Here is a completely different post from the usual geek stuff. But as this blog is a kind of huge memo of what I am doing (worthy) in China, I'll add this story here.
I went this WE to 南京 in the 江苏 province to participate to the pretty popular TV show 非诚无扰. If that doesn't strike a bell, go look one episode. Basically, it's a dating show, where males 男嘉宾 (single and more or less attractives) are presented to 24 female candidates 女嘉宾 (mostly beautifuf, thanks to the magic of make up). The rules are the followings (a little bit simplified) :
- Every woman has a light in front of her, and when she turns it off, it means she's not interested anymore in the candidate (she cannot turn it on later)
- 3 videos to introduce the candidate are shown. It's about his life (基本资料), his past sentimental life (爱情经验) and his expectations for his future girlfriend (理想女孩).
- If at the end of the third video, some women are still interested, the candidate can chose 2 of them and ask them some questions, to finally chose one.
At the end, if the candidate succesfully convice a woman, they are "officially" in a relationship. Each show feature from 4 to 6 candidates, and usually only one get a girl. Rumors said nothing ever last long after the show for the "winners".
I got interested in this show about a year before, because it's a great way to know what the chinese are looking for when it's about love and marriage. Basically, the women are looking for a husband (not a boyfriend!) and they want a feeling of security (安全感). They are really materialistic, and prefer money or goods over an interesting guy. Another important part of their requirements is a 乖乖-well-behaved (but more like submissive) boyfriend/husband. In China, it seems that the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship is more like employee/boss relationship (with the girl beeing the boss).
So I went there for fun. Because I don't want to find a wife (yet?) and this could be a great experience. Everything is in chinese, it's a contopary and popular show, what's best to understand a little part of modern China ?
At the moment I'm writting this post, I just finish the recording, and the emission will air july 3rd. There is still a possibility I'll be cut :) So, now is the time for the story.
It started almost one month ago, I subscribed on internet, answered some questions (to determine what is my personality bla bla bla) and I received a phone call 3-4 days later to attempt an interview in beijing. The interview went well enough for the director (导演) to record a video and send it to nanjing 南京 for another review. A week after, I was told I was selected to participate to the show. Another week after, 2 people from the TV went to Tsinghua to shoot the video which are going to be shown to the girls. Then, I had to book train tickets to go there (while some other got plane ticket booked by the staff, I still don't know why there is this difference).
I learnt from my roomate who will also be participarte in the same emission that every 2 weeks, 4 emissions are recorded, saturday moring and afternoon, same for sunday. Hard time for the girls 女嘉宾. Much more harder for the ten extras, who go to nanjing to replace the girls who are picked up. But these one are not guaranteed to go on the stage 囧. There are almost 3 to 4 hours of preparation for the men, read and sign a contract (cannot participate to anymore dating show for the next 3 month, 50 000 yuan fine if I break the rule and so on...). Preparation : we have to entertain the audience, so how to do that. Quick make up, change cloth for some people : don't take shiny clothes on TV ! Quick walk on the stage to see where we have to stand, how to enter, exit etc... And then, wait...
About my "performance" I had fun but I'm not quite satisfied with it. I had one big objective : make the girls realize they chose the guy, but they also have to do some things to be chosen, it works in both directions. Limited succes, except for one who was interested from the start. I had some comprehension problems, and didn't always answer the questions the I wanted to. But the hosts were very helpful. At the end, I think it's really fake, but I didn't break any rules, while sticking with what I believe (try not to lie to much).
After the show, mens were not allowed to stay behing the stage (as where we were waiting before) to prevent us to speak with the others. And the ones who picked girls has to exit the building from another door to avoid contact with the ones who were waiting at the ground floor. That's a little bit extreme, but show that they are really serious about this show. And some candiates are also really serious about that. After the show, thanks to a girl who chose one of our fellow friend (another candidate), we went to a restaurant where I had the opportunity to see and speak more openly with some of the girls. Although I mainly spoke with one, it appears they also think this show is not ideal to find a partner but it's still fun (and tiring).
As a conclusion, seeing the backstage of a TV show is really interesting. Whatever the staff say, they have to make money, so they hire entertaining people. That's the main aspect, even if the staff try to make the show a success (true dating platform), one has to be as entertaining as possible. Also lots of girls are dumb, but not all. Except that the show put a lot of pressure and one can't act as usual. Again, need to be entertaining. Maybe more later, after july 3rd if I'm not cut :)