The 5 most common ‘look’s in average Chinese TV drama
After a few weeks of treatment to various different types of Chinese TV dramas (and after several cases of my brain dribbling out of my ears), I’ve concluded that there are 5 common ‘look’s in a series that will always be there regardless of the time, place and situation.
#5- The ‘I-can’t-believe-I’m-actually-doing-this’ Look
This look usually only works on a male character, and is used as comic relief. The most likely situation for this is when a female character talks him into doing something he wouldn’t be caught dead doing usually. For example, in this one series, the male character is a wanted criminal (since he’s the main character, he is, of course, convicted wrongly), and he needs a disguise to get past palace guards. His sister dresses him up as a woman, and he does the ‘I-can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this’ look.
#4- The Pouty Look
The Pouty Look is a special look that can either make you laugh out loud, or puke into the nearest bin, depending on how good looking the actress is. And yes, it is a look that will only work on girls; otherwise it’ll just be strange. Unless the actor who is pouting is actually homosexual, then that’s okay.
This look can work well with the Look above, when the male character says that he doesn’t want to do whatever the female character suggested, enter the Pouty Look. Since the male character is a big softie, upon seeing the Pouty Look, he will have to go along with whatever the female character asks him to do. It can be very persuasive (it’s persuasion value is up there with the sad puppy dog face), and is used as often as possible, if the female character is manipulative enough.
#3- The Betrayed/Anguished Look
A winner for those smart yet naïve handsome guys. Occurs when the male character finds out that his best friend is actually working for the evil guys, and is about to saw the main character’s head off. It usually ends up with the evil best friend being stopped and killed just before he is about to make the fatal blow to the cute, naïve guy. But, hey, it’s a good opportunity for the whole ‘betrayed’ thing.
#2- The Slightly Sensual Look
IMPORTANT NOTE: Never try this yourself! And, guys, don’t even think about it; this look is reserved for girls. Pretty girls. I actually attempted this in front of a mirror (I am so vain), and it is so damn scary, I tell you.
This one only works when there is dramatic and/or sexual tension between characters (preferably male and female; Chinese TV dramas never really promote homosexuality). The situation usually is when the male and female main characters are both wounded and hiding out in a cave, and the male has to risk his life for one thing or another. At this point the female will attempt to stop him from getting himself killed, but because the male is heroic (moronic, more like), he refuses to listen and gives the ‘Tortured Look’ (see below) and says that he doesn’t want to leave her, but he has to do this because of a promise blah blah blah. So then the female character sheds a tear, and suddenly sexual tension fills the air, as it is most likely that it’s the last time the male and female character will ever see each other again (while, sitting in front of the TV, audiences yawn and make themselves some coffee). The male puts on the some soft expression and caress the female’s hand gently (false hope) and the female closes her eyes and parts her lips slightly (this is the ‘Slightly Sensual Look’ at work) while her breathing quickens, as she wishes for a first/last kiss. Then the male gets up and leaves. Therefore the female is crestfallen and cries herself silly on a rock.
#1- The Tortured Look
Well. I think everyone is familiar with the Tortured Look. Usually only works on male characters, but is actresses can handle their emotions well enough. This look occurs when the male character is in a moral dilemma, or when he is in pain. The best effect by a Tortured Look is when worn by a handsome actor. But be warned, those unfamiliar with the Tortured Look: be prepared for it; if it’s done right… very hot.
Some times the Tortured Look is very hard to imagine. Just think of Frodo in The Two Towers, when he’s in pain, and you will get the picture. That’s right. Now what did I say? Yes. Very hot.