Taiwanese Celebrating the End of Popular College Student Talk Show?

Taiwanese Celebrating the End of Popular College Student Talk Show?

Compiled and translated by Yuan-ling Liang

“University," a popular Taiwanese talk show launched in 2007 and remaining popular for nearly a decade, is ending its run in July due to unknown inside arrangements.

The show, translated as “College Talk” in Malaysia, invites 16 college students to participate in each episode, sharing their college lives and experiences at school or with their friends. The topics are often about pop culture in Taiwan and interpersonal relationships. It is common for students who have attended the show to become famous afterwards.

According to Carat Media Weekly Newsletter, several Taiwanese talk shows, including “Kangsi Coming” and “University,” have all made an impact on the Asian entertainment market. These shows are produced and broadcasted in Taiwan, but later viewed by the audience on video online platforms in most Chinese-speaking countries, such as China, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian nations.

While most of the audience is disappointed about the show ending, many Taiwanese have been celebrating the announcement.

Last October, an online survey showed that “University” ranked first as the TV program that Taiwanese think should be ended.

Many people think the value of the program is distorted. In the show, Taiwanese college students are usually depicted as ones who do not enjoy the academic school life and are always fooling around instead of improving their abilities. Some even say that those who received fame in the show do not have attractive personalities and only care about their appearances.

“Many people mistake the college students in the show as reflections of all the Taiwanese students, but that is totally taking part as the whole,” writes a netizen. [Quote translated]

This February, the show was also criticized for objectifying women in its audition.

NTU Gender Equality Workshop posts on its Facebook page discussing the audition culture of the show. It points out that “University” listed several requirements that lack a sense of gender equality, including depictions of female applicants’ appearances and bodies. However, when it comes to male students, it emphasizes on their characteristics, hobbies and even talents.

“The producers want these girls to look beautiful, but don’t expect them to have any practical abilities. This type of show solidifies stereotypes between women and men,” writes the post. “We, as consumers and the audience of the entertainment industry, should be more picky when it comes to choosing TV shows.” [Quote translated]

On April 21, 2015, 25-year-old celebrity Yang You-ying, a regular guest on “University,” committed suicide after being bullied on the Internet.

Tom Wang, former director of the Phoenix Satellite Television, criticized “University” in a post, saying that it portrays vanity and fakeness. Wang considers the death of Yang a tragedy and a result of being exposed to such distorted values for too long.

“It is this show, ‘University,’ that conveys unhealthy values and finally made her [Yang] trapped in exhaust. Students should definitely stop watching such TV programs,” writes Wang. [Quote translated]

Talk shows occupy 80% of the TV programs in Taiwan. A UDN journalist writes in an article saying that the values created in the shows should never be taken too seriously, “because most of them are created intentionally.” [Quote translated]

Edited by Olivia Yang

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