Several times a day I hear the theme song from If You Are the One, the hit Chinese dating show, blaring from my co-worker’s cell phone: It’s an embarrassing techno mix with a man’s voice wailing, "Can you feeeeel it?!
When Christine Tan arrived in Shanghai, she was at once fascinated and puzzled by the city.
While old streets were giving way to new skyscrapers, it was not the visual changes that caught her attention.
One memorable female contestant, Ma Nuo, was once asked by a guy if she would like to go on a date with him and ride on the back of his bicycle; she famously responded, "I’d rather cry in the back of a BMW." She has since been banned from appearing on television. Previously, a drama discussing topics like China’s spiraling real-estate prices and local-government corruption, Wo Ju ("Dwelling Narrowness"), was taken off the air midway through the first season after it began to attract a large following.
Or, as the director of If You Are the One told me, "You can say whatever you want in China, as long as you’re not influential.
The format is copied from the British dating show Take Me Out.