If you haven’t noticed the promotion of prostitution, gambling, and terrorism in the hit comedy The Big Bang Theory, you aren’t alone. China’s sudden ban of streaming the show through the country’s heavily-monitored internet access has more than a few fans, in China and elsewhere, scratching their heads.
Though the government group that banned the show didn’t give explicit reasons for the ban, The Hollywood Reporter notes that the minimal explanation that was given linked the Big Bang ban to a law that says television programs won’t be allowed to encourage young people to partake in such criminal activities as prostitution, gambling, and terrorism.
It’s hard to be sure where in Big Bang Theory Chinese officials see any of these acts. While there are scenes which center their jokes on the frequency of sexual encounters by the character Penny, notably one in which Sheldon actually does the math to estimate how many lovers she’s had, there’s no hint that money is exchanged; to the contrary, it’s very clear that the sex is casual. The characters are often seen gaming, but this also is not a financial pursuit, just a depiction of ‘nerd culture,’ and the games are far less along the lines of poker and craps, and more closely aligned to ‘Klingon Boggle.’
As for terrorism, it’s true that one episode of Big Bang Theory depicts the character Howard Wolowitz doing some damage to the Mars Rover, but he’s not plotting to gain control of the government — just to get a girl to like him.
In short, there’s little to find in the show to promote government subversion or other criminal activity, and speculation abounds, especially as some wonder why other shows that seem to violate that same line of legal code are ignored, as NewsMax reports.
The show’s creator, Chuck Lorre, has already expressed his thoughts on the ban, placing them in one of the ‘vanity cards’ that are seen at the end of Big Bang Theory episodes.
However, with the Chinese government announcing that they will be airing on the country’s government-controlled television networks a censored version of the show, perhaps fans will soon be able to see exactly what the objections are, and settle the speculation.
In the meantime, Big Bang Theory fans say they won’t let the rules stop them from getting their laughs. KTVQ interviewed one student, Pixie Nong, who posts subtitles online to help Chinese-speaking fans follow along with cast interviews, and who assured the reporter that she, and others, will find creative ways to access Big Bang Theory episodes, regardless of the government’s restrictions.
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