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Chinese Dating Show 非诚勿扰


feihong
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I have recently become a fan of 非诚勿扰, the dating show where poor Chinese guys get the crap rejected out of them by 24 attractive ladies.

I find this show utterly hilarious. I'm not even a fan of American dating shows at all, and I'm pretty sure Chinese dating shows are generally just as bad (just to be sure, I did take a brief look at some other Chinese dating shows, and, yup, they do suck). So why is this show so much fun? I think the producers place most of the emphasis on clever casting choices, and dating effectiveness ranks very low on their list of priorities (it's unusual to see more than one 牵手成功 in any given episode). If a chubby weird-looking guy comes on the stage, you can be pretty certain he's either funny or has an interesting story to tell, even if he has no chance of walking away with a girl. I haven't seen very many episodes yet, but there haven't been any repeats in terms of the occupations of the guys who come on the show.

I also think the host, 孟非, is quite funny and has good chemistry with the two commentators.

So, uh, express your love for this show in the comments, or suggest that there's a better reality show on Chinese television. Because I don't believe there is.

Update: Alternatively, specify which female contestant is your favorite. Since they keep coming back to the show if they don't 牵手成功, you do start to get a sense of their personalities after several episodes. My favorite is the dance instructor, because her non sequiturs are so perfectly delivered.

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I love this show as well -- was just thinking about posting a thread about it the other day. It's totally addictive.

I did cry the other day when the Korean guy picked up 刘婷婷 after she's been standing there for soo many episodes -- very touching.

There are *a lot* of foreigners on this show. I would even consider applying myself had it not been because I'm in a relationship... :rolleyes: Have there been any white girls yet?

I'm assuming you're talking about 15号? I keep asking myself if she's real or not. Could anyone really be like that?

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Ah, no spoilers! I haven't watched the latest episode yet! Darn, an unintended side effect of this thread...

Yes, no. 15, 王茜, is the one I'm talking about. It would not surprise me to learn that she's actually a performance artist! I do like how she talks so slowly, though, it's always very easy to understand what she's saying. I bet 孟非 will be quite sad to see her leave, though, he plays off her ramblings quite nicely.

Yes, I have seen a white girl on the show, although it was an older episode from February. A girl from Ukraine, if I'm not mistaken (I remember thinking "man that Chinese girl got some really extreme plastic surgery... wait a minute"). I don't think she was able to 牵手成功, but who knows, maybe she met a nice Chinese man in real life...

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Have to admit I also used to watch a lot of 非诚勿扰!

There was a girl (American I think) that went with the 男嘉宾. I'm pretty sure they got the trip to Hawaii as well.

One of my favorites was a girl from 四川, her Mandarin was terrible and she didn't come across as the sharpest tool in the shed. I think she was playing it up (pretty sure all the girls on there do), very funny though.

There is another similar show called 我们约会吧 but it's not as racy.

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非诚勿扰 used to have it's more racy elements - nothing sexual naturally, but it gained a reputation for having no shortage of gold diggers. For example, if the man had not already said what his salary was, it would be one of the first questions asked, and should it be a little low (i.e. under about 10,000) then he should expect replies such as "你觉得那能够养我吗?"/Do you think that's enough to 'raise' ('support') me?" And then there was the girl who retorted a man's offer to ride his bike together with "I'd rather cry in a BMW than laugh on the backseat of a bicycle." She was heavily criticised by many netizens, and left the show soon after.

I can't find the article now, but last year an article appeared on China Daily (or Xinhua?), mentioning that the government would no longer allow this 'immoral' behaviour to continue on shows such as 非诚勿扰, citing the BMW/bike incident, and that TV stations airing such programs would have to take responsibility to focus on more romantic and/or moving stories, and to discourage gold-digging or whatever behaviour fitted their definition of immoral. Thanks, nanny government.

So now the men still get torn apart by the 24 women, but now you tend to get stories forced to seem moving. One time when a perfectly composed girl got to the selection part by the man, she suddenly started talking about how her ex-boyfriend had just died of cancer, how his dying wish was for her to just be happy and to join this show in order to find the man to make her happy, and that she believed should her boyfriend be able to see the man now, he'd always be smiling. She broke down crying too. Now, I apologise sincerely if that's true, but honestly, neither I nor my girlfriend bought it. It didn't look or sound particularly sincere, seemed like a fix, and wasn't the first time the producers seemed to be filling in their "感人" quota for the night.

That being said, the shows are still good to watch - last time a man got rightfully jumped on by all the women after he remarked "I don't mind how many children you push out, just as long as you provide me a son". His undoing was frankly hilarious.

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I love Chinese dating shows like this! I don't even remember the names of all of them because there's atleast one show every night. I like watching them because it's quite entertaining and the langauge they use it's not that hard. I don't understand everything, but I can follow it and enjoy it. Good practice for listening!

I guess I managed to get my HSK listening from 52 to 66 points just by watching these dating shows ;)

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Thanks for the tip! I personally like to watch people try and get a job on 职来职往. The vocabulary falls into the category of work/business/academic but personally I like it because you get to see how much money people actually might make when they're young and straight out of college, as well as the types of activities people do in their spare time and see some people get pummeled by the judges/company bosses. Of course it's so sad when someone says they majored in English and/or studied 3+ years in a native English-speaking country and they can't provide even one full sentence in English to the foreign boss' question to introduce themselves in English. I know my Chinese is still nowhere near fluent even after 3-4 years of studying (or living) in China, but I know I could introduce myself in Chinese on a game show...

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Thanks for the recommendation. I have never heard about 职来职往 before (this show has only been running for about half a year as I have just learned) and I decided to give it a try today... and I have already spent about 3 hours watching it :blink: (two full episodes with occasional pausing for jotting down words).

我会继续关注这个节目……

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@joshuawbb:

Thanks for pointing out the seedy history of the show. I only started watching it last month, so I had no idea. However, I always assumed there was some gold-digging going on, just not in such an obvious way. One thing I've noticed, though, is that the male commentator, 乐嘉, is very quick to criticize shallowness among the contestants. For example, there was one girl who said it would be very 丢人 if her boyfriend stopped to dispose of someone else's dog poop if they were walking together in the park. 乐嘉 and some of the other female contestants tore her to shreds. But I wonder if he ever criticized female contestants for blatant gold-digging?

I've also noticed at least one contestant being rejected because he wanted 裸婚. On the other hand, one contestant was rejected because he couldn't accept 裸婚 (by Ms. Dance Instructor, of all people).

I don't think I mind the artifice of the show because I think it's needed to keep things from getting too stale. After all, it's a pretty rigid formula.

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If you like reality style shows you might also want to check out CCTV 12 (社会与法) In the evenings they often have reenactments of true stories about the darker side of this harmonious sociey. They cover some quite heavy stuff - organ harvesting(dude was to sell a kidney for 30,000RMB, tried to back out but they wouldn't let him), murders, love affairs, drugs etc. A welcome relief from the countless sappy romances and war themed programs that seem to be on all the time.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been watching 非城勿扰 on and off for a little while, and while I was in China I watched a few episodes of 我们约会吧. I like them both but I prefer FCWR. I was actually in China at the time of that BMW statement, and I have seen some of the gold diggers that get on that show. I also enjoy the chemistry between the three "hosts", and frankly it's because of those three that I prefer to watch that show over 我们约会吧. It is interesting that I enjoy this show, because I can't stand similar American TV shows as well.

As for 15号, she annoys the ever-loving daylights out of me. Either she's an expert actress, or she really is exactly the way she presents herself. Either way, she should cut it out and act like a normal person.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds some guilty pleasure in this show!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I watched a little bit of the spinoff show 不见不散. It's hosted by the bald commentator who sits on the side, 乐嘉. If you like his psychological analysis than you'll love this show. I'm not sure why but this show seems to be harder to understand. Not only does 乐嘉 talk faster than 孟非, everyone else seems to talk faster as well (maybe this is because no one is on a stage and they just talk more naturally).

The format is a bit different: A single guy, usually someone rejected on 非城勿扰, chooses two girls to date (there's a pool of 3-7 girls to choose from). While he goes on the date 乐嘉 listens in and gives his insight on how the date is going. Afterwards he advises the guy on his mistakes. At the end, if one of the girls likes him then he gets to go on more dates with her. Technically this is a real "dating show" since you get to watch people go on actual dates. I've only watched a single episode so I haven't formed much of an opinion on this show yet. The guy on the episode I watched was kind of a douchebag and naturally did not get any girl to date him.

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NYT article on going on a dating show from a 老外's perspective : http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/arts/television/chinese-tv-dating-shows-day-day-up.html?

Looking for a Date as China Looks On

By ADAM CENTURY

CHANGSHA, China

THE object of my affection was within reach. Yu Wanlin, a former winner of the Miss Chongqing beauty pageant, stood across from me on the set of “Day Day Up,” a Chinese dating show with more than 100 million viewers. She blushed when our eyes locked, accepted my invitation to dance goofily onstage and giggled promisingly when I inquired about Chongqing’s culinary treats.

Then, in a comparison that left me speechless, she told me I bore a striking resemblance to Jesus. I had close-cropped hair and little more than a 5 o’clock shadow. Despite Ms. Yu’s assurances that she had meant to flatter — “Jesus was in fact a very handsome man” — I could manage but a bewildered gaze in return. With an intimation of my impending mortification, I faced the camera head-on and plunged into the alternate universe of Chinese dating shows.

My embarrassing fate should not have come as a surprise. As a freelance writer who has lived on and off in Beijing for the past several years, I’ve watched Chinese dating shows develop a reputation for their intentionally humiliating formats and emphasis on materialism. In April 2010 a male suitor asked Ma Nuo, a contestant on the hit “If You Are the One,” whether she would be willing to ride on the back of his bicycle. She infamously replied, “I would rather cry in the back of a BMW.”

While Westerners may imagine Chinese television as a staid remnant of the Communist-controlled information system, the reality is that more than a decade of media commercialization has made television here — particularly provincial satellite channels with national audiences — provocative, even by Western standards.

Satellite outlets like Hunan TV, the creator of “Day Day Up” and the second-most-watched station in all of China, often face less stringent censorship regulations than China Central Television, known as CCTV, allowing the smaller, decentralized outlets to challenge CCTV for ratings supremacy.

Nowhere has this regulatory divide been more apparent than in the realm of dating shows, which populate the provincial channels but remain largely off limits for CCTV. “If You Are the One” has been at the forefront of the divisive new genre. In that show 24 women are presented with a succession of handsome men. The bachelors then undergo an intrusive and ego-deflating round of questioning in which bank statements are often exhibited and salaries made public.

The show’s debut on Jiangsu TV last year prompted a number of imitators. The episode of “Day Day Up” that I appeared on last month featured seven foreign men trying their romantic luck with an equal number of stiletto-wearing Chinese women.

The show opened with a test of superficial impressions. Before we even had a chance to talk with the objects of our affection, we had to choose our favorite based on curves and smile alone and present her with a bouquet of roses. Empty-handed, the least popular woman defensively declared, “Foreign men are not my vegetables,” implying that she intended to stick to a strictly domestic diet in the future.

Beneath the glossy veneer of a dating show the program felt more like a clichéd confrontation between Chinese and foreign cultures. The male wooers were given placards typecasting our identities: I was a “shining American,” whatever that meant; the South Korean was the “stay-at-home introvert”; and the British contestant was obviously the “gentleman.” More difficult to label were the Ukrainian kung fu master and the Syrian gynecology student who moonlighted as a male model in Beijing. We spanned seven countries and four continents, an array meant to underscore not diversity but the perceived incompatibility of foreign men and Chinese women.

“Foreigners are usually used on Chinese television in order to highlight China’s cultural discord with the outside world,” Miao Di, a professor of television arts at the China Communications University in Beijing, told me. “All shows use foreign guests occasionally as a fresh injection of entertainment.”

This subtext became much clearer after the show was edited. (On that score, at least, the Chinese producers are no different from their American counterparts, who are routinely accused of manipulating reality via editing.) When the hosts — reminiscent of Austin Powers in their capris and pinstriped shirts with sunflower-adorned lapels — asked me what type of woman I like, I carefully emphasized independent personality and literary taste. This was distilled into a crude “I like bigger, curvy women.” The post-production “Ahhh” from the crowd made my answer sound like a kind of revelation, as if all American men shared a predilection for the plus-sized.

Similarly, the interview with the Syrian contestant lasted roughly 20 minutes, but the post-production version was cut to about 30 seconds and focused solely on his religious polygamy. On the broadcast he’s shown half-jokingly asking a female contestant if she would be willing to become his fourth wife, the limit under Sharia law. “In China we have equality between men and women, so absolutely not,” the woman stiffly replied.

My nadir was still to come. In the finale, when the Korean and I both picked Miss Chongqing, Lucy, an American-born Chinese woman from Miami, was left dateless and dejected. Her puppylike entreaties tugged at my heartstrings, though, so I moved to her side, earning a relieved smile in return. That’s when she stonily rejected me, to the cackles of the audience.

Going into the show I knew that my chance of success was slim. In this consumerist crowd I had neither property nor a car to my name. And in a country that is 93 percent ethnically Han, outsiders remain something of a novelty whether we like it or not. Miss Chongqing has since befriended me on QQ, China’s largest instant messaging program. “I thought you were going to pick me,” she messaged recently. Perhaps there is hope yet.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I used to be obsessed with FCWR, and I thought it was pretty funny, but it got old pretty fast. After maybe 15 episodes I kinda got tired of it, not to mention it was hard to watch an episode without getting mad at someone.

I just watched that 职来职往 now. I think the host is kinda funny with those big ears. Im gonna have to check this out again

There was one girl on from a while, from 广州, man was she pretty. Maybe a little to dark for most chinese, but I was still shocked she was not picked very much. I remember this one girl on it from Taiwan, ended up getting this this American. Damn, was she ugly, looked like a dead baby bird.

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  • 2 months later...

OK, I give in. This will by my listening practice for a while. It's hard to find more "real" and useful spoken everyday language than this. Since this is airing now, we can discuss things as they develop.

While Number 23 is the heart of the show, the recent surge in the number of suitors has been a bit too much. And am I the only one who found the whole "Antonio" thing outlandish? Even 乐嘉 seemed annoyed by the whole thing and just waiting for it to finish. That, and the recent clique around Number 23 who are all acting like classroom clowns all of the sudden makes me fear that this show might jump the shark very soon. Let's hope I'm wrong.

Number 12, everyone's favourite potential trophy, is annoying beyond words. I hope they marry her off soon, it's boring to see her picked over and over again. Although it's fun to watch all the egomaniacs go for her and fail.

Although most of this is obviously staged (please make all the corn jokes stop), it's far more entertaining than most comedy dramas. Loads of fun to watch, and great listening practice.

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