Father and Son: The Grand Portrait

The drama started out with a grand gathering of the Li family among family, friends, and other employees of their company. It was the company’s anniversary event so of course it was grand. The night started off with an exotic dance of the Can-Can and moved to some uplifting songs sang by the special guests. The introduction of the major characters were squeezed in during those performances as well as after. The Li family consisted of six members. The head of the family and also the chairman of the Ming Yang Enterprise (名揚企業) is Li San Yuan (李三元),  portrayed by Zong Hua (宗華). Li San Yuan has five children, four sons and one daughter.

Li Zhong Ming (李仲明), the oldest son and also the general manager of Ming Yang Enterprise, is portrayed by Shen Shi Peng (沈世朋). Though highly regarded at the company, but his 5 years relationship with Yang Ruo Shui (楊若水)–portrayed by Chu Xuan (楚宣)–hasn’t been acknowledged by his father. He wants to use the opportunity of the important night to publicize their relationship, but is rejected by Ruo Shui. That causes a little argument between them hence the delay in coming to the hotel. In the end, Ruo Shui agrees to accompany him anyway–after exchanging her somewhat rouge outfit for a more sophisticated and appropriate one for the occasion. (Yet that little agreement on Ruo Shi’s part was only to get Zhong Ming to the event.)

Li Zhong Hui (李仲慧), the second oldest among the five siblings and also the only daughter–portrayed by Fang Xin (方馨), is married to Lin Dong Jiang (林東江)–portrayed by Song Yi Min (宋逸民). She could be considered as the typical obedient, punctual daughter who is seen by her father’s side from the beginning, and covering her brothers’ tracks for them as their father gets worry about the time of their arrivals.

Li Zhong Qun (李仲群) is portrayed by Fu Zi Chun (傅子純). Being the second son and the one in the middle of five siblings, he’s suave and laid-back. From his actions and smooth-talking skills, he seems to be a ladies’ man. Though there are underlying meanings to his words at times if one is not careful. Extremely charming and lovable during such a grand and lively occasion yet could be so unpredictable if one is not careful. He makes a grand entrance with a beauty, performing a little dance as one of the songs was being performed on the stage. But his carefree side is just a coverup for his attitude and suppressed anger. Though it could be seen that his sarcasm still surfaces from time to time, especially with his remarks regarding to Zhong Hua’s future mother-in-law.

Li Zhong Hua (李仲華), portrayed by Chen Yu Feng (陳宇風), is the fourth in line but the third son of the family. He appears extremely patient and is very gentlemanly upon his arrival at the hotel with his fiancee Wang Ya Fang (王雅芳)–portrayed by Ye Jia Yu (葉家妤)–and future mother-in-law, Liao Mei Jun (廖美君)–portrayed by Zhu Hui Zhen (朱慧珍). However, he seems to have no patience for Zhong Qun’s smart remarks.

Li Zhong Yi (李仲意), portrayed by Tang Feng (唐豐), is the youngest of the family. He doesn’t appear until episode 2 because of the relevancy of the story, but is mentioned when Li San Yuan was interrogating Zhong Hui and Zhong Qun about his appearance. We know that he loves freedom and doesn’t want to be tied down (aka associating himself with the company–or so it seems at that point).

Those who wants more exciting information and/or description should go here. I’m just listing things according to the story so far.

On the surface, it seems like the Li family is a model family that everyone should be jealous with, but there are hints here and there that they do not get along that well–or at least with some of the siblings. Moreover, they are covering their own problems with their little smiles–like any typical family would. Li San Yuan seems to be a person with strict discipline and expects nothing more than perfection from his children. Yet he somehow just have to abandon his principles–unwillingly of course–because of the differences among his children. Not to mention their relations to different characters in here. Just one night, but we could see their personalities revealed. Honestly, between the siblings, which one gives Li San Yuan the most headache? The oldest son is with someone he doesn’t approve. The daughter’s husband seems to be some unreliable guy (who doesn’t show up for the grand night). The second son’s clique of friends are somewhat too wild to his likings. Zhong Hua’s future mother-in-law aka his future in-law is an inconsiderate, attention getting woman who wants to steal their important night’s spotlight with her schemes to lure in more customers by distributing her business cards to everyone she could find. With all of those aspects combined, it might just be a blessing that the youngest son doesn’t show up at all.

What else? The rivalry between Zhong Ming and Zhong Qun is brewing as well. Though it might be kind of one-sided since Zhong Ming is hard-working but not as competitive as Zhong Qun. Or is it because he has already had the position made out for him with being the oldest son that Zhong Ming doesn’t feel threatened by his brother? Perhaps Zhong Qun could not be blamed for wanting to prove himself either because he’s always the second in line for important matters. A fine example would be Li San Yuan’s decision to let Zhong Qun come up if Zhong Ming doesn’t appear that night. It’s always the ‘if’ that would drive Zhong Qun crazy. Things seem secured when Zhong Ming is still nowhere to be seen and Li San Yuan steps on stage to speak, but Zhong Ming makes his entrance, causing a change in moods for Zhong Qun when he sees his brother. Always a step behind is not a good feeling, right? Imagine standing there next to your father on stage already and having him announce your brother’s name instead. A slap in the face indeed. Yet Zhong Qun’s intelligent and composed enough to keep it all in and clap his brother on. But it’s obvious with his reluctance when the camera shifts over to him as his father hands the microphone over to his brother. Then his father has to turn around and whisper to him that having his brother speaking is good enough. Nice? It’s almost like saying: GET OFF THE STAGE. Another slap in the face. But it seems to be an open joke already among Zhong Qun’s so-called friends. The sympathy look on Zhong Hui and Zhong Hua’s faces show that they do understand Zhong Qun’s feelings. (So maybe the somewhat hostile exchange between Zhong Qun and Zhong Hua is just a joke between the two?)

As if there aren’t enough complications already, Zhong Ming is also fighting a battle with himself. Like the character description said, is he going to choose the crown or the beauty? And people think the phrase is so ancient with those dramas where the king/crowned prince has to choose between the kingdom/empire versus the beauty/love? Think again. It’s a never-ending cycle as long as there’s civilization. Regardless of what Zhong Ming chooses in the end (after Heaven knows how many episodes there are), the message Ruo Shui left for Zhong Ming is so touching. (The typical sacrifice but I’m such a sucker for it.)

The car ride home reveals even more with Li San Yuan and his driver’s conversation. His driver, Zhao Da Pao (趙大炮)–portrayed by Lin Yi Fang (林義芳), seems to be his best buddy more than just a driver. The two has this conversation regarding the siblings–without being afraid that they offend one or the other. Being a father too, Da Pao could sympathize with his boss. But of course, Li San Yuan has even more problems because of his large family. The intensity heightens at the Li resident, with the major characters coming home from the celebration. As expected, a confrontation takes place between Li San Yuan and Zhong Qun. (Hey, the old man did say that Zhong Qun could say all that’s on his mind aka his opinion of his old man.) And is Zhong Qun right? Is Li San Yuan’s favoritism causing the suppressed anger within Zhong Qun and the result of the competitive nature with wanting to prove himself? (But it is later revealed that Li San Yuan has done a lot to help Zhong Qun from behind the scenes yet Zhong Qun doesn’t know it. SO it’s not like the old man’s totally at fault. Time to pull the generation gap card out, LOL!) Whatever was said and done, Zhong Hui and Zhong Hua are definitely the peace-makers of the family because they try to step in and interfere before things escalate even further–or try to tone down the situation by providing a reason for others’ actions. (But Zhong Hua’s seriously a pushover.)

What is this drama going to be about really? (Aside from what is already provided on the information page to set the stage for the drama.) It is probably a drama about a typical wealthy family fighting for power and/or seeking for their right position in life. Then the cliches love rivals, or other problems that the writers could cook up. By the looks of it, they’ll definitely find ways to stretch this out. With so many characters involved and how much their personalities clashed already, it could go on for a looooong time. Yet,  I don’t mind for once since it might be worth it after all. Even with some really annoying characters around. (They are the driving force to the plot, right? Causing troubles so the main people could deal with it, LOL!)

Until next time…

*All images were captured by DTLCT

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