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If You Are The One, you're doing it right

IT'S a show with a concept that started in Australia, went to China, and is now one of the most addictive and fun shows on TV.

If You Are The One is a dating show where eligible men come on stage to be grilled not only by 24 beautiful girls, but by two psychological experts who offer them dating tips, and a quirky host named Meng Fei who is partial to cracking jokes.

It is based on the 2008 Australian dating show, Taken Out.

The girls on stage all have a blue light, but once they switch it to red, they show they are no longer interested in the candidate.

Once a man is introduced to the women, they may switch their lights off at any time.

A screen grab from an episode of If You Are The One. Image: SBS on Demand.
A screen grab from an episode of If You Are The One. Image: SBS on Demand.

Each episode cycles through four or five men, who go through a handful of rounds where they are interviewed by the girl and the hosts split between videos showing their work, interests and reviews from their friends.

If 20 or more girls keep their blue light on in the first round - and if the man is successful and gets a date by the end of the show - they will both go on an overseas holiday together.

Any girls switching off their blue lights may be quizzed on their decision afterwards, which often makes for some hilarious if not slightly cruel honesty.

"I don't like they way he stands", "his feet are too close together", "he looks too nervous", "I don't like bald men" - the reasons for flicking off their lights range from the trivial to well thought-out.

Viewers could be left thinking the men who go on this show are pretty brave.

A screen grab from an episode of If You Are The One. Image: SBS on Demand.
A screen grab from an episode of If You Are The One. Image: SBS on Demand.

The guys often put on a show with singing and dancing often par for the course in their attempts to attract a single lady on national - and world - television.

The girls on the show range from surly to adorable, while the men may be serious, humourous or occasionally downright eccentric.

If men don't find a date by the end of the show, email addresses are listed in the end credits just in case there's a lady out there who thinks they might be her prince charming.

A screen grab from an episode of If You Are The One. Image: SBS on Demand.
A screen grab from an episode of If You Are The One. Image: SBS on Demand.

And with a viewing audience of 50 million, they're sure to find someone.

Having seen dating shows before, I was at first a skeptic.

But If You Are The One (the apparent actual literal translation of the Mandarin title is more like "If You Are Not Sincere, Do Not Disturb"), seems to get the balance right.

A screen grab from an episode of If You Are The One. Image: SBS on Demand.
A screen grab from an episode of If You Are The One. Image: SBS on Demand.

The girls all have very unique personalities, the men usually have something that makes them a little "different", and catchy tunes and sound effects, including sad music, hit at just the right times.

There are moments on the show when tears are shed, gifts are given and received, and psychiatric experts Le Jia and Huang Han offer genuinely helpful "aunty and uncle" type advice.

Although the program was not without controversy, with Chinese authorities stepping in a short while after it first aired to ensure that issues such as sex and detailed accounts of earnings would not be revealed.

A screen grab from an episode of If You Are The One. Image: SBS on Demand.
A screen grab from an episode of If You Are The One. Image: SBS on Demand.

Despite early fears the program was promoting the "wrong values", it is still extremely popular and is now in its third year.

It airs at 7.45pm on SBS 2 from Tuesday to Thursday.

It can also be viewed on SBS on Demand

Topics:  sbs tv tv shows



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