Funny story, you guys.
I started watching this drama because of all the enthusiastic tweets and related spazz that I saw others heaping on it. Everyone seemed so highly amused by this show, and I didn’t want to miss out. You guys know my FOMO is real, right?
But as I watched this show, I was bemused to find that I was, at best, enjoying this one in a very moderate fashion. I began to wonder what I was missing, since everyone before me seemed to have nothing but love for this show.
That curiosity kept me going (ie, kept me from actually dropping this show), even though I found myself taking long breaks between episodes.
I didn’t feel the loss of this show on my screen much at all, since, as you probably know, I usually juggle a whole plateful of shows at the same time, and so I had plenty of other dramas to keep me occupied between episodes of this show.
It was only at the episode 19 mark, when I decided it was time to finish this show already, and write its review, that I hit on one of the key things I’d been missing. It wasn’t my viewing lens; it was my viewing technique.
OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE
Here’s the very pleasant OST album, if you’d like to have a listen while you read the review.
My favorite track in this collection, is the third one, 結伴, which literally translates “to become a companion of someone,” or “make a companion.” It’s just so laidback-breezy and sweet.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Rookie drama scriptwriter Xiaoqian (Zhao Lu Si) finds herself trapped in the drama world that she’s created, as a minor character who’s supposed to die in her show’s early episodes.
Suddenly, everything’s a matter of survival for her, as she tries to get her characters to behave the way she thinks they need to, in order for her story to arrive at its proper conclusion.
Cue mix-ups and hijinks, as her story’s male lead (Ding Yu Xi) falls for her instead, and refuses to have anything to do with her chosen female lead Chuchu (Zhou Zi Xin). Oops?
TIPS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR ENJOYMENT OF THIS SHOW
Like I mentioned in the beginning of this review, I’m a little bummed that I didn’t figure this all out earlier, as that would’ve definitely increased my personal enjoyment of this show in a big way.
BUT. That’s not to say you guys can’t learn from my mistakes, right? Here are my top tips for making this a much funner watch experience than what I managed to get out of it.
1. Show works best as a marathon
This is my top tip. Like, for reals, guys. I think if I’d marathoned this baby instead of watching just an episode a day, I would’ve had a significantly funner time.
At the episode 19 mark, I marathoned 4 episodes in a single day, instead of watching my usual one episode a day, and I was blown away by how this one simple change made this show so much more enjoyable to watch.
When you’re marathoning, the angsty stuff seems to go by faster, because you don’t mentally stay at a single place for very long.
You quickly get over the angsty humps and move on to lighter, fluffier, cuter things.
2. Don’t sweat the details
There will be things that don’t make sense. Those are not important. Sometimes characters change in ways that feel a bit abrupt. That’s not important either.
Just remember that you’re here for The Cute, and keep rollin’.
3. Don’t take the angst seriously
Sometimes, Show takes an angsty turn. Don’t sweat that either. The best thing you can do, is learn to chuckle at everything – even the angst.
4. Take your cue from the musical cues
Sometimes, the musical cues might seem counter-intuitive. For example, an apparently angsty scene might be scored with light music more suited to a funny scene.
I started out finding this very odd and jarring. But then I learned that this was Show’s way of letting me know that the angst isn’t really that angsty, and that I shouldn’t take it too seriously.
Once I learned to take my cue from Show’s musical cues, my watch experience improved greatly.
5. Bear in mind Show’s happy ending
This is a bit spoilery, but in this case, I think it’s very helpful to know that Show does indeed have a happy ending up its sleeve.
This is especially helpful to know, in Show’s “angstier” stretches, which might make you question whether a happy ending is in store, or whether Show will follow in the tradition of many other C-dramas, and just have everybody die in the end.
Knowing that Show will indeed serve up a happy ending complete with cuteness and rainbows, will make it much easier for you to just sit back and enjoy The Cute.
ONE MORE THING: The flipping of gender norms & stereotypes
Our drama within a drama features a world where women rule and dominate, and men are considered the weaker and inferior sex.
This is played for laughs, and while it can sometimes give you pause for thought about how things run in the real world, sometimes it might make you question Show’s intended messaging.
Don’t sweat this either. By the end of our story, our rookie scriptwriter realizes that her idea of equality in creating this drama world, is flawed, and applies her gained learnings accordingly.
MY PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS
Since this is one of those shows where it’s best to just focus on the stuff you like, and ignore just about everything else, I’m going to talk about only my personal highlights in this review.
Zhao Lu Si as Qianqian
I have to say, I found Zhao Lu Si very cute as Qianqian. Given that I often find female leads portrayed as too cutesy for my taste, this is a Sizable Deal.
I found Qianqian very likable, almost without exception. There’s an earnest, cheerful, determined vibe about her, and she’s creative, funny, and yet laughably off the mark in her estimations of what her characters will do.
The way she tries to work the plot of her drama world, while it’s not unfolding according to plan, is also quite entertaining. She also often moves seamlessly between being a detached scriptwriter and being an immersed character in her drama world, and the sudden abruptness of the switch makes it funny.
Over the course of my watch, I feel that Qianqian’s best traits are, 1, that she’s full of heart, and genuinely cares for the people around her, and 2, that she’s quick to reflect on her mistakes and correct them.
And, despite her often bumbling ways, she also does sometimes show streaks of shrewdness, and I liked that a lot.
Overall, I could totally see why everyone in her drama world would grow to like her so much – our male lead included.
Ding Yu Xi as Han Shuo
For the record, I found Ding Yu Xi very solid as Han Shuo.
Mainly, I enjoyed watching Han Shuo getting smitten with Qianqian, in spite of himself. Every time Han Shuo leaked a smile or got hearts in his eyes, my watch experience instantly ratcheted up by quite a few points.
Additionally, I thought Ding Yu Xi infused Han Shuo with a surprising amount of emotional resonance, despite Show’s light and often comical leanings. He brought on the feels, sometimes when I least expected it, and I count that as a Very Good Thing.
On a shallow note, I think Ding Yu Xi is picture perfect as the fictional male lead of our female lead’s imagination, since he looks so perfectly coiffed and chiseled, like a living Ken doll.
Our OTP falling in love
Our OTP falling in love, while our female lead tries to fight it (because it’s not how her story is supposed to unfold) is Show’s main hook.
What this means, is that you kinda have to be prepared for this will-they-or-won’t-they dance to go on for a while.
On the downside, this can feel a bit frustrating, because it feels like Show is being one big perpetual tease.
On the upside, these two are very cute together, and there is enough Cute to keep you going, especially if you’re watching this as a marathon (see above section on viewing tips and techniques).
Here’s a collection of my favorite OTP moments.
E7. Han Shuo’s feelings for Qianqian are becoming more noticeable. It’s in the way he looks at her, and in the way he tries to help her and protect her.
When she comes home after being harassed by the townsfolk, she pouts and says that they’re scolding her, and without a word, Han Shuo covers her ears with his hands, so that she can’t hear them, and then he lays her head on his chest, his hand still covering her exposed ear.
Aw. That’s sweet.
Han Shuo’s every hopeful attempt to test Qianqian’s feelings for him is so earnest. When Qianqian praises him for acting like a hero, he asks so tentatively and hopefully, his eyes fixed on her, if the hero will eventually get the girl.
And Qianqian, oblivious, just blithely replies that they usually do, as long as they don’t die. Han Shuo breathes in relief, “It’s a good thing Third Princess has already cured my heart ailment,” but Qianqian is too distracted to pay him any attention.
Poor Han Shuo, trying so hard to win the heart of his wife.
Han Shuo and Qianqian, each trying to pull the other back from detonating the explosives, is quite cute.
The way Qianqian declares, “You have no idea how important you are to me,” is said in innocent scriptwriter mode, but Han Shuo’s retort, “Without you, my life has no meaning,” is said in sincerity. Augh.
That Look, that Han Shuo keeps trained on Qianqian at the close of the episode, is very intent and tender. I like it.
E8. I love the scene where Han Shuo eats the pastry from Qianqian’s mouth. It’s sudden and swoony; the way he looks at her, part intense and part nonchalant, gives me feels.
At the same time, Qianqian’s shocked expression, and her overly bandaged hands, just sticking up in mid-air like some kind of rag doll’s, makes the scene really funny too. I love it.
I’m not too keen on the preparation for the Crown Princess examination, just like Qianqian isn’t, but that scene, where Han Shuo makes Qianqian correct a word to 您, then expressing it meaningfully as “你在我心上” (you are on my heart) is cheeky and swoony.
His amused, pleased expression as he watches Qianqian write the word, also elevates the scene – as does the smug look he tosses in Pei Heng’s (Sheng Ying Hao) direction, once he’s made his indirect declaration.
Also, Han Shuo volunteering to test Qianqian, and daring her to make a bet, where, if he wins, she gives him a kiss, and if she wins, he’ll give her a kiss.
Pffft. Boy just wants to kiss his wife, and it’s so silly that Qianqian actually plays along with him.
Too bad she dodges the kiss he tries to plant on her, when she wins.
E9. Han Shuo pranking Qianqian, just so that he can catch her losing her balance, and thus steal a bit of skinship is quite cheeky. His tamped down looks of delight are very cute.
Han Shuo taking Qianqian to sit on the roof, so that she can wish on the moon, is quite a sweet gesture. It’s like a romantic gesture out of a fairytale, and it’s sweet that while she wishes for victory in the next day’s fight, he wishes for her safety.
Han Shuo can’t bear to see Qianqian get hurt during the fight, but he resists the urge to protect her, or hit the truce gong, because he understands how important the fight is to her.
On the other hand Pei Heng and even her own mother don’t understand this, and only want to save her from being hurt.
Qianqian understands Han Shuo too; she guesses correctly that Han Shuo will take steps to get revenge on Lin Qi, and stops him from doing so, saying that she has a better plan to punish Lin Qi.
E10. Qianqian punishing Lin Qi (Wei Xiao) with 27 rats is childish and innocent, which suits her, but the highlight is when she leaps into Han Shuo’s arms at the sight of a stray rat.
Han Shuo’s expression, of quiet gladness, is really nice to see, and it’s quite melty how he doesn’t take his eyes off her for a second, while she’s in his arms.
Of course, afterwards, when Bai Ji (Liu Shu Yuan) apologizes, it’s cute and amusing that Han Shuo tells him that he’ll be rewarded instead.
Aw. He’s just so pleased to have had bonus closeness with Qianqian.
Aw. Han Shuo tries to pacify Qianqian by letting her tear off his garment the way hers got torn.
That’s dorky and sweet, actually, and it’s to his credit that Qianqian actually brightens up at the fun of it. He put his pride aside for this; guy should get credit for choosing his lady’s mood over his own dignity.
E12. Drunk Qianqian is cute and honest. She’s so upfront about how handsome Han Shuo is, and how she’d like to have him for a husband, hee.
And when she hears that he is her husband, because she’d snatched him, she declares that she’ll snatch him again.
And when she manages to recognize Han Shuo through her drunken stupor, her tearful wails are endearingly poignant, “What took you so long to come? I was so scared – did you see how big their knives are?”
And Han Shuo is sweet while comforting her, “I was wrong” … “Aren’t I here now?” … “Don’t cry.” Aw.
When Qianqian blubbers tearfully that he belongs to the female lead, he just ups and princess-carries her, to take her back to the camp.
“Since you snatched me away, you should take responsibility for me to the end. Hm?”
The way he says that to her is gentle and persuasive; he acknowledges that he’d intended to get close to Chuchu, but that was before he met her. I like this gently persuasive vibe; it feels caring and sincere.
E15. Finally, under perceived threat that Huayuan City is about to be destroyed, Qianqian confesses her feelings to Han Shuo. She’s quite the all or nothing girl.
Before this, she was keeping Han Shuo at arm’s length, and now, she’s saying that she likes him, and is willing to stay with him forever.
That’s a big statement, since in her mind, this means giving up the notion of going back to her world.
Also, Han Shuo is ever sweet and smitten.
The way that he thinks of the copper bracelet not as a representation of punishment or branding, but as a representation of her, is very touching.
He is more than happy to wear it, if it represents her, even if she is a rose with thorns that pricks him. Aw.
E16. Han Shuo’s reason for his decision to replace the explosives with fireworks is sweet; if she doesn’t like him, he’d treat her better to win her heart, but if he kills her mother and destroys Huayuan City, she’d never forgive him.
In the end, it’s all for Qianqian, unreservedly and unabashedly, and that’s sweet.
Han Shuo’s appeal is that he’s a mix between being able to exert his manly presence, and being completely smitten for Qianqian. That makes the way he looks at her very alluring.
Han Shuo and Qianqian being openly smitten with each other is very cute to watch.
The scene where they’re unwilling to say goodnight, and Bai Ji and Zi Rui are practically dragging them apart, while they’re still busy making googly eyes at each other, is quite silly.
And then, Han Shuo sneaks right back into Qianqian’s quarters, just to bring her a snack. Aw.
And how sweet, that Han Shuo takes Qianqian’s modest nature into account, and tells her that he’ll wait until she’s ready to consummate their relationship, even though they are already married.
Han Shuo’s bedroomy eyes and heavy breathing, as he holds Qianqian in bed, is quite intoxicating though.
Zi Rui and Bai Ji
I found Zi Rui (Wu Yi Jia) and Bai Ji, Qianqian’s and Han Shuo’s respective assistants, consistently amusing. Zi Rui is a total hoot, with his elastic expressions and his tendency to talk a mile a minute, while Bai Ji is more of a straitlaced, slightly dim but sometimes surprisingly sharp kinda guy.
I thought they were great foils not just for their respective masters, but for each other too.
Qianqian and her storyteller advisors are a bit of a running gag, with them analyzing everything in Qianqian’s drama world using fruit avatars.
The banana, orange and apple stand-ins in Qianqian’s story while she’s with the storytellers gets funnier, the more Show repeats it.
As ridiculous as it is, I found it a nice touch that Qianqian would find fellow storytellers to consult with, on her scriptwriter struggles, as she tries to navigate her way through the world that she’s created.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
I actually liked Show’s chosen ending, though I’d been warned that the last couple of episodes weren’t as good as the ones that had come before.
Qianqian discovers that some story events and character milestones just can’t be prevented, and Han Shuo gets stabbed by Chuchu’s sword and is mortally wounded.
At his urging, Qianqian walks the carpet for the coronation ceremony, and the heavens respond with the auspicious sign that she’d written into her story’s final scenes.
..And with that, she arrives at the end of her story, and wakes up in her own world again. She’s heartbroken that Han Shuo hadn’t been real, but when she hears that Actor Han (who plays Han Shuo in her drama) had gotten in an accident and hurt his lungs (just like Han Shuo had hurt his lungs), she rushes to the hospital to see him.
She questions Actor Han about whether he remembers her from the story world, and he denies everything – but lets slip an important giveaway clue, when he addresses her as Miss Orange, a detail she hadn’t included in her original script.
She realizes that Actor Han really had been Han Shuo, for the duration of his coma, and muddled conversation and tearful hug later, our real life OTP is happily established.
We then see Xiaoqian going back to revise her script, correcting all the things that she’d realized were wrong. This time, Chuchu becomes City Owner with Qianqian’s help, and Han Shuo and Qianqian resolve their misunderstandings and become a loving couple. The end.
Listen, I know some viewers might find this all too convenient, coz everything’s basically solved by our protagonist waking up from a dream.
BUT, y’know, if our story’s entire premise is that she fell into her drama world via a dream, this makes perfect sense.
And, importantly, it’s not treated in the vague, mystical way in which The Eternal Love‘s ending was written, where [VAGUE HIGH LEVEL SPOILER] the couple reunites in the modern world, but with no explanation given (at least in Season 1. I didn’t watch Season 2, so I’m not sure if Show addresses it then). [END SPOILER]
Ultimately, I just like the fact that Han Shuo doesn’t die in the end, and that we get a happy ending for our couple, both in real life and in the drama world, with a reasonable explanation to go with, so that we can leave our watch basking in cuteness and smiles.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Fun for a silly-but-ultimately-feel-good, the-brain’s-on-vacation, kinda marathon.
FINAL GRADE: B
WHERE TO WATCH:
You can check out this show on Viki here. It’s also available on YouTube here.
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have to be really bored with your life to take time on this one.
I’ve heard many many good things about this drama but also the reversed gender norms thing, and it was making me very very hesitant to watch because I couldn’t imagine how this was a good idea. Like….reversing all the bad things done to one sex by piling it upon the other sex isn’t going to solve anything.
So thank you, thank you very much for caring and putting enough importance to the topic and including the “ONE MORE THING: The flipping of gender norms & stereotypes” section, because now I know this was not the actual scriptwriter’s idea but Qianqian’s, and the actual script made Qianqian realise how wrong she was at the end.
“Don’t sweat this either. By the end of our story, our rookie scriptwriter realizes that her idea of equality in creating this drama world, is flawed, and applies her gained learnings accordingly.”
This line you wrote was such a relief lol. Nothing is holding me back from marathoning this little drama now :))))
I’ve watched this drama and recently I watched my roommate is detective drama. As for the untamed I’m in love with it. Don’t wait for untamed. Watch it
Good point! Although at later half of the show, it seems like a runaway horse plot as she wasn’t supposed to survive to begin with, hence she didn’t plan this? 🤔 I’ll say that Han Shou’s character was made up by her so I suppose that’s her fault 😝
Haha yes, she made up Han Shuo’s character, as well as everything is her drama world, so I think it’s safe to say that it’s all her fault! 😆
Chanced upon your blog while looking for shows to watch, and I’m so glad to have found your blog — think i’ll hop on to this show soon! By the way — have you seen/reviewed The Untamed / Chen Qing Ling 陈情令 yet?
Hi lxl, welcome to the blog! I’m glad you found me! 😃 As for The Untamed, I’ve heard lots of good things, but I’m afraid I haven’t watched it yet. It’s on my list!
Your final verdict sums it up perfectly. Just a fluffy feel good Drama.
Yes, it’s definitely a fluffy little thing! Glad that you enjoyed it, Usi! 😃
I feel your above viewing tips are great, especially the bit with marathon-ing it! But, I think there is also another underlying fact that affects the viewing experience of the show—that is, HOW many C-dramas we have watched before, and HOW familiar we are with commonly occurring script-writing faults, the frequently occurring ‘failed plot-logic’ or ‘flawed character-logic’, the typical setup and dialogues of the C-drama universe, the common practices that bog-down a C-drama (like having X number of words to reach character dialogue count or episode counts, or the fact that actors & production houses can sway a script, even if it means the script gets crappy!) etc. And sadly, one can’t really adjust oneself, in respect to this point, and it ultimately affects the overall enjoyment of the drama. It feels like a BIG INSIDE JOKE, and admittedly, people unfamiliar with the premise JUST wouldn’t have as much fun! (as a C-drama newbie, my drama-partner/friend wasn’t getting all the jokes and parodies, and I had to pause & explain quite a few times!)
I absolutely loved the style of comedy here: parodying and self-depreciating kind of ‘meta’. QianQian knows she is a bad scriptwriter, and most of her plot failings are a result of that, which she slowly comes to realize as she lives inside her script! I also loved lines like: ‘the first male lead is for the heroine, but the second male lead is a gift to the viewers’
The gender-reversal lines were actually parodies of dialogues from period costume C-dramas (I can point out EXACTLY which dramas they were lifted from!). So the parody-bit made me laugh like crazy, although I admit, it is still insensitive to the gender being demeaned (in either case). Her idea of the gender-flipped society is ALSO accurate to how young 20-year olds view feminism as, in most parts of Asia, even today. People aren’t as ‘woke’, sadly.
Random cliché scenes and tropes were so refreshingly inserted, and for ALL the right reasons: as self-parodies to induce laughter! It was ridiculous, it was EXTRA, and I LOVED how the drama called out the ridiculousness. I mean HanShuo moving to the ‘dark side’ by switching his cream/beige colored clothes for black ones? xD xD LOVED your comparison of Ding Yuxi’s character as a living Ken Doll! 🙂
Also, like you pointed out, character logic would not make sense! They want to show us, how they are real people outside of QianQian’s script-logic. And any inconsistencies can just be credited to her being a bad-scriptwriter, and maybe they happen, JUST to drive home that point! 😛 😛
[the fact that PeiHeng turned out to be ChuChu’s older brother, while QianQian had written PeiHeng as the second male lead to HanShuo & ChuChu’s romance, is kind of a proof, loool!]
——–THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING: SPOILER ALERT——
As for the time-travel logic of the main story, the plot actually hints as to what actually really happened. There is a scene in episode 20, where the QianQian keeps re-stating the fact that she wrote 3 pages of biography on the HanShuo, yet he behaves nothing like his character. Even as she doesn’t figure out this contradiction, it was quite satisfying as a viewer, because it was my first confirmation as to what could have happened. And I completely agree to popular online theories, Mr. Han Shuo (the actor) traveled into the script when he got into a car-accident IRL, and MUCH earlier than QianQian (who is inside the script for a few hours in our time, and about a year in script-universe time). Mr. Han Shuo (the actor) got into the car crash right after meeting QianQian IRL, and she re-wrote the script for 2 nights and 3 days, when she herself made her way in as well. That would make Mr. Han Shuo (the actor) become HanShuo the prince, as a baby/child when he didn’t retain his memories from the real life (unlike QianQian who was still aware that she is a scriptwriter stuck in this script-world).
Also, I believe HanShuo (the prince) was always the actor, because the real character Prince would never switch out the explosives in the city for fireworks (just because he was in love!)-_- The contradictions in HanShuo’s motivations was always a clue that he wasn’t really THE character QianQian had written (remember she made him EXTRA mean, after changing the script as per the actor’s advice in ep1!)
While the premise is still fantasy, I think they laid enough foundation for us viewers to get convinced with the timeline logic. And the ending, thus for me, was just sweet and perfect! 🙂
Dang. Your comment makes me wish that I had miles of C-dramas under my belt, so that I could enjoy this show as much as you did! 😅 As much as I try to include more C-dramas on my plate, I’m far from a seasoned C-drama viewer, so I’m wistful to have missed so many of the inside jokes! 😭 BUT, I’m still glad that I managed to enjoy it, despite not catching the inside jokes and other references.
Also, that’s a great insight about Han Shuo and the time he spent in the drama world! I hadn’t put thought into it (since I’d decided that this was all supposed to be fluff), but it’s great that you’ve analyzed it and it makes narrative sense! That’s always a plus. And I do agree that the ending was quite perfect. Even without your added insight, it made good sense to me! 😃
I actually quite liked this drama! I don’t suppose it’s the kind I’d watch again, though. It was a lovely one-time watch and I really, really, really loved the cute moments. Sometimes, it’s nice to watch a drama that’s mostly fluffy and cute, and although this drama had its fair share of angst, it delivered well on the fluff! I’m still not used to how theatrical (for lack of a better word) Chinese historical dramas can be (especially with the large flying jumps etc) lol.
Hi bubblebathdaisies! You’re so right, this one is a one-time watch for me too.. When I discovered that marathoning makes a big difference with this one, I did try to go back to the beginning, to see if I could enjoy the whole thing more by marathoning it, but the fact that I’d already seen those episodes just made the technique not work for me. So I conclude that I can’t watch this more than once either, even though the cute parts are very cute.
And yes, Chinese historical dramas do tend to have lots of flair with the fight scenes.. this is a long-held tradition, and it’s really very different from how fight scenes are treated in other countries’ dramas that I’ve seen. But once you get used to it, it becomes a non-issue. 😃
I test marathoned several episodes early on but predictably lost interest and never picked it up again. As you know, me and fluffy romances seldom match. They have to be ‘just so’ for me to keep watching. 😁
Aw, at least you gave this one a chance, Timescout! 😃 And yes, I’m not surprised this one didn’t stick, for you.. your taste really rarely leans towards the fluffy romances!
the rise of th ephoenixes pleaseeee, you”ll in love with chen kun , afterwards, 4 sure
Woah. I just looked it up, and it’s 70 eps?? 🤯 I haven’t yet developed the fortitude for such long C-dramas, I’m afraid! 😅 One day, perhaps!
Heyya bittt, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve checked out E1 of Rise of Phoenixes after all, and so far, I like it! I don’t know if I’ll make it to the finish line since it’s such a long show, but it feels immediately promising and I am intrigued! Thanks for the recommendation! 😃
I dropped this one. After reading your review though, I’m thinking maybe I should pick it up again. 🙂
Well if you do pick it up again, I hope my viewing tips come in handy! 😃
I enjoyed this drama much more than I thought I would. I think it was because of Qianqian, whom I found to be a great heroine and unexpectedly delightful and clever. I also liked the two sidekicks. Han Shuo did look EXACTLY like a Ken doll and he did not inspire much fear when he was trying to look strong and fierce. But I think that the actor did a good job of looking besotted with Qianqian or hurt and confused when he couldn’t figure out what she was trying to do. The pretend attempted rape scene was offensive and did not seem consistent with the character — I wish it had been cut. I also did not think that the plotline around the oldest daughter worked that well. (I wonder if it would have been better had the drama spent more time developing her character so she would have seemed more sympathetic and understandable or less time so that she didn’t drag down the general story.) I may be in the minority in that I thought that the drama ended on exactly the right breezy note.
One other person mentioned the Taiwanese drama, Lost Romance, which also involves a writer caught in her own story, albeit a more Harlequin Romance type of story. I could not get through that one. I thought that most of the characters were flat and one-dimensional, even accounting for the fact that they were supposed to be in a romance novel. But it was the dim and blundering heroine who really turned me off.
Yes, I do think the heroine makes a huge difference! I think if Qianqian hadn’t been so winsome and sassy, I wouldn’t have managed to enjoy this one half as much. So I can imagine you dropping out of Lost Romance because of a dim and blundering heroine. I find those types of heroines really hard to get behind myself. 😝
I agree the plotline around the oldest daughter was quite weak. At first it was rather amusing because she was such a hypochondriac and always writing her will, but once the romance between her and Su Mu was brought up, it became quite a simpering drag 😝😅
I think the reason why I enjoyed the show so much is because I accepted it for the work in progress that the show’s conceit gave us – a work in progress. She’s a beginning screenwriter so her story does have some iffy moments- ie. the pretend rapey bit – but also some brilliant moments. You know, like when a new writer wins all the awards? I remember thinking how lucky she was to not be live-filming it like in Korea.
I admit to being a sucker for entertainment world settings and I’d love to see a drama in this imaginary vs real setting again.
Last but not least – my daughter collects Ball Jointed Dolls and Ding Yu Xi would be an excellent face up (face design) – he is tiny yet perfect.
That’s a great point, Humbledaisy! It makes perfect sense that since she’s a rookie scriptwriter who’s fallen into a work-in-progress, that the drama world we encounter is iffy in spots! I kind of forgot that this was a work-in-progress, because she’d finished the draft before falling in, and I’d just assumed that it was finished because she’d written her ending scene. Whoops 😝
Ahaha! I looked up ball jointed dolls, and I have to agree that Ding Yu Xi would make a PERFECT one! 😆😆
Ooh I like the premise! Sounds fun and cute. Scriptwriter trapped in the drama world and trying to manipulate characters sounds really interesting, more so than the usual fish out of water trope of a modern person entering a period world.
It’s actually pretty fun, if you don’t think too hard, and just roll with it, in a marathon format! I’m curious to see if you end up enjoying this one! 😊
I entered this drama amidst all the spazz too. And for a while, Show grabbed hold onto me and wouldn’t let me go. And then midway, I started disliking Han Shou, due to (spoiler!) his heavy handed ways of forcing QianQian to stay with him by locking her up and even almost raped her. She was scared. Period. Although he was sorry for his behavior after that, I couldn’t quite forgive him… until he gave his life for her.
Your review is spot-on. It’s a mostly lighthearted drama with not-quite angst thrown in. Overall though, it’s a solid watch, and the ending actually makes sense.
I agree, that almost-rape bothered me too, and it bothered me more, that Show seemed to be serving it up as romantic or swoony, somehow. 😝 But, like HumbleDaisy pointed out, this was probably more due to Xiaoqian having written a bad drama, so this was part of that bad drama world? 🤔
I think Rosy Z is wonderful – I have watched quite a number of her dramas, but I haven’t read or watched anything that would entice me to watch Tiger and Rose. I do struggle with the dream/story writer’s concept genre as few shows do it well, so I tend to avoid them.
That’s interesting re adjusting your viewing technique, because the end result of doing such, is very true. I do this with a number of shows and I find it can make all the difference (cdramas and lakorns in particular). However, there are some shows, that my patience wears just way too thin to do this with any success a la: Do You Like Brahms, Flower of Evil and Alice.
Ah, if you’re not into stories where the writer enters their story or similar, then I can see why this one wouldn’t appeal to you. It’s the entire concept, and all of the comedy comes mostly comes from her trying to make her characters behave the way she thinks is necessary. Probably a wise decision to give this one a miss! 😅
I’m learning that the viewing technique makes a big difference with C-dramas in particular, for me. With kdramas or J-dramas, somehow the episodes seem to stand better on their own, if I don’t marathon the show, but I’ve often struggled with C-dramas, and this feels like a breakthrough for me! Why didn’t I discover this earlier?? 😆
Bummer that it doesn’t always work, (and bummer that it sounds like you’ve dropped Brahms, Flower of Evil AND Alice), but YAY that it works at least sometimes!
Yes you have to marathon it. I did that too. Finished it within a few days.
I have to agree with everything you said. Main leads are awesome especially Zhou lu si. Facial expressions on point with this one ^^
The storytellers and the lets call them assistants were a highlight of the show.
The drama is actually really good and funny until episode 18 it gets a little crazy and weird there.
But I wish I didn’t watch the last two episodes. I don’t know why but I thought those were very bad and poorly written.
But what I liked is the final conclusion. Abuse of power is not a gender thing it is a human thing.
I only watched a bit of this drama and it was actually quite cute and fun 😄. I think that the reason why I never finished this drama was because I was watching the Taiwanese drama Lost Romance which features a similar plot, except in that drama the FL is a romance novel editor who gets transported into a cliche CEO romance novel. It probably was a bad idea to watch two dramas with similar plots at the same time because I ended up comparing them while watching. 😅
I actually found the idea of switching gender roles interesting. I have to agree that as much as it was funny, it made me question gender roles in the real word. 🤔
While reading your review, I suddenly feel like going back and finishing this drama just for the cute moments 😋
Oh, yes, if you were watching two shows with similar concepts at the same time, it’s basically impossible not to compare! 😅 I’ve accidentally done that before (watched NIF and Six Flying Dragons at the same time, and ended up comparing too much, and never finishing SFD! 😝)
Yes, if you’re in the mood for a bit of fluff, it might be fun to go back to this one, just for The Cute. 🥰
Very profound! Abuse of power is not a gender thing, it’s a human thing. Very true!
I oddly didn’t find the last few episodes bad.. possibly because that’s exactly when I discovered the difference that marathoning makes, with this show! I think the positive effects of the marathoning outweighed any weirdness in the story – plus I’d given up actually trying to make sense of everything and was just rolling with it – so the last stretch was actually quite pleasant for me. 😅 Looks like context really is everything! 😉
I marathoned it but still the last two episodes ….
Yeah making sense of it in this drama is pretty much not possible especially considering the last third of the drama.