Why did Tencent Video’s “Meng Hualu” become a popular TV series in China?

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Author | Weiwei

Editor | Jiang Yue

WeChat public account: Chief Character View (ID: sxrenwuguan)

“Menghualu” has become one of Tencent’s most promising projects in recent years.

Within Tencent, almost all of the projects previously considered to be S+ have failed: “Let’s Try the World” in 2022 with a score of 5.8, “Mrs. Dendrobium” in 2021 with a score of 4.8, and “You Fei” in 2020 with a score of 5.6.

Even “Thirty Only”, which was previously considered to be the predecessor of “Meng Hualu” – the two dramas also tell the story of the growth of the three sisters, and there are Tencent figures behind them, and only 6.6 points.

On the promotional poster of Tencent Video, the surprise for the unexpected arrival is directly written. At the beginning, the publicity was “new word-of-mouth drama”, then it became “high word-of-mouth new drama”, and now it is “the highest-scoring domestic drama of the year”. Although 2022 is only halfway through.

“Menghualu” fire accident. However, in the film and television industry, the unexpected explosion is the least unexpected thing. For example, Zheng Xiaolong, who filmed “The Legend of Zhen Huan” ten years ago, would not have thought that social media was full of short videos about the commentary of “The Legend of Zhen Huan”, while “Huanzhu Gege” 20 years ago was only after the filming of Qiong Yao. The condiment after the bitter scene.

It was only after looking back many years later that people were surprised that “The Legend of Zhen Huan” stepped on the rise of female consciousness, while “Han Zhu Ge Ge” revealed people’s resistance to authority and their courageous pursuit of love and freedom.

Now, the baton of the unexpected explosion has been passed to “Meng Hualu”, and the reason has become simple: Liu Yifei is very beautiful, Chen Xiao is also very beautiful, and the two beauties have been in love together, which is enough.

Disappointment and escape from reality make many people seek comfort in the memory of the good things in the past, and the fairy sister who is still beautiful is one of the symbols.

However, this unexpected success seems to be difficult to replicate in the next project.

01 Burst

“Menghualu”, which has risen all the way, ushered in a drop in points.

On June 9, after the 15th and 16th episodes of “Meng Hualu” were updated, the Douban score dropped from 8.8 to 8.7. Although the difference in scores is not big, it is a pot of “cold water” compared to “Meng Hualu”, which went from 8.3 to 8.8 in one week.

Behind the drop in points, the male and female protagonists’ career dramas overwhelmed emotional dramas. Zhao Paner, who was eager to be shown her love, got into a “cold war” with the male protagonist after getting the answer of “I don’t know” from Gu Qianfan and turned to start a career: As a teahouse owner who first came to Beijing, Zhao Paner won the tea fight The well-respected shopkeeper Hu has also won the capital for the teahouse to gain a firm foothold in the capital.

This seems a bit strange: why did the TV series originally intended to be an inspirational drama for women start to drop points as soon as it was inspired? Compared with inspiration and chicken blood, everyone seems to be more keen on CP. On the night of the update on June 9, some viewers left complaints about “why there is no love” in the barrage.

The enthusiasm of fans created the new CP “Gu Panshenghui” in the world of ancient puppet dramas, and in the end, these turned into high data and high scores for “Menghualu”. On Weibo, the super talk of “Gu Panshenghui” has 210 million reads and 10,000 posts, which is the most dazzling data and the only super talk of “Meng Hua Lu” on Weibo.

Everything is perfect, except for Yang Yang’s original intention, no one pays attention.

In July 2021, “Menghualu” was completed, and Yang Yang, who was used to working behind the scenes, sat in front of the camera and began to introduce “Menghualu”. “In the past few years, I have filmed a lot of male dramas, but in fact, I have always been eager to make a film that expresses women, that is, a film for ourselves. “Meng Hualu” is a very colorful female theme.”

Yang Yang left the focus of “feminine spirit” to the scene where the three sisters Zhao Pan’er were kicked out of the capital. It was the tenth episode of “Meng Hua Lu”. Zhao Pan’er’s ex-boyfriend was on the list, not only repented of marriage, but also falsely accused the three of extortion, and colluded with the officers and soldiers to drive the three out of Tokyo City by parading the public. When she left with a scarred face, Zhao Paner still said “it’s okay”. When talking about this, Yang Yang’s eyes kept looking upward to the right, that was her holding back tears.

One year later, on May 29, three days before the broadcast of “Menghualu”, the video was posted on Weibo by Menghualu’s official account.

Yang Yang’s narration and the live footage of “Meng Hualu” were edited into a 3 minutes and 50 seconds video, most of which were discussions on women’s growth. As for the time left for the male protagonist Chen Xiao, it was only 30 seconds. It was also Director Yang Yang who made records for the actors on the set.

In the film and television industry, the announcement a few days before the release of the feature film is regarded as the highlight of the marketing rhythm for setting the tone of the film. But soon, Tencent Video discovered the accident and made timely adjustments-as Tencent’s S+ project, as soon as “Menghualu” was launched, the poster occupied the C position on the homepage of Tencent Video. However, when it was just launched, the poster belonged to the three sisters, but now it has become a couple poster of Liu Yifei and Chen Xiao.

As for Yang Yang’s most impressive scene, it really became “hot” after the broadcast. However, the focus of the audience’s discussion became: Liu Yifei was still so beautiful even when walking through the streets in a sack.

This of course cannot blame the audience. After all, this TV series, which is about female growth, has exploded in popularity, and it has also been ridiculed on Douban because it looks down on women at the bottom and arbitrarily changes values ??such as Guan Hanqing’s original book “Save the Wind and Dust”.

In the original book, Zhao Pan’er is a prostitute who lives in the dust, but in the TV series, she has successfully escaped her nationality, and repeatedly emphasized that she has never used sex. Compared with the original work, this “girl saves the girl” scene has a lot less power.

Similar “purification” also appeared in this weekend’s updated plot. Zhao Paner and Gu Qianfan respectively clarified to each other how innocent their relationship history was. A little lady who said she never got along with her seriously. Its implied values ??are still the supremacy of pure love. It seems that only people with pure feelings are worthy of true love.

The reason behind the adaptation cannot be studied in detail. But what is certain is that although the score has slipped a little, for Liu Yifei and Chen Xiao, the score of 8.7 is enough to add a good number to their respective transcripts.

In the past, the works of the two starring separately rarely scored more than 7 points on Douban – “The Return of the Condor Heroes” starring Chen Xiao scored 4.9 points, and Liu Yifei’s “Three Lives, Three Worlds and Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms” scored 4.0 points. The only work of the latter with a score of 9.0 was “The Legend of Sword and Fairy” many years ago.

02 Return

On Douban, a short comment on “Meng Hualu” received more than 20,000 points: “First, it respects my eyes, and second, it respects my IQ.”

This comment is regarded as the best footnote to the explosion of “Menghualu”. In the puppet world, audience dissatisfaction with the lack of beauties has accumulated over the years. Correspondingly, Liu Yifei’s unexpected departure in the past and his unexpected return today.

All accidents are related to Hollywood.

In 2008, the first movie “King of Kung Fu” starred by Liu Yifei was released in Hollywood, with co-stars including Jackie Chan and Jet Li. With this film, she was spotted by Morris, the largest brokerage company in the United States at the time. Before Liu Yifei, the only Chinese actress they signed was Zhang Ziyi.

Liu Yifei is luckier than Zhang Ziyi.

Because Zhang Ziyi can’t speak English, Zhang Ziyi only has two lines in “Rush Hour”, and Liu Yifei, who grew up in the United States and has American nationality, is obviously not trapped by English. After the completion of “King of Kung Fu”, “Big Brother” Jackie Chan has praised Liu Yifei’s unlimited potential, but not because of her acting skills, but because she can speak English. This has also become one of the reasons why Morris signed with her in the future, and another reason is that Liu Yifei has a typical oriental face.

A Chinese who can speak English appeared in Hollywood, which used to be the light of the mainland entertainment circle.

The first mainland actress to embark on this road was Gong Li. She has been gone for 18 years from the explosion of “Red Sorghum” to her first Hollywood film “Memoirs of a Geisha”. The latecomer Zhang Ziyi is shorter. It took 3 years from the hit of “My Father and Mother” to entering Hollywood. What the two have in common is that before entering Hollywood, they already had masterpieces in their hands. Of course, the director was Zhang Yimou.

Liu Yifei was once considered the third person. After signing Morris, Chen Jinfei, who had a close relationship with Liu Yifei’s family, said in an interview with the media that Morris was chosen because they successfully made Zhang Ziyi popular in Hollywood. He expects that Liu Yifei can continue Zhang Ziyi’s success.

But Liu Yifei is not Zhang Ziyi. She did not meet her own Zhang Yimou. Before entering Hollywood, she lacked the training of professional directors. After entering Hollywood, she only played for a typical man like “The King of Kung Fu”.

In 2020, “Mulan” will be released worldwide. As the last Hollywood movie that Liu Yifei is currently starring in, this is a typical female theme, starring Liu Yifei, and also invited Jet Li and Gong Li to co-star. Unfortunately, on the one hand, due to cultural differences, “Mulan” has not been recognized by Chinese audiences. On the other hand, due to the impact of the epidemic, “Mulan” can only be broadcast on Disney’s streaming media in the end, with a popcorn score of 5.7. The score (a foreign professional film scoring website) is also mediocre.

More than ten years ago, Chinese actors pursued their dreams of Hollywood in order to gain recognition from the mainstream film industry. Hollywood opened its doors to welcome Chinese stars because of China’s booming consumption power – Harry Potter series, Disney series and Marvel series have all received hundreds of millions of box office in China.

But now, with the epidemic and other reasons, the film market in China and even the world is in a downturn. In the Dragon Boat Festival just past, although the box office number 1 was still from Hollywood’s “Bad Guys”, the box office results of more than 65 million still seemed lonely. On the first day of the Dragon Boat Festival, the box office market was only 72.996 million, which was the same as that of a year ago. Compared with the 153 million box office, it is almost halved.

Just a week ago, Disney CEO Bob said when talking about the company’s second-quarter financial report that while the Chinese market is currently complex, he also expressed confidence that even without the Chinese market, Disney movies can still succeed.

Under the changing circumstances, Liu Yifei may have understood her own limitations, or she may no longer have hope for the increasingly cold film market. “Sister Fairy”, who has been away for 16 years, chooses to return to her comfort zone: the ancient puppet TV series.

03 Guarantee

When filming “The Condor Heroes”, 17-year-old Liu Yifei was often accompanied by her mother, and even the pair of invulnerable gloves in the play were sewn by her mother stitch by stitch.

Liu Yifei has been living under careful protection. In addition to promoting the film, she rarely gives interviews, and she has never been seen in the hot variety show market in recent years. A reporter went to her hometown of Wuhan and tried to interview her past classmates and teachers, but found nothing except that Liu Yifei had indeed spent elementary school in Wuhan. According to the school, Liu Yifei’s family has repeatedly communicated with the school, prohibiting any disclosure of her privacy.

Careful care has made Liu Yifei’s “fairy sister” temperament. When interviewed by the media, Liu Yifei always maintains a posture: leaning forward, focusing her eyes, and slightly curling her lips, no matter what questions the other party asks, it is difficult to cause her mood swings.

Once, some media tried to inquire about rumors about her past – after “The Legend of Condor Heroes” exploded, there were rumors that she was a “transgender” and her rumors with Chen Jinfei.

In the face of reporters’ questions, she once answered, “If others don’t write like this, the manuscript will not be released.” Only in an interview with Sohu in 2012, did he say “actually I’m a man”. Then he asked the reporter, “Do you believe it?” She was still smiling, and it was difficult to detect whether she was angry or joking. However, the video has now been taken down.

On the Internet, Liu Yifei’s fans have set up a Weibo chat and APP called “Crystal Home” to share all kinds of news about Liu Yifei.

The release of “Menghualu” has made the “Crystal Home”, which has been silent for many years, become active. In the APP, the most discussed is Liu Yifei’s appearance. Stills, as well as hand-paintings derived from stills, continue to spread in the community.

Focus on appearance, this was the consensus of many Liu Yifei fans. Now, this has also become the consensus of all the audiences of “Meng Hualu”.

Psychologist Cui Qinglong once wrote on Weibo: People are often unable to make choices that satisfy themselves, because we don’t know what the options we face more mean to us, until we Be happy for it, or pay for it.

In the post-pandemic era, people who are eager to build a stable order have begun to choose collective nostalgia and seize a certain certainty in the past. Liang Wendao gave a clearer explanation for this: when we can’t get the answer in reality, we can only go back and ask.

So, missing the old world has become a new wealth.

Almost at the same time as the explosion of “Meng Hualu”, Wang Xinling’s popularity in “Sister Riding the Wind and Waves” was only because many years passed and Wang Xinling was still a “sweet girl”. Not only in China, but two nostalgic events will also take place abroad in 2021. One is the reunion of the “Friends” six-member group after 17 years, and the other is the return of the main creators of “Harry Potter” to Huo Huo. gwarts.

Internet companies soon joined the fight over the old world. In 2021, “Aiyou Teng”, which bought “Friends”, issued an online notice on Weibo, and the caliber consistently stated that it was the first broadcast. In addition, the video account that gave Zhang Xiaolong a headache for a long time, with the launch of the Xicheng Boys nostalgic series of concerts, finally opened the short video gap.

“Menghualu” will start filming in early 2021. AI Finance and Economics confirmed to relevant Tencent personnel that initially Tencent did not have such expectations for “Menghualu”, but the market has unexpectedly pushed “Menghualu” into it.

However, for Liu Yifei herself, there is also a crisis behind the surprise: Occasionally being a “fairy sister” will make the audience fall into a nostalgic filter, but once you go on for a long time, you will inevitably face acting skills. Picky. After all, the more times the angels go down to earth, they become mortals who fall in love with Dong Yong.

This may also be something that all viewers caught in the nostalgic wave should be wary of: no matter how memorable the old days are, they cannot really be an outlet for a new life. When we stand in front of the door of nostalgia, we don’t have to block it, but we don’t have to walk completely through it.

One thought on “Why did Tencent Video’s “Meng Hualu” become a popular TV series in China?

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