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First Episode 16: 金婚


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

28th May:金婚 - 50 years of a Chinese marriage. Although you only get one year in the first episode

Youku - Emule

Summary & Vocabulary

So, we get to meet our two main characters, who get off to a predictably sticky start, but determined heart wins the fair maid and we end up with a somewhat awkward wedding night scene.

All in all I thought it was ok - fairly lightweight and entertaining. I can't see me watching this any further, but the quick tour of Chinese history in soap opera format might suit some.

I've got to say though, no matter how good an actress Jiang Wenli is or isn't, her 'twisting pigtails and smiling coyly over the shoulder' days are surely behind her. I can see her coming into her own in the later years, but some of the scenes in this just made me cringe.



Edited by renzhe
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Haven't seen the first episode, but I did watch several episodes of this a few months ago when it seemed to be playing on every station. Seemed well made and easy to jump in and out of, but not really my thing.

It's pretty funny in parts. The episode where the mother-in-law from Sichuan comes to stay with them had a lot of laugh-out-loud moments.

The husband also looked way too old during the early episodes. Guess there's not much you can do about that when 50-year-olds play teenagers/20-somethings.

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I watched. And this first episodes project is a great idea! I need to work on my listening as I often don't understand things said outside the classroom.

I got a fair amount of the dialogue, but didn't really follow what husband said to wife outside at the dance. That part seemed crucial to the plot, maybe I'll watch again and read the subtitles slowly.

I bet that "letter of guarantees" comes up in future episodes :mrgreen:

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Yep, it pops up in a couple of future episodes. I especially liked the later episodes of this series when the characters are all older. Although if you hadn't watched the earlier episodes, it probably wouldn't be as good.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've just watched the first episode, and found it quite good.

As people have commented already, the leading couple is absolutely unconvincing as a youthful couple, and this kind of hurts the episode. I'm sure it gets much better in the later episodes, as both of them are good actors. It's just that they don't look like teenagers and have probably forgotten what teenagers are like in the first place.

But the show was nice. I liked the 50's post-revolutionary atmosphere, and the scene when her family pays a visit to her future hubby (nobody expects the Spanish inquisition!) is pure genius. It's worth watching for that scene alone.

The language was lower intermediate, very easy to follow most of the time (though the main character has a noticable Sichuan accent).

I don't usually go for love/marriage drama thing, and I found "Empty Mirror" better when it comes to genuine atmosphere, so I don't think I'll keep watching this, but if you like romance, this show is not bad at all.


A girl called 梅梅 breaks into a wedding party of her former boyfriend 庄师傅 and creates a scene. She is dragged out by her friends after an older teacher 孙师傅 interferes, and 佟志 (庄师傅's friend) makes a snide remark about her, noting that the newlyweds had been engaged for 12 years. Her cousin, 文丽 berates him for supporting feudal arranged marriage and tells him what Engels said about such marriage.

Back at home, she discusses the event with her mother and sisters. The mother doesn't care much for modern relationships. A sister has arranged for her to meet a potential mate. 文丽 is not thrilled, but will go and meet him. The guy turns out to be none other than 佟志. She tries to leave, but he insists on talking to her, and explains that the whole village had known about the engagement, and that both would have a terrible life if they didn't marry because of the pressure. She insists that he shouldn't have cheated 梅梅 by not telling her and leaves, ridiculing his accent in the process.

Back at home, he discusses with 庄师傅, clearly upset. 庄 says he shouldn't worry about arguing with little girls, but for him, it's a matter of honour. So he comes to visit her at the school where she works to tell her she was wrong about him. He is not very successful, so he comes again the next day, to prove he is a good person, and he brings certificates to prove it (in front of her colleagues), but even that isn't proof enough for her.

Later, 佟志 attends a ball and his friend 庄 butts in, trying to dance with 梅梅, but 佟志 stops him and takes him out to lecture him. 梅梅 protests that they are just friends, but he berates her too, for dancing with a married man. She insists it's none of his business and they storm out. 佟志 and 文丽 are left alone and he explains that his friend is not a bad man and that he loves 梅梅, but the former society still affects people's actions, and follows this up with a quote from a 巴金 story, which impresses her and wins him a dance.

Their relationship takes off from there and he asks her to marry him. Later, she visits him in his dorm room, he lies about smoking and they chat about meeting her parents -- she expects her mother to be annoying. Then her parents storm in to see who this man is in a hilarious scene which has to be seen so I won't describe it. Then they leave for consultation, but he seems to leave a decent impression after a lousy start.

Later, she defends him in front of her parents, who say he looks old. She assures that he won't have temper issues with her, but the sister comes up with the idea that he should provide this guarantee in writing. She has some trouble convincing him of this concept, but he agrees. Hilarity ensues.

Before the wedding, mother gives her some sexual education, quite unsuccessfully. The rest is quite easy to understand.


洞房 dòng fáng - I'm assuming this is the dorm room

流氓 liú máng - no-good / hoodlum

闹 nào - to make noise / to disturb

新房 xīn fáng - brand new house / bridal chamber

婚礼 hūn lǐ - wedding ceremony

急躁 jí zào - irritable / irascible

跟上 gēn shàng - to catch up with / to keep pace with

发言权 fā yán quán - the right of speech

恩格斯 Ēn gé sī - Friedrich Engels (1820-1895)

道德 dào dé - virtue / morality

晓得 xiǎo de - to know

封建 fēng jiàn - feudal

理论 lǐ lùn - theory

抹黑 mǒ hēi - discredit someone / ruin someone's reputation

甭 béng - need not / (contraction of 不 and 用)

往前 wǎng qián - to move forwards

凑 còu - assemble / put together

安分 ān fèn - not going beyond one's bounds / to abide by the law

不见得 bù jiàn de - not necessarily / not likely


物色 wù sè - to look for / to seek

知识分子 zhī shi fèn zǐ - intellectual / intelligentsia

操心 cāo xīn - to worry about

瞎 xiā - blind / blindly

主任 zhǔ rèn - director / head

馊 sōu - rancid / soured (as food)

老鼠 lǎo shǔ - rat / mouse

闺女 guī nǚ - maiden / unmarried woman / daughter

技术员 jì shù yuán - technician

子弟 zǐ dì - child / the younger generation

成见 chéng jiàn - preconceived idea / bias / prejudice

价值 jià zhí - value / worth

阻止 zǔ zhǐ - to prevent / to block

背叛 bèi pàn - betray / forsake

强词夺理 qiáng cí duó lǐ - powerful words devoid of sense (成语 saw); to argue irrationally

欺骗 qī piàn - to deceive / to cheat

麻木 má mù - numb

捋 lǚ - stroke (beard) -- but I think here it means to roll (the tongue)

正经 zhèng jīng - decent / honorable

体面 tǐ miàn - dignity / face

评价 píng jià - to evaluate / to assess

吵架 chǎo jià - to quarrel / to have a row

陈述 chén shù - an assertion / to declare / to state

逗人 dòu rén - amusing / funny / entertaining

称号 chēng hào - name / term of address / title

立场 lì chǎng - position / standpoint

万恶的旧社会 the terrible society of the past

苏联 Sū lián - Soviet Union

川音 chuān yīn - Sichuan accent

丈母娘 zhàng mǔ niáng - mother-in-law

正义 zhèng yì - justice / righteous / righteousness

迷魂 mí hún - to betwitch / to enchant

Edited by renzhe
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  • 2 months later...

Bump for the vocab list in post #5.

I had forgotten how easy this show is to understand. It's a really good recommendation for people looking to start watching things, even though some of the words in that vocab list look scary, none of them are important to follow the basic plot, and the episode is entertaining enough.

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  • 1 year later...

I think it refers to the room for the newlyweds. "Bridal chamber" is the translation I've found.

In the beginning, 文丽 storms into the building looking for the 洞房, I don't think she was trying to catch them in flagranti :)

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A really, really great production overall. It was funny, dramatic and very moving at times as well. Some adults seem to find it quite weird that I actually enjoyed watching this though. According to them, its context of mainly post-Communist China shouldn't interest a 90 后 like me, and they also thought that I was more into Korean and Japanese dramas. . :conf

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