"Summer of Zhang Weiguo" (hereinafter referred to as "Zhang Weiguo") was neither popular nor collapsed.
The stories in the play are fragmented, and the style is absurd and ingenious, all pointing to the problem of "middle-aged meals" in the play's theme, casting, and content.
Compared with the classic presentation and modern characteristics of other successful middle-aged film and television dramas in China, the essence of this type is to describe the "annoying laughter", which is what "Zhang Weiguo" hoped to achieve but did not fully achieve.
Middle-aged rice with raw rice: the "cooked" of the plot and the "raw" of the casting
When people are middle-aged, they look around at a loss, sigh a few times, and have countless entanglements.
Zhang Weiguo suffered from the "middle-aged syndrome", borrowing money, being cheated, house slaves, and unemployment. When he was young, he was demolished by his closest senior brother Lin Hongnian, and suffered a life-long waist injury. Later, he made a scene of "descendants of eunuchs" to earn money. Taking traffic and making extra money is like joking with his senior sister Zhao Yan, who has been missing for many years and reunited, "This life has not been smooth. A person pulls his son to grow up".
Senior brother Lin Hongnian originally occupied the "C position" in traditional TV programs, but was fired in the new media competition. From Nanjing "big guy" to "Beijing drifter" family, he was in a dilemma between career and family dilemma; while Mrs. Lin Gu Jiayi The "knife mouth knife heart", as a Chinese medicine, is obsessed with health care, the outer circle is round and the inner square, so that everyone around him is covered with bruises; Zhang Weiguo's crush, Zhao Yan, "the nervous system is not very good, the combination of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder", never again. Unlike the "little sun in summer, always shining and hot", middle-aged people are under great physical and mental pressure.
"Zhang Weiguo" has a strong role, solid details, accurate subject matter, and secular humor. It captures the "cracked" survival state of middle-aged people. It is the "cooked" part of "cooked rice". , the dialogue is very exciting, the opponent's play is wonderful, and the whole is really chewy.
When it comes to middle age, there must be appropriate actors to perform, which has to say "Huang Lei phenomenon".
This drama is not so much "Zhang Weiguo's summer" as it is "middle-aged Huang Lei's summer".
In recent years, Huang Lei, who has been addicted to variety shows, has constant grooves and topics every time he appears in TV series.
One is that his images in variety shows and film and television are often blended and linked with each other, especially "Longing for Life" has made him a representative of middle-aged parents. Although he is gentle and elegant, he loves greasy and preaching. After that, his variety show permanent residence seems to be inseparable. The label of "Uncle" in turn affects his role in the play and the role in the play.
The second is the contrast with the previous characters. Thinking back then, the young and handsome Huang Lei was very good in "Four Generations Together", "April in the World" and "The Oranges Are Red". Time Like Water" and the drama "Secret Love in the Peach Blossom Land" all make people sigh about his unique talent.
However, in recent years, almost every work of Huang Lei ("Hey, Old Man!", "Little Farewell", "Little Joy", "Xiao Min's Home", etc.) has the same roles, always being a father, acting too much himself, and the details appear loose and casual. , a bit too much; this time Zhang Weiguo seems to have traveled from "Xiao Min's House", he is still the big belly man who is obedient, obsessed, honest and easy to deceive. The character design extends to the plot, and it feels old Confused and bloody, it seems that he is always circling in his middle age. Looking at Zhang Weiguo, there is always the shadow of Huang Lei.
The awkwardness of casting actually represents the "sheng" in middle-aged meals.
There are not many actors and actresses in China who can perform such middle-aged vicissitudes of life, with heavy but eloquent narration, and light weight.
Huang Lei has made a useful attempt. Although the image and character design basically continue the previous routine, but the temperament challenges the old Beijing Hutong master, a humble but not abandoned little person.
However, Zhang Weiguo's "Beijing-flavored Beijing-style Beijing rhythm" lacks soul, leaving only the wide pants, sandals and slippers, small flat head and large teacup in the image.
Compared with the previous hit "Welcome", Zhu Yuchen, the Beijing man's son Wang Niulang, has less energy.
The "Huang Lei Phenomenon" is just a microcosm, and the "half-baked" in casting is also related to the script and the overall presentation of the episode.
"Zhang Weiguo" also has a lot of "half material" places.
Efforts are made to be grounded, but the regional characteristics are too shallow.
For example, at the beginning, the Beijing rhyme drum rap "Everything is Good" made people's eyes shine, and then the old hutongs where Zhang Weiguo lived for generations only had bamboo and rattan chairs under the old locust tree, and the image was only left and could not be integrated into the plot, just like the old Beijing in the play. Scented tea, that jasmine tablet is always separated by a layer of screen.
In the same way, old Nanjing is also lacking. There is only one sentence of Zhang Dache's "obediently long and thumping", but the Gu family does not have a Nanjing accent. In this respect, "Zhang Weiguo" is not as good as the Beijing flavor of "Love Full of Siheyuan" and "Zhengyangmenxia". And Qin Huai in "Children of the Qiao Family".
In addition, although a group of old opera bones are very expressive, the script of the story is relatively thin and too dramatic, especially the coincidence and deliberateness in "scattering ashes by the Yangtze River", which dilutes daily life and makes the originally tangled "middle-aged" Secular" slipped to "excited dog blood".
"Annoying Laughter": Life is hard, but face it with laughter
Although there are various forms of middle-aged film and television dramas, their soul is to show "annoying laughter".
Although life is hard, but face it with a smile, I think, this is also recognized by "Zhang Weiguo", otherwise it will not use Huang Lei's broken mouth to pretend to be cute, Liu Yijun's half-truth, and Chinese medicine quietly pierce Zhang Weiguo's back with back pain Needle to delight the audience.
Most of the time, we are middle-aged and hesitant. Isn't watching dramas just like "having fun when you have nothing to do"?
But whether it can touch this soul is elusive.
First of all, the subject matter is "scarce and precious". The excitement of middle-aged dramas is not as good as the appearance and blood of youth dramas, and the thickness and continuity are not strong enough to resist family melodramas, so there have always been a small number in genre dramas, tepid and tepid. , the classics that have been talked about so far are still "The Distressed Smile", "The Middle-aged", "The Happy Life of the Poor Zhang Damin" and "Sneak Fun" decades ago.
At the same time, as far as creation is concerned, it is not easy to have a good sense of proportion and control the fire, not only to write about middle-aged struggles, but also to be happy and relieved, to see reality in nostalgia and outlook, and to avoid "middle-aged meals". There are not many rules to follow in the road of development.
The film and television industry used to advocate "high concept", that is, hope to summarize the plot with one feature, otherwise it will be difficult to distinguish other works, but middle-aged dramas are generally "difficult to summarize" and "difficult to locate", with diverse stories and many subtypes.
In recent years, the "middle-aged dramas" led by Huang Lei include "Little Farewell", "Little Joy", "Xiao Min's Home", etc., almost all of which are popular dramas.
Although this series is full of middle-aged feelings - clear subject matter, subtle emotions, family entanglement, and various middle-aged worries and joys, it also exposes the "half-baked" cast in "Zhang Weiguo", which is especially reflected in Huang Lei's lack of change and self-projection on the role of middle-aged father.
Other popular dramas such as "Journey of Doubt", "People Reaching Forty", "I Am Yu Huanshui", "My First Half of My Life", etc., all have their own successes and failures to learn from: Although the performances in "Journey of Doubt" are online, but The script is deformed and exaggerated, full of "literary and artistic accents", and it has to be made into a Chinese version of "Jane Eyre"; "People Reach Forty", the cast led by Wang Zhiwen vividly shows the morbid middle-aged characters of each character, through the laughter of the mental hospital. The sound satirizes the society; "I Am Yu Huanshui" is humorous and absurd, seeing the light from a loser, which is a step further than the distress of ordinary middle-aged dramas; and "The First Half of My Life" through two pairs of families. The cheating is mixed together, and the smile is a little less, Cinderella, the prince of broken dreams.
Anguish must be real, and a smile must be sincere.
This should be the constant standard in the thousands of changes in middle-aged dramas.
No matter how the times develop, such dramas must strive to portray the "cracked state" of middle-aged men and women in career, family, personal, children, and emotions, and the exciting possibility of "forging ahead", maintaining a "rejoice in hardship" attitude : Or use "people should live honestly and work honestly" as in "The Laughter of Annoyed People" to resist the arrogant laughter of those evil spirits in the society in a special historical period, or as in "Man to Middle Age" self-deprecating sigh " It is better to use a scalpel than a razor" to resolve the dilemma of the middle-aged doctor's "heavy work load and heavy life load"; The audience was happy from beginning to end, but after watching it, the aftertaste was inexplicably sad, and the middle-aged melancholy was another change of tone of "joy in bitterness"; The only thing left is to be stubborn.” He had to return his senior brother Lin Hongnian as a full-time driver. He wore a cheap suit like a real estate agency, but he laughed and sighed, “My ancestors were also rich.” “Now everyone has a car, but I don’t. car; back then, I was the one who had the car, and the others didn't."
"Zhang Weiguo" has a small detail worth pondering about. The senior sister Zhao Yan played by Mei Ting just came out of the diagnosis and treatment of traditional Chinese medicine. Although she was driving, she said to Wei Guo in private, "My parents died two years ago, and my lover also died this year. There is no relative in this world."
When asked if she was always gloomy, Zhao Yan laughed at herself, "How can life be smooth sailing?" Huang Lei immediately responded with a sneer, "At our age, we are not in a hurry to sigh about life."
This is the unique wisdom and life philosophy of middle-aged helplessness.
Worrying and laughing, but unfamiliar, the "Zhang Weiguo" in the play have pursuits and disappointments, but this is not a common state of middle-aged dramas: they can't get what they want.
This also reflects some kind of middle-aged confusion in the genre, topic selection, role and interpretation of such Chinese TV dramas and even the film and television industry.
(The author is an associate professor of Zhejiang University of Media and Communications)