After it was announced at the end of April that China would be pulling the US sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” from video-streaming sites, the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre, took the opportunity to give a shout-out to China’s regulators in a vanity card that appeared at the end of an episode aired May 1 (via WSJ):
CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #456
The government of China has decided that “The Big Bang Theory” is not appropriate for viewing. I have to assume there was some sort of formal process involved in this decision. In all likelihood, a gaggle of communists sat in a darkened room and watched a few episodes. I like to think they took notes that were later used to formulate an official document that detailed the corrosive cultural effects caused by the shenanigans of Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, Wolowitz, Koothrappali, Amy and Bernadette. I like to think that during these screenings one of them laughed out loud and was promptly sent to a re-education camp on the outskirts of Urumqi. I like to think one of them was reassured by how often the characters on the show eat Chinese takeout. I like to think there’s a Chinese word for shenanigans. Regardless, the whole affair makes me very happy. The overlords of 1.3 billion people are afraid of our sitcom. Exactly what we were going for!
It’s still unclear why China decided to pull the family-friendly series from popular streaming sites since regulators issued no real justification for the move (not like they have to). Recent reports that a Beijing-based translation company has been hired to produce a censored version of the show for CCTV has people speculating that the move is less politically-charged and more about redirecting views to China’s state-run TV.
We’re still gonna go along with Lorre’s account of the decision-making process.