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Let's Watch: Addiction 上瘾, China's First/Last Gay Drama


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That's actually pretty common.

 

According to Teacher Luo herself, this is the first ever time she's done it. She then explains that this is  great honor for the students, and cue the clapping.

 

Can't help but think this is some kind of Chekov's Gun that will play out in later episodes. Then, I realize that this isn't Breaking Bad and should just enjoy this show for its exploitational merits.

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Episode Two of "Addicted" (watch online here)

 

Giving gifts make for better romance, and that's how the episode kicks off. Next door student Dong Na (maybe?) signals her interest in You Qi, and tries to enlist Yang Meng's help. Meng tells Na, and persuades Na to buy him a gift of toilet paper to get his attention. Meng regales Luoyin with this amusing sojourn on the way home from school, but Luoyin is in no mood for girls right now. Instead, he's still interested to find out who ripped out his homework...

 

...which happens to be Gu Hai, seen at home doing macho stuff like boxing training (which I personally do inbetween blog entries). Hai has kept the ripped out paper, which he uses to find out more about Luoyin by lovingly tracing over his immaculate handwriting (Hai has crappy handwriting, as seen from last episode).

 

But Hai's creepy stalker behavior isn't over yet. He follows Luoyin back to his humble Beijing hutong abode and peeps in on Luoyin's meager life where he must eat cooked rice steeped in water (not even zhou -- gross) and rags out his dad for having washed his last remaining underwear by mistake (in episode 1, his dad had thrown one of his three underwear into the drainage area). To this, Hai makes an apology for having ripped out Luoyin's homework by again giving gifts: a new pair of underwear and anti-diarrhea pills, the latter which is caused by wearing wet underwear.

 

Luoyin doesn't take to Hai's apology, but Hai is still able to exude his manliness. Hai asserts his "alpha male" persona by insisting his seat be changed to the strategic position right behind Hai, and refutes the gym teacher's claims that the class are a bunch of weaklings by performing 106 baby push-ups in like five minutes or something as the class counts with ever-increasing excitement.

 

But Hai is first and foremost a weird stalker (at this point, anyways). In his new position, Hai notices that Luoyin's school uniform is patched with black thread, making it stand out. When questioned, Luoyin says this is "cool", explaining that white cows are often colored with such patterning ("cool" in Chinese is "cow" 牛, or really 牛逼). Hai takes this as an invitation to make further "tears" in Luoyin's school uniform that he attempts to patch himself.

 

Stray dog observations:

 

  • This show has a tiny, tiny budget. The white Audi that Luoyin's mom arrives in is the same white Audi that Hai's father's Smithers comes to pick him up from school in (right down to the license plate)
  • Another episode, and yet still more mentions of "slapping" and "peeling". I had very few preconceptions coming into this. I had only assumed there would be lots of leaning on the wall behind the main character, but this seems like another trope.
  • I can't think of another character like Luoyin whose most defining character trait is that he is always sleeping. Ichibod Crane? The doormouse from Alice in Wonderland? Weekend at Bernie's?

 

Selected vocabulary:

 

姿色zi1se4 good looks (of a woman)
柿shi4 n persimmons
班草ban1cao3 the most handsomest boy in class
空档kong4dang4 free time, opening in one's schedule
闷骚men4sao4 "Man Show" meaning stoic, man of little words
順帶shun4dai4 incidentally, in passing
离家出走li2ji1chu1zou3 run away from home
窝囊废wo1nangfei4 (coll.) spineless coward, a wimp, a good-for-nothing
稍息shao4xi1 stand at ease
立正li4zheng4 attention! (order to troops)
领略ling3lve4 to apprec iate, to have a taste of
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Episode Three of "Addicted" (watch online here)

 

After defending the honor of his class last episode by performing a hundred push-ups to the gym teacher that called them a bunch of no-good badfellows, Gu Hai again saves the day. Hai subverts the alpha of the gym teacher by winning a chin-up competition that was brought up by a democratic consensus of the class, proving that democracy does work.

 

However, the pranking between the burgeoning lovebirds continues. While Hai was showing off his muscles, Luoyin took the opportunity to take Hai's school uniform to sew the sleeves together, turning the manly exhibition of a bare-armed Hai into an embarrassment when class begins. Later, Luoyin pranks Hai by locking him out of class, but the prank backfires when Hai rats Luoyin out to the school principal.

 

Complicating everything is Shi Hui, Luoyin's former girlfriend who calls him at all hours, robbing him of the sleep we see him taking during school hours. Luoyin clearly dumped Shi Hui, but Shi Hui isn't accepting that as the end because reasons. Although many of the shows woman characters are crying schemers, Auntie Zhou is the holdout, a woman Luoyin suggests his dad marries so he won't be alone.

 

The episode ends on a strange peace offering from Hai that is masqueraded as a "prank". After following Luoyin home and seeing Auntie Zhou's breakfast joint, Hai anonymously gives Luoyin a bag of food. However, Luoyin rejects the food once he finds out it's from Hai. Hai takes the moment to tease Luoyin about reimbursing him, a sore point since Luoyin is so poor that he only has three pairs of underwear (ep 02).

 

Things are slowly heating up. The tension between Luoyin and Hai is getting to be more enjoyable, but really the only fun thing is the "prank" Hai pulls by pushing You Qi so hard he slams into Luoyin in front. Such is strength.

 

Stray dog observations:

 

  • China's gender imbalance is way out of whack: out of 27 students, five are female.
  • Hai always seems to talk more intelligently, as seen through his use of chengyu. His handwriting still sucks though, as seen on the note the principal receives.
  • So do we ever find out what happened to Hai once he tried to climb up to the second floor? There's a big thud, a strong reaction from the classroom, but nothing. Hai just shows up again as if nothing happened.
  • When You Qi switches spots with Luoyin, he brings the toilet paper he received as a present in episode two with him.
  • Hai still hasn't stitched up the cuts he made in Luoyin's school uniform last episode. But it's cold, you know.

Random vocabulary

 

乐极生悲le4ji2sheng1bei1 extreme joy turns to sorrow (idiom); Don't celebrate too soon, things could still go wrong
专利zhuan1li4 n patent
借花献佛jie4hua1xian4fo2 to offer Buddha with borrowed flowers; plagiarism, to win favor or influence using sb else's property
零头ling2tou2 n remainder
 
The show's characters all have such strong BJ accents and idioms. Can't understand how 兴光 can come to mean "bareskinned", at least with arms.
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Episode 4 of "Addicted" (watch here online)

 

Synopsis: 

 

After three episodes of brooding and shenanigans, things at last get heated up between Luoyin and Hai with all the lip trembling and nostril flaring you can handle.

 

The episode kicks off with Yang Meng defending Hai as Luoyin complains about what a bully he is. Meng reasons that since it was such trouble to all his breakfast snacks by lining up at different vendors, this proves that Hai likes Luoying. Also, Meng notices that Hai stares at Luoyin. A lot.

 

Because Chinese television is not very good at being subtle, we're left to muse over these words. Because they're replayed for the audience's benefit just seconds later. As Luoyin replays Meng's words in his head, he turns around to look at Hai.... who is looking straight at him. But any insinuation that this is creepy gets quickly dispelled when the teacher asks for a student to sing a song to "lift their spirits". Of course, that means that Luoyin gets up to sing (after Hai pranks him again) that Lion King song (they got the rights to that? good job!)

 

However, the show is not without its subtler moments, at least not when dealing with an "ass-to-mouth" joke. After fielding another clingy call from his ex-girlfriend in which he again reiterates that "they're through", Luoyin has a funny moment with his dad. Luoyin has a mouth canker (from having too much hot qi in his body), and wants the medicine for it. When he tries to find it, all he can find is hemorrhoid cream. As it is, he did find it, meaning that all this time he's been putting hemorrhoid cream in his mouth.

 

The yuks continue the next day when Hai notices that the ever-sleeping Luoyin is able to pay attention to the teacher while taking his naps. With that in mind, Hai decides to prank Luoyin by making sure he sleeps... and doesn't wake up. Using his brute Alpha male attitude to bully the school nurse into giving his sleeping pills, Hai puts them into Luoyin's water bottle. And because Luoyin had taken cold medication that morning that have long passed their due date, Luoyin falls unconscious and can't be woken up.

 

Now that the prank has gone too far (or just right, depending on your perspective), Hai takes over the immediate care of the unconscious Luoyin. After an amusing bit where the school nurse flirts with You Qi, Hai himself presides over the vulnerable Luoyin after he wakes up.

 

But Hai isn't finished serving as Luoyin's protector. After scoring well on a test and establishing himself as the "smart one", Luoyin gets confronted by a bully. Due to some unspoken grievance. During class. While all the students are there. But the teacher is not. 

 

Basically, the bully threatens to tell the truth about Luoyin's mother, which everybody knows already (ep 2). But before he can, Hai punches the bully and threatens to break his leg, but gets taken away by the teacher and principal while the bully keeps bleeding in the hallway while nobody cares.

 

By all intents and purposes, the story is over: Hai should get kicked out of school for assaulting another student. And yet, he returns to encounter a Luoyin who has to reassess his entire world: Who is this guy that once pranked me, but not protects me? 

 

After slogging through three episodes, viewers are given the gold standard of gay-ploitational TV: we see Luoyin's trembling lips and droopy eyes, and Hai's cocksure raised eyebrow. Bravo, guys: I'm finally interested to see what happens next.

 

Stray dog observations:

  • Women characters continue to suck on the show. Shi Hui returns as a needy shrill, while the grandma is a nice extra who doesn't get any lines.
  • It's just a fantasy, but I can't see the rational behind having Hai give Luoyin the sleeping pills. They didn't even go that far on Jackass.
  • You know what's a more effective weapon than a knife or gun? A pointing finger. Raise your voice loud enough and you'll get anything you want.

Various Vocabulary:

 

搭理da1li v to acknowledge, to respond, to answer, to pay attention
沟gou1 n ditch, gutter, groove, gully
奋勇fen4yong3 dauntless, to summon up courage and determination
脚气jiao3qi4 athlete's foot
怂song3 terrified
 
And if anyone can help out, the following are some phrases that I couldn't understand. 
 
至于吗你
整幺蛾子

 

体虚瞌睡
 
After listening to so many women speak Chinese, it's great to listen to male voices speak, even though Chinese men tend to be such mumblers except when swearing.
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Episode Five of "Addicted" (watch online here)

 

Synopsis

 

Last episode ended with an absolute bang by clearly delineating the relationship between Luoyin and Hai as well as firmly establishing that the two are a couple. And yet, this episode squanders all that, getting rid of all the momentum that we just spent four shows slogging through.

 

Luoyin and Hai are now most definitely a couple. They have chuanr and beer together, they eat breakfast together, they ride bikes together, they go fishing together, they show up to class together just after You Qi notices Luoyin is changing the company he keeps. There's no space in this episode to process the change; the only times we see them alone is when Hai refuses his father's order to change school and gets financially cut off.

 

With the answer mostly settled in the "Will they or won't they" issue, the only lasting tension in the show to give any dramatic heft is the surly petulance of Luoyin. He's a dour dud who complains every time Hai teases him, which is the only way Hai expresses his affection. Maybe this is grade-A shipping, but its boring TV when this is the only thing they do. It gets to be Hai is the only fun thing to watch on screen.

 

And yet, there are lingering questions. After Luoyin gets drunk (the only way to engage truthful exposition in Chinese TV and movies), he expresses his regret over ex-girlfriend Shi Hui... and his yearning. As well, Luoyin is still dealing with his resentment towards his mother, a feeling that only exacerbates the bully calling him a "bastard" last episode (Honestly, what is up with that guy? It's never explained why he has such bad feelings towards Luoyin, aside from all that "bastard" business)

 

Not as much fun as last time, even if the show celebrates their budding romance with the iconic image of the two riding a bike.

 

Stray dog observations:

  • Inner monologue watch: (narration) "Doesn't he know I ordered for the two of us?"
  • Poor Michael Jordan: the former NBA star has his number emblazoned on Hai's backpack, but doesn't own the rights to his own name in China
  • I know it's not healthy, but whenever characters eat on Chinese shows, I want to eat it too. Chuanr with beer? That breakfast sandwich with the fake spam meat in the middle? I wish it was past midnight I was shivering on a street corner, waiting for my fake lamb meat skewers to finish cooking.
  • The whole "washing the blood out of the school uniform" bit was such a dud. This episode needed balance from the secondary characters.

Various vocabulary:

 

翻身fan1shen1 to turn over (when lying); fig. to free oneself, to bring about a change of fortune
贪图tan1tu2 to covet, to seek (riches, fame)
找茬zhao3cha2 to pick fault with, to spot the difference, to nitpick, to find complaint with
忍让ren3rang4 to exercise patience and to be accommodating
撂liao4 to put down, to leave behind
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Episode Six of "Addicted" (watch online here)

 

Synopsis 

 

As well go deeper down the rabbit hole, we see the "cleverness" to which both Luoyin and Hai will go to in order to get an advantage over the other. As the two are inseparable at this point, the pranking they had engaged in before now turns to poking each others sensitive spots to show affection. At one point, Hai even refers to themselves as an "old married couple".

 

After coming back from fishing (to which Hai is seen bailing on his friends in favor of Luoyin), the duo have dinner together with Luoyin's dad. This sets up a protracted scene in which Hai goes to great lengths to keep his wealth a secret from Luoyin (yet another Chinese drama trope). Upon discovering a sneaky Luoyin following him, Hai breaks into a place that isn't his own and even throws his bike over the way to keep Luoyin off his trail, something he does in reverse when Luoyin comes sniffing around all day.\

 

The big development this episode shows us are Hai's motivations. He's rejected his family, his fortune, his friends... all to maintain the charade of being a poor student so he can attend the same school as Luoyin. Hai always seems to get his way (and his man), but we still don't know what the end game is. And yet, we can see why he has done this as he can't stand the people in his life.

 

And that brings us to Hai's girlfriend of three years (sorry, I missed her name). We saw her in the first episode, and here she is again, demanding Hai pay more attention to her despite being a high school student that should be studying. Despite not liking her like everything else in his life, Hai capitulates to her, but demanding that she help him continue his masquerade.

 

But despite that being the main focus of the episode, the real action happened when Luoyin walked in on a naked Hai in the shower, who offered Luoyin a chance to "shower together". I mean, for the purposes of conserving water...

 

Stray Dog Observations

  • To advance the plot and demonstrate that Hai's girlfriend is obsessive and jealous, she beats the snot out of a flirty Shan Xiaoxuan. And nobody seems to notice or care afterwards. 
  • The first time Hai does after Luoyin shows him how to use the shower to to fully close the shower curtain. You know, after Luoyin has already seen him standing naked in the shower.
  • When's the last time we saw Yang Meng? No one advances the plot in "Addicted" as well as Meng and his quizzical eyebrows.
  • Luoyin answers Hai's girlfriend's question before she even asks it, as if to suggest she's predictable.
  • Don't eat fish caught within Beijing city limits. Luoyin's dad speaks of them as though they are chock full of vitamins.
  • Hai is supposed to be a poor student. Who lives by himself in a hutong. And yet his girlfriend dumps on his place - doesn't she know laowai are fighting among each other to find a place like that?

Various Vocab

 

德行de2xing2 morality and conduct
磨叽mo4ji to dawdle, waste time
差劲cha4jin4 bad, no good, below average, disappointing
自个儿zi4ge3r (dialect) oneself, by oneself
腻ni4 greasy, soft, intimate, tired of
 
Maybe someone can't help me out with this phrase: 这瘦死的骆驼比马大 "A half-starved camel is still bigger than a horse." What?
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I have no intention to ever watch this show (even if I were a watcher of Chinese shows, your review has sufficiently put me off this one) but I'll eagerly await your next summary. They're fun.

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至於嗎你

(Was that) really (necessary to go to such lengths)

 

瘦死的駱駝比馬大

A rich family who suddenly loses most of their money is still left with a large house which the average poor won't have; the formerly rich, new poor are left with a large 'frame' or 'skeleton' even though the 'meat' has withered away.

 

非扒

This is actually two separate items; 非...不可 is the grammatical pattern being used with the verb 扒

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Lu: it's probably less than subtly implied, but there's a lot of eye-rolling as I hate-watch this thing. But, at least it's not Gotham.

 

I haven't made any real judgments on this show, but I couldn't recommend it. The only I can actually recommend to watch is the first first two-thirds of Mr Six.

 

歐博思: Thanks so much! The Beijing dialect is throwing me off, but it is so good to listen to male voices. 

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Episode Seven of "Addicted" (watch online here)

 

Synopsis:

 

After jerking around for six episodes of pranking and pouting, "Addicted" finally turns on the hoses and deluges us with a story of all the overt gay you can grab a grip on. Stuffing phallic food into each others mouths, skin-on-skin groping while riding facing forward on the back of a bike, sleeping in the same bed... this show brings all the gay short of getting drunk on house red while belting show tunes that never reach the ending before someone else has the nerve to start a new song. It brings all the gay and more: did I mention tickle fight?

 

Fabulous. Though the font doesn't allow me to express it well enough, "Fabulous" should be dedazzled in sequins and lit with soft lighting (so it's mysterious, not creepy). All these things don't thrill me as a straight viewer, but this episode also brings with it the promise of exploring issues as China's first/last gay drama: they have a conversation.

 

As Luoyin and Hai share the same bed together (remember, straight guys do this all the time in China), they open up in ways that move the story more than wacky pranks and whiny ex-friends ever could. Even though Hai had enrolled at Luoyin's school under the premise that he is poor and not rich (and even made his ex-girlfriend swear to uphold the masquerade), the deception isn't used to pad out the story through close calls and misunderstandings. Instead, like a good episode of Agents of SHIELD, the secret is busted wide open the next episode, which in turn will lead to more developments.

 

Luoyin confronts Hai about secretly being rich based upon his savvy snooping and, well, Hai happens to rent the place next to Luoyin's relatives. What is normally used as a tired trope in Chinese TV and movies is now used as a great character development for the two of them: Hai must admit he's been lying, and now has some of his bravado sucked away, while Luoyin used this moment to refrain from being surly and petulant like he always is. Maybe it's really not that momentous, but this is the first time something like this has happened in seven episodes. Sure, it doesn't develop the gay themes in the show that are crying out to be explored, but it's a nice moment of TV (besides all the fore mentioned moments of gay).

 

The rest of the episode has the most obvious revelation that wasn't apparent to me from the very first episode: Luoyin's mom and Hai's stepmom are the same person; that's why they both look like their teacher. Maybe it was clear to other viewers, but in fairness it was something that was introduced and quickly ignored for a half dozen episodes. Maybe "the gay" is pushing it, but now we have incestuous themes going on... I suppose this made for good TV by having us squirm for six episodes before they mentioned it again?

 

Hai's dad tries to reconcile with Luoyin, while Luoyin's mom extends the olive branch to Hai. In both cases, both Hai and Luoyin act out taboo power fantasies where they get to reject their parents and authority figures. Luoyin even gives a "sod off" bow for good measure, leading me to suspect that this type of anti-social behavior is what got this show in trouble (oh whom am I kidding... it's all the gay kissing by Chinese schoolboys).

 

Stray Dog Observations:

  • Hai is such an alpha male that he can bully You Qi by helping him with his homework. You'd need to wear a mouthguard if you want him to tutor you.
  • I hate those candies crab-apple things they eat at the beginning. If they're such a delicious fruit, why is the only time people eat them is when they are encased in honey/sucrose/diabetes?
  • Characters only get drunk on Chinese TV in order to give an honest confession. That's how I knew Hai was lying about being drunk, and only wanted to paw Luoyin in bed.
  • This shows needs a good fag-hag: Luoyin's mom continues the show's bad depiction of women, coming off as an ineffectual schemer. At least Hai's dad was more dignified in getting snowed under.
  • Ya can't bargain? Obviously a pauper in disguise. Hai's ineptitude at bartering should have been a clear warning sign to Luoyin about his background, if not the audience like me who sucks and bartering too.
  • Yet another food comment, but: a pizza-sized moon cake? With twelve salted eggs in it? This whole "gay people on TV" thing is already challenging for little hetero-me, but c'mon, this is beyond reality and into the realm of science-fiction.
  • Another one won't hurt: whether the result of live recording or the meticulous work of a foley artist, but when I heard that moon cake crunch when Hai took a bite into it, a little part of me died inside.

Various Vocabulary:

 

堕落duo4luo4 to degrade; n a degenerate; to become depraved, corrupt
馈赠kui4zeng4 n present 
绝非jue2fei1 absolutely not
姑息gu1xi1 excessively tolerant, to indulge
疏远shu1yuan3 to drift apart, to become estranged, estangement
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Lu: it's probably less than subtly implied, but there's a lot of eye-rolling as I hate-watch this thing.
Yes, I managed to pick up on that :-) I like reading a good take-down, it's often more fun than the thing itself. Not very nice of me I suppose.
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Lu: Yes, I managed to pick up on that :-) I like reading a good take-down, it's often more fun than the thing itself. Not very nice of me I suppose. 

 

Whenever Chinese TV, movies, or any of its culture is involved, this kind of thing is always present. Part of it is the whole censorship thing, but there's a "cultural censorship" going on too. By that I mean in as simple terms as possible that a Chinese audience needs a Chinese story, or else its bullshit.

 

And while Addicted fulfills much of this (and, well, breaks the rules well it comes to all the gay hugging, groping, and kissing), I knew by picking such a taboo subject that at one point the story has to face itself, and it doesn't disappoint (for five minutes at time; pretty normal when it comes to a story about guys).

 

It took eight episodes, but it's finally starting to get good. There's all the gay fantasy stuff, but then there's moments when the two characters look at each other and the story must better because there's no where else to go. It's still trashy stuff, but out of a billion Chinese dramas, one character is trying to be honest.

 

All I mean is that underneath all this hyperbolic gay power fantasy stuff, there's a bit of good TV trying to come out. And that's so much more than other shows. 

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Episode Eight of "Addicted" (watch online here)

 

It's unfair to criticize something for what it is not, because there's an infinite number of things it could potentially be compared to the only one thing it is. And as the Internet is basically the repository of broken dreams when it isn't causing outrage over trivial matters, it's hypocritical of me to earnestly try to criticize a show for what I personally want as this show owes me anything other than wasting my time, 21 minutes at a time.

 

And yet, there is one criticism that sticks to the teflon wall of online complaints: mediocrity. "Addicted" is not just a mediocre show, it doesn't care to be anything but.

 

Last episode showed some promise with a standout scene where both Luoyin and Hai have a breakout moment of character development. This episode shows an iconic moment where Luoyin and Hai are sitting on the roof, looking up at the starless BJ sky. Again, Hai's secret gets immediately exposed by Luoyin, but the "secret of the gay" remains. Hai leans over to give Luoyin a hug, and starts a sentence that hints he will finally talk about being gay. But Luoyin is too dumb or too repressed to talk about it, and the two just sit in silence: Luoyin in white, Hai in black but with white piping that brilliantly fills out his contours.

 

And then... cut to next scene. It was a beautiful scene that we've been building up towards and could have used a few more seconds, but no, we need to move on. We didn't need more dialog: we need the show to give respect to the hidden theme of the show, and yet: nothing. The shot from behind the two boys is so iconic that it serves as the title sequence, but no, it was botched in editing.

 

And what did we earn by being so frugal with this scene? The whole episode can be summed up as "bottom-Luoyin gets continually groped in bed, and moans about it". There are three scenes of pillow talk, and yet no scenes of them in class - that thing they do as students. The show just wildly fluctuates between the two extremes of "masturbatory fantasy" and "drama" that there's no painting even road lines between the two.

 

Maybe other audiences may get offended, but that "Addicted" plays out as a one-on-one episodic Porky's content from the 80's just makes sense: Hai is gay, he's young and horny, he always gets his way, and Luoyin is his target. And since he hasn't come out as gay, Luoyin's treatment at getting groped all over his body may seen to be assault since he always complains about it, but then he's been willingly sleeping with Hai in the same bed for ten days, and then asks him to continue staying with him. It's so weird that I just want to continue watching to see how Luoyin accepts being gay, and how he justifies his rejections.

 

The wild shift in tone and the fact that the story is so inclusionary, literally jumping from one bed scene to another, that it signifies a stilted story development. The main characters don't grow, and all the other characters as just vehicles for exposition.

 

Maybe that's too much analysis and too little synopsis, so let's get that out of the way with this:

 

After watching Hai grope Luoyin in bed, we see the pair eye-f*cking each other on the basketball court. When Luoyin gets hurt (again), Luoyin publicly rejects Hai in front of people, something he's better at instead of Hai's advances in bed. After Hai admits that he's let other guys jerk him off, Luoyin point blank asks Hai's friends if they've in fact done so, to which they deny it. Luoyin confront Hai about this, to which Hai takes this as a invitation that goes nowhere.

 

Meanwhile, Hai uses his father's connection to secure a permit for the best actor on the show, Auntie Zhou, despite the fact that he hates his father. 

 

Dialog:

 

  • (Regarding penises after Hai tries to touch Luoyin's) "What's the big deal? We're both guys!"
  • "Have you ever let someone else masturbate for you?"
    "I prefer to do it myself."
    “But we are brothers! What wrong with shooting off a couple of rounds between us!"

 

Stray Dog Observations:

  • Hai gets everything he wants. The guy is seen bullying everyone on the show --  the other leads, other kids, even government officials. And as he is bullying Luoyin for physical gratification, it doesn't seem like he's justified to it. All part of the fantasy, I guess.
  • Hai's two flamboyantly gay friends are revealed as such. These guys don't know he's gay? 
  • No matter what he says at night in protest against Hai's advances, Luoyin sure enjoys waking up in Hai's embrace. I guess we'll have even more bed scenes in the future to clear up the confusion.
  • I know I'm the wrong audience for the show, but what I'm most interested in seeing is You Qi's status as the "most beautiful boy in school". Dude's got broads standing giving him massages as he sits disgruntled on a office chair in the basketball court. That's at least ten minutes of explanation required right there.
  • Luoyin having a black and white picture of himself on his own dresser is freaking me out. It looks like a shrine picture.
  • Hai belittles Yang Meng for "looking like a girl". What's that about?

Various Vocabulary:

 

卖萌mai4meng2 v to act cute (slang)
发小fa1xiao3 (dialect) close childhood friend whom one grew up with
把关ba3guan1 v to check on sth, to guard a pass
戳chuo1 v to jab, to poke, to sprain, to blunt, to fuck, to stand sth upright
销魂xiao1hun2 ecstacy, rapture; v to feel overwhelming joy or sorrow
门脸men2lian3 shop front, facade
亏待kui1dai4 v to treat sb unfairly
服帖fu2tie1 docile, obedient; at ease, comfortable
 
And here's some weird turn of phrases I couldn't work out:
 
....盾来眼去?
股子
秃噜皮
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78fd72f13418eff607359bbb10293f7a.jpg

 

Episode Nine of "Addicted" (watch online here)

 

I'll say it now: Hai doesn't deserve Luoyin -- his love or his body. And the reason why is simple: he isn't deserving.

 

We're over the half-way mark, but it doesn't look like Hai is a redeemable hero. After all, his whole entire character is that he's a brute and gets everything he wants; for a fantasy, this is a relatable protagonist, but for a TV drama it's horrible. Luoyin, for his part, looks to be a willing victim to all of Hai's advances, but there's no dramatic tension when it's obvious what the outcome will be.

 

And what's what we get in "Addicted", the TV serialization of some popular online novella. As a fantasy, there are no stakes at risk here. Hai is infallible, and the story is just a weird fantasy (sex and power) which just strokes the viewers ego.

 

But there are stakes, even if you don't notice them. For the second time, Hai uses his godly guanxi powers through association from his captain of industry father (whom he cut ties with way in the beginning). Hai did it to help Auntie Zou get the chengguan off her back, and now he's used it to give Luoyin's dad a raise at a new company in a management position. As we the audience see it, Auntie Zou and Luoyin's dad are both good people who are poor and are deserving of such help. And yet, just because these two acts are "objectively true" doesn't make the act of corruption any better.

 

That's what Hai is: a corrupt fuerdai. He abuses power in any way he can, and his good motivations don't hide the fact that all his corrupt acts are arbitrarily decided as being "good" by Hai because he's the one doing them. And now, nine episodes in, there's no going back as this is his only defining character traits the show has wasted their time in developing.

 

Sure, Luoyin confronts Hai about this at the end of the episode so we don't know how this will turn out -- but what's Luoyin going to do? Stand up to him? Like how he's allowed Hai to grope him in bed and peep on him in the shower? 

 

All the "sex fantasy" stuff was okay in the sense that "Addicted" was just trying to fulfill an aspect of the show. However, for the show to become full-on utopian fantasy where the hero is impervious to all of China's ills... that's just bad TV.

 

Meanwhile, Hai's girlfriend Lulu shows up. In the time she's onscreen pouting and being shrill, she gets mad at Hai twice and walks out on him. 

 

Stray Dog Observations:

  • Yes, it was weird when Hai's dad got fired by his boss, who laughed.
  • Only one pillow talk scene?
  • Hey, girl: If you walk in on your boyfriend and he's in a tickle fight with another guy, he does not want your clam chowder anymore.
  • Women get treated the worst on this show. Lulu is necessary to Hai as a beard, and Lulu is likely staying with Hai for his connections and money, and yet we the audience get punished by seeing them together.
  • Lulu cries the same way most women cry on Chinese dramas: looking like they got shot in the face with pepper spray.
  • Like the last time they had dinner, there's no way the three of them could afford such a fancy restaurant.

Sample Dialog:

 

"We are all men who understand. But change the situation to a bunch of women, and there will for sure be drama behind the scenes." -- Luoyin

 

Various Vocabulary

 

忒te4 to err, to change; tie1 (dialect) too, very
装蒜zhuang1suan4 v to act stupid, to pretend to not know
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Like others, I'm not following the show itself, but your writeups are fun. Just noticed this, though:

I hate those candies crab-apple things they eat at the beginning. If they're such a delicious fruit, why is the only time people eat them is when they are encased in honey/sucrose/diabetes?

Assuming you mean 山楂 (the fruit) and 糖葫芦 (the toffee-encased confectionery), then you're wrong on two counts:

1. 山楂 have many other uses, including various types of candy, 山楂 juice, and filings for sweet pastries.

2. 糖葫芦 are freaking delicious.

Also, “忒” as "very" is pronounced [tēi] or [tuī], not [tiē].

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The whole episode can be summed up as "bottom-Luoyin gets continually groped in bed, and moans about it". (...) And since he hasn't come out as gay, Luoyin's treatment at getting groped all over his body may seen to be assault since he always complains about it, but then he's been willingly sleeping with Hai in the same bed for ten days, and then asks him to continue staying with him. It's so weird that I just want to continue watching to see how Luoyin accepts being gay, and how he justifies his rejections.
Not watching this show, but still giving my perspective:

- I wonder if this really will be a gay story in the sense that the characters come to terms with being gay and then come out as gay (to at least one person). They might well just keep it implicit. You might never see an unambigous sex scene between them (I think they haven't even kissed yet, but might have missed that/forgotten). Like the 'cut sleeve' story, a relationship can be gay without spelling it out.

- Moaning about being groped doesn't mean the gropee doesn't like it. 不要~~~~ might mean 'Stop doing that right now', but on tv it often enough means 'I'm a good girl (guy), so try a little harder and I'll keep my plausible deniability'. (This is of course very problematic when you consider it in real life.) I think you (and Hai) can safely assume that as long as Luoyin keeps sleeping with Hai, he actually doesn't mind the groping. Might even enjoy it.

 

All in all, from what I'm reading, you might be underestimating what you see.

 

Or you might be completely correct in your assessment, since after all you're the person actually watching this.

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糖葫芦 are freaking delicious.

 

I think the secret ingredient that makes them delicious is the toffee.

The other thing is a total spelling error, been thinking too much about about subways and lattes, I guess.

 

 

All in all, from what I'm reading, you might be underestimating what you see.

Or you might be completely correct in your assessment, since after all you're the person actually watching this.

 

I never mind being wrong. I just love it that people enjoy reading these.

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