History of Swear Words on Netflix is an interesting concept. You have the promise of Nicolas Cage and telling us about various swear words. In a sort of “seven dirty words, George Carlin” mixed with The Twilight Zone way, Cage leads you in. He gives you the taste and description of the word, and the experts in comedy, etymology, and linguistics of the word, let you know about the origins and usage of the word.
The trailer for the show, which you can watch here, shows off the most raucous moments from Cage on the show. The six episode run for the first season goes through: “Fuck”, “Shit”, “Bitch”, “Dick”, “Pussy”, and “Damn”. Now you’d think that order might be out of whack. Surely, you would want to save the most frequent and multi-purpose curse word for last. In this case, they make a damn fine case for, well, “Damn”.
“Fuck” might be your most used word, and it FEELS like it has the most power. However, the case they make for “damn” is the strongest of the first season. Each of the episodes has a pretty strong formula that it follows.
Each Episode Is Formulaic, But Not In A Bad Way
You start off with the Rod Serling version of Nic Cage giving you a brief introduction of the given word for the episode. Then you’re given the earliest usage of the word and some testimony from comedians and linguistic experts. Some of the comedians are ones that you’ll recognize immediately like Nikki Glaser, Sarah Silverman, Nick Offerman, or Jim Jeffries. Others are up and comers who you’ll definitely be fans of after the show is over like Zainab Johnson, Joel Kim Booster, DeRay Davis, London Hughes, Patti Harrison, and more.
Then you get the experts that drop major knowledge on the various words like Benjamin Bergen, Anne Charity Hudley, Mireille Miller-Young, Elvis Mitchell, Melissa Mohr, Kory Stamper, and others. These experts really meld well with the comedians offering colloquial examples of the word. Finally, you’re given what the new meaning or what the word means going forward in society.
This formula doesn’t get tired over the course of the six episodes because all of the words are so different in their usage. The beginnings and endings of the episodes are where you get the most “Cage Rage” moments from Nicolas Cage.
Nicolas Cage Doesn’t Ham It Up As Much As You’d Think
With a host like Nicolas Cage, who has a storied history on film with these various swear words, you’d think he’s stretch his legs. He doesn’t really let it rip like you’d want to, but that doesn’t take anything away from History of Swear Words. What is worth the price of admission with Cage, though, is that he’s perfect in his delivery of the monologues. There isn’t another actor who has had the same share of critically acclaimed performances mixed with over the top, self-reflective, let’s just say, so bad it’s good, characters. Nicolas Cage perfects the anthology host act here. For all the subdued moments, the ones where he explodes into the Nic Cage that you know and love, are well worth it.
History Of Swear Words Is Baseline Knowledge Mixed With An Actual Education In Swearing
Overall, History Of Swear Words isn’t something that’s going to completely change the lexicon of television. What it is, is a fun show that you can throw on if you’re a fan of Nicolas Cage, swearing, history, or all three. For as long as humans have had language, we’ve had swear words. Words that you’re not allowed to say, well this show gives you the background on those words. So if that sounds like something that you’re interested in, with a healthy mix of Nicolas Cage, give History of Swear Words a shot on Netflix.
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