13 May 2016

My Amazing Boyfriend Review

Chinese Title: 我的奇妙男友
Episodes: 28

Ehhhh. This is better than decent! I would have shoved this in a dark, dark corner if not for Janice Wu (or Wu Qian). She had played the younger Mo Sheng in My Sunshine and I had actually preferred her Mo Sheng over Tiffany Tang’s. Anyways, this drama is better known for being the remake of inspired by You From Another Star which just screams terrible to me. Normally, these remakes are cringingly embarrassing but this drama aims to be more than a frivolous attempt to attract the mass.

[Edit] Updated with ending remarks at the bottom
Note: Spoilers in comment section. Scroll with care.

First episode - basic setup // The love story

Tian Jing Zhi’s (Janice Wu) boyfriend #7, Xiao Yan (Fu Jia), dumps her after she daringly proposes to him. He confesses his heart lies with her other friend, like all of her other 6 ex-boyfriends. Her half-hearted suicide attempt is interrupted by a security guard who initially warns her against the notion (for the sake of his job and not her life) but after hearing her humiliating breakup story he’s like okay, yeah you deserve to die but she then chickens out. However, death calls upon her in another form; she gets in an almost-fatal car accidental. Non- miraculously, she survives with just a tiny bit of memory loss. 

Just in case you haven’t picked it up: she’s cursed from birth to suffer a life of misfortunes.

What happened after the car accident: she was saved by Xue Ling Qiao (Kim Tae Hwan) who was originally a museum specimen in the other car Tian Jing Zhi crashed into. She’s flung out of her car and would have died if her blood hadn’t awakened Xue Ling Qiao’s 400-year slumber. He kisses her to save her. So it’s like the story went from The Bloody Awakening of the Sleeping Beast to the original fairy-tale, Sleeping Beauty.

This kiss mingles their blood together so their hearts are now one, beating in synchronization. Well now, isn’t that romantic? So maybe she’s not that unfortunate. And so we begin her love story with a 500-year-old museum specimen… totally lucky.

Xue ling qiao’s past // The revenge story

This is the aftermath of a blazing fire
Um so he’s not some alien, he’s some genetically mutated beast. It’s got something to do with telomeres, telomerases, properties of cancerous cells. Basically it’s a genetic mutation that counters senescence. I’m so glad I watched this with English subtitles.

Some 400 years ago he’s infected by a deadly poison (rabies…?) and somehow magic happens and he’s become immortal. Bundled with immortality are super strength, incredible speed, heightened senses, and the ability to fly. However, someone had drained his blood hence the 400-year slumber.

Xue Ling Qiao’s purpose is to find the one who slit his throat to avenge himself. That’s not a lot of stake, but that’s the drama. In the mean time, he’s unconsciously falling in love with Tian Jing Zhi.

Xue Ling Qiao reminds be of Zhang Han.
But really, who is this Kim Tae Hwan?

The not-so-typical typical characterizations

She's starring at "abs"
(it's in quotations because he has none ^^")
Tian Jing Zhi is no top star, she’s a second-tier actress who’s aiming to be top notch but she’s got zero self awareness of how unrealistic that goal is. She honours herself as the actress whose famous for both her looks and lack of talent. She’s got none of that righteous trait; she doesn’t like to try hard; she bullies kids; she also sexually harasses her guy, etc. In other words, she’s not your typical heroine. By the way, I love the way she closes doors with her foot. I do that too but she’s clearly a pro.

Her mom’s strict but she’s not one bit hateful. The evil mom trope gets so much flak I think modern Cdramas avoid it completely. Either that or I’m naturally avoiding dramas with evil moms (most of the time).

Zhang Xuan Xuan (Shen Meng Chen), a top star, is her best friend. Instead of pretending only to be friends in front of the media, they are literally the best of friends who can even share ex-boyfriends. However, they get misunderstood by the media that they’re rivals who sabotage each other. So again, another against-the-type portrayal.

Basically other than the love story and revenge story, this drama is all about reversing the typical drama tropes (in both Cdramas and Kdramas).

Other characters
(I care about)

I like it when he smiles (:
Li Yan Zhi or Xiao Yan (Fu Jia)
He’s got the type of look I like: the good boy type who works hard. Oh whatever, I like him because he’s good looking. Even though he dumped Tian Jing Zhi, it’s obvious he still loves her. And even though this drama likes to go against the typical, they do the typical. He’s got the deadly cancer. However, it’s actually a nice plot device for this drama because Xue Ling Qiao has the ability to cure him but then there comes the issue of morality (yet he cures Tian Jing Zhi all the time…).   

Zhang Xuan Xuan (Shen Meng Chen)
Although Janice Wu is the queen of humour, Shen Meng Chen is doing her best in Janice’s shadow. I enjoyed her “top actress performance” in the drama within the drama. It was nicely over-acted. Her romantic bits with Ye Chen is also cute to watch.  

Ye Chen (Xu Ke)
He’s Tian Jing Zhi’s ex-boyfriend #6. How come I don’t get to know why he and Tian Jing Zhi broke up? I always thought him cheating on Tian Jing Zhi would be clarified as a misunderstanding but they just left it like that. The cheating issue was treated so lightly, I ended up forgetting it and then fully supporting him and his romantic endeavours with Zhang Xuan Xuan... It helps that their romance adds nothing pivotal to the drama other than loads of cuteness.

...However, sometimes I find Ye Chen and Xiao Yan waaaay cuter. xD

Feng Dong Dong (Yang Aro)
He had me laughing out loud when was jealous of Xue Ling Qiao being kind to another woman.

He's Tian Jing Zhi's manager but he's really a comedic duo with her. 

Overall review

I love her posture
Initially, this drama was fresh, fun, and easy to digest. I was pleasantly surprised at the scientific background to explain Xue Ling Qiao’s existence. There are no obvious plot holes and that’s a huge plus in a drama centered around silliness. Most importantly, the cast was great at acting. Even though Kim Tae Hwan probably doesn’t know a word of Mandarin, it didn’t matter because dubbing can do wonders and his role didn’t require much anyways. He simply needed to look cool. Check! And check out that adorable wink. 

The problem with this drama and with most other dramas is that “fresh and fun” is hard to maintain. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, it loses that aspect near the middle teens of the drama when it tries to be serious. Y’know with the I-love-you-but-I-can’t-love-you or I-love-you-but-I-need-to-leave-you sort of stuff. Yawn.

Then there's the romance. Janice Wu is extremely adorable but – yes here comes the but – she lacks that emotional depth. She can stare googly-eyed at Xue Ling Qiao and it’s cute but that’s it. It’s because I love her that I even bother pointing this out. I’d say she’ll definitely improve but this type of love story might be out of her capabilities at the moment. Nonetheless, she still owned her character. 

(Side note: She's supposed to be 28 years old in this drama...someone tell me I'm misinformed...)

The above should not take you away from watching the drama if you're looking for something mindlessly enjoyable. Yes it does drag but hey, there's only 28 episodes, the drag can't possibly drag that long. Honestly, the trajectory of the plot is much more realistic than I had anticipated and I think that's a plus. I want to pat the drama on its back for tackling the seriousness among the silliness. This drama wasn't heart-stoppingly amazing but it did outperform my expectations. If you have nothing else to watch, this is definitely a good one to get a few laughs from (and well. there's nothing you could hate about this OTP).

[Edit] A note on the ending: I really like it. There's no sarcasm, no jokes, I really do like it. Just when I thought it was going the typical route, the unexpected springs up. It got me thinking about a lot of things and I'm even getting Twilight vibes. LOL Oh dear. Try not to read this if you don't want spoilers. I usually spoil myself when I'm getting bored of the drama so I knew the open ending was coming up but the last few episodes made me appreciate this drama once again. It makes sense why Xue Ling Qiao would choose to go into his hideout and give up spending the rest of her life together; he's a stickler for his principles and he believes that's the best way to protect the woman he loves. Had the ending stopped there, I would have been a little disappointed but the drama returns to its roots and be the "fun and fresh" it was. Tian Jing Zhi never lost hope in Xue Ling Qiao and that's just so true to her character. I love Tian Jing Zhi's petty tactics to lure him back (e.g. letting the media think she has tons of lovers when they're only her cousins. I might be extrapolating too much here but I think Tian Jing Zhi could have searched for him on her own since he did take her to his hideout in the woods but she chose not to because she wanted to respect his decisions and yet wanted him to return to her on his own.

Going back to my Twilight reference, Bella became a vampire after she was pregnant with Edward's child...and a ton of things happen in the middle but eventually it's a happy ending, eventually. The drama was definitely hinting of Tian Jing Zhi's pregnancy (which means he did it with her without her knowing and without owning up to it... that's not cool Xue Monster..!) and it's possibly because of that little fetus growing within her that's giving her the powers to instantaneously heal. Aaaaaaand! To think that the drama had actually been hinting at her pregnancy since the moment she used that excuse to explain (and keep) Xue Ling Qiao's presence to her parents is mindbogglingly for me. Since when was this drama that smart? I think it's safe to say this is definitely a happy ending. I don't mind it following the Twilight route but I don't want a pack of wolves in the second season if there is one. [/Edit]

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