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Addicted: The most controversial cliffhanger in BL history

Addicted: The most controversial cliffhanger in BL history

Fans of BL series may be familiar with Addicted, one of the most well-known BL series during its peak. On January 29, 2016, it was broadcast online in the BL genre. To say it was a remarkable success with reports of 100 million hits—would be an understatement.

Photo from TMDB

It was based on Are You Addicted? a Chinese web novel written under the pen name Chai Jidan. It tells the story of two straight schoolboys named Gu Hai and Bai Luo Yin and their intense love story. Despite numerous challenges like their shared past, their parents and society’s rejection, and a terrible car accident, their love perseveres. The title is also a play on their names, Hai Luo Yin, which in Chinese translates as the drug “heroine.”

Screengrab from China Huace TV Official Channel on YouTube

Addicted was one of the biggest successes in the BL genre during its height because of how well-liked it was. Sadly, it was never able to live up to its full potential, and the series concluded on an agonizing cliffhanger. Imagine beginning to watch a BL drama, becoming emotionally attached to its story and its characters, and then it abruptly stops without providing any sort of resolution. I’ll go into the circumstances following the actors, the show, and the aftermath with you.

Addicted Trailer

How Addicted became the most controversial cliffhanger in BL history

Censorship

As I’ve already mentioned, the series enjoyed success after it debuted on China’s version of Netflix, iQiyi. Additionally, on February 20, 2016, the first fan meet took place, and by all indications, it was a huge success. Numerous instances sprang out of it, many of which would go on to become iconic moments in the fandom.

Huang Jingyu (Gu Hai) and Xu Weizhou (Bai Luo Yin)

Despite its remarkable success, three episodes before the season finale, on February 23, 2016, all episodes of Addicted were unexpectedly pulled from all Chinese video streaming platforms. Due to “the gay and explicit content,” the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television, also known as SAPPRFT (now NRTA), banned it. Afterward, the regulator did not react to a request for comment on why did they suspend the gay-themed show. 

Chinese viewers could no longer access it, much to the disappointment of the show’s viewers. Other gay-themed web dramas had their streams removed from popular video platforms, too. However, fans outside of mainland China were given access to the final three episodes of Addicted from the first season, a few days later on Huace Film & TV’s official YouTube page.

Addicted’s cancellation had a clear reason. Simply said, it doesn’t adhere to governmental values.  The Chinese government has never been a lover of the BL genre, as seen by its decision to sentence a BL fanfiction writer to ten years in prison. Tianyi, by name, is currently serving time in jail for writing a BL novel.

Rising fame despite the cancellation

The show remained popular even after it was canceled, as viewers shared the final three episodes on a variety of platforms. By that time, the episodes and the behind-the-scenes videos had already surfaced on Youtube with English and other language subtitles added by fans outside of China who had acquired the content from Chinese fans. This allowed more individuals outside of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China to watch Addicted.

Photo from Chai Jidan

Although there seemed to be no end in sight to the main cast’s fame, particularly that of Huang Jingyu (Gu Hai) and Xu Weizhou (Bai Luo Yin), kept on being popular. Together, they participated in magazine photoshoots and interviews. Indeed, the crowd loved the on-screen chemistry between the actors.

Thailand fan meet, 2016

On April 17, 2016, Addicted held a fan meeting in Thailand. Huang Jingyu did not appear in the first half, though. Jingyu could not appear on the same stage as Xu Weizhou, so when the fans inquired about his whereabouts, Xu Weizhou replied that he was backstage. Why? Huang Jingyu and Xu Weizhou apparently had a ban placed on them, as they were not permitted to be photographed together. The two Addicted leads will be banned from China’s entertainment industry if it is found that they are acting together again.

Huang Jingyu did eventually show up on stage but by himself. In the fan meeting, Huang Jingyu briefly shared the same spot with Xu Weizhou. Jingyu raised his arm while pumping his fist. Because the stage security sprang into action and pulled them apart, it only lasted a little while. The effects of the ban would continue to be immense and endless, having a negative impact on both of them. It also affected fans that went through its worst rift ever.

The aftermath

The producers of Addiction have not yet provided an official statement regarding the cancellation of the show. However, according to reports, fans have left more than 110 million online comments in the midst of the show’s cancellation. According to reports, the majority of comments made online expressed dissatisfaction with the censoring and the apparent rejection of the LGBTQ+ community in Chinese culture.

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Photo from TMDB

Jidan, meantime, revealed that season two filming has begun in Taiwan. The cast allegedly underwent a change. Meanwhile, the episodes of the series have received 28 million views on the Huace Film & TV YouTube account as of July 2022. The program continues to be the most popular BL program ever made in mainland China. Since its discontinuation, the show has gained a significant local and global fanbase among lovers of the BL  genre and casual viewers.

Screengrab from China Huace TV Official Channel on YouTube

Despite BL series being prohibited by government law, one was made this year. Created in China, however, it was distributed in Hong Kong under the title In Your Heart. Given the harsh measures taken by the Chinese government against BLs, that is surprising in and of itself. While you wait for updates on the Addicted season two, you should check it out.

Looking back

It was hard to fully enjoy Addicted due to the censorship required by the Chinese government. Any potential that Addicted could have had was strangled by the restrictions. You’ll never feel satisfied with the series’ flawed ending because it ends abruptly on a cliffhanger. Even after all these years, what happened to Addicted is disheartening and still hurts.

With no queer representation in the media, China’s LGBTQIA population has a long way to go. The cancellation of Addicted in China seems like a rejection of the LGBTQ+ community. The government continues to nurture prejudice, discrimination, and hatred toward the community. I can see that there is optimism in the Chinese media, nevertheless. They might need some time, but they’ll make it.

The cancelation of Addicted’s second season is a symbol of the hostility that the majority of the LGBTQ+ community encounters globally. I just want to encourage the LGBTQIA community, who face oppression and discrimination at the hands of their government and society, to be brave and optimistic. After all, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

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