Television

Wait a Minute. They Can’t Say “F—boy” on Fboy Island?

HBO needs to stop p-footing around with its new reality show.

A multiracial group of a dozen men, trudging along a sandy beach next to the water, all wearing short sleeved shirts and sunglasses.
Jordan Rankine/HBO Max

HBO Max’s latest reality show endeavor is saddled with an embarrassing name: Fboy Island.

“Wait,” you may be asking. “Fboy? Not Fuckboy?” Yes, “Fboy.” The censorship is probably because some of us don’t love to scroll through our streaming platforms and see the fuckin’ word “fuck” all over the goddamn page. “Fboy” is just as clear as and a helluva lot more elegant than, say, F**kboy Island would be, if you’re trying to keep our cherished F-bomb out of there. Plus, most of us are probably just going to say the word “fuckboy” when reading that title, anyway.

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So, fuck it, fine—as a title, we’ll allow that shit. But here’s that shit I don’t like so much: On the show itself, every single one of the titular boys calls themselves not a Fuckboy, as they richly deserve to be called, but instead … an Fboy. Yes, on Fboy Island, they actually use the word Fboy.

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Is this to maintain consistent marketing? An attempt to be family-friendly? Or is it just all a big fucking joke? The first time that Nakia, one of the three female contestants—whose job it is to sleuth out which of the dozens of self-proclaimed “nice guys” competing for their affection are, in fact, fuckboys—uses the word “Fboy” to describe a guy in the first episode, she laughs to herself, as if to say, “This is so fucking stupid.” It’s certainly what I was shouting out loud at my screen as I watched, and I wasn’t the one forced to say such a silly codeword on an adult reality show.

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Because Fboy Island is an adult show! The guys tell each other they have tiny dicks, inform the girls that they want to sleep with them two minutes into a convo, and never wear shirts. One guy gives another of the leading ladies, Sarah, a very sensual lap dance at one point. This show ain’t fucking around—the guys are here for sex, sex, sex, and that is A-OK, because this isn’t The Bachelor, a dating game on a broadcast network. It’s not even Temptation Island, another horny competition airing on USA Network and thus still held back by those assholes at the FCC, who won’t let colorful language fly before 10 p.m. Instead, Fboy Island is distributed by HB-goddamn-O. HBO, as a premium cable network, doesn’t have to follow the FCC’s guidelines. But it isn’t just an HBO show; it’s an HBO Max show. Streaming operates differently than traditional television, since those platforms are typically subscription-based services, which means there’s generally no risk of assholes who can’t deal with a little curse word or full-frontal once in awhile running into crap that offends on their precious cable boxes. With streaming, you know what you are signing up for—and often times, that content includes the Seven Deadly Words.

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But Fboy Island just won’t cross the line into saying Fuckboy. Never, no, not once. It’s a little bit embarrassing, a little bit aggravating, and, by halfway through, extremely fuckin’ funny. It’s a hell of a strange sight for a guy to admit he’s an Fboy, only to then say “Fuck it!” uncensored. We know these dudes fuckin’ swear; they’re adult men. But God forbid we take away their remaining shred of dignity by calling them Fuckboys instead of baby-ass Fboys.

Fboy Island makes up for these weird elements of fuckery by being so hilariously self-aware of its silly conceit, where dickish men are failing to manipulate savvy women into believe that they’re not dickish, and then those men are sent to a place called Limbro where they receive therapy in order to reform themselves of their fuckboy—excuse me, Fboy—ways. It’s a damn fun watch.

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