In Case You Thought That Censored Good Fight Scene Was a Meta-Joke, Think Again

Photo: Jeff Neira/CBS

In case you thought the censored scene in last week’s The Good Fight episode was a wink to the audience (it’s in keeping with the tone of the show, so who could blame you?), we’ve got some interesting news. According to TVLine, CBS All Access objected to “some subject matter” in the animated short created for “The One Where Kurt Saves Diane.” Rather than pull the scene, show creators Robert and Michelle King opted to run a black screen reading “CBS HAS CENSORED THIS CONTENT” in its stead. (If you watch the episode, you can see the card at around minute 26:00.) A spokesperson reportedly confirmed the decision to TVLine, saying the streaming platform “had concerns with some subject matter in the episode’s animated short.” The message, they said, was a “creative solution we agreed upon” with the Kings.

What content did CBS seemingly have concerns with? Well, while it was, you know, censored, the scene leading up to the animated short featured a terse debate about U.S. corporations creating “customized” tech for China. One such customization? To censor citizens’ search-engine results.

Update, May 8: The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum has a thorough report on what exactly was contained in the short and how it came to be censored. According to songwriter Jonathan Coulton, it was called “Banned in China” and included references to the fact that The Good Wife itself was banned in China in 2014 potentially thanks to an episode about a Chinese dissident, as well as descriptions of American media companies censoring their own content to appease the Chinese government and a list of images actually banned in China. “One animation showed the Chinese leader, dressed as Winnie-the-Pooh, shaking his bare bottom,” Nussbaum writes. “Another showed Chinese reëducation camps.” According to its report, CBS’s objection to the short came late in the process and surprised the Kings and Coulton, who said the network insisted the short may endanger CBS executives on the ground in China, though Nussbaum interviewed a China expert who cast doubt on that claim. Now, we may never get to see the actual short, but at this point, imagining it all may be even more intriguing.

Turns Out, That Censored Good Fight Scene Was No Joke