Who is the Counterpublic? Bromance-as-Masquerade in Chinese Online Drama—S.C.I. Mystery

Tingting Hu, Cathy Yue Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This articles examines the representation of the blurred boundary between bromance and romance in the Chinese drama, S.C.I. Mystery (2018) and how it can be interpreted in Chinese gender discourse because it is the unique boys’ love fanfiction being adapted for an online drama in mainland China. We use the term bromance-as- masquerade to denote a representational strategy of depicting male–male romance under the guise of homosocial bromance. Bromance-as-masquerade facilitates the promotion of male intimacy cultivated by the leading actors themselves and the production team in the marketing process. Their actions demonstrate a proactive engagement in the counterpublic discourse; however, this article argues that the self- censored modification of the plot-setting represents a refusal and exclusion of boys’ love subculture, which places the notion of the counterpublic in question.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTelevision and New Media
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • counterpublic
  • bromance
  • masquerade
  • fanfiction
  • boys’ love
  • Chinese online drama


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