Remember when I first got sucked into the Aaron Handsome while watching Fall In Love With Me? That show had lots of pretty going for it, but was, er, lacking in some pretty major ways. The Aaron Handsome – and his (mostly) gorgeously sharp wardrobe – saw me through the entire watch, so it wasn’t a complete wash-out.
When I told you guys about the experience, and about my appreciative, er, appreciation of the Aaron Handsome, many of you – really, so many! – told me that I would do well to check out Just You, which you all agreed added up to be a much better show. The advice came with a caveat; essentially, that Show would take a while to settle, but if I would give it about 4 episodes, that Show would become a pretty fun watch.
Well, guess what – you guys were absolutely right. This one was a lot funner than Fall In Love With Me. Which is why I thought it was important to come out and share the love. 😉
STUFF TO OVERLOOK
So yes, there is a bunch of stuff that one needs to take in stride as part of this drama’s territory, in order to enjoy this show. For ease of reference, and effective management of expectations, I’ve split this section into 2 parts.
The initial stretch
1. Female lead Puff Guo has a tendency to shout her lines, at least in the first couple of episodes, when her character Liang Liang is extra bristly at the arrival of male lead Qi Yi (Aaron Yan). Every time she started shouting her lines, I cringed. But importantly, the character calms down several episodes into show’s run, and stops being so shouty.
2. Because Liang Liang is so upset with Qi Yi and keeps shouting her lines at him, all OTP scenes in the inital episodes become cringeworthy due to the excessive shoutiness. This can be an early turn-off, since you might not be able to imagine yourself rooting for this couple. Hang in there, it gets better (refer to point 1).
3. The setup phase takes a couple of episodes too, and it can get a bit (or a lot) bemusing at times. Coincidences abound, flimsy conflicts are inserted, and hare-brained schemes are hatched. But once you accept that these form the construct of this drama world, the watch experience gets better.
The whole stretch
Once the setup episodes are complete, there are another couple of things that would be helpful to adjust your expectations around. Here’s a quick list. My advice for the lot? Just roll with it.
1. The writing is not at all elegant, so this often results in connect-the-dots type of storytelling, where pretty random things happen just to get our characters to certain points.
2. Sometimes the secondary characters feel like caricatures in their simplistic (& periodically exaggerated) reactions and approaches to things in general. Thinking of this as a manhwa-esque world helps.
3. Somewhere along the way, Crazy Second Female Lead (Lyla Lin) appears, and she is Extremely Annoying. On the upside, she doesn’t easily get what she wants. For the record, I did roll my eyes at her scenes. A lot.
4. Along with the emergence of Crazy Second Female Lead, there is some amount of Noble Idiocy that rears its head. Along with the Noble Idiocy, there’s a bit of sadness and drag. Take heart, coz it doesn’t last (that) long. And it does go away eventually.
WHAT MADE IT WORK FOR ME
1. The Aaron Handsome (of course)
Ha. You guys so knew this was coming, since this is what started it all, for me. So let me just get it on record, that the Aaron Handsome is very nicely in place, in this show.
Sure, the styling and wardrobe isn’t as fabulous as it is in Fall In Love With Me, but the gorgeous strong brows, strikingly sculpted profile, laser-sharp jawline, and that delicious honey-toned tan are all firmly in place, and that’s what matters, heh.
Smallish issues with his manga-hair aside, I dig the Aaron Handsome very well, and thoroughly enjoyed gazing at him in this show. So just coz I can, here’s a handy collage of the Aaron Handsome.
Isn’t that profile just glorious? <3
Of course, Show took care to also include a couple of shirtless scenes, of which I have zero complaints. 😉
As a bonus, I actually liked his character a lot. I often found Qi Yi to be the perfectly reasonable one, in the face of other upset characters. Add on the fact that beneath the aloof surface, Qi Yi’s a decent, loyal, caring kinda guy who doesn’t shy away from asking a girl why she’s upset, and I was quickly a fan.
2. Puff Guo as Liang Liang really grows on you
I totally didn’t expect just how much Liang Liang would grow on me, particularly given her shouty tendencies in the early episodes. But grow on me she did, and by Show’s end, I liked her a whole lot.
It’s true that there were times when I found her slightly unreal in how understanding and forgiving she was, but Puff made Liang Liang feel like a real person, and I grew to accept that such a pure-hearted, generous and considerate person really existed. Which, if you think about the ludicrosity of some of Show’s plot points, in combination with Liang Liang’s unreal nature, is no small feat.
Thanks to Puff really engaging with her character, I fully believed Liang Liang’s emotions, and that helped me to feel right along with her and root for her, all the way to the end of the show.
3. Sparky OTP chemistry
This one’s a biggie, and is arguably one of the most solid strengths of this show. The chemistry between our leads is warm, cracky, and very believable.
I loved that the forced co-habitation setup gives our OTP heaps of shared screen time. Sure, the fact that he’s her boss as well means that they get to interact at work too, but honestly, the scenes at home were the ones that I found the most fun to watch. Coz home is where they get to know each other the most, and that’s also where they start to lean on and take care of each other, in the most personal ways.
I really enjoyed that Show takes care to tease out their appreciation for each other, and that they start caring for each other first as human beings, and then as family, while romance creeps into the picture along the way. That familial core of their connection gave this OTP bond a dimension of depth that I really liked.
Aaron and Puff look equally comfortable with each other whether Qi Yi and Liang Liang are laughing together (above), or getting up-close-and-cozy-personal with each other (below), and that just takes the OTP connection to a pretty special place.
I loved watching these two together, so much. <3
4. Dean Fujioka is pretty cute too
I’m beginning to realize that this is a bit of a Thing in Taiwanese dramas – this is the second time I’ve seen a Japanese actor featured as a major character in a Taiwanese drama, and I haven’t even watched that many. Dean’s oddly accented Mandarin took some getting used to, but props to him for learning (what I feel is) a very difficult language, and being good enough at it, to actually act in it.
Dean the character is a pleasant addition to our main cast, since he doesn’t actually create a true love square with the other leads, and mostly shows up purely as an encouraging, helpful sort of presence. Because of that, he grew on me very nicely over the course of the show.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Dean’s pretty easy on the eyes as well. In fact, don’t you think he looks kinda like a young Jang Hyuk??
5. Nice people (mostly) all-around
Basically, there are no evil people in this show. From main cast to supporting characters to even the odd cameo character, the inhabitants of this drama world are all essentially nice people. Even Crazy Second Female Lead is eventually humanized and given a measure of redemption.
Sure, that does contribute to a very pat sort of ending (more on that in a bit), but it really does also make for a pleasant watch experience where, as a general rule – rather than exception – people have loving parents and caring friends & colleagues. I rather liked that.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
The ending of this show is the treacly-sweet sort of thing where everyone – including our OTP, of course – gets a happy ending, and everything is tied up in a neat bow. Almost everyone is paired up with a significant other, and to top it off, there are so many weddings and engagements that you almost start to lose track.
With so many bows to tie up, the finale does sort of feel chockablock bursting at the seams with happy events and comic moments to the point of feeling a bit much at times. But, to Show’s credit, it does feel organic to the drama world that it’s created, so I found it pretty easy to sit back and just take it all in.
I guess my only beef with the ending is that Dean is left still flying solo. I mean, we see him smilingly happy, and back to his habit of charming the ladies, but I would’ve much preferred if we could’ve at least seen a girl making a strong & promising impression on him, before the closing credits. I mean, if we’re going to give almost everyone a happy-ever-after significant other, what’s one more, right?
And maybe that girl could’ve been Mei Mei (Zeng Yun Rou), whom I loved (so much!) for being fiercely adamant about not falling for any of Ou Lai En’s (Lin Jun Yong) courtship tactics. Heh. I think that would’ve made the ending just that little bit more satisfying, for me.
Overall, though, I have to say the finale left me with a firmly feel-good blanket of the warm fuzzies, neat bows, cheese-fest and all.
With its fluffy feel-good tones, cheery color palette, breezy soundtrack and strong OTP chemistry, it’s relatively easy to forgive Show its flaws – even when said flaws include an Annoying Crazy Second Female Lead. In fact, I can totally see myself reaching for this one again, when I’m in the mood for a dose of easy, fun fluff.
Or, when I’m in the mood for some Aaron Handsome. Y’know, since that’s a perfectly valid reason to watch anything. 😉
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Illogical a lot of the time, but the OTP chemistry & Show’s heartfelt core make this pretty cracky. Aaron Yan is very handsome in this. As always. 😉
FINAL GRADE: B
This is the Official MV for Unstoppable Sun, and doesn’t feature scenes from the show. Upside? It’s non-spoilery, features Puff & Aaron together, and Aaron is unabashedly, gloriously shirtless. Win, win AND win! You’re welcome. 😉