Xiao Qiao's Wedding

Last weekend was actually Xiao Qiao’s wedding. I previously saw pictures but was confused since aside from her pictures, others didn’t post anything. I thought I misunderstood or it was for a show. But then last weekend’s updates clarified everything and it was very exciting.

The majority of the J-Star family came to support and celebrate with her. In fact, the other members of the 7 Flowers were her bridesmaids. The best men were Johnny Yan and Sam Wang from 183 Club and GINO from K-One. From other pictures, there were other pairings as well.

Of course, there were also other non-J-Star members who came.

Liang Zhe was seen next to Ehlo at the reception.

Jun Ya, Derek Chen, and Ada Pan posed together at one point.

My favorite one must be of Doris and Sam, lol. Because she said the “before picture” was closer to their real-life selves. She paired with Sam so Johnny and Jade were paired together (just like some past events).

Anyway, it was a huge event yet was also heartwarming in many ways and brought back memories for those previously following J-Star events. And I only posted up some pictures from the people I do follow so I don’t know the rest of the details. Also, some people I follow didn’t post up pictures so I wasn’t sure if they were there or not.

*Images credit: Joyce Zhao, Doris Lai, Sam Wang, Ehlo Huang, GINO Tsai, Tony Sun, Derek Chen, and Zhao Jun Ya

Sisters: The Overall

(image was captured by DTLCT)

I actually finished this several months back already. Amazing, isn’t it? I actually finished a 60-episodes drama. I guess an episode or two a day will somehow lead me to achieve the goal. So how was it? Mixed feelings. YES, I couldn’t help it. But I thought the ending made all the difference. I thought of giving up around episode something (forgot which since I had finished several months back after all) when Zheng Fang and Ru Fen got married because of the baby, and not because of love. The fact that Ru Fen seemed to live under a rock regarding stuff didn’t help things either. I do understand that she was the youngest one of the family and was so sheltered that she only knew of family relationships, friendships, and other work-related responsibilities YET so out of it with the dangerous side of matters. It was still a major frustration that she was cornered and forced into marrying Zheng Fang just because, and somehow, only Ru Li was against it because she wasn’t very fond of Zheng Fang since he was such a cheapskate. Okay, so it was Ru Fen’s fault in the first place to accept Zheng Fang and have this pity for him since his father just passed away, etc AND how she wasn’t experienced in the romance area hence getting deceived and all, but I felt she didn’t deserve to pay for her stupidity so much. That was why I didn’t want to go on. But I continued months later (since I dropped it sometime last year and picked it up again earlier this year). Maybe it was because I just wanted to watch Ah Pang and Phoebe Huang because they were actually my favorite characters in here–and also was my favorite couple. Somehow afterward, I realized pieces were falling into place. The pace wasn’t too slow with dragging out things to the point of unbearable. Sure, it got dramatic and way beyond mad at some points, but it kept the realism at bay.

After seven years, Ru Fen was no longer the naive girl, which was real enough all right. But she had put up a shield to protect herself and her daughter through all the fuss her mother-in-law was tossing her way. Then there was also Zheng Fang who wasn’t so one-way with supporting his mother all the way anymore. I didn’t even feel it at first or possibly didn’t feel much of the chemistry between Zheng Fang and Ru Fen at all–regardless of their age gap (in the story, not their real age). Yet after seven years of being together, I could feel like he actually loved Ru Fen though he was so torn between his mother and wife. Believe me, I wanted to kill him so many times during those times when he claimed he loved her yet seemed so oblivious to what was right in front of him, seeing how miserable she and their daughter were. Yet what made the difference was how he claimed later that he was the one in the ‘dream’ the whole time, saying how all these times the prince was living in his fantasy while not realizing that the princess wasn’t happy. That reminded me that the whole setup with Wang Man Lin was essential to wrap up the plot in general. It was not only a clever move but it had brought the whole story back to full circle, allowing him to experience the whole effects of it all. It was obvious that Zheng Fang wasn’t the type to give in or accept defeat or admitting wrong unless he had experienced something first hand. The incident with Man Lin had allowed him to realize how traumatizing it had been for Ru Fen when she woke up to discover she was in an unfamiliar place and realizing what had happened and was forced to accept the consequences with everyone cornering her.

Going back to the whole ‘prince and princess’ thing that Zheng Fang was saying to Ru Fen near the end when he had agreed on the divorce–FINALLY. I think it tied in with his dramatic nature at various points of the story. At first, I thought Victor was confusing us with his acting hence exaggerating. YET it was the right touches because it defined Zheng Fang’s nature so vividly, especially those words he said regarding the ‘prince and princess’ concept. The fact that he was the one ‘dreaming’ made all the difference in this case. Since it wasn’t like just the girl having some dream of marrying the perfect man all the time anymore, but the guy was the one in the situation this time around. Having Zheng Fang admitting that and how he was finally waking up from the trance, realizing that he had made the wrong choice, not wanting to burden his wife and kid any longer with the madness happening within the household. I could so relate to their marriage with his reaction and how he thought he was right and always making the right decisions and having a good family since I know someone like that in real life. (YES, I’m serious here, but the situation is still ongoing in my case and the guy haven’t awakened YET.) Anyway, with Zheng Fang, I thought the ending was going to be so forced with the intensity driven to its max when there were only several more episodes to go, but it wasn’t so. It made sense that it took their daughter’s reaction to wake him up with how her first words to him were that she wanted her mother, NOT that she loved him. It hurt major time and it was the situation that hadn’t allowed her to express her true feelings to him, but it had made him realize at last he needed to do what was right for his daughter. It had to be his daughter and not others because he hadn’t listened to them throughout those dramatic moments anyway, so it would be too cheesy if he suddenly got it with someone among them confronting him again.

The part where I actually felt touched and actually cried (YES, guilty) for them was when they said their last goodbyes. Sure, I always wanted to take a jab at times, but I also felt bad for him when she didn’t back down every time it had to do with Cai Ling. Sure, Cai Ling was important and her education was important, but I felt bad for Zheng Fang because he had to work sooo hard. She had to deal with his mother at home too, but I felt bad for him for having no break every single day with them arguing like that. So I didn’t feel as much chemistry between them or see any sort of caring. But when she told him that the season was changing, telling him to prepare this and that, and they ended up hugging. It was all the memories, he had to get used to living without her. Though there wasn’t much love in their relationship, they had been together all these years so it made sense that she knew so much of his habits. Then it reminded me of how some things looked so simple like her daily duties/routines at home, but it took so much energy out of her. I knew that from all the arguments they went through every single day within the household, but I sometimes felt she was rebelling as well with being forced into this marriage years ago. But it wasn’t so, she had tried her best to work it out, but only became stubborn when it had to do with Cai Ling (which made sense–and which I felt very admirable since she had grown so strong to protect her daughter from harm, not so naive anymore).

The ending? What made it different–as I said earlier, was how the main guy didn’t end up with the main girl. YES, I’m sort of sick of that typical formula. Sure, they had tried to work things out, but it wasn’t always like that in real life. Not all marriages end in a happy ending (or so we like to think). I always thought that they would eventually work it out (like any typical drama) since they would always say every couple had their problems and have to get past some barriers. Even when Zheng Fang was set up by Man Lin. And there was also the fact that Jim came back. I thought it was a test for them both with those catalysts involved. YET it wasn’t so. Not like I wouldn’t want them to work it out since Zheng Fang wasn’t that terrible after all, he just loved Ru Fen too much and held onto his own principle of how happiness was hence not seeing the real situation. SO I would be okay if their situations were resolved in the end (since that was what I expected of a typical drama). But this time, I was surprised they approached it in that way and how Zheng Fang had let go and wanted to become a better man (as the song played in the background when they signed the divorce papers). Funny that the song had hinted at building the future and trying to become a better person for her YET in this case of the drama, they had used it to that effect (aka hinting at his letting go as becoming a better person). And indeed the ending was somewhat a full circle to the beginning as well, sort of. Like how Zheng Fang let go of Ru Fen–and even encouraged Ru Fen to pursue her own happiness with Jim hence hauling a Taxi for her. What was full circle about that scene was how Jim had once tagged along with Zheng Fang and Ru Fen’s car from a distance and had given them his blessings, so this time it was Zheng Fang’s turn. Then the next scene where Zheng Fang bumped into Xiao Lan again, it was so similar to what happened between him and Ru Fen. Whether or not something like that would happen in real life was debatable, but for this situation, I thought it was kind of cool. This time, Zheng Fang wasn’t such a cheapskate anymore, wanting to learn to become a better person by not fussing over that ticket. Xiao Lan also gave in and they had a fresh, new start.

I’m going to stop here and cover other parts of the plot later (as well as other characters).

Sisters: First Impressions

This one proved that I should watch the daily dramas more than weekend dramas. I meant it was much more realistic and down to earth than the weekend dramas with some of the overhyped stuff. Or maybe family dramas were the ones that were closer to reality versus the whole romance scenes. Well, there were of course romances in this sort of stories too (as most themed-drama were), but this one focused on family relationships and friendships, and different types of bonds in society that I think–excuse me for the outburst but must say it–the rest of us peasants could relate to.

First, I have to say that I thought the main theme and the various scenes at the beginning were fun enough with it being some kind of lighthearted drama. Then when it started with some weird scene, I was sort of thinking it was a typical one with the klutzy girl and all. Yet I wanted to hang on a little longer. So the following scene was seeing a pair of sisters–Jiang Ru Li (portrayed by Phoebe Huang) and Jiang Ru Fen (portrayed by Judy Hu)–being bullied by this one stall-owner and had to pay a decent amount of compensation fees (for an accident). They almost lost the battle when Ru Fen timidly handed over the money but was suddenly stopped by a new voice, belonging to Song Qing Mei (portrayed by Ada Pan). I first thought that there were three sisters based on the theme video but it was just two. Yet that wasn’t too far off either since Qing Mei soon became part of the Jiang family after the failed attempt of Jiang Ma Ma and Ru Li’s matchmaking effort for Qing Mei and the Jiang’s second son, Jiang Chen Wei (Jason Zou). That was awhile later but the point was the three became good friends after that incident in the market. With the scene panning out with the nice, morning atmosphere and with me being a nature lover, I waited to see what was more.

The story of the three major characters slowly unfolded–with both humorous scenes as well as touching moments. For instance, we learned that Qing Mei had lost her parents already and was more than happy to join the Jiang family. That was one touching moment all right–with the three siblings playing with the firecrackers after dinner that night. Then Qing Mei later joined them as well. To guarantee that it wasn’t too cheesy, we were soon brought back to the humorous part because Chen Wei was making his protest with the “Sisters rule!” mantra that the other three were chanting, so they included him as well, adding in ‘brother’–just for his sake.

What I thought at first was another typical love-hate relationship with the whole accident when Li Zheng Fang (Victor Huang) and Ru Fen bumped into each other (literally) at the crosswalk wasn’t so as the plot moved on. We soon found out that both were on their way to the same restaurant, except with a different purpose in mind. Ru Fen was meeting up with her sister and Qing Mei while Zheng Fang was going to break up with his girlfriend. With his slow rate and the subtle hints, trying to build things up so it wouldn’t alarm his girlfriend too much, the tables got turned on him because she misunderstood, thinking that he wanted to get married so she stopped him, launching into the reasons why they don’t get along thus breaking up with him. The funniest moment was seeing how shocked he was that she was breaking with him that he ended up asking, “Why?” instead of agreeing with her to break up on friendly terms. I guess it was never good to be on the receiving end, eh? Moving on, the three girls soon parted from the restaurant also, going separate ways (that was after Ru Fen forgot the brochures’ bag and had to return to the restaurant to search for it). The whole while, it could be said that Zheng Fang was feeling strange toward Ru Fen (mostly not so good of an impression after the previous encounter) yet it changed after she saved his life and he was determined to pursue her regardless. (It was more like a big misunderstanding but that was so funny with his revived mantra to move on, not feeling so sad anymore after he got dumped.) What made it even more real or more appealing to watch was seeing how he wasn’t the perfect type (with so many bad habits, honestly) and really have to work hard to win the Jiang family over–if he was really serious about pursuing their little princess. Though making an impression wasn’t to the best of his ability since it was like backfiring constantly, annoying Jiang Ba Ba (Lu Yi Long) and Jiang Ma Ma (Xi Man Ning)–and eventually Chen Wei. Thinking that his advantage was being co-workers with Ru Fen or having both won the TV prize at that one event, he sure was determined. Yet he had no idea he needed more than ‘fate’ to back him up on this one.

What made this drama even more down to earth (or at least to me) was seeing how Ru Li was working at a regular store (Espirit if anyone wanted to know and didn’t pay attention when watching) to earn a living. She was getting along with some co-workers while not so well with another. Well, more like only one. She and Amanda (portrayed by Adriene Lin) were often engaged in these silly banters. I think most of us could relate to somewhat. I meant not all of us could get along with everyone and how we try to cope yet we could see some people engaging in these witty battles, etc. It was kind of fun to see that. The humor cranked up several notches when Ru Li wanted to upstage Amanda and made a bigger bluff by admitting that she was dating Mr. Zheng’s son. (YEAH, one of the big names out there, which she had no idea how far she was going.) As soon as that was out, not only were her co-workers shocked, but a person lurking in distance was tuning in. He was none other than the person that she was talking about yet she had never met–or know of his full name, Zheng Pin Chuan (portrayed by Ah Pang). He was browsing around and looking at some of the clothes there but stopped dead upon hearing Ru Li’s declaration. After her victory speech, Ru Li finally addressed him and thought he was applying for a job. She not only didn’t allow him to explain but kept explaining her reasons for bickering with her co-workers as he witnessed before. Defeated because of her persistence, he ended up filling out the forms and was even met with some of her smart comments, regarding his name, his age, etc. (I must admit, I cracked up so hard at that scene. It was just too much. Honestly! Priceless actually!)

What was sweet about the whole thing was how Pin Chuan was wandering around in front of the shopping center. Or more like was just pacing and thinking about how it was possible that she claimed to be his girlfriend but they didn’t recognize one another, etc. Then he thought of it being his father’s arrangement. That was when she came out of the shop, thinking that he wanted to eat the food at one of the stalls so she went and bought it for him, thinking he didn’t have enough money, etc. Telling him not to be upset about it, shoving the bag into his hands. Touched by her gesture, he was no longer eager to clear things up. I thought that was really cool because even if that was a hilarious moment inside the shop, but now he realized what kind of person she was, not looking down on him–even if it was like she claimed that he was not well off and was looking for a job, etc.

The last major character to appear was Li Jia Qing (Lan Jun Tian). And here I was thinking he and Qing Mei were going to be the bickering couple instead of Zheng Fang and Ru Fen, but I was wrong again. Their encounter and first impression of one another wasn’t locked in–and saved for later to dissolve the misunderstanding. They had their clash yet it wasn’t like overly dramatic with how they declared war at the first moment. It was a mix of feelings because he soon wasn’t as fierce toward her anymore, even apologizing upon realizing she was just trying to help him return one of his packets. Their banter wasn’t just some child’s play or set on purpose to create hype yet it contained some real intensity. (If you know what I mean with how other dramas created it on purpose so we think it was funny and cute that the to-be-couples bicker but this one it seemed more real that they were fighting for what they actually want or need.) Then there was the whole idea with him being a filial son and had a son. Their family of three would indeed pave an interesting plot later.

So far, Ah Pang’s character was the rich guy but wasn’t like overly made to shine on purpose, which was more realistic in a way since he just blended in for the most part right now. Maybe because he didn’t change into his royal attires yet but we’ll see. Then there was the somewhat rouge Jia Qing with his past still to be revealed. There was also Zheng Fang, who we do not know much about yet, especially his family. The three girls’ background was more obvious from the start. But that was the contrast between the three pairs. I’m really looking forward to more scenes of it and am really enjoying it for now–AND seriously hope it won’t go downhill since it does have potential. The pace is just right, not too fast or too slow. The touches of the details are just right, not too overhype to the point of unrealistic nor ridiculous with the humor either.

Until next time since I’m leaving some things unsaid on purpose, lol. But if you watch, the are some interesting things coming up. Like some characters’ past and how things aren’t what it is on the surface. And note that these impressions are formed around episode 2 when all the major characters already appeared so it doesn’t reflect on the newly aired episodes.

*All images were captured by DTLCT