She also nails one of my favorite docudramatic standards: contemplatively staring off into the sunset. Not only did I never plan to appear in person, but I also never expected to watch myself portrayed on one by an actress.
Then, last winter, my college ex-boyfriend, David, appeared as a contestant on a popular Chinese dating show called He’s been living in Beijing for the past six years, having moved there the summer after our college graduation and our break-up.
A new television series that premiered on Saturday provides just that, with the slogan “Chinese-style blind dating; feel more secure with parents present.” Anchored by popular host Jin Xing — who has been called China’s transgender Oprah — and produced by Shanghai’s Dragon TV, “Chinese Dating” mimics traditional blind dates arranged by parents, placing a female candidate in front of five bachelors’ families instead of the potential suitor himself.
Parents ask questions and decide whether the woman is a good match, while the sons wait in a room offstage.
In fact, a couple of academic colleagues in Sydney have confessed to me that they are fascinated by it.
In the past couple of years, whenever I have given a guest lecture to students of journalism on Chinese media, I have talked extensively about the show, usually to make two points.
I’d seen David before on a talk show whose bare-bones set resembled something you’d see on an American public-access channel.
But unlike David’s past TV appearances, isn’t an obscure program: It’s the most-watched dating show in the Chinese-speaking world.
But it is Jiangsu Satellite Television’s If You Are the One, started in 2010, that has proven to be most popular across the nation.
Its popularity has led to numerous copycats, ensuring a ratings war among provincial satellite television stations.
My reality TV doppelgänger wears a slouchy hat and a pea coat.
First, Chinese media can be simultaneously spectacular and mundane, ideologically overbearing and extremely entertaining, and subservient and defiant of the Party-state.
Second, ideological warfare does not always take place in news propaganda; instead, it can be fought in the domain of fun-packed entertainment.
The candidate will introduce himself with few clips of video and answer questions from the ladies on stage.