I finally watch it properly now so I decided to bring some discussions back regarding this. Over and over again, this drama addressed the whole influences of the ‘bad’ toward the ‘good’ and vice versa. I have to say that it gave me more ground to discuss after having read The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Those who are actually reading are wondering why and how could the two mixes when they are so different in the plot. It’s actually the same concept of being influenced by others. The answer we all know–though Oscar Wilde let us ponder for ourselves more or less–after reading The Portrait of Dorian Gray is that it is not anyone’s fault in making choices or taking different actions but ourselves. Going back to The Outsiders, I found it more and more ridiculous that Yu Hao, Dan Zi, and Ah Qi were blamed for Xiao Yan Zi’s actions. It was partially because of love that Xiao Yan Zi chose to elope. It did not make her choice right or wrong. (I am not debating about that since it would be up to each one of us to think.) What I want to say is Xiao Yan Zi was not influenced to change her actions and/or behaviors even if she did not meet Yu Hao and his friends. We could see from her actions that she was capable of thinking of different techniques to sneak out of the house or make excuses when she was home late. There was also the whole sending messages to Yu Hao while she was restricted of her rights by her parents. She knew of those techniques all along but did not care to use it until when she was left with no options. It did not matter who she met, but she knew those techniques. To blame Yu Hao and the other two guys were totally ridiculous. Was that an attempt to escape from responsibilities or what one could not explain oneself? Like Xiao Yan Zi’s parents could not say that they were at fault or how they could not understand so they chose to disregard all possible reasoning from Yu Hao and the others, seeking for ways to blame them instead of caring to acknowledge what was true of their daughter. (I am not trying to shift the blame toward Xiao Yan Zi here, but I am just stating what she had knowledge of and she chose to do those things too, so she and Yu Hao contributed 50/50 for what happened, NOT just Yu Hao doing the whole influencing.)
What was extremely amusing yet ridiculous (and probably still happening everywhere) was the idea of how people relied heavily on one’s reputation or impression on the surface to judge others in here. Xiao Yan Zi’s father criticized Hong Dou for being a bad girl since she was yelling loudly in the street, projecting an image of an indecent person. Yu Hao, Dan Zi, and Ah Qi were often caught in fights or others yet no one knew the real story behind them helping old women from being bullied. Other cases were how they were relying on themselves mostly for their survival. Only the police officer who was in charge of Yu Hao and vouching for him knew and understood the circumstances that Yu Hao and his friends went through. No one stopped to understand if Yu Hao had a better environment to grow up in, would he choose such a life?
The most amusing thing was seeing how the so-called ‘good’ students at school were using their reputation to hurt others. The guy who had a crush on Xiao Yan Zi at the beginning was a sore loser and used his reputation to frame Yu Hao. The most despicable thing about it was the president actually believed him. It was like that. The guy could act the role of a good kid so he was able to get away with those things. It did not matter if Yu Hao was innocent. Just because some ‘good’ kid said it. The hypocritical behaviors caused Xiao Yan Zi to question the higher authority even more. It was like one of those “Do as I say and not as I do” circumstances. Talking about the president of the school made it even more stupid. He was part of the education system yet failed to care about his students, especially how he was biased toward one group. It made sense for Xiao Yan Zi’s parents to protect their daughter from outsiders, BUT it did not make sense at all to me when someone from the education system turned his head away from a student who needed guidance. Even if Yu Hao was stubborn and had his own ways of dealing with things but I thought it was the job of the educators to understand the problems of it all and guided him back onto the right track, encouraging him to do good in classes. But what the president did was just wanting to cut off the bad part of an apple and dispose of it, only looking after himself and his reputation. It was like saying society could turn away from others, ignoring the problems completely. YET they are the same people who complain about the world becoming a worse place. (Duh, because they never cared to contribute and fix the problems when they had a chance.)
What was more interesting upon confronting Yu Hao and Xiao Yan Zi was the whole ‘good for you matter’ regarding the parents’ decision. (Most of the time it’s true.) I somewhat agree with Xiao Yan Zi with how her parents were trying to pave her way and lived her life for her. Sometimes I often wonder about those things and I don’t doubt that parents love their children (in most cases), but what got me thinking is the whole thing about parents who were not able to lead the same path or do it correctly or perfectly (as to how they see things) when they were living their lives so they wanted to re-do it again with their children. It was like IF they could perfect the method with their children, then they could somehow feel that they’ve succeeded in fulfilling their wishes that they could not live through the first time around.
With all these rants, someone might be wondering why I say that everyone is responsible for his or her actions YET I did not hold Yu Hao, Dan Zi, and Ah Qi responsible for their actions? The same thing I discussed previously regarding society turning their head away from them since they were young. It happened just like that. How could they walk on the right path when they were always being pushed away? No one wanted to let them in. Only the officer who often looked after Yu Hao cared enough to scold at the guys but one person could not change the mass attacks of others. I could use all the excuses to make up for them, but I honestly think that the briefest and straight to the point explanation is the guys are extremely UNLUCKY.
*Notice, I used character names to emphasize that I was debating about the characters involved and not because I was siding with just my favorite stars/pairings. I am not trying to influence anyone or start any arguments. But was just bringing up some points while I was watching.
Since I already talked about some elements of the plot and its issues in a post, I might as well start one for the actors/actresses in the drama.
Whether the actors’ performances were well presented, it would depend on one’s own opinions and what it is said to be good acting. As for myself, I think it doesn’t have to be those over-hyped plots or well-known cast to make a drama good. If they’re able to deliver their part and could collaborate with one another to bring forth a convincing storyline, then the goal is achieved. I don’t believe in one actor/actress shining over their other co-stars to be good because they missed the point. They failed to contribute to the plot itself. If they could complement their co-stars well and make the story work, that is more important.
Dylan Kuo as Yu Hao/ Xiao Yu – Yu Hao was the leader of the group in his gang (or what could be called of a gang at all since they did not matter as much as some of the bigger gangs out there), so one would expect him to be tough and merciless. However, he had a very kind heart and was a very filial grandson. He was also very righteous toward his fellow gang members, never letting them down. He was not heading down the right path but that was because he was lost and misguided. He did not know of the correct way to do things when the society kept turning their heads away from him and his other friends who were in the same situation. He only knew how to behave in a certain way to survive. Perhaps, it was his reluctance to join a bigger gang and preventing them from getting into bigger trouble that made him admirable. He only wanted everyone to have someone to look up to and helped them whenever necessary and to survive. He did not want more than what was enough to survive. He was persistent in not joining but was tricked into joining. It was a decision that they could not turn back on, but he did not back down or ran away after he made the commitment. He had been by Dan Zi and Ah Qi’s side along with the others the whole time. He really deserved to be their leader.
Dylan is known as one of those people who care like 3x more about hygiene and other cleanliness matter so I must really credit him for diving into this role and is not afraid to get dirty for the role. (Although I think the crew must have taken care of some stuff and precautions for him also.) Whether he can act or not, it depends on each person’s standard, but I think he did well as Yu Hao. He was able to bring out different sides of Yu Hao and the emotional state Yu Hao was going through with many changes surrounding him. Dylan was both professional and hard-working because he even went through the trouble of researching his character out by watching some of the similar gang-related films to take tips on and also signed up for a course in acting specifically for this role. It was really worth the effort and admirable.
Ady An as Pei Yu Yan/ Xiao Yan Zi – Ady was really good in her performance as Pei Yu Yan, the innocent girl who stepped out of her own world to learn the truth behind the lives of the guys who were neglected by the majority of the society because of their behaviors. Her character was not just about the kind and gentle girl who transformed into a tougher person to defend herself. I feel it was much more than that. It was about how the girl stepped out of her comfort zone to explore something beyond. She wanted to fight for what she strongly believed in for the first time in her life. She could see what the others could not, but only used their eyes to judge and not their hearts to see. Her decision to run away was not only because of the love for a guy she should not be involved with but because of the other guys who she knew was good at heart.
A runaway episode mixed in with stubbornness was just the regular formula that was supposedly the general theme of the drama but there was also the intervention of the complex world that Yu Hao was involved in. Xiao Yan Zi–and even the other guys–did not realize that they would step onto a path of no return because of a trap by a gang leader. She soon encountered the worst and forced herself to change in order to protect herself and not become a burden of the guys who she cared for–who had become like a family to her.
Lan Cheng Long as Dan Li Jie/ Dan Zi – Dan Zi was perhaps the wisest among the three guys but he was as loyal to his friends as the other two guys were. He knew right from the start that it was a mistake to let Xiao Yan Zi join them because of the life they led. He also tried to scare Xiao Yan Zi off by telling her of what they do, but she was understanding of their situation after knowing how filial Yu Hao was to his grandmother; and how nice the guys were at heart and their touching brotherhood. Dan Zi was surprised at Xiao Yan Zi’s reactions during the motorcycle race scene. Although he could not stop Xiao Yan Zi from getting herself into their mess, he was still supportive of Yu Hao and Xiao Yan Zi, always managed to stick by their side and helped them with all that he could.
Blue portrayed the role quite well and was able to bring out the different sides of his character well. He was not just the guy who stood behind Yu Hao, but also the best friend who might not always agree with him but will support him regardless. On a personal note, I really like Blue with always taking on serious dramas than those other over-hyped ones (until recently).
Micheal Zhang as Yang Xun Qi/ Ah Qi – Ah Qi appeared to be the most straightforward among the three guys. He acted out a lot and did not care to conceal his behaviors thus scaring other people easily. Ah Qi was also the most hot-headed among them all. However, it was clear that his friendship and loyalty toward Yu Hao and Dan Zi were presentable. He proved true that he would done harm to those who hurt his friends.
I think Michael did really well as Ah Qi since I was quite scared of him at times too with his behaviors. Later, I understand his character more and realized how Ah Qi was really a good friend, who was always there to fight alongside with Yu Hao and Dan Zi. He was not afraid of anything.
Joelle Lu as Hong Dou – At first, I really disliked Hong Dou because of her actions and jealousy toward Xiao Yan Zi. However, I later learned to look from her point of view more, allowing me to understand her character better. I think she could not take it that Yu Hao actually chose some girl outside of their group and not to mention just an ordinary girl to them. However, she began to see the seriousness of how Yu Hao treated Xiao Yan Zi so she just had to step aside and support Yu Hao’s decision because she could not change it anyway, plus she did not want to risk losing a friend like him.
Joelle did pretty good as well, bringing out her aggressive side as well as her supportive and/or understanding side toward her friends.
So, as an overall, I think that this team had succeeded in fulfilling their jobs portraying their individual characters in here along with the rest of the cast to convince us of the plot that unfolded, one event after another. It was a successful combined effort to make the story become more lively with its depiction in each scene. I had a feeling that no one was stealing anyone’s spotlight or trying to outdo one another to shine. But it was all a team effort in making it happen.
The casting was very good for each role also. Not to mention the image that was given to them. It was convincing enough with each character and the role they played in the story.
*The first image was collected around the net hence belonging to their rightful owner, the rest were captured by DTLCT.
I just recently stumbled upon this song (again) and re-watched the MV. It reminded of the many tragic stories surrounding The Outsiders. Whether it was a good gang-related drama or just another gimmick to gain public attention, that depended on each person’s separate views and bases. However, I thought it was a very good drama with the portrayal of many events in life–whether you want it to happen or not. It was a bit sad though that not many people come to acknowledge some of the more important concepts underneath the drama than just shaking their heads in shame or disregarding the matter as of insignificant (or unrealistic).
I ran across several comments made by viewers of the show (or attempted viewers) who criticized its contents of promoting gang related incidents or how it was with those typical ‘good girl likes bad guy’ type of plot. However, that was the most misconception ever made, especially in this case. Yu Hao (Dylan Kuo), Dan Li Jie/ Dan Zi (Lan Cheng Long), and Yang Xun Qi/ Ah Qi (Michael Zhang) were never bad in the first place–not in the very beginning of the story. They never wanted to mean harm to society in general but they were outcasts and had become of such because society had abandoned and/or neglected them. They came from poor backgrounds because of what happened with their families, causing their loss and how they lived life since. It was not like they had a choice that their parents died or left them. They had to rely on themselves and each other for support through all the years, plus doing what they thought was right to survive–when the society stared with disapproving eyes (while all that time no one cared to step forward and help lead their path to a more agreeable destination). They grew up without proper guidance but somehow turned out all right anyway. Bullying others and acting out through bizarre means were just their ways of coping with the situation and many obstacles thrown at them. And to even forget that they were orphans with no families. Yu Hao and Dan Zi were more polite and subtle on some levels versus Ah Qi (who chose to display his emotions and behaviors more freely toward others, not caring to be judged or punished for it).
They were responsible for their own actions after all, so why blame it on society, right? However, they still needed proper guidance after all. How old were they again when they lost their families? After so much exposure to such violence around them and the need for survival, it was just almost natural to follow suit or do whatever seen fit. To turn heads on them and shove them further into the wall they’ve already been driven to by other factors was not the best solution either. (Ever heard of sweeping all the dust under the sofa/ furniture? Same concept. It won’t go away.) They never planned to join any gang-related organization because they knew of the dangers that came with it. They were only getting into enough troubles and they did not need more. However, they were tricked into joining the gang and thus becoming their tool for success and power.
Pei Yu Yan/ Xiao Yan Zi (Ady An) was taught to avoid those ‘bad guys’ and was brought up to be the most educated and respectful girl in the eyes of society. She avoided the gang of three like the plague and was very scared of them at the beginning–despite the fact that she accidentally and unknowingly saved their leader. She never would have thought to enter their world that was so different from hers. However, she learned of their good nature and crossed over to their side, not because of the dashing looking guy, but because she finally understood them as kind human beings who were just living a not so fortunate life yet were often misunderstood by the society.
After Xiao Yan Zi ran off with Yu Hao, her life changed drastically and it began to dawn on her bit-by-bit of her new surroundings and turmoils she had to deal with daily. However, she learned to cope with it and adapted herself into Yu Hao’s dangerous world. Yes, she did cry at the beginning upon many tragic events happening surrounding her and to her, but she toughened up eventually. It would have been wiser (according to people playing by rules and those who were so perfect that they think it was the right thing to do) to run back to her parents and begged them for forgiveness. She did none of that but learned to live with the consequences that she’d bestowed upon herself.
There were many factors contributing to her runaway. It was not just love, but the thrive to experience. It had nothing to do with the whole idea about living it dangerously, but it was more like she was so sheltered in that all she’d done her life was learning to be perfect. It was not the best way to react to the overwhelming and/or suffocating feelings of being too sheltered in. But it was a decision she made–even if it was not the best (like stated above). (I am not trying to blame her parents since they thought what was best for their daughter and worried about her future. I am just stating what could be the possible feelings that drove her to that point.) She wanted to live life and experience. She wanted to continue to be lively like how she’d been with the guys and spent time doing the most random things–and not cared so much for perfection anymore. (Ever try pouring water into a cup/ glass until it overflows? It was what happened in this case. Again, not blaming her parents, just giving an example to better relate to this situation.)
So to say that this was just another cheap attempt for controversial creations and trying to gain attention is far from the truth. Think about it. There were so many things in the drama that is yet to be explored.
*All images were collected around the net hence belonging to their rightful owners.
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