it comes out "fuck".
      • The show also subverts the trope with the character Omar, who despite being a total badass who walks around in a duster with a shotgun robbing drug dealers, is very conspicuous by being one of the only characters on the show to never use even mild obscenity (save for one instance, when he calls out Marlo).
    • Advertisement:
    • The Sopranos uses that four-letter word regularly, too.
    • Rome adored this trope. "I FUCK [the goddess] Concord in her FAT ASS!!" "Juno's CUNT!" And so forth. "Juno's cunt" at least gets a pass for being a legitimate ancient Roman expletive.
    • For an interesting early dropping of the bomb on HBO, see Billy Crystal's "Don't Get Me Started." Crystal's imitation of his father's home movies have him portraying his uncle cursing the air blue at a family barbecue, but the "film" is silent, Crystal only mouths the words for everyone to follow.
    • The 1990s HBO comedy series Hardcore TV featured a Beverly Hills, 90210 takeoff titled "Bensonhurst 11210." In one scene, a girl is relating to a friend a story in which about every other word is a variant form of "fuck," leading to this memorable exchange:
      Girl #2: Hey, what the fuck's with all the "fucks?"
      Girl #1: Who the fuck are you — the fucking Fuck Police?
    • Advertisement:
    • In Curb Your Enthusiasm, Susie is infamous for her short temper and dirty mouth.
      • Amusingly played with in an episode of; after Larry has accidentally left an abusive message intended for someone else on David Schwimmer's father's answering machine, Schwimmer's father calls back to return the favour with interest. After unleashing a barrage of abuse and swear words that would make a sailor blush, he finishes by calling Larry a comparatively tame "Son of a b-" - and the last word is cut off by the end credits before he can finish.
      • Fuck me, you mean to say you mention that fucking episode, but not the one with the chef who has Hollywood Tourette's? Tag team Cluster F-Bomb.
    • Boardwalk Empire appears to be following suit, particularly in the case of the fuckin' commodore.
    • Mr. Show does this a lot as well, but in does it in sequence in the first GloboChem sketch.
    • True Blood, especially from season 3 on, is built on this. It has been said that at least 10% of the dialogue consists of expletives (a joke, of course, but still - this is probably the most swear-loaded scripted show currently on air).
      Pam: Are you fucking retarded?
      Tara: Shut the fuck up or we won't even try.
      Pam: Make her fucking do something.
      Marnie: Stop saying fuck, I can't concentrate.
    • Game of Thrones is not shy with the swearing. There's a compilation video on Jezebel.
      • After Theon's takeover of Winterfell and killing two boys to pose as the Starks when they escape, Yara lets him absolutely have it.
      Yara: made them prisoners in their home and they ran away. Is that treachery? I call it bravery. The little boy prisoner made you a promise and you got mad because he broke it. Are you the dumbest cunt alive? A cunt. A dumb cunt who killed the only two Starks in Winterfell. You know how valuable those boys were. You are weak. And you are stupid.
    • And of course, the Tenacious D series. Of course, this is Jack Black we're talking about.
    Jack: Okay. We got a crucial clutch cargo gig comin' up Kyle, you COCK-SUCKER! YOU DON'T GIVE A SHIT, AND I'VE BEEN SITTIN' AROUND GETTIN' SICK OF YOUR ATTITUDE! YA FUCKER! YA FUCKIN' BITCH!!!
    John: "As of now, we know this attack was carried out by gigantic fucking assholes. Unconscionable flaming assholes, possibly, possibly working with other fucking assholes, definitely working in service of an ideology of pure assholery . Second, and this goes almost without saying, fuck these assholes. Fuck them—if I may say—sideways. And third, it is important to remember that nothing about what these assholes are trying to do is going to work."
  • On Top Gear, presenter Richard Hammond is one the most likely to throw profanity around like confetti. However, he's also been known to let fly with a choice word, clap a hand to his mouth, and say "Where did that come from?"
    Hammond [in his book As You Do]: I was told later that I managed to swear constantly and without repetition for 40 minutes.
  • In Dexter (both the print and TV versions), Deb's vocabulary seems excessively foul, even for a cop. And then there was Doakes, whose favorite word was motherfucker, usually used with regards to Dexter (please note that this video contains spoilers within the last couple minutes for the end of Season 2).
    Deb: I could give a fuck who you fuck. Just don't fuck with my investigation, you fuck!
    • Lampshaded in season 3:
      Deb: I'm fucking desperate, all right? I got a steaming heap of crap-all on this case and I've gone through every scum-sucking ballsack of a pimp I know, every whacked-out hooker. You are my last-ditch assfucked effort!
      Anton: Damn, you got a mouth on you, woman.
    • Play the Dexter Drinking game, where you take a drink every time Deb says Fuck. Go ahead, I dare you. I double-dog dare you. $5 says you're unconscious by the end of the episode.
  • One of the better usages of this was the famous "Gollum acceptance speech" at the MTV Movie Awards, when Gollum won "Best Virtual Performance" for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Andy Serkis steps forward to accept, only to have the trophy swiped by Gollum himself, who delivers a beautifully profane rant (including insulting Dobby's sexuality and calling Peter Jackson a "fucking hack") — with his alter ego Sméagol apologizing profusely in between outbursts and Serkis looking aghast. Tolkien would've dropped dead of shock. Make sure you're not drinking anything when you click on this.
  • Appears in The IT Crowd, when Jen loudly (and with much use of the Profanity Buzzer) tells a visiting Japanese delegate exactly what she thinks of him after he steps on her foot with heavy Doc Martens boots on. As the delegate cannot speak English, it's helpfully translated for him by the interpreter.
    • Made even funnier afterwards when Jen's boss lets one loose of his own, but his assistant gets to the buzzer a little too late.
  • On Friends, Phoebe, the resident ditz had bought Chandler and Monica a Ms. Pac-Man machine as a wedding gift. Chandler proceeds to own the shit out of it, replacing every highscore with dirty words that spelled longer dirtier words if you read them from top to bottom to boot. Monica gets very upset, considering her nephew Ben is coming to visit. Phoebe, who was the previous highscore keeper, goes on to attempt to defeat the scores to clear the scoreboard. She nearly gets there... and loses right as Ross and Ben come trough the door. Phoebe starts a cascade of swearing, but we don't get to hear itBeethoven's Ninth plays over it.
  • The internet/TV series Devvo can go as far as using the word "fuck" before every noun, adjective and verb; "I'm fucking sweared out! But fucking thing is, I fucking found this fucking motor. Fucking Rover, like. Some fuckin (bleeped) left fucking door open. I'll fucking show ya mate, fucking show ya". He also yells random strings of swear words at buses and dead pigeons for no reason.
  • Cutey Honey The Live features Duke Watari, a member of Panther Claw. Usually, a calm and composed gentleman, but if you wrong him, no matter how minor the offense..."SHIT!!!"
  • Penn & Teller: Bullshit! uses this profusely. As they explain in the first episode, "Your statement is a lie" is grounds for slander charges; "Your statement is bullshit", not so much. Likewise, they could be sued for calling someone a 'liar', but calling someone a 'motherfucker' or 'asshole' is just an opinion. (Indeed, no lawsuit against the two was ever successful.) The "Profanity" episode plays with this — while the guests do a lot of swearing (the subject being censorship of language), Penn himself doesn't use any foul language for the duration of the episode.
  • MTV Brazil VJ and punk rock singer João Gordo always speaks his mind, so his TV shows feature lots of profanity. When participating in the Brazilian The Moment of Truth, he released at least 10 Cluster F-Bomb's — during a Sunday afternoon in a major network.
  • Gordon fucking Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares contains so much swearing that in Australia there was a parliamentary inquiry into whether it was appropriate to air it at the Watershed-dubious time of 8:30PM.
    • And the Television Without Pity reviews of the show have the "bleep-o-fucking-meter" to keep count.
    • His confrontation with Secret Garden's Chef Michel is a fine example.
    • Also check out Sebastian.
  • Speaking of Gordon Ramsay, Hell's Kitchen is also well-known for its language, as evident here.
  • Slings & Arrows has moments of this, notably when stage manager Maria delivers a drunken, profanity-ridden rant about actors (ending "Well, fuck you all! Fuck off, you fuckers!")
  • French comedic trio Les Inconnus ruthlessly parodies this trope (and American action movie trailers in general) in a sketch titled Fuck You -- The Movie. The humor comes mainly from the French subtitles, which considerably downplay the swearing (until the final gag, which is plain untranslatable). To clarify: "fuck" is mostly translated as "embêter", which means "bother", with a few other very, very mild swear words thrown in...but in the final gag, "phoque" (meaning "seal", the animal, and pronounced almost like "fuck") is rendered in the subtitles by "enculé" - a very strong insult similar to "motherfucker" (though meaning literally "buggered.")
  • A version of this trope appeared in The Young Ones...
    Vyvyan: NO! NO! NO! WE ARE NOT WATCHING THE BLOODY GOOD LIFE! BLOODY! BLOODY! BLOODY! I hate it it's so BLOODY nice! Felicity TREACLE Kendal and Richard SUGAR-FLAVOURED-SNOT Briers! What are they doing now? Chocolate BLOODY button ads, that's what! They're nothing but a couple of reactionary stereotypes confirming that everyone in Britain is lovable middle-class eccentric and I HATE THEM!
    • That was a highly articulate outburst, considering it's Vyvyan
  • The Adam & Joe Show NewSic* : "He was heard to say 'Fuck you, fuck this, fuck fucker'".
  • In a House DVD bonus, a random scene was reshot, with Cameron and Cuddy managing to curse about 30 times in a little more than one minute. When you remind yourself of how the characters behave in the show, this is pure gold.
  • Battlestar Frakking Galactica.
  • Stranger Things has the favorite expression of panic used by the boys: "Shit shit shit shit shit!!!"
  • The Supernatural episode "Ghostfacers", filmed documentary style, took the opportunity to heavily abuse the ability to bleep out swears, implying that if the show were on a different network or standards weren't so rigid, the brothers would have quite the foul mouths. At least, that's how the fanfic writers chose to interpret it....Anyway, it makes a lot of sense, since they're not really on speaking terms with polite society.
  • The Thick of It may be the sweariest sitcom ever madenote . One of the show's writers, Ian Martin, is unofficially known as the writing team's "Swearing Consultant". Peter Capaldi's character Malcolm Tucker is the best known for swearing, but all the characters drop Cluster F Bombs continually. In one famous scene, Tucker answers a knock at the door with "Come the fuck in or fuck the fuck off." Malcolm must be the only character capable of getting an extra "fuck" into "fuck off"
    • Still, as far as concise profanity goes, nothing beats Tucker's Law: "If some cunt can fuck something up, that cunt will pick the worst possible time to fucking fuck up, because that cunt's a cunt."
      • This carries over to The Movie, In the Loop, from a telephone conversation that ends "fuckity-bye" to the splendid:
        Malcolm: You're a real boring fuck. Sorry. Sorry, I know that you disapprove of swearing, so I'll sort that: you are a boring eff-star-star-cunt."
      • Used to to portray Tucker's Darkest Hour in the movie by him being so stressed that he can't come up with his normal poetically graphic imagery and falls back on this
        Malcolm: I'm gonna fucking take your fucking leg off and I'll fucking... the shin bone! I'm gonna take the shin bone and I'm gonna break it in two, and I'm going to fucking stab you to fucking death with it."
  • Red Forman from That '70s Show used this when he is convinced to take in Hyde when his mother leaves. Doing a good deed made him very unhappy.
    • Variation: Fez really likes to drop the "son of a BITCH" phrase whenever he can.
      Fez: (during Trick Or Treat) An apple?! WHERE'S MY CANDY, YOU SON OF A BITCH?!
  • One of Steve Coogan's videos is prefaced with his Paul Calf character explaining that the reason why it is rated 18 is because of the bad language, and going on to explain exactly what words are used and how many times (28 fucks, 29 counting that fuck, fuck it make it 30 etc.). At the end he conceeds that in fact, all the bad language is in his introduction "and the rest of the video is like Bambi."
  • The scripts of Lost indulge in this. ABC says that it makes them "energetic" and fun to read. From the end of Two for the Road, which uses "fuck" almost a hundred times and is not alone in that regard:
    And Michael is fucking SHOOTING before he even sees what he's shooting at — INSTINCT now as he WHIPS AROUND towards the sound of that voice and REVEAL —LIBBY. SHOCKED. HOLDING THE BLANKETS SHE WAS GETTING FOR HER PICNIC WITH HURLEY. A BLACKENED HOLE now permeates in the center of those blankets as Libby's knees fucking BUCKLE — She hits the ground like a back of rocks. Over. DONE. Oh sweet fucking CHRIST. TIME STOPS. ON MICHAEL. FREAKING OUT. SWEATING. BLINKING. HIS GUN HAND FUCKING TREMBLING. FROZEN.
  • Trailer Park Boys
  • The blooper reels for Firefly and Serenity. Basically, whenever anyone forgets their lines (especially Nathan Fillion or Gina Torres), they drop a Cluster F-Bomb. In the show itself, translating the unfortunately badly-pronounced Mandarin will usually reveal lengthy, creative and glorious obscenity they would never have gotten away with otherwise.
  • The Motherfucking Osbournes, probably the family with the filthiest mouth in the world.
  • How has Queer as Folk not been fucking mentioned yet?
  • The boys from The Whitest Kids U' Know, with the exception of Darren.
  • The Stargate SG-1 Show Within a Show Wormhole X-Treme! included this blooper clip.
  • CNN's coverage of the Persian Gulf War, which featured live interviews with soldiers on the ground, would sometimes veer into this trope. Presumably the troops who'd casually used such language on camera didn't realize that the real-time satellite feed couldn't be edited to bleep out their F bombs.
  • The myth that Cluster F-Bombs can actually increase your pain tolerance was tested on MythBusters and featured Adam, Grant and Kari unleashing plenty of profanity in the name of science. The best part? MYTH CONFIRMED.
  • Daniel Tosh does this sometimes on Tosh0, for comedic value of course. mostly to create confusion to the watcher at home where there is an overly-long contionous beep when you don't know what the fuck he's saying.
  • Dog The Bounty Hunter. It seems to be a prerequisite that whenever a criminal is taken down, everyone involved has to yell variations of "FREEZE, MUTHAFUCKER!"
  • Red Dwarf indulges in the futuristic version of this with the word 'smeg'. For example:
    "Why don't you smegging well smeg off, you annoying little smeggy smegging smegger?"
  • Jon Stewart and the "Go Fuck Yourself Gospel Choir" on The Daily Show.
  • Yes We Canberra succinctly describes the 2010 Australian federal election in song.
    • To top it all off, the great word itself is written in the sky in front of Parliament House, complete with fog plane!
  • The Ronnie Johns Half Hour has a segment of Heath Franklin doing his impression of Australia's notorious ex-criminal, Chopper Read. Heath tends to get his humor from his foul mouthedness in various situations. Reading a story on a children's TV show: "Fuckin' hello kiddies, eh? How the fuck are you, kids?"
  • World's Dumbest... Brawlers has a 2-year-old named Anthony who repeatedly uses the word 'fuck' correctly. He also squirt Pistol Whips a cousin('s shoe), making him resemble a toddler version of Joe Pesci's character from Casino.
  • Played for Laughs in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, Agent for H.A.R.M., when Crow tries to help Mike by being a character witness in his trial for blowing up a few planets on accident.
    Crow: Hi! I'm Crow T. Robot and I'm here to tell you that Mike Nelson is innocent. Mike Nelson is two hundred percent [bleep]ing not guilty. And if you [bleep]s don't [bleep] find him innocent, then you can just [bleep]ing kiss my fat [bleep]ing [bleep]. And that [bleep]ing goes for your bull[bleep] court system, too! Mike, I'm so [bleep]ing sorry I couldn't [bleep]ing be there for this [bleep]ing [bleep]y really bogus trial, man. But let me [bleep] tell ya something, Nelson. If I was there, I'd [bleep]ing kick everyone's fat stupid [bleep]ing behinds and then cram it up their [bleep]ing [bleep]. Anyway, Mike, buddy, I hope this [bleep] helps. Take care, Mike.
  • TruTV's shows, especially Operation Repo, contain at least one swearword.
  • The infamous Bill Grundy interview with the Sex Pistols in 1976. In what was then a record for televised profanity, Steve Jones dropped the F-bomb 3 times, while Johnny Rotten dropped the S-bomb twice.
  • NZ dramedy series Outrageous Fortune. Especially if this one episode is anything to go by.
  • On the Season 4 premiere of The Amazing Race, Amanda suffered a severe case of road rage on the way to the airport, and started cursing out all the other teams. Made funnier by the fact that she was small and cutesy, and looked like a total Gosh Dang It to Heck! type during the team introductions.
  • Skins everywhere always. It's safe to say it's one of the most commonly used words in the entire show.
    • Also used for a Moment of Awesome in series four: "I'm Katie Fucking Fitch, who the fuck are you?"
    • The American Version was no slouch with the swears either, even though MTV wouldn't let them say fuck.
  • The River uses this with a Sound-Effect Bleep so whole speeches are bleeped out.
  • The Vicar of Dibley had David Horton drop one off-screen when his son Hugo told him he was in love with Alice Tinker. When Hugo relayed the story to the vicar, it resulted in this exchange:
    Geraldine: So what did he say?
    Hugo: Well, I can't tell you what he actually said because, because you're the vicar. But let's say a certain word is represented by another word that, that sounds a little like that word, like, uh... like... "duck," for instance. (beat) He asked me what the duck I was playing at. He said he didn't give a flying duck if I ducking loved Alice ducking Tinker, and if I ducking kissed her again, he'd make sure that I was well and truly ducked.
    Geraldine: Well, duck me.
  • Weeds: Nancy's reaction to realizing she's been jacked is this, peppered with Heylia's encouragements throughout.
    Nancy: Mother...fucking...cocksucking son-of-a-bitch, hillbilly stalker asshole! Shiteating, dickless, granny-fucking prick!
    Conrad: Granny-fucking?
  • The Franchise's second season gives us Ozzie Guillen, who, apparently, in one motivational speech, used ninety-seven F-bombs.
  • That's Just Me swears so much, nobody knows how it got away with a TV-14 rating. The majority of the characters have the filthiest mouths ever, and none are censored. The real shock is not the number of uncensored F-bombs, but that they censored Elizabeth dressed up as Amelia yelling: "I'm your worst nightmare! I'm a motherfucking crossdressing lesbian Jew, bitch!"
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Non-Fat Yogurt", Jerry calls some non-fat yogurt "so fucking good" (bleeped out of course) in front of the store owner's child, who proceeds to use "fuck" all the time, asking his mother "Where's my fucking cupcake?" and calling Jerry a "funny fuck". His mother brings him to Jerry so that he can tell him that cussing is bad. He succeeds, until the kid messes up one of his cassette tapes of his stand-up, at which point Jerry yells, "What the fuck are you doing, you little piece of shit?"
  • This skit from the Australian series The Late Show (1992), a parody of Glengarry Glen Ross, which ends with quiz show host Glen Ridge walking in and shaming everyone for their swearing.
  • The original series of Being Human got some stunners in, but the series four finale managed to give us Annie's most epic line in the shows history.
    Annie Give me back my FUCKING baby!
  • Farscape gets into this one from time to time, like the episode where Crichton unleashes a stream of "Frell! Frell! Frell! Frell! Frell!" when he's left behind to blow up on a stranded shuttle by a mook sent to capture him. The series doesn't even need to be censored due to a frelling extensive vocabulary of constructed swear words for all you frellnicks to play with. Hezmonah, the word "frell" alone is even fully frelling conjugable. Now that's some seriously frelled up dren.
  • On Glee when Quinn is in labor she unleashes a primetime version on Puck, her baby's father.
  • Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? took this as far as any PBS Kids program was willing to dare in some early episodes whenever Rockapella had to sing "Zombie Jamboree" as filler. Specifically, if the program ran too short, kids could expect to hear the phrase "I don't give a damn" being sung several times in the span of two or three minutes.
  • The Wil Wheaton Project saw Skeletor as a guest host, who seemed to love this trope:
    "You're being too POLITE! Have you even been on the Internet before?! What you should have said was BLEEEEEEP Hitler BLEEEEEEP mongoloid BLEEEEEEP fisted BLEEEEEEP hashtag bringbackshialabeouf!"
  • Father Ted: In the episode "And God Created Woman", Mrs Doyle comments on all the bad language a novelist uses in her books by referencing expletives and graphic descriptions she remembers from it. She gets a little carried away.
    Mrs Doyle: "YOU BASTARD!", "YOU FEKKER!", "YOU BOLLOCKS!", "GET YOUR BOLLOCKS OUT OF MY FACE!", it was terrible!
    Father Ted: (Finally gets her through the door and closes it) Yes, you go and prepare for the nuns.
    Mrs Doyle: (From the next room) "RIDE ME SIDEWAYS!" was another one.
  • Frasier: "The Two Hundredth" features a sequence in which the title character plays bloopers from his radio show. One of the most popular blips was when Roz didn't realize her microphone was on and began ranting about her pay-check and badmouthing the station manager. Most of her dialogue had to be beeped out.
  • QI: The Season L episode 'Ladies and Gents' asked the question "Can you name an Anglo-Saxon swear word?". Every answer that sounded the klaxon made '*%$#' appear on the board (to cover all the bases). Sue Perkins, feeling she had nothing to lose, decided to let out every curse she could think of (including a made-up one)...she lost, obviously (-48).
    Sue Perkins: Er...(beep!)
    Sue Perkins: In for a penny, (beep!) [Klaxon], (beep!) [Klaxon], (beep!) [Klaxon], (beep!) [Klaxon], (beep!) [Klaxon], (beep!) [Klaxon], (beep!) [Klaxon], Knob Gobbler! [Klaxon]
    Stephen Fry: Knob Gobbler!?
  • This is often used in Pizza, the most notably is Lifesaver Les from Beach Pizza.
    Lifesaver Les: Well if you wanna own the fuckin beach, you have to go through FUCKIN US! Because we own this fuckin beach! Our grandfathers fought World War FUCKIN 2 in this fuckin beach! Alright, and if I were you, I FUCK OFF!!
  • Gold Rush!: Tony Effing Beets. This Dutch-born Klondike gold miner seems unable to speak a single sentence without dropping an F-bomb.
  • Later seasons of The Dead Files feature psychic medium Amy Allen liberally cursing when reacting to some of the things she sees in her readings of the haunted locations.
  • Fucking Home Fucking Land. In the span of two episodes the show can top the likes of Die Hard and The Rock. It puts even Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad to shame.
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert managed to do this on broadcast television uncensored, by means of an interview with cast members from a Canadian sitcom literally titled Schitt's Creek.
  • The Boys (2019), being adapted from a really politically incorrect comic. One of the main characters, Billy Butcher, is quite fond of Country Matters. By season 2, even the so far very polite Queen Maeve has had enough shit to curse every now and then.
  • American Gods (2017) is full of swearing. An outstanding case is Laura Moon's purgatory journey in season 3, where she strings out so many F-bombs in succession that her afterlife tutors get appalled.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: