Starring Xu Kai (许凯) and Cheng Xiao (程瀟), Falling Into Your Smile <你微笑時很美> is embroiled in controversy after netizens condemned the Chinese drama for misrepresenting the eSports industry and disrespecting the gaming community. Among the complaints, netizens said that the drama plagiarizes the life and experiences of real eSports players as a prop for the romantic storyline.
The drama centers around an all-male eSport team and its arrogant team captain Lu Si Cheng (Xu Kai). When a team member suffers a hand injury, the team is forced to look for a substitute and seeks to recruit budding amateur gamer Tong Yao (Cheng Xiao). Lu Si Cheng is reluctant to accept Tong Yao, but he eventually warms up to her as the new member.
Although the drama is an adaptation from a popular novel, the source material is scrutinized after netizens called out the characters for lacking originality and allegedly based on elements from real life e-gamers. Comparing the characters and team’s names to their real-life counterparts, the names are nearly identical except for a few minor changes.
In addition, the drama undermined the eSports industry by inserting cliché and cheesy scenes throughout the series. Many feel the drama disrespects the competitiveness and professionalism of eSports, citing an example of the characters willing to forfeit the competition and abruptly stop playing in the middle of the game to save their love interest.
Netizens Air Out Grievances
Many netizens boycotted the series and left numerous negative reviews, which brought Falling Into Your Smile‘s Douban rating down to 3.0. Popular gamer Misaya (若風) publicly denounced the drama, “What are they doing? It’s one thing if the screenwriters don’t understand eSports, but at least respect the industry.”
Other netizens swarmed female lead actress Cheng Xiao’s social media to voice their complaints. As Cheng Xiao previously hosted a livestream while playing games, many netizens questioned if she pretended to like to play games for the role, and criticized her for agreeing to star in a drama laced with plagiarism allegations. Many netizens feel Cheng Xiao should also take responsibility for the drama’s disrespect towards the eSports scene.
Amid the backlash, Cheng Xiao’s management agency Yuehua Entertainment issued a statement on July 11, and stressed that she is a professional artiste who respects every drama and every performance. The agency warned netizens to stop directing insults and other malicious comments at their artistes, as they will be pursue legal action. Furthermore, the agency urged netizens to “not to get invested in the drama, and to stop using extreme statements to judge people’s characters.”
“Falling Into Your Smile” Trailer
This article is written by Sammi for JayneStars.com.