Can you genuinely love two people?

19 02 2012

[ Spoilermeter: Semi-spoilery, I do say who the mains end up with in the end and I do talk about one or two key turning points but really, even knowing the information, it won’t deter from your enjoyment of  the show. It’s one of those ones that you can watch time and time again. ]

Ridiculously cool, kick-ass of an older woman.

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Insanely lovingly loveable leading younger man.

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Amazingly gracious, mature, perfectly non-possessive second leading man.

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Ethan Ruan‘s bootilicious body.

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James Wen‘s Eighth Wonder jawline.

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Err… OTL…

…even if the storyline for the 2009 Taiwanese TTV / SETTV series My Queen (aka Queen Of No Marriage) sucked, the series still would’ve been not too shabby to look at. But for the love of all things mighty good and pure, I am thrilled to say that this series far from sucked. In true dorama lovin’ style, I can whole heartedly, gleefully tell you that My Queen rocked me off mah high horses.

To put this in perspective, there aren’t too many Taiwanese series that I would say to you “Go drop your shit and watch it right now,” but if you’re a fan of older woman / younger man stories and you haven’t seen My Queen already… get on it. RIGHT NOW. And really, when you get to my age, who isn’t a fan of these series that feature such relationships, lol (hands up who liked Dal Ja’s Spring? No? Surely you liked Long Vacation, then? Chotto matte, did someone mention Sapuri ?~~^^;;;;;;)

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Actually, to really put this into perspective, if you’re a fan of doramas in general, you need to have watched My Queen, period. It is that frggn good. And it will make you feel that frggn good. The writers managed to create two very different leading male characters who had very different personalities but importantly, they possessed the one fundamental, elusive trait that made every woman on this planet want to bed, er, I mean, want to befriend them (~~~~~) There isn’t any one adjective to describe it but they just gave you that feeling— these two guys were real men. And you just know in the end, regardless of who it is, your heart will break for the one who doesn’t get the girl.

Once upon a time, a gifted photographer, Leslie Song Yun Hao (played by James Wen,) had promised to marry his college sweetheart, our leading lady Shan Wu Shuan (played by Cheryl Yang.) (Btw, he proposes by ordering a dessert for her and having the ring placed on top of the mountain of ice cream and then the words “Will you marry me?” inked on the plate in some sort of dessert sauce… like any girl would not say yes to the sickeningly sweetness~~) However, on the day of the wedding, he doesn’t show. There is no reason, no explanation, no trace of him at all. Six years later, this woman, now 33 years old, is still waiting. Waiting for an answer, waiting for him.

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In the meantime, Wu Shuan, consciously or not, focussed every ounce of her energy into her career, becoming an outstanding journalist, building an image of a woman who required nobody to look after her. She was independent and self-reliant, and on the surface it did appear she had thrown her love life away, that she didn’t need love. Deep down though, she had more love than anyone else. And it took a chance meeting with a seemingly impetuous 25 year old guy called Lucas (played by Ethan Ruan) to begin to reveal this most tender side to this most self-contained woman.

Yun Hao re-enters Wu Shuan‘s life six years later, IIRC around episode 12, and I’m thinking, “Bro, you better explain yourself well because you know I’ve just hopped on the Ethan Ruan and Cheryl Yang ship >:(((!!!” As it turns out, Yun Hao was shooting in Somalia and wound up being gunned down during the turmoil of the war. All in the name of art and journalism. He fell into a two-month coma, and when he eventually awoke, not only did he find out he was crippled, but due to some fishy behind-the-back meddling from his photography assistant, a misunderstanding surfaced between our brave photographer and his fiancée, our heroine, Wu Shuan.

Yun Hao went on to spend a good chunk of time travelling around Third World countries in hope of capturing the spirit of the people and in some way, help expose the rest of the world to the more candid, more genuine, more fragile and humane side of the communities. It’s often easy to forget that amongst all the chaos, there exists an abundance of love and beauty in these war stricken countries— in fact, sometimes, possibly there is even more. In many ways, Yun Hao felt indebted to the community that had essentially saved his life. At the same time, believing he had lost the woman he loved, he knew nothing else but to turn his all to the only other thing he loved- photography. Much like the way Wu Shuan devoted herself into becoming the best journalist in Taiwan, they both were striving to live on without the other.

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What My Queen shows is that sometimes, timing is everything. Time can heal all, but it can also change all. People change, feelings change, the way you perceive things change. What you wanted at one point in time you may not feel the same way about when it finally comes back around into your hands. And there is no point in hanging onto it for the sake of the past or the potential future— you know, the “What could be.” You can’t confine yourself to something because logically it is the right thing to do, nor can you bank on certain things to eventually develop or go away. Feelings, love and life— they can not be predicted, they can not be measured nor can they rationalised. What’s best for us is to feel the moment, to live in the moment and to enjoy the moment. And when the moment is over, accept it as one chapter in you life and move onto embracing the next. It’s okay not knowing exactly what that will be. Kinda deep blah blah blah I know but it was this maturity about My Queen that I felt like helped separate it from the ocean of Taiwanese McFlurry idol dramas. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the odd fluffy “This world is full of rainbows” poptastic bubblegum crap drama but this one, well, even my parents were enjoying it, lol.

I remember a friend once said to me back when we were at university that it is possible to like two people at the same time. And I couldn’t disagree at the time. But now, if she were to say it to me again, I would absolutely question her. For me, somewhere, somehow, secretly, subconsciously, inside you, I think you always have an answer. It wouldn’t be true love if you were to say you loved two people at the same— at least not in the same way. What? Too many Korean dramas in my head?  Whatevs. I just believe the human heart isn’t built that way. Watching My Queen, you get this. You see it between the main characters, and you see it trying to figure out who the heck you want Wu Shuan to end up with. And for me, yet again, I proved to myself I am definitely a pro leading male kinda gal— but only just, because James Wen was so much the faultless second fiddle guy he practically left me slobbering, Hanazawa who ? (<<<— if you know me, you know how much weight that statement carries~~)

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It could have been quite easy for someone to turn his role into a “FEEL SORRY FOR ME, Y’ALL!! FML! FML! EFF EMM ELLLLLLLLL!!!!!!” kinda character but I am thanking all the Dorama Gods that this did not happen. Yun Hao stared death straight in the face, lost his mobility, got screwed over by his feverishly jealous assistant and lived six years in numbing isolation— and in the end, he lost the damn girl as well. Seriously, he had every right to take a shot at wrenching our sympathy. There have been countless second leading males who endured a heckuva lot less and created a much bigger friggin’ fuss over the whole scenario (*coughs* Lee Yul in Goong *coughs* *coughs* Yune in I’m Sorry I Love You *coughs*) but Yun Hao was as gracious and as humble as you could ever ask your second fiddle guy to be. But by no means does this mean he was a wuss because he darn well wasn’t— there is no way you could possibly question his passion. He was simply a man who understood and accepted that a person’s heart can not be forced.

After Yun Hao and Wu Shuan reunited, in the scene where he brings her to their “Dream House,” you could see it in Wu Shuan‘s face that she was longer in the same place. My heart broke into about a million and twenty-eight pieces for Yun Hao, but never did I feel sorry for him, because before anyone could, he would find a way to make you look at the situation in a positive light. He just had that warm, giving harmony about him. In many ways, he reminded me alot of the absolutely gorgeous Kim Jae Wook‘s Hong Tae Sung from Bad Guy. Their strength, their dignity, their selflessness, their actually-caring-for-the-sanity-of-the-woman-you-love… it’s the stuff that all second fiddle guys should be freaking made of (^;_;^) James Wen really managed to encapsulate all these qualities and made Yun Hao a man anybody would respect with a giant fist pump to the chest (it’s not just that damn jawline I tell ya!!! (*^∀^*!!!!!!))

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But just in case bootiful Jamesy isn’t your cuppa tea (by the way, I have to point out that I loved his fashion,) there is always the six foot+ tall modelesque pretty boy. That’s right, Ethan Ruan. Didn’t think I could possibly love the guy in another role more than his handsomely dreamy, oh-so-doable oh-so-adorkable Ji Cun Xi in Fated To Love, but gaaaaaah, Ethan as Lucas in My Queen = Almost 100 thousand million times more perfect. Or comparatively, you could say that he was He-is-so-giving-Joe-Cheng-a-run-for-his-money-as-my-favourite-Taiwanese-boy perfect (but don’t worry Joe baybay, I still heart you and all your self-indulgent facebook photo updates xDDD) In My Queen, Ethan exuded a much greater air of maturity that left me taking him signifcantly more seriously— to me this time around, he seemed much more comfortable and compelling as the leading man. He definitely held his own against the flawless finesse of Cheryl Yang. It wouldn’t have been hard to pass off his character Lucas as someone who was merely a little bit more than a hot-blooded, hormonal young guy, but toy boy he was definitely not. Yes Ethan naturally oozes a Grand Canyon load of boyish charm but he also has this manliness about him that makes you want to stand by him. He brings these elements to his character Lucas so well in fact that from episode one I made up my mind instantly— I was going to marathon this series fo’ sho’ baby. And boy, man, was it worth it xDD My favourite gesture from him in the entire series? Gah, do I only get to pick one?

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It would probably have to be how he went out of his way to resolve the misunderstanding between Yun Hao and Wu Shuan, effectively releasing the knot in Wu Shuan‘s heart. As Lucas did this, he knew clear and well that Yun Hao and Wu Shuan would more than likely get back together but as much his feelings for Wu Shuan were left stranded, ultimately he was mature enough to make the sacrifice for her. He may have been younger, but he wasn’t at all any less developed in his thoughts and rationale. I’ve definitely watched my fair share of older woman /  younger man series before and I have to say that the success factor almost always lies within the younger male. He will separate the good from the bad to the downright Sapuris (gomenasai, I know, I know, I AM The Cheap Shot Queen >_>;;;;;;) He needs to be what Lucas was. Perhaps not immediately, but he needs to make that journey. Sena of ♪♫♪ Maware maware merry go round !!! ♫♪♫  fame certainly lacked a little guts in the beginning but he more than redeemed himself along the way ( and of course the silky hair and the Kimura factor did help to negate the early awkward cowardice, too xDD )

Don’t get me wrong, the younger guy can be be boyish, he doesn’t have to wear suits and ties (but ah, he should look good when he does have to suit up *twitches eyebrows*… case in point, episode 3 when Lucas accompanies Wu Shuan at some fancy function as her fake boyfriend. Ji Chun Xi flashbacks! Ji Cun Xi flashbacks! *mops drool from face*, ) he doesn’t have to be serious about everything he does… but he does have to be someone who has a generous skill and / or is completely competent and self-sufficient in his own right. Else it’s just a Babysitting For The Slightly Advanced program for me. Say for instance in Kimi wa Petto, did anyone actually at any stage think that Jun‘s character could legitimately provide for Koyuki in ways more than just being a toy, I mean, er, a pet ? Did anyone ever think that it was or even could be love? *shudders* *pukes* I for sure as heck didn’t. In My Queen howeveryou will believe that Lucas is capable of bringing the bread home. You will believe he can change your light bulbs. You will believe in his dreams. You will want to dance with him, you will want to ride on the back of his motorbike with him wearing that ridiculous mohawk broom of a helmet. You will want to cry on his big, broad shoulders when you’ve had a bad day. You will have no doubt that he is the right man to be with a woman who is eight years his senior. And you will seriously want to be that woman.

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And that’s not just because she gets to have a Lucas, it’s also because she is just so insanely cool. Not just the character, but I seriously couldn’t picture anyone else’s face to this role other than Cheryl Yang. I could not go on enough about just how awesome Cheryl Yang was in her role— she really made it work. Loyal devoted girlfriend, unlucky lost little girl in love, confident cut-throat career woman, headstrong but filial daughter, brutally honest but secretly loving friend, woman struggling to accept that she has fallen for a younger man, fated soul seeking her happiness in life… Cheryl artfully portrayed the complexity of these emotions that made the revolution of Wu Shuan feel effortless and believable. She was multi-dimensional and strong but in the most feminine, elegant way.

During the period she was waiting aimlessly for Yun Hao to return, we watched Wu Shuan find herself in a cornucopia of romantic and social blunders, which were humorous for a moment but then, although she handled it all as well as anyone could handle them, quite honestly, you did find yourself cringing for her. It’s not because you were looking down on her but it’s because you could just imagine how much you would’ve wanted to get outta there if you were in the same scenario yourself.

For instance, in the scene at the Japanese restaurant on Valentine’s Day, another young man pretends to have interest in her and brashly draws the attention of the entire restaurant. It’s centre stage, and the dude leans into Wu Shuan as if to kiss her, but then stops short before laughing in her face, “As if I would be interested in an old woman like you.” Yep, what a jerk. Of course, moments later, our beautiful Lucas just happens to be nearby and swoops in to give our heroine a big pash in front of the same crowd, intentionally relieving her of the humiliation, and we witness first hand, Lucas‘ natural instincts in needing to protect Wu Shuan.

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What I enjoyed and gained most from these scenes were not Ethan‘s incredible smooching techniques and the sparkling chemistry between our leading couple, but seeing how Wu Shuan dealt with the humiliation. You will see not only the woman’s resilience but perhaps more importantly, her delicacy. It made her completely relatable. Her exterior was alot colder than say the brilliant, fun-lovin’ Oh Dal Ja in Dal Ja’s Spring but you soon realise Wu Shuan is simply often misunderstood. Much like Dal Ja unni, she treated all her relationships with the same level of chastity, she cared deeply for the people closest to her, and was undyingly loyal to and protective of them. She may not let alot of people into her circle but once you’re in, she will cherish you forever. And through all the thick and thin, in the end, it was most rewarding seeing her find her destiny, and most importantly seeing her finally learn to love herself. This woman owns and is totally worthy of her own fan club.

And I would not be ashamed at all to fangirl after her (a bonus Lucas or Yun Hao shaped blow-up doller, tofu doll(?) phone charm (?_?) as an introductory present wouldn’t harm either…)

———

[ Image credits: The photos used throughout this post were mostly capped by me from DVD, a couple from youtube, a couple from tumblrs and flickrs. If you feel like I owe you a credit, please shout out! I have been hopeless with recording the correct URLs for all my resource pages recently… ><;;; ]

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The awkward moment when the name of your series sounds like a failed celebrity diet

18 07 2011

There are 3 (close to) sure-fire ways to get me watching a Taiwanese drama:

 

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And with point number three is how I picked up the 2010 PTS series, Gloomy Salad Days.

Once you pick your jaw (and lettuce scraps, bwahaha) up from the floor and get past the slightly laughable series title, you’ll realise that the series is nothing like your typical Taiwanese idol drama. Nothing. Zilch. It’s not fluffy, it’s not airy-fairy, it’s definitely not sunny. The tone of the series more than lives up to its title- but not entirely in a good way. From start to finish, the viewer is overridden with this unbearable heaviness- in the grey muted colours, in the dr-OHHHHH-ning soundtrack, in the uber-desolate dialogue-  it’s nothing but a sense of eternal gloom. You never feel like there is a way out, you never feel like there is any sense of hope (and, affirmative, this includes some of the, er, “acting” ><;)

Gloomy Salad Days is broken up into a series of twelve different stories, each dealing with teen-oriented issues derived from real life social cases. Shen Qi (played by Aaron Yan~~ oh Aaron Yan! Aaron Yan! Why the bjesus are you so puuurrrudy>>?) is a student carrying a brain tumor that has resulted in him being able to see something that no one else can see- Du aka Death Girl (played by Serena Fang.) Not that I would say Shen Qi wants this special ability though because Death Girl is not really your Fairy Godmother (to put it nicely.) She’s a guardian, sure, but that is of The Bridge Of Helplessness, which is essentially the bridge between life and death. Her soul lingers inside this mysterious rock, which I’m telling you now, DO NOT ever pick up. EVER. (Who collects rocks these days anyways? ><) As soon as you claim it in your possession, you win the unwanted glory of being able to see Du, and as these troubled students show, you will subsequently be faced with the choice to sacrifice life- be it your own or someone else’s- all in the name of ridding your life of any so-felt burdens. What does it take to give in? And is the link between life and death what it seems?

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One of the better things about the series was definitely the cinematography- the camera angles, the frame shots, the lighting, the play between light and shade… it all contributed to being a pretty perfect backdrop. At a glance, the series was pretty visually nice to look at. However, story-wise, I think Gloomy Salad Days tried too hard to achieve something that was beyond the capability of the cast, and when the acting isn’t overly strong, that’s when the flaws in the story become blaringly apparent. From an intent standpoint, I did appreciate and somewhat even applaud the writers for what they were trying to get at- and I totally get where they were coming from- but in terms of the execution, quite frankly, things just didn’t mesh. The twelve individual accounts felt like pretty much just that- twelve individual accounts. I don’t think it would’ve even mattered too much the order in which the stories were told in. Despite that they were all from the same school (and some were apparently affiliated with one another,) the students from each of these stories never really felt that connected to me at all. You never really got the feeling that the misfortunes of one student really affected any of the others, and so if they weren’t connecting with one another, then how possibly could the viewer be expected to connect with them?

That’s not to say though that the characters themselves sucked because individually, quite a few of them did have alot of depth to them. Nicole from story 3 for instance, was a girl who showed signs of great intelligence in her studies but never committed. During the day, we would rarely see her interact with other students, it’s as if she didn’t think that they were worth her time. Come night time, we see her morph into another type of girl, a woman, a figure you would call anything but a good student. We see her live a whole ‘nother life. This was Nicole, the escort. She would give you her time, if you gave her the ka-ching(~!)

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In real life, it would be easy to look at a teenager like Nicole and immediately assume her to be your stereotypical, anti-authority pubescent- you know, someone who rebels for seemingly for no reason, a belief not at all uncommon in the eyes of much of the older generation. As a mother of one of  the students is quoted as saying, “Young people are completely incomprehensible these days.” But then again, do youths really act a certain way “just for the sake of it?” Is there not some kind of subliminal message being conveyed or a silent cry for help that they subconsciously want someone to hear? Have I watched too many Oprah and Doctor Phil (and maybe even everyone’s favourite Oprah-wannabe Tyra Banks ) shows  in my lifetime to believe that there is always some underlying reason for people to be acting in such a socially frowned upon way (btw, don’t get me wrong, I do like Tyra, but even so, her talk show has always felt a lil too eerily emulating of the one and only Ms O’s~~)? Perhaps. Maybe. Fine, I’ll admit to sobbing whilst watching the final episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show *sniffs* But if you look at Nicole, behind all that makeup, behind that punky hair (and behind those very, very nice boots may I say… ;)) there is a child fighting- alone– to stay alive. Her father is a shameless gambling addict, and not only that, he is also an abusive drunk, often taking out his frustration and anger on the mother- and sometimes even Nicole. It’s a family dysfunction nobody would ever wish on anyone else to have to deal with as they are growing up. Du steps in and asks how her life could be made better to which Nicole brashly shoots back, without a second thought, if the father was gone, everything would  be easier. Everyone would be better off. The world would be better off. And whadduya know, Nicole‘s wish is granted. The words that so quickly left her mouth had become a reality. Living for the rest of your life- and having to face your mother- knowing it was your words that summoned that power- in the end, is it all worth it?

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One of the other stories that stirred my interest the most featured the rich and mysterious pretty boy student, Li You. It is made known soon enough that he is the illegitimate child of some super powerful and super affluent business man, and we are all left believing that explains his subdued aura, his speak-little attitude- but heck no would things be that straightforward. Come on, we are like, halfway through the series, it’s time for sh*t to really go down.

So from the first moment we see him, I’m thinking to myself ,”WTF, why is this boy’s skin so much whiter and smoother and softer than any other girl that I’ve ever seen in my life? Wait, hang on, hang on… is he… a… a b…boy?” A little dramawiki search-and-enter action later, I discover that the person playing the role is indeed an actress. And a little deeper on into episode 8 we go, it is revealed to the viewer that Li You was born anatomically female- but in his mind, he has always been a male.

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By this time, Li You had already become best friends with the gung-ho he-man captain of the school’s basketball team, Chen Guo Hao, and as you would have it, he was also dating Guo Hao‘s younger sister Mei Lei. Upon hearing the news, Mei Lei‘s feelings for Li You do not change. She likes Li You, the person, whether or not Li You is male or female does not concern her the teeniest, tiniest bit. And I’m the kinda person who thinks the same way, as does a growing number of people in the world- love doesn’t have to be between a man and a woman.

A large part of my intrigue in Li You‘s story was due to the fact that in many ways, it reminded me of Ruka in Last Friends– which yes, I’ve said it before and I will say it again- I liked. ALOT. I mean, come on. Ueno Juri + Eita + Mizukawa Asami. You know that’s (one of) my ultimate jdorama fantasy(ies) (my other fantasy? Jin+Kame in a very, VERY special reunion…ahem… >_>;;;…) I am aware that the ending was very… iffy *raises left eyebrow* but from a character and human study approach, both these roles, the relationships and the life events around them… it got people thinking, it got people debating- when you find that you can not accept someone, is it because of them or is it because of you?

Gloomy Salad Days suggests that there are still parts of society that find it difficult to accept love between the same gender, or accept people who have gender identity disorders- which, to me, is fine, it just means we all look at things differently. Tradition is tradition, yes. Opinion is opjnion, yes. I’m all cool with that. What isn’t fine is when you turn your inability to agree with something or someone into an energy that can or does generate hatred or hurt.

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When Guo Hao finds out about Li You‘s gender, he flips. He flippin’ flips big time. But it’s a little more complicated than him simply finding out that his BFF is actually not a guy (although, to realise that he had been being shellacked by a girl in basketball all this time along would’ve bruised the ego a tad~~) For Guo Hao, it was the thought of the person he felt like he could trust the most had actually been lying to him all this time along- call it betrayal, call it being played- whatever way you look at it, it is something very hard to swallow. And to fuel the fire even more, the rest of the school is talking and even sneering behind both Li You and Mei Lei‘s backs- it’s not completely unfathomable for Guo Hao to demand that Li You leaves her. As much as some of us believe they shouldn’t have to separate just because of the way others look at them, as the big brother, I feel like Guo Hao‘s reaction is justly within line. The two “brothers” fight it out- literally, in a physical punch on- but at the end of it, it dawns on them that they are only responding this way because they do truly value each other. No way in this world would they ever want to see something bad to happen to the other. Du sees this with  her own eyes and roams away as Shen Qi chases after her, “You’re really not as cruel as I thought.” Du replies softly, “If people can work things out, why should I interfere?” For the first time, the viewer sees, as does Shen Qi, Du does have compassion. She is a living soul, and perhaps has alot more to her story than what meets the eye.

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There were probably just the one or two stories where I found myself rolling my eyes and gaaaaahing, “Seriously, dude, in comparison to your fellow schoolmates, your problem really isn’t even a problem!” (*coughs*Xiao Dao*coughs*episode12*coughs*) but on the whole, I did foster some level of concern for the bulk of the characters. It’s just that as soon as one story was over, they would move straight onto the next, barely even mentioning or ever referencing the previous students’ fates. It really is a shame the writers didn’t find a way to weave these characters into one other’s lives more intrinsically- or perhaps, I am wishing, more karmically. I dunno, given the supernatural element to the story, I guess I would’ve like to have seen the actions of each student affect and spiritually bring down the rest of the school. After all, there were student deaths after a student deaths- you think the entire troop of students and teachers would’ve fallen into a screaming chaos, living in angst of an unknown and unfathomable power tearing their lives apart. Heck, even the community should’ve gotten in on the fear. I know the name Death Girl may sound a lil lame and you may not believe in her initially, that’s fine- but as every misfortune frighteningly stacks up, you would surely have to begin to question that perhaps, just maybe, there could very well be something extraordinarily powerful from the other world that is looming over your every move.

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As a result, it was difficult for me to get myself to say I even liked this series as a whole. Objectively, there was potential galore but it was so very frustrating seeing things kinda go half-boiled. And it didn’t help that some of the acting let things down, too (to be diplomatic.) Not all of the actors failed miserably, but quite a handful did make me… wonder. Wonder what could have been (and wonder how can anyone be that bad?) I mean, can someone say, m.o.n.o.t.o.n.e.v.o.i.c.e al.rea.dy? *bangs head against brick wall* I know you guys aren’t supposed to be acting as if you are on prescription-only Arashi Happy Pills, but can you not change the tone in your voices some of the time? Seriously, the more I am typing here, the more I have no idea how I managed to stick through all 20 freaking episodes.

No, wait, that’s right. Please trace back to dot point #3 on my “How To Get Me To Watch A Taiwanese drama series” list. Darn it, it’s Aaron. Aaron Yan. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever picked up a Taiwanese series with idol stars with the expectation of being blindingly wowed by anyone’s acting. There are rare occasions where I am left a teeny bit gobsmacked, like in My Queen (Ethan, you are da man <3) but for the most part, when I watch Tw-drama, I’m really just there for the couple chemistry- it’s something I’ve always felt the Taiwanese are superb at creating. And I want to see pretty. I want to see the super pretty! So, for goodness sakes, if you’ve paid for a Fahrenheit member, go ahead and milk your money’s worth. Gimme. Aaron‘s mug. In EVERY.SINGLE.FRAME. Hurt my eyes with THE PRETTY! But they didn’t. And I didn’t get it. I think he appears for a grand total of 18.239 minutes in the first, like, 15 episodes, yet, his pretty face takes up more than a million per cent of  the promotional art work for the series *feels used*

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And the same goes for Serena, too. It’s a shame because the part I enjoyed the most was her character’s back story… or was it her brother that I was more happy to see?~~ *clears throat* Fine. Okay. It was BOTH. Everything. Seriously *twitches eyebrows* But it wasn’t until the final four episodes when I felt like my time invested in this series was somewhat paying off as they began to tell the story of Du, who, like many of us, was once a young girl who simply wanted to follow her dream.

[ !!!!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!!! Bail now if you are planning on watching this otherwise you will be hearing something you don’t want to~~~ ]

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Du, known as Du He five years ago, was a bright and promising manga artist, and also a part of the manga club at the school- she had a gift that was truly one in a million. After catching a glimpse of her work, a renowned manga artist flies to Taiwan all the way from Japan and invites her over to The Land Of Lip-Synching Metallic Dressed Boyband Boys The Land Of The Rising Sun to further mature her skills. Sounds like the girl’s dreams have come true, ne, but you know this will is only the beginning of all her gloom and doom.

For her to be able to accept the offer to go to Japan, Du He must raise NT$3million to cover the tuition fees, and this is where begin to see that the relationship between her and her brother, Du Ji, (played by James Wen) is extra special. And when I say special, I mean it all gets very Autumn In My Heart… and definitely not in a chaste or pure way (quick shout out to Tae Suhk. Oh Tae Suhk, where for art thou, mon amour? <3) We learn that their parents had passed away some time ago, and through all this time, Du Ji had been toiling hard to provide a living for himself and Du He. They had grown up together, they had shared everything together, they loved each other. There was nothing Du Ji wouldn’t do for his dear younger sister.

As if working around the clock wasn’t enough already, as soon as he realises Du He is in need of the money, he forces his own self into some good old-fashioned illegal narcotics smuggling deeds. But as he is selling his soul, he sees his sister begin to drift away from him. There is an equally talented student in the manga club, Gao Chan (also played by Aaron Yan. Yep. There are TWO human beings in this world who look like that. Sure. That’s believable… okay, okay, if I choose to believe, can I have one please?) who, bit by bit, is becoming an undetachable part of Du He‘s life. It is obvious these two like each other, and Du Ji sees all this, but he can not stop it. He can not stop what appears to be his overflowing feelings of jealousy- he does not want to let Du He go.

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While it did creep me out beyond any other Korean drama I’ve ever seen before that toyed with the brother/sister love thing, I really did enjoy watching James Wen (who was by far in my opinion the standout) flex his chiseled cheekbones and jawline bring to us a character who was painfully conflicted with facing his own feelings as to what was morally right versus what felt emotionally right. What do you do when your feelings for a person is so strong that it exceeds the power of your mind? Was it really Du Ji‘s fault that he was feeling that way? Was it something that he could have controlled? Was it something that he should have controlled? Perhaps he was simply confused about his love for his sister? You know, maybe he’s just kinda feeling like a Dad not wanting to see his little girl go? The innocence in me was kinda hoping that too, but at the end of episode 18 when Du Ji stands there, frozen, watching Du He and Gao Chao, er, getting busy on their wedding night (YES you read it right- Aaron Yan flesh + canoodling action in ya face baby xDD I think the scene is on youtube, just hit “Aaron Yan sex scene” in the youtube searchbar or something~~)… if you were in any way ever unsure, it all gets spelled out for you right  here. Admittedly the man was intoxicated but still, there is no way you can lie to yourself anymore, just as there is no way Du Ji can lie to himself.

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What follows is a string of events (suicide attempts, natural deaths, comas, father cashing in on son’s misfortune etc etc) that barely constituted much of my respect let alone felt like it made sense to me. As cool as her black hooded cape was (not ( ̄□ ̄;)) I did not buy that Shen Qi could’ve genuinely fallen in love with our lovely little Death Girl– at least not with what had been illustrated to us. But I guess this was the most straightforward way to rescue Du back from The Bridge Of Helplessness and bring her spirit back down to Earth.

Either way, I was just glad the gloom was finally over.





Quote It: Jiang Zhi Shu

16 07 2010

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“Only when we fly that high, do we realise how big this world really is, and there are still many, many things left for us to do. Only after looking back on the meaning of life, do we realise we were ignorant. Place your sights further, alright?”

Jiang Zhi Shu (They Kissed Again, ep01)

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^^We do live in a big world & there is so much for us to learn :))

I decided to rip a line from the Taiwanese series that made me (& a million other girls) fan after Joe Cheng since the Korean adaption of It Started With A Kiss is well & truly on its way. And everybody’s favourite Ji Hoo sunbae aka Kim Hyun Joong has just been cast as the leading man (apparently after his beloved F4 leader Goo Joon Pyo aka Lee Min Ho declined the role *pfft*)

The immediate activity I’m witnessing in cyberspace is; Team I-love-Hyun-Joong-FTW VS “Team Not-so-sure-if-Hyun-Joong-can-act-well-enough-to-pull-off-this-role.

Where do I sit? Probably somewhere in btwn (fence-sitting 101, darn my dark Libran traits ><;) I don’t want to get into it too much… well not right now anyways, perhaps when the remake is done & dusted, then definitely maybe I will have something to say gaha^^;;

Right now I will say though, Joe Cheng was the closest thing to perfection as Jiang Zhi Shu. He synthesised all the layers of aloofness, the intelligence, the inner worries, the distance, the caring, the devotion & (at times) the humour of the character so seamlessly & naturally. He made kissing in the rain & other exotic faraway lands look like an art *wipes drool off chin* He was so dreamily marvelous that I dragged myself thru the 20eps of the severe mental & physical pain that was They Kissed Again (I seriously do not recall Ariel Lin being anywhere near that aggravatingly irritating in It Started With A Kiss. Golly. Why do sequels so often suck?)

I want to digress that these days I welcome remakes, practically w/ open arms. They’re fun to anticipate. I used to get upset & infuriated at them but I realised that no matter how turd-worthy the remake is, it will never, ever diminish the greatness of the predecessor(s.) If anything, a bad remake will only make the predecessor(s) appear even greater (& also give us a fureaking good chuckle xD) If the remake actually succeeds, then hey, who’s going to turn down some quality dorama watching? I personally see it as a win-win situation (=∀=)

Okay, random comment: how puuuruty was Aaron Yan in They Kissed Again as Ah Bu *tears of affection* xD

edit; 16 July, 9pm: Jung So Min has been confirmed as the female lead in the Korean remake. I guess I better start taking more notice of her in Bad Guy (if only Kim Jae Wook was not so distracting… (´ー`;) *loves on Tae Sung*)





Next Stop, Happiness

3 06 2010

Firstly, »»»!!!!!!!!!!!Potential Spoiler Alert!!!!!!!!!!!«««

Secondly, I predict a v. long post, so prepare yourself ^^;;

Heregoes…

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Autumn’s Concerto.

Autumn; Autumn in poetry has often been associated with melancholy. The possibilities of summer are gone, and the chill of winter is on the horizon. Skies turn grey, and people turn inward, both physically and mentally.symbolism.org

Concerto; a concerto as a musical work is a composition usually in three parts or movements. -wikipedia.com

I like the official English title, as for starters, the story is kinda broken down into three defining segments (i.e.; 1. main protagonists fall in love; 2. memory loss period; 3. main protagonists trying to make up for lost time post memory recovery.) And the thought of a concerto in the middle of Autumn, to me, brings some kind of beauty & hope amongst the darkness (am I making any sense?? A bit more about the title later on in the post!)

However, I think the title in its native tongue, 下一站,幸福 (directly translating to; Next Stop, Happiness, thus the title of my post) is even more perfect.

Happiness, which stop do I alight at? -dramawiki

I know alot of people will say that the series was full of cliches but honestly, what is truly & fully original these days? It’s what you do w/ these “cliches” that counts. For all I care, you can use every single idea in the book that’s been tried & tested, used & abused, wrung & juiced out to its v. last drop… so long as you do it well, truth be told, I really don’t give a flying damn.

So congratulations to Autumn’s Concerto for making me feel this way! (It’s a mighty good feeling I tell ya.) If you dissect it apart, it does to seem to be one big gigantic blend of other Tw-dramas (the buying the village thing ala Prince Turns Into Frog; the finding another love after memory loss thing ala Meteor Garden II; the kid situation ala My Lucky Star; the meeting after x number of years & changing into a different person thing ala Fated To Love You.) It also had every melodramatic moment stationed at every predictable interval to rival the most vintagely authentic Korean melodrama we’ve ever seen but what can I say…

Thank goodness for Vanness‘ cleavage (!) lol No seriously *clears throat* The writers & the actors managed to find that magic formula & not let it go wayward (see, epic fail: MGII.) AC truly excelled in delivering heartwarming quotes that flowed naturally into the story & creating unpretentious characters & relationships that you uncontrollably cared for. You know how sometimes there is one (or more) character(s) &/or relationship(s) you could probably take or leave (or fireball punch in the face)? No way in AC. Every relationship was uniquely sacred. You really, truly wanted to see these people reach their final stop. No more messes, mutilations & mishaps; just perfect happiness- that’s all that I was wishing for them.

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“I remembered a girl playing by the piano, but I can’t remember who she is.”Ren Guang Xi

Ady An as Liang Mu Cheng

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My first impression of Ady, “Is that Angela Zhang?” A few scenes later- “Er, no wait, it can’t be, this girl can actually act.” ^^;;

To think that Ady wasn’t even the first choice to play the role of the kind-hearted, riches-to-rags heroine makes me sick. In a role that I could’ve easily screeched, cursed & bulged my eyes at (seriously, why the heck can’t you just be semi-selfish for once already, guurl ??) Ady managed to deliver Mu Cheng as a person w/ the purest of souls. Sometimes you watch a series & the heroine is written up to be the goodest person on the face of this planet (thus why all the good men fall for her & all the bad ones “change” because of her) but you watch the actress & it’s like, “Really?? You really don’t give a hoot’s bleep that the richest & hottest guy in town is giving you some good old-fashioned lovin’ attention? And oh really? You’re just perfectly happy w/ being stupidly dirt poor?? Yeah right.” *rolls eyes @Geum Jan Di*

But this is when acting skills differentiates the good from the bad (to the downright ugly at times =_=;) Ady used her every breath, every word, every glance & every limb faultlessly to bring Liang Mu Cheng into our hearts. There were many parts of her dialogue that, for most others, would’ve been “please shut the heck up already” moments, but both the strength & vulnerability in her voice brought an incredible authenticity to her character. Even though she accepted Tuo Ye‘s (i.e. Chris Wu‘s character) help on a couple of occasions, in a way giving him false hopes of them being together, I couldn’t help but like her. Yes, Tuo Ye did alot for Mu Cheng but her support for him was just as unconditional. She loved w/o remorse & would run to the aid of those closest to her irrespective of what others thought. Mu Cheng was someone you couldn’t help but to root for.

And for goodness sakes! She’s struggled against so many odds, too! Yet she never turned feeble. She worked as hard as she could for herself & for her son. Seriously, I would consider trading in my prized F4 poster (that I literally begged for) to guarantee her living happily ever after w/ Ren Guang Xi (i.e. Vanness‘ character.)

Speaking of, I also liked how Mu Cheng never got flustered by Guang Xi‘s high & mighty ways. She definitely held her own by keeping in her own space yet still doing her own thing, unlike, say, in Meteor Garden. As much as I love Shan Cai, she did retreat to being a complete wallflower before finally bursting out at a certain bomb-head guy’s face. But Mu Cheng was herself, from beginning to end. The girl is the real deal.

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“Thankyou. Thankyou for Xiao Le. This child is the greatest gift of my life.”
Liang Mu Cheng

Vanness Wu as Ren Guang Xi

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Well, well, haven’t we come a long way since the silky hair-flicking Mei Zuo days?

I wouldn’t say that Vanness took my breath away using his technical acting ability but he did take my breath away w/ his sincerity in being his character. And that has nothing (much^^;;) to do w/ the numerous topless, abs-tastic moments (& the cleavage I alluded to earlier- THANK YOU for deep-V low-cut tees, wootwoot !! xD), it’s because Vanness is, well, Vanness. He’s completely engaging & exudes overflowing amounts of boy-ish charm & it all worked here, it really worked. It made me forgive Guang Xi‘s arrogance & unwillingness to listen w/ his heart during many stages of the story.

I also accepted the fact that his character seemed to only ever see things in black or white, never really wanting any part to do w/ the grey areas that those closest to him often couldn’t help but find themselves treading in. I guess after all, everyone was toying w/ him, claiming that they were hiding the truth from him for his own good. I did empathise w/ him. I really, really wanted to stand in the rain holding an umbrella waiting for him xDD

To clarify though, I definitely don’t think his acting was bad. In fact, that’s far from the truth. He is actually good, v. good. I did decide long ago that the guy does have some acting chops after watching him in the 2003 movie Star Runner (opposite one of my major girl crushes, Kim Hyun Joo (*´ー`*)) but I just feel he’s still a tad inconsistent.

There are many instances of brilliance from Vanness in AC (cue; being an awesome father, his lovey-dovey moments w/ Ady) but there are still times when I feel like he overcooks it a little. It could be one movement too many, or one facial twitch too inappropriately (though he never affects the quality of the drama.) Once he learns how to pull these back, he’s gonna be the absolute bomb.

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“Tuo Ye, no matter what you think, in my heart, you will always be my most important friend.” Liang Mu Cheng

Chris Wu as Hua Tuo Ye

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In the beginning, I kinda felt like this guy was too angry & too brash for my liking. But my, did he grow on me. The anger I soon saw as an admirable, fiery passion. The brashness I soon saw as his unyielding heart to protect his loved ones. This is the first time I’d seen Chris Wu act & I’m surely not the only one who’s mega-impressed. His emotions were raw & his actions seemed like pure reflexes. In the flow & completely believable. Sure I wanted to give Tuo Ye a “what the heck are you doing” smack in the head at times but I most definitely wanted to see him in a happy ending of his own, because through all his determination, he truly deserved one. I’ve never seen such a devoted second man who had balls as great as he did.

And perhaps I was too distracted by my homeboy V-Wu at first but I eventually realised that this Chris guy is actually not to bad to look at himself (^U^)

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“You’ve been the only one in my world for the past six years.” Ren Guang Xi

Tiffany Xu as He Yi Qian

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I don’t know what it is but I can’t get myself to fall in love w/ this girl. Maybe it’s a case of her being faaar too pretty for her own good. No, no– wait- I’m not that kinda hater!

I think she has shown leaps of improvement from what I’ve seen of her previously. I did feel that she fit the role as the beautiful & intelligent doctor, Yi Qian, but at times her conveying of emotions felt a little too “acted.” Not overacted per se, it’s more like… you can see her trying to act. I don’t see her as a natural crier in front of the camera & I feel like something did fall short in her connecting w/ the audience.

Her character Yi Qian really should’ve been someone you sympathised deeply for. I hated how they made her character go along w/ “the lie” (I guess this was to somewhat legitimise Guang Xi‘s decision to end their relationship so ridiculously abruptly after being together for such a long time) but regardless, Yi Qian was, plain & simply, a good person. She was loyal, she was filial & she was modest. And to have supported a man through those tough times & invest 6yrs of herself w/ him, convinced that they would grow old together, then all of a sudden losing this entire dream… every woman watching should have cried a river for her in their hearts. But I didn’t. The character I liked but for me, her emotions just didn’t transcend through the screen.

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“Do you know what the meaning of the daisy is? It means, ‘to guard silently.'”Hua Tuo Ye

Amanda Zhu as Hua Ci Xin

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This role confused me the most. Well, initially at least. For the first part of the series, Ci Xin was depicted to be a super ditzy, bimbo-esque girl from the village who spoke as if she was on a permanent diet of diluted helium & also someone who gave a whole new meaning to push-up bras. I thought she was just the typical comedic relief character. Then out of the blue, we discover she had actually always painstakingly wanted to be Tuo Ye‘s woman but he, only having eyes for Mu Cheng, had only ever seen Ci Xin as a sister. How sad ><” Then Ci Xin runs off & like a volcano, her deeply-rooted self-esteem issues erupted all at once. WTF ???

I thought & thought about it & well, it does make sense. Being an orphan, she’d probably grown up w/ the feeling of being “the oustider” constantly playing in her psychology. She was the one who was not connected by blood. Her early light-hearted, carefree ways were a defense mechanism to conceal these insecurities she held inside. She clearly seemed to think that family should be something spelt out on paper, but the Hua family is beyond that (heck, everyone in this series is beyond that.) I think her role challenges us to define the meaning of “family”- is being related by blood really as important as being connected by the heart?

In regards to her acting, this is the first time I’ve seen Amanda Zhu & I can’t say I loved her. She was somewhat amusing when she was acting like a bubblehead but as soon as her life turned dramatic, I lost interest in the girl & her (over) acting (though I must say, once she shed off the dippy, skanky attire, make-up & hair, I did see that she is actually v. pretty.) You could partially blame the incoherent writing of her role but the transition of her character was a “flick-of-the-switch” situation & I don’t feel Amanda was able to make Ci Xin ONE character. It was like as soon as the kooky one vanished, the emo twin emerged.

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“Is this the Ren Guang Xi you truly want? He originally had an unforgettable love but it has been hidden by all of us.” Lawyer Lin

Liu Rui Qi as Fang De Rong

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I loved President Fang! There was so much depth to the role & I feel like Liu Rui Qi portrayed the character w/ immense class. The evolution of her character was pretty much seamless & she made sense. It was moving to watch her come out from her shell of a stern-facade, business-minded mogul; gradually revealing a vulnerable woman who simply wanted to be a mother to her son. I normally don’t care too much for the parental figures in most drama series (step the heck outta the way & just let your children BE already! ) but I really appreciated the fact that this woman had a backstory to explain- & justify- why she was acting in the maliciously crabby ways from the top of the story. All is definitely forgiven, President Fang. I would turn biatch too if I had a husband who decided to go cradle-robbing.

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And now for the ultimate scene stealer, the show stopper…

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“MISHU! MISHU!” Liang Xiao Le

Xiao Xiao Bin as Liang Xiao Le / Ren Xiao Le

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This kid pwned. Absolutely PWNED.

There is no way AC would’ve been what it was had it not been for Xiao Xiao Bin. In all the series I’ve ever seen, his importance to the production definitely ranks right up there amongst the best of them. He helped make AC stand out amongst the sea of Asian melodramas. Whatever an x-factor is, he was it.

There’s only been (under) a handful of child actors who have made me laugh & moved me to tears (from the top of my head, the lil girls in Burning Flame II [TVB, 2002] & in My Girl [TVAsahi, 2009]) so it’s always a wondrous joy to see one who makes a loud enough statement w/o screaming B.R.A.T. And Binny really nailed every single emotion in the book. Anyone who wasn’t moved, inspired &/or captivated by his portrayal of Xiao Le is surely an alien from Planet Dahra (lame pun intended xP)

Xiao Le was as witty as he was sensible, as considerate as he was naive, as grown up as he was child-like… put simply, he was the perfect child. And his cheeks were so pinchable!!!!! Seriously, I say, Mu Cheng‘s parenting skills FTMFW. She should totally run parenting courses (-_-;) And if they were to ever be made scientifically possible, Xiao Le would most definitely be THE face & ambassador of The Ultimate Design-Your-Own-Child project (^_-)—☆Wink

Can’t get enough of this kid. So hey, don’t let us stop!

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XIAO LE & HIS PEEPS!!!

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Without a doubt, one of the most well-written aspects of AC is Xiao Le‘s relationships w/ each one of the main characters. Every connection was just as special as the other & everyone became a happier person after the magic touch of this little kid w/ the huge heart. Xiao Le was definitely working it :))

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“I want to hurry & grow up fast so I can protect you.” Liang Xiao Le

Xiao Le + his Mu Cheng

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Not once in the entire series did Xiao Le refer to his mum as, well, er, mum. He always, always called her by her name. I actually liked this. For one, it illustrated that Xiao Le wasn’t just “a child.” He was mature beyond his years, & was fully able to give you the same amount of comfort as any adult. Maturity is really a state of mind.

It was also a burning indication of the relationship btwn the mother & son. There was a mutual respect & dependency on one another. They would laugh together & they would lean on each other. You could absolutely say that these two were simply the best of friends.

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“Instinct right? It’s like, if I was a father, what would I want to teach my own son? “ Ren Guang Xi

Xiao Le + his Alien Daddy

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If I haven’t said so already, may I do my lil rave now- Vanness Wu made it look like he would be a frckn awesome father xD My heart would dance w/ joy seeing these two boys just chill out together & trying to make one another eat carrots (I understand guys, I totally understand >_<;;) No matter how rough of a mood Guang Xi was in, Xiao Le was always able to bring peace to Guang Xi‘s heart. My favourite moment came in episode 19, as Guang Xi was heading off after a short visit to Hua Tian Village, Xiao Le shouts out;

“Daddy, I know you are so busy but don’t forget, Mu Cheng & I love you very much.”

I seriously thought I had to hurl my box of tissues through my TV screen to the man! “Yo! V-Wu! It’s okay, you can cry, I know they are man-tears!!”

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“Just call me whenever you like… because I will always be there to listen to you.” Hua Tuo Ye

Xiao Le + his Da Zai

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If someone was picking on Xiao Le, you knew Tuo Ye would be there to kick some major butt. He was most protective w/o being a controlling, demeaning moron.

Xiao Le referred to Tuo Ye as his Da Zai, which, according to my (not-always-too-strong) understanding of Mandarin, equates to “big brother.” And that was how I perceived their relationship. Tuo Ye was definitely the big brother who looked out for his lil bro, & when the lil bro needed help, he knew his Da Zai would be there for him to count on; rain, hail, shine or freaking torrential downpours.

There was a scene when Xiao Le secretly calls Tuo Ye (following Xiao Le & Mu Cheng‘s move to Taipei to live w/ Guang Xi) to ask him what a phrase meant (which someone at school had called his Dad):

TY: “You have your spaceship to care about so you’ve probably forgotten about my old van by now.”
XL: “No way! I still remember your van & the floral scent, & also how we sneaked out of the house to play when Mu Cheng wasn’t home… Da Zai, I miss you. I really miss you.”

This moment really established how much Xiao Le confided in his Da Zai, & Tuo Ye‘s emotions at the other end of the phone (brilliant acting btw) showed us how much he loved his lil bro. Again, the series here makes us think about what it means to be family. With or without Mu Cheng, there’s no question that Xiao Le meant the world to Tuo Ye.

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“I hope that I can have the chance & the fate to continue to be his relative.” President Fang

Xiao Le + his Fairy Grandmother

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Deep down, we knew President Fang was simply a motherly soul who wanted the best for her succeeding generations (too bad she went about it the wrong way at first.) So who better to excavate this nurturing side out of her than the adorably fun-loving Xiao Le, hey~~!

Xiao Le‘s existence was a redemption opportunity for President Fang. Her running into him was a wake-up call to what she had missed out on btwn her & Guang Xi during Guang Xi‘s childhood. You could tell that for so many years now, President Fang had become used to being over-calculating towards everything & everyone. She had completely lost sight of the simplest, most beautiful pleasures of life. Xiao Le‘s candid innocence re-opened her eyes to the importance of the things that she had buried deep in her heart (ever since her husband shot off to play sugar-daddy to some little university student bimbo.) He said things in such simple terms & pointed things out that President Fang had forgotten how to appreciate. He made her realise that the path to happiness is only complicated if you make it out to be.

Best scene, undoubtedly, is when they were at the beach together. The moment President Fang took off her shoes & went barefoot on the sand was, I feel, her moment of release. She was finally getting back in touch w/ nature, both literally & metaphorically.

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“Thankyou, my sweet wife.” Liang Xiao Le

Xiao Le + his Tang Tang

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Like mother, like son, some might say. Xiao Le already being brave enough to want to protect someone, even though physically he may not be the most obvious person to do so. The start of episode 10 when these two were having pretend dinner together was just cute as pie. Maybe some day Xiao Le & Tang Tang will star as the leads of a romantic drama of their own ;O

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Other things I liked, didn’t like (or didn’t get)

I loved the opening theme song. I LOVED the ending sequence (watch HERE.) I also loved that everything came “full circle” in the end. Mu Cheng taking a stab for Guang Xi, redeeming the stab he took from her evil step-uncle, how they reunited their relationship at the same chapel Guang Xi informally made his proposal six years ago & of course, the cellphone snap ^_^ All the loose ends were tied up. It was the ultimate feel-good ending, not just from a romantic standpoint but from a family & friendship standpoint as well. Everyone had all reached their stop! Everything felt complete.

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I would’ve liked to have seen the relationship btwn Mu Cheng & Guang Xi during their university years developed a bit more though. I didn’t feel like they’d known each other long enough (darn those 90s / early 2000s melo-K-dramas!) to warrant how undying their love was for each other. I sometimes wondered if it was just puppy love disguised as fate.

I also wasn’t a fan of the court room action. It felt a little law-show wannabe w/o any technical substance. Guang Xi also won his cases far too comfortably for my liking. A bit more of a challenge from the rest of the law world would’ve convinced us more of his credibility as a lawyer.

But the two things that I most wished they had elaborated on was the musical theme & Mu Cheng‘s childhood. Mu Cheng had been forced to give up her music as a child so it would’ve been atonement to see her re-live her childhood dream & succeed as a pianist (no I am not trying to recreate Long Vacation, peoples^^;;)

I guess if I think of it as Next Stop Happiness, then leaving the music in the past is probably more appropriate as it teaches us to look at what’s ahead of you.

But if I think of it as Autumn’s Concerto in its literal sense, then a smidgen more piano key twinkling would’ve been more romantic. Then again, not everything is literal, right?

“No matter how difficult life gets, you can still play the most touching melody.” -Liang Mu Cheng

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This would be why they called the series Autumn’s Concerto. The entire reference to Bach‘s Air On A G-String is testament to the fact that even when you are stripped of what you initially had, you can still find ways to “compose your own happiness.” The picture may not be what you originally imagined it to be, but if you allow it, it can be just as beautiful.

“No matter where we go, as long as I am with you, it’s happiness.” -Liang Mu Cheng

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Well, whether they were out in the middle of Hua Tian Village or out in the heart of Taipei living the high life, Guang Xi, Mu Cheng & Xiao Le just looked like a family. A v. v. good looking family. The kind of family that you dream of in fairytales.

I’m not going to leave you w/ a “should you or should you not watch it” conclusion, as the path to happiness is after all, your own path to choose (see, I wasn’t only staring at Vanness‘ chest, I was paying attention to the rest of the series!) Instead, I’m going to leave by spamming you w/ a bunch of pictures of the happy family xDDDDD

“Photography is the magic to make a moment last an eternity.”
-the photographer @the 6th stop

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<3





Quote It: Hua Ze Lei

1 04 2010

Well, we are going back to my first love…

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“There are two types of regret in this world. One is losing the person you love. The other is seeing your beloved lose happiness.”

Hua Ze Lei (Meteor Garden)