It seems that CCTV’s reputation has gone up in flames along with its building. But the recently burned building is not the only reason CCTV is under fire from netizens. Blogger Nuo Ying (偌盈) pointed out a cultural problem reflected in the dramas in the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, the premier television program aired over the recent Lunar New Year’s Eve, translated by CDT’s Linjun Fan:
It is said that the playwrights for the Spring Festival Gala are the best artists in the country, and that the program is produced under strict supervision and many levels of inspection by officials.
However, I find that many of the dramas in the Gala center on acts of deceit, or even sing the praises of so-called well-intentioned lies. The characters who told lies usually ended up achieving their goals, and were portrayed to be noble heroes.
Let’s briefly review the popular dramas that contain elements of deceit:
1. The first Gala drama that Song Dandan played a role in centered on deceit… The story went like this: A lazy man in a village was trying to find a wife. The village head introduced him to a girl and invited the girl to visit the man’s house. The man was so poor that there was no furniture in the house. So he and the village head made a fake TV set and fake sofa out of paper boxes before the girl’s arrival, and pretended to be rich. The plot of the drama was created largely on deceit. This drama was aired 20 years ago. It set a tone for later shows, many of which borrowed the theme of deceit from it.
2. Another well-known actress, Gao Xiumin, also made her debut in a drama that started with cheating. Gao played the role of a middle-aged woman who went to buy a shirt for her husband at a clothing shop. The shop keeper cheated her by selling her a shirt whose two sleeves didn’t have identical lengths. But it turned out that the shirt fit her husband very well, because his arms had different lengths due to a stroke. Thus both sides were happy in the end.
3. There was a popular drama in 2007 which was named Scheme, played by several celebrities, Zhao Benshan, Song Dandan and Niu Qun. Three characters in the drama planned a scheme and pretended that they found a magic rooster that could lay eggs. Using deceitful tactics and telling lies, they successfully sold this rooster to a credulous customer.
4. Another drama in 2007 was named False Words and True Love. You see, they clearly sang praises full of lies. The belief is that lies are wonderful if they are well-intentioned and told out of love.
5. Kids were encouraged to tell lies in another drama. A father asked his son to tell lies to his grandfather to please the old man. The boy was actually bored by his grandfather’s story, which he had told many times. But he pretended to like the story very much, and even cheered for it, in order to make the grandfather happy.
6. In one drama, a mother helped her son to court a girl by telling lies, and the son ended up winning the girl’s heart.
7. Another widowed mother resorted to cheating to show her love for her son. She asked a vendor to pretend to be her partner, in order to assure the son that she enjoyed herself in life, when the son came to visit her from overseas.
8. The dramas that best represent swindling are the ones produced by Zhao Benshan. In a series of dramas, the character he played swindled a credulous man three times in a row, selling him crutches, wheelchairs, and stretchers that the man didn’t need at all. Thus he made the phrase Hu You (swindling) known in every corner of the country.
Several dramas at this year’s Spring Festival Gala inherited this “core value” of deceit.
1. In the drama Ji Xiang San Bao, a maid fell in love with a security guard but their relationship was opposed by her brother. The girl planned a scheme to change the brother’s mind, using tactics such as false suicide, and she succeeded in winning his sympathy.
2. The drama Huang Dou Huang was also centered on deceit. The main character didn’t get a chance to watch the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, but he lied about it, in order not to disappoint his village head and an important client. Although his lie was disclosed by the end, he was still portrayed as a good figure.
3. In the drama Beijing Welcomes You, after one female character swindled another person of his volunteer outfit, she gladly said, “it’s so easy to swindle him.” Many in the audience laughed at her words. She found out later that the person was actually a fake volunteer — he put on the outfit of his son and walked around the streets to show it off. But both of them were praised as righteous and kind people in the end of the drama.
4. Zhao Benshan’s drama continued to center around deceit at this year’s Gala. The character he played asked a waiter to tell lies for him after paying the young man money.
I could bring up so many dramas that centered on deceit off the top of my head, without doing any serious research. None of them criticized or denounced cheating. All of them sang praise full of lies. Is this the main theme of our society? Is this our core value? It seems that lies and deceit have entered deep into their bones, so they take it for granted and even take pride in it.
Is there any hope for such country?