‘The Youth Memories’ brings back decades-old young passion
TV drama seeks to inspire China’s Generation Z
Published: Jun 05, 2023 05:01 PM
Photo: Courtesy of Douban

Photo: Courtesy of Douban

Chinese TV drama The Youth Memories is currently airing on China Central Television and streaming giant Tencent Video. Already one of June's hit TV series, it depicts a group of young people living in Beijing who passionately pursue their dreams from the 1970s to the early 2000s. 

Taking place at Shichahai, a lake located in central Beijing, the drama, starring Xiao Zhan, Li Qin, Liu Ruilin, Cao Feiran, Zhao Xin, Cui Hang, Zhang Lingxin, and Lu Nuo, tells how six young people grow, change their careers and pursue their dreams over the span of 30 years. 

They happen to meet at an ice rink on the lake. 

With different personalities and family backgrounds, they set out on different paths in their lives. While one manages to go to college, the other four join the army together, including hero Xiao Chunsheng (by Xiao Zhan). 

Experiencing ups and downs in life, the six of them reunite on the ice rink, recalling their youth and dreams.

"The series helps people who have lived during the same time recall how hard they have worked, and how valuable their lives are today," Zhang Yiwu, a professor at ­Peking University, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

"Although the story happened decades ago, which may be unfamiliar to young people today, it can still inspire them as the six characters' optimism and tenacity to tackle challenges and difficulties in their lives are still needed now. And that is why the drama can still move people today."  

After the show's debut, it quickly became a hot topic on Chinese social media platforms. 

The audiences have been touched by the  story of the six friends and begun to post their feeling and views on Weibo and other  platforms. 

Yang Xiaopei, the producer of the series said that they hope to reflect the style of that past times and convey upward values through the stories of the growth and struggle of ordinary people in the drama.

Such a positive attitude is actually the main theme of the story. This attitude has inspired Xiao and his peers to keep moving forward. They went through rigorous Chinese national college exams, or gaokao, career changes and setbacks in their lives. 

The Beijing spirit and local culture also influenced the lives of the characters, ensuring they stick to this spirit no matter how far they go in pursuing their dreams. 

When Xiao and his friends return to Beijing, they get involved in the social and market transformation, leading to the different paths their lives took. 

Although Xiao has encountered many difficulties, he keeps on working hard, holding onto his kind and positive attitude. His conscience and righteousness in doing business during China's reform and opening up period is also what this TV series wants to emphasize. 

His devotion to the development of ­China has moved viewers. 

According to Yang, the drama aims to show people's youthful passion in a great era, and present this passion to those who were once young, currently are young or will forever be young, telling them to keep working toward their dreams.