What’s New on Netflix: History of Swear Words Review
Netflix has been releasing a ton of new content over the past few months. One of the newest standouts is History of Swear Words. This inventive show features six episodes, each exploring the history of a specific swear word.
The series interviews comedians, linguists, and historians on the different ways we use swear words. Each episode digs into the mysterious history of these taboo words and explores why they became offensive.
Ultimately, the show is a fun study on cuss words that could never exist on cable tv. Because of censorship, this show could only exist on a streaming platform like Netflix. While it may not be a perfect show, I love seeing weird and creative series like this pop up on my Netflix feed.
Nicolas Cage is a perfect host
History of Swear Words starts each episode with a rapturous introduction from Nicolas Cage. Dressed in a suit and tie in front of a fireplace, Cage delivers some incredible monologues to start each new episode.
Nicolas Cage will try to use whichever word the episode is focused on in as many ways as he can imagine. He goes out of his way to punctuate each cuss word and really goes over the top with his delivery.
I love this version of Nicolas Cage. The man has built such a diverse catalog of performances, now he is embracing the meme. Cage is fully aware of the absurdity of some of his performances, and he is now leaning into it.
He is the perfect host for this series. If you are at all interested in seeing Nicolas Cage be as profane as ever, then this is the right show for you.
Comedy over History
Many of the featured stars are stand-up comedians. The show’s title would suggest that the series is going to explore the history of offensive words. However, the show chooses to focus much more on comedy.
History of Swear Words has plenty of pretty funny moments with comedians using their favorite swear words, and explaining why they love them.
This is probably my biggest complaint with the show. The jokes are funny, but I really wish the show would have focused more on the actual history of the swear words themselves.
There are interviews with historians and linguists, so the show does put some effort into tracing the history of these words. But the historical side of the show is overshadowed by the comedians, which isn’t always to the show’s benefit.
The show is at its best when it digs a little deeper into the subject matter. Like in the Bitch episode, they focus on how women are taking back the word from its offensive origins. I wish the series would have set aside some of the jokes for more interesting topics like this one in particular.
Don’t get me wrong, the comedians are great. They have hilarious guests like Nick Offerman, Sarah Silverman, and Nikki Glaser. They all get their own moments to shine, delighting in the profanity.
History of Swear Words is a solid new series to pop up on Netflix’s catalog. When it is at its best, the series highlights the silliness of censorship and why random words became offensive over the years.
Led by the spectacular brevity of Nicolas Cage, the show feels really new and creative. I would love to see more short series like this from Netflix. Even if you check it out just for Nicolas Cage’s intros, it will be worth the watch.
While I do wish the show found a better balance between humor and history, overall it is still a fun and informative series. You will definitely learn some interesting facts about cuss words and their origins, and there will be plenty of laughs along the way.
Each episode is only 30 minutes, so it isn’t too big of an investment of your time. There are plenty of swear words for them to continue with, so I hope to see a season two sometime in the future.