How The Boys' Writers Keep Themselves From Crossing A Line

The superhero satire "The Boys" is incredibly over-the-top in every way. It's ridiculously violent, features enough nudity to give your grandma palpitations, and has enough creative swearing to make a censor weep. Each season has been more outrageous than the last, so how do the people who make "The Boys" know when they've crossed the line and taken a gag too far? In an interview with CinemaBlend, showrunner Eric Kripke revealed that the studio let them do almost anything they wanted, so it was up to the creative team to decide what was within the bounds of "The Boys" special brand of parody. 

This series has done some pretty wild things, including a butt bomb in season 1 and season 3's meme-inspired sexscapades with Termite, so there's really no telling how much weirder or wilder things could get. I love the fact that the series is unapologetically extreme without taking itself overly seriously, balancing satire with an admirable self-awareness. Some viewers have been disgusted by the series' sometimes juvenile humor and frankness about sex, but it's "The Boys," so I'm not exactly sure what they were expecting. 

No shocks just for shock value

CinemaBlend asked Kripke about any moments where they had to reel it in, and he was candid in his response, explaining that there's a lot of internal debate about what crosses the line:

"You know, Amazon and Sony and everybody, they're pretty cool. I think the only thing that's happened so far is that this season, for the first time, we had to put, like, an audience advisory in front of the 'Herogasm' episode. But beyond that, no, but that said, the writers are very intensely — we very intensely self-police. And there's an incredible amount of hand-wringing about 'is that over the line, did we go too far?' You know, the last thing we ever want is for the show to feel gratuitous or exploitative or cheap. And so, the general rule is: unless it's really grounded in character and story, to where, like, we can't tell the story without it, or we can't really flesh out the world without it, if it's just shocking to be shocking, we tend to not do it. And hopefully so far that's kept us in a zone where it's outrageous but not, you know, porn."

There have been some content advisories in front of other episodes of "The Boys," though maybe the one coming for "Herogasm" will be more extensive because of the very nature of the thing. I sincerely doubt that anyone will ever call the episode porn, however, unless they're into some very specific kinks. "The Boys" is often shocking, but it's always for laughs or to say something about our own world, so it's nice to know there's a lot of thought that goes into those surprising moments. 

Catch new episodes of "The Boys" Fridays on Prime Video.