The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Dropped: My Mr. Mermaid [China]

26 Comments

This is one of those times when a show isn’t bad per se, but just isn’t working for me personally.

In fact, with the glowing reactions and high scores that most viewers were giving this show on both Viki and MyDramaList, I had gone into this one with cheerful expectations of enjoying it as much as everyone else.

Alas, ’twas not to be. Just 7 episodes in, I find myself ready to drop this one.

STUFF I LIKED

To be clear, Show’s got stuff going for it; stuff that I personally enjoyed quite well too.

For one thing, I love the bright Spring palette. It just feels so happy; everything on my screen feels extra lit-up and pretty – especially since I was watching in ultra HD. Add on the cheerful breezy OST and polished cinematography, and there really wasn’t a lot more my eyes could ask for, as far as Pretty went.

Show does go one up on the Pretty, though. This drama world is peopled with lots of healthy, strong young sportsmen, who just happen to have to spend a lot of time shirtless, being on the swim team and all. Add on a chirpy, friendly female lead (Tan Song Yun) who’s earnestly working to be the best rookie reporter she can be, and you’ve got a nice recipe for a light rom-com with a sports focus, which is Not Bad At All. I mean, I uber loved Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, as most of you guys know.

From the get-go, I found the pacing and tone nice and breezy. We get the OTP meet-cute right away in episode 1, and the context is set up efficiently. Show didn’t feel too intense that it disqualified itself as a drama nightcap (which is what I was looking for); neither did it feel too slow that it became frustrating to watch. As a bonus, the Mandarin dialogue was pitched just right for me to hone the Chinese-speaking part of my brain without everything becoming too difficult.

All very promising things, right? It’s just too bad that relatively quickly, Show stopped working so well for me.

STUFF THAT DIDN’T WORK FOR ME

Basically, with each episode of this show that I watched, my interest dipped a little further.

First of all, I quickly realized that a lot of the acting leaned on the.. limited side. I generally don’t find it too hard to forgive wooden acting when it’s among the supporting cast. In this case, though, I found pretty much all the male leads rather flat – and sometimes rather stilted, even – in their delivery.

At the same time, all the swimming rivalry stuff quickly got way too serious for my taste. I mean, I get that many shows make their profession of focus a Very Huge Deal (like the life-changing, almost magical baking that went on in 2010’s Baker King Kim Tak Gu, for instance), but I just couldn’t get into it here. The more the North and South swim teams clashed, the more the guys looked like petty schoolboys to my eyes.

To make matters worse, the more dramatic these clashes were, the more the boys’ acting chops were called upon – and the more those acting chops were shown to be lacking. Seriously, the more I saw of the 3 main actors Dylan Xiong, Huang Sheng Chi and Pang Han Chen, the harder I found it to engage with their characters’ concerns. It honestly felt like mountains were being made of relative molehills, and I found that I just couldn’t get on board.

On top of it all, Show’s rather Disney-esque sense of humor didn’t help, and I quite quickly found myself bored instead of amused at the random spots of Intended Funny that were served up.

At the episode 6 mark, I thought, maybe it’s coz this isn’t drama nightcap material; maybe I need to be more alert and awake in order to enjoy this one. And so today I watched episode 7 while sitting at my desk, and found that – alas – it didn’t help one bit. I just couldn’t see myself sitting through 30(!) more episodes of this show, and that’s why I’m dropping out now.

I’m sorry, Show. Lots of folks seem to like you a great deal, so maybe it’s not you per se.. Guess you and I just don’t jive, is all.

Author: kfangurl

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

26 thoughts on “Dropped: My Mr. Mermaid [China]

  1. Hi Fangirl,

    Have you given baby faced beauty a chance yet? I admit to surprise when I didn’t see it on your list. It’s cute. Not perfect, but cute. Plus Daniel Choi and Jang Na Ra are adorable together!!

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    • Hi sarah!! Yes, I’ve seen Baby-faced Beauty, and am in full agreement with your description. It’s not perfect, but it’s cute, and Daniel Choi & Jang Na Ra make a cute couple. I think I would’ve given it a B, if I’d had my ratings system then. 😁 I saw it before I started the blog, so it’s basically in a big pile of “seen that, probably won’t write about it though” shows, along with almost everything else I saw pre-blog. I do plan on a Coffee Prince review though, so I don’t ignore everything that I saw pre-blog! 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You did better than me! I wanna convince myself to watch further, but I’ve been stuck at ep 2 for the longest time.

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    • Really! Thanks for making me feel like I’m in good company, Julianne! 😄 I wanted to like this one, but it just became harder and harder to watch, after a while. Guess I’m not Show’s target demographic? 😝

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  3. Oh dear…

    I hope you do realise that these ‘youth dramas’ tend to be a platform for The Pretty but generally talentless? 😀 There have been a fiew that are perhaps worth a quick run through but on the whole, once you’ve seen one, you’ve pretty much seen ’em all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha! You made me giggle, Timescout! 😂 I’ve enjoyed a nice number of youth dramas in the past, so I’m always hopeful. I’ve generally enjoyed the School series (I’m still making up my mind about 2017, but flat-out loved 2013 and liked 2015), so I felt like this was worth a shot. With all the positive ratings on Viki in particular, and the glowing comments, I thought this might be one of those youthful gems, y’know? It just didn’t work out that way for me, though.. On the upside, at least I dropped out early. This one has 36 episodes! What a monster! 😝

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      • Guess I should have elaborted… I ment cdramas. 🙂 Korea and even Japan have a lot better track record with this genre.

        China seems to churn out many this type youth/idol dramas, filled with all these ‘pretty vases’ who can’t act for toffee but are quite popular regardless. The dramas may seem different on paper but you’ll find that the basic plot is almost always the same, no matter what the premise. 😁 Once in a while you’ll spot a youngling who actually has the makings of a proper actor. They usually stand out, even if the role is minor.

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        • Ahhh! I see! Thanks for clarifying, Timescout! I am still quite the C-drama noob, so I didn’t know the youth dramas worked that way. Thanks for the clue-in, now I’ll know better! 😀 I admit the glowing comments on Viki still confuse me.. They are long, and elaborate quite a bit on how this drama is so, SO good, and the comments are accompanied by very high scores too. Different strokes for different folks? 😅

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          • I have a feeling that the viewers skew on the younger side and can’t or won’t see past The Pretty and cutish plot and the squee! for the romance.

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            • I have a feeling you’re right – although, I honestly didn’t think The Pretty was that pretty, nor the plot that cute (it was so much ado about not that much, from what I saw), and although there was a bit of OTP cute, it was rather suddenly introduced, and kinda disappeared in the E5-7 window. Ha. I sound so jaded! I must definitely not be the target demographic of this show! 😂

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              • Nope, you and me both. 😁

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                • 😂😂 This is part of the reason I love talking with you, Timescout! I feel like, ah, I’m not abnormal, there are other people out there who feel the same way! That, and you’re awesome, of course. 😉 😘

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                  • Heh. Thank you kindly. But, but…. I’m frequently the odd one out, who doesn’t get why certain dramas/actors are so popular. I just can’t seem to see what all the others are seeing. 😀

                    That aside, I think us two have been watching dramas too long to suffer ‘fools’ lightly. Reading comments @ e.g. Dramabeans, it’s quite evident that most commenters are relative noobs who only started watching dramas within the past 1-3 years. They’ve still got the rose tinted glasses firmly on and haven’t learned to see past all the shiny. A part of me is sort of envious of that. 😉

                    Another thing… about cdramas. As there are still loads that don’t get subbed, there is very little buzz at the international side for those, so many good to great cdramas get no love. I’ve myself now got really used to watching stuff with no subs so I’ve come across several I’ve enjoyed a lot. Not that there isn’t a lot of crap on offer as well, but I’m pretty good at spotting those before I get much further in watching. *g*

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                    • Lol. I tend to see the appeal of actors a little more often than you do, but I know what you mean.. There’re actors and actresses that I still fail to see the appeal of, despite their big fan bases and positive reputations. And you’re right.. the relative ‘jadedness’ is probably related to how long we’ve been watching dramas. I mean, when dramas were relatively new to me, I lapped ’em all up with delight. I thought Secret Garden was wonderful and amazing – and not too long ago, when I tried to rewatch it just to see how I’d feel about it now, I couldn’t get past E1. 😝 That said, I prefer not to think of this as ‘jadedness’ – it’s more like having increased resistance to empty shiny things, and looking more for actual substance. Coz when we do find it, we still flail about as hard as ever, heh 😉

                      I’m learning that some of the really good C-dramas don’t actually get enough attention to get subbed. I’m now watching Tientsin Mystic without English subs, and it’s really pretty good! I think you’d like it; it’s got an interesting vibe to it, and feels more film-like than drama-like. It’s a pity there aren’t subs, coz it really limits the show’s reach.

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  4. I lose patience fast with these Youth oriented dramas. Eye candy can only go so far, and I’m starting to feel “cougarish” Hahaha. But give me a trio line-up of So Ji-Sub, Jang Hyuk, Oh Ji Ho, for example, I’ll be all over it.

    I realize they’re also vehicles to break newbies into acting, but the majority of them need serious lessons that I don’t think they get.

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    • Haha! I feel ya, on the borderline cougar feelings, especially when the show leans very young. In this show, though, the boys are in college, not high school, and the female lead is already working as a trainee reporter, so it doesn’t lean as young as the School series. So the cougar element isn’t that bad. It’s just that the story was starting to feel like it was cycling in place, which is not unexpected, given that this one is 36 eps long. But with the not-very-talented acting among the cast thrown into the mix, it just felt pointless to continue.

      I do agree that most of the younger actors could do with more acting lessons. Or maybe they do get acting lessons, but just don’t have the talent for it? Hmm.. 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt with their talent. I’ve seen actors grow over the years. But that’s always a possibility – just plain no talent. I couldn’t sit through a 36 ep. drama of bad acting. I will take your drama advice with this one. hehe.

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        • Yes, you’re right. An actor can become better over the years, even if they out stiff, but that also means there’s no innate talent. Some really seem to just be born with it! And no indeed, don’t sit through 36 eps of bad acting! I couldn’t do more than 7 eps of this one myself, heh 😂

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Ok, first off, I’m sorry if this suddenly posts gzillion times at some later date. If that happens, just delete the extras. I tried couple of times to reply to your last comment but the reply just disappeared and never appeared on the blog. XD

    Well, I’d call it experience rather than ‘jadedness’. Give me a quality drama and I’m there with bells on, flailing with the best of ’em ;P

    I did actually watch some of Tientsin Mystic but unfortunately lost interest after a while. I wrote bit about that in my last Grab Bag.

    Btw, I’d like to rec you a really lovely little drama 愿有人陪你颠沛流离 (I’ve seen it translated as Willing To Drift With You) I watched a while back. It’s set in college and has a supernatural element. I’ve been meaning to write something about but forgot to add it to the last GB, ha. It’s only 17 epis, each 30 min – no subs though. I think you might like it too. I’d give you a trailer but it’s far too spoilerey and this is one of those stories that are best started without knowing too much about ‘some’ things.^^

    I don’t know if you’d be interested but there is this site that seems to have every cdrama ever. *g* It’s quite handy when you want to check the new offerengs to see if they’d be worth watching. Afterwards I usuall see if they are @ YT as surprisingley many (especally web dramas) have an official YT channel, sometimes even with subs.

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    • Sorry about your comments getting sucked into the spam folder, Timescout!! But, yay that they didn’t just disappear into some kind of virtual black hole, never to be seen again! 😝

      Ah, sorry Tientsin Mystic didn’t work for you.. I’m just 4 eps in, and still liking it. It could be the lack of subs thing; I’ll keep watching and keep you posted. Maybe I’ll lost interest like you did, after a while. Or, maybe it’ll be worth watching – if only there were subs. 😛 Doesn’t the younger river god look like he could’ve stepped right out of New York Fashion Week or something, tho? 😂

      Thanks for the drama rec! I always pay serious attention when you recommend something, even if I don’t get to it right away. I just watched the first ep of Shan Shan Comes To Eat last night (after dropping Mermaid), and loved it! Thanks for the Chinese site, it’s great! (How DO you find these things, without actually knowing Chinese?! You’re amazing) It literally looks like it’s got every C-drama ever! Which is already coming in super handy, coz I tried my usual drama sources, and none of them have the drama you recommended. YT’s got a couple of eps, but in low quality.

      PS: Yes, experienced sounds wayyy better than ‘jaded,’ lol! 😂

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      • 😀 I should have just contacted you the first time my comment disappeared. The doofus that I am, it only dawned me after several tries that they might have gone in the spam folder. I did wonder if it was the link. Glad you got it all sorted. Thanks.

        I really liked Tientsin Mystic to begin with and thought the four leads winsome. What initially got me interested, besides the premise, was that as male leads it had two supporting actors I’d liked in their previous works. Loved Li Xian in Dr Qin, he was the fun 1/3 of the Trio of Awesome. ‘Little’ Zhang Ming En was very good in Mystic9 as Lt. ‘Visual’ Zhang. 😀 It was his first big role too (he’s also going to be in the sequel Sand Sea (Sha Hai 沙海). Anyways, I think I got all the way till ca. ep 15 before giving up, when I realised I hadn’t really been invested in the story for quite a while. Let me know what you think once you have fiew more episodes behind you. As for ‘younger river god’ – do you mean Guo De You, the original appentice river god? I actually liked the costuming on the whole.

        Oh, I come across all sorts of stuff while trawling the internets for something, anything on the cdramas that have no info in English. *g*

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        • It’s ok, it could’ve happened to any of us. I don’t always clue in either, with WP quirks. It took me several very long seconds before I realized that the spam folder might be holding your comments hostage! 😝

          Yes, I meant Guo De You – so avant garde, in his styling! Which I actually like a lot. I just find it very amusing that he literally looks like he could’ve stepped off some runway. 😍 I paid extra attention in E5 today, to the dialogue vs. non-dialogue elements in the show, and I do think you’re right. It would be tough to enjoy this one without actually understanding the dialogue because the characters do spend a fair amount of time in verbal sparring. Action-wise, it also does feel like not a lot happens in an episode, which becomes all the more stark if you’re following mainly the action without the dialogue. I’ll keep you posted on how this one pans out for me. It’s currently stretching my Chinese to its limits, so if it gets much harder on the language front, I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up! 😅

          Dr. Qin & Mystic Nine are titles that I’ve seen bandied about, but never got around to looking up. Looks like I might have more titles to add to my list now 😉

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  6. I checked on Viki, I didn’t get past episode 5. I have generally aged out of the youth romances but, if they are 16ish episodes, I can still give them a go (I watched School 2017 recently), but I can’t handle this many episodes. Also, my daughter is a swimmer. For any parent who has watched and timed swim meets, the last thing you think is super awesome is watching more swimming in your free time. If it isn’t my beautiful girl or Michael Phelps, no thanks.

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    • Lol, your comment made me laugh, Kat! 😆 Yes, I can absolutely imagine that there are a gazillion other things that you’d rather do, than watch more swimming, if you’ve been a swim mom! And also, especially if the actors are as green as the ones in this show! I’ve never been a swim mom and even I found them hard to watch! 😂 I think 36 episodes was just way too ambitious for this show.

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