The film is an indictment of television and other media. The industry and those who control it are seen as greedy, power-hungry, and arrogant. "We'll tell you everything you want to hear and none of it is true." The integrity of television news is challenged in scene after scene, and the film traces the descent of the TV news departments into the bowels of the entertainment divisions. In a larger sense, corporate corruption and self-interest threaten to undermine the individual, our democracy, and all positive values. It's a pessimistic message and, in this film, no one escapes its inevitable conclusion.
A character is shot in cold blood. A leading character is forcibly removed from the set of a television news show. This same character threatens to blow his brains out on camera.
Characters talk about sex and adultery in numerous scenes, but actual sexual activity is limited to some passionate kissing and one sequence, played as satire, in which two leads undress (with a brief flash of female breasts) and engage in a semblance of foreplay and intercourse. Throughout the scene, the female's partner and the sex act itself are decidedly secondary as she engages in a non-stop monologue about her work in the television business.
Pervasive swearing and obscenities throughout: all forms of "f--k," "s-t," "kiss your ass," "whorehouse," "c--ksmanship," "piss," "Goddamn," and more. There are references to "dykes," and an African-American character describes herself using the "N" word.
Sheraton, Canada Dry, Life cereal. ABC, CBS, and NBC are discussed and visually represented, but with definite disdain.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Set in 1976, many characters smoke. Alcoholic beverages are consumed in social settings: restaurants, bars, dinner table, etc. The opening scene shows two best friends who are drinking together and getting very drunk.