Episode Of CBS’ ‘The Good Fight’ Airs Without Censored Short About China
In the most recent episode of The Good Fight, a legal drama that is known for taking on controversial topics, viewers were shocked when a the show stopped mid-scene to display a black scene that read: “CBS HAS CENSORED THIS CONTENT.” The message lasted for eight seconds. At first, many viewers assumed the message was a joke, referencing media censorship in a humorous way. But in fact, it was one-hundred-percent real.
In an interview with The New Yorker after the episode aired, show-runners Robert and Michelle King revealed that CBS had indeed censored part of the episode – a musical short about censorship in China. The short, which was written by Jonathan Coulton and animated by Steve Angel, reportedly poked fun at the number of things banned by the Chinese government, including Winnie-The-Pooh and the letter “N.” The short was similar to the kinds of shorts shown throughout the series, a Schoolhouse Rock! type segment that has critiqued everything from Donald Trump to CBS itself in the past.
“We had concerns with some subject matter in the episode’s animated short,” said CBS in a statement. “This is the creative solution that we agreed upon with the producers.”
Reportedly, the Kings at first threatened to quit when they heard of the censorship, but came around when CBS agreed to let them explicitly say that their content had been censored. Originally, they wanted to show the message for the entirety of the original short, clocking eight minutes, but figured it would be too much for the viewers. They were shocked, though, to learn that people had seen it as nothing but a joke.
“It did not occur to me that people would think that it was a joke—until, literally, we saw our family this weekend and people didn’t realize it had happened,” said Michelle King.
Songwriter Coulton, meanwhile, has suggested that CBS had chosen to cut the segment out of concern for the safety of its employees in China, as well as concern that the show would be banned in China as a result. The Good Wife, the series from which The Good Fight spun off, was banned in China after an episode exposed Chinese government torture of dissidents.
“It’s the definition of irony,” said Coulton. “The song ends with me saying, ‘I hope this song is banned in China. Now it’ll never get the chance.”