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The Third First Episode: 武林外传, My Own Swordsman.


roddy
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A part of the Grand First Episode Project -- See this thread for more info.

9th April: 武林外传. A motley crew of scoundrels and ne'er do wells accidentally open an inn, with hilarious consequences. No really, it's actually funny.

 - Youku

Being a part of the Great First Episode project, and see also further discussion on this show.



Of the three shows we've covered so far, this is by far and away going to be the hardest to follow. Not only is there a significant number of more classical-type phrases and chengyu, there are sudden flips into modern vocabulary, throwaway references to modern culture, and it's all delivered at a breakneck pace which often has me desperately peering at the subtitles to try and figure out what I just heard.

This first episode (there are 80 in total) starts with all but one of the staff of the 同福客栈 in place. A few episodes down the line we get a flashback that explains how they all ended up there, but for this one we get to see how Guo Furong goes from being a benevolent, if misguided, outlaw to a reluctant dogsbody at the inn.

Edit: Adding in a transcript. See here for the complete set of scripts.

武林外传1.txt

Wordlist and viewing guide.doc

2445_thumb.attach

武林外传1_utf8.txt

Edited by roddy
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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

Wow, this was really challenging. I paused it very frequently to read the subtitles and look up the words I didn't know. Looking at my notes, I have about 33 words and expressions I didn't recognize in the first 8 minutes. That's a new record for me.

I'm gonna venture a guess though that the main reason it's challenging is because I don't know the historical jargon. Whenever I start reading or watching new material or genres, there's always a period where I spend half my time looking up new words, but after I've memorized a base vocabulary in it things start getting much easier. I'll keep on watching this, thanks for sharing.

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  • 11 months later...
I believe you that it's good, but this was too advanced for me. I was totally unable to follow. I'll revisit it in a year or so and see how I do.

Well? C'mon . . .

I also need to finish that viewing guide I was working on - the 'so far' version is attached to the first post.

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OK, OK....

Damn, it's still difficult.

I could follow much better though, and Roddy's viewing guide is extremely helpful, everyone should give it a shot.

I could follow by reading the subtitles, but I clearly didn't get all the jokes. The reason why I could follow is that I've finished 射雕 and 家 and 春 in the meantime, so I got a lot of cultural context that I'd have missed otherwise. It's quite a funny show in any case, especially if you can follow the wuxia jokes. But the amount of diverse cultural know-how you need for this one is remarkable.

For example, there is a drinking game where each person must make up a verse of a poem starting with the same character the previous person ended on. Usually, the loser gets to drink, here the loser gets to die first. In case anyone was wondering what they were reciting.

Also, the whole wuxia jargon, the blocking of pressure points and all that would be very difficult to follow if you haven't seen some wuxia shows and read a wuxia novel. I won't lie and say that I can follow this easily now, but at least I got to a point where it's watchable.

Sad news is that the verycd link is down, and I can't find the same version of the show on verycd . The good news is that there is a Taiwanese edition available instead, using traditional characters, which will be helpful for some folks, but a bit too much for me at this time -- this is difficult to follow in simplified already.

EDIT: It's fixed, it has simplified subtitles again.

Edited by renzhe
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Ok, I've finished off that viewing guide and attached the document to the first post. It's a bit patchy though, and I won't necessarily have spotted all the stuff that might be problematic.

Damn, it's still difficult.

Next year, next year . . .:twisted:

It probably is one of the most, if not the most, challenging of all the shows we've looked at, for the reasons given above. However it's also easily one of the best for my money, and watching the first episode yet again to write up that guide I still found myself smiling at the sheer roller-coaster exuberance of the whole thing. And the best thing is that it's entirely possible there are STILL jokes I'm missing. I'll get 'em next year.

The online link in the first post wasn't working, will edit in a functional one.

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I third that. I have a DVD set of this comedy series. It's the best TV series in recent years. I like 刑捕头 most. He doesn't appear very often. I really wish he does!

Equally hilarious shows in my memory long long ago were 我爱我家 and 编辑部的故事.

Some other works from the team of 武林外传 include 炊事班的故事. It looks almost like a friend re-union, but in the army this time. It's fun too but not as good as 武林外传.

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  • 2 months later...

Man. I'm pretty sure that I'd like this show if I understood it, but as is, it was just a bunch of jerks at an Inn. I think I ended up watching this and 我爱我家 back-to-back. Talk about humbling. If nothing else, I guess it's fun to have these shows that blow you away, so that someday I can return and rain down my upper-intermediate-to-advanced judgement upon them.

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  • 1 month later...

OMG, funniest television series ever!!!! :clap I know this sounds really sad, but sometimes I literally have to pause the DVD and take time to laugh at some really funny scene or line so I don't miss a whole chunk of the episode from laughing.

The setting's really simple and I don't think it cost that much money to produce this TV series, but the fine acting and humorous storylines more than made up for its shortcomings in that department.

小六 and 郭芙蓉 are absolutely hilarious!:D

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...

One year later, and I've finally started watching this show properly. Two years ago, I didn't understand a thing. A year ago, it was a struggle, with each subtitle line taking careful reading and a dictionary. Now I can mostly follow it in real-time while glancing at the subtitles for help.

I'm almost certainly missing many of the jokes, but I can understand what's going on, catch some of the wuxia references, and enjoy the show. And it's a funny show.

姚晨 did a good job in 潜伏 (despite general skepticism before the show aired), but she was born to play 郭芙蓉. She's simply perfect for the role, and it wouldn't work with any other actress. Officer 邢 is also awesome.

This is a good show for expanding vocabulary too, though most of it is admittedly historical jargon.

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  • 9 months later...

OK, I've finally finished all of this!

It's really really good, and I really recommend it to everyone who can follow the language and knows enough about Chinese culture and wuxia to be able to follow this. It looks like a show where a bunch of talented people were simply left to do what they think is right, on a minimal budget, and it paid off. It is really funny, and really Chinese at the same time. It is untranslatable.

The show is remarkably consistent. They reference things from 50 episodes earlier, or hint at things which will only happen 30 episodes later, and it all fits together in a way that makes it obvious that all details about all the characters were planned well in advance. Actually, these cross-references make for the funniest jokes, so I recommend watching them in order, from the first to the last.

My favourite characters were 小郭 and 无双 , they are like Yin and Yang. Also 老白, as he is the only true 武林 hero among the lot.

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Well done.

The post about this movie sparked my interest in this show again. It is still tough for me, but I plan to watch it throughout this year. I just re-watched episode one yesterday and definitely enjoyed it more than the first time around now that my Chinese is better (and I don't think it hurt that I read a Gu Long novel recently).

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