When Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained was abruptly pulled from Chinese cinemas on the night of its local premiere last year, the famously un-self-censoring auteur offered little response and no public criticism of the Chinese government.
Chuck Lorre, creator of the Big Bang Theory, has taken a different approach. The seasoned showrunner fired straight back after his hit series was suddenly pulled from online streaming video site Sohu.com last week for ambiguous reasons.
In one of his famous “vanity cards” — brief missives that flash briefly at the end of the broadcast of his shows, in which he shares whatever has recently been on his mind — Lorre painted a sarcastic picture of what he imagines led to the censorship of Big Bang Theory in China.
Here’s the vanity card that came after the May 1 broadcast of his show.
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!”
Screenshots of the message have been widely shared on social media in China – and just like BBT, the threads have been quickly censored.