Full disclosure: This post isn’t going to be as fun for people who don’t come from countries with a history of absolutely reprehensible dating programs. My apologies.
I came across this article in the China Daily today about a hot new dating show that’s drawing viewers and criticism for it’s fast-paced style and “moral ambiguity”:
The dating show If You Are The One (Fei Cheng Wu Rao) has created a buzz because of its morally ambiguous and visually electrifying format.
Every Saturday and Sunday night on Jiangsu Satellite Television, a jury of 24 single women question one guy, watch his introductory video and press light buttons to determine whether he should remain on the show.
In turn, the guy can choose his favorite girl and if he survives the “trial”, he will have a chance to pick a girl for a date.
Audiences have been intrigued by the guests’ outspoken remarks and the occasional arguments that break out.
Flashpoints include issues such as household chores, whether a wedded couple should live with the husband’s parents, if car and house ownership matters more than love, and whether or not a career should be sacrificed for love.
Gasp! Sounds pretty edgy. And indeed, some people think so:
“The show is as dramatic as a TV soap opera,” says Liu Tingting, a married office worker in Beijing and regular viewer of the show.
“It reaches one climax after another every two or three minutes. It features a potpourri of hot topics such as mortgage slaves, the income gap between the rich and poor, and being single, which constantly prick people’s nerves.”
“The show is more than a dating game. It is like a multi-dimensional mirror that reflects social values.”
Another negative opinion is that the show makes light of serious social issues.
“The popularity of television dating programs reflects a collective anxiety of single people, particularly the colony of “sheng nan” and “sheng nu” (singles who are in their late 20s and over 30), and their families,” said Xiang Jianxin, vice-president of Baihe.com, a Beijing-based dating network company.
“They long for marriage, yet they lack a sense of security in love and their other relationships.”
Xiang said television dating programs should play a role in helping these people, instead of commercializing their problems.
Indeed, it would be awesome if dating shows actually helped people, but all I could think about reading this article is how much more wholesome this show sounds than almost any dating show on TV in the States, where we literally had a television series that consisted of giving ugly women extensive plastic surgery to make them into “swans”.
Think about how fucked up that is for a second. In fact, if you weren’t aware that programs like The Swan existed (though it’s since been canceled, thank God), I’ll give you a few minutes to wander around your house swearing and breaking things.
Seriously, China has some serious social issues that are bound to crop up any time a dating show tries to be anything more than a cliche. And I’ve never seen the show, so maybe it really does ruffle some feathers. But having seen TONS of American dating shows that glorify self-hatred, plastic surgery, teenage pregnancy, over-the-top materialism and extremely stereotypical body image and gender roles, I have to say, this show sounds positively refreshing. American dating shows could stand to have a more conversations about marriage, household chores, and the effect money has on romance.
Has anyone actually seen the show?