Sweety: Keep Fighting

(Credit: ForwardMusic 豐華唱片)

Found this nice article of Sweety, how they got started and their careers up till now so sharing.

PTS Life Story Collection: Amnesia

Yes, this is a story about amnesia. And yes, I usually make fun of it because memory loss is a very overused formula as far as dramas go. However, this is a life story collection so I just want to check it out. Also, because of Jun Ya, obviously.

(Credit: PTS 台灣公共電視)

High Heels And A Scalpel: Achel’s Role

(Credit: PTS Channel)

I was looking forward to seeing this one when I saw it and I like most of the cast anyway. What was more, a short story so didn’t think it would be draggy and all, which was always a plus. It’s another one of those I’d never gotten around to blog about yet.

Anyway, Achel’s role in here is Li Fang Yu (李芳瑜). In the video clip above, she talked a bit about her role and all. Excited to see it. Whenever that might be. I just need time to watch it, lol.

The Dangerous City

Another one of those closer to real-life dramas. The plot indeed lived up to its title.

Main Cast:

  • Lin Qing Tai (林慶台) as Wa Dan (瓦旦). A security guard. A somewhat rouge character. That would mean that he was not the typical hero that would do just the right thing regardless of the situation. It was more about what life offered him and how he should proceed. It was more realistic that way. Since his son needed the money for the educational fees and there was money offered to cover things up, so he took it. He would also use ‘shady’ connections to try and recover his lost money. Though he soon learned a hard lesson that those ‘shady’ characters couldn’t be trusted with handling his problems hence having to rely on himself (with only some help from Hei Song’s son regarding information). He later discovered that the phone he retrieved that one time from Hong Long wasn’t the piece that held important information that could threaten everyone’s lives, but the actual memory card inside. Somehow, he ended up running and everyone wanted to capture someone around him to gain the upper hand, but it worked out fine in the end for him actually. I thought he would end up dying in some dramatic battle so his son would learn, etc. But it wasn’t so.
  • Yin Xin (尹馨) as Amber. An actress who wanted to commit suicide at the beginning. Supposedly, it was just an act yet still nerve-racking because of the person saving her. I was actually quite intrigued with her story at first and how she got conned, etc. Yet, later on, I got really bored and only stuck around to see what other things were going on with several parties plotting against one another. At first, I seriously didn’t feel sorry for her, just like some of the other parties in here. She and the others knew what they were getting into with so many sticky situations involved. Still, have to compliment the actress at some scenes for showing some emotional breakdown or fear, etc. Her second suicide attempt got really repetitive since Wa Dan’s son saw her and saved her. Yet it showed some character for Wa Dan’s son, because he wasn’t a bad kid, just frustrated that his life changed 180 degrees hence taking it out on his father at times. Then as the story progressed along, even more, I was having mixed feelings because most of the characters in here were bordering on gray areas. It was like showing different circumstances in life and how sometimes it wasn’t just so easy with separating the lines between black and white/right and wrong anymore. What won me over with her character was how she slapped Chen Zai and rescued Xia Qing from further abuse. Then her story finally unfolded after she confided in Xia Qing. She managed to start over, later on, depending on herself and working harder to support her parents versus depending on others. After so much had happened, of course, it got her thinking.
  • Xia Hui (夏禕) as Xia Qing (夏青). Wa Dan’s landlady. Kind of sharp with her words at times but really cared for others. I found her witty at times and funny at others, especially the scene where she drove Hei Song insane with her constant chatter. He couldn’t get in a word or two to Wa Dan about his terms–until he finally snatched the phone back from her.
  • Xu Gui Ying (徐貴櫻) as Xu Li Li (徐莉莉). Guo Dong Lin’s wife. I thought she was so crafty and classy until he got the upper hand with the paperwork situation. That sure threw her plans off. Then she totally lost major points from me when she sought out the fortune-teller to ask of her current situations and why her plans were backfiring, etc. Well, I got it that people believe in those stuff in real life, but I didn’t think she would fall for it. Or would seek out such alternatives to change her life. (And probably there are real fortune-tellers out there who know what they’re doing AND NOT just conning others for money but for now, still keeping my doubts about all those.) It was revealed that she was actually pinned onto Guo Dong Lin as a spy yet she ended up siding with him as well. What made it even more interesting in the end was how she confessed at his memorial spot of how she had changed since knowing him, etc. Like a little truth moment from her (if it wasn’t obvious already) and a last piece of the overall puzzle as far as her relation to the Zhang dude in the past, etc.

Others:

  • Qu Zhong Heng (屈中恆) as Special Assistant Zhang (張特助). A very cunning and careful person. He worked for the chairman so, of course, he had to be careful. What made him even scarier was how ruthless he was, sacrificing everyone around him. It wasn’t until the end that he dared to cry out because his ‘beloved’ was leaving.
  • Xi Xiang (喜翔) as La Lai Ba (羅賴把). Wa Dan’s co-worker. I first thought he wanted some of the money, etc hence keep urging Wa Dan to hand over the memory card. Yet it wasn’t so. He was actually undercover at the company to unravel all the corruption and conspiracies between Guo Dong Lin and several parties in here. Quite a surprise ending.
  • Tao Chuan Zheng (陶傳正) as Guo Dong Lin (郭東林). A businessman but had ‘shady/complicated’ connections with various parties to advance his cause. He would do anything or use any means for success. Yet he couldn’t win over Zhang because he wasn’t cunning enough. Zhang sure got the upper-hand in the end.
  • Chen Yu Ming (陳煜明) as Hong Long (紅龍). A thief/pocket-picking person. He was a guy but dressed as a girl to con others or get close to them so he could take their money. He got involved in the whole messy main story by pickpocketing Xu Li Li and later on was sought out because the other party wanted the cell phone back. (The cell phone had some important information in it hence ending up becoming a major turn of the story for whoever acquired the phone.)
  • Cai Ba (蔡爸) as Chen Zai (陳仔). Xia Qing’s ex-husband. Annoying at first but turned a new leaf later on. I was really rolling my eyes when he said he was just doing what he could for the people when the reporters asked. Yet he really changed his ways and even helped Xia Qing ran the little shop in the end.
  • Wu Min Fan (吳民凡) as Lao Yang (老楊). I totally forgot who he was and too lazy to go back and check.
  • Lin Yu Shun (林郁順) as Hei Song (黑松). Gangster boss. He was scary in his way, considering who he was, after all. However, the saddest scene and probably bordering on touching was how he discovered his son’s body. Then the flashbacks just did all the talking for us, and the look on his face. A moment to think about. Like money wouldn’t bring his son back. He took the money Zhang offered at last but wanted to add in a little term of his own (aka wanting Zhang to hand Hu Shen over so he could avenge his son’s death).
  • Leo Ding (丁力祺) as Xiao Yao (小姚). Guo Dong Lin’s driver, BUT actually worked for Special Assistant Zhang. I swore I thought he was just taking on a side role since this was a short drama after all. Yet he surprised me when he reached for his cell phone to call Zhang. The scene where he showed Guo the message from Zhang in the end and carried out the command was quite chilling actually. I think it was one of those, “Don’t estimate those people” in a way. Because he was considered just a driver yet he had a major impact on the story throughout, considering how he was spying on Guo and reporting to Zhang from time to time.
  • Ding Fu You (丁富佑) as Hu Shen (虎神). Zhang’s hired gun. Ruthless and fierce. Yet he actually said ‘thank you’ to Xiao Juan after she helped him wrap his wound, strange? Still a very dangerous character though. He was also responsible for killing Xiao Pang later on.
  • Huang Lue Geng (黃略耕) as Xiao Pang (小胖). Hei Song’s son. He was the most innocent among all of the turmoil around them. Stuck in a gang yet couldn’t do anything. His father was fierce toward him at various points, but upon discovering his body, the man completely broke down and later vouched for revenge. He was too nice to his prisoners and at times got conned yet didn’t hold it against them.
  • Gao Jing Yi (高靖榕) as Xiao Juan (小娟). Ya Bu’s girlfriend. Fierce and chatty at times.
  • Ye Yu Jun (葉玉傑) as Ya Bu (雅布). Wa Dan’s son. Supposedly trying to get into college and Wa Dan was trying to make ends meet with supplying the money, etc. Yet he got his girlfriend pregnant and was forced to quit school and seek for a job, trying to take responsibility for what he’d done. In the end, he actually wanted to become a cop like his father, which surprised the old man. But after seeing so much and was influenced by his father’s bravery, he probably had second thoughts.
  • Wang Dao Nan (王道南) as Chairman (主委). Another despicable role for him and he’s done. YES, I guess he could be considered brave to continuously take on not so favorable roles. Yet someone has to do it. The saving point for him was that he only appeared a little throughout so that minimized the hatred for him versus others, I guess, lol.

Overall thoughts? I think I changed my mind about a lot of things throughout. Like several things to ponder about. An interesting take on different parties and how the corruption was spreading but was eventually found out through investigations. (If not, there wouldn’t be a point to the story, of course.) An intriguing drama throughout, trying to keep it real yet didn’t lack in the entertainment department.

Falling

One of the most depressing dramas ever yet captured different elements of life so vividly. And for the record, I didn’t watch this because it got nominated for the Golden Bell Awards and then eventually won some. I was trying to watch it for Esther yet had to put aside because of my busy schedule.

Main Cast:

  • Jade Chou (周幼婷) as Liu Li Ping (劉立平). Mixed feelings. Not because she was at times too passive. I understood why she was so passive at times versus others. She kept having to take care of everyone and not get any appreciation and it seemed like it was her duty to do it or something, such as taking care of her brother’s family too. (Like she had said at various points in here.) But the actual reason for mixed feelings was how she didn’t confront some parties and gave in too easily to them. Or maybe I was missing the point. She did eventually had some meltdown, like the part with confronting her ex. Yet I guess it made sense because it was how she was. What I felt really disturbing though was the part where she didn’t react to her brother-in-law’s advances right away BUT waited longer. What she said made me feel unease as well, like how good her sister treated her so she shouldn’t do that to her sister. (Was she implying if her sister was cruel to her, she was willing to help her bro-in-law cheat? OY, I’m missing the point again but I just felt it was too creepy with that dude.) Anyway, what I felt really sad was how the parents thought Li Ping was a guy SO despite possible death, the mother still wanted Li Ping, and it wasn’t until they realized she was a girl that hope failed. Like really? If they had known she was a girl at the beginning, would they still have her? Just saying.
  • Esther Liu as Ji Er (吉兒). A totally different character for Esther. Probably a breakout role for her even. The reason why I say ‘breakout role’ was because it completely veered from her typically cutesy roles or the klutzy ones that she often portrayed with the usual idol dramas. She portrayed an independent, career woman who really knew what she wanted and how to enjoy life. A surprise performance from Esther and it showed she had gone a long way. I’m not saying that because she won ‘Best Supporting Actress’ for the role since I actually finished watching this before the ‘Golden Bell Awards’ took place. It was just that I haven’t gotten a chance to finish the review until now.
  • Jag Huang (黃健瑋) as Xu Hao Yuan (徐浩遠). At first, I was really annoyed with him in thinking that Ji Er must have met someone else hence her change of attitude with him, etc. However, I soon understood why his mind was sooo one-tracked. Because he was so busy spying on Ji Er and trying to get through her by interacting with Li Ping online, he learned a lot about Ji Er and even about himself. Not only that but also to appreciate what his mother did for him, not just the typical because she was his mother but he actually understood and sympathize with her by seeing it through someone else’s eyes, considering how he realized all the women in Li Ping’s lives were suffering through different trials and events. Jag was actually quite impressive in this role. He really brought out the character well with the uncertainties and weaknesses, and then eventually not so lost anymore in the end.

Others:

  • Fan Li Li (潘麗麗) as Liao Jin Gui (廖金貴). Li Ping’s mother. I’m not a fan of tough love BECAUSE the more people yell, it would make me even more depressed. SO when the mother opened her mouth with her cruel words or yelling, I just wanted to plain fast-forward BUT didn’t. I don’t know. I swear, there are times for being honest/straight-forward about things (like giving feedbacks so people improve) BUT if you care, please act like it! She just made me feel even more discouraged and wonder why Li Ping was still taking it all in. It felt like it was just because she was the mother so Li Ping had to fulfill her filial duties and that was it. I couldn’t feel the bond though I guess I was missing the point again. Though I complained like insane about this, indeed it portrayed real-life situations versus how we see more supportive family members in those fun/comedic idol dramas.
  • Tong Xiu Juan (童秀娟) as Lin Fu Zhen (林富珍). Li Ping’s sister-in-law. I swore I just wanted to smack her at one point or another whenever she appeared. Her family was supposedly taking care of themselves yet they always complain about being neglected? Seriously? Indeed, another realistic portrayal of a typical ‘family’ situation but still…
  • Chen Ying Jie (陳盈潔) as Hao Yuan’s mother (浩遠媽媽). Mixed feelings. What I felt was weird was how she approached Ji Er’s parents and talked about super intimate situations with Ji Er’s mother. That seemed WAY off. Seriously, do people talk about that in real life? At least I have never seen strangers talk about such delicate situations before, only close friends.
  • Huang Lian Yu (黃連煜) as Liu Tian Fa (劉添發). Li Ping’s father. SO NOT a fan of him since he was the typical old-fashioned person who thought of stomping down on others to prove himself as the head of the household or something. Well, okay, it seemed extreme of my words since, after all, it seemed he did care for Li Ping (or so the plot tried to show at some point), but some of his words and ordering others around made me feel like he was just trying to stomp on others. Or maybe it was another one of those ‘tough love’ situations that will always be lost on me. Seriously, if you mean something, act like it, NOT do the opposite and expect others to understand.
  • Shen Chang Hong (沈昶宏) as Liu Zhen Bao (劉振寶). Spoiled brat! Typical since he was the only boy of the house.
  • Ma Nian Xian (馬念先) as Liu Li Zhi (劉立智). Li Ping’s brother. I swear he was so annoying. Okay, I got it that they were family and I felt it was kind of touching that Li Ping was covering for him at the beginning. Yet later, it seemed really stupid that he expected Li Ping to return home so they could have peace AND others could get off his back and that he and his wife could have peace, etc. It was really dumb. Like Li Ping said, why did it seem like it was her duty to be their slaves? (Not in those exact words but along those lines.)
  • Zhou Heng Yin (周姮吟) as Liu Xu Fang (劉旭芳). Li Ping’s sister. I don’t even know what to say about her anymore, even though I did have a lot to think about when I was watching. The only thing I want to say is I was glad she was able to start over at the end. She was finally able to let go. It was hard not to.
  • Wang Dao Nan (王道南) as Li Ping’s brother-in-law. I just wanted to throw up (NOT in my mouth since I couldn’t even get that expression because it’s just too gross to even imagine) when he appeared. A typical fake person whom others think of him as the ‘good’ person yet there was so much more underneath. Even Li Ping’s parents think that he was the ‘model’ person while Li Ping’s sister was in the wrong.
  • Zhou Qun Da (周群達) as Zhang Lu Huai (張鹿淮). A teacher, Li Ping’s crush at one point. Too bad it didn’t happen. But I guess that was how life was. Can’t force it since it was not a typical fairytale story but more like showing different people you meet in life and sometimes there were misunderstandings through actions or words used.
  • Long Chen Han (隆宸翰) as Qu Cheng Min (曲成民). Li Ping’s ex-boyfriend. I don’t know what to say about him except too bad. Whatever. He was there to show a painful past that Li Ping had.
  • Michael Chang (張少懷) as Li Ping’s arranged marriage candidate. At first, I felt he was a dork. Yeah, mean but maybe it was because of the bias filter with the parents forcing Li Ping to go meet the candidates, etc. Yet later when the pressure was off, I was able to see him in a different light. He really had his own views and was brave to pursue his goals. Even if he didn’t know how at first, with only being exposed to those books, he kept trying and finally succeeded. Michael is indeed a very good actor, very convincing in the clueless moments as well as the confident one later on. I really enjoyed his random friendship with Li Ping throughout.
  • Wang Mon Ling (王夢麟) as Ji Er’s father. At first, I thought he was weird with his lurking in the distance at times. But later, I realized he was quite enlightened with his words. He was actually the key to Hao Yuan’s decision to break it off and let go of Ji Er at the end (ironically). He made Hao Yuan realized what was wrong right from the start. (Like how Hao Yuan said he wanted to please both sides–his mother and Ji Er–and kept fearing that they would be unhappy hence, in the end, he was the one suffering with so many uncertainties.)
  • Bao Zheng Fang (鮑正芳) as Ji Er’s mother. Enjoyed watching some of her moments. Just some scenes here and there but enough.

I was surprised that this drama received so much attention from the GBA and earned 8 nominations–with 4 wins. Because honestly, after what happened for a while, it seemed that the popular dramas usually snatch up awards. This year was indeed a big year for PTS. Well deserved too. Anyway, back to this drama, it’s NOT for everyone since there are a disclaimer and parental guidance/caution sign at the beginning. It’s also not a typical fairytale drama but it’s more based on real-life situations and how people deal with it. There are even more delicate issues being addressed. Whether we like it or not, these things exist. It was well crafted and portrayed throughout. Even if it was disturbing at one point or another but it sure hit the nail on the head with some of the stories, major or minor.