The Play of Lips and Teeth

Chapter 2 - Husband-Wife Pair Gen

In a room inside the Huanyu TV Station, all available seats around the meeting table were fully occupied by the production team’s core members, the two guests and each of their managers.

Wei Lan unreservedly took the lead to speak, "Director Liu, we have no objection to the last-minute change of guest. Yet, for better or for worse, you could've given us a notice beforehand, couldn't you? Isn’t letting us find out through Weibo just too much?"

The chief director for Role Number Two, Liu Wei, was a middle-aged man. At this moment however, he casted a cautious glance at Yan Zhao who was, nota bene, his junior before answering to Wei Lan with a full-blown smile, "XiaoYan-laoshi, Chief Wei, the matter this time was sudden. It was agreed before to make the announcement on this exact day, and we were also very lucky to catch a deal with XiaoZhou-laoshi. Aren't we doing it all to keep up with the original plan–"

Wei Lan's fuse immediately lit up, "Original plan, you say? Did the original plan ever mention that our family's Xiao Yan will be doing xiangsheng–?!"

"Wei-jie," interrupted Yan Zhao before she could finish.

He took a look at Zhou Chenyu who was seated opposite him. The guy's mental state was, quite fortunately, serious enough that he didn't seem to take any mind of Wei Lan’s words that were anything but polite.

After that, Yan Zhao continued, "Since the announcement is made, there's no point arguing about this further."

Speaking so, he looked toward Liu Wei who was seated at the head of the table, "Director Liu. The guest's identity has been changed, so the script must also have been greatly modified. With tomorrow being the official start of the recording, why hasn't the new script been given to us?"

As predicted, Liu Wei showed a troubled look on his face. This change wasn't missed by Wei Lan, and she was just about to flare up when she heard Zhou Chenyu suddenly speak.

He was talking to Yan Zhao in novelty, "Aren't reality shows supposed to guarantee factual events? Why'd we need a script?"

No sooner than the words finished, everyone around the meeting table spontaneously lowered their heads to hide their laugh. An awkward silence permeated the room for a while.

Everybody already knew it was Zhou Chenyu’s first time recording a variety show, but they never expected his understanding of reality shows would be limited to this. It was surprising that there’s still people who don’t know there are scripts behind every variety show nowadays.

Yan Zhao asked helplessly, “Didn’t you read the contract when you arrived?”

Zhou Chenyu dryly pointed to the young female manager by his side, “The team helped me sign.”

Despite being the show guest, he had the audacity to be very matter-of-fact about not reading the contract.

No one was speaking, so Zhou Chenyu asked again, “Are you telling me that when you record a variety show, every movement and every speech, from beginning to the end, is all dictated word per word?”

He had hit the nail on the head. Most variety shows in the market nowadays did, in fact, do it that way with every guest taking different scripts and ‘personality settings’. Despite being called a reality show, the recording procedure used was actually not much different from filmmaking.

Needless to say, Role Number Two was not included in the above category. Besides, it was certainly impossible for the production team to give out any detailed script with the present situation.

Yan Zhao explained, "Our program certainly wouldn't go that far. But the basic outlines like what and how to record for each episode should be there at least."

It was only after hearing these words that a tiny spark of hope reignited in Liu Wei's eyes, "The outlines are ready. I'll immediately let the assistant distribute it."

Yan Zhao asked, "Then why were you hesitating just now?"

Liu Wei laughed it off, "The entire station knows how high XiaoYan-laoshi's standards are. We were just afraid a non-detailed script would tick you off."

Zhou Chenyu sized up Yan Zhao with quite the interest. He never expected such a young one to have such a weight that even the chief director has to spare him some respect. Yan Zhao's status in Huanyu TV was partially visible just from the atmosphere of this meeting alone.

"Don't put it that way, Director Liu," smiled Yan Zhao with a bit of helplessness, "Our program's topic is special, after all. It's still for the best that the true contrast between parties is preserved. The script, as well, doesn't need to be too rigid."

These words further boosted Liu Wei's confidence, "To be completely honest, our script has only decided the shooting content for each episode. The performance specifics for each, however, will be left in your hands. Accordingly, we'll be recording more raw materials and have them appropriately edited later for the final product."

As they were talking, the scripts had made their way into everyone's hand.

Yan Zhao flipped a few pages, then a slight frown uncontrollably formed on his handsome forehead. "This script…is ridiculously brief, isn't it?"

Shame colored Liu Wei's face, "We'll continue on improving them in the next few days."

Yan Zhao went on, "Especially on the part related to xiangsheng. If the program aims to promote traditional cultures, does it even make sense to have such pathetic details on the related content?"

Yan Zhao was young, slender, and attractive. Despite how he looked graceful, refined, and amiable on camera, the way he worked in private was actually strong and decisive. It's difficult for an average staff member to resist that strong aura of his.

Now with a frown on his face, he appeared all the more stern and grave. Everyone inside the meeting room couldn't help but be silenced again.

Yan Zhao realized his tone just then was too grave. He cleared his throat and half-jokingly said, "I really am clueless about anything xiangsheng. If you guys don't enrich the details in the script, how am I supposed to master it?"

Everyone from the production team felt an unspeakable bitterness in their hearts.

Zhou Chenyu was a guest they’d invited at the last moment. If it was not for the sudden accident happening to the little idol, it wouldn't even have crossed their minds for the program to invite a xiangsheng performer.

Not just Yan Zhao, every single person here was presumably just as clueless about the topic.

Zhou Chenyu, however, was absolutely blind to the tactful complaint Yan Zhao made to the production team. He consoled Yan Zhao in a way he, himself, thought as very considerate, "It's no big deal. You've always been good at giving oral, after al–"

His words weren't even finished when the dozen pairs of eyes on the meeting table uniformly turned toward him with a swish.

Yan Zhao, too, subconsciously looked up to his direction, expression severely tangled.

In such a room filled with people, what messy sh1t was this person spouting?

Then, as if receiving some enlightenment, everyone’s gaze once again uniformly casted in a certain direction: Yan Zhao.

Yan Zhao: ???

The one saying problematic words is him, the hell you looking at me for?

From the weird expression in their gazes, however, Yan Zhao felt like he had a good enough guess on what kind of filthy stories their brains were producing.

Yan Zhao’s inner heart was every kind of helpless. Blindly sexual fantasizing others was one thing, be that as it may, it was wholly UNNEEDED to sexual fantasize him with this silly prick, okay!

While everyone’s eyes were getting weirder and weirder, Zhou Chenyu smiled in embarrassment, “Ahem, what I meant to say was, Xiao Yan works as an emcee, he’s good in his oral speech and also smart. When the time comes, you’ll only need me to teach you once to master it.”

Didn't he just carelessly miss a word? Why the big reaction, really?

[t/n: Taking some translation liberties here. On the first one the word he used is 口活 a.k.a oral s8x, while on the second one he used 口条 a.k.a oral speech. So, he was saying 'it was only a word different'. Yeah, baby, as long as you're happy]

It was, in fact, common for xiangsheng performers to have no brakes in their mouth. This kind of thing can even count as ad-lib comedy or 'xian gua' if it was put on stage.

Yet this gang of people who sit so upright and still evidently lack any humorous cell in them.

Liu Wei hurriedly went along with his words, "That's right, that's right. Our first two episodes will be of variety shows, while the xiangsheng performance will start on the third one. Isn't there still plenty of time to refine the script? And besides, Xiao Yan, your script writing skill is always exceptional. When the time comes and you let Xiao Zhou help, won't the quality of the script written by the two of you be higher than the one from our production team?"

Yan Zhao only responded with a silent sigh in his heart.

Freakishly having to change partners, and get a silly prick as a result.

Freakishly being told to perform xiangsheng, while he had never even watched a proper xiangsheng from the start.

And now it's perfect, even the script was being entrusted for himself to write.

Are there any others who produce a program in this way? Teasing him, eh?

His long experience as an emcee, however, had granted him the practiced skill of a never-changing smile on his face despite the thousands curses of MMP floating in his heart. Under such circumstances, Yan Zhao was still holding on to his calm and composed grace.

[t/n: MMP is abbr for ma mai pi, kinda = [email protected], son of a b1tch, etc.]

Just to hear Director Liu once again talk, "Apart from the script, there's still one very important problem."

With the attentive gazes of both Ikemens on his left and his right, Liu Wei felt so pressured that his voice lowered down a note, "...That is to hype CP."

Yet another MMP resounded in Yan Zhao's heart.

Hyping CP or ship pairing was, without doubt, an indispensable segment in the program. As a matter of fact, for a variety show to get popular nowadays, it's necessary to first establish a pair of hyped CP.

BoyxGirl CP was prone to be taken too seriously, such that when the ship sank, the damage would be great to either of the celebrities. In comparison, a BoyxBoy CP which just sells 'bromance' from the start would have lesser worries about those consequences.

Although Yan Zhao didn't feel strongly about hyping CP, he wasn't too repulsed by it either. It was because he had confidence in his sense of measure. He wouldn't deliberately sell gays but still have the true feelings show through. This way, when everything was set to flow, he had the means to advance and retreat appropriately even with any real-person-slash or real-bro-love.

Each of every belles and beaus mixing in the entertainment circle was an old fox. Most were already familiar with this type of strategy.

But after meeting this goodie called Zhou Chenyu, for the first time ever, Yan Zhao felt that hyping CP was somewhat of a headache.

Zhou Chenyu was someone without variety show experience. Just take a look at that loose mouth of his, which saying ‘oral speech’ had magically become ‘giving oral’. If such a thing was aired in the program, Yan Zhao really worried they’d both be banned before the day even ended.

Without waiting for Yan Zhao to speak, the little ancestor opposite him was in contrast very enthusiastic, “Hyping CP, ah… I’m quite good at it.”

Yan Zhao couldn’t help but raise his eyes and look at him, very shocked that someone who was so ignorant of entertainment circle’s modus operandi will even know what is called to hype CP.

Liu Wei stared at him in surprise, “You’re actually good at this?”

Zhou Chenyu boasted his greatness without hiding, “Husband-wife gen, is it? We do that plenty of times on stage.”

Yan Zhao was utterly befuddled, “...Husband-wife gen?”

Zhou Chenyu explained to him, “Just the literal meaning of the word. That is I’m the husband and you’re the wife.”

Yan Zhao, “I beg your pardon?!”

Zhou Chenyu seemed to be stunned by his sudden outburst. A pair of peach blossom eyes blinked a few times, before cautiously peering toward Yan Zhao, “That… You can also be the husband if you want to?”

Author's note:

Xiao Yan : I won’t be polite then.

Link of the chapter in the raw

Chapter's Glossary
Xiao Yan & Xiao Zhou?
This 'xiao' which means small/little is frequently used by older person to call a younger one, either affectionate or to appear less formal.
Silly Prick -> Sand Sculpture?
in Chinese, it's 'sadiao' which was homonym to another word meaning 'Stupid D1ck', but this altered one is used rather humorously to call out someone as silly.
I figure this one was more wildly known than the Chinese 'Shuai-ge', which was denoting young, handsome man. (for Indonesians, we have this word 'Cogan')
Hype CP?
You may be more familiar with fry cp. It's to deliberately market a ship to gain more audience to the certain topic, like drama, movie, shows, or just pure individual popularity.
Sell gays?
Acting out BL scenario to fanservice us fujoshis.
Real Person Slash?
Y'know, the fanfics.
ma, ba, ah, and others ending accents: Mainly change sentence into questions, but sometimes rhetorical or expecting a yes answer.

Name(s) introduced:
Liú wéi 刘维 (Role Number Two's Chief Director)

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