Now Watching: June 2016

I have recommendations. DearMyFriends and ShaolinWenDao are owning my soul. There is also  MUST WATCH Glorious C wuxia classic loveliness.

鹿鼎記/ Duke of Mount Deer 1985

is still the smartest wuxia ever, after numerous rewatches, it owns my highest compliment. And just for a taste of what the most glorious days of TVB wuxia was like in the 80s, some angels eng subbed (no idea how long it will be available) a 30+year old HKdrama!  That has never happened, subs are passably decent, losing most of the cantonese lingo smartassery , but for the enjoyment of the sharpest storytelling of most unlikely wuxia hero, or frankly a douchebag we have grown to care, penned by The reigning master of genre still,  Mr LouisCha, and not losing much greatness (i would argue it improved on editing from the original) in the adaptation (impossible in the decades since…),  it has the super young and brightly talented already Tony Leung and Andy Lau, drop everything and enjoy and savor!

少林问道/Shaolin Wen Dao  

This is my anticipated Cdrama, and it spares no time diving into the wretched angst abyss.  Friends, sworn brothers are killing each other’s family, out of loyalty, obligation, filial piety…pace is subdued and a tad slow allowing pauses for your own contemplation, lines are of enigmatic zen locution…it demands a lot from viewer to engage.   The production value is indisputable, only lament: it is in crappy quality airing only locally, unable to land a nationwide cable syndication.  I care about good writer, good acting, good directing, in that order and could forgo the visual dazzle when I could hope of having the trifecta, this is already promising me 2 episodes in.   Theme is karma, reaping what you sow, the human torture of weighing morality, honor, loyalty and love… pathos galore in first 2 episodes already and I have to hang on that visual of hero alive, grew old from the first scene.

Story is set in Ming JiaJing Emperor’s 40 some years’ reign, a most colorful megalomaniac emperor deserving copious adjectives: controversial, cruel, self-aggrandizing, rebellious, revolutionary, rogue, ambiguous, fiercely smart, scarily inscrutable, deranged, delusional, anarchistic, hedonistic… just never dull.  His unconventional rule gave rise to the usual social venoms of corruption and iniquitous factions, the most notorious:  Yan Clan.  Imagine my delight to see Mr. 张志坚, the Yan son from Ming Dynasty 1566 reprising his role as some nefarious Yan member again.  And Mr. 冯嘉怡 from 2 of my fav C dramas (Grow Up, Dwelling Narrowness) reminds me of the awesomeness of 刘冠成 as a gentle wise seer in Of Monks and Masters (<3333).   Needless to say lives of the common folks r wrung through the wringer most tragically.

Ep1, first scene: we meet an elder monk, instructing his baby apprentice LiaoXin (end. heart.) to swipe repeatedly, and a nun:

…Our hero and heroine, with a past of young man and lady.  Apprentice is fussing over his endless chore of dusting the monastery ground…where it is spotless already.    There is nothing to sweep.  Nun scatters  a handful of ashes from the urn:  It is now cleansed.

Monk:  LiaoXin, give thanks to Great Master for her lesson.

*An obsession, to sweep the grounds spotless so as to put an end to the chore, is a mortal obstruction.  As dust persists, the sweeping is endless, no finality, construing inner peace.  She, is an obsession he lets go, dust fluttering within. *

这个世界是美好的,活在这个世界上是快樂的。  The world is beautiful.  It is blissful to be alive in it.   Her last words before departing world, asking for solitude her last breathing hours, at his monastery.

Her last words…echoing the monk in drama’s preview, younger, groaning:

佛陀在走之前说,这世界真美好,我没見到.   Buddha said, before he left this world,  the world is really beautiful, I have not seen.

败火僧/Fire. Distinguishing. Monk. A character so magnificent in wisdom he is personifying inhuman beauty in his every word every utterance.

These glorious veterans plainly showing off.

見或不見,成住坏空

To see or never meet.  Impermanence, as existence is ever forming, growing, decaying and vanishing.

Drama is arresting, emotionally consuming. Lots of tear, ceaseless painful angst…time very well spent.

I am still watching Oh Hae Young Again, grinning at some cute, feeling for our HY… but I have reset my expectation as this is solid, better than average, ie heartbroken disappointed it seems hopeless to stay a spazzworthy favorite of mine.  Writer needs ample work on how she has been doing spectacularly: how to revamp the cliched tropes, as is, it is entire episode of noble idiocy of IHaveAnEric!2BlindAllfangirlsofSenseandLogic.  It was so earnest, the emotional turbulence our protagonists were put through in the first, 7, 8 episodes, but as more shit hits fan relentlessly, it got tiresome when characters are stagnant or I should say regressing to cliches… gone is the fresh keen acute sense of self and sensitivity to own feelings first even when beat down…and I lost my patience.  I cease to care about PDK, yes, Eric.  Past childhood trauma, dysfunctional family, his own psych problem, did not stop him from a steady serious enough engagement with OtherHY and as cleanly stepping out of it recently, one drunken mistake with guilt blown out of proportion by now, and used as THE pivotal contrived hindrance…is stupid and lazy writing.   He consciously, cautiously made the decision with as much information of his own demise and demons to be with HY and just a day later and THE reveal… only difference being HY found out and is hurt by him LYING, he is leaving her cold because he loves her?!  Where is the missing person, great listener, the quite sensible, considerate, sensitive if not most talkative PDK?!  And being in some mad self-sacrificing love for HY, demands him to keep shoving her away so as not to hurt her further of some doom looming that was NOT new, WHILE actively hurting her tonnes,  leaving her literally curbside extremely visibly devastated by HIM and walk the F off scene… is jerky, which personally has happened to me and an ex in the heat of a spat and I still remembered extremely vividly HOW the walking off pissed me off irreversibly the most and the dude was dumped shortly after. However outrageous she is acting out, it is ugly, but still understandable… PDK left her there, shattered when many eons ago, not yet at this professed stage of romance he would dash to her, crossing the street dazed, he is just simply being an excuse of a supreme noble idiot.  This is not cohesive character building, writer.  Hurts more when I have seen you exponentially better in the perfect ILICDD.  The rushed/lackluster writing is what I am crying about, not PDK, not even HY.   I am speechless writer resorted to stuffing OtherHY back in that old stale complacent bitch Girl2 egomaniac mold.   Even if TJ has a shady business and he was mostly at fault hurting HY with his stupidest words, PDK owes him a simple apology for provoking the FUp, BEFORE being some yup noble idiot of getting things level for hurting HY, even just saying those 3 words to alleviate some of his woeful guilty conscience.  PDK is no longer interesting to watch because all I have seen his mopings/thoughts of last 2 eps have been to serve the purpose of me chanting ohmmmssss there is still 6 eps, to drag out.  As is, he is a bit too full of it, following his thought processing he said out loud explaining, saying I love you helps nothing yet his ‘I am sorry’s are THAT worthy falling on HY’s ears and she should be better after he opens his preciously zipped off mouth unless to raise his voice to holler back his frustration at HY while she is shock in distress in public because he freaking LIED.   That, and to give us beautiful moping wallies:

It saddens me I do not care as much as I should for HY as well, SHJ is still perfect and channeling me ALL HY’s heartache, every scene flawless, but rationally, it is inconceivable a woman with resourceful spunk despite beaten down all her life harboring an inferiority complex she copes ok with normally, just resorts to being shamelessly hopelessly in love as the only life-safer and really for a very pitiable gorgeous but unworthy guy, over the course of a few months where you were consumed with thoroughly betrayed by love.  Yes, succumbing to an infatuation, a fling at your most fragile, it’s very human…but you have agencies: loveliest friends and family and a job you like enough to focus and divert energies to, away from a dude you have just known a short while in the scope of your entire lifetime and has not been honest nor open nor accepting you when, most heartbreakingly, he USED TO be: great listener, available to you emotionally and accepting the entire you even if out of pity/love…whatever.  And I hate HY being petty and acting out her frustration with cringeworthy aggressions and ALWAYS transferred to dumped on OtherHY and beating the shite out of the dudes responsible never crosses her mind much.  And being a whiny child cursing others to be in as much grief possible, as if he would suffer her exact pain… she should know in her shoes, SUCKS SO BAD to just be thrown out over a blow up resolving NOTHING.   Nothing is ringing earnest, real enough to evoke much in me anymore.

 

余罪/Yu Zui 

From Yu Zui’s own intro:

好人当不了警察,因为善良在作奸犯科的人看来,是一种可笑的懦弱。 Good guys can’t be cops, because kindness to the eyes of criminals is a laughable weakness.

我很不幸,不是一个善良,也不是一个懦弱的人,那些千奇百怪的犯罪,形形色色的罪犯,成了我生活的一部分。我不得不像他们一样思考,不得不像他们一样行事,因为我无时无刻都在绞尽脑汁地想着,如何抓住他们。  Too bad I am not kind, nor weak, and the plethora of outrageous crimes and criminals have become a part of my life.  I must think like them, and act like them, because I am occupying my mind incessantly on how to catch them.
我叫余罪,我是刑警,这是我的故事,一个迷茫、困惑、冲动、激烈的故事
My name is Yu Zui, I am a detective.  This is my story.  A dazed, bewildering, impulsive and fierce story.
张一山/Zhang YiShan  is 24 years old a veteran, a famous child actor, a half of the kiddo OTP along with YangZi in a some super popular C family drama of the 90s I have not seen myself.  Here he is claiming his throne as THE C best actor of his generation, scarily talented.  I have only seen an episode, but I know I could watch this in entirety no matter to be floored by this young man.
 I like you. I love you!
 

好先生/To Be a Better Man

我管你  I will take care of you.
穷鬼,你养得起嘛  Bum, how can you afford it? 

 Moms are watching, aunts are watching.  This reminds me so much of One Servant, Two Masters.  The cast are all very capable actors, and plot seems breezy fun and heartwarming.  I have heard there are a lot of manic shipping of Uncles here and I wanna join!

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8 thoughts on “Now Watching: June 2016

  1. ❤ Love from another blogger. So happy to see someone else watching Yu Zui! It is such a great drama and totally underrated because of the huge amount of dramas right now and because this drama is airing online via VIP IQiYi before anywhere else. This drama is so good and I already watched the first twelve episodes, anticipating season 2! Zhang Yishan is a true masterpiece and he totally blows me away. Oh did he mature in his acting in the last few years. I wish him to hit big soon!
    ps; yop, my family is watching TBABM too and apparently it is funny and interesting!

    1. I have never seen Zhang Yishan, only heard of him. He is not a looker XD but gosh sooooo magnetic on screen I can’t take my eyes away from him instantaneously. I only watched an ep but it is obvious he is crazy good.

      Lovely to know drama stays good! The premise is quite fresh too for Cdrama a delinquent punk turning detective/mole is not exactly politically correct

      I am starting TBABM today, hope it joins the few well made C contemporary last few years (not Ode of Joy!)

      1. Haha, please, I had a crush on him when I was younger (we are nearly the same age)! Joke. I also feel sorry he didn’t grow as well as Wu Lei did, but I mean, his acting deserves all the praises in my book. I watched him on Home with Kids (the sitcom) and he was great as a child actor already!
        I know! Such a magnet. So many other good looking dudes in the drama, but he definitely takes center in the whole drama and captivates you to watch every episode! I also totally didn’t expect the story when I first started watching, but this is so worth it!!
        Same, still need to watch TBAM and hope the story stays interesting until I watch it hehe.

        1. Goodness gracious he is one kickass bamf. My jaw is shattered on floor watching him, finished S1 in one day now onto S2. he must be in anything and everything i watch fr now on till forever. Oh WuLei the likes r too alright vanilla for my taste anyway. He reminds me of HuangBo, whom exuberant talent/skill is the best transformative cosmetic surgery for an actor. And he is fking 24! ! ! Pretty sure HB wasnt half as gd same age. It is giving me hives thinking how far up this kiddo can go IF they dare to give him chances. Fear and run and hide and quit all u 20sth or under (or over) C actors.

          Some darling ul his 家有兒女 cut. Guess what i will be wasting away w

  2. I was totally NOT getting DK in ep 11… yes HY was pushy and freaking out on him but that’s how she deals with conflict every time– vocal, straightforward, a bit immature. But really? What’s this immaturity here of “I said sorry so many times but she won’t forgive me and asks me to kneel in public” BS of hurt pride? I felt lost about the character… but along came ep 12. Maybe I was just really slow the whole time, but when DK cries in HY’s empty apartment it just hit me– how depressed of a person DK was. Others have mentioned it but I don’t think I ever took it seriously– I mean I get it, the guy lost his dad traumatically, his mom is just terrible, and he was jilted at the altar. So he’ s more withdrawn, had unresolved anger, and poker-faced… but other than that he hid it really well because he was very functional. He hid it so well that I only took it as HY, as upfront and open about her emotions, convinced him that he needed to move on from his anger/hurt feelings. Only when things broke down with HY did I see that HY literally was his lifeline out of his well-hidden depression. I don’t mean it in a romantic way either because the whole situation is SO unhealthy. It’s like you take him a few feet up from the well and plunge him into the depths again– his depression couldn’t be hidden anymore.

    I feel like the writer likes to repeat certain words… Like how many times have other characters and us viewers asked why the heck does DK mind so much about his friggin pride? Interesting thing is that they all ask him “What’s the big deal with being EMBARRASSED?” Hoon, JS… they all asked him. For some reason, it seems to be such a touchy subject for him… and finally in ep 12 we see it… His mom’s disdain for SJ and Hoon– “Don’t come to my wedding… you both are too EMBARRASSING. I only want DK to come.” And after the big fight with CEO Jang’s daugter: “That was so EMBARRASSING! It’s so EMBARRASSING! Why did you do that?” I haven’t quite figured out how it happened yet, but somehow this unhealthy label put by his mom of being NOT embarrassing, him alone out of the 3 siblings– this has seriously gotten to his head. He doesn’t scorn other people like his mom does… but he desperately feels a need to maintain the status quo….

    HY-ah~ HY-ah~ I love your courage in facing your emotions and talking about them in ways I’d never dare to… but you need to get out of your funk. I really wish they didn’t romanticize HY’s… heartbreak so much. Yes she loves DK, but she loved TJ too… and she was still functioning much better than this when the wedding fell through. So in that sense it’s not JUST about “losing” someone she loves, but that her identity was being rocked… it’s more about “when will I ever get out of NoHY’s shadow and be valued for myself?” and less about “I can’t help but love him, my brain wants to but my heart won’t listen weeps*” (oh the drama) HY-ah… I need to see you NOT weeping/catatonic all the time and DO SOMETHING…. (ok… so she dressed like a rebel and then went back to her old place asking for a delayed breakup… but to me the zombie-ing dragged out a bit too much) on that end, it’s like HY and DK switched: I get one of them in one episode, but lose her and understand the other one in the next episode.

    Oy vey… so much unhealthy stuff going around here…

    1. Good points. Always fun chatting dramas w u!

      I have given his depression good consideration all along but still the shutting HY out, breaking up w her this abruptly when she is freshly hurt by the reveal, when he has a lovely apology worked in head to be said out loud begging her to stay with him no matter…which HY is, even without him saying… It just comes across to be as wrought and contrived. I am just frustrated with the writing, what I constructed in mind of PDK, is not pride/embarrassment overwhelming his actions, but the utter fear of confrontation. He is living his life as his Dad, in his shadows and fr that lil scene of young DK witnessing younger Mom sparring at Dad, Dad’s approach was also evasion/passive aggressively ignore brushing aside, cold shoulder a clearly agitated Mom frustratingly begging for attention from her husband. It couldve been Dad being more an artist than successfully a breadwinner, ’embarrassment’ to Mom, quite a movie star, that brought on the stilted dynamics, and Dad mustve been harboring some inferiority…and how gutsy HY has been braving embarrassments is what DK fell in love for. As I said, even DK in his depressive stupor could have figured it out, he has been functioning and this additional weight of the reveal shouldnt tip him over to the passive aggression of shutting her out. If he puts it in his words what transpired, it was a honest, very stupid mistake, and opens up slightly about his Dad/Mom or just therefore he is inept handling confrontations thus unable to be honest with her earlier, his fault, not again she is too pitiable thus forcing him to lie by omission. HY would have an explanation to hold onto and some release of her pent up frustration, as is he is adding oil to fire instead, DK is dumping frustration, raising his voice at sucha insensitive time as if she is not trusting him he was gonna fess up today, of all the days he didnt previously. The HY in my mind wouldnt be as devastated by his stupid revenge, mistakening her for OtherHY then was understandable, even the lying by omission all the while out of pity, was a hurt he has given her some immunity last pushing her away… but it was at this trying time, after they just started dating, braving it all and she mustve keenly rem he has issues w his Dad’s death, his Mom she overheard, she is prepared to hang on, but he wont let her in, it is the shutting her out NOW that is most hurtful. I dun find the characters hard to understand, I just dislike it is obviously the writing dragging them down. The episode just could have been much better thought out addressing all these entanglements.

      1. LOL i know… it’s so funny that the viewers have to work SO HARD to fill in the blanks for the characters when the writer really is the one responsible for developing all of that. I don’t think what DK is doing to HY is right, but realizing the degree of his depression (previously high functioning depression is the word) has helped me to somewhat understand where all this weird behavior was coming from. I think also it’s just he was just about to take more healthier ways of dealing with this relationship (going for it without shrinking back, coming out honest with HY) the rug was pulled away from under his feet and so he snapped back into the unhealthy/depressive behavior from before, if not worse. Again, this is all SO unhealthy I wish I can hop in there and refer poor DK to a BETTER therapist than that friggin quack of his. Maybe HY can go see that therapist too hahaha. But seriously… why are we being forced to see all of this as somehow romantic? It completely boggles my mind….

        The writing/tone definitely felt really weird these two episodes. I seriously wanted to throw my keyboard at the screen when they ruined the mood with ep 12 ending scene. like COM’ON that scene with the quack was so friggin unnecessary. DK could have had that whole decision announcement convo inside his own head. He could have called JS for goodness sake if he needed moral support, not like JS didn’t have enough understanding of what was going on. But no, instead we have that crazy, comical? quack ruining the whole mood/flow… lesigh

        =) I love our drama chats just as much as you do hehe

        1. Tbvh the writing is still decent all things considered esp ratings and time constraints… i feel like Eric is just underperforming here. What true chemistry is about, between two actors, is none of those real to reel shipping bullcrap which i also love to be silly playing w sometimes… but elevating performances. Eric only has this intangible magic w Jung YuMi, Seo HyunJin is flawless every scene, extremely spot on her part, but no amount of very hot kisses or intimacy btn these characters are sparking anything impressive acting wise fr Eric Mun bouncing back and forth.

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