The Reality Show Tackling China’s Divorce Crisis

The second season of “See You Again” has won over audiences with frank depictions of marital problems and relationship counseling. Is couples therapy finally having a moment in China?

Traditional Chinese culture has long discouraged families from airing their dirty laundry in public. There’s even an idiom for it: jiachou buke waiyang, or “family scandals shouldn’t be spread outside the home.” It may count as a mild surprise, then, that one of China’s hottest shows is a reality program about the thorny realities of divorce.

The premise of “See You Again” is straightforward: Producers invite three celebrity couples in relationship trouble on an 18-day vacation before they decide on their next step. The couples are carefully selected to represent different stages of the divorce process: The show’s first season, which aired in 2021, featured one couple still in the planning stage, another in the legally mandated “cool-off” period after turning in their divorce application, and a third already separated.

The chance to see celebrities at their lowest point may draw audiences in, but the real hook is the show’s frank depictions of family strife. Each season, the show’s producers invite a psychologist, sociologist, and journalist to engage the couples in in-depth, face-to-face conversations about their marital problems. The resulting discussions are often wide-ranging and touch on hot-button social issues like unrealistic expectations of childrearing and the uneven division of household responsibilities, topics that have resonated with the show’s target audience. A hashtag related to the show’s ongoing second season on microblogging platform Weibo has accumulated more than 2.9 billion views and 1.5 million comments. Continue to read the full article here

This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone