Posts tagged cooking

Midnight Bites Finds A New Audience

It has been a year since we launched our satirical cooking show Midnight Bites, and it seems audiences aren’t getting tired of the taste. We’ve clocked up over 300,000 hits on the platform toutiao.com since relaunching some episodes last week. With the branded Screw Chocolate and tie-in episode out in time for Christmas, and new episodes lined up for next year, it’s not hard to see why the show continues to be a success.

Starring newcomer Nic Xu as a talented chef and dark dreamer, Midnight Bites presents a cynical view of the modern world, with a deliciously biting wit.

“I think the show resonates with people because it is about saying the things that you would never dare to say yourself,” explains creator and showrunner Luo Tong. “He expresses the things that you’ve been thinking, whether they be about fighting against some injustice you see, or having the guts to talk to the girl you like, or just cursing out your boss when you think they’re taking advantage. He doesn’t put up with things he doesn’t have to.”

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The show is certainly different, with each episode combining a different dish with a twisted monologue on what’s wrong with the world. We’ve seen the Biter (as Nic’s character is known) rail against everything, from more serious issues like those who mistreat their pets or harm vulnerable people in society, to lighter stuff like calmly wondering why people get so angry in rush hour traffic (and if you’ve ever wondered how to cook a meal on the hot engine of a car, be sure to check out that episode.) The food has been no less eclectic, ranging from homemade hamburgers to pig brains. So what’s in store for fans in the future?

“The style of the show is pretty unique, and we’ll continue to explore that,” says Luo Tong. “There will be new food and new themes. Maybe something about relationships, and helping to empower people…but I don’t want to give too much away!”

You can watch all the episodes to date on our Toutiao channel and on Vimeo.

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Darkly Dreaming – Meet the Writer Behind Midnight Bites

“Food and sex are the two most important things in life. They’re primal. They come from darkness.” Screenwriter Jiao Yue is sharp, intuitive and maybe just a little sinister as she muses on the creative process behind Midnight Bites. The Inner Mongolia native is dressed in her customary black, with an elegant blue trench coat. There is a constant kindness to her face, as ideas swirl beneath the dark glass of her eyes.

“Many food shows on television are about ‘the good life,’ the ‘warm, easy life. Eventually it’s so boring! We’re doing something different.”

With blood soaked dishes and a sociopathic lead character, Midnight Bites certainly is different. The show was originally conceived by director Luo Tong as a delectable social satire with a foodie twist. Each episode is spat around the writer’s room by the creative team to beat out the concept, but it is Jiao Yue’s scripts which give it the eponymous bite. She then coaches star Nic Xu through the extensive monologues, work-shopping the nuance of the gags until they’re right. This collaboration is a process of discovery for them.

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“We are not as we think we are,” she muses. “Being fake or pretending to be someone else is a fact of Chinese life. Find a wife, a job…have a baby. Someone like Nic is supposed to ‘be a good man.’ But you’re not really that way.” And what about her?

“I should be a good girl!” she laughs.

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Writing had always been a hobby for Jiao Yue, and from a young age she had written poetry. She studied Journalism for seven years, first in Chongqing and then Nanjing, before moving to Shanghai. “I was a bad student, but I was very lucky,” she confesses. “But I’ve always wanted to see more.” She calls Shanghai the ‘dream city,’ a place brimming with opportunities for ambitious creatives like herself. She quickly joined LP Films as a copywriter, and two and a half years later, finds herself challenged by each new project. She is responsible for the scripts for LP’s commercial clients, as well as developing our in-house films. Those of you who follow LP Films on wechat will know her as the writer of the never-boring weekly updates.

“I love my job, and I love Midnight Bites. But we should be constantly striving to be better. The darkness of the show is all imagined. None of it really happens, so there’s plenty of scope. We’ve got a lot of exciting ideas, some quite twisted, but always honest and true.”

It’s a principle by which Jiao Yue lives her life. “True freedom is to be yourself. To dream, but to also face yourself.”

Where does she see herself in the future? She plans to keep writing, and hopes one day to make a theatre play or even her own feature film. “Or maybe I’ll open a restaurant…something dark and sexy.”

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