By Mary Potts AKA Queen of the Capes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: January 2008
Summary: Good news! New Krypton wants to import some of Earth's television shows! Unfortunately, some tweaking may be in order...
The idea for this wierdness came about while I was reading about some of the more dramatic forms censorship and adaptation that occured when the US first started importing Japanese Anime. Some of it was really silly. Since I've always been a fan of culture clash, you could probably say that the following story was inevitable. ;)
Everyone around the table stood as the First Lady of Krypton and her consort entered the room. The royals took their place at the head of the meeting table, and then all were seated.
"Genltlemen," Zara said, acknowledging the two terrestrials in the room. "We are pleased at your presence. As you know, New Krypton is still an infant nation. We have achieved enough stability to look into providing our populous with entertainment, but are a far cry from being able to satisfactorily generate our own productions. As such, we seek to import a few of your nation's, er, 'television shows'. I trust Lord Ver has already negotiated the items to be purchased?"
There were nods around the table, and one of the Earth men pulled a slip of paper from one of the large, manilla folders in front of him. "Yes Ma'am--er, Your Highness." He and his comrade quickly scanned the paper before continuing. "The shows and their prices have already been determined, but there's still a few copyright issues to settle. Er, I understand that you'll wish to change some of the shows' content?"
Zara nodded. "Most of the people on New Krypton are unfluent in English, and hold even less familiarity with the North American culture. I understand that 'localizing' is a common process on your world?"
"Of course," the man said, adjusting his glasses. "However, there's always paperwork to sort out."
"We need to know what changes you plan to make, so that we can negotiate with the shows' copyright holders," his companion replied.
"It's all just formality, really," the first man continued. He leafed through the folder and pulled a pen from his pocket. "Now, the first item listed here is 'Scooby Doo, Where Are You?', a United States kiddie show about four teenagers and a dog, who ride around in 'the Mystery Machine' and solve various mysteries."
"A popular show," the second man noted. "My kids watch it."
"You'll be expecting to translate the show into another language, I assume?" said the first, looking up from his papers.
Zara nodded. "We require the titles and dialogue of all the programs to be translated into Kryptonian. We have appointed translators to help achieve this purpose."
The Earth men nodded. "Okay," said the first, making a mark on one of the papers.-, "And do you wish to do that through subtitles, or voice-dubbing?"
"Dubbing," came the quick reply.
The man nodded and made another mark. "Good. Anything else?"
Zara silently nodded to Lord Ver.
"We feel the programs would be more entertaining to a New Kryptonian audience if they conformed to New Kryptonian standards, and were a bit--er, 'less foreign'."
The first Earth man paused in his writing, and both silently looked up as another council member produced what appeared to be a long list.
"In order to be more accessable to New Kryptonian viewers," the councilman read. "The Council of New Krypton sees fit to request that all visible signage be altered to read in Kryptonian, that the setting of the program be changed from 'the United States of America' to 'Old Krypton', and that the foreign names of the characters be accordingly changed: Henceforth, the character 'Fred' shall be known as 'Val-Duc', 'Daphne' shall be called 'Wala', 'Thelma' shall be renamed 'Zora', 'Shaggy' shall be renamed to 'Bin-Ru', and 'Scooby Doo' shall be known as 'Genetic Experiment Number 309'."
At the last statement, the two Earth men turn to Zara with questioning looks. Zara motioned to Lord Ver.
"Most New Kryptonian children do not know what a dog is," Lord Ver explained. "We feel it would be easier to make Val-Duc--'Fred'--a scientist, and have the strange talking animal be one of his experiments."
"Children love science," Ching added with a smile. He and Zara shared a brief, gushing glance.
The Terrestrials nodded and began rifling through their papers. "Okay," said the first. "That's...understandable..."
"Name changes," the second mumbled to himself while scribbling furiously. "Occupation, dog..." He looked up from the papers. "What else?" he asked the room.
A councilman across the table spoke up. "There is some concern regarding the--'relationships' between these young people," he said. "We notice that these young men and young women spend a lot of time together, unsupervised, in close quarters. They often pair off, in teams of mixed gender, and there is a lot of--touching."
The two men exchanged a glance, then turned blankly back to the councilman.
"We would be more comfortable," said another lord. "If the characters were adults and married. 'Daphne' would be the wife of 'Fred', 'Thelma' of 'Shaggy'."
"And the animal?" the second Earth man asked, deadpan. His partner elbowed him in the side.
"We have no complaints about the animal at this time," the lord answered seriously.
"We are concerned about issues of Classism, though," said one of the councilmen.
The Earth men looked bewildered. "But there is no classism in Scooby Doo," the first protested.
"That is our concern," came the reply. "We noted that Val-Duc and Wala--er, 'Fred' and 'Daphne' are meant to portray members of a wealthy upperclass. Why then would they wish to spend their recreational time with persons of common stock?"
The Earth men were silent.
"We propose that some of the dialogue be rewritten to indicate a master-servant relationship between the two couples."
After a long moment, one of the Earth men finally blinked.
"Gentlemen, I realize that this last request may be contradictory to your culture," Zara admitted before the two Earth men could faint. "But New Krypton is different. We are used to class distinction."
The two men finally exhaled and nodded. "Okay," said the first. "Servants. Right." The second closed his eyes and quietly shook his head.
"By the same token, references to capitalism shall have to be removed."
The other Terrestrial opened his eyes again, and stared at Zara blankly.
"It is too foreign," was all Zara could reply.
The councilman with the list read from it again. "In keeping with the program's new setting of the planet Krypton, and to not confuse the viewers with strange ideas, references to all foreign economic systems such as Capitalism, Communism, and Enronism are banned. Rather than seeking to 'drive away competition', etc., the villains in the 'Genetic Experiment Number 309' series shall be depicted as belonging to an insidious group of deluded outcasts seeking to destroy Krypton and its government. As such, the protagonists shall be altered from 'bumbling adventurers' to purposefully serving the mission of justice.
"We request that the name of the vehicle be changed to 'The Hand of Rao' to reflect this new purpose. We also request that its wheels be painted out, to make it appear less archaic."
The Terrestrials scribbled this down. "Fine," said the first of them. "Anything else?"
"One more crucial thing," said a lord.
The second Earth man barely concealed a wince.
"Regarding the character Wala, or 'Daphne'. We noticed that she has been portrayed as a sort of 'weak link' in the group, often being captured and displaying less brains and will than the other characters. Yet, she has red hair!" The other council members nodded while he spoke, frowning seriously. "You must either improve her character, or change her hair color."
The two Earth men stared at him, confused.
"Our culture values red hair," Zara explained. "Do not try to figure it out, it is complicated. We can give you the basic information later, if you wish."
The two Earth men leaned back in their chairs and sighed. "Okay," said the first. "So we've got four married Kryptonian adults flying around Krypton with their genetic experiment, unmasking terrorists. Anything else?"
The council shook their heads. No.
"Okay then," the first one said, taking another paper out of his folder. "Let's move on."
"Why so much emphasis on 'sharing'?"
"There's too much foreign culture to deal with practically."
"Why is the large, purple mutant depicted as a sole authority figure over those children? If this is a school, then where are the teachers?"
"Okay," said the first Earth man, handing a paper to his companion. "Obviously, Barney the Dinosaur isn't for you."
"We wish to remove the first few minutes of each episode. Does Mister Rogers *always* begin his program with a strip-tease?!"
"Perhaps at the end of each episode, there could be a lecture reproving the Addams family for being so blatantly weird."
"... and it would be inappropriate, nay, downright irresponsible of this council and any self-respecting parent to expose the children of New Krypton to such monstrosities and horrors!"
The second Terrestrial put his hands up in surrender. "Okay! Okay! No Teletubbies. Got it."
After what seemed an eternity, the two Terrestrials finally bid farewell to their New Kryptonian clients.
"It's been a pleasure doing business with you," the first Earth man said. "We hope that you enjoy your programs, and good luck with the future." They gave a slight bow to Lady Zara and her consort, Ching.
Zara smiled. "Thank you. We hope to get our own entertainment industry working soon. Lord Ver has made it no secret that he would like to see Zal-Don the Kandorian's famous tragedies put to film, and many of us would like to have a New Kryptonian version of Star Wars--that is, if your George Lucas will sell us the rights."
The two Earth men glanced at each other. They shrugged. "Well, may the force be with you," the second said, and with that, they left.