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TV review: China drama Honey Bee Man has an unlikely hero in a mumsy male matchmaker

Honey Bee Man has an unlikely hero in a mumsy matchmaker in love with his self-deceiving client

Published on Jun 26, 2014 3:05 PM

Fang Jun (Huang Lei) is frugal, maternal, a bit of a nag and quite a cook. A long-time matchmaker, he has cultivated an image of safety and asexuality to put single clients and their mothers at ease. Wearing suits that are tight around his tummy and a perm that only grandmothers could envy, he's practically a human Teletubby.

And, as nutty as it might seem, he is the romantic hero of Honey Bee Man, a Chinese hit romcom that touts a newfound mythical species known as the nan guimi, or male girlfriend. Apparently, a male girlfriend is like a gay boyfriend, only more perfect because he is straight and can be promoted to a full boyfriend if a girl wishes.

The show has Jun chasing Ye Shan (Chen Shu), a demanding, high-powered divorcee, almost immediately - after they meet at her former husband's wedding and Jun fights to prevent her from disrupting the ceremony - but it's not what you think.

Subverting the ritual of romcom courtship, he sends her flowers, stalks her and barges into her flat to whip up a healthy meal because he wants her as a client, not a girlfriend.

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