Digital Version TWOC Events

Trapped in a Chinese Historical Drama

When all signs point to familiar Chinese programming


Trapped in a Chinese Historical Drama

When all signs point to familiar Chinese programming


Through some accident of fate, bad luck, or mysterious magical objects you regain your bearings only to realize you’re not in Beijing anymore, at least not the Beijing of 2016. But have you actually been transported back to China’s distant past or is it something else? Something you can’t quite put your finger on? Are you, perhaps, trapped in the horrifying cliches of a Chinese historical drama? There are a few ways to make sure:

  • Everyone believes you are someone else and is convinced that you have had a sudden and severe attack of amnesia (you realize your entire appearance, body, and/or gender have changed which would explain the mistaken identity part)
  • Regardless of your current social class/situation you tend to run into important people a lot (whether it’s the emperor, a lord, or an army general if you haven’t met one of them in the past week then you’ve been hiding in the closet looking out as they passed by)

important people

  • Armor and weapons are impractical bordering on ludicrous (what exactly is this armor protecting?)


  • You run into people cross-dressing on a regular basis (despite the fact this is ancient China, people’s gender is really a shot in the dark)

other cross dressing

  • The clothes of wealthy people are gorgeous and show a lot of skin until suddenly you are only able to see them from the neck up (now how did that happen?)


[The World of Chinese]
  • The majority people seem to have great knowledge in identifying, tasting, and implementing poison (despite the fact that none of them are doctors)
  • When standing outside there are is always a wind blowing someone’s hair, snow, or flower petals around (yet  they never seem to get in the person’s face)

wind 2

  • Despite all rumors and historical records, the alleged lack of social mobility is a myth (in a month you went from desert nomad, to performer, to concubine of the emperor)

scoial mobility

  • There is always time for someone to jump in front of an incoming arrow, sword, or bullet to save another (particularly if there is an emotional attachment)
  • Guards are generally incapable of using weapons, catching unarmed individuals or defeating good-looking characters (they’re the Imperial Stormtroopers of the ancient world)


  • People tend to fall down really slowly (whether its from a fatal arrow or when chasing after someone they spend a long time doing it)
  • All handsome warriors are capable of dramatic martial arts moves that involve flipping and/or jumping (this is only limited to handsome people though)


  • There is a surprisingly low fatality rate for people who fall down stairs, cliffs, or other tall objects (but did they really fall?)
  • You have the urge or see a tendency in others to run towards  galloping horses, fights, and all types of danger (despite all common sense indicating you should run the other way)
  • Only two types of things seem to happen to kind people: they endure a lot of suffering and die or they endure a lot of suffering and finally find happiness (either way major suffering)


  • The kindest , cleverest, most optimistic woman around has a lot of male suitors (from childhood friends to court officials everyone is going after her even though she is not the only woman on earth)

multiple love interests

  • Bad things show up in boxes (snakes, stowaways, heads–it may be a better idea not to open them)
  • Missing persons, lost children, and childhood friends if not recognized at first sight always have some sort of specific birthmark or special item proving their identity (but good luck finding it on them)
  • Gravity may disappear entirely when necessary (who said it was a permanent thing anyway?)

lack of gravity

[Baidu Tieba]
  • You get the eerie feeling that someone is planning your fate, and often feel eyes watching you (whether is is someone plotting your death, or hordes of fans shipping you with the second male lead remains to be seen)
  • Confusing love interests abound (someone started hating someone, and now then they loved them, but after the betrayal it was all over, good luck keeping track)

surprise kiss



Cover image from 5011.net