How to make classic time-travel stories acceptable to Chinese censors

Illustration for article titled How to make classic time-travel stories acceptable to Chinese censors

You may have heard that the Chinese government has recently put a moratorium on films and television shows featuring time travel. How come? They're dismayed by the many historical inaccuracies perpetuated by popular time-travel dramas.


It's unclear if this ban will extend to already released time-travel tales, but if it ever should, here's a handy guide on how to rejigger some our favorite yarns sans time travel (using judicious dubbing, of course). Who says Back to the Future needs a time machine?

At the Television Director Committee Meeting on April 1, the Chinese government revealed this ludicrously draconian measure. And no, it wasn't an April Fool's joke (via China Hush):

In these time-travel based TV plays, usually the protagonist is from the modern time and for some reasons and via some means, travels through time and all the way back to the ancient China where he/she will constantly experience the "culture shock" but gradually get used to it and eventually develop a romance in that era. Though obviously the Chinese audience is fond of this genre of shows, the country's authority -General Bureau of Radio, Film and Television, to be exact, is not happy about this trend and calls a halt to the making of this type of drama.[...]

The authority has a good reason to go against the genre. "The time-travel drama is becoming a hot theme for TV and films. But its content and the exaggerated performance style are questionable. Many stories are totally made-up and are made to strain for an effect of novelty. The producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore."


We by no means support this weird, anti-escapism edict, but let's imagine some of our favorite time-traveling yarns were released after the ban went into effect. How could we edit them to A.) avoid the scrutiny of censors; and B.) still make a modicum of sense?

The Very Allergic Repairman
A dapper electronics repairman is vexed by one particularly ornery gendarme's kiosk. Whenever he steps inside, he has a psychotropic reaction to the kiosk's carpet glue, causing him to hallucinate blissfully. As he trips balls, an unseen gang of pranksters transports the selfsame kiosk to various celebrations of historical anachronism worldwide. So far, 11 hapless repairmen (all with the same rare allergy) have fallen prey to this unfixable magistrate's booth.

A Journey To New Amish Town
A youth at risk befriends a kindly auto mechanic. One day while testing a new automobile, the mechanic's gunned down in a drive-by shooting by the juvenile delinquent's old gang. The hoodlum drives to New Amish Town, a gated community where everyone pretends it's the Eisenhower Administration. The gangster-in-training meets the mechanic's twin brother, who won't repair the car until he learns how to be a gentleman. Once our anti-hero refuses to deflower the prettiest girl in New Amish Town, the twin brother repairs the carburetor. Upon leaving New Amish Town, our newly minted upstanding citizen prevents the mechanic's other twin brother from being shot by gangbangers. Symmetry!

The Unusually Large Archipelago
A bunch of randoms crash land on a tropical island. The isle is extremely large and full of foliage, so no one can find each other. After six seasons of wandering, it's revealed that everyone was in a Unitarian church with a carbon monoxide leak. They wake up and greet each other in a punch-drunk daze, blinded by the flashbulbs of the local news paparazzo.


Give Me That Sex Chair!
A steampunk aficionado invents a giant clock-shaped chair designed to give him the same erotic pleasure of a Magic Fingers motel bed. Instead, the chair bucks so wildly that it throws his inner ear out of wack. While dizzy and unconscious, the steampunker is abducted by the band the Polyphonic Spree, who will only release him if he rescues his sex chair from a group of sewer-dwelling crust punks.

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