Fondant Garden

(image credit: captured by DTLCT)

The drama lost its magic around episode 15. NO, I’m not complaining about the length because it was not that draggy throughout. The reason why it lost points with me–from a 4/5 to a 3/5 was because of the overly used and over-killed memory loss formula. At first, I was like: “What? Memory loss?” YES, I’m so sick of that since it has been used so much in dramas that it gets annoying. However, when I found out he was just pretending after the initial shock, I thought it was funny and cute in a sense that he wanted to stick around. When they finally found out they’ve been deceived, hell would break loose and there would be some time to patch up things, like gaining others’ trust again. YET I found it fun to see what else would unfold when he was pretending to lose his memory and stay at the shop. However, episode 15 undo all the efforts of the carefully crafted details of the previous 14 episodes. I thought he would pretend that he forgot again (just for kicks) and then embrace her! Then she would end up hitting him for trying to pull that one again. But it wasn’t so. He really lost his memory at that time. Though more like selective memory loss because he could remember everything fine, i.e. his family, his brother, and business stuff. It was Mi En and others related to the shop that he had forgotten. That didn’t help my nerves since I didn’t see the need to drag the story out by including that–the real memory loss. Was that an attempt to teach others not to pretend or it could happen? Like torturing Han Ji even more? I felt the scriptwriters were torturing the viewers more. What a waste. It could account for one of the best series of this year. Even if it had some typical formula, but it was quite cute and sweet in its own right. Not to mention the excellent acting from the majority of the cast that had made this into a charming drama thus far. Though I do like their interactions after the “actual memory loss” and how we get to see a more comedic side of Kingone’s character, Yan Han Xiang, I rather they approached it differently regarding Han Ji and Mi En’s storyline. They were killing me with the flashbacks near the end since it was practically every scene of Han Ji and Mi En all over again, counting all the other flashbacks throughout already. I admit that I liked the song “Bad Person” (壞人) by Park Jung Min himself and thought it was quite memorable throughout, especially how it painted a vivid image of Mi En’s relationships with both guys. Yet the ending conflict could be altered a bit.

Regarding who Mi En ended up with, I knew the typical formula was Han Ji and Mi En yet like any other drama, she liked Han Xiang first. I was like so reluctant to let go of the whole Han Xiang and Mi En relationship at first since it was so funny and cute how their story began. But, of course, I became more accepting of the outcome later as the story between Han Ji and Mi En unfolded. Especially how they helped each other conquered their worst demons, etc. It made it more addicting to watch them and let go of Han Xiang. (Though it didn’t mean I didn’t like Han Xiang anymore, just felt it was more accepting with how the plot moved forward.)

Oh yeah, I read some comments regarding how Kingone seemed older than the rest of them so he didn’t fit in. He did fit in! NOT saying that because he’s one of my favorites. But more like the storyline had it that his character was at an older age than the other three characters, considering how Han Xiang was Mi En and Ai Lin’s senior from their university. He graduated years back already so it made sense. And since we’re on the subject, I felt Kingone again pulled through with his performance. I so felt for his character though he was going down that kind of road with the typical wanting to claim back what was his, etc from the beginning. AND once again, NOT because he’s Kingone that I’m siding with his character, but more like I totally understand what Han Xiang was going through. Honestly, it was a miracle he didn’t kill all of them already. Putting his mother’s actions on his own or pointing fingers at him? What was even more tragic was how his father would use the obedient side of Han Xiang to his full advantage, like saying that he was doing great or “you let me down” during the mix-up at the beginning. Come on now, all he wanted was some acknowledgment from his father and that was how he was being thrown around? So I was glad that it took the fact that he finally had his own family (aka Ai Lin’s parents appreciating him) and was no longer jealous of Han Ji for the father and grandma to take some actions. I meant like how they shouldn’t be let off by thinking Han Xiang should apologize, etc but more like they felt strange having Han Xiang acknowledging the other family and not them. Of course, it was Han Ji’s own persistence and kindness that had made Han Xiang realized he still had family and to turn around again. Yet others shouldn’t take him so lightly like that.

All the while I was collecting my thoughts for this review, I wonder what in the world happened to Johnny Lu’s character, Tan Rui. Okay, I got it that he was framed and wanted to get revenge so he made that one move that totally severed his ties with them. But come on now, if it wasn’t for Han Xiang, would he have made that move? That was why I felt it would have been better if they focused on patching things with his character instead of the repetitive “memory loss” thing to make everything with Han Ji and Mi En dramatic again. Since they forgave Han Xiang for all his past doings, I think it would be fit to seek out Tan Rui as well. I meant after all Ai Lin’s father, Chen Xiang Fu, did acknowledge of Tan Rui’s hardworking attitude and felt that he was a good match for Ai Lin since the beginning. It wasn’t too far off to bring Tan Rui into the picture again. Then add in more sweet scenes of Han Ji and Mi En, not keep dragging out the other stuff more. YES, I did enjoy watching those two since I found them cute but they should move forward and NOT back like episode 15 had turned out.

Aside from Kingone’s performance, I must say the main lead Jian Man Shu was quite impressive also. She made the character Zheng Mi En convincing and lovable, not having a feeling that she was just trying to act cute to wing it through. I usually don’t like this overly used formula with the main girl soooo innocent and all sooo forgiving (YES, too much in the past), but I want to make an exception this time because of her performance. And she wasn’t too innocent or too forgiving either since she had her moments as well so it was much more realistic.

Almost forgot, regarding this drama, Eli Shih dubbed for Park Jung Min with the Mandarin. Usually, people rant up and down about that (NOT me) and I do get it at times if you know the actors/actresses’ own voice and it’s off. But I thought they did a good job this time around since it wasn’t too off. Talking about Park Jung Min, I was turned off at first (NOT because of him, so don’t jump in with the bashing yet) because of the thick makeup used for his character. I got used to it later and looked past that to focus on his character. He was a typical spoiled rich guy all right. Yet what I found lovable was his kiddish nature and how Mi En had to take care of him most of the time. It was really cute and somehow funny that they kept fighting like two little kids. And I guess what made me like Mi En even more was how she wasn’t too clueless about stuff and was all right with sharing a bed with Han Ji when they were stuck at Hualien that one time. (I’m NOT implying I want to see bed scenes since if you watched the drama, it wasn’t anything.) I’m just saying that she wasn’t too stingy about it with other main leads getting all paranoid. Okay, so she did try to kick him off but actually negotiated for each person taking half of the bed in the end when he didn’t back down. She knew to take care of herself and wasn’t too paranoid or clueless about things. SURE, she did get shy when they got too close from time to time but wasn’t going crazy with wanting to kill him with all the exaggerated behaviors like in other dramas.

Recommended? It was only 16 episodes and if you don’t mind that little ‘memory loss’ glitch around episode 15, then go for it. I actually quite loved it but got irked near the end, that was all.