Short End of the Stick/公公出宮
The only truly fun thing I am watching.
If you have an occasional masochistic habit of watching a HK drama, this is my earnest recommendation. Even as a dying niche, it manages to train a staple of leading men and ladies from scratch, none of them terribly good, hitting mid30s, and venturing out to greater pond Cdramaland as fishes out of water. But with them leaving in hordes, exhausted all easy, cutting corners lazy way out, it is suddenly aware and desperate and starting back at the basics: a decently written period comedy, slapstick sassy satire under a pompous sugarcoat of self-deprecating lightness but there is WRITING, the element missing in any form, not even bad writing could be seen usually. Read between the lines, there is some serious political satire to be milked, bubbling under the lighthearted facade, cruising under the radar and we all giggle coyly, knowingly the mainland censor douches wont get a clue, better yet could not do much about it, catering for its local audience. I am sure this drama is still breezy funny for the international audience in the mood, even without the colorful, endless Cantonese wordplay, the smartassery colloquial double entendre, quoting Leslie Cheung lyrics, all richly impossible to translate, bolstering this to a gem with heart for me. This is sitcom territory, kitschy fake cheap sets and there are duller tangents of side characters, but the worthy bits, unique drama GOLD. They have gathered a cast all performing competently as a lovely ensemble whole. The story is set after the death of Qing dynasty, about a bunch of kindhearted street(imperial court to be specific) smart eunuchs now disowned from their refined slavery, and is left on the curb, on their own in the Real World. A man without his ‘baggage’ is prejudiced against, as with anything out of convention, and they waltz between keeping true identity safely guarded yet savoring their comaraderie, not losing their inner selves. It is too easy to extrapolate the eunuchs as common HKers trying to stay afloat in as foreign, as ridiculous a climate under the PRC rule nowadays.
I am who I am, a different kind of flower.
When feeling blue, he would force himself a smile cheering others up.
I am who I am, a different kind of roast duck.
Roast duck, the ultimate food craving for Cantonese, rhymes with flower, timely wordplay in front of any table of food. Raymond Cho is an underrated 50+ year young actor with a good face, and not a hair over the top perfect here.
As expected, they had a field day with gender bending. The southern Canton village they ended up travelling to, in the quest of home visit for one of their eunuch besties, is cursed with nobody able to bear a male heir. Not the village raucous hog, nor Hotdog the vivacious dog. The ‘young master’ is a tomboy everyone treats as the male heir, the most natural thing. This niche of TVB period comedy (which is roflmao crackling when funny) is often centered around a smart 30sth young woman, this time an aunt played by Nancy Wu who is smartest, attractive, single in no need of no husband, the anchor who can solve it all. She speaks sharply her mind, is formidable without brash. Wayne Lai is at his comfortable finest playing a beta, the mild mannered leader of his Eunuch pals, most levelheaded and resourceful, cautious and witty with his words, or when to appease by shutting it. Clearly they will make great soulmates.
Young Master’s romance with the ‘sissypants’ prettiest beautician for the ladies in Court is so delightful whether you want some BG (either way), BL, GL, this has it all. Have a scene:
I treat you like a brother! Don’t you forget you like girls too. I am a dude! You are a guy! Two guys!!! But wait, you are a sissy…do you have it or not!? You should not like me! Anyway…
-Did I say I love you?
-Your hands are shaking. *holds hands* Does this feel better? *hugs her* Does this feel even better?
Darn Sissy, I have told you I do not like men!
– Anyway, I am not a normal guy. You can take me as a girl, I can treat you like a guy.
But I do not know what I am!
-No matter if you are yin or yang, straight or not, man or woman…I still love you.
K9 Cop/ 警犬巴打
The K9 is soooo adorable and real actors here. This is the Nth time TVB is pairing up Bosco Wong and Linda Chung, a well loved drama OTP with a rabid fan following and this is fluff, so better give them a HE after a few senseless last minute Kmakjang still traumatizing the bebes. This drama is mediocre TVB, ie writing is excruciating to sit through most of the time, the backbone is a family daily, and since this has cops, some procedural… with measly sprinkles amuse bouche of romance. The young female characters are mostly silly, full of it, entitled b8tches and presented with their own ‘development arcs’ as if i should care. Two of Bosco’s younger sisters could be fed to the dogs and I fear poisoning the cute animals. Linda got phone in complaints from the watching aunties she speaks too much pretentious english. It was the least of her offenses, she is insufferable to watch, giving a failing bad read on a no-nonsense smug stuck up professional and I bet that was the only point they can fish a concrete compliant. It was not terribly funny as well…UNTIL Linda’s VerySeriousVeterinarian is allowed to be frayed and messed up craycray, falling in love as a clueless shoujo girl1 unwittingly, even if after some snake bite venom induced cuckoo-ness or whatever. The romcom is then genuinely cute and side splitting hilarious. This is not watchable for most, but I enjoy my Bosco (he’s very good in his zone here) and doggies all the time.
These are super short drama snippets essaying salarymen and their nuclear family dynamics. It skims the surface of the predictable tension without delving deeper, which I oddly find more realistic, anything more could be preachy. Watchable, esp if you just want a dose of fangirling without an addiction.
Descendants of the Sun
I am enjoying it for the schadenfreude, watching a buffoon KES aka KdramaYumama to me, making an absolute fool of herself, airing out how ignorant she is to the world unknowingly, delusional she is gifting us all this sweeping grandiose romantic lublubstory. All the living souls I know harbor varying degree of hatred towards her, those of you who honestly love her writing are dead to me. Her gender stifling shit is dipped in pretty jutting fake saccharine shards, watching her drama seriously is an 16 hour dental filling equivalent of drilling holes in brain. But who is going to weigh this in any seriousness, in the right mind.
2, 3 eps in nothing is unexpected watching a KES, so I call myself immune from further harm by her. The OST is painful too, so even as I watch this raw to protect myself from any unimaginable stupid from KES, I need to mute it for my hearing. Bottomline, this is draw by number predictable crap of SHK romancing SJK. In KES’ mental mind, she thought she is writing a fresh romance epic of a superhero safeguarding world peace with his GUNS and a brilliant life saving surgeon good with her SCALPELS. For the rest of sane world, this is simply SOONG JONG KI AND SONG HYE KYO!!! In CRAP SO GORGEOUS! That is not happening everyday on any screen. Who does not love SJK, he is criminally pretty and shockingly talented which still makes me jumpy how brilliant he could be his harmlessly perfect exterior could mislead. He is the only one in his gen I have seen elevating material every single time, Tree with Deep Roots was dimmer after he’s done with his character. I was one of the masses not feeling SHK even as of World’s Within. Overrated in looks and talent, enjoying such sweeping popularity unwarranted for. BUT since then she set her mind to work on her skills for real and showed me in some subtlety time and time again she is more than a doll with a face we can’t find fault scrutinizing obsessively and thus we jealously prejudiced against, berating what she is bringing to the table as an actress. She is not on my best actress list, but she has grown in competence and she speaks to me through jobs well done in lesser material. I could look past how distractingly unbelievably shoujo flawless her face, hair, makeup is in her character’s line of work. Amidst KES’ patented trololol stench, they both are earnestly putting out convincing job. That is all I am expected out of this to begin with, and they have exceeded my expectation being able to put some heart in KES’ soulless caricatures…when KES is taking on an even grander plate, the UN, hospital stuff is so craptastically hilarious of an embarrassment she should never contemplate, not having a clue of knowing her deplorable lack there of talent. She must be patting self she is trying at an OTP with a stronger competent female, an advancement for ladykind when even a KES will attempt some gender equality, as she must be freshly aware misogyny is not popular, ‘girl power’ is, just pathetic of her in what she regards as empowering. I see her effort in broader strokes of character construct, but she lets out her ugly sexist color in lesser scene with no self-aware, like when said lvlheaded surgeon resort to hairpulling catfighting because KES cant come up with adult conversing for females as she lost a promotion to a bimbo with connections… which is sickly fun for me, I never said I am not ebil, the KES special schadenfreude at its glory here.
Shallow!me is fine if this is just serving me this:
But in honesty, if I pull any capture, any gif out of the context of KES’ shiteous writing, I see some stunningly solid acting, more so by SJK, his babyface is still too boyish if a bit more chiseled post MS, reminding me too much of a baby’s bottom I have hots for shamelessly, yet he can do enough manlysmexiness with one intense poring, a cocky smile, a gaze at heroine and we are jolted this woman is all there is in front of him that moment, typical of a more palatable overbearing Guy1, SHK looks effortless as any fluff girl1, with a hint less damsel already:
Please Come Back Ahjussi
This is best fit in the OTT only a dorama could, but this is not bad. It is enjoyable in seeing Rain having so much fun showing off his body, admiring his own body, in a slapstick comedy. This is heavyhanded, and it is indecisive, wavering between delving more on philosophical pondering, or all out mindlessness. It is loudly boisterous, has enough predictable story to pay half an attention to, two ahjussis, died under circumstances, with their past baggage put to judge when being picked for Heaven or Hell, ended up given a second chance: Kim InKwan’s mousy character married to a too good for him Lee MinJung, is now occupying Rain’s smashing body, the fatherly Chep with a past headbutting with the nefarious crowd, for a first love who’s dumped him Kim SuRo is now the visual of the leggy Oh YeonSeo, the hijinks are usually what the 10 yo in me finds kneejerk funny…but I doubt it will amuse me enough to continue. Rain is not my type, but I have a soft spot for him since Sangdoo. Long time no see!
The Three Heroes and Five Gallants/ 五鼠闹东京
Oh ChenXiao, why are you soooo gorgeous and fun and addictive to watch and why are you only in C!R!A!P! This version of the well known story of the legendary cop Zhan Zhao, freshly annointed as the Imperial Tomcat/ emperor’s bodyguard with his impressive skills, and the ‘five mice’, gallants, robin hoods who take care of justice btw the cracks. Cat and Mouse join forces in a shipper paradise. Chen Xiao is a strange manboy in RL, the weirdo will whine the darnest, like if up to him, he would wanna be DongFangBuBai the most in Smiling Proud Wanderer, I bet he knew his trollboss yumama has revamped the villian as a lady. It is a peculiar case how talented an actor he is, he does not hide his personal read, thoughts and emotions towards a character, when he is in the most ridiculous crap, usu relating to senseless writing, and bizarrely terrible costars, his foul mood is palpable, in roles he adores and enjoys mining, he has the most fun inserting a lot of his preening confidence as a peacock here. Too many is ranting IF only he took up the role of XLN too in his Condor Heroes, there is nobody as befitting.
Oh yes, the hair, it has to be perfect.
But Bro5 is too dashing! *CX’s face is honestly lamenting that is too true and what a burden*
This should be the good old hero worship feel good story, but instead this comes off as aping a Steven Chow’s moleitau sitcom, endless jabbing at self and always full of nonsense. CX has never been shy his idol is Steven Chow and I see him taking every chance he could on screen to pay homage, first in his memorably brilliant Longmen Express cameo, then this. IT is bizarrely a guilty pleasure, so bad it’s good, but this is still not worth a watch for CX, sadly. He appears in minutes, or seconds and not in every episode. It is also not worthwhile sitting it for Yan YiKang, yes, he is always a fanfavorite face for any yummy period hero, but he has too much of that badboy comehither aura to play the upright legend.
Thanks to CX’s crazily rabid fanbase, there are endless gifs of his every twitch and he is out of this world glorious.
Shaw Eleven Lang/新萧十一郎
Another Yan YiKan period vehicle. I have settled with GuLong’s novels are impossible to adapt. IF loyally authentic, it would be so unsavory scaring off the aunties. For example we start off the story with heroine in novel married for a few years to the perfect Guy2 very in love with her and is with child but thought her life is too…predictable and Mr Shaw is the door to another exciting world in her eyes and her heart always wanders there, when decorum hits, she will dutifully swing back to her marriage, but when weaker, she will dash to her lover, wash rinse repeat. It is toned down a bit in the drama, but not much and when Guy2 turns berserk, you feel more for the devil than the damsel. If you discard the novel, this is watchable period romance for a few episodes, pace brisk, everyone doing their job well, even the Girl2 with a haphazardly stuck on plastic nose, but towards the middle, the meat of the story, it was crude and messily told and it falls apart spectacularly writing wise. I dropped it after 10 or so eps. This does not have a fraction of the production value/budget of a Nirvana on Fire, we get what we expected. Yan YiKan is gorgeous in a princess do. Zhu YiLong has an intensity reminding me of a young Tony Leung actually, their smaller frames are miserable misfit in period, can not hold up the do to be conveying any deft, but the young guy has an allure to him on screen, a fire that could blow up to lunacy with a spark like a Chen Xiao.
I have also given Imperial Doctress a few episodes, like MiYue, it is not watchable whatsoever for me. Both of them treat the audience as illiterate dumbos, while SunLi was traumatizing me in OTT bombing her role, LSS is horrifyingly off, I never thought there could be a day I could not watch an idolperiod because of her, she might never be good, but every role regressing?! Her exact job as Yan SanLiang would have been serving this stronger independent woman satisfyingly. I did not see this coming. I can not watch her trying, when she is a block of wood emotionless, I can tolerate…but when she is emoting, all hell breaks loose, overthinking every twitch unable to deliver one natural scene I almost want to reach into the screen and shake her to just breathe and be her usual self, I would rather watch LSS being RL LSS than a RuoXi impersonating a Ming doctress and failing embarrassingly.
I do not think WallaceH is much better. His mannerism is back to his old habits of bobbling head idol drama cadence line reading, which is befitting a Jin YuanBao of the silly romping of a period fluff Perfect Couple, but a Ming emperor?! When we are hammered the point this is a time of very stringent social mores, even a rebelling Crown Prince could not be talking like a rascal on a motorbike down TaiPei, right?!?! Huang Xuan is the only one giving his all in fine acting, when he is so full of admiration looking at Miss Doctress, that is all I see, all the nonsense of plot, dissipated. What a great young actor! Too bad he is not period idol pretty. The plot is insulting for me to sit through, other than Miss Doctress is the heroine MarySue, I only see her failing at her skills all the time and getting the world into trouble but they all love her. She is the cause of all historical events blablabla. Why pick this dark intense period of Ming and real bloody Kings and a lady ahead of time if you are gonna dumb everything down to the most conventional tiresome romance triangle?! WH’s prince/King is in history books an unsavory, shady, cause of mass murders and brother killing cruel callous ruthless person opposite of twirling in the snow bunnies and puppies. Yeah, lets talk about stringent Ming decorum where it is gonna to happen and romantic to have a lad and a lass un-betrothed, or betrothed for that matter dancing in the snow all handsy shall we?! <_<
Princess JieYou has breathtakingly gorgeous scenery, and the saturated coloring, the cinematography p0rn is quite blindingly dazzling. The three main male characters in the story are all attractive and the acting job is so fine by Yuan Hong, and esp Yuan WenKang, should make this a must watch…but I can not stand our Princess by ZhangXinYi. First there is the plastic surgery, my peeve, which I could overcome to an extent, but then there is the over the top cutesy, and the out of place modern mannerism. This is her first period, not every actor, no matter the potential is made out for a period, this must take work to embody and convey a walking human being so many centuries apart from us. I could not stand watching her without a frown….so I stop.
Loverboy has improved and rocks the Wusun tribesman look like nobody in C dramaland, oozing wild manly sex appeal in braids and exotic patterns, all the guys are. The story, the writing is the better one of the C periods out at the moment, until the later episodes which my pals alerted me the writers suddenly lost their marbles. Just me not able to hold on, this actually has very decent rating for CCTV, word of mouth praises as a solid drama, and a lot of babies have been complaining their parents have been owning the remote, keeping them from their trendier Cperiods. My verdict is try it out, it should not disappoint, and it is worth to take a note of some nice touches of directing by the talented young PD Lu Yang. I hope he trained himself a better eye casting befitting leading ladies for character, and work harder on the script.
In a few days, March 7th I would be glued to nothing but The Duke of Mount Deer 1984!!!!! The much talked about hits last years in TVB had been nothing but old reruns of its classic in wee hours, HKers actually stayed up addicted watching, chatting on FB next morning obsessed, depressing, but true. I had a ‘dvd’ set that I would grab if hit by natural disaster, but it is some 380p/vcd quality. I could dream TVB would be showing it in somewhat of a revamped HD?!?!!? This is my all time favorite wuxia TV adaptation, my first bromance OTP with Tony Leung and Andy Lau in still my all time favorite roles of them tbvh.
It was the days when Leslie Cheung would sing a TVB drama themesong: