CULTURE 'Cinderella stories' hold staying power in modern age

CULTURE

'Cinderella stories' hold staying power in modern age

China Daily

06:11, July 21, 2019

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A poster for the TV show 'Go Go Squid'. (Photo: China Daily)

As the summer heat keeps people inside and glued to their TV screens, this season presents a golden opportunity to show off the best Chinese TV dramas.

Last year, the inspiring story of the heroine Wei Yingluo rising from a lowly maidservant to a royal concubine made the period drama The Story of Yanxi Palace the most Googled TV show of 2018. This year, a modern romance series titled Go Go Squid is likely to follow suit.

Starring actress Yang Zi and actor Li Xian, the 42-episode drama provides a blueprint on how to woo the ideal boyfriend.

Yang plays the role of Tong Nian, a talented online singer who falls in love at first sight with a cybersecurity professional named Han Shangyan played by Li. From their "meet-cute" at an internet café to their interactions in daily life, the couple has given many viewers an example of a perfect relationship.

Since its July 9 debut on Zhejiang TV and Dragon TV, Go Go Squid has aroused heated discussion on Chinese social media. For instance, the show's official hashtag has been viewed more than 12 billion times on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media platform.

Two broadcast stations have also changed their official Weibo logos to the posters of the drama, an unprecedented bid for higher ratings and appeal to a wider audience .

As the summer heat keeps people inside and glued to their TV screens, this season presents a golden opportunity to show off the best Chinese TV dramas.

Last year, the inspiring story of the heroine Wei Yingluo rising from a lowly maidservant to a royal concubine made the period drama The Story of Yanxi Palace the most Googled TV show of 2018. This year, a modern romance series titled Go Go Squid is likely to follow suit.

Starring actress Yang Zi and actor Li Xian, the 42-episode drama provides a blueprint on how to woo the ideal boyfriend.

Yang plays the role of Tong Nian, a talented online singer who falls in love at first sight with a cybersecurity professional named Han Shangyan played by Li. From their "meet-cute" at an internet café to their interactions in daily life, the couple has given many viewers an example of a perfect relationship.

Since its July 9 debut on Zhejiang TV and Dragon TV, Go Go Squid has aroused heated discussion on Chinese social media. For instance, the show's official hashtag has been viewed more than 12 billion times on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media platform.

Two broadcast stations have also changed their official Weibo logos to the posters of the drama, an unprecedented bid for higher ratings and appeal to a wider audience .

Why do these romances maintain their appeal?

Firstly, more often than not male characters in those dramas come from rich or powerful families. They boast perfect academic backgrounds and enjoy high status in society. They are born to be winners and their suitors are standing in line — metaphorically speaking. However, most are lonely and have slightly off-kilter personalities, and they often put true love before family background and personal gain. Under such circumstances, a pure and kind woman from an ordinary family can get their attention and ignite their curiosity. Because of this setting, many women develop empathy for the female protagonist, and they often put themselves in her shoes.

Secondly, most of the male characters appear to be perfect boyfriends — but not every girl can win them over. Therefore, when "Cinderella" decides to pursue her "Mr. Right", the love journey might not be so smooth. The onscreen couple may encounter all kinds of challenges and difficulties, but when the happy ending finally comes most viewers will be pleased and assume everyone lives happily ever after.

Last but not least, most audiences are often faced with great pressure in daily life. Most just want to see a warm and encouraging story in their spare time, and doing so is a perfect way to relax and free themselves from the fetters of the real world. After all, there's nothing wrong with seeking a little comfort.

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