Warning: Bad Words Ahead
Jesse Walker writes:
My favorite substitutions are in the edited-for-TV version of Repo Man, which I believe was cut by the film's actual writer-director. He decided to replace the original film's swear words with deliberately inane phrases. "Fuck you" became "flip you." "Motherfucker" became "melon farmer." The result was actually funnier than the original movie.
Another reader suggests some s.f. competition for my Battlestar Galactica example:
How about Joss Whedon's "Firefly" show (and "Serenity" movie) in which the swearing is in "Chinese"? It's set in a future where man has left "Earth that was" and taken to space, and Chinese is the chief language in much of the 'verse where men live. The actors admit to making much of it up, but it may have been scripted as "real" Chinese; presumably the TV censors don't speak Mandarin, either. The characters also used what might be corrupted English swear words; "gorram" is a common one.
Finally, my old (actually, oldest--since we were 3) friend, Marjory Morford reminds me that our seventh-grade social studies teacher read Of Mice and Men aloud to his classes, changing all the curse words--someone spotted the crossed-out words in his book--and, I realized years later, substituting "getting drunk" for "going to whores."