TV Series Moon Knight may be one of the more elusive series in the MCU but this week it’s become the subject of ridicule across the internet due to a couple of characters’ poor attempts at Mandarin.
In the second episode of Moon Knight, the main antagonist and cult leader Arthur Harrow and one of his followers are shown speaking in a rather strange interpretation of mandarin that is completely incomprehensible to native speakers.
To make the scene more ironic, Moon Knight or Steven Grant (at least in this persona), asks Harrow if all of his followers speak “Chinese” to which Harrow corrects him that the language is “Mandarin” and that he and his followers aspire to speak at least three languages. Clearly, they need a few more lessons.
Moon Knight has by far one of the worst attempts at Mandarin I’ve ever heard pic.twitter.com/7lmYUiLwHf
— xw (@sgtpepperonii) April 7, 2022
Since the premiere of the episode, people have taken to Twitter to have a launch the poor language attempts. A lot of the humor stems from the fact that no native speaker can understand a word of what was being said during the exchange.
in episode 2 of Moon Knight there’s a scene where two characters are speaking mandarin to each other and it is so funny because literally not a single word they say even sounds remotely close to mandarin
— kef in my incredibly delusional era (@uwukefinuwu) April 7, 2022
Moon knight character: *speaks weird language that i dont understand*
Other guy: you speak chinese?
Me, a native speaker: what
— DTM | #TeamMonsters (@destiny_thememe) April 6, 2022
There are many who are going as far as saying that it is the worst mandarin they’ve ever heard in a Hollywood production. That’s quite the accomplishment, even if it’s not for the right reasons.
I have heard bad mandarin before in shows. Like the tones and shit r all off but somehow it’s just “bad” mandarin. Whatever was in #MoonKnight wasn’t even CLOSE to the language. I wouldn’t even give it the label of “bad” mandarin as much as it sounded like gibberish
— em~ (@c_entfanatic) April 6, 2022
The mandarin spoken in moon knight is horrible. Maybe the worst I’ve ever heard in a tv show.
— Harvey (@JapanNewbie) April 6, 2022
The director of the series, Mohamed Diab stated that one of the goals of the series was creating a more authentic representation of Egyptian culture and “avoid the orientalist look”. As such, it is a shame that the series has portrayed the language of another culture so poorly.
Perhaps the mandarin dialogue was translated through hieroglyphs before being spoken. Regardless, let’s hope that Disney and Marvel learn from this blunder and attempt a more authentic portrayal of different languages in future projects.
Moon Knight is currently airing on Disney Plus