I am a fan of “Fei Cheng Wu Rao,” or rather, my parents are, and whenever I have time, I would join them on the weekends in front of the laptop (yes, laptop computer) to enjoy this mess. The basic premise is that there are 24 single successful women who stand on podiums as one by one, eligible bachelors go through the stage and introduce themselves. The guys make “VCRs” (I don’t even know what that stands for– video compact recording? I’m sorry, I only remember my late 90s childhood) to try to convey what they are looking for in an ideal partner. If a girl likes him, she leaves her light on for him. And at the end, both the male and female competitors will agree on whether they want to leave together. It’s essentially a match-making game.
However, while the show enjoys ridiculous ratings and overseas popularity, the show has had its controversies. It’s been criticized as being too materialistic. One earlier contestant had been quoted saying how she’d rather “cry in the back of a bmw, than ride in the back of a bike.” And the central media agency in China has threatened to cancel the show if they didn’t tone down on the raciness, stop talking about sex, and de-emphasize the materialism. (Though, seriously, you’re putting a bunch of young 20-somethings on a stage, do you really expect them to not talk about sex, money, and cars?!)
One of the more recent controversies stem from a Japanese female contestant who found a match on the December 24th show. She’s a single mother of an 8 year old child. She’s 33 and is famous for her motto: Never let a man enter the kitchen. If she found a man, she would never let him do any chores. She’s one of the more loved contestants for her preppy up-beat attitude. So when she posted on her online “weibo” (I think it’s like twitter) about how the male contestant disappeared after the second day… netizens began to speculate what must have gone on and whether this whole ordeal may have been FAKE and STAGED.
Theories: (there are so many theories on the web)
1) There have been rumors going around the web about how she use to be a porn star. She denies this, saying it must have been a case of mistaken identity. (And analysis of the porn star’s features reveal that they are probably not the same person.) Some netizens are deducing that to minimize the bad press surrounding this rumor, the producers may have hired an actor to come and take her out of the game.
2) Her long stay on the show, and despite her cheery persona, have yielded no suitable matches. To sell the idea that love exists for everyone and anyone, even a “fat single mother,” the producers may have also again staged her match.
3) The contestant herself may have been fake. She may have entered the game show to popularize herself! Maybe the producers found out and again, they staged her match.
This is so funny. I knew the show was staged to one degree or another, but to insert fake contestants to boost viewership is on a whole new level of ridic. (Earlier in 2011, male contestants have complained about how the female contestants look nothing like the way they do on the show when they take off their make up.)
I really wish there were some sort of place where I can discuss this with people. The current state of Chinese media is so fascinating to me, but my poor 4th grade Chinese only allows me to read short news articles and not really be able to discuss this on the net with them netizens. The modern culture, the aspirations of my Chinese peers who grew up in a generation swimming in commercialism, the new middle class, the widening wealth gap…(Le Sigh.)
Guess what article is on the NYtimes?
My monthly limit for the free content on the NYtimes run out fast… I miss the good ole days when it use to be free. Come on, I am a poor med-student, at least give me a 5 finger discount.
EDIT (Jan 4th, 2012):
The Chinese Prime Minister, Hu Jin Tao, published a paper bashing Western culture and its adverse influence on the Chinese people. Well, I gotta say, a lot of what we have are socially detrimental (point in case: anything TLC has on), but how will suppressing the media help with spreading your propaganda among young, modernized, and entitled Chinese professionals who are outspoken and self-sustaining? There’s so much I want to say, but darn it, I got to go study the coronary circulation. But here’s a hint Mr. Hu, you can actually learn from Fox news. (They know how to do brainwashing, AND make it entertaining.)