Thursday, February 11, 2010


Belarus is a small, land-locked country next door to Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. According to Wikipedia, one of its major exports is cattle by-products. Which begs the question, what horrible shape are the cattle in, if all they're good for is felt hats and wallpaper paste? But Belarus does have a bustling TV production industry. One of their most recent hits is a sitcom about four nerdy scientists who live next door to a beautiful blonde waitress. The characters are named Sheldon, Leo, Hovard, Raj and Natasha, and the show is entitled, 'The Theorists'. Each episode begins with a rapid-fire montage of images which takes us from the dawn of time to the present moment. Keeping with that theme, the montage is scored with what is probably the worst piece of recorded pop music since the dawn of time. And finally, each episode appears to be a Russian translation of a 'Big Bang Theory' episode. When we brought this to the attention of the Warner Brothers legal department, 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. Having no other recourse, I'm hoping that this vanity card will be read by the fine folks making 'The Theorists', and, wracked with guilt, they break down and send us some felt hats. The Kyrgyzstan version of 'Dharma & Greg' already sent me some wallpaper paste.
Well. Chuck me......

I can sympathize with Chuck Lorre's position; I don't think anybody should see their original ideas ripped off so blatantly. I feel guilty sometimes just for the theories I expound about TV shows - maybe it's not fan fiction per se, but I must be walking a fine line.

At the same time, within the reality of the Toobworld concept, such a legal problem isn't of concern. 'The Theorists' exists and that's that. It doesn't matter that the show is basically a carbon copy rip-off of 'Big Bang Theory' - there are plenty of shows that are remakes of previous series from other countries, although those are usually officially sanctioned by the original producers.

'All In The Family' copied the format of 'Til Death Do Us Part'; 'Sanford And Son' was inspired by 'Steptoe And Son'; and 'The Office' and 'Ugly Betty' are part of worldwide franchises.

"В системе уголовного судопроизводства, преступлениям на сексуальной почве и преступлениям против детей уделяется особое внимание. Раскрытием таких дел занимаются сотрудники специального отдела оперативных расследований. Вот их истории."


Dick Wolf's 'Law & Order' empire has expanded to other countries as well: Russia has its own version of 'Special Victims Unit'; France has a 'Criminal Intent' (which was supposed to get a Richard Belzer as Munch crossover); and Great Britain adopted the template for the original series.
Russell T. Davies is now working on an Americanized 'Torchwood' and he already saw his 'Queer As Folk' transplanted from Manchester to Pittsburgh.

So such a doppelganger of a show's format within the same TV dimension is acceptable in Toobworld. It's just that the "Creataurs" usually get compensated for the effort, and the 'Big Bang Theory' folks should be.

Sorry, Mr. Lorre......

And here's the Belarusian version of Leonard hitting on their version of Penny....


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