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First Episode 66: 蜗居 Dwelling Narrowness


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No official english subtitle. You can buy the DVD on yesasia.com. We've strated translating on viikii, if you look to the previous messages, you'll find the links.

But right now, viikii doesn't work with myspace anymore, hence you can't watch the video. You can wait until it accepts tudou videos, then you'll be able to watch the episodes on viikii.

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I finished this the other day and thought it was very enjoyable. Much better than 奋斗, which is the most directly comparable series I've seen. I've heard people say it and 潜伏 were the best series of 2009 and while it is not as good as 潜伏 as a series, the way it deals with the most pressing modern issues definitely adds something.

In regards to 小贝, the way he acts towards 海藻 is really really corny and I know he's trying to be romantic or whatever, but it really puts me off and sometimes I even get goosebumps. I would prefer it if he acted a little more normal.

Talking of acting a little more normal, 小贝 and 海藻 live together, they sleep in the same bed, they message each other all day, they plan to get married. They've both graduated from uni and have jobs. But they never have sex. Seems a bit unhealthy to me. Whenever I read about this show, its always about how everyone but particularly 海藻 is morally degenerate, selling out her values and sacrificing her happiness for an apartment. Having just finished this though, I'm not sure how immoral 海藻 was, she only slept with one man through the series and 小贝 found another girl no problem.

I also thought it was great the way they made 宋思明 as likeable as they possibly could, given the constraints of the plot.

See post #5. It's still available on Sohu.

Careful with this, what Sohu has is the 33 episode censored version. Watch the full 35 episode version on Tudou or Youku instead.

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Perhaps I missed some important detail, but 小贝 and 海藻 did sleep with each other.

The car incident misled 宋思明 into believing the opposite, but that was just his impression.

Again, perhaps I missed some important detail.

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Perhaps I missed some important detail, but 小贝 and 海藻 did sleep with each other. The car incident misled 宋思明 into believing the opposite, but that was just his impression.

Hmm ... this seems to be quite important! It would put a completely different light on 海藻's character if she was having sex with 小贝 as well (rather than just "sleeping with" him).

I've transcribed the conversation about 海藻's virginity (in episode 29). Let me know if you disagree with my rough translation or you think she is leading him on. Is it expressly stated elsewhere that 海藻 and 小贝 had sex?

(WARNING - this conversation is very yellow, very violent)

海藻: 像你这样的人肯定永远都理解不了什么是柏拉图式的爱情。(Someone like you definitely has no chance of ever understanding platonic love.)

宋思明: 我是不能理解你和小贝住在一起了还柏拉图呢。你说你不懂事吧,难道小贝,他也不开窃啊?(What I don't understand is how you and Xiao Bei could live together and still have a platonic relationship. You say you don't understand the facts of life, but surely Xiao Bei did?)

海藻: 你怎么知道我们两个就是柏拉图啊?(How do you know the two of us had a platonic relationship?)

宋思明: 我当然知道。(Of course I know.)

海藻: 我一直没想明白你哪儿来的自信啊。难道我就非得得等你呀。没有别的男人要我了,我就那么难看?(I really don't want to think about where your self-confidence is coming from! So I couldn't do anything but wait for you because no other man would want me, am I that ugly!)

宋思明: 你守不住秘密。那天你的血流在了我汽车座椅上我很心疼。(You can't keep it secret. When I saw your blood on my car seat, my heart went out to you.)

海藻: 那不是,不是单单为了等你,你别臭美啦。(No, no, I wasn't just sitting around pining for you, don't be so smug.)

宋思明: 我知道我不过是凑巧闯了进来罢,我要对你负责。(I was lucky enough to sleep with you and I want to take responsibility for you.)

海藻: 谁要你负责了?自然会有人负责的。(Who wants you to take responsibility for them? Of course I can manage for myself.)

宋思明: 你跟着我呢,叫从一而忠,别人对你负责,那叫红杏出墙,性质不一样。(Because you lost your virginity to me, I feel powerful feelings for you. When you become a woman, this is called "the red apricot peeks above the wall". It is something that is very important for every woman no matter who they are.)

红杏出墙。你觉得很美的一个画面啊,灰砖尽头一点红。(Red apricot peeks above the wall! You put it so poetically! Right of the tip of the dull grey bricks, there is a spark of red!)

(宋思明笑了/Song Siming laughs)

海藻: 你为什么要用那种藐视的口吻来形容?(Why do you put it so jokingly?)

宋思明: 那女人对出墙的向往就像每一个男人渴望拥有一名处女,是无法抑制的念头。(A woman yearns to lose her virginity the same way that every man wants to possess a virgin. This is a primal urge that cannot be denied.)

海藻: 我觉得这样说来,你算是占了好多社会资源,凭什么你一个人拥有有两个,好多人一个都没有呢。(If you put it like that, you've set out to consume more than your fair share of society's resources! You've slept with two virgins, and so many men haven't even slept with one.)

宋思明: 没有。我只拥有你一个。(No. You are the only virgin I've slept with.)

海藻: 你太太不是吗?(What, wasn't your wife a virgin?)

宋思明: 不会聊天。(We won't discuss this.)

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I don't know where exactly it was discussed again, in some later scene.

It was never clearly stated, but it was implied from the context. On the first night, she said to 小贝 that she had a period (and that was why she had locked herself in the bathroom). It could have been an excuse to hide from him, but it could also be the explanation for the blood in the car.

It also explains why she was surprised that 宋思明 thought that she was a virgin later. She basically used this to increase her "market value". 宋思明 had no idea, as he had never slept with a virgin before. She basically had a rather business-like attitude about the whole thing.

Of course, this is also speculation, but I think it's rather improbable that she was "saving herself for marriage" only to run off with a fat tycoon.

Edited by renzhe
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Watched a bit of this over the weekend (been spending a lot of time on various transport tools) and am pretty impressed. Am up to episode 6 and while it's not something I'd call fun, it's very well done and the characters are all entirely believable. The only thing that grates are the occasional voice-overs - it might actually be better if they were more frequent, as they seem to pop out of nowhere.

Is this the best one we've seen for a realistic, warts-and-all view of urban China? You've got work, love, play, different classes and types of people. Suppose we're missing a couple of 民工 though . . .

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I can see it both ways, although when 海藻 asked 小贝 to borrow some money, he said he was going to go 洗白白, I assumed he was dropping a hint to 海藻 (for sex). This happened before the whole 宋思明 thing happened. I'm only on episode 12 so I haven't finished it and am not too sure what to think.

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I just watched epi 18 and think it's pretty clear now

On episode 18, around 38 minute mark, he answered 小贝's call and is asking her to leave him.

宋思明: 可是海藻,你是我的


海藻inner dialogue: 这是哪儿跟哪儿啊, 我什么时候第一次跟你了呀

So I'd say it's pretty clear that 宋思明 had it all wrong, and she played it to her advantage after episode 18, but I haven't finished yet, got started pretty late compared to you guys!

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I just watched epi 18 and think it's pretty clear now

Also after 海藻 gets the money from 宋思明 and sleeps with him for the first time in episode 12 or so, you hear her thinking "so much money for sleeping with someone once, think of the fortune I've missed out on by doing it with 小贝 for free all this time". There are a couple of other things like that as well. The book apparently explicitly confirms that 海藻 and 小贝 slept together. Although, if you are interested in the gory details, apparently the book says that she never had an orgasm with 小贝 but consistently did with 宋思明.

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The whole show finally makes sense, can't believe they left such an important detail out!

Important it may be, it would be highly inappropriate to include that in a television series that's going to be aired for the whole nation to see, especially in a more conservative country like China. :nono

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  • 2 weeks later...

While I finished Dwelling Narrowness quite awhile ago, I was randomly going through some youtube videos and found the foreigner's blog. I can't remember his name in the tv show though. I think it was Mark? I don't know if anyone is interested but I figured I'd put it up anyways.


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  • 2 months later...

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