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First Episode 15: 北京人在纽约


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

25th May: 北京人在纽约 - Jiang Wen stars in a tale of Chinese emigrants making their way in New York

Youku - Emule

This is a really nice show I think. We get to meet new arrivals in New York, 王启明 and wife 郭燕, following them from an incomprehensible airport to a dingy basement, picking up debts and scaring off good Samaritans on the way. I'm sure plenty of us on here related to 王启明's communication issues through the show.

We also get to meet a few supporting characters - the 无情无义 restaurant boss, the evil sweatshop owner (who is that guy, I'm sure I've seen him elsewhere.)

I'm quite tempted to watch more of this, I'm keen to see how our friends make out. I think I've watched a few episodes before but didn't get very far, possibly as at the time the lack of subtitles was more of a hindrance. This time I'd say it's pretty easy to understand - the language is all fairly standard and it isn't delivered very quickly.



Edited by renzhe
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I watched all of this series way back when it was first mentioned on the forums and found it overall quite interesting, although in some places the story seems to jump around a bit and major plot points seem to just happen out of thin air. One of the final scenes (perhaps the final one? I forget) is quite interesting, as everything has come full-circle and you have 王启明 picking up a friend from the airport and basically dumping him in the same place he was dumped in all those years ago.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This was really interesting.

Unlike any other shows we've watched (even 好想好想谈恋爱), this actually doesn't feel like a Chinese show. It feels like an 80s American show with Chinese actors. This is not necessarily good, or bad, only interesting, and it gives the show a specific feel.

Roddy is right, the culture shock of the first episode will resonate with many posters here, and the leading couple evoke sympathy. I found the first episode interesting, and it has a nice, melancholic feel to it.

The lack of subtitles will scare some people off, but the language is quite easy to follow.

EDIT: Since we'd like to get some discussion going in here, what exactly did he say to the restaurant owner that offended her? I gathered that he didn't quite realise she was the boss, and didn't show the necessary respect, but didn't quite catch the exact meaning.

Edited by renzhe
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Which part are you talking about? There are a few parts that cause him to offend her :mrgreen:

At the beginning when they're talking, she doesn't realise he's just there to 打工, and she asks him what he thinks of the restaurant, and he says overall it's quite good, but he doesn't think much of the music. Specifically, he says:


Which causes her to get a bit upset, so she ends the conversation and goes to leave.

Then afterwards, when he realises she's in charge, and she realises he's there to 打工, they're talking, and she asks him what kind of work he expects to do, and after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing where he says of course he's not there to play the cello, he says


to which she replies:


Then there's a bit more to-ing and fro-ing and then they have the following exchange:

Wang: 这么说,您是不想要我?

Boss: 我的意思是说,如果你还可以唱两句的话,我真的可以考虑

(all the restaurant staff laugh)

Wang: 您贵性

Boss: 我叫阿春

Wang: (angrily) 你还知道你叫什么!(slams hand on bar and walks out).

Then she calls him back, because he hasn't yet paid for the beer.

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  • 1 year later...

Shows without subtitles kick my butt, so this one was no different. It seemed quality enough, but it rubs me the wrong way when a show just doesn't feel Chinese, like this and 好想好想谈恋爱. All the same, I'd like to pick this one back up when lack of subtitles isn't such a hinderance. I am curious to see how much of a jerk the fedora wearing fella turns out to be. I just pray that Wang gets a haircut at some point, as I find his hair in his face pretty infuriating.

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