Ji Gong 1995

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It was really, really, really funny that I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time now. I meant for its comedy AND not because I was mocking it, like some other dramas I have been watching. On top of all the cases and other subplots that drove the events forward, the acting and comedy were actually top-notch. It was 1995 so Taiwanese ancient dramas still contained some corny aspects to the production process as in somewhat of the settings. However, the makeup and the locations that were chosen for the drama were quite good. I would say you have to really read between the lines and get the “zen” part of the story to actually enjoy it. Okay, it would seem like a typical comedy on the surface, but there were lots of underlying messages–even through some really silly parts.

Main Cast:

  • Zhou Ming Zeng (周明增) as Ji Gong (濟公) aka the Crazy Monk. He was just plain awesome. It was really hard to describe because I was so blown away by his acting in here. Everything was fake and I knew that coming into the series (like any other series) yet I was really surprised with how he convinced me he could be the Crazy Monk. And there were times where they have those ‘switch souls’ scenes YET he managed to convince with portraying Monk Guang Liang as well. It was just so seamless between various roles he portrayed in here. Because he did take on another role later on into the story, such as that of a scholar who got killed.
  • Mu Yu Hua (慕鈺華) as Bai Ling (白靈) and Ah Qiao (阿喬). OMG, I just plain loved her in here. It was really hard to hate her, even at the beginning. Sure, she was on the opposing side and at times she wanted to compete with the Crazy Monk but Mo Yu Hua was so cute in her portrayal that was just plain funny. Then later it was revealed that she actually wasn’t just siding with her master but actually was quite righteous with helping others, it made her character even more awesome. Looking forward to her bickering scenes and sabotaging the Crazy Monk was kind of funny. She wouldn’t admit that he was good and she agreed with his principles at times yet that was what made her brilliant. She was sharp with words at times too and her empty threats were so funny. She formed an alliance with them later but didn’t outright admit it because of how her master was constantly sending people out to monitor her. She had to act out various characters in here too–like some of the cast, such as her twin sister Ah Qiao. Each character she portrayed was really convincing.
  • Chen Wen Shan (陳文山) as Monk Guang Liang (廣亮). Another great actor and really good at the comedic scenes as well. He had to switch roles and played the Crazy Monk at one point and again, like ZMZ, he really convinced. Despite the fact that Monk Guang Liang wanted to cause trouble for the Crazy Monk at times but he really didn’t want the Crazy Monk to die (because then he would be really bored–as he said at various points). It was really funny how he was so into his looks and keeping it tip-top shape. It made him sounded like a crybaby but was really funny too, watching a grown man cry at various times. Not overdone at all.
  • Zheng Zhi Wei (鄭志偉) as Bi Qing (必清). I was really annoyed with him at times for providing Monk Guang Liang with plans to sabotage the Crazy Monk and how he was during some of the episodes. Yet I must admit he was really convincing as well.
  • Yu Shang (玉尚) as Chen Liang (陳亮). I liked this actor when I was watching some of the other corny TW ancient dramas back then. I was glad to see him play a major role in here. At least at one point in the story. However, I was really disappointed that he didn’t come back later on into the story. Yet he was also convincing with some other side roles he had to portray before and after the role of Chen Liang.
  • Lian Yu Ting (練昱廷) as Yang Ming (楊明). He was REALLY good. I swore, during re-watches, I realized how many roles he had taken on throughout the course of the drama before portraying Yang Ming, he was really, really convincing in each and every one of them. Regardless of how he kept having guest-starred in various scenes before having a major role, he played each one differently and really showed all sides of his abilities. He was able to portray the cunning, evil types versus the kind and nice AND also the bordering crazy ones as well.
  • Zhang Jin Kui (張晉魁) as Xiao Cheng Zhi (蕭承志) aka Wu Chan (悟禅). He was really cute and funny in here. It wouldn’t be the same without him. And it proved right when they started to take some more of the cast out.

I was really surprised by such a solid cast. Honestly, I think this was one of those circumstances that IF it wasn’t for the cast, the series would go down. I meant there were A LOT of comedic moments but the cast was witty and charming enough to pull it off. COMEDY IS HARD, as many had acknowledged that already (whether expert opinions or not). So I really clap the main cast for having done a wonderful job with this drama. Even so, some of the minor casts (and recurring ones) were really convincing as well.

Other Cast:

  • Long Xiao Qiang (龍少強) as a judge. I was surprised to see him since it was really old and might not recognize him. Yet he played an important role to one of the cases, not just because he was a judge, but because of his background.
  • Li Luo portraying various roles in here (both good and bad). One of his roles was really fierce at first yet appeared to be a corrupted constable later. OMG, I was surprised to see him too since it was funny seeing him in the old days like that. He looks almost the same, but not as humorous, considering his role. Yet I guess he had those days when he could actually look that fierce. (I don’t know, it’s hard to imagine him fierce after Liu Mang Xiao Zhang, lol.) His acting was really convincing in those varieties of roles throughout.

Modern terms/phrases/stories incorporated into the plot/scenes:

  • Trends – It was mentioned throughout the story how there were different ‘trends’ going on and different parties were updating one another with it.
  • Using “protection” – It was implied when Monk Guang Liang was telling Monk Bi Qing about his tragic past with his large family and how he had to go into the temple, etc and he was implying how his parents hadn’t known or used the methods to control their family growth.
  • Wong Fei Hung/Huang Fei Xiong – One time when the rat demon came to seek help from the Crazy Monk but bumped into Monk Guang Liang and Monk Bi Qing; and Monk Guang Liang had tried to stay strong by jumping into a pose to defend himself, causing the rat demon to blurt out “Huang Fei Xiong.” Hei Fei Xiong was like after the Qing dynasty so that was seriously off, lol.
  • Vacation, Tours, guides, etc – When they were trying to search this one powerful monk’s room to look for evidence or other information, Monk Guang Liang told Monk Bi Qing not to mess around or linger since they weren’t on a tour and Monk Bi Qing was saying how he never had a chance to go on a vacation so he was just excited; the term “vacation” was later brought up again at various parts of the story.
  • 5 Star Room – Referring to five-star hotels, but this was regarding the quality of a room. It was mentioned by Monk Bi Qing when they were trapped in one of those cells again AND how he was saying it was Monk Guang Liang’s fault for abandoning the 5 stars room by roaming around and getting caught so they had to be in some none star room (aka the cell).
  • Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So – SO funny, they were singing it out at one point, lol.
  • “Please see the next episode” – This was said by Monk Bi Qing when the Crazy Monk was trying to explain something to the others, saying, “If you really want to know what happens”, then Monk Bi Qing jumped in saying the phrase.
  • Tango – Monk Guang Liang was messing around at one point and the melody of the dance style came on.
  • Bowling – Also used during the ‘Tango’ dance scene but Monk Guang Liang was tossing a rock versus a ball to knock over some rocks the Crazy Monk was setting up.
  • Nuthouse/mental institution
    • First mentioned when an older servant was asking if this one old woman had recently fled from the mental hospital.
    • Brought up by Monk Guang Liang again when he was describing all the craziness happening around them and if he wasn’t strong, he would’ve landed in the mental hospital already.
  • Speaking different languages – When they were in the Hell Realm, the other guy was asking the Crazy Monk what language Judge Zhong was speaking and the Crazy Monk had replied “Mandarin” and even went on to say that he, himself, was fluent with both Mandarin and Taiwanese; later Judge Zhong had spoken Taiwanese–to much of the Crazy Monk’s surprise–as they parted ways for the last time.
  • Automatic Doors – This was mentioned by the Crazy Monk when they were traveling through the Hell realm.
  • Military Style March – This was the part where the Crazy Monk made the ghosts in the Hell realm line up and follow his commands, etc. Okay, they have militaries back then, but the marches were so modernized that it was funny.
  • Singing and Dancing – The Crazy Monk loved to sing this one song and did his own dance to drive others crazy, Mrs. Rat Demon also loved to sing and used her tail as a microphone from time to time.
  • Rapping and Dancing – Used for the later parts of the story when they were trying to recount events of the story without actually saying it over and over again.
  • Tai Chi – When Monk Guang Liang and Monk Bi Qing were trying to convince the Crazy Monk to teach them magic so they could protect themselves and the Crazy Monk kept doing some weird movements instead of teaching real techniques and Monk Guang Liang commented how it looked like Tai Chi and Monk Bi Qing was saying how it was Shaolin’s technique yet Monk Guang Liang corrected him saying Tai Chi was from Wu Dang. (Wu Dang and Tai Chi didn’t exist YET, lol.)
  • Folktales/Songs:
    • Jingle Bells (used at this one scene in the story with the two souls being trapped in the bell); they sang the song again when they were on the snowy mountain searching for Yang Ming’s cousin.
    • The Boy Who Cried Wolf – Mentioned by the Crazy Monk as a comparison to teach Monk Guang Liang a lesson, but Monk Guang Liang had misunderstood and was wondering if the Crazy Monk meant Bai Ling’s senior, Hei Fong–who was a wolf.
    • Snow White – In comparison to how Monk Guang Liang was lured into doing this one task and got beaten by the patient.
    • Beauty and the Beast – OMG, so didn’t see it coming but it was the part where the ghost from the portrait saved them and Monk Bi Qing recognized her so they had a little mushy reunion AND Monk Guang Liang had to flash out the sign to introduce the story, LOL! Since he already mentioned “Snow White” earlier, I guess he would know other fairy tales too, lol.
    • Pinocchio – The Crazy Monk kept mentioning how kids shouldn’t lie or their noses would grow long, etc throughout the series, implying the Pinocchio story.
  • English Terms: Hi, Bye, Oh yeah, Bomb, Okay, etc.
  • “Season 1, Episode 1” – Monk Guang Liang was yelling at the Crazy Monk for using his (the Crazy Monk’s) feet to massage for him (Monk Guang Liang) and even stated that he wasn’t hygienic with his bad habits of not washing his feet often, etc; the Crazy Monk interrupted and pointed out that Monk Guang Liang hadn’t even washed his feet since “Season 1, Episode 1” (which was sort of true since there was no scene of Monk Guang Liang washing his feet up to that point versus the viewers getting to see the Crazy Monk washing his feet at various points of the series already).
  • Taking medications for mental problems – When the rat demon and Bai Ling were standing guard for the Crazy Monk, their masters had possessed Bai Ling and she eventually attacked the Crazy Monk yet the rat demon tried to stop her, asking her what was wrong with her and even asking if she’d forgotten to take her medications for the day (implying she was taking medications for mental problems).
  • Heart Monitor Device – Monk Guang Liang was telling Monk Bi Qing that he was using the man-made technique when Monk Bi Qing was pondering what he was doing.
  • “Hogging the camera” – Monk Guang Liang yelled at Monk Bi Qing at one time for blocking the screen and preventing the camera from capturing his face.
  • Camera – The actual word “camera” was used by the Crazy Monk after he was done setting up the scene for a certain story to unfold as he sat back to enjoy the show.
  • Different occupations – The part where Monk Bi Qing was saying how Monk Guang Liang should set up a booth for fortune-telling or psychic abilities since it was the trends; then he extended to telling the Crazy Monk that the Crazy Monk should be a detective because of his deduction capabilities and sharp analytical skills.
  • Horse racing, the racing track – It was mentioned when both the Crazy Monk and Monk Guang Liang were trying to tell Monk Bi Qing that he was so good at kissing up to them.
  • Screws Loose – At one point, the Crazy Monk was asking Bai Ling if she’d any screws loose since she was being unreasonable again (to him), nails were already invented by then but did screws exist yet? At least around that part of the world.
  • The “L” or “V” pose – Monk Guang Liang was trying to pose as the cat demon was asking her son whom Monk Guang Liang resembled.
  • Objection Overruled – Monk Guang Liang blurted out a similar phrase when Mrs. Rat Demon didn’t want her husband to pose as him (Monk Guang Liang) since she didn’t want her husband near the cat demon.
  • “X out” gesture – Often seen on game shows, but Monk Bi Qing used the gesture to indicate that their answer was wrong at one point or another.
  • High Fives/ Hand Signals – They have their own version but it was indeed a modern gesture.
  • Superheroes concept, comics/ novels – It was mentioned when the Crazy Monk and Monk Bi Qing had to get into different costumes to go into the cat demon’s cave to save Monk Guang Liang.
  • Handshakes – To seal the deal or reaching a mutual understanding, etc.
  • Behind the scene crew – Monk Guang Liang and Monk Bi Qing needed to escape from the cat demon’s cave and Monk Guang Liang was saying how there were a bunch of people who were free so they could help with finding a way out (it was implied that he was talking about the ‘behind the scenes crew’).
  • Bomb – Monk Bi Qing mentioned it at the temple.
  • Shuttle Shape – of the red flag, letter.
  • “Say No” mantra and hand signal – Monk Guang Liang and Monk Bi Qing had to turn the Crazy Monk down when he recruited them to help him with catching the vampire.
  • Romance Novels – Monk Guang Liang mentioned it when he was witnessing Monk Bi Qing saying goodbye to his childhood sweetheart.
  • Protecting environment and animals – It was mentioned when the toad demon told Bai Ling and the Crazy Monk about how her home was destroyed and she was killed, etc.
  • Inflation and money value dropping – This was mentioned by Monk Guang Liang when he was sighing in the morning when Monk Bi Qing and eventually the Crazy Monk caught him.
  • Daycare Center and library – This was mentioned by the Crazy Monk when one of the rich madams expressed that she wanted her son to stay there to study AND was pushed away by Monk Guang Liang since he wanted to lure in more rich people to keep their place running.
  • TV – I could have sworn I heard Monk Bi Qing said “TV” when he was saying how Monk Guang Liang didn’t know about the spread of diseases (referring to the whole “possessed” situation) because he didn’t watch enough TV, etc.
  • “Thank You, Mommy” – The part where Monk Guang Liang’s three souls got taken from Bai Ling’s shi mei hence acting like a kid and called Monk Bi Qing “Mommy”, causing the Crazy Monk to react quite strongly.
  • Keeping the Figure – Monk Guang Liang was wondering why the Crazy Monk was so into doing heavy labor since the Crazy Monk don’t usually do those stuff. Yet the Crazy Monk replied that he was trying to keep in shape/maintaining a beautiful figure hence needing to do more exercise.
  • Losing Weight Program – The Crazy Monk told Monk Guang Liang to exercise more doing heavy labor tasks since the fees for those slimming programs were getting higher recently.
  • “Give Me Five” – Monk Guang Liang had blurted it out when Monk Bi Qing said they were a good team, so in sync with one another, etc.
  • Tennis – It was the part where Bai Ling and the rat demon’s junior wanted to threaten the Crazy Monk with the powerful sphere and he told her he didn’t bring his racket today so he couldn’t play with her, lol.
  • Baseball – The Crazy Monk wanted to use his hat as a mitt to catch the powerful sphere.
  • “Innocent until proven guilty” – Mentioned by Monk Bi Qing when Monk Guang Liang thought they had died and landed in the 10th level of Hell without a proper trial.
  • “How Do You Do?” They encountered a bunch of hunters on this snowy mountain and ended up puzzled because they didn’t speak their language, etc.
  • Sauna – Monk Guang Liang was saying how the silkworm demon was so nice, letting them use a sauna. YET he was using it in sarcasm because they were trapped in big bundles of silk.
  • Roast Peking Ducks – It was the part where the rat demon was attempting to save them out of the silk bundles and he didn’t succeed so they were making comments about him trying to fry/roast them and Yang Ming had mentioned ‘roast Peking ducks’.
  • Shoe sizes – Monk Bi Qing was complaining how Monk Guang Liang never exercise so he was slow, etc when they were on their way to this one wealthy guy’s resident. YET Monk Guang Liang turned around and scolded Monk Bi Qing for not noticing his shoe size.
  • Criticizing the government for doing roadwork so carelessly.
  • IQ – Monk Guang Liang was saying Monk Bi Qing had lower IQ. (In a previous episode, Monk Bi Qing also used the term IQ to describe Monk Guang Liang when some of his souls were taken away hence restoring his IQ to an equivalent of a 3-years-old kid.)
  • Copied/fake items – the Crazy Monk said it at the part where he conned Lu Ji with handing over the haystacks instead of the actual demon trap she wanted.
  • “The early bird catches the worm.” The Crazy Monk tried to wake Monk Guang Liang up by saying, “Don’t you know that the early bird catches the worm?” and Monk Guang Liang replied with “Then did you hear about the worm whom woke up early and got eaten by the bird?” (LOL)
  • Football – This was the time Monk Guang Liang and Monk Bi Qing was tossing the Crazy Monk’s special bottle back and forth like a football because Lu Ji was inside the bottle.

What has me complaining is it’s too sad that I couldn’t watch this completely since I only managed to find like some of the stories. I would love to find it one day in its complete collection. But probably a very slim chance. I saw some scenes in the original dialect and it wasn’t in the stories that I watched thus far so I had missed some.

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