Father and Son: The Grand Portrait

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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 was 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) was Li San Yuan (李三元),  portrayed by Zong Hua (宗華). Li San Yuan had 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, was portrayed by Shen Shi Peng (沈世朋). Though highly regarded at the company, his 5-year relationship with Yang Ruo Shui (楊若水)–portrayed by Chu Xuan (楚宣)–hadn’t been acknowledged by his father. He wanted to use the opportunity of the important night to publicize their relationship but was rejected by Ruo Shui. That caused a little argument between them hence the delay in coming to the hotel. In the end, Ruo Shui agreed 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), was 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 was seen by her father’s side from the beginning–and covering her brothers’ tracks for them as their father got worried about the time of their arrivals.

Li Zhong Qun (李仲群) was portrayed by Fu Zi Chun (傅子純). Being the second son and the one in the middle of five siblings, he was suave and laid-back. From his actions and smooth-talking skills, he seemed to be a ladies’ man. Though there were underlying meanings to his words at times if one was not careful. Extremely charming and lovable during such a grand and lively occasion yet could be so unpredictable if one was not cautious. He made 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 was just a coverup for his attitude and suppressed anger. Though it could be seen that his sarcasm still surfaced from time to time, especially with his remarks regarding Zhong Hua’s future mother-in-law.

Li Zhong Hua (李仲華), portrayed by Chen Yu Feng (陳宇風), was the fourth in line but the third son of the family. He appeared extremely patient and was 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 seemed to have no patience for Zhong Qun’s smart remarks.

Li Zhong Yi (李仲意), portrayed by Tang Feng (唐豐), was the youngest of the family. He didn’t appear until episode 2 because of the relevancy of the story but was mentioned when Li San Yuan was interrogating Zhong Hui and Zhong Qun about his appearance. We know that he loved freedom and didn’t want to be tied down (aka associating himself with the company–or so it seemed 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 seemed like the Li family was a model family that everyone should be jealous with, but there were hints here and there that they did not get along that well–or at least with some of the siblings. Moreover, they were covering their own problems with their little smiles–like any typical family would. Li San Yuan seemed to be a person with strict discipline and expected nothing more than perfection from his children. Yet he somehow just had 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, among the siblings, which one gave Li San Yuan the most headache? The oldest son was with someone he didn’t approve. The daughter’s husband seemed to be some unreliable guy (who didn’t even show up for the grand night). The second son’s clique of friends was somewhat too wild to his likings. Zhong Hua’s future mother-in-law aka his future in-law was an inconsiderate, attention-getting woman who wanted 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 didn’t show up at all.

What else? The rivalry between Zhong Ming and Zhong Qun was brewing as well. Though it might be kind of one-sided since Zhong Ming was hard-working but not as competitive as Zhong Qun. Or was it because he had already had the position made out for him with being the oldest son that Zhong Ming didn’t feel threatened by his brother? Perhaps Zhong Qun could not be blamed for wanting to prove himself either because he was 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 didn’t appear that night. It was always the ‘if’ that would drive Zhong Qun crazy. Things seemed secured when Zhong Ming was still nowhere to be seen and Li San Yuan stepped on stage to speak, but Zhong Ming made his entrance, causing a change in moods for Zhong Qun when he saw his brother. Always a step behind was 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 was intelligent and composed enough to keep it all in and clap his brother on. But it was obvious with his reluctance when the camera shifted over to him as his father handed the microphone over to his brother. Then his father had to turn around and whispered to him that having his brother speaking was good enough. Nice? It was almost like saying: GET OFF THE STAGE. Another slap in the face. But it seemed to be an open joke already among Zhong Qun’s so-called friends. The sympathy look on Zhong Hui and Zhong Hua’s faces showed that they did understand Zhong Qun’s feelings. (So maybe the somewhat hostile exchange between Zhong Qun and Zhong Hua was just a joke between the two?)

As if there weren’t enough complications already, Zhong Ming was also fighting a battle with himself. Like the character description said, was he going to choose the crown or the beauty? And people thought the phrase was so ancient with those dramas where the king/crowned prince had to choose between the kingdom/empire versus the beauty/love? Think again. It was a never-ending cycle as long as there was 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 was so touching. (The typical sacrifice but I’m such a sucker for it.)

The car ride home revealed 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), seemed to be his best buddy more than just a driver. The two had this conversation regarding the siblings–without being afraid that they offended one or the other. Being a father too, Da Pao could sympathize with his boss. But of course, Li San Yuan had even more problems because of his large family. The intensity heightened at the Li resident, with the major characters coming home from the celebration. As expected, a confrontation took place between Li San Yuan and Zhong Qun. (Hey, the old man did say that Zhong Qun could say all that was on his mind aka his opinion of his old man.) And was Zhong Qun right? Was 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 was later revealed that Li San Yuan had done a lot to help Zhong Qun from behind the scenes yet Zhong Qun didn’t know it. SO it wasn’t like the old man was totally at fault. Time to pull the generation gap card out, LOL!) Whatever was said and done, Zhong Hui and Zhong Hua were definitely the peacemakers of the family because they tried to step in and interfere before things escalated even further–or tried to tone down the situation by providing a reason for others’ actions. (But Zhong Hua was seriously a pushover.)

What is this drama going to be about really? (Aside from what was 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 their right position in life. Then the cliche love rivalry, 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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