Have you ever loved a drama in spite of its multitude of shortcomings? Like, it’s got so many flaws that you can’t help but roll your eyes sometimes (or maybe more like a lot of the time).
And yet, it’s got That One Thing going for it, that’s so awesome that it makes the watch completely cracktastic.
Which is how you end up watching an entire Very Flawed Drama, for the sake of that One Thing?
Yep. Exactly what happened here, you guys. I was literally hooked on Bromance for a good part of its run, so much so that it was the show that I looked forward to the most, each week.
This, when I usually have a ridiculous amount of trouble getting into Taiwanese dramas as a general rule, and therefore typically don’t even bother checking them out anymore.
OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE
Here’s the OST album, in case you’d like to listen to it while you read the review.
SO WHY DID I EVEN CHECK THIS OUT?
You guys know I’m a curious cat who can’t resist the lure of collective spazz over a show. And this show enjoyed just enough positive buzz on my Twitter feed to intrigue me.
Why were people so enamored with this show, I wondered. I decided I just had to check it out for myself, if only to see what the fuss was about.
Truth be told, during my first attempt at this show, I didn’t get very far at all.
About.. 3 minutes into episode 1, I hurriedly bailed, heh. A mafia-type middle-aged guy getting almost-shot at a temple, and saved by a little boy who throws himself at the would-be shooter? That was way more melodramatic than I was prepared for. Not my kinda show – or so I thought.
Afterwards, as the enthusiastic spazz on Twitter persisted, curiosity got the better of me (thank you, Curiosity), and I decided that I needed to give this show another try. Well whaddya know, this time, I ended up completely and utterly – and happily – sucked in, flaws and all.
Before I get into what I enjoyed about this show, let’s get this show’s not-so-great quirks out of the way. Coz if you’re going to enjoy this show, managing expectations will be pretty key, I think.
1. The writing
…is not great. Most of the time, it feels like the writers have certain plot milestones in mind, and basically toss in anything – seriously, anything – that connect the necessary dots, never mind how implausible the events are, or how much suspension of disbelief is required.
On the upside, this makes the story trundle along at a pretty brisk pace most of the time. Another upside, is that many of those target plot milestones have a lot to do with OTP-related squee. And since that OTP squee is robust and cracky (more on that later), I can forgive a lot.
Another thing to keep in mind where the writing is concerned, is that things get mighty cheesy at times.
In fact, the cheese factor seems to increase and get more heavy-handed as we get deeper into the show. There were definitely times when I found myself cringing at the extent of the cheese.
But, because it’s all in service of OTP squee, I gamely rolled with it – while sometimes pausing the video to, uh, uncurl my fingers & smooth over the goosebumps, heh. 😉
2. Aggressive aegyo on steroids.
I am not sure what else to call it, really, which is why I’m falling back on the word “aegyo.”
Let me clarify, though, that the kind of aegyo that Show serves up isn’t exactly cutesy, although it’s supposed to be. In fact, the aegyo tends to be very exaggerated, high-pitched, and sometimes, even shrill. OMG, I sometimes literally flinched at my screen.
The downside is that most of the female characters behaved this way on a regular basis. I think(?) this is quite a norm in TW dramas, which is one big reason why I usually have so much trouble watching ’em.
The upside is that our female lead Megan Lai doesn’t behave this way much at all, since she’s pretending to be a boy. Big, big relief. She doesn’t even use the higher registers of her voice much, while the other female characters talk in high-pitched tones as a general standard.
I concede that Megan’s character Yanuo does show more aegyo as the show progresses, but in the overall scheme of things, the amount and degree of aegyo we’re talking about from her is much less than the other female characters, and this counted for a lot, in my books.
3. The sub-plots
…aren’t great either. To be honest, I found all the secondary arcs less than interesting. I occasionally found the sub-plots mildly amusing, but I mostly didn’t care for them too much.
To make it worse, I found many of the supporting actors and actresses either too exaggerated or too wooden in their acting.
Case in point, Wang Jia Liang, whose delivery of his minor-ish character Hansheng manages to be both exaggerated and wooden at the same time (who knew that was even possible?).
Even Show’s efforts to distract us with multiple shirtless Hansheng scenes weren’t enough to divert my attention away from his terrible acting.
…although, I do concede that he’s in, er, excellent shape. 😉
STUFF I LIKED
Ok, so I realize I exaggerated a little bit, when I said I liked One Thing in this show.
Yes, it’s true that there’s One Thing that just hooked me, and held me easily by my helplessly breathless fangirl heart, but when I stop to really think about it, there are actually a number of things that I genuinely enjoy about this show.
Here’s them, One Thing, and Other Things, all in one handy section.
1. The lead characters
I really, really like the people that our lead characters are painted to be.
I find it completely delightful that our male lead Zifeng (Baron Chen) is set up as a suave badass who values living right.
I’m so used to seeing kdramas headlined by cold-chaebol-jerk type male characters, that I find it genuinely thrilling that Zifeng’s portrayed as a man who’s powerful and rich, and yet, is also really nice.
We see him being caring, loyal, and decent, again and again, throughout the show, and I loves it. I love him.
I also find it refreshingly impressive that Megan Lai could plausibly pass for a pretty boy. She’s tall and lanky, and the mannerisms she adopts are mostly masculine enough, to make the illusion fairly believable.
Plus, like I mentioned earlier, she mostly sticks to using the lower registers of her voice, and it all comes together quite nicely.
Compared to many other gender-benders that I’ve seen (You’re Beautiful comes to mind), where the girl pretty much doesn’t look or behave anything like a real boy, I found Megan a very competent pretty boy indeed.
Even better, I love that her character Yanuo is set up as a very capable “guy” who’s literally able to kick ass, never mind the size of her opponent.
Again, so different from many other gender-benders, where the girl’s just as helpless as your regular damsel in distress – if not more so. Every time Yanuo got to do some ass-kicking, I legit cheered on the inside.
Additionally, as far-fetched as the story is behind her undercover lifestyle, Show gives us a solid reason for why Yanuo’s lived her entire life as a guy.
This helps to make the ruse believable, coz if the whole world has believed her as a guy for the past 25 years, and if she’s had that much practice living as a guy, then it’s perfectly understandable that Zifeng would believe she’s a guy too.
2. Moments of depth
As fluffy and cheesy as Show is much of the time, there are moments when I’m pleasantly surprised by thoughtful touches that the writers weave into the story beats.
More often than not, these moments tell me something meaningful about our lead characters, and I liked that a lot.
There are a couple of instances of this right away in episode 1.
For example, the way Zifeng and Yanuo become sworn brothers is totally cheesy and OTT, but at its core, it’s about Yanuo empathizing with Zifeng’s isolation, and I buy that.
Yanuo’s been isolated all her life, in service of keeping her female-ness a secret, and Zifeng’s been isolated thanks to his adoptive family’s mafia background. I like the idea that these two very different people are able to connect on such a fundamental, human level.
I also really like the insight we get into Yanuo as a person, that she’s caring and empathetic at her core.
In the same episode, there’s a pretty ridiculous sequence of events that leads to Zifeng and Yanuo opening his mother’s (Linda Liu) birthday celebration with a dance.
The dance scene itself is quite ludicrous in concept, but, upon deeper thought, I realize that it is this moment that defines their relationship, in a way.
It makes Zifeng the man in the relationship between 2 men, since he gets Yanuo to take the role of the female in their dance.
Additionally, this is quite literally the first time Yanuo has been treated as a female in any capacity, by a man.
Her sense of thoughtful uncertainty as they go through the dance says a lot; she’s not used to it, she’s tasting it for the first time, she’s trying to decide how she feels about it.
I also found Zifeng’s lack of hesitation in dancing with another man quite telling of his personality. He’s no homophobe, and we know this right away.
In fact, his gaze, completely and thoughtfully trained on Yanuo as they dance, already foretells the emotional attachment to come. Plus, he doesn’t flinch at all, when they accidentally kiss.
He just keeps that intent, thoughtful gaze trained on Yanuo, even as their lips meet, and I found that swoony indeed.
3. Show is generally angst-lite
In some ways, Bromance feels a little bit like a web drama in terms of how it doesn’t allow its conflicts to get too deep and heavy. The angst that Show does get into is often quickly resolved, instead of being dragged out for several episodes.
Although I am fully capable of appreciating meaningful angst when the occasion calls for it, I actually found the angst-lite approach in this show quite refreshing.
Instead of spending episode upon episode circling around an angsty arc, Show chooses to deal with the angst swiftly, and spend the time gained in developing the relationship between our OTP; a choice that I liked a lot.
Here’re just a couple of examples of how Show dips its toe into angst, before quickly pulling it out to keep dancing its merry way.
1. The faked lifesaver card
Whenever Show builds up the dramatic tension, it’s often Zifeng who breaks the tension with a surprisingly appreciative or understanding sort of reaction.
Like in episode 3, when Zifeng confronts Yanuo about being the sender of the lifesaver card.
The tension from “Oh! Has he figured out her identity?” is allowed only several moments in the spotlight, before it’s quickly broken by Zifeng’s appreciative and gentle response, in which he quietly thanks Yanuo for wanting to comfort him.
2. The post-accidental-kiss angst
In episode 2, we see Zifeng hastily push Yanuo away, several moments after their accidental kiss, and Yanuo leaves the party, upset. It’s played rather dramatic for a little while, but it’s very quickly resolved when Zifeng seeks her out and apologizes.
She accepts his apology, and they’re immediately back to being buddies again. I really like that the characters don’t wallow in angst, and proactively work to get out of angst.
3. Yanuo’s attempted noble idiocy
In episode 8, Yanuo attempts the nobly idiotic move of removing herself from Zifeng’s orbit by fleeing to Japan.
Sure, Show teases a little, by showing us a shot of a plane taking off, before cutting to Zifeng entering the airport. But the teasing is momentary, and we soon see that Zifeng stops Yanuo just fine. I liked that a lot.
Most dramas I’ve seen choose to let the couple barely miss each other in several almost-meetings, and this successful shutdown of the attempted noble idiocy pleased me.
Plus, not only does Zifeng stop Yanuo just fine, I love how emphatically he tells her that he doesn’t want her to leave. And then grabs her bag and leads her out by the hand. By the hand.
This, when he still believes Yanuo is a guy, and they aren’t even officially dating yet. Just another reason why I find Zifeng a swoony male lead. <3
Ordinarily, I’d call this lack of follow-through on dramatic tension something of a fakeout, but I actually like it, in the case of this show.
It feels refreshing, to have the characters regularly avoid misunderstandings and angst, and just keep at a positive upward trajectory in terms of building their bond and relationship.
This made the watch so much more pleasant than if we were regularly wallowing in angst, and allowed so much more room for character and OTP relationship development.
3. General lack of homophobia
I’m not sure if this is a Thing in TW dramas, but from the kdramas that I’ve seen, there’s a fair amount of homophobia depicted.
Sometimes it’s played for laughs in passing (like in Let’s Eat); mostly I notice it in gender-benders where the male lead starts to feel feelings for the boy-who’s-really-a-girl and angsts about it, wondering – often in horror – if he’s gay.
I found it different and therefore refreshing, that there’s pretty much no homophobia in this show.
From Zifeng himself, to the other characters around the OTP, hardly anyone reacts in a scandalized fashion when they notice Zifeng and Yanuo behaving in ways that suggest that they’re more than just close bros.
Everyone seems to take it in stride quite easily, and that just made this drama world feel extra accepting and warm.
It’s true that Zifeng angsts a bit, when he’s first faced with the possibility that he’s fallen in love with Yanuo, which occurs in episode 6. But it’s very mild, all things considered. One round of broody boxing, and a brief talk with Qingyang, and it all seems to start falling into place, for him.
And quite quickly, in episode 7, Zifeng decides to confess his feelings to Yanuo, very soon after coming to terms with his own feelings. I feel that this says a lot about him; that he’s quick to act, quick to care and quick to accept things for what they are.
Even though he’s surprised by his feelings for Yanuo, whom he still believes is a guy, it really doesn’t take him much angsting to sort out how he feels, and there’s something very sexy about how decisive he is, about it all.
Throughout Zifeng’s burgeoning relationship with Yanuo, even before Zifeng himself is aware of his own feelings, we see second lead and longtime bestie Qingyang (a very wooden Bii) being quietly observant of all the little telltale signs of the closeness between Zifeng and Yanuo.
From watching Zifeng and Yanuo sharing drinks, to sharing a distinct closeness, to the handhold coming out of the airport, Qingyang takes it all in, and consistently averts his eyes respectfully. He’s never shown to feel anything about it, either positive or negative.
Importantly, it’s clear that he doesn’t feel squeamish about it, and I really like how Show treats his reaction as a very matter-of-fact sort of thing.
4. The OTP chemistry
One of the best things about this show, is the OTP chemistry. Baron and Megan share an easy, comfortable sort of rapport, and it’s obvious that they are not afraid to be in (sometimes very, very) close proximity with each other.
Better yet, when the occasion calls for it, the sparks between them electrify accordingly. Sometimes, the vibe between them simmers with an undercurrent of burgeoning hyper-awareness.
And then sometimes, the sexual tension is so thick that it feels positively molten. Ahem.
Show clearly knows that this is its strength, and consistently plays to it. As a general rule, Show is extremely generous with the OTP skinship, and blithely serves it up in large, liberal helpings.
As I mentioned earlier, Show doesn’t care if the process of connecting the dots is ridiculously illogical. But the gratification from the electric sort of tension between Zifeng and Yanuo – thanks to their excellent chemistry and Baron’s intent smolder – is so great that I happily shrug off the lack of logic.
Right away in episode 1, we get generous servings of OTP skinship, from the rifle-shooting scene where Zifeng and Yanuo are practically glued together at the hip, and the dancing-cum-accidental-kiss scene.
Not to mention the first fight scene, which features the most badass princess-carry in all of the dramas I’ve ever seen.
Baron and Megan’s wonderfully natural chemistry comes through easily and consistently, and I lapped it all up in a happy daze. (I’ve included vids on their amazing BTS chemistry right at the end of the post, so look out for that!)
One of my favorite scenes showcasing their wonderfully organic rapport, is this scene in episode 3, where Zifeng and Yanuo horse around in the water fountain.
Seriously, how cute are they??
To be honest, some of the mushier moments make me cringe in secondhand embarrassment, but it’s part of what makes this show cracky-good. Plus, both Baron and Megan deliver their lines with so much conviction and heart that I can’t help going along for the ride.
Like this moment in episode 8, when Yanuo promises Zifeng not to leave again.
She pulls him towards her so that their foreheads are touching, and then with her hand on the back of his neck and their faces within inches of each other, eyes closed, she says in a soft voice, “I promise I won’t disappear again. I’m sorry.”
Egad. It’s toe-curlingly cheesy, but at the same time, it’s undeniably romantic too.
For a good long stretch, Show treats these kinds of interactions officially as bro-love, while the intent, romantic – and sexual – undercurrents running rampant onscreen scream otherwise. Which is totally part of what makes this drama so cracky, really.
Every time Zifeng and Yanuo push a bro-love boundary into more romantic territory, the crack factor gets amped up a little more. Of course, I lapped it all up, with relish.
Mmmm. So cracky, and delish.
5. Baron’s Intent Smolder
Didja think that the OTP chemistry was my One Thing? Coz it’s really not.
My One Thing, that got my insides all up in a twist and had me repeatedly catching my breath, is Baron’s intent smolder. He’s just got this way, of gazing at his leading lady, that is at once intently thoughtful, and alluringly sensual.
And my favorite thing about this favorite thing, is how his gaze on her doesn’t waver or flinch, even when she’s mere inches away, within kissing distance.
His intent, thoughtful gaze only ever shifts slightly, so that he can regard her from a different angle. It feels like he’s thinking things about her, and feeling feelings about her, and just letting the various sensations mesh and meld together within him, in the moment.
He always looks like he’s about to kiss her, but he often doesn’t; he just soaks in her presence and savors it, contemplating it. Uungh. Melt-to-the-floor hot, seriously.
Baron’s smolder just takes the OTP chemistry into a whole new dimension, and I honest-to-goodness can’t get enough of it. Flail.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
So clearly, Zifeng and Yanuo get their happy ending; that’s no surprise. A lot of plotlines are also wrapped up quickly and neatly, and sometimes, not a lot of logic is at play, which is also not a surprise.
What surprised me – and not in a good way – is that Show decided to make Zifeng already aware that Yanuo’s a girl.
We get hints of it in episode 17, and then a confirmation in episode 18, when Zifeng admits that he’d overheard Yanuo’s conversation with Zherui (Lee Shiau Shiang), which, when you trace it back, happened in episode 9.
This changes a lot of things, in my head. For 16 episodes, we’re led to believe that Zifeng loves Yanuo, even though he thinks Yanuo is a guy. This is very significant in terms of how weighty his love feels.
This detail implies that no matter what it means to love Yanuo – whether it’s about giving up his expectations of family and children, or about being seen as a gay man – Zifeng loves Yanuo without reservation, and that’s very, very melty stuff.
To have that suddenly be taken away, and downgraded to Zifeng loving Yanuo even though she’s not telling him that she’s a girl, is quite a letdown.
To cut the writers some slack, the show was cut from 20 episodes down to 18, and from what I can tell, it feels like a fairly sudden decision. The show took a break over the Chinese New Year week, and I feel like that’s when everything changed.
My feel is that the writers chose to make Zifeng already aware that Yanuo’s a girl, so that they could more easily wrap up the story with two and a half hours less of screen time.
I’m disappointed in the ending in that I feel like the writers just sort of gave up trying to tell a proper story and just started shoving people into place for a quick finale. But, I understand that they were probably making the best of a crummy situation.
Also, with further thought, I rationalize that it’s also rather sweet that 1, Zifeng had already decided by episode 7, that he liked Yanuo for real, and wanted to confess his feelings to “him,” and 2, this ending means it really didn’t matter to Zifeng when he found out that Yanuo had been lying to him.
He had continued to love her the same, while choosing to respect her need to keep her secret, and that’s pretty melty stuff too.
Would I have preferred to have Zifeng find out at the end of the show, when Yanuo confessed the truth to him? Absolutely. Failing that, though, this ending works out pretty alright too.
In the end, I’m a little sad, coz the ending felt rushed and a little half-assed. But, I must concede that I found Zifeng and Yanuo’s happy ending sweet.
When all is said and done, I still find Bromance a worthy watch, in spite of its flaws, if only for the sparky OTP chemistry – and Baron’s melty smolder, of course. 😉
And, almost as if to remind us just how hot our OTP can be, Show serves up some serious hot ‘n heavy hard kissing, in the epilogue (didja miss it?).
The entire sequence feels a little randomly inserted, but the kisses are so insistent and hungry both ways, that it’s completely mesmerizing anyway.
I kid you not, there’s a point where Baron legit looks surprised, as if he’s just had his lip bitten. (It makes me wonder if this is the scene he was talking about, when he said that Megan had bitten his tongue..!)
Which brings me back to my whole main point: this show’s flawed all over, it’s true, but this OTP brings it, and brings it so good that it’s not hard to overlook everything else and just soak in the awesome.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Cringeworthily cheese-tastic, but the off-the-charts OTP chemistry makes this a solidly cracky, delicious watch.
FINAL GRADE: B
For those who haven’t seen the show, this is a great way to get a taste of the OTP’s excellent chemistry. Without context, it’s not very spoilery. Of course, if you’ve seen the show, this is a great way to relive some of the OTP moments:
So I happened to come across some serious shipping for Baron and Megan, and now that I’ve seen these collections of BTS moments, I can totally see why. No wonder their onscreen chemistry sizzles so much.
These two are so brilliantly playful and flirty with each other behind-the-scenes!
They share such an easy, uninhibited sort of skinship, and my gosh, Baron clearly enjoys snuggling up to Megan. You can see him take every – and I mean every – opportunity to touch her, and get up-close-and-personal with her, and kiss her. OMG, people.
Uncalled-for, unscripted, spontaneous kisses? My brain implodes a little, at the thought. Not only does the skinship extend to the lips (which is already A Pretty Big Deal), it occurs multiple times?!?
It’s no wonder fans can’t get enough of them together. Seriously, after watching these vids, even I can’t help shipping them.
Augh, why so cute, and so hot, you two? Take a lookie:
Edit: One more BTS! Coz, so much cute!
WHERE TO WATCH:
You can check out this show on Viki here.
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It’s been a while since I started reading your posts. They’re amazing. I was tempted to write something in your Navillera review (I loved that drama) but real life got in my way.
Real life got in my way again but my love from Bromance is bigger, so here I am.
I knew about Bromance thanks to your Guilty Pleasure post. So thanks to you I discovered about this drama. My first Taiwanese drama. And I must admit ever since I’m crazy about it. I looove the drama, looove main couple and LOOOVE Baron Chen and the way he smolders.
I always liked bromances (sometimes better than romances) and crossdressing dramas. But this takes it to another level.
I must agree with everything you said.. and almost everything said in the comments section… But anyway I like to mention how much I like Du family, so loving and supportive of each other. I also like Yanuo’s cousin and A Chao. I love the OST (I’ve already downloaded it and listening to it nonstop). Downside how much time was spent in Bii-Nana couple… So boring. Luckily I discovered I could fast forward all their scenes.
Now about Yanou-Zifeng <3333 I love all their interactions, every look, kiss, hugh, touch…I don’t know how many BTS/ fan MVs I’ve watched… I can’t get enough of them. I even watched Because of You ( right after rewatching Bromance). Of course you all already said everything about how amazing they’re together, but I want to speak my mind about two things:
1. I don’t mind about Yanou getting more girly as the drama advanced. I found it understable. When drama started Yanou introduced herself as a boy (less the penis). When she wrote her confession letter to Zifeng she says she’s a girl from head to toe. She started acting like a woman because she started feeling like a woman. Because Zifeng treated her like a woman. To me it was so great a journey for her…
2. I don’t mind that Zifeng knew from episode 11 that she was a woman (I already knew he knew cause I read the spoiler part from your post, and I spent my time trying to discover when he did notice). The Truth is the fact that he knew doesn’t lessen his love for Yanou. The guy already risked his life for her!!! Not once but twice! That’s far more relevant that loving her despite thinking she was a boy. Plus he already decided to confess his feeling before knowing. But as she said she doesn’t want that kind of relationship with him he decided to respect her decision and give her time and space.
Ok. This is a very long post. Sorry. But I could speak nonstop about Bromance… I can’t help myself. Maybe not a perfect drama but the most cracktastic for sure… Life won’t be the same from Bromance on..
Runs to marathon all Baron Chen dramas I could find…
When I went back and watched the episode where she and her childhood friend discussed the fact that she was a girl, (from the camera angle they used,) I saw moving shadows on the wall just outside the door to the room where they were talking. When I watched the episode where they revealed he already knew (and replayed that ‘scene’ in his memory), he was standing in an area in the hall that was pretty much in the same location near the shadows I saw in the earlier episode. I feel like–as a professional production company–they might have seen the shadows and fixed it, if it had been accidental. My ‘opinion’ is that they had decided he would know she was a girl from back when they were planning the previous episode.
Only just discovered this show (thank you, Netflix, for bringing such diversity to my TV options, although I don’t understand why they’ve chopped it into 30 episodes) and I’ve been trying to find a way to express my feelings about it. So glad someone (that would be you – wonderful review btw) got there before me. You’ve hit pretty much every nail on the head – and learning that the show runners/writers lost 2.5 hours of showtime helped explain that very jarring ending. I yelled at the TV when Zifeng dropped the revelation of knowing the secret, and then the fact that he’s apparently kept Yanuo’s secret by telling his whole family at some point… but it was such an enjoyable ride up to that point and there are still some positives to him apparently knowing for such a length of time and not going all OTT about it.
They do have such lovely chemistry.
They really do have amazing chemistry – which basically made up for every flaw this show had! Glad you gave Netflix’s suggestion a chance, coz as imperfect as this show is, I’m so glad I watched it, coz the chemistry and the smoldering gazes made it SUCH a fun ride! 😀
What I never understood about this drama was why Yanuo’s career was so arbitrary at the beginning. Why was she running a food truck with A-chao at 25 when her fortune said she would be a financial success as a boy (maybe that doesn’t hold even if she lives as a boy)? Selling hotdogs just seemed like a stretch idk. Plus the amount of trust Zifeng and his family put into a guy selling hotdogs outside their park entrance was just doubly weird.
Your comment made me laugh out loud, Sinēad! 😆 Yes, those things all don’t make sense, AT ALL, but somehow, it’s all par for the course when it comes to Taiwanese rom-coms. I guess I must’ve managed to acclimatize myself to the TW rom-com style sufficiently, because I didn’t even question why Yanuo was running a food truck outside an amusement park! 🤣
So I decided to revisit this drama years later because I had fun watching it the first time. The show does a lot of things wrong, but it absolutely nails the casting and the chemistry between the leads still holds up. I also find that I enjoy the show a lot more than I did before because now I know what parts I can safely skip XD Like the relationship between Qingyang and Nana contributed absolutely nothing to the show and it was frustrating to receive no payoff for the time invested the first time around. Skipping their scenes actually made the story feel less disjointed for me because they were irrelevant anyway. Seriously, Qingyang had a small connection to Zifeng that served no narrative purpose and Nana didn’t even have that, she was just a drama-length photobomb.
On the subject of Bii, I also don’t believe that his acting was wooden, he did as much as he could with a character that had no purpose besides falling in love with an equally pointless chick. It’s possible that I’m being lenient though, because I know that he’s not actually an actor at all. I think the main reason he had a role in this was because he sang two of the songs on the show’s soundtrack.
When I first watched the show, I was watching alongside the Taiwanese release and I was also frustrated with the ending. It felt like a massive punch in the gut to see that Zifeng already knew because we had invested so much in the relationship that was presented to us, one where Zifeng had to really introspect and put Yanou before his pride and his reputation to allow himself to fall in love. When you see that he already knew, it feels like we’ve lost something because the weight of his sacrifices is suddenly a lot less significant.
Now when rewatching, I think that the writers made a reasonable decision to have him know (even if it was executed badly- possibly because of losing 2 episodes suddenly?). I don’t think it was done out of any homophobic “we can’t have him fall in love with a BOY!!!!” intentions, not even subconsciously, because Taiwan is honestly the gold standard for LGBT rights and acceptance in Asia. I think they made it so Zifeng knew because Zifeng had already been established as straight- not even bisexual- in the first few episodes. It would have been very difficult for him to fall in love with boy Yanou no matter how open he seemed to be to testing the relationship waters, and that would have eventually killed their romantic potential. That would have been a very different, depressing show XD So yeah, I still would have preferred if he didn’t know, but I’m no longer upset that he did know.
Was this a good show? Heck no
Was it a fun show? 10/10 would recommend
Well done Done Blobbu. A very thoughtful analysis. Makes me want to revisit the show as well. Thanks!
Tee hee. Some parts of your comment made me laugh out loud, Blobbu, and I mean that in the best way! 😀 Like, Nana being a drama-length photobomb! 😆😆 Ouch, but SO TRUE! Also, yes, this was not a good show, objectively speaking, but it was so much cracky fun! I had a great time with this one, and have recommended it many times. 🙂 Your excellent musings on the show have also tickled my desire to rewatch this one, at least a little bit 😉
Just finished this drama and I loved it! I agree completely with your review. I did feel the end was rushed, and it makes sense now that I know it was cut by 2 episodes. Like Lish said above, the international release (on Netflix) is 30 episodes. It does change the “discovery” from episode 9 to episode 18; but, all the events/story are still in the same order – so whichever release you watch, ZF falls for (and accepts his feeling for) PY prior to knowing “he” is actually a “she”. Whether or not the “I knew the whole time” was a late addition to the script, it doesn’t change the fact that the writers established ZF’s feeling and love for PY prior to the big “I’m a woman” reveal – which makes me support this drama even more.
Re: the high pitched female voices and uber-dramatic moments, yeah those are just TW-drama standards. You get used to them/cringe through them to get to the good parts. Welcome to TW-dramaland!
Also, those videos?! I feel into AN HOUR of watching BTS footage and interviews and Fan meetings, and a FM dance practice (they really don’t mind kissing each other), and watching him bite her ear constantly – I mean….WOW! That’s some intimate skinship between friends. They also could just be single, in their late-30s, attracted to each other, and physically comfortable with each other. So long as they are single, we can SHIP AWAY (and they can keep flirting)! I really hope they do another drama together – I enjoy their chemistry and performances (going to watch their first drama together next).
I thought River might be shipped with another female (he was on The Bachelor China), but never saw anything to suggests that the MR ship has sunk. I’m limited to English-language entertainment news though.
Even with all the TW-drama drama (did a FF through the Uncle saying he was proud of his son despite him doing that thing that he did to those 3 people – yes, I did), this drama reminded me why I first started watching TW-dramas.
Yay for more Bromance love in the house! 😀 Glad you enjoyed this one too, Mari! And you’re so right about the comfort and chemistry between River and Megan – that is SUCH intimate skinship, and they seem to vibe with each other so well. I watched those BTS vids with increasing wonder, and I just couldn’t help shipping them, at least a little bit 😉
Just for clarification, did you watch the international release of 30 episodes? If so, the conversation he overheard that led him to finding out she WAS a she happened in episode 18, not 9. If you watched the other release then that clarifies it for me. Personally, i didn’t mind that he knew because he did fall for HIM first. I do agree with pretty much everything else you stated, except for Bii being wooden. I think he played an extremely self-contained and calm character who didn’t believe in showing too much emotion and he played it well.
Hi there Lish, I had no idea there was an international release of 30 episodes. I am clearly a noob with TW dramas! 😆 I watched the 18 episode version.
I completely agree with almost everything you wrote. What I particularly enjoyed about this and about the kdrama Coffee Prince was the surprising lack of homophobia around the main couple. By far the best thing about both shows. But this was the first one I’ve seen where the drama expected me to believe that the male lead didn’t know she was a woman even though they were dating. I was relieved when he admitted he’d known for a while but I spent several episodes yelling at the TV over it.
The one thing I disagree with in this review is:
“I also find it refreshingly impressive that Megan Lai could plausibly pass for a pretty boy. She’s tall and lanky, and the mannerisms she adopts are mostly masculine enough, to make the illusion fairly believable.”
Yeah no. Maybe in the beginning when she was in jeans and large sweatshirts. But by the end she was wearing tight pant suits – clearly no penis and her hip shape was all wrong – and throwing aegyo everywhere. Her performance really started to annoy me.
This was my first Tdrama and one thing I did find refreshing was the physical intimacy between the leads. Kdramas have a weird relationship with female sexuality and this was a breath of fresh air. I was trying to imagine that last scene in a Kdrama and, yeah, no. That would never happen. Yowza!!
Heh. That’s true. Yanuo came across as much less boyish as we got deeper into the show. It was much more plausible in the beginning. Plus, if we compare Yanuo to many other gender-bending heroines, she definitely leans on the more believable end of the scale. I mean, Park Shin Hye in You’re Beautiful was ridiculously feminine. 😆
Also, Yowza is right! That last make-out scene was something else! We would’ve definitely not seen that in a kdrama! 😉
I felt like I literally wrote this review. YOU HAVE ALL THE POINTS THAT I TOTALLY AGREE WITH. Seriously wished the ending could’ve been worked on but all that cheese made up for it. I literally melted after watching everything.
:/ do you think its because go China and its view of gay relationships? (technically it wasn’t gay but, it looked gay)
WHEN DID ZEFONG FIND OUT PI YANO WAS A GIRL?
IM ON LIKE EP 29 WHEN HE WAS GOING TO PREPOSE AND HE SAID (in his head) “Yano, i don’t know when your going to tell me your a girl but,…” and i was like WHAT??!??!?! I SPENT 29 45 MIN LONG ePisODes For Him tO alReAdy Know?? i don’t understand when he figured it out?! -_- i think i missed something… can someone help
We’ve been debating that very thing. The script writers want us to believe that he found out in episode 9 (if I remember correctly) and we’ve been trying to decide if the reveal was a last minute decision or had been planned out all along. Certainly there’s evidence to support both views, but there’s no denying that the reveal was handled in the worst possible manner. They leave bread crumbs along the way to let the repeat viewer believe that it was the intended ending all along. They leave a load of unanswered questions in the wake of their terrible handling of the situation, however, the most important one being “why did ZiFeng tell his whole family and circle of friends that she was female but didn’t tell her that he knew?” At the end, he told her that he didn’t say anything because it was her secret to tell….so he didn’t tell her (the only one whom it would have been alright to tell) and instead told everyone else who knew her and then let her keep pretending around them like a fool? Does that not register to the writers as horrific? Evil? Cruel? Something a lover would not do to their beloved? It only makes sense that they did that if they had a different ending and this one was switched in last minute, continuity be damned. They prepared in some way for his having known her gender all along, but for some reason or another, things got jammed up at the studio. Fewer episodes than it was originally slotted for? Focus group results? Outside agency interference? Who knows. Whatever it was, it caused one of the worst ending kerfuffles in recent memory. So, you know what? Whatever you want to believe about this story, go ahead and believe it. The writers on this don’t deserve to have this horrible reveal to be cannon.
If I remember correctly, it was in 10 or 11 that he finds out.
I’ve enjoyed reading your reviews since I have just started getting into watching dramas after being only into anime for a long time. I agree with a great deal of your review. I would only add that I rather liked Qingyang as a character and didn’t find Bii’s acting wooden at all. More reserved and thoughtful. A character that holds in a lot and rarely says anything, but has a lot going on inside. It’s pretty heavily implied that the “private investigator” that’s been looking into things for Zifeng is actually Qingyang. That level of reserve and quiet would be fitting for a character with his back story and probably his place in the Triad family.
On an unrelated note, I find it interesting that Baron is actually the son of a reputed gang leader. I wonder if that influenced his thinking about the character.
About Baron being the son of a real life mafia boss, I hear that’s undisputed. He wasn’t really raised by him his whole youth, though, as his father had to leave the country and live in Thailand after the assassination he pulled off in the US. Crazy to think that Baron is basically playing himself here, I wonder what he actually thinks of the script and all its exposition on the so called benevolent mafia lifestyle. I also wonder if this role was tailor made for him, but if it was, it’s a strange thing to do for a fairly unknown actor.
Also, I have an affinity for Qingyang and his ultra subtle portrayal by Bii, but his low key acting does come more from inexperience as an actor than from skill. He’s fortunately playing someone who is more observant than contributative, else he’d stand out like a sore thumb. This was a missed opportunity for an actor with great depth to play this role, as it does give lots of instances for subtle emotional reaction which Bii is unable to deliver.
For me, the suspension of disbelief required to enjoy this show was insulting to the intelligence. I mean, a mafia chief who has to overhear that his “sworn brother” and later on his love interest is indeed a female was absurd. I’m a fan of Megan Lai but she didn’t convince me at any point that she was just one of the guys. Having short hair and knowing martial arts does not a guy make. I did enjoy reading your review, though.
Great review! More than a year passed but I haven’t gotten over River and Megan in Bromance.
Oh yes, River and Megan together is just <3 <3 <3 Loved them in this, so much. I rarely ever watch BTS cuts, but I was lapping up the BTS for these two! 😀
While I agree with everything you’ve Zifeng still had to think about how everyone around him would react to Yanuo, believing her a man. He still had to face the challenge that many gay men and women have difficulty doing, letting the world believe him to be gay.
That’s true. Props to him for not caring about that. I do love Zifeng as our male lead. 😍
I just finished watching this show for the fourth time today! Maybe it’s the fifth, I can’t remember, but regardless, it still has that punch and that’s what matters. Having never heard what others thought about it, I searched for reviews and I agree on every one of your points. The only thing I would add is that watching it without the other story arcs is too saturated; it must be broken up with the less-repulsive elements in order to provide a little fat, a little depth. Liberal use of the ff button is a must, even for me, though lol. I even allow a little screen time for the third wheel (no explanation is necessary, I trust) because he gives motivation to Yanou and gives Zifeng a platform to be magnanimous. I would also like to add that the writers must have a good grasp of fan fiction because they’ve used every single beloved trope found in all the most delectable fics. These tropes are so powerful, so magical, one must sign away another aspect of the story in order to be allowed to use them: logic. It’s the law of the universe.
Regarding the ending, I used to believe it was a last minute decision to have her sex revealed in ep 9, but the last couple of watches, I’ve felt it was simply a cop-out they wrote into the script originally. The clues are small, but become magnified the more I watch it. I think they didn’t want to make Zifeng truly date, who he thought was, a man. Logic would also say that any man who made out zealously on top of someone wouldn’t have any doubt about their partner’s anatomy…but logic is outlawed in this show so we’ll never really know. Be that as it may, it has staying power. It’s nice to laugh at the cheese, roll my eyes at the third wheel, and be exasperated at the incessant harping about The Dead Mother. Most of all, the chemistry, the chemistry, the unmatched chemistry of Baron and Megan! Well I know that my comments are likely not unique, but finding a review which matched my feelings about Bromance so precisely, I had to comment 😛
I agree with you that the gender reveal was in the original script. There was a noticeable change in Zifeng after that moment in the show especially in regards to physical intimacy. He showed no hesitation with touching and being more outwardly affectionate. Probably because he now knew that the Yanuo was only pushing him away because she was lying about her gender.
Right, and he kept hinting to Yanou that he knew she visited the Christmas display, which she did, but as her “sister.” He knew it was Yanou and made it quite obvious. That whole Cinderella conversation was a big giveaway too. They did have good skinship from the beginning, but you’re right, he became much more overtly romantic after the fateful episode. Oh and what was with telling her never to cry over any other guy but him lol? That caught her off guard too and happened right after the overheard conversation. He knew, he must have.
I agree with you. I haven’t watched the show for a while but I was reading my old comment on this show and I and I still vaguely remember the Christmas display and YaNuo dressed as a girl and linked my comment to the comments above: at the Christmas lights, ZiFeng was testing YaNuo when he asked her what she would do if she were Cinderella. And then when he did confess, he said it didn’t matter if YaNuo was a guy or girl, he promised his love. He could’ve said it didn’t matter if he was a guy…he didn’t need to add “or girl”. That is a giveaway that he knew the truth!
I apologize for my late reply, kounrada! Just wanted to say, thanks for coming out and commenting, it’s always nice to find fellow fans who feel the same way about a drama!! I absolutely agree that logic needs to be suspended in order to enjoy this show, because otherwise, so many things don’t make sense! But the chemistry between Baron and Megan is so out of this world that it just makes up for everything! It’s no wonder that you’ve managed to enjoy so many rewatches of this! 🙂 I’ve reached for bits of this, and some BTS vids even (which I rarely ever do!), for a little Baron+Megan pick-me-up, and they never fail me. 😍😍😍
Well you have made me feel better about finishing this show. I just finished ep5 and it was so cheesy I felt quietly embarrassed. I just could not figure out why I am watching this show so I went in search of reviews and found yours. I feel that I can now go back to watching Bromance and I will just embrace all of the cheesy! Thanks!
Tee hee. I’m glad to have enabled your fluff lens, Ophie!! No need to be embarrassed at all! I found Bromance pretty darn cracktastic for most of its run, except for the side stories that I had no interest in. The Baron and Megan chemistry and those melty intense gazes tho. Swoon. 😍😍😍
Yaaassss Barooon!! *.* that look in his eyes, I faint~
This otp was fantastic-amazing, they spoil us so much, I didn’t feel like this since Ariel Lin and Joe Cheng kind of chemistry for a tw show (it’s good that someone already mentioned them).
Honestly, this drama was so palmface, they are playing with my feelings, I felt betrayed most of the show, specially because of her not telling him the truth and the fact that he knew and then everybody knew, but we didn’t found out with them, I don’t like this kinds of omission (that only happens with the plot of the evil character), anyway I still ended up watching the entire thing.
With all the filling that it has, I ended up loving all the cheesy yet lovely moments from the otp, I was expecting more of the 2nd lead couple, Nana and Qing were so cute, like puppies.
Mte about your review, that ending was so rushed that I rapidly felt empty, for all that you gave, we ended up like this? kinda feeling.
I love all the bts, was so funny, srsly Megan and Baron made a great team, they look like best friends, it helped a lot that they worked together in the past and I so wish they keep doing it in the future.
Nice review, take care :3
Hi Tef! Glad you enjoyed this show too!! Baron really took it to the next level, with his sexy broody gaze. 😍😍 And the OTP chemistry is so real and so organic too! 😍 Those 2 things alone make this show worth the watch. The writing was far from elegant, and I was peeved that Zifeng found out about her secret offscreen. It was such an anti-climax, seriously. He was just all like, “Oh, I already knew” *moves on* 🙄 All the dramatic tension, built up for that? Tsk. But then again, all the good stuff about this makes me feel that I would totally reach for this one again. Probably mostly for the Baron Smolder 😉😍
I just watched Bromance a week ago after Refresh Man. I also didn’t really have much expectations for TW drama since they are sometimes over-exaggerated and I only watch mainly manga adaptations. But I actually kinda like Refresh Man; it’s more business centered and the chemistry between Joanne and Aaron is not bad at all.
As for Bromance, I actually kinda dislike it when YaNuo becomes all girly because she is more exaggerated than any female character in the show. Maybe I’m used to the “aegyo” but it doesn’t really bother me except for YaNuo especially when she’s sucking up to her parents. But Megan does take a lot of care in trying to be persuasive as a refreshing and handsome male. She said she observed Bii the most in molding her own character, which is totally believable. So I forgive her bursts of over-girliness. In response to your You’re Beautiful comment, I think Shin Hye looks fairly convincing as a pretty boy, just that her voice gives it away. She also did explained that she meant to act like a guy that’s not that convincing as a guy because she’s not a guy. Whereas YaNuo has more of a reason that she can act like one since she’s been one for 25 years.
But I agree with you that the side stories bored me, I was tempted to skip QingYang and NaNa’s stories even though they look cute on screen. It’s just a little bit too predictable there. I don’t think Bii’s acting is too wooden since he doesn’t speak much as he’s not too comfortable with too much dialogue. After all, his mother tongue is Korean. So he uses his body language to act. I actually was fooled thinking maybe QingYang understood more than he let on, thinking maybe he knew YaNuo was a girl since the very beginning. His role is like the observant friend, so I thought he knew more than he let on…ah well.
As for the ending, I also thought ZiFeng would find out at the end, since they managed to keep it from him for so long, given the poor excuses made for the younger sister’s appearance. I found it reasonable he would find out earlier since he’s no dummy. I had my suspicions when he questioned ZheRui about liking YaNuo. But I don’t think the timing of that revelation would make a difference. I also did rewatch again because I wanted to know the exact moment he found out. I was wondering if he knew when he met the female YaNuo at the pumpkin carriage but it turns out he didn’t know then either.
So he had made up his mind long before the revelation of her secret. So he would’ve probably reacted the same way regardless if he found out later. The day he found out, he didn’t run away to his secret hiding spot to think about it. He went to check up on YaNuo and even comforted her while she cried over her damaged relationship with ZheRui. I think that just shows, the secret won’t faze him at that point, like it did for Tao Le Si. I think his conflict has long since been resolved ever since YaNuo went to find him on the cliff and accidentally confessed to him. He might’ve guessed her/his feelings at that time and purposely maintained status quo so as to not jeopardize the relationship.
And I also found little hints that he did show he knew. Before the actual confession from ZiFeng, they were already so close like they were dating. At the Christmas lights, ZiFeng was testing YaNuo when he asked her what she would do if she were Cinderella. And then when he did confess, he said it didn’t matter if YaNuo was a guy or girl, he promised his love. He could’ve said it didn’t matter if he was a guy…he didn’t need to add or girl. That could’ve been a giveaway that he knew.
And if you think about it, the ending can’t happen the way it did if he didn’t know about it. He purposely planned the engagement/wedding thing on her birthday. He had to tell his family and even brought her family to the event just so it would all go smoothly. Since he knows her secret, he has an advantage to convincing her parents to agree since they didn’t really warm up to him and he could now guess the reason. So the timing doesn’t bother me.
What did bother me was maybe the plot did change…because I was under the impression Han Sheng’s dad collaborated with his son since he wanted to drive away YaNuo. And it’s not very easy to understand Han Sheng too well. So in the end, he’s not really after the power but was for the family/approval from the dad? Then why would he go so far to injure someone he can’t really injure; maybe that’s why he uses his lackeys. I think TW drama is not very good with developing antagonistic characters because they are rather illogical. Han Sheng is like Lance from Fall in Love with Two. Can you really do all those terrible things and then convince the audience that there were no true ill intentions at the very very core? I think it’s possible but the characterization doesn’t portray those points too well. I guess I hold flawed characters to high standards since I think Buffy the Vampire Slayer did a good job of showing a characters’ dark sides.
The last thing that really gets me on board with the show is the music. I really like it! I’ve become a Bii fan XD. His label mate composed the opening theme (Epochal Times) and the character theme song (Quietness) for ZiFeng and YaNuo sung by Andrew Tan and Miu Chu is also really pretty . Bii’s songs (Back in Time and Tender Love) are both great. He even sang acapella in the show. I didn’t even realize how many shows Bii has sung for and I was surprised.
I recommend Refresh Man if you are looking for the next TW drama. There’s no angst; I tried to avoid those since when I’m not working, I want to be in a light and happy mood :D. And I noted you find Aaron quite handsome so that will be a big hook. But in this drama, Joanne is the more primary main character and she’s one of the reason why I decided to watch Refresh Man even with the mess that Fall in Love with Me ended up being. I, like you, also enjoyed the beginning half of that show until everything went to hell halfway through. The chemistry between Joanne and Aaron is a lot better too. I actually went and watched the behind the scenes of the show just like I did for Bromance. They are quite comfortable with each other. And the idea of childhood frienemies meeting up in a corporate setting is kinda fascinating especially when their status is switched between school life and real life (Joanne being the model student but only a secretary and Aaron being the worst student but a CEO). If you’ve watched Pinocchio…I really wonder whether Aaron’s character is actually quite like Daipo (smart secretly but just didn’t bother to try in school).
Hi there summertwinkle!! Glad that you enjoyed Bromance in spite of its flaws. I agree that Han Sheng’s character was poorly developed, and I can’t roll my eyes hard enough at how his story was “resolved” – it was all too simplistic, I felt. As for Zifeng knowing that Yanuo was a girl, I guess my beef is that we never got to see his moment of realization and how he processed it. I dearly wanted to know exactly how he processed the information, and all we got was a “gotcha!” moment accompanied by a flashback of how he’d overheard her conversation with Zherui. It felt like Show was cheating the audience, in a sense, and I found it deflating. Still, I found the show a fun fluffy watch that I wouldn’t mind reaching for again, since the OTP is so cute together. 🙂
I do dig the Aaron Handsome a great deal, so Refresh Man is on my list. I’ve heard mixed reactions to it, tbh. Some people have told me it’s not worth the time, and that it’s quite boring. So it’s nice to see that you liked it quite well, and recommend it! I will probably check it out sometime soonish – once I feel the need for another dose of Aaron Handsome! 😍😉
Oh thanks for replying to my comment :D. It’s rare to find someone to talk about drama to. No one watches the same drama that I do. But one of the reasons why Refresh Man might not appeal to others could be because it has a bit of a “chess” set up. And the story is a bit like peeling back an onion. In some ways, if done well, it makes for good story telling. Otherwise, it could end up in disaster for people with shorter attention spans. It’s set up like Our Times (but with more focus in the present than in the past; the proportions are flipped) but a bit less choppy in the beginning.
I don’t know if you’ve ever read Vampire Knight (Japanese comic) but the narration is a bit similar to that kind of style. They try to pop plot twists here and there but you might end up getting lost at the various hints provided because you don’t get the links until the end and even then you might still be trying to tie up loose ends. I almost gave up reading Vampire Knight because I got lost but then the updates were slow. Pandora Hearts, another comic on the other hand, kept me hooked till the end…but I’ll honestly say I’m still confused by parts of it because there was too much plot and character things going on and everything is set in a fantasy setting. Refresh Man is not narrated to that level but has similar narration style. This appeals to me since I’m a business major so business things don’t bore me. And I love puzzles so these kinds of narration appeals. And a blend of “romance” plus “office drama” is better than “romance drama”. I dislike romance drama, which is why I stopped watching Hong Kong’s TVB drama.
Plus, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed kiss scenes as much as I did in this drama, nor do I remember seeing this many kiss scenes in one drama. And the music is not bad either, Claire and Weibird are both great singers.
Hi there summertwinkle! I’m sorry to be replying to your comment this late, I fell quick sick and basically spent all of December fighting a vicious viral infection. I’m much better now, and am just getting caught up to comments! Thanks for the explanation about Refresh Man, it does help! I haven’t checked it out yet, but it’s still on my list for the Aaron Handsome. I was a little concerned about how good it would be, since I read a number of meh reactions to it. It’s good to know that you liked it and recommend it! 🙂
Yessss!!! Gobble gobble… Ignored the cheese (lots of it) and campy typical stuff (a-plenty), and appreciated some nice life lessons and good hearted characters with lots of positivity and tolerance. The main thinking and writing were genuine and mature, even with a lot of other over the top and cutesy stuff thrown in. Even though I was also frustrated with the final episode reveal that ruined some of the beauty, trading ZiFeng’s solid love for an “I knew it”, it could have been worse; as he had begun taking care of her more comfortably after some point, I had been suspicious anyway. Honestly, he was supposed to have been bright, how could have he not figured it out sooner?! Shower, hospital, chest measurement, build, body presses, eh? Okay, I guess it’s okay that show was a bit contrived that way. Loved: 1. Baron’s smolder leading to 1a) kisses galore. The motorcycle scene really hit me, that was when I was first suspicious. Looking back in the special episode, I can see the change in the crying scene. 2. OTP chemistry, especially apparent in the BTS, where the smolder got turned off and on like a nutcase at a light switch! Swoooon. Laugh! Swoooon. Laugh! Swoon…*die* laugh! 3. Mature thinking, gracious characters leading to good decisions, acceptance, moving forward, all in the name of happy, satisfied human lives. Honorable mention, great love of animals! I’m not so fond of them personally, but I really appreciated the voice and the bunny was sooooo cute! Wasn’t so fond of… You already laid them out. While Bii’s acting isn’t so developed, QingYang is observant, warm and considerate, so they made it work. I thought at first he was going to not have any lines… His love story with Katie wasn’t very well done. It weirdly converted from sort of family to a sort of indefinite lukewarm like to a non-apparent love. They must have cut a lot more than what the special gave us. Too bad, but a kiss or peck lacking chemistry would have been worse. The veteran actors were terrific in their roles. They brought a harmony and familial feeling to it that I really liked.
I still think you should check out ISWAK and TKA. OTP have a lot of chemistry on screen and have done two other dramas together besides this series, split by two years. Ariel and Joe are great friends who get each other in real life, even though they aren’t real life romantically compatible. Even so, they recently were on a traveling variety show (same one Baron joined) recently and fans cheered them as the screen couple. This is more than a decade since the first series aired in 2005. There are still lots of interviews, promotions and BTS online that show how well they get along. There was even an e news show they co-hosted once before ISWAK, in 2004, so that people could see how they meshed on screen. They always get asked about each other in interviews, even for their solo or unrelated promotions. There are still fans hoping for #3, one showing them as parents, and the ensemble cast still gets together every few years. Really successful.
Recent interviews. 他們真的有默契 they really have a great connection. Try it, quite cracky 🙂
I think I’ll rewatch…
Ah, I’m glad you enjoyed this one, lyricalpeach! It’s flawed, but that OTP chemistry is so great, isn’t it? 😀 In checking out the BTS, I admit I was a little thrown when Baron switched the smolder on and off just like that. But all that amazing BTS chemistry with Megan made up for it – some of their BTS cozy is legit through the roof! They made this show worth the watch. And yes, that treatment of the second lead couple was really strange. I didn’t get why they liked each other, and I cringed through most of their scenes. 😛 I rewatched Bromance FF-ing through ALL of their scenes, lol.
Thanks for reminding me about ISWAK & TKA.. I will add them to my growing list of TW dramas to check out. I’m currently watching Drunken to Love You casually, and I have to admit that 2 eps in, I’m not feeling it. Rainie Yang’s acting is really throwing me, it’s so hollow and OTT. I like Joseph Chang’s vibe though, so let’s see whether that’s enough to keep me hanging on! 😉
He amado totalmente tu reseña. Me ha encantado leerte, lo he disfrutado mucho y me he sentido identificada con lo que decías sobre Megan y Baron y sus personajes y su química. He disfrutado como una niña de tu reseña ♡.
Yo también amo muchísimo este drama, principalmente por Yanuo y Du Zifeng ♡. No puedo superar que haya acabado. Quiero más de Baron y Megan, esos detrás de cámaras apuntan a que el amor trascendió la ficción >\\\\\<.
Hi there Mayu! I don’t know Spanish, but thanks to Google Translate, I feel like I understand your message! Gotta love technology! 😉
I’m so pleased that you enjoyed this review, AND that you love the same things about this show that I do! HUGS BACK! <3 Yes, Baron & Megan are just so good together, aren't they? Those BTS videos are totally fanning the fans' fierce shipping of them to take their romance from reel to real! I usually don't ship stars, but in this case, I can't help it. They're just so adorable and spazzy together! If you'd like more of Baron and Megan together, you could check out their first project together, Because of You, from 2010. I'm checking it out now myself, and even though it's not quite the same as watching them in Bromance, just seeing them on my screen together makes me happy. 🙂
Buenas noches guapa *——*
Tienes una nueva seguidora ;). Siento no poder escribir en inglés, al menos si puedo entenderte y tu puedes entenderme a mi con Google.
Amo las reseñas como las tuyas, de verdad. Más aún si amo el drama como me pasa con esta ^^.
Yo nunca me había obsesionado tanto con un drama como con este y todo se debe a los protagonistas. He visto todos los detrás de cámaras a pesar de que no tuvieran substitulos y en todos me emociono por esos detalles que comentas, como alargan los besos cuando ya no están rodando, como Baron aprovecha para tocar siempre a Megan (tocarle el pelo, agarrarla de la mano, abrazarla, ¡besarla!, coquetear), como juegan, como se miran el uno al otro…
Yo también he mirado otros Detrás de cámaras de otras series y jamás se han comportado así y como tu, nunca había seguido de esta forma a dos estrellas.
Quiero ver ese primer proyecto aunque Bromance sea su mejor historia de amor. ¿Donde puedo encontrarlo con subtítulos en inglés? Verlos juntos merecerá la pena.
Muchas gracias por responderme y puedes encontrarme en mi blog también ♡
PD. I feel very very happy by your beautiful review ♡
Aw, thank you for following the blog, Mayu, even if we have to depend on Google Translate to communicate! Still, I think it’s pretty cool that we can understand each other pretty well! 🙂
Oh, Baron and Megan’s BTS interactions definitely are pretty special – they are so comfortable with each other, and so touchy-feely! It’s no wonder that fans can’t get enough of them together. I’m just 2 eps into Because of You, and it’s not as good as Bromance, I think. I’ve also seen comments that Because of You is a fairly average drama. But, if you’d still like to see them together in a drama that is not Bromance, you could check it out here. I couldn’t find a site where you can watch it streaming with English subs, but this link I’ve given you allows you to download the videos and the subs. I hope that helps! 🙂
AHEMMMM is right… WOOOOOO!!. Now for some actual critique of the drama LOL. Surprisingly I didnt find the ending as rushed as I had expected… I mean there were definitely some truck sized leaps in logic ( when was that ever this shows strong point though?
I got a lot more pleasant surprises from the side characters than i expected. When you set the bar appropriately so many wonderful things can happen.
First up I loved the entire Du clan. Can you say family love goals. Zihuan and her mom, Mom and her kids , mom and her long lost amnesiac husband(i shipped them so hard).
I really found Zihuan fun too. She was written as the stereotypical 2nd female lead but I could definitely tell she was gangster’s daughter. She would fight ANYONE no matter where she was or how high her heels were. I thought the actress was very dedicated to the role. Even that romance between her and the chauffer was cute to me.
Also the fleeting little bromantic moments we got between Zifeng and Zherui were a pleasant surprise. They
Surprisingly i found my self wanting more gangster moments . I was transfixed during the airplane hangar scene,I felt like i was semi decent gangster movie, Bii did his best acting in that scene too, he should stick to silent dramatic, badass walk ins ( know your strengths ppl).
The only scenes i really skipped through were the Nana, Bii and Uncle Tian scenes. I was surprised at how little i cared LOL. Fun, swoony and sexyyyy. Good job Bromance.
Aw, I’m so pleased that you ended up enjoying this more than you expected, Shountz! 😀 Expectations are SO key, seriously. I know if I’d gone into this expecting actual robust plot narrative, that I would’ve ended up feeling frustrated and annoyed. But, without that expectation in the way, there really is so much crack to this show. 🙂
The Du clan really was quite likable, as you said. I thought Mom was pretty awesome in terms of how accepting she was, of both of her kids’ choices of life partner, even though both Guangchao and Yanuo were unconventional choices in their own way. And plus, she was so understanding of her amnestic husband. I felt sad that Dad didn’t regain his memory by the end of the show. Poor Mom, in that her husband lost all his memories of their many loving years together, and all he has now, is an affable sort of acceptance of his family, without an actual cognizant love for them. That was so bittersweet, I felt.
Bii.. Oh dear, I found him way too wooden and cringeworthy, especially when Qingyang was emoting his torturedness at his parents’ fate. But you are so right, in that if there was any moment that he was least cringeworthy, it was that dramatic walk-in at the hangar. 😉 And absolutely, ALL of the scenes around Nana, Qingyang and Uncle Tian were cringeworthy and boring.
BUT – and what a BIG but – the cracky made up for EVERYTHING. <3 <3 I'm so taken with Baron and Megan that I'm even checking out their first partnership, in 2010's Because of You. I'm just 1 ep in, and their very different characters are taking me a while to get used to. But just having them on my screen is making me happy right now, so there's that! 😉
Yeah that last bit about the rushed ending made me wince a bit. But I will soldier on for the promise of a super hot make out sesh… SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE. I took a break from the marathon… logical thoughts and expectations were creeping in and I was getting impatient. Lol
Well, your FF button is there to assist you, whenever you feel it’s hard-going! 😉 Also, logical thoughts and expectations have no place in this drama (shoo!). Yes, the final epilogue makeout session is hot. Baron legit looks like he got his lip bitten, but they just keep on going, it’s.. rewind-worthy hot. Ahem.
Can all the people who have altered their sleep schedule to marathon Bromance on the strength of this review please raise their hands :*raises hand sheepishly*. Ok, i did read the synopsis a while back and it has been on PTW for a while. But I know TW Dramas have a tendency to lag and frustrate me inspite of an interesting premise so I had no definite timeline or plans to start this one. but kfangurl your reviews are truly special.
I’m just under 14 hours into this one ( with the help of my trusty ff button lol). This drama has been all the things u said. I checked my expectations at the door and have been having an awesome time lolol. Omo omo omo omo… the chemistry. ..YOWZAHHHHH! So many scenes so much chemistry ;neckties, elevators and camping trips OH MY! logic , smogic. It really helps knowing what you’re in fotr so you can adjust ur expectations accordingly. Thanks chingu
Omigosh, altered sleep schedule thanks to this review?? That made me giggle out loud, I’m so tickled! XD I’m so glad you’re having a good time with this one, Shountae!! 😀 I totally understand the urge to watch back-to-back episodes, though – the chemistry, AND the room they give, for that chemistry to take centerstage and uh, bloom, is really something quite special. I love that everything is angst-lite and feels-heavy. And Baron’s gaze just takes everything to a whole new level. Swooon.
And just in case you skipped spoilers, let me help with adjusting your expectations again.. The ending feels rushed and I feel that the writers changed tack completely in E17 & 18, in order to deal with episode cuts. My advice is to really keep that meta in mind, coz otherwise it can frustrate the watch. I feel much better just shrugging off the negative implications of E17 & 18 as something that the writers did in order to manage a situation, rather than something that they’d planned for all along. Also, super hot makeout alert in the final epilogue, don’t miss it! 😉
I have very similar feelings about this show. The chemistry left me going “Dayum!” so often. The side-stories, I just skipped over. After like 10 minutes of the secondary characters trying to make perfect coffee together, I realized I didn’t even care a little about their story. But those crack-tastic parts were so good. And Yanuo holding her own and fighting for herself and others was awesome. I’ll probably dream about Zifeng’s hungry, penetrating stares for a while. Overall, I’m really glad I watched this show. The only other Taiwanese drama I’ve seen is In Time With You (which was awesome), so I have an overall good impression of them now.
Oh yes, isn’t the chemistry something else??? Y’know, I’ve been watching their BTS vids, and I must say, I’m more taken with their RL chemistry than I thought I’d be! I can totally see their RL chemistry feeding into that crackling tension that we saw onscreen. Hotness, these two.
You were so wise to skip over the side stories. I sat through the whole thing without using my FF button, and I literally gained nothing from it. I still have zero interest in Nana’s arc with Qingyang and her dad. And that whole thing with Hansheng and how it was resolved made me roll my eyes so hard! XD But just like you said, the cracktastic parts were just so good! I’d have loved Yanuo to have continued being badass and boyish all the way to the end; I found that way cooler than the cutesy we got in the later episodes. Still, Baron’s penetrating gaze melted me into a puddle so effectively that I found it hard to nitpick too much!
I’ve heard good things about In Time With You, and thanks to your positive vote, I’ve tentatively added it to my list of non-kdramas to check out. 🙂 At the moment, I’m checking out the first drama where Baron and Megan acted opposite each other, 2010’s Because of You. I’m just one ep in, and I’m still adjusting to their different characters. And to seeing Megan as a girly girl rather than a pretend-boy. I’m hoping this will be good – at least in showcasing their chemistry! 😉
I had no idea you were watching Bromance as well.^^ It’s not too bad as TW dramas go but there just wasn’t enough substance for me and I lost interesest somewhere around midpoint. I did tune in for the last epi to see how it ended though, LOL! The OTP was definitely the best part. I also liked how Megan was pretty convincing as a somewhat effeminate pretty boy, especially in the beginning. Typically Yanuo did get a bit too cutsey as soon as she fell for Zifeng.
Now, if I could suggest another TW drama for you. 🙂 One of my fave romatic dramas (not many of those around, heh), The Pursuit of Happiness. It’s much better than Bromance, imho. More adult, better story, less cutesey and fluffy. Shorter too, 13 epis was just a right length. I did write a piece on it back in the day, in case you are interested in taking a peek. *g* You know how I’m not generally into the whole OTP thingy but I did genuinely love the TPoH one. They were just a lovely pair. Big part of the OTP charm is all thanks to Tony Yang and Sonia Sui who played the leads. Oh, and the OST is great!
Oh! I had no idea YOU were watching Bromance either!! Given how you’re not usually one for mindless fluff, I’m surprised you checked it out at all, Timescout! XD Which is why I’m not at all surprised that you ended up losing interest along the way. This is so NOT your kinda show, lol! But yes, Megan was way more convincing as a boy in the earlier episodes. I did find her more cutesy than I preferred in the later episodes. I’d wanted her to keep her boy-ness intact for at least the entire length of the “ruse” – that would’ve been really awesome!
And wow, you’ve got a fave TW romantic drama?? It MUST be something pretty special! I’ve added it to my list of non-kdramas to check out. People have been noticing that I’m venturing out, and I’ve got recommendations for C, TW, J and even Thai dramas coming in! I’ve got my work cut out for me! Now, if only I had more hours to spend on watching ’em! XD
XD I DO occasionally venture into the fluff-land but that hardly ever gives any real dividends. Ever the optimist, me. 🙂 There has to be something solid within the story for me to hang on all the way through. And as little OTT & cutsey as possible.
TPoH is an anomaly in the landscape of TW romances/trendies, for me anyway. It still gives me the ‘feels’ in that I remember it with real warmth. Besides Yi Kang and Lei Lei are probably my favourite OTP of recent years. Ah, Tony Yang… he’s so fine.^^
Yup, that’s the problem sometimes; too many dramas, too little time.
Lol. I can see where Bromance lost you.. It’s so OTT so much of the time, and there’s quite a bit of cutesy served up too. No wonder you wandered off partway through! XD I think Bromance tried for some story substance with the Hansheng arc and the associated jostling for power, but I honestly had no interest in that arc whatsoever. I was way more interested in the OTP developments. And in Baron’s broody smolder. 😉
An anomaly among TW dramas sounds intriguing indeed. I mean, it’d have to be pretty awesome to have you singing its praises, especially this long after your watch! It’s firmly on my list, I assure you! Thanks for the recommendation – you always point me to shows that I wouldn’t otherwise have on my radar. Which is awesome, in my books. Thank you, dear Timescout. You rock. <3
Heh, when the eyerolling exceeds a certain treshold, I tend to bail. As well as FFing two thirds of a drama. That’s generally a good cue to say “byebye”. 😀 The Hanseng shenanigans did feel rather surplus and tacked on but I guess they had to fill in the space around the OTP somehow. This is actually where the better romantic dramas shine, giving the over all OTP story, supporting cast and other storylines a real weight, even if just to certain amount.
TPoH had it’s flaws but overall it was pretty solid outing as far as the full storyline goes, it paid attention to other things as wll, besides the OTP.
It’s always great when someone reccs a drama you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. Thats also how I discovered TPoH myself. *g*
HAHA! That’s such a great way to put it! When the eye-rolling exceeds a certain threshold indeed! XD I’m gonna remember that for when I check out other TW dramas! I’ve always had a tough time getting into them because of the intense aegyo and the said eye-rolling. But somehow (maybe coz I’m a little underwhelmed with the kdramas that I’m watching), I’m now more open to TW dramas than before. Never ever thought I’d see the day that I’d actually have a LIST of TW dramas that I plan to check out! XD
I’m sure I’ll like TPoH when I get to it – your recommendations have been consistently good! Which is so great for me, since you have such eclectic taste that you’ll point me to dramas that I’d have never thought to check out otherwise. You help to keep my drama world fresh & interesting – thankies, and SMOOCHES. <3
Those BTS clips made me a reel to real shipper, and I’ve never done that before. You are so right in that this show’s strength was the OTP, but fortunately they knew it to so we got lots and lots of great OTP moments. So much in fact that I’m afraid it’s spoiled me for other dramas usually tepid skinship for awhile. Also this is the first drama I’ve seen where the couple are basically together the whole drama in one form or another.
The females in the show didn’t bother me as much, but I’m used to Taiwanese dramas. I thought Du mama was awesome especially after the first couple episodes. She was a strong woman who loved her family and accepted her children’s choice of partners with grace. XiaoJing is actually one of my favorite side characters. I loved her interactions with Yanuo.
Aren’t those BTS clips great?? I know those clips had me grinning goofy grins all the way through! XD It took me a little while to clue in, but did you pick up on the kiss scene in the 2nd BTS clip? I am so taken by the fact that Baron & Megan just kept right on kissing, even after the PD had called “cut”! I’m usually not much of a shipper at all, but those clips and those little details in those clips, totally have me rooting for them. <3
I so know what you mean about this spoiling you for other dramas.. Sigh.. It's the double-edged sword, of watching something that's really good in a particular area, or is particularly good overall. It just spoils you for other dramas, and yet, you can't not watch it just because it’ll spoil you for other dramas, right? 😉 In spite of all its flaws, I can totally see myself rewatching Bromance, for the OTP awesome and the swoony broody of Baron’s gaze. <3
And yes, I must agree that Du mama was awesome. The way she was so accepting of both of her kids' romantic partners endeared her to me a lot. She didn't even angst much over Zifeng liking a guy. As for the other girls.. I think I'm gonna hafta get more used to TW dramas.. I found it hard to stomach the cutesy. But, the OTP and Baron had me hanging on firmly for the ride, so it wasn't a big problem overall 😉
I know have said it before but it just freaks me out how much you and I are on the same page. I could have written this review exactly as you have. I Love what you love and hated what you hated. I too have trouble getting into TW dramas, I too got curious because of all the positive buzz, I too had this show as the most “look forward” to show each week, I too fell for Barons gaze and SPOILER******** I too was ready to hurl things at the screen when it is revealed that he has known for so long! I went back and found the scene when he finds out in Episode 11. So I re-watched everything leading up to that to see how committed he was to her before he knew and how different he was after – that is how much it upset me. I felt cheated. But still happy that I watched it.
Thanks for another great review.
Wow! We really had pretty much exactly the same experience with Bromance, Amy!! I feel like I need to high-five you multiple times now! XD
I LOVE that we’re SO on the same page.. It really gives me a sense of solidarity. Like, OMG you felt exactly the same way I did! You totally GET ME. And I TOTALLY get you, about wanting to hurl things at the screen! I was upset too. I already started feeling upset at the hints in E17, but I got REALLY peeved at the writers in E18. [SPOILER!!] And yes, I went back to find the exact scene too, of when Zifeng supposedly overheard the conversation. The thing is, I honestly don’t think the writers had meant for things to have turned out that way. I believe they’d planned to reveal it to Zifeng in the later eps, but the cutting of the show, from 20 eps to 18, meant that they had to scramble for a new approach to make everything fit within 2 episodes. Which is why I actually firmly believe that everything we saw in the first 16 eps, were of Zifeng loving Yanuo, even as a man. There are no hints to indicate otherwise, and I prefer to believe that that’s what he believed, all the way until the writers changed tack at the end. That helps me feel better about the ending, and I hope that helps you too! Hugs! <3