From left: The cast of Why Women Kill Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Ginnifer Goodwin and Lucy Liu. (Photo: IC)
Dark drama Why Women Kill, which just finished its first season, has gained wild popularity among Chinese audiences with discussions about the show repeatedly topping the trending lists on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. On Chinese media review website Douban, the show has a 9.3/10 from nearly 175,000 reviews.
The show depicts the stories of how three women living in three different decades deal with infidelity in their marriages. The three women all lived in the same mansion in Pasadena, California. Beth Ann Stanton, the first resident of the mansion is a housewife in the 1960s, while the next resident, socialite Simone Grove, lives there during the 1980s. The third resident, Taylor, is a bisexual attorney in 2019 who is in an open marriage.
"I worship this show completely. It's so awesome! Check out the pace, the editing and the soundtrack… I couldn't take my eyes away from the show for even a second. Most importantly, it portrays a realistic open marriage, threesome, housewife crisis, partner and mistress! Gosh, it is like a prophecy about the future of marriage!" wrote one review on Douban.
On Sina Weibo, the hashtag for Why Women Kill has more than 920 million views and 259,000 posts. There are roughly 50 topics of discussion related to the show on the platform, such as those talking about the rules of happiness learned from the show, the recent season finale, the second season and the clothing and fashion on display in the show.
Many Chinese fans were impressed by the novel editing techniques in the show, such as when all three timelines featured a shower scene at the same time, and when one couple suggested they should order pizza for dinner, the subsequent shot was a pizza being delivered to the next couple.
"The editing connects different scenes seamlessly together without causing confusion about the timelines of the separate stories. It is such an amazing visual experience," wrote one netizen.
While the three stories may be equally appealing, it has been the character Simone Grove, played by Chinese-American actress Lucy Liu, who has stirred the most online discussions in China, with some saying that they started watching the show because of Liu. On the show's Douban page, some have commented "no matter what show Liu is in, I will watch it."
Liu has been long familiar to Chinese audiences with her early works such as Charlie's Angels and Kill Bill: Volume 1, which were shot more than 15 years ago. Seeing the 51-year-old veteran's expressive performance in Why Women Kill, Chinese netizens commented that "Charming women are never constrained by the concept of age."
As for the character of Grove, she discovers her husband is gay and immediately demands a divorce. At the same time, she begins her own affair with her best friend's son. After her husband Karl is diagnosed with AIDS and suffers from stigma and physical pain, she stays by his side, taking care of him. He asks Simone to help end his life and out of love, Simone helps Karl leave the world the way he wants.
Many Chinese netizens praised Simone for her courage in pursuing a love despite it being despised by the people around them, and her deep, complicated love for Karl, with some commenting, "I want to live just like her."
Aside from Liu's outstanding performance in the show, her clothing and makeup have also captured Chinese netizens' attention. Some tutorial videos on how to recreate the character's style have gone viral on Sina Weibo.
"One of the reasons Why Women Kill is so popular among Chinese audiences is that we lack these types of discussions on these topics in Chinese TV dramas. Hopefully, this show will shine a light on the way forward for Chinese TV industry insiders, and help them understand that Chinese audiences are not just attracted by love stories. They want to see works that can reflect their lives. As long as you are courageous enough, audiences will be able to appreciate it," writes one review by Chinese media site Phoenix New Media.