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解密《纸牌屋》中国情节

更新时间:2014-2-18 13:34:57 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

China's Unusually Realistic Role in 'House of Cards'
解密《纸牌屋》中国情节

Warning: This post contains mild spoilers

Not since counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer stormed the Chinese consulate in the fourth season of '24' has there been a major story line about China featured on a mainstream U.S. TV series.

U.S.-China relations are front and center in the new season of 'House of Cards,' which has scheming U.S. Vice President Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, backchanneling with a corrupt Chinese businessman. The show's 13-episode second season was simultaneously released Friday on Netflix Inc.'s online-video-streaming service in the U.S. and on Sohu.com Inc.'s service in China. In China, the first episode of the new season already has racked up more than 3.5 million views on Sohu.

The show deserves kudos for the unusual authenticity of its China story line, which has plot points ripped straight from the headlines. Chinese cyber-theft, currency manipulation, a trade dispute involving rare-earth minerals, and escalating tensions between China and Japan in the East China Sea all make an appearance in the show, rendered with the kind of detail the average U.S. viewer might not notice but that will ring mostly true with China watchers.

'When we created the story lines, we were certainly keeping our eye on what was happening (in China), and the happy result, I believe, is a story line that earns its relevance by resonating with the headlines,' Kenneth Lin, one of the writers on the show, told China Real Time by email.

The attention to detail even extends to a Chinese foreign ministry news briefing early on in the show, which replicates the real thing almost exactly, from the familiar blue backdrop to the terse and irritated tone. The only inaccuracy -- it has the Chinese spokesman delivering his comments in English, which almost never happens -- was likely introduced for expedience.

How did they get so many details right? By doing their homework, according to Mr. Lin, who said the writers spoke beforehand to a variety of China experts, including Columbia University political scientist Xiaobo Lu.

Mr. Lu told CRT he met the 'House of Cards' writers on campus a year ago to discuss Chinese politics, society and U.S.-China relations. After watching the entire season 'I thought, overall, the writers were successful in putting in the China storyline with a mix of sensational fiction and possible reality,' he said.

'House of Cards' isn't the most popular U.S. TV show in China (the first season only has 23.5 million views when compared with No. 1 ranked 'Nikita,' whose first season has almost 270 million views). However, the new season of 'House of Cards' was the most-watched American show on Sohu between Sunday and Monday, and ranked fifth overall for drama after four Chinese programs during that period. Viewership will likely rise once Sohu finishes adding Chinese-language subtitles to every episode (the Chinese video service is adding them at a rate of two episodes per day).

Chinese Internet users largely seemed to embrace the prominent role their country plays in the show's second season, though one user of Sina Corp.'s Weibo social media platform took the show to task for misrepresenting China in a crucial manner. 'The most irritating thing: Chinese representatives aren't nearly so young or handsome,' he wrote.

警告:本文有轻微剧透内容

在《反恐24小时》(24)第四季中,反恐特工杰克·鲍尔(Jack Bauer)在中国领事馆横冲直撞,这是美国主流电视剧中首次出现有关中国的重要故事情节。

在新一季的《纸牌屋》(House of Cards)中,美中关系成为重点。由凯文·史派西(Kevin Spacey)扮演的诡计多端的美国副总统弗兰克·安德伍德(Frank Underwood)在剧中与一名腐败的中国商人秘密交易。该剧第二季13集上周五在美国Netflix在线视频服务和中国搜狐网(Sohu.com Inc.)视频服务同时开播。在中国,第二季的第一集在搜狐上被观看的次数已经超过350万次。

这部电视剧有关中国的剧情极其真实,值得称赞,其中一些情节直接来自新闻报道。中国的网络间谍活动、汇率操纵、涉及稀土矿物的贸易争端以及中日之间在东中国海日渐升级的紧张局势全都在剧中有所体现。普通美国观众可能不会注意到其中的一些细节,然而中国观众却会深有感触。

该剧编剧之一Kenneth Lin在发给“中国实时报”(China Real Time)栏目的电子邮件中说,我们打造剧情时当然会注意中国时事,我认为这样做带来的良好效果是,剧情与重要新闻相呼应,让观众觉得与自己相关。

该剧对细节的关注甚至还扩展到了早先情节中的一场中国外交部新闻发布会上,剧中场景几乎完全复制了真实情景,从熟悉的蓝色背景到发言人简练恼怒的语调。唯一不对的是,剧中的中国发言人是用英文发表评论,这种情况几乎从未发生过。

他们是怎么做到让这么多的细节都准确无误的?据Lin说,他们做了充分的准备工作。他说,编剧们事先与众多中国专家交流,包括哥伦比亚大学(Columbia University)政治学家吕晓波。

吕晓波告诉“中国实时报”记者,他一年前曾与《纸牌屋》编剧在学校见面,讨论中国政治、社会和美中关系。他说,看完整季之后,他觉得编剧们总体上成功地打造了有关中国的剧情,集合了轰动的虚构情节和合理的现实。

《纸牌屋》并非在中国人气最高的美剧(该剧第一季仅被观看2,350万次,排名第一的《尼基塔》(Nikita)第一季观看次数接近2.7亿)。但从周日到周一,《纸牌屋》新一季是搜狐上被观看次数最多的美剧,在同期电视剧总排名中位列第五,前四名都是中国节目。等到搜狐为每集都加上中文字幕后,观看人数可能还将增加(搜狐以每天两集的速度添加字幕)。

中国互联网用户似乎整体上接受了中国在该剧第二季中的重要地位,但新浪微博的一名用户认为,该剧在一个重要方面没有很好地代表中国。他写道,最可气的一点是:哪里来那么年轻又那么帅的中国代表?

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