Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Opening Panel Round

Our panelists answer questions about the week's news: Must-see Chinese TV.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

PETER SAGAL, host: We want to remind everyone they can join us most weeks at the Chase Bank Auditorium. You can also see us December 8th in Lexington, Kentucky. For tickets and more information, go to wbez.org, and you can find a link at our website: wait.wait.npr.org.

Right now, panel, time for you to answer some questions about this week's news. Tom, the Chinese government announced this week it's going to start limiting public access to television shows that are what? You can only watch the television shows from now on in China that are what?

TOM BODETT: Oh, I think they're doing this in our country too. It's shows that are entertaining.

SAGAL: Yes, no more entertaining shows on Chinese TV.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Across America, people are marching in the streets because their homes are being foreclosed on. In China, the big problem, TV is too entertaining.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: TV stations there must phase out fun shows completely by next year, leaving only the boring ones. The idea is people will choose to spend their time then contributing to culture rather than watch something called "Dancing with Actuaries."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: After the anti-entertainment reforms are in place, Chinese viewers will only be able to see education programs, government propaganda and PBS.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODETT: You know, I saw this article and it said that they're only allowed 90 minutes of entertainment programming in a week. So, like, what are they watching?

SAGAL: Well, they have like these Chinese versions of American shows. Like, their version of "Seinfeld" is about this quiet guy with some very contented friends and a perfectly normal neighbor, who always knocks before entering.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BRIAN BABYLON: Yeah.

SAGAL: Their version of "Two and a Half Men" is about the aftermath of a terrible accident at an iPhone factory. It's very tragic.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODETT: And their show "Big Brother" is really just a civics lesson.

SAGAL: Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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