With a viewing audience of up to 50 million per episode, this popular Chinese dating show is a cultural phenomenon. A lone male suitor has to impress a panel of 24 single women, who can then register their interest or disinterest in the man through the use of their podium lights. Season 9 contains 38 episodes. Season 11 contains 52 episodes. If You Are The One. Popular host Meng Fei oversees the action in front of a large studio audience.
If you live within East Asia and Australia and have not heard of it, you probably live under a rock. The women indicate their interest or rejection with a built-in light on their individual podiums — blue gooood, pink baaaad. Plus, several of the women very quickly spiral into micro celebrity status overnight. On a flight three weeks back, I downloaded about 40 articles newspapers, blogposts, academic journals on FCWR to tide me through 5. I want to write about the series analytically some day in the future, post-thesis submission this list is growing soooo long.
The Hunter Valley is one of the prime wine regions close to Sydney. After attending the Crossroads in Cultural Studies conference at the University of Sydney in December , my wife and I nestled ourselves in a nice guesthouse between the vineyards of the Hunter Valley. I was immediately intrigued: how did this show end up on Australian television? After all, Chinese audiovisual products are remarkably unsuccessful in finding an audience beyond Chinese borders and overseas Chinese communities.
At the beginning of last November, a Chinese teacher and colleague at my school sent me a message on WeChat the Chinese near-equivalent of WhatsApp asking if I was looking for a girlfriend in China. There followed an application and an interview for a TV show. Little did I know what I was letting myself in for.