If you had to give an example of a Chinese show that got introduced in Australia and went to No. 1 in the past 10 years, what would you say?
The answer is easy for Chinese students studying abroad in Australia, because they’ve probably heard comments like this from colleagues or classmates: “You know, I love that Chinese dating show ‘If You Are the One’ so much!”
Australian TV channel SBS 2 imported the show in 2013, and it soon went viral but without any obvious reason.
According to one Australian: “Each 40-minute episode is full of kitsch, full of incredible rustic sound effects and terrible stage design, and full of crazy lighting effects, as well as super-bad 90’s fashion sense… But I don’t know why, the show is like fatal attraction to us, and it’s hard to stop watching it!”
Last year, SBS2 not only increased from one to three episodes per week, but also put the show on at prime time. The audience ratings ran to 11%.
It’s undoubtedly Australia’s most popular dating show, hottest introduced show, and China‘s most popular show ever in Australia. So the question is why do Aussies like it so much?
Perhaps the reason is the differences in dating culture between China and Australia…
In Australia, people tend to be polite while dating. If they don’t like their dates, they will say so in a “roundabout” way. So the part where contestants talk about “failed to get a date” can be really humiliating.
The male contestants on If You Are the One often end up with “failed to get a date,” after getting very direct, harsh comments from female contestants, all on TV.
This is an interesting and different experience for Australian audiences. They feel the girls’ comments are so mean, but because the comments are also honest, they’re amused by the sense of black humor.
So the straightforward style of If You Are the One breaks the hypocritical veil of Australian dating culture, saying the words they wouldn’t dare to, which they find both cruel and cool.