The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Dropped: Love Me If You Dare [China]

30 Comments

Let me apologize in advance to this show’s fans: I did not like Love Me If You Dare enough to finish it.

I’d heard good things about this show going in, so this turn of events does surprise me. I’m also surprised because for a nice stretch in the beginning, I’d actually found myself enjoying this show quite well. But, 20 episodes later (well, 19.3 episodes, if we’re being exact), I find myself without the inclination nor interest to press on to the finish line.

I guess you could say that ultimately, Wallace Huo just wasn’t enough to pull me through, despite The Handsome.

Behold The Handsome

STUFF THAT WORKED FOR ME – AT LEAST AT FIRST

Here’s a quick rundown of the things that I liked in this show, at least in the beginning.

The storytelling felt solid and seemed assured. The pacing also felt good.ย The initial episodes where Jian Yao (Ma Si Chun) works with Jin Yan (Wallace Huo) to solve various cases felt pretty interesting.

Wallace Huo is handsome and suits the part of reticent, too-cool-for-school genius profiler extraordinaire.ย Jin Yan’s secretive character also adds a nice layer of mystery.

Wang Kai is handsome too, and suits the part of upright police officer (though it feels like he’s played a few too many police officers now).

Andy the car is amusing, and has just enough personality to make the show feel a touch quirky. I’ve even temporarily named the male voice in my Apple Maps app Andy, just for funsies, heh.

STUFF THAT DIDN’T WORK FOR ME [SPOILERS]

I found Jian Yao’s character rather uneven, overall. In the beginning, she’s portrayed as rather outspoken and unusually gutsy. Very soon into the show, however, we see very little of that outspokenness. Instead, she seems reserved and withdrawn a lot of the time, and softly murmurs her lines, more often than not. I get that a person can have both of these facets to their personality, but this didn’t feel like an organic personality, to me.

I didn’t care for the romance angle, which felt kind of shoe-horned in. I totally didn’t feel it when Jin Yan prepared the fancy hotel suite date, and we’re given to understand that the new couple, who’d just shared their awkward first kiss, had promptly consummated their relationship.

I liked it less when the story moved cities (the whole office set-up felt kind of forced, to me). And then I liked it even less when the story moved countries to the US.

Not only did most of the western actors deliver with lack of depth, all the English-Mandarin communication started to wear thin on me, after a while. I mean, sure, maybe a highly trained FBI profiler would understand Mandarin too, but when random people also seemed to magically understand Mandarin as well, it just became too much for me. My eyeballs felt a little tired of rolling back in my head (snerk). All the conversations felt fake and stilted, and took me out of the scene rather than immersed me in it.

Once the episodic cases gave way to allow the focus to be on the one and only Big Bad, my interest started to wane significantly. I think it’s partly because it felt like there wasn’t enough narrative tension in the house, and partly because I didn’t find the actors’ delivery of deeply disturbed psychosis very believable at all. The Big Bad would recite lines where he’s supposed to be obsessing about Jin Yan, but, it just didn’t ring true to my ears. To put it bluntly, it all sounded kind of hollow to me.

SAYING GOODBYE

Ultimately, when the main thing that was supposed to provide narrative tension – ie, the Big Bad – was falling flat for me instead of keeping me on the edge of my seat, I knew that I might not make it all the way through to the end of this show.

I mean, when everything else stopped working for me – to the point where neither of the handsome leading men were doing much to elevate the show for me anymore – I thought that I’d at least stay till the end to see how the Big Bad would finally be caught.

But, partway through episode 20, I realized that I didn’t care enough about how the Big Bad was going to be caught, to sit through 5 more episodes of this show – which is how I found myself writing this post.

The sense of relief and release I’m feeling, as I write this and put this show to rest, tells me that for me at least, this is the right decision. Alas, this means that yet again, I’ve failed to enjoy a Wallace Huo drama, despite almost everyone telling me that I will absolutely fall in love with him. Oh well. There’s always a next time, eh, Wallace?

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

30 thoughts on “Dropped: Love Me If You Dare [China]

  1. Nah, I didn’t finish it either and I’m pretty sure I dropped it much earlier. I sorta, kinda found it palatable in the beginning but started loosing interest and once the romance settled in I couldn’t care less anymore. I’ve tried other dramas based on this author’s novels and haven’t liked any of them. They seem to be very popular though.

    Wallace Huo is easy on the eyes (though not my kind of pretty โ˜บ) but he’s rather lacking in acting department. His best role so far has been in Battle of Changsha, imho and even there just about everyone outacted him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Heh, hi5 Timescout! I had a sneaking feeling that you might feel similarly about this show! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I liked it better in the beginning too, and now that I think about it, I do think that it was around the time the romance kicked in that things started sliding downhill for me. I’m usually pretty happy to make allowances for a bit of romance, but the romance just didn’t work in this show, I felt. The writing of it, and the treatment as well, just didn’t sit right with me. I feel they created the romance simply to up the stakes later, so that when psycho captures the girl, the emotional stakes are higher. Which didn’t work for me, since the romance never felt very believable to begin with.

      I’ve seen Wallace Huo in 3 things now: Suddenly Seventeen where he wasn’t even that important to the overall story, 6 episodes of Perfect Couple where I didn’t find him very funny or endearing at all, and then this. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I’m now realizing that he really isn’t that great with the acting. I’ve got Battle of Changsha on my list, so I will get to see for myself his best outing – even as he gets outacted by everyone else! ๐Ÿ˜›

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  2. You lasted 20 episodes, kudos. I bailed after 10 minutes. Wallace Huo can’t act.

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    • Hahaha! I’m coming to that conclusion about Wallace Huo’s acting abilities too, sadly. I’d thought that this role would suit him well, since Jin Yan keeps a straight face almost all the time. I felt it would suit his wooden acting tendencies, and let me actually appreciate him in a role. That worked for a bit. Until I got tired of the show, heh. You were smart to bail early, I say! ๐Ÿ˜‚

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  3. Hi kfangurl, hope this message I’m leaving finds you well. It’s been a while, hasn’t it ๐Ÿ˜‰ I actually share about the same thoughts as you for this drama, always thought it started out interesting but didn’t last. I still finished it, not very sure how now if you ask me lol. Script inconsistencies, and plot points that didn’t make any characters relatable or worth caring for..all these didn’t help. I absolutely agree on Wallace Huo’s acting skills, no doubt he is good-looking but yeah. Hu Ge is a much much better actor HAHAHA. If you ask me he’s kinda on par with Wang Kai? -hides from WK fans- but yes, you should check out Battle of Changsha as mentioned in the comment(s) above. Had a overall strong cast and from the team behind NiF, it’s worth the watch ๐Ÿ™‚ And at 32 eps for a cdrama, a pretty rare occurrence I would say hehehe.

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    • Jas!!! Long time indeed! Great to hear from ya! โค Props to you for finishing this one.. it turned out to be a lot more problematic than I anticipated. Glad to know that I'm not alone in not feeling able to relate with or care about the characters. I tried though! I just found it harder and harder as I got deeper into the eps. ๐Ÿ˜› You have more fortitude than I do, that's for sure! ๐Ÿ˜

      Wallace Huo is undoubtedly a handsome man, but yeah, 3 of his projects in, I'm starting to come around to the idea that he may not be so good with the acting after all. I guess I expected more, given that so many people love him, heh. I absolutely agree that Hu Ge is the better actor. I've got Battle of Changsha on my list.. it's just that I find these war time shows hard to watch, with all the suffering and bloodshed. I stalled halfway through Disguiser for those reasons and still haven't gone back! ๐Ÿ˜…

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      • Aww same here โค Yup, I always thought the earlier eps were far better than later. Cdramas like to adapt their scripts/shows from novels, but I guess not many are good. Especially modern ones. I tried too, and ultimately they didn't seem to be very real characters which is a pity. Haha not really, I guess it depends; just that at times I feel the need to finish what I started but I'm realising that it isn't really worth the while most of the time ^^'

        You're right – perhaps he's also popular because of singing? Lol he is good-looking after all, heh. And both him and Hu Ge are good buddies! Yesss to Hu Ge โค Aww I totally understand that, take your time ๐Ÿ˜‰ no rush. It is quite heavy, given the premise and you really get reminded that war is a huge no; just like many of the war films out there. It's a good one though, would love to know what you think after watching ๐Ÿ™‚ Ah, the never-ending list of dramas to check out..๐Ÿ˜…

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        • Yes, I’m realizing that Cdramas like to use existing novels as source material, which isn’t a bad thing, if it’s well done. I’m still quite a newbie to Cdramas, so I’ve been stumbling around a little bit, trying out various recommendations. Not all of them work out (like Love Me If You Dare!), but then again, I wouldn’t haven’t watched the amazing Nirvana In Fire, or the cracktastic Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms if it hadn’t been for similar recommendations, so I’m keeping an open mind!

          OMG I had no idea that Wallace Huo sings! ๐Ÿ˜… I just looked him up on YouTube, and I guess he does sing better than he acts. So you’re probably right, his fanbase probably includes those who love him for his music!

          My mum recently finished Battle of Changsha and she said it was good, but also hard to watch. So it’s still on my list.. for the day when I feel ready for another war show. ๐Ÿ˜›

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          • Yes it isn’t a bad thing, having a good/meaty plot to start off probably does elevate the show to certain extent. It’s like you’re off to a good start – but then again, the execution with regards to the drama is a different story. Hehehe I agree! Nirvana in Fire was a real gem (still is now for sure). Hee it’s always fun to explore a new world and check out different stuff from c-ent.

            Now you know hehehe. I’m not too sure actually but that’s probably the case. He sang for Battle of Changsha with the female lead Yang Zi.

            Yup, definitely agree with your mum on that sentiment – it’s heavy, the content does make one emotional. Anyway, check out Candle in the Tomb’s first season with Jin Dong. It’s a web drama if I am not wrong, and about 20 odd episodes – about an adventure with supernatural(?) happenings and some action/thrills. I don’t know if you’d like it haha, let me know if you do ๐Ÿ™‚

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            • Yes, you’re absolutely right, the execution is so important to effectively bring the source material to life! I think we’ve seen several dramas with good source material basically crash and burn.. like Scarlet Heart Ryeo. ๐Ÿ™ˆ

              Ah, thanks for the rec on Candle in the Tomb – I vaguely remember this title.. I think I heard good things! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll add it to my list to check out.. not sure if supernatural action adventure is my cup of tea, but I’m always up for trying a show that people say is good! ๐Ÿ˜‰

              Liked by 1 person

              • Make sure you watch the right one tho! The movie version was kind of terrible, the low quality webdrama version with Gina (I love her but…) and Darren Wang was an all new low point, and the most recent one about the Weasel (Ghost Blows Candle: something Weasel) is all right IMO but not very appealing or entertaining.

                I think there’s only one Candle in the Tomb as an English title, but all of these versions are based off the same series Ghost Blows Candle so the titles in Chinese can all be a little confusing and easy to mix up.

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  4. Oh this was on my plan list! I guess one more drama to drop from the plan list…heh
    The main lead looks super handsome though ๐Ÿ˜

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    • Oh my, yes, I do think you can drop this one from your list, snow! I personally wish I hadn’t hung on for so long ๐Ÿ˜› I just kept hoping it’d get better, since I’d quite enjoyed the early episodes. But it didn’t – at least not while I was watching. Maybe it does get better before the end; I just couldn’t bear to hang around to find out! ๐Ÿ˜… Wallace IS very handsome though, can’t deny that!

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  5. Lol I’m the opposite, I couldn’t even make it through ep 1. I’m pretty sure I might just have a bias AGAINST Wallace. The only thing I’ve ever liked him in is Battle of Changsha. But aside from that, I haven’t really watched a single Wallace Huo drama that I’ve liked. I’ve been really loving the China webdramas lately. Much more than many of the highly promoted big-budget dramas. Of the big ones, I haven’t really watched any that I thought were great. If you’re into some terrible plot/story stuff but GREAT acting and characterization, you can check out To Be a Better Man (I cried so many times and it was really emotional, but only because the actors/actresses breathed life into the characters. The actual plot is alright but definitely full of plot holes.).

    But yeah, I’ve been loving webdramas. For the most part, they’re light hearted, often interesting and quirky premises, surprisingly talented newbies overall-speaking, and fluffy/low-commitment. I’m on hiatus from Let’s Shake It, ET (้ขคๆŠ–ๅง๏ผŒ้˜ฟ้ƒจ!) and Rakshasa Street (I hate watching Jiro Wang, but the animation is phenomenally emotional and awesome so I had to…), watching King is Not Easy ๏ผˆๅคง็Ž‹ไธๅฎนๆ˜“๏ผ‰ and The Big Boss (็ญ้•ฟๅคงไบบ). Because I love the main girl from Big Boss so much (also she’s Taiwaneses – – pride), I checked out Solaso Bistro and it’s pretty good (not phenomenal but full of heart and interesting). Qin Medical Examiner is great too, but make sure it’s the Zhang Ruo Yun version. Lol sorry for the rant/info dump.

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    • Tee hee. I think I might be developing a similar bias as you, in response to Wallace! I mean, I saw a highly rated drama on Viki the other night.. think it was the C-version of Iljimae, and for a moment I contemplated checking it out. And then I saw that Wallace Huo was starring, and so I promptly moved on..! ๐Ÿ˜

      Thanks for all the wed drama recommendations! I haven’t heard of any of them, to be honest. I’ll add them to my list of shows to check out ๐Ÿ™‚ The Chinese web dramas I checked out recently were The Eternal Love and The Fox’s Summer. Both were very cute at first, but became quite a drag in the later stretch, and sadly, I ended up feeling rather underwhelmed with both by the end. Will poke around to take a look at the ones you’ve mentioned here though! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • Yeah, I was one of those that didn’t really enjoy or get the hype behind Eternal Love. I didn’t quite like it at all.

        On the other hand, I actually did like Strange Hero Yi Zhi Mei (the C-version of Iljimae). It’s much older but that was back in my love-Liu-Shi-Shi phase and I definitely liked it for the storytelling and the friendship. I also really liked the production style. I didn’t really focus on Wallace, good or bad, so idk if Wallace will affect your enjoyment tho.

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  6. I was reading th Cnovel at the same time and I was so excited … I too did not finish this i dont even think I watched all of episode one LOL. better luck next time Wallace

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol. Oh dear. Maybe I should’ve bailed early too! With my 20-20 hindsight, I can now say that I feel you were smart to drop this at E1! ๐Ÿ˜‚ To think that I’d instinctively bailed on E1, but then after some time, had forced myself to go back to give this show a second chance, coz of all the good things I’d heard about it. I guess in this instance at least, my bail reflex turned out to be right after all!

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  7. Well, once again we drop for nearly the same reasons, and around the same time too! I always feel bad when I drop so close to the end. But I just didn’t like the direction it was going. The American scenes felt very cheesy. And you said it right, that romance was completely shoe-horned, and so ridiculous how an emotionally distant man like him would consummate it that fast. It just threw the whole dynamic off. And she started off great, but then became this little whispering willow. And both their acting was yawn-worthy.

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    • Oh! You dropped this one at around the same time too?!? Haha, hi5, m’dear! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I felt the same way you did – I just didn’t like where it was going. And yes, all the American scenes were super cheesy! It felt like it was written by a tween who was trying to imagine what a grown-up world would be like. Just very weird, overall. No regrets dropping it – though maybe I do regret not dropping it earlier, heh! ๐Ÿ˜…

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      • LOL. Neonate. Like a child playing F.B.I. haha. We don’t drop fast enough, we’re trying to be hopeful. I can see why I a lot of people loved it, it was more for the main characters and their relationship, but it washed out for us.

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        • Yes, that’s it – I was trying to be hopeful. Too bad Show didn’t give me much reason to stay hopeful! It’s funny, now that I’ve written this post, so many people have come out to say they dropped it too – guess I didn’t hear enough from the dropping camp before diving in. I’d only heard from the love-it camp, ha. ๐Ÿ˜†

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I think I dropped it around the same time as well. Mainly missed the funny car from the early episodes :–)))…and generally the humour…Though I enjoyed the novel, found it much better… “Snail” on the other hand I finished…Wang Kai? ;–)

    Love your blog, btw. Silent reader for a year. Would comment more if RL wouldn’t be so busy… Keep on! โค

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    • Well hi there, Dorotka, it’s great to officially meet you! ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks for coming out and introducing yourself, and yay that you’ve been enjoying the blog! That makes me happy ๐Ÿ™‚

      I have to admit that I checked out When A Snail Falls in Love too.. but I’ve stalled in the late episodes and haven’t been back to it to finish it up yet ๐Ÿ˜› I might end up dropping it after all, since I wasn’t loving it.. but that would mean that I would’ve dropped 2 crime C-dramas featuring genius profilers and serial criminals and murders. That would be pretty uncanny, ha! ๐Ÿ˜‚

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  9. I wish I had dropped it at episode 20. I was a little more invested in the relationship, but I feel I got snookered in regards to the suspense aspect of this drama. It was convoluted and ridiculous and, yet, I kept watching though skipping quite a bit. And the end. Ugh. It makes NO sense. Still, I gave When A Snail Falls In Love a try but when I saw it going the same convoluted route though much earlier, I dropped it like a hot potato.

    With regard to Wallace, I dropped one of his historicals (is it Perfect Couple…can’t remember) but finished Battle of Changska (sp?). He just seems to have the same expression in all his parts though he seems like a lovely guy.

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    • Wow, sounds like things got even more ridiculous past E20 – which I didn’t even think was that possible! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ I mean, when Xie Han went to all the trouble to rescue Tommy, then pauses midway through waxing lyrical over Jin Yan and just shoots Tommy dead, I was like, “What in the world?!?” Thanks Kat, you just helped me feel VERY sure that I made the right choice in dropping this one! ๐Ÿ˜

      Actually, I did get about as far in with When A Snail Falls In Love. It was highly recommended to me, and so I plodded on, waiting for it to get really good and hook me. But, about as late into the show as with this one, I got very bored and shelved it indefinitely. It didn’t help that things really didn’t make much sense, and a lot of things weren’t actually explained. I’m thinking I’ll follow your example and just drop it for real, heh.

      I did also try Perfect Couple! I lasted about 6 eps, before I decided it really wasn’t working for me. Wallace also looked handsomely ridiculous with that very fake-looking man-bun! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I also didn’t find his character very likable. I then looked up people’s responses to the show online, and found that most people liked the early eps for being funny, and disliked the later eps for being too heavy. Ha. I wasn’t even enjoying the early eps that much, and promptly dropped it. I’ve got Battle of Changsha on my vague someday list.. I find war shows hard to get through, but that one has been highly recommended, and so I figure I should check it out – someday. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  10. Fangirl! I couldn’t finish it either and the reasons are almost the same:
    1. Chemistry between the leads died down
    2. Could never really appreciate that proposal scene for me K-Dramas do it the best way
    3. Wallace Huo wasn’t enough, the main villian could not grow on me,( I have never become so indifferent to the problems of the two beautiful main leads, I was like WTH let’s just drop it and watch another K-Drama. Hahaha…. ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • Hahaha! Yep, sounds like we had very similar reactions to this show, Bharati!! ๐Ÿ˜† I thought the hotel suite scene very very strange because that was supposed to be their first date, but was played like a proposal scene. It felt so weird and so wrong. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ™ˆ

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