Released in mid-June, Over the Sea I Come to You is a Chinese drama that follows the stories of four families sending their children to pursue higher education in the United States.
But, with a 3.5/10 review on ratings site Douban, the Dragon TV-Zhejiang TV co-production has become one of the worst-rated shows in history.
The drama aims to show how children and parents learn to exchange perspectives and foster understanding during the most rebellious years of pre-adulthood, yet their efforts have yielded a product that some netizens say “belongs in the harmful waste bin”.
So what has incited all the fury towards this show? What went wrong?
Here are some snippets that reveal an unprecedented fusion of bizarre plot devices and unrealistic characters.
At US customs, an officer turns the father away, suspecting his tendency to overstay in the countries he visits. After attempting to explain the reasons behind his visit, the father starts to sing. The officer ends up accepting the plea, granting his visit and extending his week-long residency limit to six months.
The father and the son are relieved after getting through customs. But a few moments later, the father has changed into a TV-ready hip hop outfit, explaining that he’s trying to look like Steph Curry.
Fast-forward to the son at his university. One day, a masked gunman shows up and kills several students (is this the mirror we need, America??). Instead of escaping the crime scene, the father and the son dash inside the building and run into the felon. The father ends up dodging a bullet and vanquishing the criminal with his bare hands. Yep.
The gun violence scene and the father’s act of heroism both come out of left field, leaving many netizens questioning the plausibility of the events.
Another scene raising controversy features a student who claimed that anyone with money could easily pass interviews in America. He confesses that he used to do poorly in class, but has become a straight-A student since starting up classes in the US.
It kind of goes without saying that the show oversimplifies the challenges faced by international students, both socially and academically when adapting to a new environment.
“Most of us work hard and have no time for superficial trifles,” comments one netizen.
Maybe the director wants to draw attention to China’s “spoiled generation,” who are raised by booming middle-class parents, all of whom pay great fortunes to shape a better future for their kids. Maybe the show intends to demonize life in America and discourage fantasies that glorify life in overseas countries. Maybe the show is just telling the same old unbelievable stories, only in a different country this time.
But regardless of its intention, with its melodramatic plotlines and lack of real understanding, the show has clearly failed to win the public’s heart.
“If zero stars were possible, I wouldn’t have rated it one,” reads one of the most-liked comments on Douban.
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