We all have to admit that the annual Spring Festival Gala thingy on CCTV is a bit of a bore that’s full of sickeningly cheesy skits and shows featuring the same of bunch of underwhelming performers whose acts seem to be based on whether or not the sound man in the background can apply the correct Tom and Jerry-esque sound effect every time an act of apparent hilarity occurs. Obviously the goal here is to gently welcome in the new year with senses of “oooo don’t I feel warm inside” and “isn’t that just lovely” heavily applied in an attempt to divert the mind of any sane person into the realms of zombification whilst both television and home audiences clap simultaneously as if attending some cult ritual.
I’ve seen the same performers do the same things year after year – from the triangular faced Taiwanese magician (more on him later) who attempts to distract the audience from his incredibly ordinary card tricks by staring into the camera as if he actually believes he has hypnotic power, to the Laurel and Hardy-wannabe-but-not-quite-getting-there Dongbei duo who perform some domestic skit usually revolving around the misinterpretations between a patronisingly macho working class husband and his oh-so suffering cheery wife.
Of course, CCTV has incredible pulling power (ie money) and will never fail to bring in China’s best stars, with the occasional overseas figure popping up here and there such as real-life Titanic survivor Celine Dion and Mandarin speaking sex-symbol Da Shan.
But as its broadcasted to an audience over 1 billion people,the producers of the show know absolutely nothing can go wrong, and take extrasteps to ensure so especially as it’s a live TV show. When things do go wrong however, it’s hilarious, and this factor is what keeps me watching the gala each year. Aforementioned triangle-faced magician, otherwise known as Liu Qian or Lu Chen, was at the center of a mishap involving pianist Li Yundi, as they were in the middle of a stunningly original disappearing trick involving a curtain and said person behind said curtain not being there when said curtain is pulled open after a few seconds. During the trick, Liu Qian went over to the curtain and asked the affably shy Li Yundi if he was looking for co-worker Wang Leehom to join behind the curtain in an ever so risqué veiled reference to the hotly disputed homosexual relationship between Li and long term collaborator Wang.The homosexual joke comes from the lengthy amount of time the two spend together making music (ahem), and has been joked about before on Chinese forums.
What followed was an awkward smile by the ever-awkward Li,and then Liu eventually saying “sorry” to the audience as he tried to continue with his trick and forget the quip ever left his 3-sided mouth. There were reports about an enraged Wang confronting Liu and doing the only thing he could do to disprove he was homosexual by slapping Liu in the face, though this is just a rumour. As we’re all humans with a sense of humour, we can only pray that when watching shows like this that things can go wrong, and I like nothing better than to keep a keen eye on the dating shows and news programmes and laugh at their misfortunes as it makes my sordid little existence much more worthwhile.
Tags:Expat Rants & Advice Language & Culture Arts & Entertainment
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