2016-01-05upper intermediate

Recommended Chinese Variety Shows

Do you like watching Chinese variety shows?
Watching TV shows can be a great way to improve your Chinese listening skills and learn new words. But sometimes it can be hard to find a show that fits your level of Chinese. In this post we recommend some popular Chinese variety shows, suitable for learners of different levels.

First, let’s see how you can use Chinese to ask a friend whether they like to watch variety shows or not.

Hover over any word to show translation
you
ài
to love, to be fond of
kàn
to look at, to watch
zōng yì
综艺
綜藝
variety show
jié mù
节目
節目
program
ma
(question particle for "yes-no" questions)
 

Do you like to watch variety shows?

Character set
Pinyin

Alright, that wasn't too hard. Now let's take a look at some popular variety shows.

Recommendation 1: 爸爸去哪儿(Where Are We Going, Dad?)

Suitable for intermediate to upper intermediate learners.

"Where Are We Going, Dad?" is an outdoor reality show which is currently on its third season. Let’s first learn how to say the name of the show in Chinese.

Hover over any word to show translation
 
 
bà ba
爸爸
爸爸
(informal) father, daddy
to go
nǎ'r
哪儿
哪兒
where
 
shì
is, are
one, a
ge
classifier for people or objects in general
hù wài
户外
戶外
outdoor
zhēn rén xiù
真人秀
真人秀
reality show (loanword)
jié mù
节目
節目
program
 

"Where Are We Going, Dad?" is an outdoor reality show.

Character set
Pinyin

In the program, famous fathers travel together with their children to unfamiliar places and are given different challenges they must clear. For many of the dads, who live busy schedules, it is the first time taking care of the children on their own, and their inexperience looking after their children causes a lot of commotion. The program is a very light-hearted fun show about the relationship between the fathers and their children, and is very popular in China.
Because the program has children in it, the conversations are relatively simple; the talking speed is relatively slow and some subtitles even have pinyin. It is therefore suitable also for learners who have only studied Chinese for a while. It is easy to follow along even if you cannot understand everything that is said.

You can watch "Where Are We Going, Dad?" on HunanTV's official YouTube channel.

Recommendation 2: 非诚勿扰(If You Are The One)

Suitable for advanced learners.

"If You Are The One" is a large-scale dating and friendship program, which started in 2010 and is broadcast every Saturday. Let’s first learn how to say the name of the show in Chinese.

Hover over any word to show translation
 
 
fēi chéng wù rǎo
非诚勿扰
非誠勿擾
serious inquiries only
 
shì
is, are
one, a
ge
classifier for people or objects in general
dà xíng
大型
大型
large-scale
de
(used after an attribute)
hūn liàn
婚恋
婚戀
love and marriage
jiāo yǒu
交友
交友
to make friends
jié mù
节目
節目
program
 

"If You Are The One" is a large-scale dating and friendship program.

Character set
Pinyin

The show has 24 single women who decide whether the male guests can stay or not by turning on or off their lamps. If there are any women who still have their light on at the end of all the stages, the male guest and one of the women are declared a couple.

The program contains self introductions given by the male guests, and a section where the male and female guests question each other. Basically all the terminology used are everyday words. By watching this show, you learn not only commonly used words about dating and friendship, but also learn how contemporary young Chinese men and women think about love and marriage.

You can watch "If You Are The One" on JiangsuTV's official YouTube channel.

Recommendation 3: 快乐大本营(Happy Camp)

Suitable for master or higher level learners.

"Happy Camp" is a game show about daily life, which started in 1997 and is broadcast every Saturday. Let’s see how you say the name of the show in Chinese.

Hover over any word to show translation
 
 
kuài lè
快乐
快樂
happy, merry
dà běn yíng
大本营
大本營
headquarters, base camp
 
shì
is, are
one, a
ge
classifier for people or objects in general
to use, by
yóu xì
游戏
遊戲
game, to play
wéi zhǔ
为主
為主
to rely mainly on
 
tiē jìn
贴近
貼近
to press close to, to snuggle close
shēng huó
生活
生活
life, activity
de
(used after an attribute)
jié mù
节目
節目
program
 

"Happy Camp" is mainly a game show close to daily life.

Character set
Pinyin

Each season, the show invites new popular Chinese guests to participate in different simple contests. For example, in a recent episode the guests were divided into two teams, and competed in guessing the names of the songs that were played. Sometimes the losing team is given a punishment, like having to drink a very sour drink. The show's purpose is mainly just to entertain its viewers.

The host speaks relatively fast, sometimes even using dialect or internet slang words. If you can perfectly understand what the host is saying and understand all the jokes, then that shows that your Mandarin is already as good as a Chinese person.

Happy Camp is available on HunanTV's official YouTube channel.

What are you waiting for? Hurry up and go watch some Chinese TV!