The reason for the global success of ‘Take Me Out’, a dating-show with 19 international editions. is simply because viewers like to follow the love lives of strangers. In China, it’s more than that. In China, parents attend marriage conventions to find prospective partners for their children. In China, women demand of a man to provide a house, a job and a car, before they consider marriage. In China, the speed and efficiency of ‘Take Me Out’ turns out to be ideal. In the three years since its conception, the show has become China’s biggest matchmaker.
The show does more than just connection two people - it also helps its audience to navigate the troubled waters of China’s romantic scene. The Chinese edition features two love coaches who, together with the show’s host and participants, discuss sensitive topics left unspoken in daily life. Is cheating ever acceptable? How many material demands can the bride make? Should the parents-in-law live together with the new couple? The discussions are often continued off screen amongst friends, or on the internet. Mr. Chen, a loyal viewer, would discuss it with his Chinese colleagues at the Chinese tourist agency he worked for in Nice, France.
More than a year ago, Mr. Chen guided a group of tourists that turned out to be the producers of the popular TV-show. They were in Nice, where Mr. Chen has lived for the past ten years, to make a special episode for Chinese immigrants in France. When they asked Chen whether he wanted to participate, he said yes straight away.
“I had been alone for ten years already. I didn’t have that much to lose.”
Published in NRC. next, Dutch national newspaper.