At the Dolphin Bay

(image credit: net)

I have a confession to make. I never really watch the whole thing. Yes, tragic and late, I know. But I mostly watched bits and pieces here and there and mostly MVs. I do own the soundtrack though because it was so beautifully done by some of the cast and production team. So, the point? My opinions were heavily skewed because how I didn’t have the whole picture to fairly judge the plot in its entirety. So now that I watched it properly, my opinions of it changed majorly and I was glad in some ways. However, some things still didn’t change and I will address them below. (Go here if you want to read my tweets while I was watching. Of course, some are no longer relevant because my thoughts changed near the end, but it was a fun activity during the time.)

How was it as an overall though? It was exceptionally good. Yes, that was surprising to me, considering how it seemed to be a typical idol drama at face-front. In some ways, it was so. In other ways, it deserved to be on the top list—even if I had to admit that myself.

Main Cast:

  • Angela Chang (張韶涵) as Yi Tian Bian (易天邊). Who said that Angela didn’t know how to act needs their eyes checked. Yes, there were heavy criticisms of her acting during the time she was more active with her acting career. I know it was inevitable with anyone within the industry, but she especially received backlash. Some of them were really unfair and uncalled for too. I know we can’t all like the same people and have different criteria, etc. But I can’t believe those criticisms regarding her earlier dramas. Because after watching this, I was blown away. I’m not saying she’s the best, but just focusing on her own roles and how she progressed over the years, it was amazing to watch. Was she a little raw at that time? Yes, she was, but she performed quite well for this role. I was able to feel her character’s emotions at each point and what she’d gone through, her struggles, and much more. She made Tian Bian really relatable and likable to me. I liked Tian Bian’s strong personality and it made sense with her having endured so much since little. She needed to put up a shield to protect herself. I especially liked that she was able to defend herself—for the most part (since things got quite complicated later and she couldn’t battle everyone either)—at times. It showed she didn’t need rescuing all the time—though the others did try. It was different that she wasn’t a doormat all the time, like how other dramas liked to pave the leading lady to be. It was different for me and I was truly hopeful as I watched her character go through the journey of discovering herself–whether it was her career or her personal struggles. She learned and grew as she entered the music industry that it wasn’t just about music but about maintaining her image as well. Her transition and handling of situations at times were visible, yet somehow she managed to find the balance to keep a kind heart as well. It shone through as she gained fame at long last, allowing her to break past some of the past cliches with the industry changing someone and how they got sucked into it thus changing them in general. It was also nice that they incorporated the theme nicely by boosting Angela’s ethereal voice as well.
  • Ambrose Hsu (許紹洋) as Xu Ze Ya (徐澤亞). I started out watching Ambrose in tougher roles or even the ones bordering on villainous, so this was a surprise for me, lol. But I was glad to have discovered him in this role. It showed his range. Also, I was surprised that SETTV previously propped up the main guy who was a lot nicer than their typical arrogant, mean guy on the surface. But I soon realized that title went to Wallace’s character (which I will discuss after this). I was glad that Xu Ze Ya was written that way though. It was nice to see him maintaining the humble and kind person that he was all these years. That he was capable of maintaining his professionalism at work and was different at home. It gave his character some layers rather than just being on one side of the spectrum only. Of course, there were times he lost it like that time he scolded Zheng Dong and quickly apologized. It showed he was human and things got messy. But he wasn’t cruel and learned from his mistakes. And possibly because of his softer side, it had created this obstacle where he seemed so wishy-washy at times that it drove me insane. However, I thought it was consistent and made sense, so I didn’t pick on it too much. I was talking about how he was determined to go through with his plan to sacrifice his own happiness and made the deal with letting Tian Bian return to the Hsu family as the rightful child in the first place. His resolve crumbled when he realized that he couldn’t follow through and how deep his feelings for Tian Bian were. Not to mention how everything wasn’t going as he thought it would when Tian Bian finally entered the Hsu residence. The fact that he admitted it was a mistake made it better than just brushing it under the rug or forgetting it all together. In a way, he couldn’t predict the future (like all of us) and didn’t realize it would become so complicated. He was also driven by guilt to right all wrongs and was blinded by his overly optimistic nature. Yet all of those added to his character, as I later realized. Overall though, he was a kind person at heart and truly didn’t want to hurt anyone. I thought Ambrose did a great job in expressing all those emotions and made us love Xu Ze Ya more through all his strengths and weaknesses.
  • Wallace Huo (霍建華) as Chung Xiao Gang (鍾曉剛). Mixed feelings until like episode 7 or 8. Yes, I started out really hating him and was saying inside how I was glad I never watched this previously because I would have hated him and never paid attention to him as an actor if it was like so. I hated Xiao Gang’s arrogant and terrible attitude. His condescension knew no end. He just kept behaving that way because he could. He seemed quite proud of how scheming and manipulative he was at times too. Although I had a feeling he did have a tragic past for real hence dodging regarding love, that was so cliche with the typical main character who was using the mean streak to hide his true feelings. So yeah, it was making me not like him much with his treatment of Tian Bian or the people around him either and I, at times, questioned how Tian Bian could even like him in the first place or allowed herself to be pushed around by him like that. Yet, the turnaround moment for him was worth it. The redeeming plot for him was convincing enough. It showed that he was too drunk on fame and success at times that he forgot about the normal days of the past. I thought he needed some setbacks to remind himself not to forget his team who had stuck by him all this time. Not saying he was pure evil and all. But I was just annoyed by how toxic he was at one point. I didn’t want him to be perfect because that would be unrealistic. I needed him to at least appreciate the people around him and not think that he was right all the time. Of course, I wasn’t picking on some of his training techniques because I knew he was right to keep Tian Bian on a strict meal plan to maintain her voice, etc. Those routines with jogging and more were crucial for her, etc. I just felt his confrontation with others all the time made it hard to work with him. Even if one could dismiss those as quirky traits artists like him have, it just wasn’t cutting it for me. Perhaps, it was hinting at how he’d been in the industry for too long that it had affected him, and needed this exterior to protect himself from others. Who could blame him? But once again, like I said, at least treat his team better. They were on the same side after all. I thought his strongest point was his determination. Perhaps, his fierce attitude had aided in that strength a lot. Because once he decided something, he was persistent in getting it done—regardless of what others said. It also helped with his philosophy regarding his life. It somewhat transferred over to how he dealt with his love life. That sometimes worked out and other times, it didn’t. Because his stubbornness and persistency in pursuing Tian Bian became a major plot point but also contradicted how he ended up back at the original point. (I will elaborate later in other sections.) Acting? I thought Wallace did wonderfully. Considering how Wallace said in several interviews years later that he didn’t even know how to walk properly like how the director wanted at one point, this was impressive. He also mentioned he had to do a lot of research and improve his methods with different techniques; I thought it worked for him. This character did overlap with some of his other characters, but I thought this was his strongest at that time. He was still a bit raw but it was understandable as this was some of his earlier roles. Keep in mind that he was in six dramas that year, one of which had around 40 episodes so yes, he was really overworked. I wasn’t surprised some of his roles eventually just merged into one another. (Given that SETTV liked to typecast people and how their usual main characters were the same as well.) This was his fourth role of that year and third major role so he wasn’t at full energy. Also, he was possibly filming this at the same time as Westside Story because Tony and the rest of the 5566 members were introducing Westside Story at the end of this drama. That meant they were done so it was ready for airing. I wasn’t really paying attention at that time they were filming these dramas but SETTV has a pattern with filming while airing. If they were lucky, this finished first before they loop in a bit of the Westside Story. So, Wallace indeed had a lot on his plate at that time and he pulled through with this major role.
  • Penny Lin (林韋君) as Xu Shan Ni (徐珊妮). Penny was surprisingly likable in this role and I swear some of the synopsis floating around were misleading and did a dishonor to her character. It was one of the reasons why I was surprised to like her character so much, even if she was seen engaged in some major confrontations with both Xu Ze Ya and Chung Xiao Gang at the beginning leading into the drama and introducing different characters to us. Professionally, she was logical and reasonable with her analysis. She had the experience to back up her reasoning too. Personally, she was tough and it somewhat leaked into her professional side. Yet her upbringing had a lot to do with how she’d become so strong and tough. It had fueled her energy and allowed her to survive all these years within such a hostile household. That changed later as the story progressed. I thought Penny did quite well portraying her character and the many sides of her. She totally rocked the professional side and showed her leadership side so convincingly. That might have inspired SETTV to cast her in some other roles later to show off her boss mode some more, lol. That was my guess, but she was indeed badass in those as well. Anyway, Shan Ni’s struggles and vulnerabilities were also vividly portrayed and quite relatable as well.
  • Jill Hsu (徐潔兒) as Mandy Shen Man Qing (沈曼青). I had to think a lot before trying to come up with the fairest analysis for her. Yes, I had to force myself to do that because I thought Jill truly fitted her role. Yet the plot did her a disservice. That also affected my perception while watching. Because I felt her role was unnecessary for the most part. Before fans come after me with pitchforks, hear me out first. Like I said, Jill really fitted her role. What made me come to that conclusion I did was because she was used as a hurdle in Tian Bian’s life during her (Tian Bian’s) debut. Then she was casted aside for the most part regarding the romance side. Although one could say that she was a popular singer and a senior within the industry and it gave variety and was realistic in a sense to have rivalries, she never really had her own story or true purpose. She was also associated to Xiao Gang but that aided his background story more than hers. In short, she was just a plot device to forgo the story and not her own character, like she deserved. I’m not suggesting that they give her a big story to overshadow other characters. Somehow, the writers were able to write the other major characters’ stories and weaved them into the main plot without sacrificing their identities but they couldn’t do that for Jill’s Man Qing? I will admit each character was different with their strengths and weaknesses, etc. But Jill had to take on the role of the jealous girl (like I initially feared for Penny’s character) and it was too typical. We know she was a normal person who rose to fame and lost her way and somehow found the courage to do the right thing to salvage her career as well as her dignity. However, how could one forget that she actually caused half of the problems in the first place? (Aka one can’t ask to be given credit for fixing stuff they broke.) After all, she did bring Eddy back into the picture. That was, of course, after she pulled the stunt of shattering Tian Bian’s spirit on the day of the debut. In some ways, it showed she was human and made mistakes and realized her way. But it was just too weak to try and redeem her later just because they needed her to end up with Xiao Gang, which I will go into more detail in their own section. Considering how she took her precious time to save the day too, I didn’t think she deserved the credit that much either. I was glad she interfered, but like I said before, her character development throughout was really weak, so this was just the last bit to save her character, leading it to be more acceptable if she ended up with Xiao Gang. That was all. Or perhaps, they could have her in here as another character but didn’t have to force some things and it would make more sense. One might ask why I was so harsh on Jill’s Man Qing when Wallace’s Xiao Gang wasn’t all that innocent either. Hey, I hated him for a third of the series. It wasn’t like he was getting a break from me. Regardless of all the factors I listed, I thought Jill did well with her performance. It was just that the writing got sloppy with her character development hence not doing it justice as she deserved.

Others:

  • Liang Xiu Shen (梁修身) as Xu Ruo Gu (徐若谷). Chairman of SET, also Tian Bian and Shan Ni’s grandfather. I hated him throughout but eventually just gave up and no longer cared anymore. I meant whatever, the series was almost ending so if he wanted to make up for lost time, so be it. I was pretty sure if you looked up the word misogynistic, his face was next to it. His beliefs or whatever didn’t justify his actions. I didn’t like the whole idea of getting together with some married man either, but this guy was just pushing it by taking it out on an innocent kid (at that time of the incident years ago) and continued to rule with an iron fist in the household. He was half the reason why the household was so hostile and cold. He was obviously responsible for Shan Ni forcing herself to conceal her true feelings and pushing herself to the max at times. Sure, he realized it later how wrong he was and how much energy he was exerting to hold onto hate but he had the easy way out after all he’d done. It wasn’t like I didn’t welcome it but the plot was at its end already, we—as the audience—were probably all tired from his drama king tantrums at times that we were just glad it turned out that way, instead of the endless hate cycle, so we let it slide. Or we just didn’t care anymore, lol. I was surprised he’d gone from threatening Ze Ya to literally begging him in the next episode, but like I said, I no longer cared at that point regarding him that I was just like whatever.
  • Ge Wei Ru (戈偉如) as Xiang Li Hong(項莉虹). Shan Ni’s mother. I was annoyed with her initially. Although I understood where she came from and it was hard to blame her for what happened and her reaction to her husband having an affair, I didn’t like her arrogant attitude at times either. She was the other half responsible for causing Shan Ni much of the unhappiness in here as well. So there was that. Her turning point was when she realized her father-in-law have been manipulating her into keeping the hate in her heart all these years. I guess misery does love company so he kept reminding her to hate, etc. so he had someone to sympathize with him. That hate had also affected how she raised Shan Ni and was distant toward Shan Ni all these years. I sort of watched the actress growing up, so I knew she could act, lol. No complaints.
  • Liu Rui Qi (劉瑞琪) as Li Hui Lan (李蕙蘭). Tian Bian’s foster mother. I found her harsh at first and bordering on cruelty when she discouraged Tian Bian’s dreams. Well, realistically, she was right that some dreams were just dreams. They were buried in debt and shouldn’t rely on some fleeting faith like that. However, I thought some of the criticisms were uncalled for. After learning how her husband died, it made sense. I was glad that she changed her mind later and respected Tian Bian’s decision. What irked me a bit was her overly naive faith in Eddy. She was in the blind and it was hard to blame her. It would have made more sense if she didn’t believe either one of the parties unless she went and investigated for herself. I know she was kept imprisoned at that point but at least show some signs of caution toward both equally. But I guess they needed some drama near the end to wrap it all up, allowing Man Qing to step in, etc. I was just glad the whole scheme was short-lived.
  • Josie Leung (梁家榕) as Xie Yi Xuan (謝憶萱). Tian Bian’s biological mother. Stay away from married men, seriously. I know it’s easy to judge but I thought that was like common sense. I know we didn’t have all the details regarding how they started (or he could have lied about his background), but I doubted it because he was a major figure in society after all, so it was hard to say she didn’t know who he was or if he was married or not. I also know if the affair didn’t happen, there would be no Tian Bian. But seriously, it was frustrating. I did feel bad for her and how tragic her life ended, but it was just wrong with how things started.
  • Gao Shan Feng (高山峰) as Zhong Ting (仲廷). Tian Bian’s friend since she moved to Dolphin Bay. Tian Bian had a crush on him at the beginning but was rejected by him soon after her confession. He had a brief role initially to introduce viewers to Tian Bian’s life at Dolphin Bay and eased viewers into the story. Then he just disappeared because the plot had shifted away from Dolphin Bay and focused on the entertainment industry and the love triangles between the main leads.
  • Morrison Ni (倪志強) as Ah Tang (阿堂). Part of the music development department under Chung Xiao Gang’s management. I agreed with Peggy when she said Ah Tang was exactly like Xiao Gang, except for the talent bit, lol. He was indeed quite fierce when telling her to get back to work, etc. But he was also a nice addition to the comedic scenes at times.
  • Joseph Ma (馬國賢) as Wang Zheng Dong (王正東). Xu Ze Ya’s special assistant. He seemed strict but had a soft side. After all, he did drop some hints for Ze Ya to take his break on the roof (knowing that Tian Bian went to the roof, lol) and misled Shan Ni of Ze Ya’s whereabouts at one point. I was calling him a traitor (jokingly, lol) at that point. But realized he worked for Ze Ya, not Shan Ni, so he was just looking out for his boss’s best interest, lol.
  • Deric Wan as Eddy. Chung Xiao Gang’s rival in the music industry. I wasn’t sure if his role was more unnecessary or Jill’s Man Qing. Yes, I said it. This coming from me being a major fan of Deric’s. It was just that his whole existence also relied on making Xiao Gang and Tian Bian’s lives miserable at one point. That was it. He was just another obstacle they needed to face. That was all. What I remembered of him was his outrageous fashion sense, lol.

Relationships – family, friendship, romances, etc.

  • Ambrose / Xu Ze Ya and Angela / Yi Tian Bian as a couple. At first, I found their younger versions more matching and their stories so touching. Then when they were all grown up, I felt there was something missing. Granted, I watched those parts years ago. I ended up skimming around and wasn’t really paying attention. It wasn’t until I watched it this time around that I appreciated their story more and realized their chemistry. It was the bias kicking in because I had watched Wallace and Angela on various shows together, hence shipping those two. In some ways, I was glad I took a break during that time and revisited it fully and fairly this time around. I found Tian Bian and Ze Ya’s relationship unique and touching in its own right. It was really heartbreaking to realize how they couldn’t be together and both were trying to be brave and move forward. At times, their resolves failed them, but they couldn’t be blamed because it was indeed very hard. Tian Bian was very brave though and she tried to distance herself from Ze Ya because she knew she couldn’t hold on any longer if she were to stay. I actually felt their chemistry mostly from their interactions and glances throughout. I didn’t know how it was going to work out for them with so many things surrounding them. I was glad it worked out in the end because of the distance and time that it took for everyone to heal. It was a bittersweet ending for me because of how the writers had chosen to kill off Shan Ni instead of working toward another angle. Circling back to Ambrose and Angela’s chemistry, I was surprised to like it so much after watching it this time around. Their acting had convinced me how compatible they were. The story aided greatly, but the chemistry had to be there as well.
  • Ambrose / Xu Ze Ya and Penny / Xu Shan Ni as a couple. Initially, Shan Ni hated Ze Ya, mostly thanks to her mother for fueling the hate, because she would always be second to him in the chain of commands—regardless of her efforts. It was both that and because it was believed that he was the other woman’s son. However, she maintained a professional attitude at work and even acknowledged his capabilities as he implemented all his methods to improve the company’s overall structure. In some ways, she had every right to be upset and felt what she felt—even if Xu Ze Ya had to bear the brunt of her reactions. Having to grow up in such a strict household and not allowing for a second opinion aside from grandpa and mom’s plans made it rough for her as well. She was forced to be tough. It wasn’t until she realized Ze Ya was genuinely a kind person, not putting up a front that she reconsidered. Having him save her that one time or was determined to stick by her side during the crucial point changed her opinion of him majorly. He also told her it was all right to show her vulnerabilities at times, allowing her to be herself and not have to put up such a tough exterior anymore. At least, she could be herself. (Of course, it was meant regarding her personality in general, not meaning to change her opinions or judgment in a professional setting.) Anyway, they had a rough start at first before getting along as siblings. Then, after learning that they weren’t really siblings, it was easy to fall for him because of his kindness and caring nature. Although it seemed one-sided at one point, I believed he eventually did fall for her. It was that scene when they were at the lake enjoying the view. On the way back, he went to fetch her a sweater. When he returned, he thought she had passed away already and broke down. She soon became alert again and the expression on his face was indescribable. In some ways, it could be explained that he was mourning a family member’s passing and was glad that she was still there, but that expression made me feel there was much more than that. It was us witnessing his heartbreak because he lost someone he loved, not just in a family love type only, nor was it out of pity like initially. And she had felt it too hence them sharing that moment. Ambrose and Penny’s chemistry? It was off the charts! At least, for me. It was one of the reasons why I was so torn between pairings while watching—even if I knew the endgame was Ambrose and Angela because it was relevant to the main theme. Around that time, I actually hunted down their other collaboration in Hou Tian Mei Nv (後天美女) and watched a bit. It was a fun beginning yet I had to drop it because I realized they weren’t going to end up together either. It was a shame because they had such a cute relationship in there initially. So sometime later, I ended up pairing them up in The Dating Game and made them into a golden couple in there, lol. Tangent, I know, but they were major characters in the spin-off and I have no regrets throwing some other characters off the bus in the process either, lol.
  • Wallace / Chung Xiao Gang and Angela / Yi Tian Bian as a couple. I used to think that Wallace and Angela should have been together. It was mostly because of my bias toward seeing how compatible they were. However, after having all the pieces of the puzzle and the overall picture, I realized it made sense why it shouldn’t be that way. If the scriptwriters wanted, they could come up with a story for these two, but it wasn’t meant to be, and that made sense either way. I meant I was glad Tian Bian realized that she shouldn’t use him as a lifesaver just because she lost her love already. I actually respected her even more that she was upfront with him regarding the matter. Sure, she did accept his proposal that one time and it was sad to hear the clarification afterward. Yet I felt I couldn’t blame her. At least, she set it straight early on instead of stringing him along till the end. She was different from other female leads in that sense. What was more, the scene backstage when Tian Bian apologized to him for rejecting him one final time, his response made me feel like he really matured. Yes, he was devastated that he was rejected. However, he said that love was a privilege, not a responsibility. It was a powerful statement because it lifted her burden, knowing she shouldn’t use herself to pay off her gratitude for him. It also indirectly addressed the whole “prize-winning” formula that often was in other dramas (aka just because the guy or girl did so much for the person they claimed to love, they automatically got to claim the other person like some object). So, yes, that conversation was important to me and made me appreciate the writers for putting that in for him, allowing us to see how far he’d gone as a character. I also wished so much, though, that they (SETTV) had casted both in a different series together like how they’d done for Wallace and Penny later on (even if it wasn’t fully satisfying.)
  • Wallace / Chung Xiao Gang and Penny Lin / Xu Shan Ni as a couple. Hear me out. I swear they suited one another both as actor and actress and character-wise. Having Xiao Gang end up with Shan Ni would solve the triangles altogether. Even if it would be too typical with the four main leads swapping couples or something, it would still make sense and would be less choking than the current Xiao Gang pairing. (This isn’t a dunk on Jill—if you read my analysis above, but more like an attempt to heal the plot flaws.) Shan Ni could still fall for Ze Ya because of his kind nature but could also end up with Xiao Gang in a different twist. Just like how Tian Bian realized she idolized Xiao Gang more than loved him in a romantic kind of way, Shan Ni could be feeling the warmness of having been cared for after being neglected by her family for so long and being forced to be tough. Her story would make sense with Xiao Gang because they had a history together, first of all. Both actually stated at different points through different interactions with one another or with other characters that they understood each other and how each operated, their thought process, and their feelings. Regardless of how their opinions differed on a professional front, they still saw past their biases and understood one another’s point of views. Even if they didn’t really get along personally at first but they soon learned to appreciate one another or spoke up for one another at different points. What the writers could have done was add in a scene after Shan Ni found out about her cancer results, Xiao Gang could have been at the hospital for whatever reason and overheard it somehow or at least spotted her and forced the answer out of her after seeing her all devastated. It wouldn’t be out of character for him to confront her or get an answer out of her. Then afterward, he could try to keep the secret for her while she cope and find a suitable time to tell her family. That could bring them together. The writers do not have to kill her off either because they could change the part with the bone marrow to match with Tian Bian’s instead of not matching. That way, she could both live and have time to develop with Xiao Gang hence moving on from depending on Ze Ya as an emotional support figure. Xiao Gang could also use that time to understand himself better and fall for Shani Ni because of their time spent together and how he had always admired her work ethic anyway, so it was a bonus he found other traits of hers that he come to love. That would bridge the gap between the two. With Tian Bian’s bone marrow match and much more, it would still allow for the rest of the Hsu family to spend time with Tian Bian and try to understand and appreciate her. It wouldn’t affect her story arch either.
  • Wallace / Chung Xiao Gang and Jill Hsu / Mandy as a couple. SET messed up on this major time. NOT just because of the lack of chemistry on their parts, but as their characters and plot-wise as well. At first, when I watched the opening scenes with them together and some private conversations between the two, I thought they were a match made in Heaven because of how equally vain they were. Sure, they appeared quite classy and perfect in the eyes of the public. But aside from that, they were indeed really vain and showed off their glamorous life. It was hard not to when they were in such an industry. They let fame get to their heads. However, when stuff started happening and the plot shifted away from their relationship, I had second thoughts. I already listed some stuff I found unconvincing above. To add on, I felt having them end up together felt really rushed, which was because we had him still mourning over his lost chance yet jumped immediately to understanding why he must turn around and see Man Qing? I got the message, I got it and even Xiao Gang said it seemed unbelievable and he was willing to take it slow, etc. to earn Man Qing’s trust again. But it was very poor execution. The writers had Xiao Gang spent two-thirds of the plot chasing after Tian Bian and proving to her he truly cared and wasn’t playing with her heart. YET spent about five minutes convincing us that he realized Man Qing was the one for him? Having them spend some time together with chats at times and some glances here and there didn’t help. In some ways, we got that they had this link because they’d been together for a while now. But the writers didn’t bother working on her own character in a way that showed her depth nor make an attempt to heal their relationship slowly. If anything, I felt having them end up together once again regressed their characters back to the beginning. Sure, they made mistakes and learned and grew through the different trials and tribulations. I was pretty sure their realization had to do with how abrupt Shan Ni’s death was too. Well, that partially pushed Man Qing to do the right thing and exposed Eddy. But I felt that was also lacking in getting them both together—or back together. I’m not saying it’s impossible for couples to get back together. I’m not saying they couldn’t solve their problems at long last since they’d both learned a lot within a short span of time. However, I felt it was forced and rushed like I said before. That was why I wasn’t convinced. Not to mention how I thought she deserves someone who could see her for who she is and love her more instead of continuing to entertain this idea and accept Xiao Gang because she was already familiar with his habits. I also felt the writers rushing him back into a relationship was just an attempt to put a nice bow on the ending, that was all. It was also unrealistic to be considered healthy. He needed more time to heal. To truly heal. Again, she deserved better. So did he. If they had promised to meet back again in two years (aka the ending) to see how things went, I would have been more convinced. Again, poor execution.
  • Ambrose / Xu Ze Ya and Wallace / Chung Xiao Gang as love rivals. There was this intensity between them throughout—whether it was on the professional front or personal. They often got into disagreements at work and sometimes used work as an excuse to argue over some details, but one or the other might know it was about Tian Bian all along. The major confrontation they had that resulted in an all-out shouting match and/or actual fight was when Xiao Gang realized that Ze Ya was really giving up on Tian Bian (aka forgoing his plan in marrying Shan Ni). He went on an injustice mission yet ended up declaring that he would never back down again if Ze Ya were to give up on Tian Bian at that moment. It was ugly and dramatic on many levels. However, in some ways, it did make sense that they shall have that confrontation, eventually. What disturbed me was how typical the formula was with the two acting like Tian Bian was a passive party in the whole situation, never asking her what she truly wanted. What irked me at that point was Ze Ya went to the extent of “bestowing” Tian Bian onto Xiao Gang. That was what pushed me to the edge and forced me to take Xiao Gang’s side, even though Xiao Gang had resorted to violence (and Ze Ya returned the favor soon after). Xiao Gang wasn’t just upset for Tian Bian’s sake but also for Shan Ni. Because he said that he understood what kind of person Shan Ni was and she wouldn’t appreciate that Ze Ya’s agreement to marry her was out of pity. In some ways, Xiao Gang was right, but in others, Ze Ya had a point with Shan Ni’s vulnerability at that moment. Shan Ni indeed needed someone by her side. It was getting really complicated. Despite all the madness going on, Xiao Gang actually appreciated Ze Ya for backing him up during the meeting shortly after their confrontation. He did say it to Ze Ya when it was just the three of them in the room. (Shan Ni was there at that time.) After all that was said and done, I really liked that they returned to the topic of whether Tian Bian needed their protection. It was the hospital scene where both offered her a ride home and she turned them down. I felt it was important they understood she was capable of taking care of herself and making her own decisions. And they needed to respect that. It was also worthwhile that they finally made peace with one another toward the end as well. Because they finally learned to appreciate one another’s differences and joined forces to help fulfill Shan Ni’s last wish together. Even if it was mostly following her grandpa’s orders, they, themselves, were more than willing on their own, not just because they were fulfilling some kind of work obligations.
  • Angela / Yi Tian Bian and Penny / Xu Shan Ni as siblings. Surprisingly convincing. I like both Angela and Penny very much, so watching them portray siblings was fascinating. There was this intensity at first, mostly because of other factors. But I thought Ze Ya’s efforts in trying to get along with Shan Ni at first aided Tian Bian’s situation later. Like how he was always so kind to her and protected her like his sister at the beginning—when they were still under the impression that they were siblings. She let go of all those resentments and hate toward him, and even more so let go of her shield. So when the other parts of the plot revealed themselves, Shan Ni was able to cope with it better. Sure, she was shocked to discover the new information as well. But it was like she no longer wanted to target the other person just because. She wanted to find out for herself, not letting her mother and grandpa influence her like they had previously. Sure, she mostly convinced Tian Bian to come home with her because of Ze Ya at first but later learned a lot about Tian Bian and realized the other person wasn’t the enemy. They indeed got along quite well. It was too bad their time spent together and trying to make up for the past was cut short. But was indeed touching to see the lengths they went through for one another later.

Likes:

  • The cast. Despite my complaints or disagreements with certain elements of the plot, I felt the cast fit perfectly for their roles.
  • The soundtrack. Loved it. Hey, I got it before I even watched the drama properly, lol. I especially loved the scene near the end where Angela and Jill got to sing Journey together at the concert. It was a nice touch to show they made peace. (Go here if you want the translations to “Lost Beauty” by Angela.)
  • The theme. Dolphins, who doesn’t love ’em, right? I thought the legend was an interesting story. It created a unique feeling for the drama.
  • Flashbacks were done correctly. The thing with series nowadays is the overwhelming amount of flashbacks used—whether it’s to promote the soundtrack or to extend episodes, it’s getting frustratingly annoying. Even if I like the songs or scenes used, it gets really, really repetitive after a while. That was why I appreciated that this series had used the right amount.

Dislikes:

  • The misunderstanding Man Qing set up by calling both Xiao Gang and Tian Bian to meet her before Tian Bian’s debut press conference. I knew it was meant to be an obstacle that Tian Bian will have to overcome. However, I didn’t like that it wasn’t properly resolved. Sure, that part forced Xiao Gang to finally face his feelings for Tian Bian and tell her how he felt. But it never truly exposed what Man Qing did. He did ponder how she’d overheard what he said to Man Qing, but it was never addressed again after they reconciled. We could try and assume that they probably said something afterward. But the writers made a big deal out of it and it caused a major setback for Tian Bian’s career. I thought we—as the audience—deserved to know the outcome of that.
  • Shan Ni’s death. Yeah, I’m against it regardless of the reasons. What I mentioned when discussing her and Xiao Gang was an easy fix for the plot. However, the writers chose to be dramatic just because. I cried buckets. Not kidding. It was so sad. Not to mention frustrating.

Discussions:

  • Nobody could keep a secret in here. I’m not exaggerating (for once, lol). Anytime you hear, “Don’t tell ____”, you know the info will be leaked—whether intentional or unintentional, accidental or accidentally on purpose. Examples? Shan Ni told Tian Bian not to tell anyone about her sickness until she was ready to tell them. Tian Bian told Ze Ya (out of frustration and concern for Shan Ni but still) that Shan Ni was sick and hoped that he would treat Shan Ni well during her last days. (Oops, the secret was out and everything went into chaos for a while.) What else? Xiao Gang told Happy not to tell Tian Bian about him using his place as collateral for his loan to fund Tian Bian’s promotional events. Happy ended up telling Tian Bian (by accident because he spoke without thinking and realized it too late he wasn’t supposed to say it) when she questioned him. Yeah, pretty much almost everything got leaked by accident.
  • If you swapped the couples, it would still work. I’m talking about Ambrose, Angela, Wallace, and Penny in that manner. Yes, they were so compatible that if you swapped the couples, it would still work. And even if the writers wanted to forgo with Wallace and Angela, Ambrose and Penny, it could work as well with some tweaking. The plot would still make sense. Hell, if you wanted to go further, even Ambrose and Wallace matched with one another if you wanted to go the danmei route, lol. (For real, though, I sent my sister some pictures of Ambrose and Wallace to show what they looked like in the drama and she thought it was a danmei drama, lol.) But too bad can’t do that for Angela and Penny because they portrayed siblings in there, lol. The point? I’m so writing a new fanfic surrounding these four, like I said in one of my tweets while discussing the drama.

Recommended? I thought it was worth it because it was indeed addicting in a sense. If you love the cast, it’s a must-watch. The plot was decent, and it wasn’t too frustrating with some side dramas. For one of those rare times, I actually agreed with the general audience that this was one of the best dramas aired around that time.

Golden Bell Awards 2012: Winners

Some of you might have watched it.

The following will be listed in the order it was announced and the winner would be in bold (and only dramas were listed because I got lazy with translations like last time with the nominations list):

Best Film Editing – Presenters: Janel Tsai and James Wen:
Chen Yu Jie (陳鈺傑) and Wang Xi Jie (王希捷) – Thief (小偷)
Chen Xiao Dong (陳曉東), Zheng Zhi Liang (鄭志良), and Jiang Yi Ting (江依庭) – Dear Mother Earth (跟著賴和去壯遊) (Hakka TV)
Zhang Fei Qi (張斐棋) – In Time With You (我可能不會愛你)
Liao Qing Song (廖慶松) and Liu Yue Xing (劉悅行) – Record Standpoint – 303 (紀錄觀點—《303》)
Gu Xiao Yun (顧曉芸) – To Get Married Or Not (結婚不結婚) (PTS)

Best Cinematography – Presenters: Janel Tsai and James Wen:
Li Wei Jie (李偉傑) – Treasured Taiwan Series:  99 Bees (寶貝台灣系列:九九蜂鹰) (PTS)
Shen Rui Yuan (沈瑞源) – Luo Pan (落番) (PTS)
Lin Jun Yang (林君陽) – To Get Married Or Not (結婚不結婚) (PTS)
Liang Jie De (梁皆得) – Emerald (翡翠) (PTS)
Chen Yu Jie (陳鈺傑) – Thief (小偷)

Best Supporting Actress – Mini-series/ Tele-movies – Presenters: Janel Tsai and James Wen:
Xu Ya Qi (許亞琦) – Intertwine (交錯)
Gail Lin (林嘉俐) – Marked Poems of the Years (歲月的籤詩)
Chamder Tsai (蔡燦得) – Listening to the Heart’s Voice (聽見心的聲音) (DaAi TV)
Lai Xiao Yi (賴曉誼) – Go, Daddy! (爸爸加油) (DaAi TV)
Lu Yi Ching (陸弈靜) – Princess and Prince (公主與王子)

Best Sound Editing – Presenters: Novia Lin (林若亞) and Xu Jun Hui (許俊輝):
Wang Gong Cheng (王公誠), Liang Qi Hui (梁啟慧), Chen Yue En (陳悅恩), and Zhu Jia Yi (朱家宜 ) – Dear Mother Earth (跟著賴和去壯遊) (Hakka TV)
Shi Min Jie (史旻玠), Ye (葉約瑟), Ye Yue Se (葉約瑟) and Zhou Zhen (周震) – The Moonlight in Jilin (吉林的月光)
Xu Zhong Ya (徐中亞) – Record Standpoint – City Border Revelations (紀錄觀點 – 邊城啟示錄)
Tang Jun Jie (湯鈞傑), Jiang Zhen Dao (蔣震道), Wang Yu Jun (王榆鈞), and Chen Wei Jun (陳惟君) – To Get Married Or Not (結婚不結婚) (PTS)
Luo Xiang Ling (羅湘淩) – The Happy Life of Debbie (黛比的幸福生活)

Best Art and Design – Presenters: Novia Lin (林若亞) and Xu Jun Hui (許俊輝):
Wu Ruo Yun (吳若昀) – To Get Married Or Not (結婚不結婚) (PTS)
Yang Zheng Yi (楊證譯), Zhuang Min Sheng (莊閔盛), and Zhao Zheng An (趙正安) – Fruit Ice Cream (水果冰淇淋) (PTS)
Jian Chun Yu (簡春玉) – I Love You So Much (粉愛粉愛你) (CTV)
Luo Wen Guang (羅文光) and You Li Guang (游麗光) – Glimmer of Love (愛的微光) (DaAi TV)
Su Yao Tang (蘇耀堂) – Facing it with a Smile (微笑面對) (DaAi TV)

Best Director – Mini-series/ Tele-movies – Presenters: Annie Chen and Peng Yi Yi (澎怡怡):
Zhu Jia Lin (朱家麟) – Princess and Prince (公主與王子)
Zhou Xu Wei (周旭薇) – The Golden Child (金孫)
Shi Li (施立) – No Way Home (離家的女人)
Lian Yi Qi (連奕琦) – Forgotten (遺忘)
Chen Yu Jie (陳鈺杰) – Thief (小偷)

Best Screenwriter/ Script – Tele-movies – Presenters: Alice Ceng and Cai Kang Yong (蔡康永):
Wang Xi Jie (王希捷) – Thief (小偷)
Fan Yun Jie (范云杰) – Marked Poems of the Yearsi (歲月的籤詩)
Cao Shi Han ( 曹仕翰) – My Dog Boyfriend (我的狗男友) (PTS)
Cai Yi Fen (蔡怡芬) and Zhu Jia Lin (朱家麟) – Princess and Prince (公主與王子)
Liu Xue Rong (劉雪容), Li Gang (李崗), Zhou Xu Wei (周旭薇), and Hong Wen Jie (洪文潔) – The Golden Child (金孫)

Best Supporting Actor – Mini-series/ Tele-movies – Presenters: Alice Ceng and Cai Kang Yong (蔡康永):
Lu Fu Lu (呂福祿) – City in the Wind’s Light (城市風裡的光) (PTS)
Ma Guo Xian (馬國賢) – To Get Married Or Not (結婚不結婚) (PTS)
Xia Jing Ting (夏靖庭) – Marked Poems of the Years (歲月的籤詩)
Gao Meng Jie (高盟傑) – Butcher (肉販) (PTS)
Xi Xiang (喜翔) – Old Street Rhapsody (老街狂想曲) (PTS)

Best Lighting – Presenters: Yao Yuan Hao and Ruby Lin:
Li Long Yu ( 李龍禹) – To Get Married Or Not (結婚不結婚) (PTS)
Xu Shi Ming (許世明) – The Happy Life of Debbie (黛比的幸福生活)
Chen Zhi Xuan (陳志軒) – The Incident at Fairy Valley (神仙谷事件) (Hakka TV)
Mei Shu Hao (梅書豪) – Forgotten (遺忘)
Lai Tian Jian (賴天健) – No Way Home (離家的女人)

Best Mini-series/ Tele-movies – Presenters: Yao Yuan Hao and Ruby Lin:
PTS’ Life Story Collection – Princess and Prince (公主與王子)
PTS’ Student Life Story Collection – Thief (小偷)
PTS’ Student Life Story Collection – No Way Home (離家的女人)
Marked Poems of the Years (歲月的籤詩)
The Happy Life of Debbie (黛比的幸福生活)

Best Leading Actor – Mini-series/ Tele-movies – Presenters: Yao Yuan Hao and Ruby Lin:
Christoper Lee (李銘順) – Forgotten (遺忘)
Chen Zhu Sheng (陳竹昇) – My Little Honey Moon (野蓮香)
Tuo Zong Hua (庹宗華) – Go, Daddy! (爸爸加油) (DaAi TV)
Huang He (黃河) – Princess and Prince (公主與王子)
Huang Wei De (黃維德) – Fly! Pigeon (飛吧!鴿子)

Best Leading Actress – Min-series/ Tele-movies – Presenters: June (六月) and (?):
Lu Xue Feng (呂雪鳳) – The Golden Child (金孫)
Jade Chou (周幼婷) – The Happy Life of Debbie (黛比的幸福生活)
Helen Thanh Đào (海倫清桃) aka Nguyễn Thanh Đào (阮菁桃) – My Little Honey Moon (野蓮香)
Gao Hui Jun (高慧君) – No Way Home (離家的女人)
Esther Liu (劉品言) – The Golden Child (金孫)

Best Marketing Program – Presenters: Li Luo (李羅) and Amanda Chu (朱芯儀):
Office Girls (小資女孩向前衝) (SETTV)
In Between (半熟戀人) (TTV)
In Time With You (我可能不會愛你) (GTV)
Remember, About Us (記得‧我們有約) (CTI)
Inborn Pair (真愛找麻煩) (SETTV)

Best Supporting Actor – Drama – Presenters: Li Luo (李羅) and Amanda Chu (朱芯儀):
Wang Jing Guan (王鏡冠) – Wayback Into Love (愛。回來)
Chen Bo Zheng (陳博正) –  Accompany With You (陪你看天星) (DaAi TV)
Jia Xiao Guo (賈孝國) – Innocence (阿戇妹)
Deng Zhi Hong (鄧志鴻) – Man * Boy (小孩‧大人)
Cai Zhen Nan (蔡振南) – Garden of Life (生命花園)

Best Screenwriter/ Script – Drama – Presenters: Chen Bo Lin and Ariel Lin:
Lin Zhi Ru (林志儒), Yang Jing Xiang (楊景翔), Chen Nan Hong (陳南宏), and Zhang Qi En (張綺恩) – Innocence (阿戇妹)
Xu Yu Ting (徐譽庭) – In Time With You (我可能不會愛你)
Huang Zhi Xiang (黃志翔) – Man * Boy (小孩‧大人)
Zhang Xiu Ling (張秀玲) – Garden of Life (生命花園)
Jian Qi Feng (簡奇峰) and Lin Xin Hui (林欣慧) – Ex-boyfriend (前男友)

Best Supporting Actress – Drama – Presenters: Chen Bo Lin and Ariel Lin:
Ge Wei Ru (戈偉如) – Ti Amo Chocolate (愛上巧克力) (SETTV)
Lin Mei Xiu (林美秀) – In Time With You (我可能不會愛你)
Hong Xiao Ling (洪小鈴) – Inborn Pair (真愛找麻煩) (SETTV)
Yang Li Yin (楊麗音) – Accompany With You (陪你看天星) (DaAi TV)
Yan Yi Wen (嚴藝文) – Wayback Into Love (愛。回來)

Best Director – Drama – Presenters: Tian Xin and Wilber Pan:
Wang Chuan Zong (王傳宗) – Jump! Cheer Leader (飆!企鵝里德) (Hakka TV)
Wu Mi Sen (吳米森) – Garden of Life (生命花園)
Lin Zhi Ru (林志儒) – Innocence (阿戇妹)
Huang Zhi Xiang (黃志翔) – Man * Boy (小孩‧大人)
Winnie Qu (瞿友寧) – In Time With You (我可能不會愛你)

Best Leading Actress – Drama – Presenters: Tian Xin and Wilber Pan:
June Tsai/ Liu Yue (六月) – Wayback Into Love (愛。回來)
Gina Li (李千娜) – Ex-boyfriend (前男友)
Lee Kang Yi (李康宜) – Man * Boy (小孩‧大人)
Ariel Lin (林依晨) – In Time With You (我可能不會愛你)
Huang Cai Yi (黃采儀) – Innocence (阿戇妹)

Best Leading Actor – Drama – Presenter: Nicky Wu:
Chen Bo Lin (陳柏霖) – In Time With You (我可能不會愛你)
Huang Pin Yuan (黃品源) – Rainy Night Flower (雨夜花)
Huang Jian Wei (黃健瑋) – Innocence (阿戇妹)
Tony Yang (楊祐寧) – Ex-boyfriend (前男友)
Long Shao Hua (龍劭華) – Wayback Into Love (愛。回來)

Best Dramas – Presenter: Nicky Wu:
Man * Boy (小孩‧大人) (PTS)
Garden of Life (生命花園) (DaAi TV)
In Time With You (我可能不會愛你) (GTV)
Innocence (阿戇妹) (Hakka TV)
Wayback Into Love (愛。回來) (SETTV)

Thoughts? All I can say is this is a year for popular dramas instead of the under-rated ones, except for some instances. And that the judges are definitely playing safe this year. BUT nevertheless, I promise NOT to be a sore loser so congratulations to all the winners!

*Drama titles and such were translated and verified by DTLCT.

Golden Bell Awards 2012: Nominations List

I feel like being nice so I’m translating the list. (Okay, and because some drama and people I like actually got nominated. BUT I promise I won’t rant if the ones I don’t like end up winning. Unlike some people.) Go here, here, here, and here for links. (I did check with several sources so…) Oh yeah, won’t be translating too much into the variety shows or other talk shows since it’s too much of a headache to find the actual “name” it’s referred to in English.

Best Dramas:
Man * Boy (小孩‧大人) (PTS)
Garden of Life (生命花園) (DaAi TV)
In Time With You (我可能不會愛你) (GTV)
Innocence (阿戇妹) (Hakka TV)
Wayback Into Love (愛。回來) (SETTV)

Best Mini-series/ Tele-movies:
PTS’ Life Story Collection – Princess and Prince (公主與王子)
PTS’ Student Life Story Collection – Thief (小偷)
PTS’ Student Life Story Collection – No Way Home (離家的女人)
Marked Poems of the Years (歲月的籤詩)
The Happy Life of Debbie (黛比的幸福生活)

Best Leading Actor – Drama:
Chen Bo Lin (陳柏霖) – In Time With You (我可能不會愛你)
Huang Pin Yuan (黃品源) – Rainy Night Flower (雨夜花)
Huang Jian Wei (黃健瑋) – Innocence (阿戇妹)
Tony Yang (楊祐寧) – Ex-boyfriend (前男友)
Long Shao Hua (龍劭華) – Wayback Into Love (愛。回來)

Best Leading Actress – Drama:
June Tsai/ Liu Yue (六月) – Wayback Into Love (愛。回來)
Gina Li (李千娜) – Ex-boyfriend (前男友)
Lee Kang Yi (李康宜) – Man * Boy (小孩‧大人)
Ariel Lin (林依晨) – In Time With You (我可能不會愛你)
Huang Cai Yi (黃采儀) – Innocence (阿戇妹)

Best Supporting Actor – Drama:
Wang Jing Guan (王鏡冠) – Wayback Into Love (愛。回來)
Chen Bo Zheng (陳博正) –  Accompany With You (陪你看天星) (DaAi TV)
Jia Xiao Guo (賈孝國) – Innocence (阿戇妹)
Deng Zhi Hong (鄧志鴻) – Man * Boy (小孩‧大人)
Cai Zhen Nan (蔡振南) – Garden of Life (生命花園)

Best Supporting Actress – Drama:
Ge Wei Ru (戈偉如) – Ti Amo Chocolate (愛上巧克力) (SETTV)
Lin Mei Xiu (林美秀) – In Time With You (我可能不會愛你)
Hong Xiao Ling (洪小鈴) – Inborn Pair (真愛找麻煩) (SETTV)
Yang Li Yin (楊麗音) – Accompany With You (陪你看天星) (DaAi TV)
Yan Yi Wen (嚴藝文) – Wayback Into Love (愛。回來)

Best Director – Drama:
Wang Chuan Zong (王傳宗) – Jump! Cheer Leader (飆!企鵝里德) (Hakka TV)
Wu Mi Sen (吳米森) – Garden of Life (生命花園)
Lin Zhi Ru (林志儒) – Innocence (阿戇妹)
Huang Zhi Xiang (黃志翔) – Man * Boy (小孩‧大人)
Winnie Qu (瞿友寧) – In Time With You (我可能不會愛你)

Best Screenwriter/ Script – Drama:
Lin Zhi Ru (林志儒), Yang Jing Xiang (楊景翔), Chen Nan Hong (陳南宏), and Zhang Qi En (張綺恩) – Innocence (阿戇妹)
Xu Yu Ting (徐譽庭) – In Time With You (我可能不會愛你)
Huang Zhi Xiang (黃志翔) – Man * Boy (小孩‧大人)
Zhang Xiu Ling (張秀玲) – Garden of Life (生命花園)
Jian Qi Feng (簡奇峰) and Lin Xin Hui (林欣慧) – Ex-boyfriend (前男友)

Best Leading Actor – Mini-series/ Tele-movies:
Christoper Lee (李銘順) – Forgotten (遺忘)
Chen Zhu Sheng (陳竹昇) – My Little Honey Moon (野蓮香)
Tuo Zong Hua (庹宗華) – Go, Daddy! (爸爸加油) (DaAi TV)
Huang He (黃河) – Princess and Prince (公主與王子)
Huang Wei De (黃維德) – Fly! Pigeon (飛吧!鴿子)

Best Leading Actress – Min-series/ Tele-movies:
Lu Xue Feng (呂雪鳳) – The Golden Child (金孫)
Jade Chou (周幼婷) – The Happy Life of Debbie (黛比的幸福生活)
Helen Thanh Đào (海倫清桃) aka Nguyễn Thanh Đào (阮菁桃) – My Little Honey Moon (野蓮香)
Gao Hui Jun (高慧君) – No Way Home (離家的女人)
Esther Liu (劉品言) – The Golden Child (金孫)

Best Supporting Actor – Mini-series/ Tele-movies:
Lu Fu Lu (呂福祿) – City in the Wind’s Light (城市風裡的光) (PTS)
Ma Guo Xian (馬國賢) – To Get Married Or Not (結婚不結婚) (PTS)
Xia Jing Ting (夏靖庭) – Marked Poems of the Years (歲月的籤詩)
Gao Meng Jie (高盟傑) – Butcher (肉販) (PTS)
Xi Xiang (喜翔) – Old Street Rhapsody (老街狂想曲) (PTS)

Best Supporting Actress – Mini-series/ Tele-movies:
Xu Ya Qi (許亞琦) – Intertwine (交錯)
Gail Lin (林嘉俐) – Marked Poems of the Years (歲月的籤詩)
Chamder Tsai (蔡燦得) – Listening to the Heart’s Voice (聽見心的聲音) (DaAi TV)
Lai Xiao Yi (賴曉誼) – Go, Daddy! (爸爸加油) (DaAi TV)
Lu Yi Ching (陸弈靜) – Princess and Prince (公主與王子)

Best Director – Mini-series/ Tele-movies:
Zhu Jia Lin (朱家麟) – Princess and Prince (公主與王子)
Zhou Xu Wei (周旭薇) – The Golden Child (金孫)
Shi Li (施立) – No Way Home (離家的女人)
Lian Yi Qi (連奕琦) – Forgotten (遺忘)
Chen Yu Jie (陳鈺杰) – Thief (小偷)

Best Screenwriter/ Script – Tele-movies:
Wang Xi Jie (王希捷) – Thief (小偷)
Fan Yun Jie (范云杰) – Marked Poems of the Years (歲月的籤詩)
Cao Shi Han ( 曹仕翰) – My Dog Boyfriend (我的狗男友) (PTS)
Cai Yi Fen (蔡怡芬) and Zhu Jia Lin (朱家麟) – Princess and Prince (公主與王子)
Liu Xue Rong (劉雪容), Li Gang (李崗), Zhou Xu Wei (周旭薇), and Hong Wen Jie (洪文潔) – The Golden Child (金孫)

Best Cinematography:
Li Wei Jie (李偉傑) – Treasured Taiwan Series:  99 Bees (寶貝台灣系列:九九蜂鹰) (PTS)
Shen Rui Yuan (沈瑞源) – Luo Pan (落番) (PTS)
Lin Jun Yang (林君陽) – To Get Married Or Not (結婚不結婚) (PTS)
Liang Jie De (梁皆得) – Emerald (翡翠) (PTS)
Chen Yu Jie (陳鈺傑) – Thief (小偷)

Best Film Editing:
Chen Yu Jie (陳鈺傑) and Wang Xi Jie (王希捷) – Thief (小偷)
Chen Xiao Dong (陳曉東), Zheng Zhi Liang (鄭志良), and Jiang Yi Ting (江依庭) – Dear Mother Earth (跟著賴和去壯遊) (Hakka TV)
Zhang Fei Qi (張斐棋) – In Time With You (我可能不會愛你)
Liao Qing Song (廖慶松) and Liu Yue Xing (劉悅行) – Record Standpoint – 303 (紀錄觀點—《303》)
Gu Xiao Yun (顧曉芸) – To Get Married Or Not (結婚不結婚) (PTS)

Best Sound Editing:
Wang Gong Cheng (王公誠), Liang Qi Hui (梁啟慧), Chen Yue En (陳悅恩), and Zhu Jia Yi (朱家宜 ) – Dear Mother Earth (跟著賴和去壯遊) (Hakka TV)
Shi Min Jie (史旻玠), Ye (葉約瑟), Ye Yue Se (葉約瑟) and Zhou Zhen (周震) – The Moonlight in Jilin (吉林的月光)
Xu Zhong Ya (徐中亞) – Record Standpoint – City Border Revelations (紀錄觀點 – 邊城啟示錄)
Tang Jun Jie (湯鈞傑), Jiang Zhen Dao (蔣震道), Wang Yu Jun (王榆鈞), and Chen Wei Jun (陳惟君) – To Get Married Or Not (結婚不結婚) (PTS)
Luo Xiang Ling (羅湘淩) – The Happy Life of Debbie (黛比的幸福生活)

Best Lighting:
Li Long Yu ( 李龍禹) – To Get Married Or Not (結婚不結婚) (PTS)
Xu Shi Ming (許世明) – The Happy Life of Debbie (黛比的幸福生活)
Chen Zhi Xuan (陳志軒) – The Incident at Fairy Valley (神仙谷事件) (Hakka TV)
Mei Shu Hao (梅書豪) – Forgotten (遺忘)
Lai Tian Jian (賴天健) – No Way Home (離家的女人)

Best Art and Design:
Wu Ruo Yun (吳若昀) – To Get Married Or Not (結婚不結婚) (PTS)
Yang Zheng Yi (楊證譯), Zhuang Min Sheng (莊閔盛), and Zhao Zheng An (趙正安) – Fruit Ice Cream (水果冰淇淋) (PTS)
Jian Chun Yu (簡春玉) – I Love You So Much (粉愛粉愛你) (CTV)
Luo Wen Guang (羅文光) and You Li Guang (游麗光) – Glimmer of Love (愛的微光) (DaAi TV)
Su Yao Tang (蘇耀堂) – Facing it with a Smile (微笑面對) (DaAi TV)

Best Marketing Program:
Office Girls (小資女孩向前衝) (SETTV)
In Between (半熟戀人) (TTV)
In Time With You (我可能不會愛你) (GTV)
Remember, About Us (記得‧我們有約) (CTI)
Inborn Pair (真愛找麻煩) (SETTV)

*All information were translated and verified by DTLCT.

Devil Beside You

 

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. If you DO NOT want to be spoiled, please DO NOT read. You have been warned.

I don’t know what took me forever to watch this but now that I watched it, I finally know what was the hype about it. Though it was probably for different reasons than mine (or at least not totally like mine). Maybe I was just scared of the ‘over-hype’ factor that was building around this drama. But I thought the balance was enough that there was ‘no hype’ and/or ‘over-rated’ feeling over it. The complex of the plot was nicely built-in with the right touches yet there was no ‘drag’ feeling of it. It was fast YET it was not going up and down like a roller-coaster either. Yes, there were intense moments yet you know it was inevitable, considering the characters involved. But there was a great balance with other formulas thrown in.

Likes:

  • Rainie Yang as Qi Yue. A very mature role for her. Well, as mature as can be since she was still seen at times as being super silly. BUT I think it was understandable. The reason why I say that was because her character lacked of dating experiences but her life experiences, such as that of her family and her mother have been plenty. She knew that the world outside her and knew what was important in life, friendship, and much more. I think it was acceptable and forgivable that she made mistakes at times, such as the time that she had hurt Yuan Yi (though I did feel that part a tad annoying to endure) but it passed eventually and she tried to redeem herself as quick, knowing what she’d done. She immediately patched things up and kept her goals clear, NOT dragging the relationships with two guys out. She wasn’t wishy-washy, she knew to sort her feelings out right away. She knew she needed to patch things right away and not let it drag any further. She was innocent (or more like inexperienced) but she was not an idiot. And I think I took people’s words too obediently about Rainie at times and had not given her enough credit. Because this one convinced me that Rainie does know how to act and that she did quite well even. I seriously felt all the emotions she went through and was laughing or crying along with her as the plot moved on. The feeling of overly-excited with her crush on Yuan Yi was really well done. It really brought back memories and made it real to the dot. It seemed exaggerated or overdone or you wouldn’t think possible, but honestly, what was your first crush like? It felt like you never want to keep calm or settle down at all. It was like being in the clouds yet you never want to stop daydreaming, feeling really jumpy, etc. There were other parts as well which Rainie did well with. I think this was her second most serious role to date. I think her most serious role must be the one from Strange Tales of Liao Zhai because it was really hectic and tragic the whole time.
  • Mike He as Jiang Meng. I was thinking along the line of ‘typical cold-blooded dude who actually had a kind heart but liked to hide it’ formula when I was watching him and how others around him were saying, “He’s not like that at all.” BUT it changed my point of view as I watched even more. It was not like that at all. While others claimed him to be good, BUT he did not feel that way nor was he putting up a front. He was really feeling like he wanted to be bad or he was bad. He did as he pleased and did what he felt like. His actions were beyond tolerance and his cruel pranks at times made people despise him, BUT he wasn’t fake at all. He wasn’t carrying on with his contradicting views. He did what he believed in–whether right or wrong. His actions were bizarre, but he had a different way of doing things. In fact, he was rather harsh on himself–as we were able to see when the plot unfolded. And am I the only one who found it extremely funny that he was holding his hair up in that ‘cool’ look with the clips? It was really funny to see that but cute. I have to add that I find possessive characters annoying since it made the girl seem like an ‘item’ more than a human being, but it made it really funny and cute in his case since he was so caring toward her to the point that he couldn’t lose her. It could be a fatal formula but it was equally funny and childish in a way how he treated other rivals, being outright mean and straightforward. I think the most touching scene must be the part where he finally met up with his mother after so many years and tried to confront his past demons. He was so shaken up and what the words he delivered were very convincing, so cold yet it proved how much he had hurt from what happened in the past. Another equally touching scene regarding family members was Ah Meng finally letting his father hug him. I so felt for the old man. They did not lose each other, but it was like the decision that had separated them.
  • Mike and Raine as a couple. I finally know what all the fuss was about over this pairing. I think Mike’s Rainie’s best match by far. I don’t mean that the others aren’t deserving SO please don’t take it the wrong way. What I mean is that they have more chemistry than the others she worked with thus far. (Though Chun didn’t count since the drama didn’t air yet at the time of this review so he should be given a fair chance before judgments are dealt his way.) Their relationship was really addicting to watch on many levels because they matched wit per wit, which was rare for a Taiwanese drama since it was often portrayed that the girl needed rescuing and the guy pulled a lot more weight, etc. YET this one, they had to do the equal pulling. So what if he was stronger in strength? It paved on that picture right in front of us so it was hard to miss. But it was because of her bravery and the ability to fight back at times that made them matched really well. She was not a weakling and she knew how to defend herself. She just chose not to at times. What he lacked or was not able to see himself, she helped him see it and vice versa. They both did things for one another–as a couple should be–going through struggles together. At other times, they were equally cute. It was so funny to see her so small and gullible while he was so tall and arrogant. Not to mention how she was the older one in this case though she was so short and all. His possessiveness of her was a bit scary at times but it was almost touching to watch how he would never let others harm her. The whole rant with “You’re mine” thing would’ve been annoying if he said it otherwise, but it was too funny in this case. I guess what was really nice about their relationship was the mixture of mature and immature moments. They had sweet moments as well as touching scenes. Their caring for each other was not just said through words (obviously since it has been proven numerous times what they would go through for one another) but also their attentive to details like how they could detect what was wrong with one another with just a gesture or an expression.
  • Kingone Wang as Sang Yuan Yi. Okay, I was thinking along the line of typical good guy and the one who lost in the end BUT it was not like that at all. I liked it that they had placed in a part allowing him to say, “Don’t put all assumptions on me”, regarding what Qi Yue said about his behaviors. (Not in those exact words but it was about the same message.) No one should assume that he was the typical good guy. He was just a normal person who would get mad when others wronged him OR would feel down when he was hurt. I thought it was very important that they got this across since it made him normal AND not just him singing the tune, “I’m the good guy that got dumped because the girl didn’t appreciate me.” It wasn’t about that at all. Maybe what I was trying to say all along was he wasn’t playing the ‘pitiful’ card for viewers to feel for him and go hate the ‘main girl’ for not choosing him. He was very real, very honest, and he didn’t exude the ‘fake good guy’ exterior at all. What was more was that he did what he felt he should do, not hoping that he would get something back by doing those deeds, like the part where he kept clarifying things about Jiang Meng’s behaviors to Qi Yue. He knew that he felt terrible not knowing how it would affect how she would think of Jiang Meng after learning of the truth, but he still did it because he thought it was right, NOT because he wanted to score points with Qi Yue. And it was extremely funny to see his humorous side, especially the dream that he had with picking up Qing Zi for their date and all. (LOL) There were also various scenes where he was joking with Jiang Meng or Li Xiang or others. It was extremely amusing to watch. The balance of his character was really nice, not just the typical good guy and not just one dimensional like many other characters in other dramas.
  • The Jiang Meng-Qi Yue-Yuan Yi triangle. I never thought I would like a triangle so much. Maybe because it was so short-lived. I meant it wasn’t dragging to the last episode to make everything overly-dramatic. It started as quickly and in so much confusion YET it ended as quickly, allowing all parties to move on–or to heal. I liked the idea of that more since it would make Qi Yue less annoying. She was confused all right since she thought she liked Yuan Yi but feelings told her otherwise when she was confronted by Yuan Yi. After that, she mended the situation (as mentioned above in the character description) immediately, letting go of Yuan Yi. The guys? They surely stated their intentions to one another and was not fake about it, not pretending to be friends OR playing dirty tricks. At least I thought so. Sure, Jiang Meng wanted to sabotage Yuan Yi and Qi Yue but he stated that in plain sight. No one was clueless about that matter. Everyone knew what they wanted. Or at least the guys more than Qi Yue. But the triangle quickly dissolved and allowed them to be all friends, continuing on with their lives, NOT dragging it out to the point of unbearable (like I mentioned above already).
  • The rivalry turned into a friendship between Jiang Meng (Mike) and Yuan Yi (Kingone). I know it sort of overlap with the previous topic but I feel the need to put it in for both guys. So I was saying how they were very clear on their goals and got their priorities straight when Jiang Meng declared war on Yuan Yi. Yet I actually had the feeling they weren’t fake with the whole being super nice to each other. Yes, they knew that each had some good in him BUT did not overdo that factor with trying to be nice. It would make the formula typical. Maybe it was less cheesy that they did not say some things. It was like understanding was more important, etc. I especially liked how Jiang Meng did not apologize for snatching Qi Yue away. It was how he was and why should he be sorry for loving someone? It was like he let Yuan Yi beat him up so Yuan Yi would get the frustration out, but he did not regret in being with Qi Yue. I don’t know if it was implying, but it made me believe that both guys did not treat Qi Yue like an ‘object’ like some dramas led on with keep being ‘nice’ about it and how letting go or giving in OR deciding for her. They let her choose. Sure, other dramas do those too with letting the girl/guy choose, BUT I don’t know. It was just different and less overly-dramatic and less cheesy in this case. It was like they both fight for the girl BUT they don’t regret fighting since they gave their best shot. I also find it funny that they seemed to be implying a different relationship between each other at various points, lol. Like how Jiang Meng nicknamed Yuan Yi as ‘Ah Yi’ (LOL) and they got into these random rants at times. A personal favorite must be the part where Jiang Meng accidentally (or possibly intentionally) threw the basketball into Yuan Yi’s cake AND Yuan Yi jumped right up to lash out at Jiang Meng for ruining his cake. Jiang Meng thought it was Qi Yue’s cake for Yuan Yi (since she did mention making extras) BUT it was actually Qing Zi’s cake for Yuan Yi. Jiang Meng was apologetic for it BUT it was funny how the guys were going at each other. Another example why I say they know one another’s good points, BUT did not get cheesy about it OR overly friendly. They just acted normal and looked out for each other when the time needed. That was enough. I had the feeling like they were more actions than all talks. Oh yeah, what made me like it, even more, was the shared screen time between them. I meant usually though they say ‘two male leads’, you still have the feeling the second guy was robbed, BUT I liked how they got to be cool in their own way too. NOT just one guy stealing all the attention, like how they covered for each other at the game. Their childish stab at each other throughout the drama made it even more entertaining since it maintained some sort of consistency yet not too cheesy with them getting along too much or too little.
  • Tsai Pei Lin as Qing Zi. I wasn’t sure that she liked Yuan Yi or not until later but I thought what was admirable was her putting her friends before him. I meant like how she would help Qi Yue with all she got. Then knowing that Qi Yue hurt him, she would scold Qi Yue but NOT because of him but for both of them. Then it was time to give herself a chance. It was not fake. She did all she could to help her friend. It was only right to herself that she at least try–even if she was turned down. If she was to be all righteous and NOT care for her own happiness later on, then that would be fake. Though I was kind of annoyed with how she believed that one girl and acted up toward Yuan Yi, I sort of forgive her for it since she could not get past her past demons to trust herself or others in relationship.
  • Kingone and Pei Lin as a couple. I liked how this couple has a different story and had about enough screen time as well. They were so cute together and I could feel it was as genuine as Jiang Meng and Qi Yue. They tried to get along at first–as if to give each other a chance. Yet it developed into something much more and they had their sweet moments as well. Like the scene where they were running under the rain with only his jacket as the shield from the rain. Also, their little bet about the ‘red umbrella’. Their awkward interaction at their first date and how they get it sorted out. The misunderstanding and/or confusion with mix messages drove their relationship to another level. Yes, Qing Zi made a poor choice and threw the ultimatum on Yuan Yi, but it allowed us to see that he honestly wanted to treasure her and care for her. He was not sorry for not giving her enough attention (or how the plot wasn’t making him feel guilty over it) but instead was disappointed that she didn’t trust him enough. She wanted attention and care, but so did he. He was not a hero OR wanting to be a hero, but he only wanted to impress her with his capabilities–like he stated (and that was basketball). Sometimes it was not about giving in to one or another, but understanding and supporting one another with his or her beliefs were more important. He already did his part, but what about her? Like I said, this relationship was really different and they both had to explore different things about one another and accepting each other for who he/she really was. The fact that it was not the end of the world that one or the other made mistakes. Yuan Yi needed to get out what he really thought for her to understand him, but he didn’t think any less of her because of it. He only needed to straighten matters out. What was more, it wasn’t about who deserved whom more OR who didn’t deserve whom. It was about the commitment they both made and/or willing to go through with one another. Moving on (lol), it was extremely funny to see him trying to ‘take the initiative’ and failing when they were going on the movie date. Yuan Yi and Qing Zi had other really cute scenes also, like when they were helping Si Shen worked his way back into Ya Li’s heart again. They were so cute with trying to compose the letter together, etc. I was getting worried near the end that they would not get more scenes together aside from with their group of friends but glad there was something more–even if they had to encounter another obstacle. But seeing them on a date, wearing couples’ outfits among other things, was really cute. The swords dual between Yuan Yi and Qing Zi’s father must be one of the most critical scenes since it turned their promises of words into actions. It proved that Yaun Yi was serious about his feelings for Qing Zi. It also proved that they had reached another level of understanding and dedication toward each other because of how they were a team in persuading and/or convincing Qing Zi’s father of how serious they were.
  • The brotherly bond between Jiang Meng (Mike) and Yuan Chang Rang (Figaro). Their conflicts were hard to distinguish. Their past was somewhat typical with the attention thing within a family, like how Jiang Meng did not get enough attention from their mother or how Chang Rang always wanted attention and/or acknowledgment from his brother. It was hard to mend everything but when they finally did, it was not fake at all. It made sense since they were family after all. There were fears (inevitably) and not being able to face it. But once faced, it was easier than they thought. It did not matter who was the one who’d done more damage, etc. I liked the little closure scene they had with Jiang Meng teaching Chang Rang how to defend himself. Yes, he was there to cheer Chang Rang on, but Chang Rang had to learn how to take care of himself too. Relying on Jiang Meng’s reputation would not last long, which was very true of how Jiang Meng put it. Though it was wrong to spread the message through violence, in a way, it was like implying that Chang Rang needed to step out of Jiang Meng’s shadow before he could take care of himself, becoming a stronger person, etc.
  • The fatherly bond between Jiang Meng (Mike)/ Yuan Chang Rang (Figaro) and Jiang You Hui (He Du Lin). It was so funny and unimaginable. Jiang Meng–supposedly fierce and rebellious–had to look after his father since his father was so out of it. Yes, his father was trying to make up for past wrongs and wanted to pay more attention to Jiang Meng hence the relaxed attitude. But it was still funny that Jiang Meng needed to keep his father in line at times, scolding him or telling him to tone it down. Then there was also the whole thing with You Hui always hugging and kissing them and smothering them in love that was almost embarrassing. It was too much to take. Even Chang Rang had to tell him to tone it down at the game, lol. But it was still too funny.
  • The fact that the children were more matured than the parents. Well, at least it seemed that way as a front. I meant it was true in both cases regarding Jiang Meng and Qi Yue. The parents were overly enthusiastic about everything and sometimes even more childish. It was really funny to see the children being the ones needing to look out for their parents at times. Though of course, the parents were capable of settling important matters as well. But still hilarious to see. A not so funny example was that of Ah Meng and Ah Rang’s mother. Yes, she suffered and finally managed to rise in the society, allowing herself to be capable of providing more than enough for her sons yet I felt she was so immature with the ‘blame’ game that made it hard to swallow. Like Ah Meng said, she was making Ah Rang worry. I had a feeling like Ah Meng was doing that more for Ah Rang’s sake than her sake for some reason. No idea. That was just my interpretation though I know Ah Meng also needed some sense of closure.
  • Ivy Fan as Xin Li Xiang. Though she was fierce and harsh on others, I thought she had some good in her still to actually tell Jiang Meng about the incident regarding how Yang Ping almost harmed Qi Yue. Also, like Qi Yue said, she just didn’t know how to express her love or loving herself enough. It was really brave of her to admit her wrongs and sort of made peace with Qi Yue. Though she was declaring a new approach and a new attempt with pursuing Jiang Meng, her starting over was a notable point. Also, her righteous was known at various times also. The fact that the whole ‘fierce’ attitude and attacks toward Qi Yue had lessened or how it passed quickly made her character more real and less fake (than again other dramas seemed to let on for dramatic purposes). Perhaps it was her determination that was most admirable and it was the drive that allowed her to continue on. She had a purpose and she was never off course. Though she might used the wrong method, her target was always the same. Aside from being in the blind for so long, she was considered the wisest. It was possibly due to the fact that she had more experience than the others combined. How she thought that Qing Zi was the wisest among the girls but she was wrong and then how she was advising and/or warning Qi Yue of the possible danger in Qi Yue and Jiang Meng’s relationship and the underlying problem that they could not see (i.e Mei Di). Indeed she was right, losing to a person so kind and gentle that you cannot condemn was the worst. And though she disagreed with those ‘softy’ type, she didn’t let Mei Di get bullied by the gang of girls at school either. Very admirable.
  • Masuyama Yuki and Ivy Fan as a couple. Though they were using the wrong tactics to express their love at the beginning, they were equally hilarious to watch after they learned to love themselves properly and expressed it in a more positive way toward the people they cared for. It was funny how Li Xiang was saying she was still pursuing Jiang Meng but her jealousy and watching over Yang Ping at times were funny. Like the part where they were on the bus going on the trip for the basketball club, Li Xiang was hitting Yang Ping’s head when he commented about Mei Di being cute. It got even funnier and cuter in a sense when they were doing different activities at their preplanned site. Yang Ping was so clueless at times that it was too cute, making Li Xiang so pissed off at his idiotic nature YET she was not able to tell him either–had to keep her cool reputation (lol). But then she had to take the initiative on the bus when they were on the way back and it was so cute!
  • Wu Zhong Tian and Janel Tsai as a couple. I thought their relationship was on the bittersweet side. It was like she was waiting for him but she also stated her purpose, not being fake about it at all. It wasn’t like she will always wait for him. She had waited long enough and until the day he met Qi Yue again. She wanted to give them both a deadline so that they could all move on and also to answer to herself. And I thought that the whole thing with the puzzle of how to win Ya Li’s heart again was really creative. This was another sign that proved the relationships in here were unique in their own way and the plot worked out well with making the relationships different. It was quite touching reading the letter he wrote to her yet it was not too cruel to say that it was not what she wanted. She had waited this long but a letter was not enough to prove it. Yes, those were definitely sincere words, but not enough to convince. I felt she had a right to seek other types of proofs. And not to mention, it was not leaning on the materialistic side either but it was more of an action and a gesture to prove that he had remembered what she said, and how much it meant to her. And the meet up at the restaurant was equally touching and sweet since he had repeated her words from the past (aka remembering what she said).
  • Every couple had their own story. Usually, they did too in dramas BUT the cute scenes OR super sweet and/or touching scenes were often reserved for the main couple. But in here, I found it that not one couple was robbed. There was the touching story between Yuan Yi and Qing Zi as well as Yu Ping and Li Xiang. There were also cute scenes of them and more. Even the parents had their own stories.
  • The cast and their spread-out appearances. Honestly, I didn’t realize how nice they’d done it. They did not merge in all the scenes with everyone appearing and introducing them or trying to stir things up relentlessly just for kicks. It was just how things were. Like how people pop in and out of one another’s life. A nice cast indeed and no one tried too hard. They had a great variety to make everything work.
  • The friendship that the characters in here shared. Like how their stories and appearances were spread out and different, I also like how their friendship developed throughout. Whether it was with the major characters or with the supporting characters. A good example would be how Yuan Yi, Qing Zi, Li Xiang, and Yang Ping conspired to help Tian Si Shen and Chuang Ya Li. Definitely showed how well they’d gotten along and how their views had changed of one another. And it was great to see they took it seriously to make it work and not just talks or childish rants. It was also amazing how they each thought of something to solve the puzzles or tried to chip in their ideas to make it work. Also very funny that Yuan Yi became so smart with helping others yet he was clueless in his own relationship. Though some ideas were bizarre, it was worth a few laughs and touching moment.
  • No dragged out obstacles. I found it even better and possibly more realistic that the supposed rivals of both Jiang Meng and Qi Yue were not just one or two person(s). They encountered a variety of people–either from the past or the future–that became a test of their relationship BUT it was not dragged out. There were doubts or misunderstandings at times but it was cleared away. Perhaps it was because of the lack of wishy-washy formula that made it more enduring at times. Also, they did not make one person out to be the ‘evil person’ for the hype of the drama. It was how life was. You encounter people who liked the same person as you but it did not mean that other person was evil. They just wanted to fight for their happiness or wanting a chance before giving up.
  • The Pace. I was seriously amazed by the pace of the story. Because other dramas would have subplots but then solved everything like within the last episodes. But this one acknowledged one conflict after another, not letting it drag too much. It was like how it was implying that through knowing Jiang Meng, Qi Yue eventually found out different things about him and coming to accept the person that he was and/or helping him with it. It didn’t drag long, except for the main theme that they were trying to get over the worst demon–the public’s views of their relationship–both ways. I thought it was essential that their seeking of acceptance from the public was the only thing that was around from the beginning to the end. This sort of tied up with the above point but I thought I want to mention it separately to emphasize the rest of the couple’s obstacles also.
  • The soundtrack. Like many Taiwanese dramas, the soundtrack is always addicting and plays an essential part toward the plot. I’m more convinced than ever that Rainie does have the ability to convince us of her voice. Yes, she’s not extremely awesome with her vocal range, but she does have the ability to apply enough emotions into the songs that tugged at our hearts. (Or at least I thought so.) Other tracks were worth noting also, playing its own part in the drama along the way.

Dislikes:

  • Amanda Meng as Yuan Mei Jin (aka Jiang Meng and Chang Rang’s mother). Though I understand where she was coming from, somehow I couldn’t sympathize with her. It was like she did not fight hard enough for Ah Meng in the past. It was like she thought she could go back for him but those years were the most essential and it could never be brought back. If she had fought harder for him, she might not regret it so much or Jiang Meng wouldn’t be so full of hatred toward her. She should not be blamed for caring for Ah Rang more since Ah Rang was always the weaker of the two–health-wise. Yet I felt she was too fake in a way. I think the Jiang family’s principles, especially the grandma, had broken her like Ah Meng had said. But I don’t know. I was not convinced of her suffering too much.
  • The ending. Seriously? Come on now. That was a bit corny. Though I admit it was funny and then the signature con job by the devil himself aka Ah Meng, BUT that was lame with trying to make it a bit funny. It dissolved all the touching scenes previously. Though the gang could be funny too, that was too much on the side of being corny. That thing with the videotape and the NG scenes were lame. Yes, that was funny seeing they had to re-shoot but incorporating it into the drama itself? Okay.