Chuck Lorre last night used his “vanity card” (something he invented for Dharma & Greg and whose hectoring, half-earnest half-snarky tone seems to be the inspiration for many TV-writer blogs) to call attention to a ripoff of The Big Bang Theory that is running in the former Soviet republic of Belarus, with the same characters and scripts, but no money paid to the copyright owners.
Though Warner Brothers would presumably prefer to sell some official international remakes of the show in the future, its legal department advised Lorre that he can’t shut down this unauthorized version: “we were told that it’s next to impossible to sue for copyright infringement in Belarus because the TV production company that is ripping us off is owned and operated by the government of Belarus.” Now, I take that with a grain of salt — it sounds like it’s playing to stereotypes of Eastern European countries as lawless wastelands — but if true, then this is what Belarus’s tax dollars are paying for:
One useful thing: if you want to know the difference between audience laughter and “canned” laughter, listen to this. The acoustic is almost totally dead and silent until the fake laughter kicks in, obviously in a different sound-world from the rest of the show.
And a behind-the-scenes look at the making of this show. I’m not sure if they do or don’t mention that the show is based on a U.S. show (I would assume that many viewers know it is, and the point is simply to remake it without paying any money, but who knows).