Sexy Beijing Does English Names

I’ve mentioned Danwei TV on my blog before, but I think it’s about time I devoted a post to its praise. I liked some of the earlier episodes, but with the arrival of the extremely entertaining Sexy Beijing hosted by 苏菲, the Danwei team has really raised the bar. The show’s parodying of Sex and the City–from the name to the appearance of the host to the “typing on the computer” bedroom scenes–is not so subtle, and it works beautifully. This is what good alternative media looks like, people.

In the latest episode Sexy Beijing tackles a topic that many China bloggers have covered before: Chinese people’s crazy English names. (Read my Name Nazi post for my stance on this.) The way this episode is done really breathes new life into the issue.

Don’t miss the debut episode of Sexy Beijing called Looking for Double Happiness.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Jason S Says: July 15, 2006 at 8:19 pm

    haha, that was great

  2. hey! i saw the looking for double happiness on Youtube yesterday!!
    was coming to ask about it when i saw danwei tv. 😛

    great work!!!
    was talking with my friend. at first, i thought its name was Sex and Beijing. i said it should be named Romance and Beijing… until i found it is Sexy Beijing… 😛

    pity the picture is not very clear tho…

  3. eway: yeah, at first I thought “Sexy Beijing” was just the title of one episode, and I thought it was strange, but now I realize that it is the name of the series.

    I linked to “Looking for Double Happiness” on my Chinese blog and asked my readers why it is that couplings between foreign women and Chinese men are relatively few. Didn’t get many replies though, which I thought was a bit strange for a romance-related topic!

    The earlier Danwei TV films are quite Beijing-centric, whereas these two “Sexy Beijing” films have a broader appeal.

  4. Great! ML & I enjoyed watching those 2 episodes. Better than SITC!

  5. Da Xiangchang Says: July 16, 2006 at 12:32 am

    Funny. This Su Fei chick is a hoot. With her horm-rimmed glasses and fashion sense, she looks like she’d just been teleported here from the ’60s. I wonder how much money she makes.

  6. I’ve been surprised by Jeremy’s guests. Especially impressed that he got an interview with Muzimei.

    Wonder who he had to sleep to land that gig…


  7. hey..
    l don’t love Beijing very much.
    Born in Hebei province,which is near beijing, i often go there.

  8. Samanthar was the best. She just didn’t think Samantha sounded good enough without throwing in an R sound at the end. What a Beijinger!

  9. She also replaced the TH with an F. Classy.

  10. Haha… yeah, I tuned in to Danwei TV with the Double Happiness episode and am I ever glad I did… they’re great.

    Top English names I’ve heard:
    Iceberg, Nicey and Ganja Man

  11. Lantian Says: July 16, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    “Smacker”, hahaaaaa, auntie’s name is the bomb–the best ever, my name is “Smacker, it just sounds good.” You got that right auntie!! I gotta find a better name….. maybe lantarrr or thebomb or someth’n.

  12. The pronunciation of English “th”* is a big problem in China, but “Samanfar” avoids this problem. Maybe more difficult-to-pronounce names should be modified too, eg. Waronica instead of Veronica, By-Ryan instead of Brian, etc.

    (* Note to pedantic linguistists: I mean both “th” sounds)

  13. No joke, I had a student in Hangzhou who called herself “Samandar” for exactly the same reason. There might be a whole subculture of Chinese girls whose English names sound like Flash Gordon villains.

  14. "marge" Says: July 17, 2006 at 4:02 am

    Smacker is the best. I bet she could beat me up and down and end up sitting on my face if we were ever in prison together.

  15. I think these “Sexy Beijing” videos are great, I hope they keep at it. It’s so funny that Su Fei’s “Jewish Girl” pronunciation actually carries over into her Chinese.

  16. Hey, what program is she using that translates into characters like that?

  17. Dees: that’s called an input method. A Chinese installation of windows will have several installed by default. You can’t see it in the film, but somewhere else on the screen there would be a small window which shows the different options in the pinyin you enter is corresponds to more than one character or phrase (depending on the way you configure the input method, this window can also follow the cursor as you type).

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