TV Dating as a Mediated Dating Text

  • Chao Yang


This chapter employs an active audience reception framework to explore Chinese youth’s understanding of and attitudes towards the most popular reality TV dating programme in post-reform China. As an open-ended dating text, the TV dating programme If You Are the One becomes a site for Chinese youth to carry out diverse examinations regarding its authenticity and further serves as an important modern template for the audience to decode love and romance in an everyday setting. By examining audiences’ understandings about the interests of the production team and the ‘ordinary’ guests, the role of reality TV, especially the dating programme in audiences’ identity construction, is explored.


  1. Andrejevic, M. (2004) Reality TV: The Work of Being Watched. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  2. Bandura, A. (1986) Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (2001) Social Cognitive Theory of Mass Communication. Media Psychology. 3 (3), pp. 265–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bauman, Z. (2003) Liquid Love: On the Frailty of Human Bonds. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bonner, F. (2003) Ordinary Television: Analyzing Popular TV. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Bourdieu, P. (1984) Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  7. Buss, D. M. (1994) The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  8. Buss, D. M. & Barnes, M. (1986) Preferences in Human Mate Selection. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 50 (3), pp. 559–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cheng, H., Ji, J. L. & Wen, S. M. (2000) Mental Health Hotline Services in Shanghai between 1995 and 1999. Chinese Journal of Clinical Psychology. 8, pp. 150–152. (In Chinese).Google Scholar
  10. Corner, J. (2002) Performing the Real: Documentary Diversions. Television and New Media. 2(3), pp. 255–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Curtin, M. (2007) Playing to the World’s Biggest Audience: The Globalization of Chinese Film and TV. London: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  12. Dovey, J. (2000) Freakshow: First Person Media and Factual Television. London: Pluto.Google Scholar
  13. Ellingson, L. L. (2009) Engaging Crystallization in Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fiske, J. (1987) Television Culture. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  15. Fiske, J. (1989) Reading Popular Culture. London: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
  16. Gerbner, G. (1998) Cultivation Analysis: An Overview. Mass Communication & Society. 1 (3–4), pp. 175–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gerbner, G., Gross, L., Morgan, M. & Signorielli, N. (1980) Some Additional Comments on Cultivation Analysis. Public Opinion Quarterly. 44 (3), pp. 408–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gerbner, G., Gross, L., Morgan, M., Signorielli, N. & Shanahan, J. (2002) Growing up with Television: Cultivation Processes. In: J. Bryant & D. Zillmann, eds. Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 34–49.Google Scholar
  19. Graves, J. L. & Kwan, S. (2012) Is There Really ‘More to Love’?: Gender, Body and Relationship Scripts in Romance-Based Reality Television. Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society. 1 (1), pp. 47–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gray, J. (2009) Cinderella Burps: Gender, Performativity, and the Dating Show. In: S. Murray, & L. Ouellette, eds. Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture. New York: New York University Press, pp. 260–277.Google Scholar
  21. Habermas, J. (1989) The Structural Transformation of The Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  22. Hall, S. (1980) Encoding/Decoding. In: S. Hall et al. eds. Culture, Media, Language. London: Hutchinson, pp. 128–138.Google Scholar
  23. Hartley, J. (1999) Uses of Television. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Hermes, J. (2006) Hidden Debates: Rethinking the Relationship between Popular Culture and the Public Sphere. Javnost-the public. 13 (4), pp. 27–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Higgins, L. T., Zheng, M., Liu, Y. L. & Sun, C. H. (2002) Attitudes to Marriage and Sexual Behaviours: A Survey of Gender and Culture Differences in China and United Kingdom. Sex Roles. 46 (3/4), pp. 75–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hill, A. (2005) Reality TV: Audiences and Popular Factual Television. Oxon: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hill, A. (2008) Restyling Factual TV: Audiences and News, Documentary and Reality Genres. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Hobson, D. (1982) Crossroads: The Drama of a Soap Opera. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  29. Huang, H. Y. (1998) The Impact of Social Change on Family and Marriage in China. In: U. P. Gie1en & A. L. Comunian, eds. The Family and Family Therapy in International Perspective. Trieste: Edizioni Lint Trieste.Google Scholar
  30. Hymes, D. (1972) On Communicative Competence. In: J. B. Pride & J. Holmes, eds. Sociolinguistics. Harmondsworth: Penguin, p. 269–293.Google Scholar
  31. Keane, M. (2002) As a Hundred Television Formats Bloom, a Thousand Television Stations Contend. Journal of Contemporary China. 11 (30), pp. 5–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kilborn, R. (2003) Staging the Real: Factual TV Programming in the Age of Big Brother. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Li, B. (2011) Modern Dating Age: Functional TV Dating Shows [online]. 6PM Journal of Digital Research & Publishing, pp. 17–24. Available from: [Accessed 26 December 2015]
  34. Li, X. P. (2001) Significant Changes in the Chinese Television Industry and Their Impact in the PRC: An Insider’s Perspective [online]. Washington, D.C.: Working Paper of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, the Brookings Institution. Available from:[Accessed 27 December 2015].Google Scholar
  35. Liebes, T. & Katz, E. (1990) The Export of Meaning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Livingstone, S. & Lunt, P. (1994) Talk on Television: Audience Participation and Public Debate. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Morley, D. (1989) Changing Paradigms in Audience Studies. In: E. Seiter, H. Borchers, G. Kreutzner & E. M. Warth, eds. Remote Control: Television, Audience, and Cultural Power. London: Routledge, pp. 16–43.Google Scholar
  38. Murray, S. & Ouellette, L. (2009) Introduction. In: S. Murray & L. Ouellette, eds. Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture. New York: New York University Press, pp. 1–22.Google Scholar
  39. Osburg, J. (2013) Anxious Wealth: Money and Morality among China’s New Rich. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Osburg, J. (2014) Tough Love: Money and Mistresses in the Middle Kingdom [online]. Foreign Affairs. 12 June. Available from: [Accessed 26 December 2015]
  41. Ouellette, L. & Hay, J. (2008) Better Living through Reality TV: Television and Post-welfare Citizenship. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.Google Scholar
  42. Richardson, L. (2000) Writing: A Method of Inquiry. In: N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln, eds. Handbook of Qualitative Research. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 923–948.Google Scholar
  43. Rojek, C. (2001) Celebrity. London: Reaktion.Google Scholar
  44. Skeggs, B. (1992) The Media. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  45. Sun, W. & Zhao, Y. (2009) Television Culture with ‘Chinese Characteristics’: The Politics of Compassion and Education. In: G. Turner & J. Tay, eds. Television Studies after TV: Understanding Post-Broadcast Television. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 96–104.Google Scholar
  46. Syvertsen, T. (2001) Ordinary People in Extraordinary Circumstances: A Study of Participants in Television Dating Games. Media, Culture & Society. 23 (3), pp. 319–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Townsend, J. M. & Wasserman, T. (1998) Sexual Attractiveness: Sex Differences in Assessment and Criteria. Evolution and Human Behavior. 19 (3), pp. 171–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Turner, G. (2006) The Mass Production of Celebrity: Celetoids, Reality TV and the ‘Demotic Turn’. International Journal of Cultural Studies. 9 (2), pp. 153–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Turner, G. (2010) Ordinary People and the Media: The Demotic Turn. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  50. Van Leeuwen, T. (2001) What is Authenticity? Discourse Studies. 3 (4), pp. 392–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Walden, G. (1997) Flaming Optimist. (Sociologist Jean Baudrillard). New Statesman. 126 (4336), p. 22.Google Scholar
  52. Wang, J. (2011) The Popularity of Dating TV Reality Shows in China: On the Perspective of Audience. Jönköping University, unpublished master thesis.Google Scholar
  53. Xu, X. Q. (1996) The Discourse on Love, Marriage, and Sexuality in Post-Mao China: A Reading of the Journalistic Literature on Women. Positions. 4 (2), pp. 381–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Zelizer, V. (2005) The Purchase of Intimacy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Zhang, X. C. (2012) An Intercultural Case Analysis of Chinese TV Dating Programs, International Journal of Arts and Commerce, 1 (3), pp. 1–9.Google Scholar
  56. Zhao, B. J. (2002) An Investigation and Study of University Students’ Outlook on Marriage and Love. Chinese Journal of Clinical Psychology. 10, pp. 111–113. (In Chinese).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chao Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.Renmin University of ChinaBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations