Okay, so Ugly Wudi is not that ugly but she is popular

After the actress for “Ugly Wudi” was finally revealed, netizens put two and two together and this is what they came up with:

If you followed the casting process for Dream of the Red Chamber, way, way back in Spring 07 you would have recognized by the clothes that the left girl was one of the candidates to play Xiao Baochai, the rival of Lin Daiyu for Jia Baoyu’s affections. She wasn’t picked, but I remember thinking she was pretty back then. Not drop dead gorgeous, but pretty.

And here she is playing the Chinese version of Ugly Betty. Well that turned out to be a good career move because the popularity of this show is taking off with Chinese audiences who really like the humor. The show is now a hot forum topic and has high ratings. I watched an episode, but since my Chinese has never been good enough to get all the nuances of more complicated Chinese dialogue, I think I may not really have enjoyed it as much as I could have. This actress though, I felt was quite good, and was able to get the physical humor pretty well. I haven’t see that a lot in Chinese comedies. So maybe she was the best for the part and her looks just happened to be what they were.

It reminded me of the spectacle over the lip-synching girl in the Olympics. The Western media had a field day with it saying how the Chinese music director said she was not pretty enough. Well, he didn’t actually say that although the western media gleefully used the words “chubby-cheeked” and “crooked-teeth” about this girl, words nowhere to be found in the Chinese interviews. All the music director said was that the other girl, who had been in front of large crowds as a performer before, was the best choice in image and expression. And I think that’s the case here. I’m not sure why, but Western media has a very large preoccupation with Asian’s opinions of self-beauty. If you google Ugly Wudi, the majority of articles on this show talk about how the Chinese audiences “rejected” her for not looking ugly enough rather than the show itself. Although she seriously needs better clothes and hair on the show. She’s supposed to be ugly, not completely fashion-retarded.



15 thoughts on “Okay, so Ugly Wudi is not that ugly but she is popular

  1. “She’s supposed to be ugly, not completely fashion-retarded.”

    considering the fact that the show’s main setting is at a company that is beauty and FASHION oriented, the idea of a “fashion-retard” is quite an ugly scene indeed. i mean, look at what anne hathaway had to wear in the devil wears prada

  2. Can you please tell me how can I watch Chinesse Ugly Wudi? İs there any site with or without subtitles?

  3. Uh, that’s not why they dub.

    Ruby Lin is Taiwanese.

    Chinese series, especially those set in ancient times will dub any Taiwanese people because they have a Taiwanese accent and it doesn’t sound right to a mainland Chinese audience.

    Other times, like in ROCH, they dub because they think another voice suits the role. Liu Yifei has a lovely voice, but it didn’t sound mature enough for someone who was a few hundred years old so they dubbed her too.

    But this drama is very good, and the actress who plays Ugly Wudi does a heck of a job playing her. She was best for the role, pretty or not.

  4. What’s also interesting in Chinese dramas is that sometimes the main actors will have their voiced dubbed. Like in Princess Returning Pearl, Ruby Lin had her voice dubbed by someone with a prettier voice :)

  5. i don’t get why the chinese audiences would complain about how the actress is actually pretty. all other “betty la fea” are usually really pretty in real life and made ugly just for the show.

    now, if they’re actually complaining how she still looks pretty after being transformed into this “ugly wudi” then they should just request the makeup artist to do a better job instead.

    here’s a compilation of all the “betty la fea/s” in asia: http://asianreview2.blogspot.com/2008/11/meet-betty-la-fea-of-asia.html

  6. Oh you’re right. I have no idea why I put that…Xiao isn’t even a Chinese last name, I think.

    I never thought Chinese dramas do that. I always see these ugly people in the dramas, who are picked because they graduated from this or that drama university. I think it’s kind of refreshing when people are picked for other reasons, example Zhou Xun. She never had the education others did but I think she’s one of the best actresses in China today.

    Anyway, I’m just glad this drama is doing well. More power to non-CCTV stations! Competition is the only way to better oneself, ala Adam Smith.

  7. Just to let you know, the character she competed to play is called “Xue” Baochai ^^. It’s obvious that she is actually pretty, a lot of Chinese dramas do this. I got used to it. This drama is seriously really hyped up. Maybe I’ll start watching it.

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