THE SHORT VERDICT:
Coming from the writer of A Love So Beautiful, Put Your Head On My Shoulder is a cheerful campus romance that at once feels similar-but-different, when compared with its elder sibling ALSB.
Easygoing and cheerful, Show never gets overly angsty, preferring to serve up cuteness, kittens and rainbows via the burgeoning feelings and blossoming romance between an unlikely pair lovebirds. He’s a handsome science genius and she’s a bubbly warm accounting major with advertising dreams, which, yes, sounds totally tropey, but Show’s treatment of the pairing brings enough freshness to the table, to make this story feel far from tired.
Show does have its fair share of flaws, but overall, manages to be a shiny, happy, easy little watch.
THE LONG VERDICT:
Basically, this show is one that I just couldn’t not check out.
I mean, not only does it come from the writer of A Love So Beautiful, which I found very enjoyable indeed, many of you were telling me that you loved this one, too. So dive in I did, and I’m happy (and relieved!) to report that this watch experience went much better for me, than my recent foray into Well Intended Love, which, uh, I really should’ve stayed away from, heh.
Would this work for everyone, though? I don’t think so.. but with the right lens, I think this should work quite nicely for most.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / SHOW’S APPEAL
While most folks that I know who’ve tried this show have come away enjoying this one a lot, my sister (who did love ALSB a great deal) just couldn’t get into it, which leads me to conclude that while this show has a pretty wide appeal, it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.
This isn’t the most brilliant drama ever written, despite its popularity, so don’t expect a deep sort of narrative. It’s slice-of-life, and sometimes it feels like our story meanders, with various plot points thrown in there just to get our OTP from Point A to Point B in terms of relationship development. It’s also skewed towards a younger audience, so there’s a distinct youthy quality to it all. The acting is reasonably decent overall to my eyes, with some cast members coming across greener than others.
One other thing to take note of, is that Show does come across as somewhat tropey, even though its execution does land with a fresh sort of flavor that I liked. For example, some viewers might feel weary of the aloof handsome genius male lead and cheery warm female lead pairing which really is quite overdone in Dramaland. The major height difference between our leads in this story might also feel too reminiscent of ALSB for some viewers as well.
Overall, I didn’t find this as cracky as ALSB, so that’s another factor to take into consideration. However, Show did serve up other goodies to make up for the relatively dampened crack factor, which balanced it out in my head. For the record, there are lots of folks who found this very cracky indeed, so there’s that too.
I think a large part of Show’s appeal is that while most shows would have the warm female lead crushing on the aloof handsome genius male lead and melting him in degrees, in this story, the genius falls first, and hard. And because he’s rather clueless about things like girls, relationships and feeelings, he flounders about while trying to impress the girl, thus coming across as an endearing, sincere dork, who tries to use his scientific mind to decipher those very non-scientific things.
Another thing that I think works in Show’s favor, is how our warm cheery girl is largely unaffected by the handsome genius, and even nurses a crush on – gasp! – somebody else. Altogether, this set-up gives enough of a twist to the usual tropes, to make this story feel sufficiently fresh and grabby.
Show also throws in a forced cohabitation situation quite quickly into our story, thus amping up opportunities for our genius to get close to our warm girl, with amusingly mixed results. I also really liked how this turn of events throws the OTP relationship development into high gear, and of course, I couldn’t object to the related close proximity hijinks either.
STUFF I LIKED
Xing Fei as Mo Mo
I really, really enjoyed Xing Fei as our female lead Mo Mo, and for the record, I think Xing Fei’s likability and personal charm did a lot to make this show work for me. I found her cute without being overly cutesy, and that’s something that not that many female leads are able to accomplish, in my books.
On top of Xing Fei’s personal charm, I also really liked how Mo Mo is written, as a character. She’s got a feisty independent streak, and won’t allow herself to be easily beaten down. Additionally, she’s not actually loud or brash about it, and tends to cheerfully and rather quietly go about her way, until she’s provoked.
I just really enjoyed how down-to-earth Mo Mo is, and how, when push comes to shove, she’s got an inner steeliness at her core, that allows her to stand up for herself without feeling the need to be cruel at the same time.
Overall, I found Mo Mo very likable indeed, and that made a huge difference in terms of how I viewed our main loveline, because looking at Mo Mo, I could very much understand why Gu Wei Yi (Lin Yi) would be drawn to her.
Here’s a slightly deeper dive into the various instances where I found Mo Mo very appealing indeed.
E1. Right away, I like Mo Mo. She does have a crush on a useless guy, but she doesn’t try to build her life around him or try too hard to get his attention. In fact, I can kind of feel her chagrin at herself for liking him, each time he lets her down. At the same time, she is so unaffected by the handsome genius that is Gu Wei Yi. While lots of girls spazz over his good looks, she doesn’t. And the only reason she was smiling to herself when she returned to the dorm, wasn’t because he was handsome, but because she found it funny that he lost the pack of sanitary napkins when he’d taken her bag by mistake.
E1. I like that Mo Mo isn’t one to jump at a free ride. When Gu Wei Yi offers to fix her mobile phone screen, she resists, until he talks her into a corner. When Fu Pei (Tang Xiao Tian) offers to go with her to her interview, she declines as well. She’s got an independent streak about her that’s already showing up, and that’s nice to see.
E2. Aw, I like that Mo Mo’s quiet and cute, but also feisty in her own way. The way she drunkenly tells off Fu Pei, saying that he’s ugly and she doesn’t want to like him anymore, is pretty great. I do like that we are shown that back in high school, she’d gotten feisty too, when Fu Pei had denied their intention to be a couple after graduation. She never comes across like she’d be crushed without him, or that she can’t carry on without him. She’s always clearly her own person, and I like that a lot.
E2. I love that Mo Mo’s the kind of girl who instinctively stands up for herself. When Gu Wei Yi tells the teacher that he calls the shots in their (brand new fake) relationship, Mo Mo immediately pipes up, “Says who? I call the shots too..” And I like that what she aims for isn’t superiority (ie, I call the shots), but equality. I like that about her.
E9. Oh my goodness. I just love how Mo Mo conducts herself when Fu Pei confronts her about not liking him anymore. She’s articulate, honest, precise, and above all, still vulnerable, as she explains to Fu Pei exactly how it’s been like on her side of things, for all the times that he’d let her down. I love that she says she isn’t sad because of him, and will no longer be sad because of him; she was just sad when she realized that she’d finally stopped liking him. Yes, girl. What a role model of how to be strong yet vulnerable at the same time. I love it.
E10. I like that Mo Mo’s modus operandi with Fu Pei now, is to speak to him very matter-of-factly. Her words don’t carry bitterness, while still acknowledging that she doesn’t quite wish to accept his apology and tell him it’s ok.
E11. Mo Mo clearly has some sense of her connection with Gu Wei Yi, since she told him to take his medicine, when he didn’t listen to senior Yu Yin (Zhou Zi Xin), and then when he did take it obediently, there’s a clear sense of relish and satisfaction in the little smile that she smiles to herself. Also, I really like that Mo Mo doesn’t actually feel intimidated by senior Yu Yin, even though Yu Yin’s come looking for Gu Wei Yi at his house. Instead, she cheerily establishes that she belongs at this house, while waving goodbye to the senior. It’s not malicious, but I’m relishing it anyway.
E15. How refreshingly frank is Mo Mo, to just come out and ask Gu Wei Yi whether he likes her. She’s embarrassed and scared too, but she does it anyway. I love her.
E15. I love how down-to-earth and easygoing Mo Mo is. When Gu Wei Yi’s plan of a candlelit steak dinner at home doesn’t quite go as planned, she remarks that the elegant life just doesn’t suit them, then blithely suggests they just tear at the meat with their teeth like they’re eating pork chops, and hands Gu Wei Yi a pair of chopsticks. When he protests, she just eyes him and says, “Eat.” And then she proceeds to exclaim how delicious the food is. How refreshing. I really like that about her.
Lin Yi as Gu Wei Yi
Lin Yi’s a relative newcomer, and it’s clear that his acting leans on the slightly stiffer side of things. However, because Gu Wei Yi is both aloof and emotionally awkward, Lin Yi’s stiffer delivery works with the character instead of against it. I found it pretty easy to believe him as the handsome genius whose earnest dorky side comes into play when he falls for a girl.
Because Gu Wei Yi falls for Mo Mo first, and falls pretty hard, I took great pleasure in watching the handsome genius muddle his way to winning her heart. It also definitely helped that Gu Wei Yi is written to be very earnest and thoughtful, despite his aloof veneer.
Also, while it’s true that Lin Yi’s delivery leans stiff, he does deliver pretty fantastic soft gazes and stifled half smiles, and because these are sprinkled liberally through our story, I found myself quite quickly growing a soft spot for the handsome genius.
Here’s a sprawling handful of moments where I found Gu Wei Yi appealing &/or adorkable:
E1. Gu Wei Yi’s not interested in a free ride either, and declines his teacher’s offer to set up a meeting the professor, because it wouldn’t be fair to other students. This, even though he missed the exam through an accident that wasn’t his fault. That’s admirable.
E1. I like that he’s kind. Even when it’s not his business, he takes a taxi to pick up Mo Mo, who’s stranded after having her purse snatched. And he even takes her to the hospital to get checked out. He’s observant as well, noticing things like the tear that falls from Mo Mo’s eye onto her plastic folder, and tossing her a packet of tissues so that she can wipe her face.
E2. The stifled smiles are starting to show up, and I like ’em! Gu Wei Yi sometimes can’t help but smile a little, around Mo Mo, and it pleases me that she would get that reaction out of him. And I like that she got that reaction from him just being herself, getting all sleepy on the bus, her head falling on his shoulder.
E4. I love the little things that Gu Wei Yi does, which show how responsive he is to Mo Mo’s needs. When she mentions she needs a hair tie, he actually gets one for her. I felt bad for him, when he tossed it into the bin, because Fu Pei showed up.
E4. I really like how Gu Wei Yi gives Mo Mo control of the situation, when Fu Pei confronts them at the apartment. The most he says is that it isn’t what Fu Pei thinks, but he doesn’t move to explain further, even when Fu Pei goes on and on about looking good in a green hat (a Chinese euphemism for being made a cuckold), resolutely keeping quiet and keeping his gaze firmly trained on Mo Mo, to see what she wanted to do in this situation.
I could feel that he was ready to support her, in whatever decision she made, about what to say to Fu Pei. I love that. It would’ve been easy to just explain everything, and it would’ve also been hard to keep mum, because Fu Pei was being such a drama queen and quite the idiot about it. But keep mum he does, out of respect and deference to Mo Mo, and I love that. <3
E4. Gu Wei Yi speaking in code to Mo Mo, about how it’s ok to cry if it hurts, is really sweet. He leaves on the pretext of buying her a bandaid for the nick on her finger, so that she’ll have the privacy to cry if she wants to. That’s very thoughtful and sensitive of him. I’m liking him more and more.
E4. Ahh! He came back with watermelon coz she’d said that she liked watermelon too, and he even picked Doraemon bandaids for her, because she put Doraemon stickers on the wall. That’s really sweet.
E8. Gu Wei Yi trying to get an answer out of Fu Pei, about what his intentions are towards Mo Mo, is so honorable. And when Fu Pei asks if a silly girl like Mo Mo is worth it, Gu Wei Yi’s firm answer is so melty. “She’s worth it.” That makes my heart wobble, a little bit.
E10. Gu Wei Yi trying to use that silly book about chasing girls to interact with Mo Mo is the dorkiest thing. I cringe and giggle, at the same time.
E11. Gu Wei Yi’s attempts to confess his feelings to Mo Mo are totally science-weirdo (literal translation of when Mo Mo called him a 科学怪人) levels of lame, but when he hit on the snowman, I thought it would be a shoo-in and that Mo Mo would totally melt. But, instead, it was the snowman, so carefully placed in the freezer, that melted. OMG, I actually laughed out loud, both in amusement and exasperation. Pfft. But, major props to Gu Wei Yi, for not giving up, and persistently looking for ways to let Mo Mo know how he feels about her. Persistence can be very swoony indeed.
E11. Gu Wei Yi going to the hairdresser and asking for pineapple hair is ridiculous and amusing. And it does show how desperately he wants Mo Mo to be drawn to him. He values Mo Mo more than he values his dignity, and that’s so very endearing.
E17. Gu Wei Yi wanting to learn table tennis to not look lame in front of Mo Mo, is pretty cute too.
Mo Mo and Gu Wei Yi together
No lie, it’s this OTP’s growing connection, and their squabbles and foibles, that were the consistent highlight of this show. The quickly apparent growing feelings on Gu Wei Yi’s side, and the less quick, but just as squee-inducing growing awareness of his presence, on Mo Mo’s side, made this show fun for me.
Except for some small quibbles which I’ll mention later, I generally found the treatment of the OTP connection healthy, believable and appealing. Also, I was pleased to see the connection begin in a firmly platonic place. Even though we see that Gu Wei Yi swiftly develops feelings for Mo Mo, they are absolutely friends first, and spend a nice chunk of time being friends, before things turn romantic between them. I liked that.
The other thing I really liked, is how natural and easy our OTP interactions come across. Except for the awkward static kisses (which I’ll credit to – blame on? – Show’s firmly youthy bent), I found the skinship between our OTP very believable and organic, as if they’d grown comfortable with each other by spending lots of time together in close proximity.
The startling height difference was amusing icing on the cake, as was Gu Wei Yi’s growing habit of picking Mo Mo up, almost like she’s a little child – except that she’s not a child, but a woman very capable of turning his heart topsy-turvy, and his cheeks, very red indeed, hee.
There are so many instances that this OTP counted as a highlight for me, that I considered paring this down to a smaller, Top Ten sort of list. But, I figured that some of you would actually enjoy walking down memory lane and reliving all of the feels with me, so here it all is:
E1. I like that neither of them gets angry or holds a grudge against the other person, when their important plans get thrown off because of the accidental bag switch. They both take it in stride and carry on without grumbling about it. That’s pretty special, and I kinda like both of them right away already.
E2. I like that even though Mo Mo’s only known Gu Wei Yi for a short period of time, she already knows how to push his buttons so that he’ll complete the test even though he’d refused every other time before. It makes me think that 1, she’s a wise girl, and 2, he’s gonna be wrapped around her little finger, when they do start to actually date, heh.
E2. I also like that Gu Wei Yi doesn’t jump to Mo Mo’s defense when she’s acting out with Fu Pei. He trails behind and lets her do her thing, and it’s only when Fu Pei confronts him, that he speaks up for Mo Mo. I also appreciate that Mo Mo doesn’t jump to using Gu Wei Yi against Fu Pei, even though the fake relationship is brought up right in front of Fu Pei. In that sense, they both feel like very fair people, which I really appreciate.
E3. I do love that even though there’s a measure of attraction to the other person on both sides, both Mo Mo and Gu Wei Yi largely behave the same way around each other as they always have. He’s a little detached and aloof, she’s friendly but not clingy. If he’s aloof with her, she shrugs it right off and carries on about her way. That appeals to me a lot, somehow.
E3. The initial awkward encounter, where Mo Mo blurts out that she can’t toss out the smelly noodles immediately because she isn’t wearing a bra, amuses me. The awkward aftermath feels so true-to-life, without being too painful to watch. I was suitably amused by Mo Mo’s antsiness as she danced on hot coals, anxious as to whether or not Gu Wei Yi had spotted her bra soaking in the basin. Gu Wei Yi’s chagrin around all of the inconveniences of having her there was pretty amusing too.
But when Mo Mo collapses from food poisoning, Gu Wei Yi’s anxiety is endearing to witness, and his instinct to protect her at the hospital when the angry parent started throwing things, is really sweet too.
E4. The moment when Gu Wei Yi is frozen in time, just hovering over Mo Mo as she lies in the hospital bed, is quite.. pregnant with potential sizzle. I mean, he looks awkward, but not opposed to being so close to her. And there’s even a slight moment when he looks like he might just lower his face to hers, even, before she breaks the spell by informing him that he’s blocked the flow of her IV tube. Oooh.
E4. It’s becoming more and more obvious that Gu Wei Yi likes Mo Mo. The way he tenses up when his bunkmate complains that the girl he likes keeps allowing her ex-boyfriend to hover around her; the way he doesn’t want her to move out; the way he can’t help smiling to himself at her cuteness, when the stray bedsheet lands on her head. I love that he falls for her first. And I also love that she seems blithely unaffected by him.
E6. Pfft. Gu Wei Yi’s letting his feelings for Mo Mo influence his behavior more and more. Did he know that she was going for an interview? Or was he just waiting outside the dorm, hoping to see her? He’s actually searching online for the origins of her last name during lab hours, which is shocking for someone as serious as he. He even tricks her into coming home, probably hoping to spend some time with her. And he even cleans the house, anticipating her arrival. Aw.
E6. Mo Mo is starting to let Gu Wei Yi influence her behavior. I mean, she quit her job because she liked what he said, about it being important to do what you like.
E6. It gives me satisfaction to see evidence of Mo Mo and Gu Wei Yi’s closeness leaking out, as they hang out with Fu Pei and Shan Shan. Mo Mo referring to the apartment as home, and knowing where the chips are, and where the honey is, and even the way she talks to Gu Wei Yi so casually. There’s a synergy there that speaks for itself, and it pleases me that this all makes the other two at least a little bit uncomfortable.
E7. The banter over the condom was funny, I have to admit. “Why did you put it in your bag? Do you have.. activities planned for tonight?” *Meaningful looks exchanged* “Why, do you want to join in?” Eep. And, snerk.
E7. Gu Wei Yi burning the kite string to let the kite fly away. I like how these two often talk in metaphors about bigger and deeper things. In this case, she is talking about how it’s sometimes hard to let someone go, which is when he burns the string through, to help her see that letting go doesn’t have to be hard.
E7. Gu Wei Yi’s starting to really show how responsive he is to Mo Mo. One moment, he’s all, “I don’t like sweets,” and the next moment, when Mo Mo offers him the same sweet off her fork, he immediately chomps down and eats it. It’s these little things that give me the fuzzy squees.
E8. Mo Mo and Gu Wei Yi just hanging out at night at the beach, while everyone else is sleeping, feels so cozy. Him finding her food and grilling it for her, while she calls him a “science weirdo” (literal translation of 科学怪人) with a big grin on her face. There is clear affection brewing between these two, and I really like seeing that grow.
E8. Mo Mo’s secret happiness that Gu Wei Yi is home, yess! And his secret satisfaction, at receiving her call late at night, asking why he isn’t home. These two are falling into couple habits and they don’t even realize it. Eee!
E9. The scene with Gu Wei Yi using the static from rubbing the balloons on Mo Mo’s hair to get the balloons to stick to the ceiling is goofy gold. Even better when the roles are reversed and the golden genius obediently sits still while Mo Mo rubs balloons all over his hair. His resigned, bemused expression is just perfect. Tee hee!
E9. The heart-thumping Jenga stare-down was nicely done, with a what’s-really-goin’-on-on-the-inside peek at the hearts in their eyes and the smiles on their faces, before we cut back to the party and the grimaces they’re wearing to camouflage their mutual attraction.
E10. Gu Wei Yi sleep-kissing Mo Mo is far-fetched, but cute enough that I will forgive Show for the logic stretch. The look in his eyes as he sleepily leans down to reach her is melty stuff.
E13. It’s sweet of Gu Wei Yi to get Mo Mo a replacement for the Doraemon mug that she broke. That was thoughtful and I’m happy that she liked it.
E13. Gu Wei Yi offering to take the cat home despite his very real cat allergy, just so that he could clear the air with Mo Mo and make her happy, is quite sweet. The way he goes about it is rather transactional, though, which niggles at me a little bit. But the cat is cute, and his allergy is somewhat amusing. And, the fact that he rushes in to see if Mo Mo is ok, when he hears the cat squawk, and grabs the cat from her despite his allergy, is sweet. He does care for her a lot, in spite of their current state of misunderstandings and friction.
E13. Gu Wei Yi gazing at Mo Mo’s student card and smiling to himself, and then taking a picture of it for himself, is cute. He just can’t help himself when it comes to Mo Mo, and I dig it.
E14. Ooh. That moment when Gu Wei Yi remembers the kiss, and then immediately moves to kiss her again. That’s quite swoony, in the sense that he immediately wants to experience kissing her, again. He likes what he remembers, hee.
E14. Gu Wei Yi’s attempts to improve his score on Mo Mo’s scorecard of him, is amusing, and so in character. A science weirdo would totally want to do everything possible to improve his chances, before taking said chance.
But, he’s really sweet when he’s not actively discussing things in a scientific way with his lab people. The way he carried Mo Mo to her bed when she fell asleep on the couch, and then opted to not move rather than risk disturbing her by pulling his hands out from under her, is dorky and sweet. And then the way he went out to buy ingredients to make her favorite dish for breakfast because she missed dinner, even though he can’t stand the smell of it, is really sweet.
E15. The awkward tentativeness of Mo Mo and Gu Wei Yi’s very young relationship feels true-to-life, and also, adorkably sweet. They don’t quite know what to do or say around each other now that their relationship has shifted, but they are figuring it out one awkward, tentative step at a time, and it’s so endearing watching them trying to navigate this new territory.
E15. “There are some things you can do even without drinking beer.” Eee! How.. meaningfully said. Ahem. Gu Wei Yi’s got more moves than he realizes. The way he leans in to kiss Mo Mo, after letting those words hang in the air, was pretty sexy.
E16. Aw, I like that Gu Wei Yi misses Mo Mo, and doesn’t mind going to the filming location to just hang around and wait for her. Just letting her nap on his shoulder for 10 minutes makes him happy. How sweet.
I love that moment when Mo Mo’s about to head back into the studio and holds his face and goes, “I’m off to make money; stay and be good ok? Don’t fight with the other kids.” SHO CUTE.
E16. Our lovebirds on a proper date for the first time – how cute. I like watching them have fun together, laughing easily and just generally having a good time. They relate really naturally and easily, until self-consciousness catches up to them, and they get all blushy and awkward. It’s adorable.
E17. The refrigerator spin-and-kiss is the stuff of teenage dreams. And looks like beer does fuel our boy with liquid courage. When Mo Mo jerks nervously at a sound, the way he doesn’t let it get in the way, but intently leans back in to kiss her, is pretty swoony.
E17. Both Gu Wei Yi and Mo Mo not wanting to say goodnight coz they wanted to keep spending time together, feels true-to-life. That’s exactly how it is, when you first start dating.
E18. It’s really sweet that Gu Wei Yi cooks snail noodles for Mo Mo even though he can’t bear the smell of it, and then cooks instant noodles for himself, to eat beside her – while still smelling those snail noodles. And how nice, that he then thanks her for doing the dishes. I like that Mo Mo simply smiles and thanks him for cooking for her. This is just all very healthy and endearing.
E18. I like that even though they spend lots of time together, they don’t only fall into a routine. Mo Mo asks him about his habit of drinking tea, and Gu Wei Yi tells her about his childhood, and how his dad brought him up, such that his mom says it’s his dad’s fault for causing Gu Wei Yi’s personality to be so peculiar. When Gu Wei Yi asks Mo Mo if he’s peculiar, I love her response. She thinks on it just for a moment, then smiles and says, “Yes, but it’s pretty nice.” Aw. Sweet!
E18. I have to appreciate Mo Mo for being so expressive about waving her goodbyes to Gu Wei Yi at the airport. She calls out to him, blows him kisses, and throws him imaginary hearts, even though she knows that he’s not the sort who would be comfortable reciprocating such a public display of affection. But instead of feeling disappointed about it, she just turns around and traipses off to her bus.
E18. It’s cute how Gu Wei Yi matter-of-factly answers his parents that yes, he and Mo Mo are in fact dating. And I really love that when Mo Mo gets all excited about the fireworks, her first instinct is to call Gu Wei Yi so the she can share the moment with him. Her excitement really just radiates across the screen – and the phone – and I find her super endearing in this moment.
E18. Gu Wei Yi really takes Mo Mo’s words to heart. When she remarks that his experiment doesn’t give off light that’s practical, he gets working on it right away, thinking about how to improve it. And he also learns how to skateboard, after seeing how she thought it was cool.
E18. I do love that Mo Mo’s aware that Gu Wei Yi’s working hard to be romantic, and she asks him for a hug, then tells him, “You’re very romantic.” Awww. Just what the boy needed to hear.
E19. I did find it amusing that prove that he’s Mo Mo’s boyfriend, the questions Gu Wei Yi chooses are, “Who’s Yuan Yuan’s dad?” and “Who’s Yuan Yuan’s mom?” Everyone thinking that these two are young parents to a child, when he’s really referring to their robot vacuum, pfft.
E20. It was sweet that Gu Wei Yi willingly spent all his money on taking Mo Mo’s friends out for a meal because he didn’t want them to think that he was stingy. On the other hand, it seemed unnecessarily pig-headed of him not to then allow Mo Mo to pay for food afterwards. Why make both of them starve, right? Also, Mo Mo should’ve totally given him the quail’s egg, after he treated her friends to such an expensive meal.
E23. Mo Mo going to Germany to surprise Gu Wei Yi. His expression at seeing her on his bed, is so precious. He looks so pleased, surprised, and so cautiously full of wonder, it’s like he’s afraid she’s made of magic dust and will disappear if he makes a sound.
And, how cute, that they both planned to go to the other, to “force a marriage.”
Gu Wei Yi and his fellow lab rats
To my surprise, Gu Wei Yi’s interactions with his fellow science nerds at the lab really grew on me over time. Despite spending most of their time chest-deep in experiments, this bunch does actually come to care for one another as people. I found it especially amusing when Zhou Lei and Professor Jiang (Zhang Hao Lun and Jie Bing) try their darndest to give Gu Wei Yi dating and relationship advice – and keep getting tripped up by their earnestly sciency conclusions, heh.
Special mention to Zhou Lei, whom I found rather annoying at first, but who eventually endeared himself to me for being so harmless and earnest in his clumsy, persistent efforts to outdo Gu Wei Yi in everything.
Mo Mo’s friendship with Shan Shan
Even though I have some dissatisfaction around Shan Shan as a character (which I’ll talk about later), there was definitely something about Mo Mo’s friendship with Shan Shan that appealed to me.
[SPOILER ALERT] There’s something very touching about Mo Mo’s friendship with Shan Shan. They can take turns liking the same boy, and it doesn’t affect their friendship much at all. Yes, there was that patch of awkwardness, but it really wasn’t long before they talked it out, and through it all, their friendship never really wavered.
In episode 9, Mo Mo even says she feels kind of sorry for Shan Shan, for liking Fu Pei, ha. And Shan Shan can totally see that Mo Mo’s heart is wobbling because of Gu Wei Yi. I am quite enamored of their friendship at this point, because they’re putting their friendship first, before boys. [END SPOILER]
Supportive parents on both sides of the OTP
Even though it didn’t strike me as all that believable, I found that I rather liked how supportive both Mo Mo’s and Gu Wei Yi’s parents are, of the idea of them embarking on a romantic relationship.
In particular, both moms seem super eager for their offspring to hit it off, so that they can become in-laws, which I found equal parts amusing and sweet. It was just kind of nice that there were no meddlesome parents in our OTP’s world to complicate their relationship.
STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
Tang Xiao Tian as Fu Pei
To be frank, I did not enjoy Fu Pei as a character, at all. I found him very lame and very irresponsible, almost immediately from episode 1, and despite Show’s efforts to make him more sympathetic in later episodes, I must admit that I never came to care much about Fu Pei at all.
I don’t know if it was intentional, but as we get deeper into Show’s episodes, Fu Pei looks more and more sleep deprived, to the extent of kinda looking like he’s a druggie. This did not combine well with my already poor impression of the character, and I eventually found myself having to grit my teeth a little, in order to endure his scenes. Not a favorite of mine, by far.
Without spending too much time on this, here’s a quick spotlight on some of the things that I didn’t like about Fu Pei.
E1. Fu Pei is really irresponsible, always disappearing on Mo Mo after making a promise. And then when he does show up, he’s all over the place and completely inattentive to her needs. It’s no wonder she seems upset at herself for liking him, when she sees him like this at the hospital.
E2. Fu Pei really doesn’t spare any thought for Mo Mo’s feelings. He denies any kind of romantic intention between them, knowing that she’s still holding onto the promise they’d made to each other back in high school. He could’ve talked it out with her and dealt with it that way, but he’s just too immature and too cowardly to actually do it, and would rather deal with it indirectly, and hurt Mo Mo in the process.
E4. I do get satisfaction from watching Fu Pei get all worried and riled up from seeing signs of Mo Mo and Gu Wei Yi being close. He’s been so thoughtless towards her, and yet he wants to preserve his special bond of not-quite-boyfriend with her? Forget about it, dude.
E5. Fu Pei acting all torn-up and mopey over Mo Mo is really a case of not appreciating what you had, while you had it. It looks like Show is going to give him a loveline with Mo Mo’s friend Shan Shan, which at this moment, I frankly don’t think he deserves. I mean, it’s ok not to be that into someone, and therefore not get into a relationship with them, but it’s not ok to toy with their feelings, which is exactly what he did to Mo Mo.
Zheng Ying Chen as Shan Shan
To be honest, I have mixed feelings about Shan Shan.
There are times when I thought she was a pretty upstanding, good person, like [MINOR SPOILER] when she talked it out with Mo Mo when she realized she had feelings for Fu Pei, or when she offered to tutor Fu Pei in exchange for him saving her from the violent drunks. [END MINOR SPOILER]
At the same time, as I got deeper into Show’s episodes, I realized that I was starting to get more and more annoyed with Shan Shan.
[SPOILER ALERT] For example, in episode 12, Shan Shan should be taken to task for allowing – encouraging, even! – Fu Pei to come with her to see Mo Mo, when she knows full well that Mo Mo doesn’t wish to see Fu Pei. That’s an example of her putting her crush’s feelings before her friend’s, and I really didn’t like that. On this one, I am with Gu Wei Yi, for informing her that he doesn’t appreciate her self-sacrificial attitude. I don’t appreciate it either, and Fu Pei is so undeserving.
Another example is in episode 16, when Shan Shan becomes that annoying friend who really doesn’t seem to know when to leave a friend alone with her boyfriend. When things aren’t going well with Fu Pei, Shan Shan imposes herself on Mo Mo, and then pretty much out-stays her welcome, which I thought was all-around rude and presumptuous of her. [END SPOILER]
Fu Pei’s loveline with Shan Shan
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this loveline aggravated me.
As you know by now, I did not like Fu Pei as a character, and did not welcome the idea of him having an instant happy-ever-after loveline with someone, without actually doing the work of growing up and out of his childish self-centered habits.
Additionally, I felt that this relationship brought out the worst in Shan Shan in the sense that she seemed to be unable to be sensitive to other people, and only really seemed to care about Fu Pei – whom I felt was completely undeserving.
Overall, I really wish that we could’ve done without this loveline. Or, that I’d have known well enough to just Fast Forward through all of their scenes. Tsk.
Here’s a quick spotlight on some specifics, in terms of why I found this loveline so annoying.
E10. Huh. Fu Pei agrees to a date with Shan Shan on a dare, and then tries to text Mo Mo to tell her that he doesn’t want to lose her. That’s so insincere both ways. Also. Why is Shan Shan the one who dresses up for the date, while Fu Pei gets to slouch around in his tracksuit and tell her that she looks pretty nice and should’ve started dressing like this ages ago. That annoys me.
E10. I feel bad for Shan Shan when I watch her trying to form a connection with Fu Pei. He’s so thoughtless and immature, and he even carelessly addresses her as Mo Mo. And she keeps swallowing the discomfort and putting on a brave smile. This isn’t what I wish for anyone, but I’m only too aware that too many women do this, for men that they have feelings for.
E11. I don’t appreciate Shan Shan holding on to Fu Pei who is quite the loser, and even more than that, I don’t appreciate her volunteering to bring him to Mo Mo, when Mo Mo has clearly stated that she’s not keen to see him. What happened to putting friendship first? Grr.
E12. I did not enjoy the coming together of Fu Pei and Shan Shan, not least because I dislike Fu Pei. There’s nothing attractive about him, and his thought, of making himself out to be the victim to gain sympathy from Shan Shan, earns no points with me.
Also, his threat, of hurting himself, if Shan Shan were to reject his request to be his girlfriend, just annoys me so much. I wanted her to say no, just to see him have to either abide by his word, or shamefacedly back away from it. Shan Shan looking so pleased to be in a relationship with a guy as lame as Fu Pei, disappoints me. She’s such a smart girl. She shouldn’t have chosen to like such a lame dude.
E13. It somehow annoys me that Fu Pei is so quickly in the thick of a honeymoon-happy romance with Shan Shan, when he was so recently torn up about Mo Mo. This makes me feel that either his feelings for Mo Mo weren’t much to begin with anyway and he was just whining to make a mountain out of a molehill, or, his feelings for Shan Shan aren’t that strong and he just wants to be with someone who takes care of him and treats him well. I do not enjoy the happy scenes we get of these two being sweet on each other.
On that note, it annoys me that Fu Pei is offering Gu Wei Yi advice on how to court Mo Mo. It’s not like he ever actually courted Mo Mo; he spent all his time pretending not to know that Mo Mo liked him. That’s not much of a track record, I say.
E17. I’m not impressed with Shan Shan, for the way she basically toys with Fu Pei, when he shows up to take her to her exam. She is cold to him and tells him she already called for a taxi, but as she turns to walk away from him, she smiles, pleased that he’s there. And then, as the taxi drives off, she turns back to see if he’s following her. That’s not cool. If she’d been truly still mad, sure, don’t talk to him and don’t go with him, but she clearly wanted to go with him, but just decided to play superior for a bit. I didn’t like that.
E20. Grargh. Fu Pei really comes off as quite the idiot brat. He’s really rude to his (admittedly abrasive) dad, and then afterwards, finds it all laughably funny. Shan Shan laughing along because he’s amused, also doesn’t strike me as very sensitive. Laughing at your dad being so angry – and therefore basically laughing at the terrible state of your relationship with your dad – is not appealing to me.
Friends’ weirdly rude behavior
Like I mentioned earlier in this review, sometimes the writing in this story feels a little connect-the-dots, which is ok by me, except for when said dots involved friends being rude. There are a couple of times (some of which I’ve already alluded to earlier), when the people who are supposed to be friends behave in really unacceptable ways.
Here are two more instances, for the record:
E6. It’s really quite rude of Fu Pei and Shan Shan to invite themselves over to the apartment, and ask to hang out. Fu Pei even says, “You won’t mind if we mess up your house, right?” That’s such poor manners. Shan Shan opening the DVD display case and pulling out a movie, without even asking for permission, is rude too.
E9. Even after Mo Mo tells her friend Meng Lu that sticking balloons on the wall would damage the paint, Meng Lu is adamant and throws a mini tantrum about it before huffing off. That’s terrible behavior. It’s not your house, your wall or your birthday, girl.
Certain aspects of how Show treats the OTP relationship
Even though I very much enjoyed the general dynamic between our OTP, there were times when I wasn’t too thrilled about how Show treats certain aspects of their relationship.
Here’s them, for the record:
The cold shoulder treatment
In episode 12, Jealousy rears its head, and I didn’t like this episode because of how that worked out. In concept, I like that Mo Mo and Gu Wei Yi are jealous of the other person having interactions with perceived threats to their maybe-almost-relationship, but I don’t like that panned out.
It’s in character for Gu Wei Yi to demonstrate his unhappiness by ignoring Mo Mo and giving her the cold shoulder treatment, but it wasn’t Mo Mo’s fault that Fu Pei was there. She wanted to leave on her own to buy the tangerine peel for the porridge, and it was Fu Pei who insisted on tagging along, pushed on by (argh) Shan Shan.
Mo Mo even makes herself very clear in her conversation with Fu Pei, about how she’d really rather not see him. And for that, she gets the cold shoulder from Gu Wei Yi? That’s undeserved, and while the jealousy is illogical and believable, I’d wanted Gu Wei Yi to have a fairer perspective of it.
Additionally, Mo Mo getting upset with Gu Wei Yi is largely to do with his treatment of her, rather than the appearance of senior Yu Yin. He was warmer in tone to Yu Yin than to Mo Mo, and Mo Mo felt the sting, and that’s why she got angry. Which basically all boils down to the fact that this could’ve been prevented if Gu Wei Yi hadn’t jumped to conclusions.
Did not like.
In Show’s defense, by the time we hit the later episodes, our OTP arrives at a place where they’re much better able to resolve conflict without descending into an extended cold war.
Amping up the sexual hyperawareness between our OTP
In Show’s later episodes, the focus turns to amping up the OTP’s awareness of each other in a sexual manner. I was ok with this in concept, but found the execution questionable.
For example, I’m not sure how I feel about Gu Wei Yi daring Mo Mo to wait on his bed in episode 18. This, soon after what Zhou Lei said about them probably having done everything that a couple does, too. This makes it seem.. manipulative, like Gu Wei Yi’s grooming Mo Mo, to get comfortable on his bed, so that there will be less gap to close, to actually having sexytimes. I mean, I get that they’re pretty grown up and all, but I just wanted this to feel less calculated.
And then there’s the scene in episode 20, when Gu Wei Yi picks Mo Mo up and throws her on the bed, then shuts the door and informs her that he will demonstrate to her that he is very different from her brother. I found this very cringey and out of character. It’s no wonder Mo Mo leaped to the other extreme, of becoming jumpy because of his every move, and basically fended him off for no reason. This was not fun to watch, and also, made the OTP relationship feel strained, which I didn’t like.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
As expected, Show wraps up in a cloud of sweetness, with enough neat bows tied up for enough of our key characters, to make us feel like we’re leaving them in a good place, as the final credits roll.
I thought the rather spontaneous, very private wedding in Germany fitting for our main couple, because their relationship has always been mainly just about the two of them, with very little influence or interference from other people. Plus, since this was a surprise sprung by Gu Wei Yi, it’s very in character for him, to make such a big decision on his own, without feeling the need to consult his parents. I do love what he says to Mo Mo, that it’s ok if she doesn’t say yes right there, but that he just wanted her to know that she’s always been part of his plans. Aw.
I also found it a nice touch, that we see Senior Yu Yin come to terms with her feelings for Gu Wei Yi, when she hears that Mo Mo came over to Germany to get married. She congratulates them, then as she walks away, she takes a moment to feel her feelings, and look upon the happy couple, before going on her way. A very classy way of mentally taking herself out of the equation, I thought.
I also felt my heart wobble, when later, in a moment of seriousness amid some teasing horsing around, as he catches himself just as he’s about to lean in to kiss her, Gu Wei Yi asks, “Mo Mo, may I?” I.. probably shouldn’t feel this touched by it, but in a world – drama or otherwise – where consent is often assumed, the fact that he would stop to ask, even after they’d made their vows in the church, demonstrates so much respect built into his love for her, that I can’t help but melt at it.
Later, when it comes out that Mo Mo is feeling nauseous because she’d taken contraceptive pills that she’d accepted from Gu Wei Yi’s flatmate’s girlfriend, she admits that she’d taken them because she wasn’t sure if having kids were part of Gu Wei Yi’s plans. I do like that he answers thoughtfully and without hesitation, murmuring quietly, “Everything related to you, is in my plan.” Yes, that’s not an objectively romantic thing to say, but for our “science weirdo,” this is sincere, melty stuff indeed.
Back in Beijing, Gu Wei Yi’s parents come to visit, to congratulate the new couple. Mom makes food and takes satisfaction in watching her otherwise fussy son obediently consuming whatever his wife gives him, and Dad takes a quiet minute to dispense some marriage advice. It’s all pretty low-key, but it’s sweet and warm and loving, which I found a very nice touch.
Elsewhere, Fu Pei goes down on one knee to propose to Shan Shan, and she happily accepts. I’m.. still not very interested in this couple, but I’m not opposed to their happy ever after, which I’ll stop talking about, right about now, heh.
I do like that Show makes an effort to bring things full circle on a couple of things, namely, Gu Wei Yi’s supposed allergy to mantis prawns, and his previous attempt to get Mo Mo a hair tie.
As our main couple goes for their wedding photoshoot, with Mo Mo happily taking the wheel of the car, as the photographer snaps away, Gu Wei Yi leaves us with this voiceover (I chose to translate directly from the Chinese dialogue rather than use the English subs, coz I felt those weren’t super accurate):
“Sigh.. I’m really caught in Situ Mo’s hand. After meeting Situ Mo, it feels like my IQ of 187 is down to 87. I started to do a lot of dumb things; I started to not be serious about my work; I also lost my usual calm. And I keep watching her, all day, with a goofy smile. Sigh. That’s all bad enough, but now, I feel like my IQ is still on a downward trend. For example, I clearly know that this is very dangerous, but I still got into the car that she’s driving. But.. I’m wholeheartedly willing.”
Aw. That is a sweet note on which to say goodbye to Gu Wei Yi and Mo Mo, though I want to add, even as I get ready to say my wistful goodbye to this cute pair, that although Gu Wei Yi jokingly says that his IQ has declined due to meeting Mo Mo, I think it’s more like his IQ stayed the same, while his EQ got a big kick in the pants. Which is perfect, because that’s just how she balances him out.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Easy, cheerful and sweet.
FINAL GRADE: B++
WHERE TO WATCH:
The whole series is available on YouTube, in HD, with English subs, woot! Here’s episode 1, so that you can dip your toes in right away, if you like!
If you missed Show’s special, you can check it out here: