• John Fiorella


Before VHS really took off, HBO was our everything. It brought us a constant stream of commercial-free movies, around the clock. And not just any movies - for the first time in our young lives, we were able to experience Star Wars from the comfort of our own couch. At the age of nine, this was a momentous occasion, which took place on Tuesday, February 1, 1983 – a day my parents let me stay home from school so I could watch it without even having to pretend I was sick!

But the best thing about HBO was that when it came to R-rated movies, they didn’t trim out all the cool stuff network television was compelled to suppress – stuff I was undoubtedly way too young to be watching. The following snippets of uncensored cinema represent the 5 things I saw on HBO that I couldn’t unsee.


“What are you gonna do with that?” asked actress P.J.Soles of Bill Murray, as he brandished an ice cream scooper and put it to use – only, he wasn’t scooping ice cream. Instead, he was using it to tickle her in a way that made her more than just laugh. It all happened off camera, so I couldn’t discern what he was actually doing, but I’ve never looked at an ice cream scooper the same way since.


I was just flipping through the channels, when… hey look, it’s Superman! That’s odd… I don’t remember this scene. This must be right before he walks to the Fortress of Soli-- DID HE JUST KISS THAT GUY ON THE MOUTH??

It’s crazy to think that at the age of ten, I had no earthly idea that two men could passionately lock lips. Fast forward 32 years later, when I picked up some Rainbow Sherbet to share with my four-year-old daughter in celebration of the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality. As I explained to her the gravity of this new law, she angled her spoon at me and, without a hint of stigma or reservation, said “Of course men can marry men, and women can marry women, this is the United Stamps of America.”


In June of 1983, no one owned a remote control. If you wanted to change the channel, you had to physically get up and flip through a row of buttons resting along the top of the TV. This meant that your face was inches away from the screen - which explains the sudden rush of terror that rocked my soul when I clicked onto HBO and saw some dude clawing his face off!!


What’s this? A ninja in a hotel hallway? Seems harmless enough - NO! NOT THE FACE!!


Hey! It’s the funny guy from Bosom Buddies! Tom something... he always makes me laugh, especially when he - WHOA.

By this point, I was 12 and, on numerous occasions, had happily fallen victim to the gratuitous glimpse of Hollywood's celebration/exploitation of the female figure. But this was Monique Gabrielle in all her glory, and while I was technically not a teenager, it was on this Thursday night, on June 20th, 1985, that I charted a course for puberty.