“Heart Signal 2” is a Chinese variety show that brings together a group of strangers to live together in the same house. The rules are simple. Each night, the participants will send a message to someone that they want to anonymously. They are also given opportunities to go on dates to get to know the person they are interested in. However, they are not allowed to directly tell anyone that they like them.
As the title of the show suggests, the audience and the panelists will play detective to suss out who likes who based on the signals that the participants send out. At the end of every episode, the panelists will guess who each of them have chosen to send their heart signal text.
Warning: Minor spoilers for the variety show below.
Romance with a tinge of suspense
Notwithstanding the fact that it is a dating reality show, “Heart Signal 2” is a slice of life-romantic drama with a tinge of suspense. The participants go about their daily lives, do mundane things like cooking and chilling around the house all while falling in love with each other.
From the awkward beginnings to the growing crushes, followed by the uncertainty that comes with the ambiguous relationships, and finally, to the final confession – love is not easy, so I can only imagine it must be a hundred times harder in front of cameras.
The show also attempts to shake up the dynamics by introducing new elements every now and then. For example, one week into the show, a mysterious new participant suddenly joined the house.
Because they are not allowed to openly express their feelings, the suspense lies in figuring out who each of them has chosen to send a heart signal text. As a result, every action is amplified for thorough scrutiny. I love watching the panel analyze and interpret every scene in detail. That’s how the audience becomes actively involved and invested in the process and outcome.
The empathetic panel of hosts
There is a really good mix of hosts this season. It has Victoria Song, Rocket Girls 101’s Yang Chaoyue, actor Zheng Kai, and actress Rainie Yang as the panel of hosts. The best thing about the panel is that they are just as invested in the show as the audience is. All of them have laughed, cried, and exclaimed along with the audience (see picture below).
The panel is really the anchor of the show. They have a great understanding of human behavior, often providing insightful commentaries. They are sensitive, empathetic, and the voice of reason. Because of that, they do a good job of helping the audience understand the participants and their situations. They are never snarky and often gently remind the audience that these are real people who are putting themselves out there to find love.
It’s particularly enjoyable to watch the panelists tease and banter with one another. They have such great chemistry! You get the sense that they genuinely like one another. My favorite panelist is definitely Rainie Yang. She is perceptive, gives great advice, and just seems like the kind of person you’d want as your best friend.
Beautiful ordinary people with great personalities
My first thought when the participants entered the house was, “where did they find all these beautiful people?” The production team must have spent a lot of effort in casting them, because not only are they beautiful, they somehow manage to have pleasant personalities too. I can’t stress enough how the team really hit the jackpot with this cast. They are a group of extremely likable people you would root for. An all-around good solid lineup.
So a quick run-through of the participants: on the guys’ side, there is the handsome but shy Chen Yi Chen, the serious William, romantic and funny Zhao Qi Jun as well as outgoing and friendly Huang Zheng Xuan. As for the ladies, there’s the cute and independent artist, Yang Kai Wen, easygoing Zhang Tian, mature and sensible Wu Pei, and girly and romantic Zhen Zhu.
All of them hail from different backgrounds and they even shared that they might never have met if not for the show. Though they might be different, their experiences, hopes, and fears are all highly relatable. By the end of the show, they have become people viewers know and care about. I hope they all find the love and happiness they deserve!
OTP and love triangles
All epic romantic dramas have two key ingredients – the ride or die OTP and the love triangle. This show is no different. My ride or die OTP in the show is Kai Wen and Qi Jun. They are so CUTE together. If nothing else on this list appeals to you, please watch the show just for them because it’s worth it.
Qi Jun says the most romantic stuff without batting an eyelid. He says it so well that sometimes you wonder if the production team feeds him lines. But if they did, he could not have delivered them with such conviction. By the way, none of the participants are actors. They are just ordinary people who have a 9 to 5 job. So if all these are fake, my life is a lie and they are the most natural actors I have ever seen in my life.
As for the love triangle, the show has many memorable ones. While it’s not super enjoyable per se, since it’s at the expense of some broken-hearted folks, it does keep you on the edge of your seat up until the very final moment. I still wish that everyone can pair off perfectly so everyone will be happy at the end of the day. Alas, love does not work like this.
With just 10 episodes, “Heart Signal 2” is an easy and compelling watch. It is just as good as any scripted romantic drama. The show is perfect for a cozy Sunday in when you want to watch something light-hearted and sweet.
On a side note, some might say dating reality shows like this are scripted. Well, even if it really is, it’s very well-scripted and I’m the willing fool that will happily fall for it.
Watch “Heart Signal 2” and bask in the innocence of new love:
Have you watched the show, Soompiers? Let me know your thoughts about it in the comments below!
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