Author：Verbena C. W，Elaine Yang
“A step forward is happiness; a step backward is loneliness.” This is the slogan of China’s hottest blind date show for single men and women, “You Are the One.” The title “You Are the One” first appeared among director Feng Xiaogang’s movie productions, and told many preposterous and awkward anecdotes about an older-than-average young couple and their experiences on a blind date.
In today’s society, there are more and more single men and women. On top of this, young people born in the ’80s and ’90s are increasingly willing to express themselves, and the television show “You Are the One” takes advantage of this. As soon as this television show out of China’s Jiangsu Satellite TV was first broadcast, it was immediately well-received by audiences and internet viewers across the nation. In the show, 24 single female students decide the fate of a male guest by turning lights on or off, and over the course of one episode, only 5 male guests are allowed on the stage. Each male guest can secretly vote for the girl that turns him on when he appears on stage, and after three video introductions, if there are still any female guests with their lights lit, then the male guest gets the power to reverse and can insist on trying to persuade the girl that he likes or can choose to take with him one of the remaining girls who still has her light lit. After this program was first broadcast on January 15th, 2010, as of June 6th it had simultaneously acquired a number one spot for more than 30 television programs and become champion of the national television ratings 15 times in the first 23 weeks of 2010. It was the most viewed program with a viewer rating of 4.9.
Upon the broadcast of this date show, society gradually became split between two different views. Some people believed that the explosive popularity of “You Are the One” owed itself to the boldness of its content and the vigor and liveliness of its show hosts. The two male show hosts have such differing personalities and they frequently poke fun at one another; Meng Fei is earnest and amiable, while Le Jia is penetrating and direct. Many in the audience attend just to hear their back and forth banter, and this is why the date show has such a high viewership and ratings. But other people believe that all of these things are superficial, and that the key to the date show’s success lies in the fact that the female guests of the show are given enough self-esteem, and that the results of their choices often fall in line with what the audience expects. From time to time the these choices cause the audience to wring their hands and sigh in consternation and feel sorry for the male guest in question, as well as come up with all sorts of notions about the female guests’ concepts of choosing a partner. Similar to such overseas hit blind date shows such as Britain’s “Ask Me Out,” “You Are the One” is a standard Chinese-style reality show. It has even become an important route for overseas Chinese people to understand what life is like in China these days.
In the wake of the popular craze kicked off by “You Are the One,” all sorts of male and female guests have appeared on the show. Examples include Shen Yong, who always brings his picky daughter-in-law’s mother with him; the always sweet and cute Yan Fengjiao who nevertheless always has some sort of negative news revealed about her, and so on. Of these the most controversial is a certain Ma Nuo, a model from the print media. She brazenly makes known her money worshiping ideas, and frequently starts intense arguments with the male guests. A male guest who enjoys riding his bike as a hobby confessed to her, asking if she wanted to go for a bike ride with him or not, and her answer to him was, “I’d prefer crying inside a BMW.” When another male guest said he didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about what people wear as makeup, and that he thought natural is beautiful, Ma Nuo answered by saying, “I wish the director would play the song ‘Relief’ for us and make this guy leave.” Apart from Ma Nuo, a female guest named Sun Yali has also appeared on the show. She was successfully matched with a male guest from Zhejiang, and in a grand gesture in preparation for marriage the male guest declared he was giving the female guest a BMW. In the end, the female guest took the car but canceled the wedding. Sun Yali defended herself by saying that she had never agreed to marry him, and had not received the BMW. In the end, the male guest took her to court.
When “You Are the One” had not long been broadcast, it was ordered to be rectified by the management department because its content was overly sensitive and bold, and so the program was revised after that. And because on top of that imitation shows have sprung up left and right, many people worry that this program’s rating will slide. But other than a slight decrease in ratings when the revised edition of the show was first aired, this program is still sitting secure at the top of the rankings among programs of the same type and is being shown abroad as well. Many overseas students have found love here; at any time you can see Russian girls, Korean guys, and American cats here. And successful international matches move the audience even more. The show has held special performances in Australia and America, and provides service to foreigners and overseas Chinese. Currently, a special UK performance is heating up.
Regardless of what sort of attitude the audience holds toward “You Are the One,” it is undeniable that this show has already transcended its “blind date” boundaries and entered the higher realm of investigating the “marriage and family values of contemporary young people. Furthermore, from the point of view of choosing the male and female guests, “You Are the One” not only has gorgeous women, but also includes fat girls who are lacking in self-confidence and single mothers who have entered middle age; it has successful entrepreneurs who speak frankly and with assurance, shy boys who cannot speak at all, and rich, self-centered brats. All of this makes the show a lot closer to reality, while most other blind date shows are still stuck on using handsome guys and hot girls to attract their audiences. If you want to find a Chinese girl, to take her hand in yours in your walk through life, then the stage of “You Are the One” might become your choice, too.