Joanne Tseng: A Long Journey

(image credit: Shine)

I just found this clip that someone put together in regard to Joanne’s journey up until now. Well, for the most part. But it really brought back lots of memories. She had gone a long way, worked really hard, and now becoming an established artist. I’m so proud of her.

NOTE: The video clip has been deleted so it’s not there anymore but still an amazing video highlighting Qiao Qiao’s journey over the years.

All About Joanne Tseng

HER ROLES:

Favorite Role: Jiang Qing Mei (from Liu Mang Xiao Zhang). A princess role yet didn’t lose too much touch with reality. She was funny and silly but wasn’t overly obnoxious with her tricks. Her bubbly side made it cute but other times, she was as normal as how a typical student should be. Qiao Qiao expressed that she was so happy when she received this role because she finally got a chance to portray a princess with beautiful wardrobes and I must agree. It was a different role for her and she wasn’t too over with it. Just the right touches here and there. This princess role wasn’t too much either or stayed the same because she did learn something and become an even more mature person in that she did in the end.

2nd Favorite Role: Zhang Bi Ting (from True Love 365). I never liked a role more than this. Perhaps it helped because it was fresh on my mind. But it was like she was portraying an independent girl but wasn’t WAY too silly like some past dramas. Sure, she got a tad too weird when she was meeting her ‘prince in shining armor’ at first but that was understandable with how people acted silly when they were in love (at least that was what I saw with some people). Other times, she really lived up to being an independent girl, living alone in some unknown place and trying to make a living, saving money to fulfill her dream but it wasn’t too silly of a dream. She was able to take care of herself and didn’t need help or rescuing. (Though she was helped at some point, she didn’t act super pitiful to earn more points or anything. Those people just happened to be there, etc.) Then there was the whole idea with her fashion wasn’t too badly snubbed as it was in other dramas where it kept saying how the main lead had poor fashion sense, etc. Though she seemed to not be up to ‘perfection’ with some other females in here, she didn’t need to dress in weird outfits either to make the other characters WAY better. After all, she was in a business where she knew how to handle herself professionally and didn’t need to be told about everything. It sure added to her independent image and all.

Totally Ruined: Bei Ruo Yi aka Xiao Bei (from The Magicians of Love). I swore I tried to make a lot of excuses for her actions in here and how she couldn’t be blamed. Yet I find it really frustrating at times too. Though I had rooted for her with Ya Si/Ming Dao since the beginning, I felt there were many things that could have been better. In the end, I realized it was the plot that had dragged her character down more and more–to make the guys seemed so heroic and all. It seemed that way to me. I read comments in the past that blamed her lack of chemistry with both guys and that her acting was also lacking hence not being able to exude the cute/lovable image, etc. YET I think many had looked past the way the plot had been crafted. It didn’t help her cause at all. Then I wondered if that was another excuse I used to make myself feel better. But when I went and searched around for more information, I realized that there was an extension of episodes hence making it even worse and worse for her case.

HER DRAMAS:

HER CO-STARS:

Favorite Male Co-Star: Ray Chang. Honestly, I finally found someone opposite her that I really like without needing to make an excuse for her actions (whether regarding the character or other factors). It’s not just because it’s still fresh on my mind either but finally a guy who I felt the chemistry too strongly because of their interactions and also appearance-wise. (Go here and here for more discussions about them.)

2nd Favorite Male Co-Star: Chen Yi. I had to struggle a bit to think since it has been a while with their last collaboration in a drama. But I remembered how cute they were together at times. Off-screen? They’re like brother and sister (mostly visible through interactions on Weibo).

3rd Favorite Male Co-Star: Alien Huang. So cute and unexpected. I liked how their relationship developed in there. First, I thought it was another typical crazy girl scheming to go after the guy who saved her (which was true with her bizarre switching school at first), but it turned into a much more mature relationship than I expected.

4th Favorite Male Co-Star: Sun Quan. Don’t be mistaking this guy for one of Sodagreen’s band members. He collaborated with her in Dreams Link. Though there were many things I disliked about that drama, I loved them in there. They were like the comic relief for the show in general.

Missed Chance Pairing: Calvin Chen. OMG, how many fanfics must I write before I could finally see them collaborate for real? After the failed collaboration the previous time, I’m more than eager to see them in another drama together. Hope it would be a good script too so it’s not just about having them in the same drama for the sake of viewers, etc. Note that this was written way before her collaboration for the MV with Calvin so it would sound odd. So yes, their collaboration finally happened but I greedily want a drama too. (UPDATE January 2020: they got married in real life! Go here for more information.)

SO History: Ming Dao and Sam Wang. YES, I used to like her with them too. But I fell out of the obsession. Half due to other fanbase attacking her AND half because I no longer care. Maybe one day when I go back to watch those dramas again (which is rare of recent), I’ll get back into obsessing over these two pairings again. Who knows?

But talking about Sam, he and Qiao Qiao are also close outside, not just for the sake of promotion of dramas either. Or more like she, Chen Yi, and Sam. Chen Yi’s message that one time said it all. (Click here.)

Frustratingly Unbelievable: Tang Feng. I couldn’t believe the day that I rooted for the bad guy more than anything when I watched Mr. Fighting. I enjoyed her chemistry and interaction more with Tang Feng for that role. I could even conjure up a side fanfic to change the ending too. It wasn’t because of his appearance either that made me root for him but more like how the plot was full of holes hence making me sympathize with him more than the supposed “good guys.”

Hope to enjoy: Wei Qian Xiang. I haven’t watched Our Love yet but the pictures showed a lot of promise. Just that I need to actually watch before I make more comments about it.

Interesting Pairing: Jacky Chu. Disregard all his “colorful” lifestyles off-screen, I always thought they would make an interesting on-screen couple. There were some scenes in The Magicians of Love that had made me curious. First hilarious then later how their interactions suggested that they could make an interesting pairing. Like how she was giving him looks so he could explain and cover for them during the wedding reception. There were also signs of him being overly happy when she was able to stay at Neo-Image at one point (or so it was when the camera moved toward his direction). Yes, those little signs got me into writing fanfics for them. But what got even more interesting and the dream almost coming true for me was seeing them together in Liu Mang Xiao Zhang. Though that didn’t work out, I enjoyed their interactions in there. Off-screen, though they probably aren’t close (except for the few times they worked together and were even under the same management company at one time), I still enjoyed the few genuine interactions on shows or BTS.

AS A SINGER:

REAL LIFE:

*Will be updated in the future.

*Images were either collected around the net (hence belonging to their rightful owners) OR were captured by DTLCT and ShadowoftheNight

Liu Mang Xiao Zhang’s Ending

I would’ve left some cushions for my post if it was some other drama. But I just finished this and can’t believe for the first time it wasn’t cliche. OKAY, there were some parts that were cliche. But I thought what made me really like this drama, in the end, was its twist. Like I mentioned in the previous post regarding Wen Xiong, I hoped for a different ending. It was not just because I’m a Jacky fan, but when I analyzed it and it had become so typical with Wen Xiong turning bad, I was disappointed. I meant like there goes another drama wanting to crank up its hype by needing a dramatic ending with some battle between good vs. evil. And in a sense, it was more subtle than was thought. The impact was large, but it was not overdone like how other dramas would’ve approached it.

Those who watched know by now that the scene with Wen Xiong advancing on Qing Mei and how Jiang Hu Piao had kicked Wen Xiong out was just a plan cooked up by none other than Jiang himself. YES, that was cruel and unnecessary in a sense but that allowed us to re-analyze everything about the plot. Or maybe I was the only idiot who found too much time to go study every single thing out there to connect with Wen Xiong’s actions.

So should I hang my hat since I let my imagination jumped ahead after episode 11? NO! Are you kidding me? I was expecting a twist so of course, I’m prepared to defend it as a turnaround. It would make me sound contradictory but in a way, the previous analysis made me think more about the depth of Wen Xiong’s character and how the plot had concealed some part of his personalities on purpose to mislead us. They needed that to make us think before showing us the ending.

I was waiting for the ending to continue this discussion anyway. So I actually drew up several factors. (I know, I must have no life to even sit around and think about it.) What was kind of suspicious that made me have some hope about Wen Xiong?

  • Didn’t make sense. The Gao brothers were brought up by Jiang Hu Piao since their parents died when they were really young. Although they both experienced hardships, but Jiang did give them a lot of opportunities and also allowed for Wen Xiong to study to the point that he earned a law degree. One could argue that it would be a good investment for Jiang to have an educated assistant yet the Gao brothers were given everything that Qing Mei had since they grew up. (This was mentioned by Wu Xiong in episode 1–with the scene by the pool.) Unless he was really a greedy dude who didn’t even treat them like family, he had no reason to do such. And maybe Qing Mei had such an effect on him like I said in the other post, behaving in such a way was too stupid–even if he was drunk.

  • Jiang Hu Piao sure got there fast during the assault scene in episode 11. I’m so serious here. I was more than glad to see that it was just barely visible and we got the gist of it, nothing too traumatizing yet had a great impact. BUT I was so puzzled since it happened that: Why was Jiang so fast to jump in and rescue his daughter in time? I meant that house was BIG. Anyone saw it yet? It was shown from various angles from time to time AND it was a huge mansion or villa. Whatever you want to call it. But come on now, she could be the loudest girl but her voice could get drowned out in that house, considering how Jiang might be on the other side of the house. It would also take a while to get there. I tried to say that he was probably around the living room or possibly near that so she was lucky, but it had always puzzled me in the past week about the scene. (OR like I just said, the director wanted to spare us from a ‘too dramatic’ scene.) It would make sense that he was outside the door and jumped in at the right moment to stop everything and then tossed Wen Xiong out after some outburst. Convincing one indeed. And why did Jiang Hu Piao have to pick this method instead of some other excuse to kick Wen Xiong out? It was the most convincing one no matter how you thought of it. It was so fierce and so horrifying and unbelievable in a sense that was why it ended up being true–or so they wanted to be. Besides, having subtle hints of Wen Xiong not agreeing with Jiang Hu Piao at times and that could have led to his breaking point was another one to trick us, and possibly to show how comfortably they could disagree but it just meant they were just covering every single possibility with those business decisions. Besides, with this scheme between Jiang and Wen Xiong, it showed Jiang’s cunning side. After all, we saw too much of his comedic side overlapping more than his gangster side, right?

  • Wen Xiong’s walk in the night. This was after he got kicked out. He wandered around and sat on a bench to think things over before approaching Bai Long the next day. He looked like he was mulling things over or regretting his actions, etc. At first, I thought it was the way it was directed to mislead us for a bit until we were shown the scene of the next day or how it was with Jacky’s acting. BUT it now made sense. He was just thinking the next step and how he would approach Bai Long to make the whole plan more convincing.

So what about Wen Xiong and Qing Mei? Honestly, I knew for sure and I thought other viewers would know as well that he liked Qing Mei. But he must have seen how hopeless it was after seeing how Qing Mei and Tuo Hai already reunited, it was like too low of a chance for him and Qing Mei. He was smart after all, so would he rather choose to stay by their side and be part of their family than make things even more complicated? And yes, he had chosen to stay by their side.

So I don’t know if I was thinking too much at first, my bias, or even disappointment that had led me to try and come up with possible outcomes. But I was glad to see a different ending than the typical as I stated many times before.

What about the rest of the characters? I thought it was well done in a way. I meant there were dramatic moments with the confrontation between Tuo Hai and Qing Mei. But it wasn’t too dramatic. I wondered how in the world could they wrap it up but was glad it wasn’t too cheesy. They did not have to show us everything with their reunion. The ending scene was already enough to tell us that Tuo Hai had returned. Many might have felt a bit of a rush but I thought it was good enough. Not everything had to be answered or showed too much. We got it. Not every single person had to show up for the ending. Not too gift-wrapped. I liked it that way. It was how life was at times. Not everything had to be all wrapped up.

What really surprised me was the chemistry between Xiao Gui and Qiao Qiao. I meant not that I was against it or anything. But I never thought about it–as most people. Since they never worked together before? (Not that I could remember so if I got it wrong, please correct me.) They were really fun and addicting to watch at times as Tuo Hai and Qing Mei. What I liked about their story was it began kind of typical with him being the “knight in shining armor” saving her and then the typical schemes that she would come up with to get to know him, become closer to him, etc. BUT it did not stop there. It did not reduce her character or his character to some complete hopeless beings or wishy-washy personalities. They had their differences that they needed to overcome. But their characters were really consistent throughout. Even how they had matured during the three years, some traces were still there in their personalities to show that they didn’t change at all. Their feelings for one another were still the same–if not stronger through time apart. Some things did not have to be said about their friendship but actions showed it all how they were able to be there for one another. Promises weren’t tossed around so loosely or try to make the whole thing magical like other dramas. If they promised, they really meant it. It was the first time I really liked a character Qiao Qiao portrayed without being annoyed. I meant I like her and her acting in the past–though I know she isn’t the best. But this role and how she had portrayed it made me feel like it’s my favorite role of her because it could count as the most serious character. There were traces of immature moments or those times with her grandpa in conspiring with one another, but that was done quite well and seemed genuine because it reminded us that we all have those moments in our life. My first time watching Xiao Gui and I actually liked him as well.

The friendship in here was also something I really liked. Yes, those who know me (or read my stuff), know that I love those friendships in various dramas. Sometimes more than romance relations even. The friendship between the students was so random at times yet genuine. It paved a great picture for the rest of us to think about the school days.

And who could forget the three generations of the Jiang family, right? They were just a hilarious bunch. Come on now! I was more into watching them interacting within the family than the other side dramas at times. Maybe for comedic reasons but it was really funny. Grandpa Jiang was always so hilarious with his forgetful state (or fake ones?) or how enlightened he could sound at times. Jiang Hu Piao was crazy though really loved his family. Nothing like a gang leader but he was more than capable. Then there was the princess of the house, always up to something yet she was not really spoiled. She was fierce all right yet I think she couldn’t really be called spoiled because she treated others so nice, not letting on airs at all–whether how she regarded Wu Xiong and Wen Xiong or her classmates. She might be scheming away about some things, but never looked down on others.

And while we were on the subject, was Qing Mei really Jiang Hu Piao’s daughter? The director and/or scriptwriter(s) were messing with us too much. We got the answer that Grandpa Jiang was trying to delay matters by tricking Bai Long. BUT there was definite suspicion in the air–even if Jiang Hu Piao had claimed on trusting his wife fully. Qing Mei chose to rip the envelope up without opening it because she declared that her father was Jiang Hu Piao. So…it was all about trust and the importance of their family after all. The truth did not matter that much. They had a good relationship going on all along. It did not matter to them what was real. (Even before the DNA incident, Grandpa Jiang had told his son that he did not care if she was or was not really his grand-daughter because she would always be to him.)

Nothing like ending it with a wedding, right? But I was glad it wasn’t cliche with the main couple’s wedding. A family portrait indeed. (Too bad no Wu Xiong but it was all right. Don’t want to ask for too much, LOL!)

So was it a satisfying ending for everyone? I bet there were complaints. But it was enough for me. I enjoyed it and the bonus was seeing it so short. Not really if you consider it since it was like one hour per episode. Yet it did not drag.

*All images were captured by DTLCT

Jacky Chu’s role in Liu Mang Xiao Zhang

What was his role exactly? The typical bad guy role. No, I was not hinting at his usual villain roles or on the border of annoying ones. I was hinting at how this role was paved out to be this time and the outcome since episode 11 of the drama. Near the middle of the episode, we saw a very out of control Wen Xiong, in an attempt to prove his love, advanced on Qing Mei (portrayed by Joanne Tseng). What brought this on? Well…a lot of overlooked details in the past few episodes. Only obvious hints were shown in episode 11 that led to the scene. But more on that later.

First of all, what qualifies as the typical bad guy character?
  • The world owes him/her. This is a major cliche clue. I swear! At least I’ve seen it in most HK series about some people ranting on and on about how no one appreciates him/her for what he/she had done. No one knows or cares about what he/she wants but just expects.
  • I did it because of you. Another one. It doesn’t get anymore cliche than this. This reason gets the other party on a major guilt trip. But once it is said, you’ll know right away that the person doesn’t mean it. It’s just an excuse to blame it on the other party because that person doesn’t want to admit wrong and is trying to justify his/her behaviors.
  • The beyond patient dude. Come on now. Everyone has their breaking point or the limit. He just seems too patient at times. Though we could see him in comedic moments, he’s just too composed, too into his work. Short version: too good to be true.

I listed it based upon Wen Xiong’s angry words to Qing Mei in episode 11. SO don’t say that I made it up.

While I went back and did caps, I started to look for more hints that would jump out within those random, comedic moments to see what had led Wen Xiong to such. I was surprised that I missed so much while I was drawn into the ‘comedic’ element of it all. One of the hints about Wen Xiong’s personality or his true character lied in what his interests were and what he was knowledgeable about. Yeah, typical, but I wasn’t paying attention before.

In the scene above, which could be found in episode 3 like about halfway through, Wen Xiong was seen explaining some of the concepts in the book his brother, Wu Xiong, was reading. He also went into a bit of detail regarding a historical figure, Li Mi (李密) who served in the Kingdom of Shu during the Three Kingdoms period. Anyway, Wu Xiong commented immediately after learning of Li Mi’s tragic past that Li Mi was like them (aka him and Wen Xiong), losing their family since little and suffering through so many hardships. In a way, was Wen Xiong like Li Mi? I would believe that he was smart and could remember really well of what he learned ages ago in school but I have a feeling it was hinting at something. The way he talked about Li Mi was almost like he was talking about himself. There was this injustice feeling like he was being wronged, etc.

Another hint that could threaten to tell a different story and a different side to his character were during a conversation between him and his brother by the pool in episode 1. His brother reminded him of what Jiang Hu Piao had done for them both and how he shouldn’t forget it. To which he replied that he won’t. (SO MUCH FOR IT!) It didn’t just give us more information about the brothers’ background. It was telling us to watch out for him, he was not just a typical silent, obedient guy. He was the typical silent, patient slash someone who had an alternative motive guy.

Oh yeah, what about his pretentious acts of being clueless? This was shown during episode 2 when Wu Xiong was commenting about there were ‘tao hua’ flowing around within the house, etc. Wen Xiong was totally clueless and asking his brother what in the world was he talking about and Wu Xiong immediately replied about Qing Mei and their boss’ strange behaviors and how both were in love. Yeah, Wen Xiong, you were so clueless. (RIIIGGGHHHTTT…)

Wen Xiong was seen since episode 1 as a very patient person. I thought his contrast to his brother’s rash, impatient behaviors was a part of the comedic picture. But he was just patient because he had been waiting for the right moment. For the day until he got his chance. (Yeah, it was obvious that he said it in episode 11.) It was not just a chance to confess to Qing Mei or a chance for both of them, but a chance to truly shine and be a person of importance. He was already important as Jiang Hu Piao’s adviser and was treated as a family member in the Jiang family. But it was more of his greed that stopped him from being satisfied with his current position.

If it was only because of Qing Mei, he would’ve apologized for his rash behaviors (or wouldn’t even do that at all), but he wanted much more than that. Instead, he chose to leave just like that without apologizing or begging. He even clarified that he was just kneeling because of his acknowledgment in Jiang’s care for them all these years. It was just a part of the typical gratitude. It was like the last act he would do to show respect toward Jiang. (A typical gesture in most series but it made sense.) What I found funny about the whole scene was seeing the BTS of episode 7. I don’t know for how long Jacky had to kneel but Li Wang Luo messed up on that one line with telling Wen Xiong to get out of the ‘Jiang’ household that they had to do retakes. The other three cracked up so hard when they realized he said it wrong, even Jacky who was kneeling at that time. It was supposed to be a serious part but after seeing that part of the BTS, it stuck with me.

So, to get back onto the subject, had Wen Xiong ever love Qing Mei before or was that just a ploy to secure his high position under Jiang Hu Piao? I thought he did but it had become so much more than love Qing Mei. It was like saying if he succeeded in marrying Qing Mei, he would eventually take over at the Shang Cheng Financial Company since Qing Mei was the only daughter, right? So someone was really thinking big. (Yeah, alternate motive.) If he was not thriving for more power, why in the world would he switch sides for and trying to bring Jiang Hu Piao down?

Then I wonder if the kid whom Qing Mei wanted Wu Xiong to rescue from some bullies was Wen Xiong, so that was when he started to like her?

Acting? I think I was surprised. Not that much surprised since I already saw the potential in Jacky in the past even if it was just bits and pieces here and there. His close to a major role in the past could be for The Magicians of Love but that was still another idol drama with a typical idol formula. This one? Well, it was a romantic comedy in a sense with touches of the gangster theme here and there. But I thought this character carried even more depth though on the villain side. This was a typical bad guy character but it was still something totally different for him. He also said that in one of the BTS. The most powerful part must be in episode 11 with the turn around of his character and more definite signs were seen with the actions that Wen Xiong did after he left the Jiang household.

I could totally feel Wen Xiong’s frustration and his endurance through all these times, keeping everything inside. It didn’t mean that I would take his side since if he thought about it, he wasn’t the only unfortunate guy in this world. There were lots more people out there who couldn’t even get so many opportunities as him. I thought Jacky did really well in that scene with the whole rant though it sort of killed it saying, “Qing Mei, I love you” the second time around before he advanced toward her. That was a bit not that convincing but that was all right.

That reminded me that, no matter how convincing he was, he was just portraying a role so hopefully he wouldn’t get associated with this type of character or keep being tossed these type of roles. There had been enough variations in his past roles so I hope it won’t become so cliche for the upcoming dramas.

Off-screen, Jacky and Joanne got along really well. They were under the same agency after all. They have collaborated in the past before as Fei Nan Du and Xiao Bei in The Magicians of Love but that time, they weren’t linked romantically. (Though it would’ve been fun to see four guys fighting over her in that one.) Anyway, the above cap was for episode 9’s show with Grandpa Jiang and Grandpa Wang. I thought they were trying to shoot two birds with one stone like incorporating the show into the drama as well (since it seemed to be some promo event at the same time). Because the BTS in episode 3 showed Jacky and Shen Dong Jing coming on the stage to sing also. Of course, that wouldn’t be relevant to the drama so it got cut out. The obvious sign of it was seeing Jacky and SDJ abandoning their roles at that point. I’m so serious here! Because both were singing along with the songs being performed on stage. It was their love for music kicking in and they couldn’t help it. (Can’t blame them too much, LOL!)

Another sign of it was seeing Jacky leaning over to Joanne at one point and whispering something to her and she sort of leaned a bit over to him to hear better. It could count as something Wen Xiong could do because of the opportunity of the show, but Jacky’s side showed too much with his love for music to make sense as his character Wen Xiong. (Who seemed so serious and silent for the most part of the drama.)

So what will Wen Xiong do next? Is he going to back down like some typical formula with him suddenly seeing his wrong? Or is he going to choose to either go to prison or die? (It’s a gangster one, after all, he might get whacked before we know it–IF the show creators are doing that.) I’ll do an update later when the show ends. (Or if something comes up that’s worth discussing.) But I seriously hope for a more different outcome. I meant like there’s some major twist. Unlikely. Still, it’s a bit disappointing to see it so typical. Not too lame, but still too typical.

Read this post for updates on the topic.

*All images were captured by DTLCT