20 May 2016

With You [最好的我们] Episode 1

Chinese Title: 最好的我们 (Literal translation: The Best of Us)
Episodes: 24 (2 eps/week)

Here I go again with another school based drama. It’s about a boy unconditionally in love with the class’s dumbest girl. If you’re wondering whether the boy happens to be one of the smartest guys in class, Bingo! Already the setup is soooooo old but I caaaaaan’t help it! I LIKE IT. What do I do? I recap.

If I can work out my weak spot like it’s a muscle, trust me guys, I’d do it. I got this incredibly weak, flabby spot for dramas with this kind of nostalgic ambiance. There really has been so many school-based dramas but this one just naturally stood out to me. It wasn’t showy, nothing overly dramatic; the characters were just down to earth. 

August 14, 2004

Geng Geng and her friends are sneaking into the school to watch the Olympics (where Liu Xiang, a Chinese athlete, takes the gold in the Men’s 110m Hurdles). As she’s climbing the school’s wall she almost slips but Yu Huai catches her wrist. Smiling at each other, he pulls her up.

There’s more hurdles yet to come. A security camera stalls them in the corridor but Yu Huai has a plan: he piggybacks Geng Geng while she’s hiding both their faces so although they’re caught on camera, their faces aren’t. Only problem is Geng Geng sucks at giving proper directions to Yu Huai whose blinded by her hands.

When they finally manage to sneak into the classroom that has the television, the television isn’t working. No worries, smarty boy Yu Huai has the solution but then the campus polices are onto them now. One of their friends want to chicken out but he gets threatened by one of the girls. I think these two are a potential pair. A scaredy-cat and a tomboy sounds perfect to me.

While everyone states their personal stances on staying or leaving, Yu Huai and Geng Geng are the only ones who don’t. Instead Yu Huai asks Geng Geng if she’s finished watching, meaning he’ll leave only if Geng Geng wants to. Geng Geng answers echoes his feelings; she’ll follow him. Aw. So they’re both staying.

It’s nerve-wracking both for watching the race and for being almost caught but when Liu Xiang (the athlete) crosses the finish line first, every worry is cast aside and our two main leads don’t even realize they’re caught in an embrace. It's an awkward separation when they to realize. 

They all dash out of the classroom, evading the campus police, but Yu Huai makes sure Geng Geng is right next to him. Even though she’s hobbling (because she twisted her ankle earlier), Yu Huai doesn't leave her. While escaping, Yu Huai asks her which department, science or literature, she’ll enroll in.

Geng Geng: Is this important? Especially now.                           
Yu Huai: Of course it’s important. We promised to always sit beside each other.
Geng Geng can’t contain her smile. 

And then the music kicks in. Oh man. I’m sold!

Geng Geng narrates: Many years later when I reminisce my high school days I’d always remember that night with our hand in hand, hastily running under the moonlight. The him back then was the best him but only after many years later was I the best me. The best of ourselves was separated by a period of youth. No matter how we ran, we could not beat our youth.

episode 1: karma

August 31st, 2003

We rewind a year and are re-introduced to Geng Geng (Tan Song Yun; you may recognize her from The Whirlwind Girl). Her name is an odd one (for how it sounds) but she loves her name because it’s the combination of her mom and her dad’s name and loves her name even more so because her parents are divorced. :(

It’s the first day of high school and she happened to get into a really prestigious one, Zhen Hua. Instead of feeling elated, she’s a little bit deflated because she’s worried about karma. Apparently, it was all luck that she got into Zhen Hua because the difficulty level of the exam that year was scaled down tremendously which is why she got in. Now she's afraid she's used up all her luck and fate has set up all these atrocities for her. 

The second she finishes her thought, karma has introduced herself. Somehow Geng Geng’s camera is stranded between behind a fence. She squeezes her head and hand in between the bars to retrieve it but now both her and the camera is stuck behind the fence. A boy stops by because his basketball accidentally hits her bum. He laughs at her but helps her retrieve her camera as he easily maneuvers between the fence. Geng Geng is jealous of his small head.

She desperately begs him to help her out too and he laughs at her helplessness. He tries with all his might to pull out her head but gives up and calls her head big. Then he does the unthinkable and kicks the fence and that does the trick, Geng Geng’s head is free. She would have been much more grateful if he hadn’t been so violent because a lot of things could have gone wrong there… But whatever, I love the boy when he laughs!

Geng Geng goes to check which classroom she’s in and there she meets the boy again. The boy laughs when he finds the name “Geng Geng” next to his name, which is Yu Huai (Liu Hao Ran). He’s not laughing at the name per se but more for the combination of their names. Together, “Geng Geng Yu Huai”, sounds like the Chinese idiom for “taking troubles to heart”, not the happiest of all idioms, but hey, I still like the coincidence. He doesn’t know yet she’s actually Geng Geng but when she shows up next to him at his desk they both whine at each other’s annoying presence.

Before she leaves class, she falls on top of him after being knocked over by a bigger kid. After that awkward exchange, she mistakenly grabs his bag which has lead to a morning of disaster. There’s a military training the next day but neither of them show up in their uniforms because she has his uniform and he has hers. Geng Geng tries to explains the situation to the most annoying teacher (Pang Yuan Sheng) but he ignores her and she’s forced to wear Yu Huai’s oversized uniform and he too is forced to wear her uncomfortably tight uniform.

Mr. Pang is checking bags and when it’s Geng Geng’s turn, Yu Huai silently begs her to not reveal what’s in his bag (since she has his bag). She’s loyal but Mr. Pang still finds the cassette player in the bag and confiscates it. At that moment Yu Huai raises his hand to clarify to Mr. Pang but he ends up ripping his her uniform. With that smirk at the end, I’m not sure he felt apologetic at all.

Finally, there’s a chance to change their uniforms and they do so in the girl’s washroom. They’re in the stall right beside each other. She forces him into throwing all of his clothes to her first but he remains stubborn on the pants; he wants some of his clothes back too. All the squabbling stops when someone else flushes the toilet in the other stall. LOL. Later when she discovers the hole in her armpit she gets angry at him and throws his coat far from his stall. Haha. I got a little afraid their clothes would end up in the toilet.

After they’ve changed their uniforms, every time Geng Geng does her salute, Yu Huai’s having trouble controlling his laughing fit.

Xu Yan Liang
It’s lunch time and Yu Huai shoves his way in front of her and takes up all the remaining meat. Eh! She sulks at her plate of veggie but a nice kid, Xu Yan Liang (Zhao Qi Heng), comes by and shares his food with her. Then Yu Huai comes along and tells Yan Liang the teacher has been looking for him and so Yan Liang leaves. Har, har, har. Eye brow raises, anyone? Nice deflection there, Yu Huai. 

Rightfully, he takes the seat in front of her and attempts to share his meat with her but she stubbornly refuses it. So what’s a boy to do when the girl he loves is rejecting his kindness of offering food? Steal her food. The soundness in that logic baffles me.

Jian Dian (left), Jiang Nian Nian (middle)
Training begins again and the girls are trying to avoid it so they collectively pretend to faint. The idea was suggested by Jiang Nian Nian (Dong Qing) and all the girls follow suit. The hoax was deemed for failure until Yu Huai helps Geng Geng fool the lieutenants. Their teamwork proves to be successful and the girls get their rest. She becomes friends with Jiang Nian Nian and Jian Dan (Chen Meng Xi) but she can’t be dilly-dallying here because she promised Yu Huai to retrieve his cassette player after he had threatened her with her camera (her camera was with him because of that bag switcharoo).

She searches for the cassette player in the store room but she’s caught by another student who was trying to take a nap. He really doesn’t care what she was in there for except that she was interrupting his sleep. Must he back her against the shelf and do the hand slam thing?

Mr. Pang punishes the girls for pretending to faint and one of them pushes all the blame onto Geng Geng for being the first one to faint. Woooooooow. I’m glad Mr. Pang doesn’t single out on punishing Geng Geng.

Later that night Yu Huai and Zhou Mo were so bored they decided to make a bonfire to roast figs. Geng Geng walks into them and threatens to tattle if Yu Huai doesn’t return her camera. Yu Huai adamantly refuses (because what else can he use as an excuse to talk to her?).

Instead Zhou Mo bribes her with roasted figs and it works. Her expression lights up when she takes her first bite at this foreign food and Yu Huai smiles at her enjoying the fig. It's luuuuurve. 

Yu Huai is actually a naughty boy despite his great grades. Geng Geng comments on that irony and he immediately glooms over. He says he doesn’t study just because he’s in school, he has a dream and that’s to be a physicist in the States. Why the States? Does he have family trouble he wants to escape from or something?

He offers the last fig to Geng Geng (it’s probably the most straight-forward and kindest things he’s done to her this entire episode) and the boys are off to find more while she’s in charge of keeping the fire going. Before he leaves her, he promises to return the camera tomorrow. Shortly after though, she gets caught by Mr. Pang. When he confronts her who else was with her, she’s like a muted rabbit caught in the claws of her predator.

Bravely, Yu Huai interrupts his scolding at Geng Geng and shoulders all the blame. He glances at Geng Geng, giving her a comforting lopsided smile. However, Mr. Pang insists on punishing them both to clean the floor boards of the store room. Yay! (Meanwhile Zhou Mo slyly escapes the penalty)

As they’re cleaning the floor, Geng Geng crumples and cries on her knees. She did suffer quite a bit today and I think her sorrows are more from being singled out by the girls. She stops crying for a moment and notices Yu Huai cleaning her portion of the floor for her and smiles at it.

After cleaning the floor, they sit together to write the apology letter and that’s when Geng Geng asks him why he helped her. He thought she meant with the cleaning but she meant why he shouldered the blame. Uhh, because he is the one to blame?

He says it’s because she was stupid; if she was trapped in here alone, she’d cry herself to death. Then he nags her that she should have just exposed him to Mr. Pang.

Since they’re in the storage, she suddenly remembers about his cassette player and he lies to her for a bit about not finding it just to see her shocked expression. Boys will be boys. He found it the moment they were locked in here and shares his earphones with her.

Yu Huai: For the past two days I almost couldn’t sleep without listening to this song.
Music: There was someone who loved you for so long (Jay Chou’s Sunny Day)

Heh. If their moments are this good already what is going to happen to me for the rest of the drama?


This episode is about karma but it’s not all bad, I’d say it’s not bad at all. Yu Huai helps her retrieve her camera, she, er, helps him retrieve his cassette player (by getting them both punished). Well, she does help him find his love: her! ^^

I really like Yu Huai. He has that crush on her that makes him bully her. Having seen Episode 2, the bullying doesn’t last long (I like that and I don’t like that). I have to give it to him for following his feelings pretty well for being the male lead because they're notorious for denying their feelings. As much as I like the OTP, I don’t know why on earth he’d like her. She does have one defining appeal to her: her loyalty. She has never betrayed/back-stabbed anyone, not when Mr. Pang was confiscating the cassette player, not when she was blamed for fainting, and especially not when she was caught for making the bonfire. Every time she just sucked up the blame. That's admirable (and dumb) but I hope there’s more to why he loves her, maybe he saw her before? I just need a more substantial reason for my brain to feel better about loving this OTP.

I didn’t mention much about the parents so I’ll do that here: they’re divorced but I think mom still cares for dad meanwhile dad is ready for another marriage. Geng Geng seems to lean towards her mom more even though mom is all about work. It saddens me to see her mom hang up on her  so coldly. A little off topic but I think Dad made a small remark on Fan Bing Bing’s character in My Fair Princess about her never being able to become famous. Heh. 

I like how the drama started off with watching the hurdle race. Yes, it was a defining moment in 2004 but the race had more meaning than that. During Geng Geng’s narrations, she refers back to the race by saying no matter how fast they run, they can’t beat their youth. Then throughout this episode Geng Geng and Yu Huai had to overcome “hurdles” together and because of that, the two have gotten much closer. I think hurdles will be a running theme. 

Naming is another obvious theme. First with how Geng Geng's name came to be and how Geng Geng and Yu Huai's name match. Moreover, for all the characters their individual names also reflect their personality. “Geng Geng” means bright or honest; “Yan Liang” (the chubby one) means something like “delay to shine” (i.e. he might experience a great change after puberty); “Nian Nian” (the tomboy) means “annually” (to me that sounds like she’s dependable just like how every new year must come); “Zhou Mo” sort of means “weekend” (which I’d take it as he likes to play); “Jian Dan” (pigtail girl) means simple (i.e. she’s simple). Her name is sad. Everyone except “Yu Huai” has a meaning and I assume the reason for that is because his name needed to match Geng Geng to make up that saying “to take troubles to one’s heart.” 

Despite me liking how compatible Geng Geng and Yu Huai's names are, I’m brooding over the actual meaning of their names when read together because the idiom doesn’t have the brightest of all foreshadowing. However, the MV for the main OST “Geng Geng Yu Huai” comforts me. 

[Celebrity News]: the main OTP are speculated to be dating but neither of them have come forward. There’s this 7-year age gap with Tan Song Yun (Geng Geng) being older but what’s shocking me is Liu Hao Ran (Yu Huai) is only 18! Nonetheless they were cute in the interview snippet I saw when he was asked about another girl (that netizens ship him with) and he’s like ­how can you ask me that, Tan Song Yun is here! Blushes everywhere xD.

Related Posts: 
With You Episode 2

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