By the end of the class, Australian students, half expecting an hour of lecture on news censorship, control, and propaganda—all the things usually associated with China and its media—feel suitably entertained, if not enlightened.So, as an academic teaching and researching on Chinese media, I find dating shows to be a good prism through which to talk about how globalisation and privatisation impact on the individual’s everyday life.First, Chinese media can be simultaneously spectacular and mundane, ideologically overbearing and extremely entertaining, and subservient and defiant of the Party-state.
For the past few years, Chinese television has been inundated with dating shows, including Love Comes Knocking on the Door (Shandong Satellite Television) and Hunan Satellite Television’s Take Me Out.
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.
Emma Watts is the creator behind the No Strings Attached series of short documentaries that uses puppets to recreate dating experiences initiated through online apps."I quickly realised there was this enormous well of stories on Tinder, on Grindr, on all of these dating apps," Ms Watts told ABC News Breakfast."But no normal person wants to actually share their story of sex and dating and show their face and show their name.
"Although the show is about silly and funny and awkward dating app experiences, we really tried to get to the bottom of some of the isolation and loneliness that people feel."The puppets [are there to] add to the humour."After being inundated with submissions, Ms Watts set about choosing which stories to include in the show.
Its popularity has led to numerous copycats, ensuring a ratings war among provincial satellite television stations.