Chiung Yao's dizzying TV dialogue

In this widely-mocked clip from Chiung Yao's new TV show Dreams Link, Wang Ziling (Zhang Jiani) tells Fei Yunfan (Alex Fong) why she's so dizzy. See below for background and a transcript.

Here's a transcript of the first half of that clip:

Ziling: Yunfan, the car's got me dizzy!
Yunfan: How can you be carsick? This is a horse-drawn carriage. Do you have heatstroke? Do you have a fever?
Ziling: I'm not that kind of dizzy! I'm sitting here in this carriage, riding on a tree-lined boulevard, and I'm dizzy from happiness, dizzy from intoxication, dizzy from enjoyment, so that's why I'm carsick! In fact, I've been dizzy ever since we first came to Provence! When I entered the Dream Garden, I was dizzy! When I saw the new house with the pearl curtain, I was dizzy! When I saw the castle, I was dizzy! When I saw the fields of lavender, I was dizzy, too! When I saw the mountain village, I was even more dizzy! I'm simply dizzy!
Yunfan: OK. Be dizzy! I'm here at your side; if you faint, I'll hold you tight!

The rest, as you probably can gather from the emotive acting, involves a mawkish declaration of love.

The clip comes from the 22nd episode of Dreams Link (又见一帘幽梦), a remake of Chiung Yao's popular 1995 TV series "Fantasies Behind the Pearl Curtain" that just concluded its run on Hunan TV. The plot, without going into all of the melodrama: Ziling used to be infatuated with a man named Chulian, who ended up marrying her sister Luping in the aftermath of a car accident. Here, Ziling is gradually falling in love with Yunfan, a family friend she met on a trip to France (there are some clips on Youtube subtitled in English).

Ziling's rapturous dizziness in this scene - she says the word thirteen times - caught the attention of the sort of people who love to complain about sentimental soaps. Chiung has a reputation for writing saccharine dialogue for her novels and TV shows, but in this instance, many people felt that she had taken the typical Chiung Yao style to excess. The mainland's entertainment media picked up on it and republished forum posts mocking the scene.

In an exclusive interview with Southern Metropolis Weekly, Chiung explained her writing style:

Southern Metropolis Weekly: Auntie Chiung Yao....many people online have said that the dialogue in Dreams Link is especially dizzying and fake.
Chiung Yao: That's the way I talk! Is speech on the mainland so different from the language I speak? I go online, too, and I've never seen such confusion on the part of the audience.

SMW: But everyone thinks your dialogue is too exaggerated, like when Ziling says "dizzy" 13 times in a row.
Chiung: Exaggerated? But she is an exaggerating person; she overdoes everything. Should I use "intoxicated" rather than "dizzy"? "Dizzy" is the most colloquial, most appropriate word, and using it 13 times in a row expresses her feeling at the time.

SMW: On your blog you wrote, "If I am too Chiung Yao, you'll think it nauseating. If I'm not Chiung Yao enough, you'll find it strange." Are you afraid of being too nauseating?
Chiung: I'm afraid that my way of speaking is different from everyone else. But I think that the language of a TV series has gone through careful consideration; this language does not represent the lives of normal people. For example, you can ask your husband, "What time will you be home for dinner?" This is the language of normal life. But when you're in Provence, or if you go to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, you're not going to still be speaking the language of normal life. When you're at the Eiffel Tower, you'll be speaking the language of the Eiffel Tower.

Later, Chiung wrote on her blog in defense of her word choice. An excerpt:

The hardest thing about writing a script is the dialogue. So what I work hardest at writing is the dialogue. I have lots of "improvised" dialogue that I bring out when I write a script; there is no particular design to it. Many people say that my dialogue is so "Chiung Yao-ish" that it's even hard to "imitate." These years, many people have copied me, to the point that "more Chiung Yao than Chiung Yao" has been used as a promotional line for a TV show. As for the Chiung Yao-style, "thunderous love" vocabulary, it's become the "common" language of daily life and can be found in lots of TV shows. At first, when I first used it, there were people who said, "There's thunderous war, but what in the world is thunderous love?"

In the course of the plot, Ziling has come to Provence with Yunfan. This is a beautiful place, but even more than the setting, it is Yunfan's heart that should rock your world! So many surprises, so many unexpected things, Ziling is simply dizzy from being so dizzy! She's intoxicated, overjoyed, shocked, and moved. How is one 晕 enough? Even thirteen aren't enough! (When I wrote this screenplay, the 晕 character came out automatically and I simply picked it up, and then felt that it was incredibly appropriate. Now I feel that it is my "masterstroke"!) One day, when this 晕 of mine becomes a term used by everyone, do not forget that it came from Chiung Yao!

The entertainment media took great pleasure in pointing out that in her defense of the scene, Chiung had used 晕 22 times.

Two days later, after receiving a torrent of responses from mainland readers who pointed out that 我晕 is already part of online slang (though with connotations of indignation rather than excitement), she posted a slightly sarcastic follow-up (in simplified characters, no less):

I'm astonished at how enthusiastically you've responded to my word games. I've collected a bunch of words, but don't forget that Ziling starts off with "carsick" (晕车); if I use word you recommend, like "drunk" (醉), "collapse" (倒), "dazed" (迷), or "staggering" (晃)...these words don't take into consideration the first half of the sentence! Keep up the brainstorming! I love you!

Chiung's made an effort to keep pace with the times in this revision of Pearl Curtain - she added in scenes of SMS use and online messaging, and British alternative band Placebo appears on the cover of a magazine in one episode - but the consensus seems to be that it's all just window-dressing that doesn't change the essential impossibility of her romantic situations.

Chiung's countless TV shows are also known for launching the careers of a string of actresses, from Brigitte Lin in the 1970s through Vicki Zhao and Ruby Lin in the My Fair Princess series of the late 90s. Will Dreams Link do the same for Zhang Jiani and Qin Lan, or are audiences today too jaded to be taken in by sentimental love stories?

The final episode won its timeslot last weekend; approximately 82 million people saw Ziling say "I love you, I love you" over and over (recalling, of course, Shuhuan's similar declaration to Yiping in Romance in the Rain in 2001). It seems that, at least on the mainland, Auntie Chiung still has it.

Links and Sources
There are currently 6 Comments for Chiung Yao's dizzying TV dialogue.

Comments on Chiung Yao's dizzying TV dialogue


Dizzy from being so dizzy? 晕头转向

That's pretty good, Spelunker. I'll make the change.

How vomitous.

this film is so romantic. I love it so much.
the girls are so pretty, the mans are so handsome.
the story can touch my heart to believe
that in this world still have a great love
thanx to auntie qiong yao for her beautiful love story.

dreams link...i'm very like it...very romantic...

China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
From 2008
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
Danwei Archives