Following the success of its first season, Chinese Dating with the Parents is back on Australian shores to provide entertaining, hilarious and sometimes “too close to home” scenarios of what it’s like when your parents show an unnecessarily high level of interest in your love life.
This season, the show has a new host, the ubiquitous Meng Fei, host of another hit Chinese dating show If You Are the One. His funny quips and sound advice have the bizarre ability to resound with both older and younger generations alike. And in each episode, hopefuls looking for love will enlist his help in order to be matched with a possible suitor.
However, there is a twist...
Instead of meeting their potential suitors face to face à la If You Are The One, the potential matches are locked away in another room. Here, they watch the events unfold from a television screen while their parents take center stage, posing questions to the candidates of the week and deciding whether they are worthy of proceeding through the rounds to eventually meet their children.
This show is insanely popular in mainland China and is sure to be a hit in Australia as well. Viewers will be able to take solace in the fact that no matter what the culture or language, you can always count on your parents to embarrass you in front of your crush.
Chinese Dating with the Parents makes for compelling viewing because the hidden-from-sight matches feel helpless in controlling how their parents view the potential suitors. Though they can communicate with their parents and Meng Fei by telephone, miscommunication still happens and the matches often watch wistfully as their parents let yet another viable candidate slip away.
Of course, the opposite scenario happens just as often, where the parents get along a little too well with the contestants. Nothing turns you off a potential suitor faster than learning that your slightly out-of-touch dad thinks “he’s a really cool guy”.
The show also highlights what modern day life in China is like – and dispels some long-held stereotypes. For example, it’s often thought that Asian parents are cold and distant, only wanting their children to study hard and become doctors, engineers, lawyers or a prized combination of all three. Happily, Chinese Dating with the Parents shows a more affectionate and playful side of Chinese parents not often captured for cultural outsiders to appreciate.
It also uplifting to see that all around the world, (China included), expectations for women are changing for the better: women are encouraged to have their own careers and successes with many of the suitors listing “independent women” as a favoured type.
We even see that the men on the show are recognising the need to be domesticated. In the first episode, a suitor who knows his way around the kitchen is deemed a keeper, which is a valuable lesson for everyone:
Find a partner who can cook. Looks fade, hunger doesn’t.
Chinese Dating with the Parents airs Sundays at 12PM on SBS VICELAND.