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Ruder and Cruder

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Profanity is a curious thing — at least, insofar as the concept that some words are automatically "worse" than others. Words considered "profane" tend to have similar origins; almost all of them are associated with sexual subjects, taking a deity's name in vain, or wishing harm upon ("cursing") another person. Many people consider them both offensive and absolutely inappropriate for polite company and children (though what's considered "inappropriate" for children can be incredibly arbitrary).


Yet strangely, in fiction we also consider profanity's use a go-to means of showing extreme emotion; a signpost that a work is dark, serious, or "mature"; and, often, completely hilarious. These are a few of the reasons creators sometimes deliberately insert more profane language and/or ideas into works that may not have had much (if any) profanity before. When this happens, you wind up with an installment that is Ruder and Cruder.

Ruder and Cruder describes any work that contains a significantly increased amount of profane language and/or ideas than previous installments in its series or franchise. While "profane language" certainly does include the classic Seven Dirty Words and variants thereof, it's not limited to them alone. It also includes things like racist, sexist, homophobic, and/or (to a lesser extent) ableist slurs; offensive, off-color, mean-spirited humor; and references to subjects generally considered taboo. While lewd speech and/or gags also tend to crop up in Ruder and Cruder works, they tend to be more geared towards insulting humor or shock value than actually titillating the audience.


Moreover, for a work to be eligible for this trope, the amount of profanity must be increased from prior installments, and that increase must be significant enough to be jarring or at least easily noticeable. Adding a few more curses into a film where everyone curses every other word is not significant. Adding just five curses into a series that has previously had none is quite significant.

While many Ruder and Cruder works generally tend to have a bad reputation, it's important to remember that execution is everything when using this trope. If used tastefully and with restraint, inviting edgier or more mature elements can herald a series heading in a darker more serious direction. While it rarely does so on its own, in the best-case scenario, it can play a small part in helping a series Grow the Beard.


On the other hand, there is a reason this trope has a bad reputation: it is much easier to do poorly than it is to do well, which tends to result in works that are simply vulgar and offensive for the sake of being vulgar and offensive. Works that do this poorly often end up poorly received by critics and fans alike. In some cases, it can even do irreparable damage to a series' reputation.

There are many reasons a creator might make a Ruder and Cruder installment in a franchise. They may do so in order to shake up a stale property. They may do it to appeal to a new audience, or hold onto an existing audience that is growing older and/or changing tastes. Occasionally, they may do it as a response to criticism that their previous works are "too childish." Perhaps the creator was restricted from doing so before, and this new installment is where they aren't working under such constraints. A more cynical creator may insert gross profanity and perverse speech into a franchise because they're convinced (rightly or not) that it will boost sales. In extreme cases, a Ruder and Cruder sequel may come about as a result of Creator Backlash or Creator Breakdown.

Subtrope of Darker and Edgier. It is a type of Tone Shift. It is the opposite of Kinder and Cleaner. It often involves Obligatory Swearing, a few Precision F-Strikes, and perhaps even a Cluster F-Bomb. Can cause Mood Whiplash, and very frequently accompanies Hotter and Sexier and Bloodier and Gorier. May be the result of attempts to Avoid the Dreaded G Rating and/or achieve Rated M for Money. It often shows up in The Movie of a TV series, especially if it's based off of a show that's on network TV.

For the purposes of this trope, please limit examples to works that are either new entries in a series or franchise, complete remakes of older works, or landmark examples of the trope in their respective genres. In other words, please don't flood this page with alternate versions ("Unrated," "Director's Cut," "Uncensored," "Explicit", etc.) versions of the same work.


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    Anime & Manga 

  • As a general rule, Adam Sandler's stand-up, original songs, and comedy sketches are much more profane than his PG-13 rated films — some of them practically use swears as punctuation. If any of his sketches stand out for sheer profanity, "The Psychotic Legend of Uncle Donnie" stuffs a boatload of them into its 11-minute runtime.
  • In a biographical show, Jeff Dunham mentions having to do this early in his career to boost his popularity, much to the disappointment of his parents.

    Fan Works 
  • The Stalking Zuko Series undergoes this process over time. The original was relatively tame and had and E rating on, but the sequel, Not Stalking Zuko has a T rating and Narrative Profanity Filter, with Katara mentioning people using the word "puck" when they say "fuck." The third entry, Not Stalking Firelord Zuko has an M rating and uncensored profanity, such as Hahn saying to Bato, "You can fuck her and leave her," in reference to the Fire Nation Original Character Bato is in love with.

    Films — Animation 
  • As you might expect, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters uses more profanity compared to its televised source material, but it goes all in on hard profanity, sexual slang, and even a homophobic slur or two.
  • Ice Age: The Meltdown has a deer saying to Manny that a burro is called a "wild ass", making the other kids laugh. It is the only installment to use profanity, or at least the closest it can get to actual profanity.
  • Incredibles 2 has Evelyn Deavor use mild profanity — mostly "damn," "hell," "crap," and "sucked" — when the original had none. In fact, at the time of its release, Incredibles 2 was the only Pixar film to contain any profanity stronger than "hell."
  • The Lorax has O'Hare say "damn it" twice by the end, which is the only reason the film got a PG rating. Naturally, the Dr. Seuss children's book on which the film is based had no such language.
  • Shrek uses mild profanity, whereas the children's book upon which it's very loosely based had none. Oddly subverted, however, in that the titular character was uglier, meaner, and cruder in the book than in the film.
  • The Simpsons Movie featured some content that the show couldn't get away with showing on TV, such as showing Bart's penis and having Homer give the finger to an angry mob. Downplayed, as outside that and a use of the word "goddamn", there's no harsher language or cruder content than that on the show.
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run: The movie stands out from the previous two, given that they get away with SpongeBob actually using the mild swear word "crappy" twice, and they did not bother to censor it with dolphin chirps. Squidward also says "freakin'" at one point.
  • South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut takes this Up to Eleven — it's the only animated film to ever earn an NC-17 rating on language alone — although its creators managed to get it reduced to an "R" rating through sheer attrition.
  • The Transformers: The Movie features one debatably necessary use each of “shit” and “dammit”, clearly only inserted to secure a PG rating. May not seem like much, but considering it’s based on a a squeaky-clean '80s kids show...

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The R-rated Birds of Prey (2020) is a spinoff of the PG-13 film Suicide Squad. The film features a lot of Obligatory Swearing compared to most other DC films, including its source. It's also far cruder than most DC comics (which seldom feature uncensored profanity).
  • Though Casper the Friendly Ghost is generally aimed at younger children, the 1995 live-action movie Casper is rated PG for including Toilet Humor and swearing such as "hell," "damn," and even "bitch." You wouldn't be alone in thinking it worthy of a PG-13 rating.
  • Live-action adaptations of Dr. Seuss' books — brief, whimsical children's books — have had issues with this treatment clashing with the spirit of the source material. In How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the Grinch gets away with saying "hell" and "bitchin'". Yet it wasn't as bad as The Cat in the Hat, which earned a negative reception for being much cruder than the source material, with its abundance of innuendo, mild swearing and toilet humor.
  • Fantastic Four (2015) has stronger and more prominent expletives compared to the Tim Story film duology. The Story films had very little in the way of profanity, and it was mostly mild. The 2015 incarnation adds in multiple uses of the word "shit," but still no F-Bombs.
  • Hellboy (2019) has much saltier language than the two Guillermo del Toro films, with greater numbers of hard swears and religious exclamations.
  • Joker (2019) is the most profane film featuring the Joker, featuring no less than 25 F-Bombs. Most of the other films featuring him have one or two, tops.
  • Josie and the Pussycats is cruder than the source material with jokes relating to the word "pussy" heard in the film. It's a sharp turn from the comic, which was an all-ages title from Archie Comics.
  • While his films don't necessarily constitute an ongoing series, Martin Scorsese's films deserve a mention under this trope. Scorsese is the only director to have three of top 20 films with the highest usage of the F-bomb in film history: The Wolf of Wall Street is the third highest with a whopping 569 uses, Casino is sixth with 422 uses, and the profanity-peppered classic Goodfellas, is ranked 16th at 300 uses.
  • The Matrix Reloaded has overall cruder language compared to both The Matrix and The Matrix Revolutions thanks to the Merovingian saying a colorful variety of swears in French.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu uses the first instances of profanity found in English-speaking media based on Pokémon. Most notable was Pikachu screaming "GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE!", but he also says "damn" later in the film, and there are a couple of barely-censored uses of "shit".
  • Brian De Palma's Scarface was one of, if not the, most profanity-laced films of its time, and its popularity and acclaim helped to normalize the use of frequent profanity in film.
  • Scooby-Doo has usage of mild profanity and sexual slang ranging from "whoopass", "crap" and "biatch". Mild as that is, it's still far more than the squeaky-clean cartoon that inspired it.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming is the first Spider-Man film to use moderate to strong profanity, and it has more swearing than the previous films combined — which, all told, is still pretty mild compared to most action films.
  • Swearnet could be called this to the entire medium of film, as it has over a thousand uses of profane language, making it the most profane film of all time. In fact, it's so hard to find sentences without swearing.
  • While Adam Sandler has been involved with very few works that could be called "squeaky clean", Uncut Gems, his most profanity-laced film, contains 408 uses of the F-word, the seventh highest usage in film history. And it's not even a comedy.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) uses casual profanity compared to the previous movies, which are mild.
  • While every X-Men film starting with X-Men: First Class has at least one Precision F-Strike, it is not the case with Logan, which is not only the darkest and most violent X-Men film to date, but also the most profane (outside of the Deadpool movies), with about 55 usages of the F-word.

  • Aliens (Steve Perry Trilogy): While the Alien films were never light on swearing, these novels really up the frequency, if not creativity, of profanity. As a for instance, Ripley in Aliens calls the Queen a bitch once. In The Female War, Android Ripley calls the Queen Mother a "bitch" nearly once a sentence.
  • Inverted in the Russian literary tradition in the case of the Second South Slavic Influence (14th to 16th century). While before that, even hagiographic texts could easily include informal language and swear words, the Second South Slavic Influence-era rewrites got rid of the swearing and turned the language into Purple Prose whenever possible.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Black Lightning has overt sexuality and swearing, and the showrunners even fought the network for the right to use the N-Word in order to drive home how racist BL's enemies can be. The original comics were created back when the Comics Code Authority still had considerable teeth, and thus were much tamer.
  • The Boys: In the comics, Starlight refused to swear, spelling out naughty words if she was required to repeat them. In the series, she will swear of her own volition, though still noticeably more rarely than other characters (such as Butcher, for whom "cunt" is a punctuation mark).
  • In Cloak and Dagger, Ty and Tandy engage in sex with respective love interests and Tandy is a recovering drug addict. There's also a fair bit of cursing. In the original Cloak & Dagger comics, the titular heroes have a reputation for being both Chaste Heroes and teetotalers.
  • The upcoming ICarly revival for Paramount+ is said to be more adult-oriented than the original, featuring "dirty words", "sexual situations", and one of the new main cast members being LGBT.
  • The Inbetweeners already had copious amounts of swearing for a TV series, but its film adaptation added female nudity (Male nudity from Simon and Neil had already occured in the series) .
  • The original Party of Five aired on a broadcast network, and thus subject to relatively strict rules about sex and profanity. Party of Five (2020), on the other hand, airs on Freeform, which is a cable network, and thus is allowed to get away with more overt sexuality and swearing.
  • The original Runaways had occasional strong language and sexual themes (it was created by Brian K. Vaughan, after all), but was otherwise marketed towards young adults. Runaways (2017), on the other hand, had much more profanity (at one point, Molly, of all people, calls another girl a bitch) and sexual themes, and an attempted date-rape scene in its first episode.
  • Most of the Star Trek series don't have any profanity stronger than "hell" and "damn," however, Star Trek: Enterprise has "ass" and "son of a bitch," and Star Trek: Discovery even occasionally gets away with "shit" as well as the franchise's first F-bomb. Star Trek: Picard fires off the profanities like photon torpedoes (including multiple F-bombs). Aside from the publicity factor, this can be accounted for by the fact that while previous installments aired on CBS proper (Star Trek: The Original Series), broadcast syndication (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, or UPN (Star Trek: Voyager, Enterprise), Discovery and Picard are on the CBS All Access streaming service, and thus free from FCC broadcast standards.

  • Aqua: After a ten-year Sequel Gap, the europop band released Megalomania, their first album to have an explicit language warning. However, there isn't much on the album that wasn't presented as subtext in their earlier albums; it just says it much more directly.


    Video Games 
  • Alone in the Dark (2008) is much more profane than to previous games in its franchise, as it transforms the protagonist from a quiet, unassuming individual into a foul-mouthed and angry Amnesiac Hero.
    Edward: I don't have your stone! And fuck you anyway!
  • Borderlands is usually light on cursing despite being an incredibly violent series. The third installment, however, isn't afraid to use some stronger expletives, even dropping a solid "fuck" courtesy of BALEX.
  • Crash Bandicoot:
    • Crash Tag Team Racing is this compared to the rest of the series. While it's a tamer example than others on this list, it is far more rife with toilet humour, innuendos, and a generally darker sense of humour than is usual with the franchise, with even mild language such as "damn" being used. As such, it is the first Crash title to have an E10+ rating rather than the usual E.
    • Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time noticeably has more profanity than previous entries, with Lani-Loli using the word "putz" several times, Dingodile saying several Australian curse words, and the 100% completion epilogue mentioning Coco participating in e-sports events as "Kickass Coco".
  • Conker started out as a family-friendly franchise. Conker first appeared as a racer in Diddy Kong Racing and had a Game Boy Color game called Conker's Pocket Tales, both of these games being E-rated. Conker was also planned to have his own Nintendo 64 game, Twelve Tales: Conker 64. However, when critics were accusing Rareware of making games for little children, Rareware scrapped the game and retooled it into Conker's Bad Fur Day, which was aimed at mature audiences. It uses tons of profanity to distance itself from Banjo-Kazooie. Its remake, Conker: Live & Reloaded used even more profanity for the multiplayer maps, although it's censored until the player completes the campaign mode.
  • The first two Dead Rising games weren’t the cleanest games around, with characters frequently saying “damn”, “hell”, sometimes "bastard" and "asshole", and even a few instances of “screw” and “Jesus”, the third and fourth games ramped up the amount of profanity, with the stronger words being more common, and F-bombs getting included in the series.
  • Deltarune isn't necessarily more profane than Undertale, but the swearing is certainly more frequent. While Undertale's profanity was fairly rare and used mostly for emphasis, Deltarune has a Sir Swearsalot as a near-constant main character, and random NPCs are more prone to using rude language as well. Granted, the worst anyone says is "goddammit", but it's still a bit jarring.
  • Devil May Cry: DmC: Devil May Cry takes this to an extreme, in which practically every character is a complete Sir Swears-a-Lot. The best example is Dante's encounter with the Succubus, which quickly devolves from standard trash-talk into the two characters yelling "Fuck you!" at each other. Devil May Cry 5 still has more and harsher profanity in dialogue than other games in the original canon, but it's downright restrained in comparison.
  • Final Fantasy: Final Fantasy VII is this on two levels:
  • Despite being Lighter and Softer in tone as well as Tamer and Chaster, God Of War 2018 contains more profanities than the previous games.
  • The House of the Dead: OVERKILL has more profanity compared to the games that came before it, most of it coming from one of the game's protagonists Issac Washington. The game had so much dirty language that it won the Guinness World Record for most swearing in a video game...only to be dethroned by Mafia II a year later.
  • Jak II: Renegade uses moderate to severe profanity compared to the first game, and the trend continued into Jak 3: Wastelander and Jak X.
  • Mafia II is significantly more profane than its predecessor Lost Heaven with over 200 F-bombs dropped in the game from nearly every character.
  • Mass Effect 2 uses stronger profanities than Mass Effect with the infamous "Don't fuck with Aria" quote attached to players' memories.
  • The Metal Gear series is, as a whole, very light on profanity, though there was a noticeable increase in its use as it went on. Snake Eater featured EVA cursing out Volgin, but only in Japanese. English fans would have to wait until Guns of the Patriots to hear the franchise's first Precision F-Strike. Revengeance fully embraces this newly-discovered freedom to have multiple F-bombs throughout its dialogue, and even has its main villain be Sir Swears-a-Lot. The Phantom Pain dials it back to being used extremely sparingly in incidental dialogue.
  • Mortal Kombat X and its successor Mortal Kombat 11 have more profanity than all of the prior MK media combined. Notably, the profanity in these games comes exclusively from mortal Earthrealmers. Non-Earthrealmers and non-humans also have their own share of profanity, but it's either obfuscated, or archaic curses are used instead of modern ones.
  • Parsnip is a deconstruction of Point-and-Click Edutainment Games, featuring an optimistic, seemingly innocent World of Funny Animals whose hand-drawn, watercolor facade hides some rather unnerving details; apart from a minor Precision F-Strike you can find in the form of an in-universe dating website in the local artist's laptop, the game's content and dialogue is as clean as you'd expect from a game pretending to be kid-friendly. However, the sequel, The Testimony Of Trixie Glimmer Smith, is a more grounded, cynical, Darker and Edgier Visual Novel that doesn't bother to hide its darker elements. To drive home the contrast between the two games and their respective protagonists note , the second's dialogue is peppered with a lot more F-bombs, along with more explicit references to sex and raunchy fanfiction.
  • Resident Evil:
  • Shadow the Hedgehog is a downplayed example; it is the only game to use profanity regularly in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, but never uses any expletive stronger than "damn" to avoid the T rating.
  • Splinter Cell: Conviction and Splinter Cell: Blacklist have a lot more casual swearing and stronger expletives than the previous games in the Splinter Cell franchise. In the former, the gratuitous amount of swearing the enemies do tends to be a common point of mockery of the game.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are already bluer than the original game, where cursing is mild and rare. But the fact that they have consistently strong language at all qualifies them as this when compared to other Nintendo games, which at their most vulgar only use words on the level of "damn" or "hell." XC2 especially—not only is it the first first-party game in the company's history to use the word "shit" in its English script, there's also a drastic upswing in sexual references and humor.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Danganronpa series has always had profanity, but they were occasional and relatively mild in the first two installments. But Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is much more offensive, with explicit sex jokes and harsher, constant swearing thanks to Miu and Kokichi.

    Web Animation 
  • Helluva Boss is cruder than the series it spun off from (Hazbin Hotel), and the profanity is more frequent. And since Hazbin Hotel itself was extremely profane compared to other independent animation, that's really saying something.
  • Lobo (Webseries) uses profanity relatively often, at least compared to the rest of the DC Animated Universe.
  • Migraine Boy is an Emo/Grunge comic strip that became famous worldwide thanks to a MTV-produced series of 30-second shorts that aired around the end of The '90s. At the Turn of the Millennium, however, a Chilean Dark Parody of Migraine Boy was made as an Adobe Flash web animation that had more swearing, Gorn, and Sex Comedy. Yet it was also funnier than the original shorts, which led it to become a Cult Classic in its native Chile.
  • RWBY: Downplayed. During the first few volumes, there was no swearing at all, not even minor cursing. Slowly, the profanity began to be added as the teenage characters became older and the stakes of the plot became higher. Initially, very mild profanity like 'damn' was slipped in at key moments until the fight between Tyrian and Qrow in Volume 4; the fight ends with Tyrian snarling 'You bitch' at Ruby. Since that fight, it's become a normal part of the show for characters to use mild cursing such as 'bitch' or 'bastard' when the situation becomes emotionally charged.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!'s move from Fox to TBS resulted in the show having uncensored usage of "goddamn", "asshole", and "shit" due to FCC regulations being much loser on cable TV than on free-to-air TV.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force had its early seasons use mild to moderate profanity, but the later seasons use stronger language. It's bleeped, of course, given that this is basic cable TV, but context makes it clear enough what they're trying to say.
  • The Boondocks TV show is this compared to the newspaper comic it was based on; featuring a massive shipload of profanity in almost every episode, occasional bits of sexual humor, and (albeit rarely) some bloody violence.
  • Castlevania (2017), on top of being Darker and Edgier than the video game series, features lots of profanities including many f-words.
  • Dexter's Laboratory had "Rude Removal", in which Dexter and Dee-Dee are split into their good and evil sides, with the latter swearing roughly every five seconds. After being shown at the World Animation Celebration in 1998, it was banned until [adult swim] broadcast it in 2013. This is an inverted case though, as "Rude Removal" was the pilot episode, and except for an utterance of "crap" in an early episode, the rest of the series has no swearing at all.
  • Family Guy, while always crude and offensive, became even more vulgar when Fox brought it back in 2005, with much more cruder sex jokes and even more offensive humor than ever before. There's also more profanity, although not to South Park-levels of profanity due to Fox having to follow FFC regulations, unless it's the uncut DVD version.
  • Harley Quinn (2019) uses a lot more profanity, violence, and mature themes than any other DC animated series or film, with lots of uncensored F-bombs and other such words that warrants its TV-MA rating.
  • Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" is, as the title suggests, a mature-rated follow up to Ren & Stimpy. While the original series already had a ton of demographically inappropriate humour, this series indulges in much more explicit foul language, violence, nudity, sexual themes, and gross-out humor. It wasn't very successful.
  • Samurai Jack: The sixth episode of the final season is the only episode, outside of deleted scenes, to use any profanity at all.
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast ramped up the drug use and profanity after moving to [adult swim].
  • The third season of Young Justice features a sudden jump in curse words, body count, and instances of explicit violence over prior seasons. Justified as the first two seasons were released on Cartoon Network, which had strict policies regarding what content was deemed inappropriate. Since the third season was released on DC's own streaming service, these rules no longer applied, allowing the creators to produce a much darker and more mature show.


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