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Will the US love Zhenhuan? - The Chinese doubt it
The Chinese doubt it

News surfaced January 23 on Weibo, China’s twitter-like social platform, that the hottest TV series of 2012 in mainland China as well as in Taiwan, a historical show called 甄嬛传, or Legend of Zhenhuan, as translated by the ardent fans, is going to be exported to the US, which soon attracted a tide of ridicules from the Chinese Weibo users.

Screenshot of the Chinese TV show Legend of Zhenhuan, a historical fiction about Zhenhuan's (a concubine of Emperor Yong Zheng in the Qing Dynasty) transformation from an innocent girl to a shrewd woman in the coldblooded scheming and confrontations of the Qing royal Inner Palace, is on its way to the American audience, according to the lastest news. Photo: weibo.com

Allegedly, director of the show Zheng Xiaolong @郑晓龙 revealed on the afternoon of January 22 that a contract is being drafted which will allow an unnamed American company to edit the show into six TV movies to be broadcast on mainstream US TV channels. Zheng also said that the company will edit the drama, add more shots, and recreate the background music. The Chinese side will not be involved in any of the said processes, because they are not savvy about the American watching habit.

As to why the company decided to import the drama, it was said the company believes there is a market for such a show in the English-speaking world. To which, Zheng added that the popularity of the show in China was based on the correct core values it conveys.

Also revealed was information such as the original drama has already been aired on Chinese TV channels in the U.S. with a limited audience. The English version of the drama, however, will be broadcast on mainstream TV channels in the U.S. "This represents a true ‘walking out (of China)’ for us", Zheng said. Yet he did not mention on what channels will the re-edited version of the show broadcast.

The lack of concrete information in this piece of news did not arouse much suspicion among the Chinese Weibo users, who are busy making fun of it.

@NY shopping talent(纽约购物达人): Wow, this is “counterattack” in its true sense! I will organize my American colleagues to learn about the Chinese imperial harem culture!

@Jessica_Jiajia(Jessica_加加):What a load of crap. Perhaps they could watch them as documentaries after the editing: 1. Talent Show; 2. Wedding Night; 3. Eunuch & Maid; 4. Affairs & Blood Test; 5. Poison; 6. Positions of concubines.

The majority of the responses are centered on two things, one of them is translation. It wasn’t mentioned whether the English version of the show will be dubbed or subtitled. Either way, the Chinese are curious about how it will manage to maintain the feel of the original script, which gave rise to the popular internet slang Zhenhuan Style. The most quoted line of Zhenhuan Style that people challenges the Americans to try and translate is this one: 贱人就是矫情, which, according to @江烈农, should be: “Bitches gonna bitch”. But he also said the official translation, in line with the spirit of the Chinese censorship, might perhaps be something like this: “what a pretentious wretch”...

The slashing of the volume of the show is another concern of the Chinese. The original show is a 76-episode series, which, to many people, simply cannot be compressed into 6 TV movies.

@BeastMa: Six episodes? Why don’t they just make something like “Understand Zhenhuan in Six Minutes” and put it on Youtube?


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