I'm watching Prime Suspect, and one of the detectives used the word "asshat". We've used the word asshat for years online. I believe the first time I ever saw it in chat was back in 1999. I'd never heard anyone say it out loud until about five years now. Now it is part of our common daily vernacular. It is clearly interchangeable with "asshole".
It's so interchangeable with "asshole" now that I keep hearing it in TV shows. The first time I hear it on TV was while watching Supernatural, but I've heard it in a number of others since. Prime time television has finally figured out a way to include cussing without being fined. After all, asshat isn't a real word, is it? It's okay to say ass on television, it's okay to say hat, ergo, it's also okay to say asshat.
I wonder if the FCC will ignore it or if they will add it to the words you can't say on television if you don't want a hefty, arbitrary fine? I've always felt that curtailing language is silly. Granted, I'd find the writing bad if they had a teacher using all kinds of inappropriate language in front of students at a private Catholic school in any given show, but I value realism too.
Anyway, the whole point of this post is to anjoy television writing lighenting up enough to make characters sound more like real people. I get bored quickly if entertainment lacks any semblance of realism. The emergence of "asshat" during prime time television is helping.