I am currently head over heels in love with the Chinese adaptation of famous reality show, Appa Eodiga. Despite using the same theme of father-child relationships, the Chinese adaptation was surprisingly very different and refreshing mainly due to the vast cultural differences between the parenting styles exhibited by the South Korean appas and Chinese papas. However, the Chinese ver. has a more varied types of fathers, from the doting to the dictatorial ones.
Their parenting flaws were obvious, which makes the series even more compelling to watch because the fathers have to face the challenges of confronting the problems in the relationship with their child. Their children, raised in mostly affluent families, are spoiled and bratty, though not excessively. I love how despite the flaws, the fathers love their children unconditionally and vice versa. The main point is that they are always seeking to improve their parenting skills and gaining new experiences. The fathers get tired most of the time and learn how to appreciate their wives, the ones who have been raising their children for many years.
Introducing the father-child couples (WARNING, THREE OF THE PAPAS ARE SUPERBLY HOT!!) –
1. JIMMY LIN AND HIS SON, KIMI
The dimpled Jimmy Lin was literally every girl’s crush during the late 90s and early 2000s. He’s cute, he’s endearing and he NEVER ages. He’s 40 years old who looks like a 25 years old. Even the way he dresses (T-shirt, jeans, caps) makes it ever harder to believe that he’s actually a doting father to Kimi, who calls him PAPPY (OMG, THAT IS THE CUTEST THING EVERRRRR!!). It is easy to fall in love with Jimmy the father whose parenting style can be categorized as SOFT SOFT SOFT TO THE CORE. He never raises his voice to his boy, always kneeling and squatting to talk to him. He seems to be like an open-minded father who treats his son like a baby. He holds him even when he’s tired and displays an unlimited amount of patience. He killed a spider for him, covered the windows with newspaper and stayed awake a bit later after his son went to sleep to make sure no bugs and insects ever come near him.
MELT, BITCHES, MELT!!
Even though Kimi seems a little spoiled at times, he’s a sweet affectionate child. I mean, who can ever say no to that sparkling eyes? Who can’t help but to protect that precious baby… Hehehe. Jimmy is also the most active dad, being a race car driver/actor and all. He pretty much knows how to do a lot of things and is resourceful. Maybe that’s why Kimi always feels incredibly sheltered and protected around him. Kimi cannot complete his missions UNLESS Jimmy tags along and accompanied him. But then, Kimi’s only four. I’m sure many of us were a lot worse when we were at that age.
2. GUO TAO AND HIS SON, SHITOU (ROCK)
The tough father Guo Tao is a complete contrast to Jimmy Lin. He is a disciplinarian towards his super active child, Shitou, who is also the big gege (brother) amongst the children. Simply put, Guo Tao is similar to the fathers we know – firm, authoritative and very manly. He tolerates little with Shitou’s tantrums and has made it clear that he expects Shitou to be in his best behaviour. “How old are you now?” he asked. “Six,” his son replied. “Then, why are you behaving like a baby?” At times, he can be super scary. However, he loves his boy dearly and is always worried for him. He is more to the conservative side of parenting.
Shitou is an active child, always running around and leading the other kids even during the time he’s injured. He is also the one who has yet to cry on the show. Sometimes I find his tough act kind of annoying. However, he is indeed the most reliable kid on the show. He is not afraid to face the challenges and does not rely on his father too much. With that strict upbringing, we can easily see that Shitou is the child who has the best ability to adapt himself to multiple situations. Thus, the reason why he’s the favourite amongst the children. He is their reliable big gege!
3. TIAN LIANG AND HIS DAUGHTER, CINDY
Our next papa is a former Olympic diver turned actor, Tian Liang. He is what I would call a nagging and strict but affectionate father. He is quite strict with his daughter and tries his best to encourage her to overcome challenges. His efforts, however, mostly ended up in her crying for hours long. He is at times helpless, at times anxious and at times very very patient. I particularly love the scene where he nagged at Cindy as they were preparing for bed, advising her calmly that she should not Angela mei-mei if the latter cried. He faced problems getting through to Cindy but we can see the improvements as he deals with his daughter diplomatically. Instead of scolding her, he would try to talk sense into her.
With her papa in sight, Cindy is an overly-attached daughter who cries at every small things. She can cry endlessly for hours, whining and whining and whining to the extent even I find her annoying. However, when her papa is not around her, she turns into an independent reliable daughter, always excited to complete her missions. She is the best runner and the strongest child who always offers other children to carry their stuffs. This maturity shines only when her papa is not with her. It is quite understandable. Her vulnerabilities are shown only to her father, whom she feels the most safest at. She would always hold hands with the younger Angela, whom she treats like a little sister. Who knew the crybaby can be a protector at times? It’s confusing but I think Cindy is my favourite child, hehehe.
4. ZHANG LIANG AND HIS SON, TIANTIAN
The youngest father of the bunch is Zhang Lian, who was born in 1981. Unlike most fathers, Zhang Liang aspired to be a friend to his son, a person that he could talk and pour his heart to. If one looks at his behavior in the show, one could never expect that he’s a top model and the only Chinese male to ever walk on Milan runaways. Hahaha. Why? Because Zhang Liang is a wonderful dad – almost a perfect one. He is the kind of dad children are not afraid of. However, once his son misbehaved – like throwing sands at the other kid once – he quickly disciplined his child by asking him to apologize. It can be seen that he is very close to his son.
Tiantian is a very well-behaved active boy. Thanks to his father’s supermodel gene, he is also the handsomest one, hehehehe. During the first episode, he cried so much as he had to give up his gadgets like iPods for three days. However, slowly, he learned to adapt to the situations and became a calmer child. Then, Tiantian proves to be a very special kid in one episode where the fathers tested the kids’ honesty and loyalty by asking them to take care of a few chicken eggs. When the eggs were broken deliberately by one of the fathers, Tiantian apologized to his father very sincerely for disappointing him and even telling him that he can hit him. I almost fucking cried when that happened. The other fathers, upon seeing the child’s reaction, were touched as well. Tiantian did not complain, cry or whine. Instead, he accepted the blame like a man and was ready for the consequences. Go, Tiantian!!
5. WANG YUELUN AND HIS DAUGHTER, ANGELA
Wang Yuelun is a modern father. He works as a director and his daughter, Angela, who is 4 years old. Since he’s a director, Yuelun is a bit shy around cameras. He’s a serious laidback kind of man. He is affectionate towards his daughter but does not spoil her excessively.
Angela is the baby of the show, aside from Kimi. She has this very cute smile and always wears pretty dresses. She loves following her geges and Cindy jiejie (big sister) around. Like other children, she cries all the time, too. But not for long. She’s very bright and cheerful and a complete daddy’s girl.
The show is designed in a way that makes the challenges more obvious. There are genuinely scary moments in the show, where the children get scolded outright or when they are involved in unfortunate incidents. The situations make it more challenging for the father to cope with their roles of calming and comforting the children without their mothers around. Even though their efforts at times seemed imperfect but their sincerity makes the show even more touching. I cried on many scenes where the father, helpless and clueless at the same time, did not give up in trying to support their children in their own ways. Generally, it’s more touching compared to its South Korean counterpart (though I must say at times I cried watching that, too)
The interviews with the fathers, I think, are more candid and of a more serious tone. The fathers would express what they wish for the children to learn and the difficulties in ensuring their children to grow up properly. The children in this show, unlike the Korean ver., would fight and argue openly to the displeasure of their papas. However, one great thing about children is that they make up very quickly and the fight does not last more than a few minutes.
I managed only to find 4 episodes online that have been subbed in English. Am still looking for the rest. There are more than ten episodes in total, I think. However, still, I highly recommend all to watch this show. Observing the differences in parenting styles between South Korean and Chinese dads is revealing and interesting. And always, who does not like cute kids who are always attached to their hero-like papas?