Monday, March 7, 2011

Watching the Chinese Dating Show 《非诚无扰》- “You Are the One”

Qian and I are watching a lot of\ the Chinese dating show 《非诚无扰》-"You Are The One." Here is the premise of the show from hellonanjing.net (h/t sinosplice.com):
The basic concept of the show is that 24 girls will stand in a line, each atop a podium with a light hanging over their head. Facing them is one boy, who will at first secretly choose one of the girls to be his date. Then, he reveals some basic information about himself, after which each of the girls will decide whether he is ‘date-worthy’ or not.

If a girl doesn’t like him, she will turn the light above her head off. If all 24 lights go off, the boy loses. If some lights remain on after the boy’s introduction, the boy may choose two or three of the girls for ‘future communication’. He also has the option in this case to choose a girl who turned her light off.

Finally, with three girls left, the boy will ask another round of questions, after which he will make his final choice. If the girl accepts, they may walk towards each other, join hands, and head off into the sunset for a future date and possible romance.
This show is enjoyable for me on many levels.

First, it's great for me to watch Chinese TV for language practice. Qian and I speak Chinese a bit, I speak with her family a bit on Skype, and I'll chat with Chinese friends on Skype some, but I'm really not doing anything to better my spoken Chinese or listening living in the US. I don't want to lose what I have and feel like engaging with Chinese shows - especially one that uses simple language - is very helpful.

Second, I like to see the reactions the 24 women on the show have to each male contestant/potential date that the producers roll out on stage.


Some of the ladies looking for love

《非诚无扰》is essentially a public trial of the guy standing in front of the twenty four women. The viewer gets hardly any information about any of the women who've come to the show looking for love. At most, each one will get in a few sentences and answer a question or two.

The man, on the other hand, is needled incessantly by the women and the hosts. Any physical shortcoming or personality deficiency that comes to the surface during the interview is investigated thoroughly. The guys, understandably, squirm at times. It can be pretty awkward. It's a good awkward, though; reality TV at its best.

And third, I like to think that I can glean some sociological information about what Chinese women are looking for in potential boyfriends/husbands.


The host (who is quite good) with a contestant who's choosing the girl he thinks is hottest after giving them a once over

The women on the show are very blunt. This man is too short. His clothes are shabby or out-of-fashion. He seems weird.

I've talked before on my blog about the difficulties facing twenty something year old men in China. For most urban-dwelling young bachelors to be deemed marry-able, they have to own an apartment, have a stable job, own a car, and come from a respectable family/city/region of the country (being from Henan Province is a disqualifier for many girls' parents).

I find this criteria fascinating. Especially when taking into account the general male/female ratio problems that China faces. Those ratios aren't that out-of-whack at this point in 2011. They'll be much worse when the children in China now start dating in the next fifteen to twenty years. But it's still tough for young men today. I met plenty of guys while I was in China who felt they had no prospects for ever finding a girlfriend or wife.

I don't want to get too carried away with reading into the show, though. I'm not going to try to say that 《非诚无扰》should be studied in graduate school courses or anything. It is, in the end, still a trash dating game show.

But if you understand Chinese and have some free time on your hands, I recommend checking《非诚无扰》out (here's a link to some episodes on tudou.com). It's a fun time.

7 comments:

ran said...

Hello Mark,

I am a Chinese studying now in Singapore. Great to read your blogs about your life in China. As you said, this TV show is a trash and just wants attract audience, earning much more money by advertising.

John Pasden said...

Totally agree. Great review!

How long have you been watching the show? I was into it for 1-2 months, but then it starts to get boring and repetitive...

Mark said...

Ran, thanks for the kind words on the blog.

John, I hear what you mean on this show. It's from last year, but we've only been watching it for a few weeks. It's cute and fun, but hasn't held my attention as well as a couple of the other Chinese shows I've watched.

One thing you mentioned in your review was the music and sound fx. You're right on with that.

I love every tune they use - the guy's intro, the girls coming out onto the stage at the beginning, the two girls walking down the runway. And for the sound effects, my Mrs. and I are using the "pow" (elimination button noise) in day-to-day life. I suppose we're using it as something of an expression of dissatisfaction. Great fun.

Anonymous said...

Mark,

Re: "using the 'pow' (elimination button noise) in day-to-day life," I was doing the same thing with some friends that watched the show too! Good fun.

Jia Li said...

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Joel Stottlemire said...

Hey Mark. I love this post. I've had nightmares that started like this TV show. Is it available online?

My Minxi and I try to talk together in Mandarin but boy is my Mandarin terrible. Fortunately, her English is really pretty good.

I know she speaks guanzhao qua as well. Do you have experience with it? I'm wondering if I might find it easier. I was in Hong Kong recently and really loved the sound of it.

Thanks,

Joel
http://hongkonghonky.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the song is when the two remaining girls walk down the runway?