Review: Nothing But You [China]


A very feel-good, uplifting sort of story, once you are able to tune into Show’s vibe.

Our story world is on the simple, almost sanitary side of things, and our emotional arcs lean simple as well, which, together, makes it feel a little Hallmark-Disney, in terms of tone.

If you’re able to roll with that, the underdog story that Show serves up is accessible and engaging, and quite slurpable too.

Also, if you’re able to appreciate the idea of “romance in the small things,” instead of the more common big, sweeping romantic declarations that Dramaland tends to serve up, you’d have a good chance of loving the central romance in this too.

On balance, I found this one to be very enjoyable, and well worth the drama hours.


Y’know, considering how I hadn’t taken to this show as much as I’d hoped to, in Show’s initial episodes, I’m very pleasantly surprised, at how much I ended up enjoying this one.

I mostly just had to adjust my viewing lens as well as my expectations (more on that in a bit), and this ended up working for me, really really well.

At the same time, I know that there is a section of viewers for whom this show didn’t work, like, at all, who found this boring.

Sniffle. 🥹 I do find that a bummer, because I ended up loving this one a lot, in spite of its imperfections, and I wish that more folks would be able to love it too.

I’ll do my best to touch on the lens that best works for this show, so that hopefully, you’ll end up loving this one as well.


Here’s the OST album, in case you’d like to listen to it while you read the review.

I enjoyed the music in this show in a low-key sort of way, meaning, I didn’t feel like any of these tracks actually rocked my world.

And yet, I was rather surprised to find that Track 1, Nothing But You, did actually contribute a good amount of feels for me, during my watch.

Here it is as well, in case you’d prefer to listen to that on repeat. Just right-click on the video and select “Loop.”


Here are some things that I think would be helpful to keep in mind, to help maximize your enjoyment of your watch:

1. Some suspension of disbelief is needed

I don’t know much about badminton or tennis, so I didn’t really have much to struggle with, in terms of Show’s premise, but I’m told that it’s a real stretch that Wu Lei’s character Sanchuan, would be able to successfully make the switch from competitive badminton, to competitive tennis, at the age of 22.

This is something that you just have to accept, in order to enjoy this show. Sanchuan just is that much of a gifted athlete, and that’s why he’s able to do what everyone says is impossible.

Think of this story as happening in a parallel dimension, if you must; it’s worth getting this settled in your head, so that it doesn’t bother you, during your watch.

2. Show is slice-of-life

Unlike most kdramas, which would likely have had Sanchuan and You’an both leaving their respective roles to join a new tennis club by the end of the second episode, Show takes a more measured approach.

Show expects us to join them on their journeys, in a slice-of-life manner, so that we follow them, step by step, and understand why it’s so important for them to leave their current positions, to try something new.

Show is pretty good at managing the slice-of-life approach, however, so that we get mini arcs with purpose, that each lead to new mini arcs. This means that we still get a sense of momentum, despite the slice-of-life approach.

3. Our drama world is rather sanitized and simple

Like I mentioned earlier in this review, you do also have to adjust your lens to accept that this story world is rather sanitized.

Things lean on the simplified side of things, whether Show is dealing with corporate politics, team dynamics or personal journeys.

This might not feel that true to life, in that sense, but it does mean that none of the arcs actually drag, since they get resolved in a relatively prompt manner.

Personally, I found the simplicity quite appealing, and sometimes in an aspirational sort of way. Like, yes, why can’t we forgive others and mend bridges more easily, the way these characters do – that kind of thing.

4. Adjust your lens for Show’s brand of romance

I love me my sweeping romances, for sure, but I also found myself very much enjoying Show’s take on romance.

Instead of big declarations of love and lots of skinship and smolder, Show goes lite on those elements, and instead, focuses a good deal of time on showing us how our leads love each other in the mundane everyday things.

The way they find joy in each other; the way they choose each other again and again; the way they are considerate of each other; it makes me feel like this is what love in regular life should look like, and I was sometimes a swooning puddle, before I knew what hit me.

I think it’s quite essential to adjust your lens to accommodate Show’s brand of romance, in order to really enjoy this one.

5. Some of the secondary stuff can get a little annoying

I’m thinking of some of the secondary arcs, like Jiaojiao’s fixation with Liang Tao (Xia Hao Ran and Ma Fan Ding) in our earlier episodes, for example.

You can either use the Fast Forward on those bits, or you can watch them, and let Show eventually endear the secondary characters to you.

I will say that I eventually warmed to both Jiaojiao and Liang Tao, even though they weren’t my favorites to begin with, so that’s a win on Show’s part. 😁


In these sections, I’ll be talking about what I liked and liked less, in a pretty macro sort of fashion, before doing a selective deep dive into characters and relationships.

If you’re interested in my blow-by-blow reactions while watching this show, you might like to check out my episode notes on Patreon here.

Show knows how to do an underdog story right

Whether it’s focusing on badminton or tennis, Show knows how to do an underdog story right, and I found myself very absorbed in rooting for our story’s underdogs – particularly Sanchuan.

Show’s got a way of taking us on their journeys, and getting us invested in those journeys, and the milestones and victories that come along the way.

Here’s just one example, from around Show’s mid-section, where I found myself very happily thrilled as I rooted for our underdog.


E15-16. Some suspension of disbelief is definitely required here, but I’m happily suspending ALLL of my disbelief, because Sanchuan shocks everyone, by actually beating Coach Yan (Zhang Tao)! HUZZAH! 🤩🤩

Yes, I do think that there’s a touch of fairytale about it, but I appreciate that Show positions it as an achievable fairytale, where Sanchuan’s hard work in analyzing Coach Yan’s moves and his teachings, and then incorporating all of that, into his own moves, and training hard and long around that, is what makes it possible.

That is absolutely the essence of what makes catnip, in an underdog story, and I am lapping it all up very happily. 😋


Show keeps things moving

Like I’ve alluded to earlier in this review, Show has a way of keeping things moving, even though it’s got a strong slice-of-life flavor about it.

One of the ways it does this, is not allowing any single arc to take up too much time, and another way, is by not allowing any OTP separation to take up too much screen time.

Sometimes highlight reels are employed when the time period needed is longer, but Show clearly makes it a priority to keep things moving, so there isn’t a sense of drag for us as viewers.

I rather liked this, and here are two examples, to show you what I mean.


E7-8. I have to admit to feeling rather bummed at this goodbye between Sanchuan and You’an because You’an leaving Yisu, BUT, I’m super pleased that Show doesn’t waste any time, in getting their paths to cross again, in the very next episode. Huzzah!

I’d honestly thought that perhaps Show would keep them apart for several episodes at least, given Show’s slice-of-life nature, but nope, Show’s not as slice-of-life as I’d thought, and I am very pleased about this. 😁

E25-26. This set of episodes where Sanchuan deals with his mom-related trauma, is quite pivotal to Sanchuan’s arc, and while they’re important, I’m also glad that this plot point doesn’t take up more screen time, than these two episodes.

This feels just about right, in terms of the amount of narrative real estate that it needs, to make it feel believable, without giving us as viewers a sense of drag, in the watch experience.


Stuff feels reasonably organic

With Show moving things along at a nice pace, there are story coincidences that happen fairly regularly, to put characters in one another’s paths.

What I like about this, is that Show still manages to make these feel reasonably organic. Like, yes, it’s a coincidence, but there is still logic to this coincidence, so it doesn’t actually feel random.

Here’s an example to illustrate what I mean.


E5-6. When You’an runs into An Cong (Tu Song Yan) at the badminton club, they both have valid reasons to be there, and so, their resulting conversation about Sanchuan feels quite nicely organic.

And, because they are having that conversation, it also then makes reasonable sense, for You’an to go to the police station with An Cong, when An Cong gets that call about Sanchuan being detained for snooping around at the hospital.


The way Show blends the tennis stuff and our main loveline

There are two main things that I found myself enjoying the most, in this show: the underdog story, and the OTP loveline.

I really like that Show manages to gives us both, in a pretty balanced manner, and on a pretty consistent basis.

Yes, progress on the loveline is on the slow burn side of things, but Show doesn’t forget about the OTP loveline, and makes sure to serve up some kind of movement on that front, even if it’s not progress per se, and I found this satisfying enough to check my romance box.

Additionally, once we start getting actual progress on the tennis front, with Sanchuan working hard (so motivating) and clearing milestones (so inspiring), to get him that much closer to becoming the champion on the tennis court that we know he’s meant to be, I found this to be very thrilling and satisfying too.

Show blends these two plotlines together in a way that feels organic, which is great.

When we are making progress with one arc, that progress often intersects with and affect the other arc, and that’s pretty darn great, in my books.

Putting that together, I found myself smiling a lot, during my watch. Even while I was still in Show’s teen episodes, I was already feeling wistful ahead of time, that I would eventually finish this story and therefore have no more episodes of this show to watch.

That definitely says something, yes?

Our characters tend to have healthy conversations

One of the reasons that it feels like Show keeps a nicely brisk pace, is that our characters tend to get straight to the point, and they tend to have healthy conversations.

Instead of using unhealthy conversations to amp up the drama, it feels like Show is demonstrating how we can have healthy conversations about difficult topics.

I liked that a lot.

Here are two examples of healthy conversations that I really appreciated.


E5-6. I have to say, I am very much enjoying how honest and candid the conversations tend to be, when You’an and Sanchuan sit down to talk.

Like, when she calls him out for wontons, she really doesn’t waste much time telling him that she’s heard about the situation about him mom from An Cong, and also, that she thinks that he’s the hidden treasure within the badminton club, that Alex had spoken about.

In most dramas, characters tend to be a lot more indirect, with many pretending not to know something, for fear of upsetting the other person.

And so, it really feels refreshing, to see You’an be so candid yet gentle, at the same time.

Even though Sanchuan doesn’t agree with everything that she has to say, nor does he appear to like everything that he hears, he doesn’t shy away from the conversation, and I like that.

E31-32. I’m really glad that Sanchuan’s misgivings about the rehabilitation bill doesn’t turn into a Big Misunderstanding, which I know many other dramas would be wont to do.

Instead, he heeds An Cong’s advice, and brings it up to You’an, so that they can talk about it honestly, and come to a happy agreement, that, 1, this is money that she feels is worth spending, and 2, he’ll pay her back as he wins more advanced matches, because he doesn’t want to owe her the money.

Ahh. Such a healthy resolution, arrived at so swiftly, because Sanchuan was willing to make the first move, to talk about an awkward topic.

Just for the record, here’s An Cong’s words of advice, because they are so wise:

“The more difficult it is for a couple to talk about something, the more it mustn’t be avoided. But whoever has the courage to talk about it first will definitely have to undertake more pressure. You have to be mentally prepared.”


Nuggets of conversation wisdom

As part of the healthy conversations that we often see between Sanchuan and You’an, we often get nuggets of wisdom served up, mostly through Sanchuan, and I liked these a lot.


E5-6. I just really like this idea that Sanchuan and You’an are comfortable enough with each other, to talk so candidly about some pretty personal things. This definitely bodes well for future developments in their relationship, for sure.

Another thing I like about their conversations, is how we get little nuggets of wisdom, from time to time, that really resonate with truth.

Like how Sanchuan explains to You’an, when he’s driving her home, that sometimes, it takes more courage to give up, than to keep on going.

I like that this feels so real to Sanchuan, because it’s something that he’s learned from living it, and I also like that this is a piece of wisdom that You’an can benefit from – and it’s also something that I can chew on, too.

E9-10. We get a bit of wisdom from Sanchuan this set of episodes, as well.

When You’an shows surprise at how matter-of-factly Sanchuan talks about his shortcomings, and says that everyone in her previous workplace had worked to hide their weaknesses and shortcomings, Sanchuan’s answer feels like a universal spot of wisdom.

“What a coincidence. When I was playing last time, you will never be able to hide your weaknesses and shortcomings. If you can’t face it, your opponent will use it to the best of their advantage.”

That’s so true, that it’s best for us to face our own weaknesses head-on, rather than wait for someone else to attack those weaknesses.


Show doesn’t keep characters in the dark just for drama’s sake

In the spirit of healthy conversations and relationships, I really like that Show doesn’t keep our characters in the dark in order to amp up the drama, like some shows tend to do.

I really like this feeling that Show doesn’t need to rely on narrative tricks and tropes like these, in order to flesh out its story; it makes me feel like Show’s confident of the story that it wants to tell, and isn’t in need of any filler, thank you very much.


E5-6. I’m happily surprised by the reveal, that even though An Cong thinks that Sanchuan doesn’t know that his mother had been ill when she’d left, Sanchuan actually already knows about it.

YES. It might sound like a small thing to be happy about, but, again, in most dramas, we’d get a whole arc dancing around Sanchuan finally learning the truth. Not here.

Here, he already knows, and is matter-of-fact about it, which clears the way for other narrative possibilities. I like that a lot.


The badminton and tennis matches are nicely choreographed

I’m no expert, but as a lay person, I found myself enjoying the choreography of the badminton and tennis matches.

Of course, as a lay person who knows very little about badminton, I can’t actually tell if this is accurate representation of good form, in badminton, or tennis.

I just know that I was convinced by it, and enjoyed watching it. 😁

Show endorses our characters’ right to be happy

This might seem like a pretty small thing, but I did like that Show endorses our characters’ right to be happy.


E7-8. I like that You’an explores jobs that make her happy, never mind if it’s sustainable in the long-term. The way she allows herself the space to do that, even though she doesn’t have the income she used to, is quite inspiring.

And, I also like that Sanchuan is happy with his job at the kids’ activity center. He definitely looks much happier there, than when he’d been at the badminton club, that’s for sure.



Some stuff that doesn’t get explained

Occasionally, Show doesn’t explain some things, and that did detract a little bit, from my watch experience.

However, this isn’t a deal-breaker, which is why I’ve got it in this section.

Because, Show doesn’t do it very often, and also, when Show does do this, it’s more on supporting information that isn’t actually that critical to the main story.

Here are two examples, to show you what I mean.


E17-18. I’d been wondering where Show might go with Luo Nian’s (Jiang Pei Yao) job situation, with her turning down jobs because she doesn’t want to travel, so that she can spend more time with her daughter, and this set of episodes, Show has her join the tennis club as their in-house nutritionist.

I like the idea of Luo Nian and You’an working together, because they can now support each other at work as well, but.. if the tennis club isn’t yet profitable, does You’an actually have the budget to hire Luo Nian in a way that would improve her life? 😅

Plus, with the training camp that we get this set of episodes, isn’t Luo Nian traveling, all the same? I don’t know how that works, and Show doesn’t explain, so I’m just assuming that Luo Nian’s mom is stepping in to help, like Luo Nian had once mentioned she would.

Show never confirms this, however, so I consider it kind of inconclusive.

That said, I enjoy the idea of her being at the tennis club enough, to just shrug and roll with it, even when the logic doesn’t completely stack up, for me.

E21-22. This set of episodes, we’re introduced to You’an’s ex-boyfriend from university, Yang Kaiqi (Wu Ya Heng), and I have to say, I’m rather confused as to what actually happened between them.

As in, it seems that they were both in university together, and then, for reasons not explained, he’d lied that she’d set a trap for him, when they’d actually been dating for 2 years, and that had resulted in her dropping out of university.

Like, sorry, what was that?

Was he a teacher, and she, a student, perhaps? Is that why it was frowned upon for them to be in a relationship? Coz that’s the only reason I can think of, that would make this make sense.

I do find it strange, though, that Show isn’t more clear about this. And, I also find it strange, that You’an, as a bright young lady, would have even fallen for this fuddy-duddy, very losery dude, in the first place. 😅

But fine. It’s part of the backstory, which contributes to our premise, that You’an, being so smart and capable, had struggled to establish a career for herself, because she hadn’t completed university.



Some stuff that gets glossed over

There were a couple of occasions when Show introduced certain elements into our story that made me feel uncomfortable, and those uncomfortable elements were glossed over instead of being explained or dealt with, and I didn’t like that so much.


E1-2. I did cringe at how the female runners were coming on to Sanchuan so aggressively; I don’t know if Show had meant it to be funny in any way, but that felt very uncomfortable to watch, for me.

I mean, he’s literally being harassed on the job, isn’t he? That’s not cool, and I’m rather disappointed that the female runners who harass him, get away with it.

E11-12. Overall, I thought the whole pep rally event was rather weirdly handled, in that there were definitely a few times when I raised my eyebrows, thinking, surely that’s not how real people would behave in real life, at a corporate event?

But, y’know, I also feel it’s par for the course, that even in shows like this, where work life is portrayed reasonably realistically, there is still artistic license employed, in the interest of creating Drama.

The weirdest beat for me was when Director Gao (Lei Mu) stops the musical chairs event, and gets his hulk of a driver to go up against Sanchuan, for the final round – and everyone is not only ok with it, but cheers enthusiastically, even when Driver Dude plays rough.

I found this quite disturbing, to be honest. 😛


Some details don’t actually make sense

There is one occasion, when Show serves up something that flat-out doesn’t make sense to me, and I’m putting that here, for the record.


E9-10. This set of episodes, Show shines a quick spotlight on Sanchuan’s hangup on the badminton court, as he explains to An Cong how he feels like he’s the root of his mom’s illness, just by virtue of his existence.

I actually find this harder to buy, than the idea of Sanchuan making the successful switch from badminton to tennis.

I mean, Sanchuan says that based on his research, his mother’s illness – which is not named – is an illness which starts psychologically.

Like, what?

And this illness is supposedly terminal..? I don’t understand. If there really is such an illness, then I’d appreciate Show putting a name to it, so that I can look it up and understand it better.

This sounds like some kind of airy-fairy mumbo-jumbo that Show made up, so that it could explain why Sanchuan’s got such a deep hangup about his mom and her illness.

Such a strange and outlandish statement, honestly. 😅



Wu Lei as Sanchuan

You guys. I love-love-LOVED Wu Lei as Sanchuan. 🤩😍

I don’t know about badminton or tennis, but I feel very nicely convinced of Sanchuan’s strength, agility and general athleticism. Every time we got to see Sanchuan training or competing and being all-around strong and agile, I had stars in my eyes, y’all. 🤩

Beyond that, though, Wu Lei fills out the character of Sanchuan so well, that I can’t imagine Sanchuan being played by anyone else.

Yes, Sanchuan does take a couple of episodes to warm up and be less broody-angsty, but once he became more clearly amiable, I found myself taking to him very quickly, and liking him a great deal.


E3-4. In terms of why Sanchuan’s always so angsty and sullen, we get some insight, this episode.

From the looks of it, his mother, who’d looked to be a badminton coach, had been dissatisfied with his performance despite his best efforts, and she’d upped and basically abandoned him, at the 18-point mark during his match.

That’s left him with An Cong, who turns out to be his stepfather.

Oohh. So all this time that Sanchuan’s been grumping about An Cong still waiting for “that woman” to come back, he’s been talking about his own mother?

Also, how awkward, that An Cong’s been referring to Sanchuan as his son so often, when this is something that’s clearly uncomfortable for Sanchuan.

Suddenly, Sanchuan’s generally angsty, angry air becomes easier to understand.

I’d be mad too, if my mom suddenly left me like that, in the care of my stepdad, and without a word of warning or goodbye. And I’d likely be messed up too, because of how she’d chosen to leave in a moment when I’d been striving to gain her approval.

I can imagine that her abandonment of Sanchuan, in a moment when he’d been working so hard to gain her approval, has created deep-set rejection issues within him, that have been eating away at him, in all the time since.

It’s little wonder that he can’t overcome that 18-point barrier; that’s the point at which he’d been sharply, irrevocably rejected by his own mother, who had been the one person in the world from whom he wanted acceptance and approval. Poor Sanchuan. 😭

E9-10. I do love how Sanchuan’s being so down-to-earth, and letting all the insults roll off him like water off a duck’s back, when he joins the tennis club.

I’d been a little worried that he’d have a hard time, with the rude words and actions from the various club members, but the way Sanchuan faces it, is so perfect.

He doesn’t let the jibes get to him, and neither does he allow his pride to get in the way, when someone does stop to offer help in the form of coaching.

I really, really like that.

E11-12. I really admire how Sanchuan doesn’t let all the obstacles and negativity get him down. I love that he tells You’an that this feeling of improving and getting better every day, is addictive.

YES. I love that. That is definitely something I can identify with, and I love that Sanchuan is enjoying the journey, and making that enjoyment – and his own betterment – his top priority. 🤩 LOVE.

I also really like that Sanchuan’s able to see so clearly, that Jiaojiao’s (Xia Hao Ran) acting out because he’s such a loyal and sentimental type of person, and he can’t bear to see Coach Wang leave.

Normally, I would expect You’an to be the one to be able to discern something like that, but this time, it’s Sanchuan who’s able to see it, and advise You’an to change the way she approaches Jiaojiao.

E13-14. It’s too bad that Coach Yan gets the wrong idea about You’an and Sanchuan, because he sees Sanchuan go into the room which he’d presumed to be You’an’s, and therefore comes to the wrong conclusion, that You’an and Sanchuan are bedmates.

But that actually works really quite well, as a catalyst and motivator, to push Sanchuan to work even harder, to prove Coach Yan wrong.

I do like that about Sanchuan. He doesn’t even try to argue with Coach Yan; he knows that the only way to get Coach Yan to change his mind and see things differently, is to prove himself on the court.

That’s very mature of him, and again, I love any indication that proves to us, that he’s not too young for You’an. 😁

E21-22. Almost the whole of episode 22, is basically Sanchuan expressing his pain by withdrawing into his shell, and sulking a whole lot.

And on an irreverent note, I have to say, the scene of him pouting, while stuffing his face with the noodles that An Cong cooked, totally gives me Fei Liu feels, from his Nirvana in Fire days.

That was when he was just a baby, at 15 years old, so to see that come through so clearly now, when he’s an adult leading man, is both funny, and discombobulating. 😁😅


Zhou Yu Tong as You’an

This was my introduction to Zhou Yu Tong, and I have to say, I really enjoyed her as You’an.

She manages to embody the different aspects of You’an so well, from You’an’s calm thoughtfulness, to You’an’s more bubbly side, and I enjoyed her in every shade of You’an.

As for You’an as a character, I liked her a great deal.

I love how she is equally adept at managing processes and strategies, and at relating with people. I love how she’s considerate and thoughtful, but consistently thinks of the big picture.

Most of all, I love how You’an manages to come across as a real person, in spite of her many strengths.


E3-4. I appreciate that You’an, being the sharply observant person that she is, has already pegged Sanchuan as the true underdog who’s worthy of the contract, rather than Jin Yi, whose character issues are showing up more and more.

Kudos to You’an for continuing to conduct herself in an impeccably professional manner, even when the work itself turns out to be offensive – like when Jin Yi makes a show of trying to look down her shirt, while she helps him with the test readings.

E3-4. I’m intrigued by the way Show introduces Nate as a potential partner for You’an.

I mean, it’s almost par for the course (that I’ve seen, anyway) in a 姐弟恋 (jiědì liàn; the Chinese equivalent of a noona romance), that the older woman in the equation, is presented with a viable potential partner who is considered ideal on paper.

Similar age, good career, nice personality; these are the things that make Nate a desirable potential partner.

And yet, the way he broaches the subject is almost.. businesslike? It’s an interesting mix of casual affection and businesslike intent, and it’s basically the opposite of romantic.

That said, I could see a practical-minded woman who sees Nate’s appeal actually find this an attractive proposition, and seriously consider accepting it.

The question here, I suppose, is whether You’an is that practical-minded sort of woman, and whether she would choose a partnership arrangement with someone like Nate, or hold out for a love relationship with a more organic starting point.

I think part of the question, is also whether You’an would actually consider trading in her career for marriage, since that is the essence of Nate’s proposition; since you’re at a stalemate at work, and since we like each other well enough, why not consider giving up your work to marry me?

Right now, I’m thinking that You’an isn’t ready to give up her career for marriage, whether that marriage is a practical, business-based one, or one that’s fueled by the heady feels of love and romance.

E7-8. I appreciate how You’an positions the surgery to her mother (Xia Li Xin); that this is a choice she’s making for her own health, and that’s more important than whether her ability to conceive later on, will be compromised.

I just like the idea of self worth that Show endorses, via this conversation that she has with Mom in the hospital, the day before the surgery. Yes, You’an’s worth is not determined by whether or not she’s able to have a baby.

E7-8. I have to say, I admire You’an for being so grounded and calm, in dealing with her father and her half-sister (Jiao Gang and Ma Fan Ding).

Based on what we’re told, Dad and Liang Tao have been making themselves something of a regular nuisance to You’an, asking her for money, &/or claiming that she owes them, because of the opportunities that had been missed, because of the money that Dad had given her, for her studies overseas.

In the face of that, You’an’s calm and patient, while being matter-of-fact and businesslike. That’s an unusual combination of things, given the circumstances, and I actually feel glad for her, when she pays off what she feels she owes them, and officially cuts ties with them.

It feels like she’s finally cleared a burden off her shoulders, and I’m happy for the liberty that comes with that.

E11-12. I really appreciate how You’an talks to Coach Wang (Hu Ya Jie) about the situation.

It’s not an easy thing to talk about, particularly since she’d been planning to hire a new coach to replace Coach Wang, even before he told her that he’d like to quit the club.

I really like how honest You’an manages to be, while maintaining a professional, non-confrontational and cordial manner. Like, she doesn’t flinch from talking about the hard stuff, just because she wants to be nice.

She manages to be nice – even as she talks about the hard stuff, and that is something that I really admire in her. 🤩

E13-14. I just wanted to mention that scene, where You’an goes to see Director Jiang (Zhu Yong Teng), to update him on the progress that she’s been making with managing the tennis club.

I am legit blown away by how You’an doesn’t appear to hold a grudge against Director Jiang at all.

I mean, the last time we’d seen them together, he’d flatly declined to sign off on the club’s outstanding financial issues, because he didn’t want to appear to be personally involved in the club’s matters.

That had put You’an in a really difficult position.

Now that she’s cleared that hurdle without any help from him, and is able to report on some very positive progress, I’m impressed that there isn’t even a hint of petty “And I did this alll without your help,” about You’an, in the least.

I think that definitely says a lot about the kind of person You’an is, and I’m just really taken by the way she handles things with Director Jiang, with professionalism and grace – as if he hadn’t given her the short end of the stick, more than once.


Sanchuan and You’an

I’d like to start this section by stating, for the record, that this OTP really, really worked for me. 🥰

Before starting my watch of this show, I’d come across some comments that basically said that this show seems to sometimes forget that it has a central romance, and that it’s more about the sports stuff than the romance, and it’s therefore a bit boring.

I think if I’d watched this show in the early days of my drama journey, I might have felt similarly, since, when I’d first started my drama journey, I’d been allll about the romancey feels.

But, I’ve evolved as a drama viewer since that time, and while I do understand how some viewers who are specifically looking for swoony romancey feels might feel underwhelmed, I found that I lapped up this show very happily – even though Show admittedly uses a restrained hand, with the romance.

I think a large part of it, is the underdog story at hand, because I do have a soft spot for underdog stories, and our central tennis club is very much an underdog, along with its members.

Being able to witness the progress that the club is making, and that of its members, is turning out to be a really satisfying thing, in and of itself, for me. 🥰

On top of that, I do think that my idea of romance has expanded, such that even though I do still appreciate big, sweeping romancey things, I’m also starting to appreciate the romance in the down-to-earth, everyday things – and that’s something that Show does very well.

I found that I had a good number of things to squee about, with this loveline – with my expanded definition of “romantic.” 😁

I actually like the idea that it feels so natural to Sanchuan and You’an, as characters, to not have romance be the be all and end all, of their lives. This feels perfectly aligned with the kind of personalities they have, and I thought this was very nicely done.

With the slice-of-life sort of approach that Show takes to the romance, there are so, so many little moments that I want to highlight in this next spoiler section, so.. fair warning, that it’s a lot. 😍😅


E1-2. Sanchuan is pretty businesslike and gruff with You’an a lot of the time, but when I look carefully, I can see the glimmers of him softening towards You’an, like when he (a little hedgingly) tells her that he’ll take her to the wig shop himself, instead of just sending her the address.

E3-4. And like the way he gets all on edge with her, when she remarks that he’s a little old in the game of badminton, but then later, when he drinks that bottle of sparkling water that she leaves him – with the parting shot that the drink will help to clear the anger in his chest – he can’t help but leak a bit of a smile.

On that note, there’s a bit of a pun in here, which would help to explain his smile, a little bit.

When she tells him to drink it all in one go, to clear the anger in his chest, the words for anger and air are homonyms, and even use the same character, 气 (qì).

And so, it’s actually punny, that You’an tells Sanchuan that the drink will help clear the 气 in his chest – because that burp sure does clear out his chest. 😁

At the same time, I do think that You’an’s ability to not lose her cool, and even make a friendly joke, in the face of his irritation, is probably making a positive impression on him. I know it’s making a positive impression on me, for sure.

E5-6. I do enjoy how Show is setting up Sanchuan to be the opposite of Nate, in so many ways.

Like the way Nate is quick to maneuver things to his advantage and make it look like she’s the one who’d come on to him, the moment he sees that he has no future with You’an.

This, compared to the way Sanchuan would go out of his way to protect You’an, even when there’s nothing in it for him, like how we see him choose to adjust his behavior to suit Jin Yi, so that hopefully, Jin Yi won’t make things difficult for You’an.

And then there’s the thing that You’an says during her conversation with Luo Nian, “No one wants to be completely vulnerable. The worst thing about playing on a seesaw is one person being fooled into mid-air while the other suddenly leaves and lets you fall hard to the ground.”

That’s essentially what Nate does, isn’t it? He even makes sure to let You’an fall as hard to the ground as possible, when leaving the situation, because he doesn’t want to have people think that he was the one who got rejected.

In contrast, we see Sanchuan and You’an having such a lovely fun time on the seesaws, this same set of episodes.

That’s like Show telling us that with Sanchuan, You’an’s not going to be afraid of being vulnerable; instead, she’s going to be having the time of her life, with Sanchuan, on that seesaw, yes? 🥹

I do love that even in these early episodes, we can see that You’an and Sanchuan challenge each other.

Sanchuan challenges You’an to think differently, when he tells her that quitting can take more courage than pressing on.

And, You’an challenges Sanchuan to face his fears instead of giving up, when she asks him to train anew, with Yisu’s rackets, and beat Jin Yi fair and square, during the upcoming tournament.

I love that where no one else has managed to get Sanchuan to even consider something like this, You’an succeeds, where he doesn’t only agree to her challenge, but even embraces it, properly.

On a tangent, I have to confess, I was giddy (giddy!!) with goofy grins, when I saw Sanchuan take that bowl of wontons from You’an, and proceed to casually pick out the coriander from the bowl, because he’s seen her do it before. 🫠🫠🫠

This casual, offhanded show of thoughtfulness, like it’s second nature to him and doesn’t require any extra thought, really melts me in the knees, y’all. 🥰

E7-8. I’m so glad that Sanchuan shows up while You’an packing up her things, and reminds her to do exactly what she’d told him to do; to leave while holding her head up high. I love it.

Where Nate is quick to mess with You’an’s reputation by spreading false rumors, Sanchuan is quick to protect her dignity, by reminding her that she has nothing to be ashamed of. 🥰

And then, in her lowest moment, he just hugs her, and doesn’t say anything, which is, I think, exactly what she needs. In this moment, I think You’an just needs to feel like she’s not alone.

Although they both appear to be a bit aimless for a while, it’s actually quite gratifying to see that both You’an and Sanchuan leave their respective jobs without regrets. At the very least, it feels like they’re both set free from something that’s been holding them back for a long time.

E7-8. Sanchuan’s concern – that he tries to pass off as nothing much, ha – at knowing that You’an’s going for an operation is also endearing and adorable.

I also love how he eventually goes to visit her, with those jarred peaches in hand, and she talks about there being a generation gap between them, because he’s never eaten those peaches before.

But then, how disappointed does Sanchuan look, when he asks if he won’t see You’an anymore, now that she’s no longer working at Yisu, and she says that that’ll probably be the case.

I think that he’s upset at not getting to see her anymore, and leaves in that somewhat abrupt and gruff manner, because he’s working to respect her wishes, but can’t help being upset.

E7-8. It’s very cute that Sanchuan misses You’an enough, that he’d go to the wonton eatery every day instead of eating at home, in the hopes of seeing her there.

It’s too bad, though, that the one day we see You’an there with Luo Nian, is the day that Sanchuan decides against going to the eatery, oops. 😅

Also, while it’s less obvious, we can also see that You’an kinda misses Sanchuan too, when we see her glance at the pile of coriander next to her bowl, with a touch of wistfulness.

BUT. Show is quick to quell that disappointment, by first having You’an and Sanchuan cross paths while she’s walking a dog, and then having You’an go the activity center to pick up Luo Le, where he’s the instructor.

I really like how happy they are, to see each other at the park, and how easily Sanchuan moves to help her out, and then plan to see her again, at the same time, same place, the next day.

Most of all, though, I love that scene where she goes to pick up Luo Le, and then stands there happily watching him lead the class, and he totally sees her and starts leaking happy reaction faces, while continuing to lead the kids. 😍

My goodness, the look of happy surprise on her face, and the look of bashful, self-conscious joy on his face, is so fantastic. 😍

E7-8. I like that You’an agrees to let Sanchuan train her in running, so that she’ll be able to do her job better, as a dog walker, but mostly, I’m just squeeing at the fact that we’re getting a bit of hyper-awareness on You’an’s side, with the way her heart rate goes up to 108, after Sanchuan straps that heart rate monitor to her wrist. 😁

Ahhh! So she does notice him too! 🤩

More importantly, I like that we’re still getting honest, friendly conversation between You’an and Sanchuan, at every possible turn.

It happens with them as such a natural extension of every interaction, whether they’re walking dogs together, or running together. I like that a lot.

And I like that You’an tells Sanchuan that he tends to say things that sound really simple, but are actually profound, like, “Only by exhaling the waste air in our lungs, can we allow fresh air into our lungs.”

I love this mutually beneficial sort of vibe they’ve got going on, where they end up helping each other in significant ways through their words and their actions, and I’m now very much looking forward to more episodes of this show, so that I can get more of these two on my screen. 🤩

E11-12. When Sanchuan talks to You’an about Jiaojiao’s accusations, I’m very taken by how this conversation is technically confrontational in nature, because he’s asking her about something that she didn’t tell him, and indicating that it feels like she’d used him, BUT, this whole conversation doesn’t feel confrontational, at all.

Instead, it feels open and honest, with both of them candidly sharing their points of view, and the vibe is so accepting and gentle, instead of anything in the region of hostile.

I’m very taken by this, because I love the idea that these two can talk about difficult things where they’re not necessarily standing on the same side, and have it be just as open and approachable, as it would be if they were talking about something very different.

Also, I love how this transitions quite naturally, into Sanchuan talking about wanting to add another pawn to the game; that if he manages to transition successfully into tennis and stay at the club after 3 months, then You’an will go on a date with him.

Aw. The way he says it, where he’s all offhanded about it, but his tone is just a touch overly bright, makes me feel that he’s definitely a little nervous about her reaction, and is trying his best to act casual and natural about it. It’s pretty cute. 😁

You’an tries to play it cool too, as she agrees (which I’m guessing she does in order to keep Sanchuan motivated), but from the way she can’t even let herself out through the gate without fumbling over which way the gate opens, I’m pretty sure she’s suddenly feeling extremely self-conscious. Hee.

E11-12. I just wanted to say, Wu Lei cleans up reaal nice in a suit. 🤩😍🫠

I’m glad that we get to see Sanchuan all spiffed up, at least once, because I was pretty sure we’d mostly see him sweating it out on the court, for most of the show. 😁

Things I love about the aftermath of Sanchuan winning the musical chairs game at the pep rally:

1, the way he runs right over to You’an, to hand her the mic, saying that it’s her turn now. Aw. They really do make a great team, and I LOVE how they’re looking at each other so happily. 🥰🥰

2, I’m tickled at how Sanchuan steps in to help You’an convince Manager Li to accelerate the disbursing of funds to the club – by charming her repeatedly, in Flower Boy mode. 😅

I was amused but a tiny bit uncomfortable about Sanchuan having to use his charms for work, so I was also relieved to hear Sanchuan say afterwards, in the taxi, that he won’t do that kind of thing again.

3, I’m really tickled that You’an’s such a happy and charming drunk. 😁

I love the way she’s so, so, SO happy that they’ve got their budget, that she keeps rolling down the window to yell, “WE HAVE MONEYYY,” out at the world. And there’s also how she tells Sanchuan to take off his clothes, which sounds wildly inappropriate, ha.

And, I love how Sanchuan is clearly amused by her, even as he tries to stop her from being too outrageous. 😁😁

Of course, there’s That Moment, when Sanchuan gulps with hyperawareness, as You’an gets up close and personal to whisper her door code to him, because she’s too tipsy-clumsy to manage the key code herself.

The way Sanchuan’s gaze flits nervously, and then how he swallows, also nervously, is a perfect representation of just how much You’an is affecting him, with her hyper-proximity. Tingles.

And then there’s how You’an stumbles right into his arms, as he tries to get her through the door, into her apartment.

Ooh. Sanchuan literally looks like he might be having a slight out-of-body experience, as he holds You’an, in that moment. 😁

Also, I’m quite tickled at how Show plays with us, just a little bit, as we skip ahead to the morning after, where You’an worries that something inappropriate might have happened – only for Show to reveal that Luo Nian had come to the rescue.

I do like how, when You’an is mortified that she’d almost maybe-perhaps committed sexual harassment on a co-worker, Luo Nian cheekily points out that Sanchuan hadn’t looked like he’d minded, heh. 😁

Most of all, I love that shot of Sanchuan sitting on his bed at home, looking somewhat dazed from all the hyper-proximity and the effect that it’s had on him.

I mean, doesn’t he look absolutely adorable when he’s dazed?? 🤩🤩🫠🫠🥰🥰

Also – that bed hair is super cute on him. 😍😁

I’m just slightly disappointed that this is where the OTP cuteness ends, but it’s true what Sanchuan grumps; You’an’s brain is just filled with work, it seems. 😅

But, we do get a moment of hyper-awareness on You’an’s side of things, when Sanchuan shows concern over how she’s bruised her hand, while lashing out at Jiaojiao, and holds her hand in his, to examine it.

This time, he’s all business, because he’s genuinely concerned for her hand, but she’s clearly feeling hyper-aware of him, and I’m pleased about this. It’s just nice to be able to see that they are both feeling the feelings, because it feels nicely reciprocal, this way. 😁

E11-12. I’m glad that You’an shares her story so honestly at the group dinner, because that’s a solid step in the right direction, if she’d like these players to truly be on her team.

Also, I like that this also allows Sanchuan to learn something new about You’an, because all this stuff about her family situation is definitely stuff that he’s hearing for the first time.

And, judging from Sanchuan’s expression in response, I feel like he’s very likely feeling a sense of solidarity with You’an, because he also has a rather messy family background.

I like this idea of Sanchuan and You’an being able to understand each other on a deeply personal level like this.

E13-14. When You’an shares her thoughts and goals about the tennis club, the way Sanchuan looks at her, with such gentle, tender interest, is so great.

I love that in one fell swoop, we get to see that he cares, not only for the future of the club, but he also cares for her. And the two are so intertwined that it feels like it’s all one big thing, to him, instead of two things. But that could just be my own perception. 😅

And the way Sanchuan pledges himself to becoming the source of You’an’s confidence, is completely melty.

There’s such a distinct tenderness in his face, as he says that to her, without even knowing whether she hears him.

The thing that really gets to me, is, he doesn’t say this lightly; this promise that he makes is something that will demand a great deal of effort, time and pain on his part, but he makes that promise seriously anyway, because he wants to do that for he.

Is that not the most melty thing??? 🥲🫠

I also like that Show lets us in, quite quickly, on the fact that You’an does hear him, and does have thoughts and feelings about it.

I’m glad that we get to hear You’an processing it out loud, with Luo Nian, because, this way, we get to know definitively, that You’an isn’t completely unmoved by Sanchuan.

She does have feelings for him (which makes complete sense to me, because in my eyes, it’s pretty impossible to be unmoved by Sanchuan’s melty sincerity), but is very much convinced that this is a relationship that she should not be looking to embark on.

And she’s not wrong, really.

She does have a lot on her plate, which requires a great deal of time and attention. And, it’s also true that Sanchuan is a player in her care. There is admittedly some kind of conflict of interest there, if she were to date him.

As a professional, and as a mature woman who’s quite able to tap into her rational mind instead of being led completely by her feelings, I can see why You’an would make the decision not to pursue a relationship with Sanchuan.

E13-14. One of my favorite scenes, this set of episodes, is the one where You’an brings food to Sanchuan, because he’s been pushing himself really hard, and needs the extra protein.

There are many different things that jump out at me, in this scene.

1, I love the way Sanchuan is so matter-of-fact in the way he adjusts his sore and bandaged fingers to hold the chopsticks. He doesn’t try to play it up in any way, just goes and does the best he can, with the sore hand that he has. It’s You’an who notices, and asks about it.

2, I love that You’an asks to see his hand and reaches out to take his hand in hers, so that she can get a closer look.

3. And, I love the way Sanchuan pauses in a moment of hyperawareness. Just the way he looks at her, and swallows his food, makes me feel like he’s completely mesmerized by her, right about now.

4, I love the way You’an asks Sanchuan to take better care of himself. I love how she assures him that no matter what, she is convinced that he is the treasure in her possession, before telling him that if he pushes himself too hard, he won’t be able to play at all.

5, I love how he reaches to catch hold of her hand, even as she starts to pull it away. The way he holds onto her hand feels gentle, but firm. And I love how he sounds so gently thoughtful, as he thanks her for asking him to play tennis, saying that these days playing tennis, have been his happiest. Aw. 🥰

Although the moment is cut short by You’an slapping Sanchuan on the wrist, it’s all in good fun, and their banter is gentle and friendly, and I just really, really like it. 🥰

E15-16. I really like how respectful Sanchuan is, when he tells Coach Yan (Zhang Tao) how he’d managed to learn enough, in the last two months, to achieve this outcome, and admit that he would’ve lost if he’d really rallied with Coach Yan.

And, I like his point, that if he’d been able to learn these things, then he’s able to learn other things too – and then asks Coach Yan (still so respectfully!)  to take back what he’d previously said about You’an. LOVE.

(Also, can I just point out how effortlessly Leo Wu jumps over the net, while saying his lines? 🤩 It’s like it’s the same as regular walking, to him. 🫠)

It’s so satisfying to see Coach Yan declare that he’s fully convinced by Sanchuan, and that Sanchuan should train with him the next day.

E15-16. We finally get to see Sanchuan and You’an go on that date – because even if You’an (and I) had forgotten about it, Sanchuan definitely didn’t forget, heh. 😁

I had a silly goofy smile on my face through most of the date, because these two are very cute together, and I just liked watching them have a good time, without worrying about anything, at least for a day.

..And then we have Sanchuan’s love confession, which, I hafta tell ya, left me in a big ol’ puddle. 🫠🫠

It’s partly what he says, where he likens the way the tennis falls to the ground, to the way he feels that his heart has started to land, from the time he met You’an, and how he feels that he’s about to bounce back up, because she’s like a ray of light that came into his life, during the darkest time in his life.

I also really like how he tells You’an that he likes her.

My subs simply say, “I like you. I really like you,” but the dialogue is closer to, “I like you. I especially seriously like you.”

He’s trying to express that he’s serious about liking her – and he’s not just normal serious about it; he’s especially serious about it.

Plus the way he says it, is so gentle and serious. I find it all so meaningful and melty. Puddle. 🫠🫠🫠

I’m bummed that You’an turns him down so flatly, but I do appreciate that her tone is gentle, and like I said earlier, I get where she’s coming from, with this. Also, she does have a point, that these are things that he should work hard for, for his own sake, and not for hers.

I’m glad, though, that Sanchuan manages to convince You’an that they should interact easily and casually, the way they’ve always been, instead of drawing such clear boundaries between work stuff and personal stuff.

His statement, that if she couldn’t do that, that that would leave him no choice but to leave the club, was definitely the clincher, heh.

I’m sure that besides not wanting him to leave for professional reasons, our You’an does have some personal feelings invested too – it’s just that she might not be ready to admit that yet.

E17-18. The key thing that strikes me about watching You’an and Sanchuan, is how meaningful it is, that they’re working together for something in which they both believe.

It feels so.. solid, in terms of them building a foundation for a future romantic relationship.

Because, while the grand romantic gestures may fade, the daily busy-ness of life continues, and if they’re able to find a way to meaningfully connect and appreciate each other, while in the midst of this busy-ness, doesn’t that bode very well for their future?

I think so, at any rate.

And so, it makes me smile, to see Sanchuan working hard on the freebies, so that he’ll be ready to support You’an, in looking for more paying members to join the club.

And it also makes me smile to see them go out together, to canvas for those new members, as a team.

They’re on the same side, and talking the same talk and walking the same walk – all while thinking to take care of each other, with mosquito patches and all. I don’t know about everyone else, but this did give me something to squee about. 🥰

Similarly, with Sanchuan undergoing the Technical Assessment Test, and achieving a Level 5 certification.

That’s so great on the underdog makes good side of things, but it’s also great on the romance side of things, because I think it’s fantastic that You’an’s able to fully appreciate how meaningful Sanchuan’s result is.

She’s fully able to understand just how hard he’s worked for this, and just how much he’s achieved, and she takes joy in the result, alongside him.

Likewise, when You’an tells Sanchuan about the energy drinks deal, Sanchuan’s fully able to appreciate just how fantastic this news is, and how much this will help You’an, in her management of the club.

I love that. 🥰

E19-20. I’m relieved that You’an doesn’t just roll over and turn the other cheek when Director Jiang confirms that he’s decided to close down the club, but chooses to fight for a way for the club to carry on existing, whether it’s as part of Yisu, or independently of Yisu, with a different investor.

And, I’m glad that she’s got Sanchuan with her, not just to provide her with moral support, but to actively help her, in crunching the numbers and thinking of ideas.

See, I love that these two work together so well. 🤩🤩

Sanchuan trying to be a man who likes to eat fish is silly-sweet, because isn’t it quite endearing that a smart dude like him would do something so silly, just because You’an mentions it, in an obviously tongue-in-cheek manner – as a quality that she likes in a man?

ALSO. Isn’t it so cute, the smiles that Sanchuan leaks, when You’an chides him for thinking nonsense, and tells him to go back to training? The leaked smile is my kryptonite and I love that he’s leaking smiles around her, even though he’s just done a dumb thing and she’s chiding him for it. 😁

Importantly, it seems that You’an’s starting to soften her romantic defenses around Sanchuan.

I mean, the fact that she even asked him to stay on the line, to keep her company, is huge, and I appreciate that Sanchuan picks up on that immediately, and asks her if she’s ok.

I also really like the fact that You’an’s able to be so candid with Sanchuan, in telling him that she’s had an especially hard day, and doesn’t want to be alone. This speaks of a genuine closeness between them, which I love.

How sweet, that he books a taxi right away, so that he can actually be with her in person, rather than just as a disembodied voice on the phone.

And how cute and thoughtful, that he shows up with all the ingredients he could find at home, so that he can cook her a hot meal.

Also, I do agree with Sanchuan, that You’an’s been working too hard, and needs to just rest her brain for a while.

I know that our key plot problems haven’t been solved at this point, but right now, I just like the idea of Sanchuan and You’an hanging out together, and eating a hot, delicious meal together, and being happy together. 🥰🥰

E21-22. It’s very nice to see You’an and Sanchuan getting closer, as they spend that time together, just hanging out and having fun, and not thinking about the challenges of the tennis club.

I love the way Sanchuan encourages her, with the anchor necklace.

At first, I’d thought that it was meant to be a love token, but in the end, it means so much more. I love what Sanchuan says to her, as he gives the necklace to her.

“About the word “anchor;” I went home and checked it. Besides being an anchor, it also has another meaning which is a person that makes you feel secure.

Do you know? Since I knew you, no matter what happens, I feel secure when you are around. So, you must believe in yourself.

You are the most amazing person in the world. Something like restructuring a club is definitely something you can do. I’m sure you will succeed sooner or later.

I also hope you can believe in me more. I will definitely hold you steady through this crisis.”

Augh, that is so wonderfully heartfelt and so supportive. In this scene, I feel like he’s the one being her anchor, and this reciprocity, in terms of something so deeply meaningful, is something that I’m loving.

And, I do love the detail, that Sanchuan’s got a matching necklace hanging in his own bedroom, to remind him of the promise that he’s made to You’an. 🥰

On that note, can I just say, I love how, in that moment, he looks all cozily ruffled up and content, right after he looks at the necklace? 😍 That is so cute and so sexy, at the same time. 🫠

E21-22. I’m actually not sure how to feel about Sanchuan showing up at You’an’s meeting and acting as her boyfriend – especially without even discussing it with her beforehand.

I mean, I like the protectiveness inherent in his actions, but.. I have to confess that this incident does make Sanchuan look very young, and like his desire to protect You’an is greater than his ability to protect her, if that makes sense.

But, since it does make You’an giggle, and since it also makes Kaiqi squirm in his seat, I’ll count it as a positive, overall.

After that, the scene of You’an and Sanchuan bickering over how the other person’s dressed, is really quite cute.

Clearly, the girlfriend and boyfriend instincts are in full swing, and what I like about it, is, the exasperation is clearly real, on Sanchuan’s side, but the good-natured affection is just as strong, and that’s on both sides. 😁

E21-22. I thought the wine hazing was a bit random, BUT, given where we end the episode, I can see why Show’s writers had wanted to inject a bit of alcohol into our characters’ veins. 😅

When Sanchuan writes You’an’s name on that bulletin board listing all the outstanding graduates from the university, he really touches on a very sore spot, for You’an.

It’s probably haunted her in a very deep way, that she never graduated, and here, he’s applying a balm to that wound, in such a heartfelt way, that I can see why You’an would be so moved.

And, given that they’ve both just chugged big mugs of wine, and are therefore just a touch tipsy, I can understand them throwing caution to the wind.

But, I have to confess, I was so startled by the developments at the end of episode 21, that I was waving my arms and blocking my eyes in shock; like, am I seeing what I think I’m seeing, and what is even happening on my screeen? 🙈😅

Not that the bed scene is very racy or anything; it’s just.. this kind of felt like it’d come out of nowhere, for our OTP relationship, and I was feeling quite discombobulated by it all. 😅

I must also confess, part of the discombobulation is the sexy smolder pouring out of Sanchuan’s gaze – at points, I felt like it was leaping off my screen to punch me in the face. 😅🫠

But then.. the record-scratching moment is pretty quick in coming, when You’an sticks her foot in her mouth, the morning after, and tries to brush off the whole thing as a drunken mistake – and even the sentence, “I don’t have to take responsibility for you, do I?,” for good measure.

Eep, EEP. EEEEEPP. 🙈🙈🙈

I feel so, so bad for Sanchuan in this moment, because you can see that he’s just come crashing down, hard, when he’d actually been floating on cloud nine, just before.

I mean, one minute he thinks that he’s finally won You’an’s heart and broken through her reservations, and that they’ll now have a future together, and the next, he’s being told that it basically meant nothing to her, and she’d like to forget it ever happened?

I think anyone would be hurt and angry in his shoes, so I’m not surprised that he withdraws into himself, so hard, to the extent of telling You’an he’s quitting the club, and then even blocking her on WeChat.

It is a little extreme, yes, but this just goes to how deeply You’an’s words have hurt him. 💔💔

E23-24. You’an and Sanchuan make up this set of episodes, but.. it doesn’t go down quite the way I’d hoped or expected.

Ok, so I can fully buy the idea that Sanchuan would eventually come around and show up for the competition, because this really is something that he’s worked super hard for, and I do believe that tennis means something to him, beyond just him helping You’an.

And, I appreciate the detail, that he studiously avoids eye contact with You’an, through all the matches, because that feels so true to life.

I would buy that Sanchuan would basically soften up, looking at You’an. He does like her a great deal, after all, and I’m sure he’s missed her, even while he’d blocked her, while moping at home.

I do love the gentle, earnest way in which he tells You’an that he’s thought things through, and understands what she means when she says it’s hard to manage both work and romance at the same time.

I also appreciate the sentiment, that he wants to work hard to make up for the 10 years between them, by bringing her 10 trophies.

It’s not an exact match, sure, but I do believe that Sanchuan will be working hard and growing more grounded and more mature, with each trophy, so I would like to buy what he’s selling.

Here’s the thing, though.

We see from a flashback, that You’an had prepared a whole bunch of things to say to Sanchuan, most importantly, that she can’t bear the possibility of not seeing him again; that he’s essentially the only person she can see herself tasting real love with.

AUGH. When she tells all this to Luo Nian, and pledges to tell Sanchuan all of this, I felt so moved.


I mean, I get that people can and do back away from things that they’d resolved to do, right before they’re actually due to do them, and most often, this has to do with cold feet.

And I understand that You’an might have balked at the moment, with cold feet.

But there’s also an element to this, where she seems to change her mind about telling him, because his promise, to bring her 10 trophies, buys her more time with him, without her having to give him an answer.

It bums me out a great deal, that You’an backs away from this pledge, just because she’s not being pressed to the wall, and forced to reckon with the possibility of never seeing Sanchuan again.

I mean, ok, it’s true that she’s still his manager, now that he’s no longer leaving the club, and that does add a layer of complication there, but.. I feel so much injustice for Sanchuan, who’s laid his heart bare.

He deserves to hear her true heart too, yes? YES? 🥹🥹

I’m smarting on Sanchuan’s behalf, on this, and while I can’t hate You’an, coz I do understand why she might be holding back, I am still hoping against hope, that Show will give Sanchuan everything that he deserves, and soon.

E23-24. I like the scene where You’an goes to see Sanchuan, because she wants to ask him how he feels about the fact that his previous badminton club is near the site where they’re looking to rent tennis courts for the new club.

I’m glad that You’an has this consideration for Sanchuan, and I’m happy that he recognizes the care in that consideration, so much so that he can’t wipe the grin off his face.

Aw. I love it when Sanchuan’s happy. 🥰

I’m also glad that he’s able to articulate that to You’an, so that she knows how much her care means to him.

And of course, we do have that thread of hyperawareness running through the scene, with You’an soaked to the bone, thanks to the rain, and needing to change into Sanchuan’s clothes.

Sanchuan’s quietly dazed look is so adorable, and you can just see that he’s both happy and awkward at seeing her in his clothes, heh. 😁

That beat, after she leaves, and he can’t help but take a sniff of the clothes to catch a whiff of her scent, before he thrashes about on the bed, scolding himself for being a pervert, is just hilarious, but yet also brings the feels, and I can’t help the goofy grin on my face. 😁

Like I said, I just love it when Sanchuan’s happy.

And isn’t it kinda plaintive-sweet, when Sanchuan allows himself to hug the clothes to sleep, like a little kid with a security blanket?

I’m really coming around to this very youthful yet very ardent vibe that we’re getting from Sanchuan lately.

E23-24. I like that this new dorm arrangement means that Sanchuan’s often near You’an, and I think that’s great, since he is turning out to be a good steadying force for her, where he reminds her to, 1, not push herself too hard, and to rest, and 2, that he believes in her, and that she will succeed.

I really do appreciate the fact that You’an is able to be honest with Sanchuan, though, and admit that she’s not sure whether she’ll be able to achieve everything that she’s set herself to do.

That requires a good degree of vulnerability, and I just like the idea that You’an’s willing to be that vulnerable, with Sanchuan.

I’m glad that he’s promising to be the wings that the club needs, and is feeling so positive about it.

E25-26. I’m finding Director Jiang even more pathetic than before, with the way he keeps thinking of himself as the center of the universe.

He seriously thinks that everything You’an’s been doing with the tennis club, is about proving herself to him. Wow. The amount of ego that takes is quite amazing, to me.

I’m glad that You’an spells it out for him, and tells it like it is, that he really isn’t the center of the universe, and then walks out on him. YESS.

I love that You’an isn’t rude about it (well, not to my eyes, at least), and is confident enough to speak her mind, even if this is something that Director Jiang wouldn’t like to hear.

Just as importantly, I like that after this, You’an doesn’t hesitate to admit to Luo Nian, that after the run-in with Director Jiang, she misses Sanchuan and would like to see him.

Wow. Not only that, she goes on to say that she even feels like sending him a photo of her food, makes the food taste better, even if it’s a meal that she already loves.

Oh, our girl is kind of gone, for Sanchuan, isn’t she? 😁

What I didn’t expect, is that she actually buys a ticket and goes to Nanjing, to see Sanchuan – albeit with the excuse of a business meeting in the region.

BUT STILL. Even though she says that she’s there for the meeting and therefore is able to drop in on Sanchuan’s match, she’s totally there mainly for Sanchuan, and I love that.

I love the look of surprised wonder on Sanchuan’s face, as he catches sight of You’an on the bleaches, and I love the contented smile on You’an’s face, as she makes eye contact with Sanchuan.

Coach Yan’s bemused eye-roll, as he observes this exchange, is just bonus, hahaha.

On a more serious note, like I said, it’s hard to watch Sanchuan lose, despite his best efforts, and I can understand Coach Yan’s frustration, because it really does feel like he’s suddenly regressed, after so much effort and training.

I’m glad that You’an’s there for him, though.

Even though You’an’s reason for getting on that plane was her unhappy run-in with Director Jiang, that doesn’t even seem to register on her mind anymore, now that Sanchuan’s struggling.

I do like that selfless quality in the way that they like each other.

Sanchuan’s already shown us that he cares more about You’an’s goals than he does his own, and now, we see that You’an is quick to put aside her own troubles, when she sees that Sanchuan’s in trouble.

This definitely bodes well for a strong relationship, when they do get there.

I’m also glad that it doesn’t take very long, before You’an talks candidly with Sanchuan about her original invitation for him to switch from badminton to tennis.

She’s right; all they did was run away from his 18-18 trauma. What they need to do is actually face it and resolve it.

I especially like how she reminds him that his greatest achievement, is how he reached a place where he’s improving every day, and experiencing such joy in the process; that that’s the most important thing, and that he doesn’t have to bear any burdens.

I also love how she says, “When you finally think you can’t go on and the club goes bankrupt because of me, no one can guarantee that something better won’t come along.”

I do love that adjustment in perspective, that this isn’t the be all or end all of anything; that in the grand scheme of things, there can be bigger and better things ahead of them.

I’m really glad that it’s Sanchuan who brings up the matter of looking for his mom, and I can help but be rather thrilled at the detail, that he doesn’t even need to articulate what it is, and You’an knows exactly what he’s talking about.

E25-26. I must say, I do like the detour in the form of the train ride that You’an and Sanchuan take together.

It’s so thoughtful of You’an, to choose the slow train ride instead of a faster mode of travel, specifically so that Sanchuan has lots of time to think about it, and can change his mind at any time during the journey, if he so wishes.

As a bonus, this gives them a good chunk of quality time together, and I love it when these two get to spend time together.

I really like the casual conversations they have, like how Sanchuan deadpans that he doesn’t cut his fingernails, he only chews them, and as for toenails, that’s what bunkmates are for, hahaha.

Even more, I like that he gently and seriously asks You’an about the night that they’d spent together – and You’an actually gives him a serious answer, after she recovers from her shocked coughing fit.

And while You’an doesn’t directly tell Sanchuan that she has strong feelings for him like he’s asking, she does tell him enough, to assure him that their night together had indeed meant something to her.

“Why is it such a coincidence? It had to be at my old school. You had to be standing at the notice board displaying the outstanding students. At that moment, you really shattered my walls. It seemed like I’d never been harmed. That was a 20 year old Liang You’an and 20 year old Song Sanchuan.”

I had to grin at Sanchuan’s response, that her twenties are his, and so will her thirties; there’s no escape.

Aw. I love that gentle, smoldery confidence. 🫠

And even though some people might find the beat where Sanchuan tears up those slips of paper with their fears written on them into the garbage rather clichéd, I do feel like Show plays the beat well; it feels genuine and meaningful to the both of them, and so it feels genuine and meaningful to me too.

E25-26. We get that beat, around Sanchuan gaining closure, is the scene of him playing badminton with You’an, just for fun.

At first glance, it does seem a little like nothing much, but on further thought, it makes a lot of sense, that he should have a moment on the court that’s full of joy and liberty, because in the past, that had been a place that represented fear and stress, for him.

Also, that carefree smile on Sanchuan’s face, as he holds You’an in that big, grateful bearhug, is absolutely priceless. 🤩

E27-28. I am basically in a puddle on my floor, because of how steadfast Sanchuan is, in his feelings for You’an.

The way he answers An Cong, when An Cong asks him about his progress with You’an, there’s a relaxed, gentle sense of resoluteness about him, as he tells An Cong that he somehow feels closer to You’an compared to before, and he’s feeling confident now.

Gurgle. 🫠

I mean, You’an hasn’t exactly been super forthcoming in demonstrating her feelings for him, and yet, here he is, still completely and contentedly smitten. I love. 🥰

E27-28. In terms of the frisbee club outing in honor of Sanchuan’s birthday, I have to give it to You’an, for conducting herself in a dignified and gracious manner.

Even though it’s clear that she doesn’t prefer the idea of fangirl Yike (Zhang Xin Yi) inviting herself along for Sanchuan’s birthday celebration, which Sanchuan had originally intended to just be between him and You’an, she backs off from it nonchalantly enough, saying that the young people should go ahead.

That definitely takes some self control, I’m sure, given that she’s been so hyper-aware lately, of Yike’s efforts to get near Sanchuan.

And then, when she does give in to her impulse to join the group, I love the way she wins that round of frisbee golf like a boss, and then casually makes her exit.

Poor Sanchuan, though, who’s been waiting for her and looking out for her at every turn, only to see her face for like, 2 seconds, before she leaves again.

I must say, though, his thrilled whooping face, in response to You’an tossing the frisbee right into the goal, is absolutely priceless. 🤩

I love that the first thing Sanchuan does, after You’an leaves, is nicely and respectfully make things clear to Yike, and then take off with the cake, to go see You’an at the office.

That’s decent, and so ardent, all in one. Love. 😍

And then, the way he quietly watches You’an for a bit, with that uber affectionate grin on his face, is just adorable. Squee!

I do love the cozy celebration they have together, with You’an singing him a birthday song, and him looking at her, with that bright contentment in his eyes.

I love even more, that they have a gentle yet serious conversation about their age difference, and what it means to each of them.

I do understand You’an’s concern, that in 10 or 20 years, Sanchuan may feel differently about her being older and leading the way, but I’m completely convinced by Sanchuan, when he responds that the most important thing in a relationship, is to be able to look at each other on the same level, and that that’s what he’s striving to do, every day.

Guh. Sanchuan has such a way of making my heart wobble, with his candid sincerity. I’m convinced that he’s made You’an’s heart wobble too, judging from the sheen of tears in her eyes. 🥲

And how adorable is he, that he bought that frisbee that You’an had scored her goal with, because it’ll bring her luck?

I’m convinced that if that phone call hadn’t come in just then, that You’an would’ve likely told Sanchuan that she likes him too.

E29-30. This set of episodes, I literally felt like I was on a rollercoaster of emotions; my heart was leaping, and sinking, and leaping around and doing twirls, as I followed along the journey of our OTP, particularly Sanchuan, and I loved all of it.

It was easy to guess that Sanchuan would eventually get to play on the wild card, and that alone would have been a good amount of pressure.

But, the additional pressure that he faces, in order to prove that he’s worthy of the wild card, and isn’t just being given special treatment because of his relationship with You’an, is something that I didn’t see coming.

And, it really could be a problem, as we see from the example that Coach Yan shares with You’an, where the girl who’d been in a relationship with the manager, and she was so heavily scrutinized, that she could never have anything that was even a little better than the others, even though it’s impossible to achieve a completely even distribution of resources anyway.

I appreciate You’an’s sense of fairness and professionalism, where she assures Coach Yan that if the damage to the club doesn’t stop after the wild card tournament, she will find a replacement for herself, and leave the club.

She says it with such calm earnestness, that I don’t doubt her for a second.

With You’an’s reputation on the line, I can see why Sanchuan would push himself so hard.

I would believe that he cares more about You’an’s reputation than his own, and so, even though I totally don’t approve the way he overtrains, and then hurts himself, and seeks steroid treatment on his own, in order to continue training, I can understand why he would make those choices.

Doing well in the wild card competition, is the only way to silence all the naysayers and speculators, who say that the only reason he’s even able to play on the wild card, is because of his special relationship with his club manager.

Backing up a bit, I do love his tone as he talks to You’an, in that conversation just before his knee gives out.

“I know. With my accumulated score this year and current skill level, I definitely don’t stand a chance in the main tournament. I also know what it means for the club to compete in this tournament.

I’ve been watching throughout. You spent so much effort for this wild card. So I’m especially grateful. Because it was me who will be competing. As an athlete, all I have to do now is win.

In fact, I’ve never been able to accept it before. I think you have always prioritized the club between me and the club. Until this time when we received that photo and the club was smeared, I then knew what you were afraid of and what you were hiding from.

I know this is not the right time, but I still want to ask you again. Liang You’an. Do you like me?”

“I do.”

“That’s enough. I wish you had said so earlier.

All those worries you have about the fairness of the club being affected by the relationship between the two of us, only I can fix that. As long as I can win, even for one game, neither of us will have to leave the club. All those doubts won’t hold water.

So you can just stand here and look at me and wait for me. Leave the rest to me. Okay?”

He’s so tender and gentle through it all, that even though my brain says that You’an shouldn’t agree to this, my heart is swayed.

And so I more or less understand why You’an would say “Okay” in response, even though common sense says that she shouldn’t.

But then, Sanchuan’s smitten puppy happy face, as he savors the fact that You’an’s putting her trust in him, is so gloriously heart-wobbly, that my heart’s floating on cloud nine, in spite of my brain’s protests. 🥰

..And then, that happy bubble comes crashing down right after, when Sanchuan’s knee gives out while training, ack. 🙈

My brain just can’t help but thrash about helplessly, as I watch Sanchuan getting steroids injected into his knee, in order to play in the wild card match.

And then, the match itself is a rollercoaster of emotions, as we see Sanchuan start off losing the set, and then inch his way towards victory. Ahhh!

I’m cheering for him, while also fearing for his knee. My emotions. ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE. HELP.

Basically, I knew, while watching, that Sanchuan’s knee giving out was just a matter of time, given the way he’s been pushing himself, against doctor’s orders.

The only question was, would Show let him win the wild card match? Or would his knee give out partway through the match?

Thankfully, Show does let him win the match, and it’s a highest high, as we revel in his hard-won victory, which gives way suddenly, to the lowest low, as we wince on his behalf, as his knee buckles from under him. 😖

And the thing is, I can’t even fault Sanchuan too much, for taking a risk with his own health and wellbeing.

He knew the risks going into this, and had decided that it was worth it, because this was a match where everything – You’an’s reputation, his reputation, and the club’s reputation – was on the line.

And, the thing is, he’s scared too.

He’s scared that he won’t ever be able to play competitive tennis again, which is why he pleads with You’an, to let him delay surgery, so that he can at least finish playing the season.

I mean, I get where he’s coming from, but I’m with You’an on this, that he get the surgery right away.

It’s heartbreaking, really, when he blurts out, “If I can’t play a single game, I’m worthless to you.”

Ack. I know that he’s been super focused on being a source of help to You’an, but the way he’s measuring his worth to You’an like this, is utterly heartbreaking. 💔

I’m so glad that You’an signs the letter of consent for surgery, then tells him that the fact that she dares to sign that, means that she’s willing to be responsible for him for life, if his knee is crippled.

It’s scary for Sanchuan, but it’s also an assurance to him, that You’an doesn’t just see him as a resource for the success of the club.

Plus, the fact that she says she’s willing to be responsible for him for life, definitely has romantic implications, coz that’s what people say when they refer to marriage. 😁

Although I’m rather disappointed that Sanchuan withdraws into himself post-surgery, asking You’an not to visit him, I can understand that this has to do with him not wanting to be a burden to her.

I completely believe that You’an confessing her feelings to Sanchuan at this point, and asking him to be her boyfriend, isn’t a calculated action help him feel better.

Rather, I think that being in this situation, and worrying so much for him while he’s in surgery, has opened her eyes to see that she should grab life by the horns and not waste any more time being held back by her own reservations.

Also, it’s totally this kind of circumstance, where you think that you really could lose someone, that tends to galvanize you into action, yes?

“Song Sanchuan, did you know? When you had your surgery today, it didn’t really take long. Two hours, how come it never ends? I almost asked the nurse for an oxygen tank. I couldn’t catch my breath.

Before today, I’d always felt that if two people were going to be together, each would have to put in at least a fifty to fifty effort. But today I know that I was wrong.

In some very important moments in life, even if the other side only has one percent effort left, you will take out ninety-nine percent of your effort, without hesitation.

Song Sanchuan. Will you be my boyfriend?”

Augh. So utterly sincere and melty.

But it’s understandable that Sanchuan, fresh out of surgery and full of worries about not being able to use his leg anymore, would question if this was her pitying him.

I love You’an’s reply; it really cuts to the heart of things, doesn’t it? That she’s come to realize that there is no time like the present, and she doesn’t want to wait and waffle about any longer.

“How long do I have to wait for you to get those ten championship trophies? I’m so anxious. I can’t wait. My love for you really can’t wait. Do you want to be with me or not?”

The hesitant, shy smile that plays at Sanchuan’s lips, as he keeps repeating his answer, that yes, he does want to be with her, is the most tender, sweetly adorable thing. 🥰

And, although it is in some ways a little disappointing that nothing really changes in the dynamic of how they relate to each other, now that they’re officially a couple, isn’t this exact same thing also really quite romantic?

That they are so grounded and steady in the way that they relate to each other, that the essence of “them” remains the same, even as they make their relationship official. I rather do like that thought too.

Yet, at the same time, we do get touches of couplehood, like the way You’an hurries back into the room in order to plant a quick peck on Sanchuan’s lips – because she’d forgotten to apply her seal, earlier.

That was cute, and Sanchuan’s stunned discombobulation is even cuter. 🤩

And then there’s the way he basks in the happy glow after she leaves; that just makes my heart soar too. 🥰

You’an doing an uncharacteristic dance of happiness as she exits the hospital, is pretty great as well. That totally shows just how much this means to her too, doesn’t it? 🥰

Afterwards, I have to say I was a little bemused at how You’an literally doesn’t visit, call or even text Sanchuan, in the days following, while he’s in the hospital.

I get that An Cong is there for him, and I understand that she’s super busy, but not even a text message to her brand new boyfriend who’s laid up in hospital post-surgery? That feels rather cold, honestly.

But, I will reluctantly buy her explanation, which she tells Sanchuan when she finally goes to the hospital when he’s ready to be discharged, that she’s been busy sorting out the work at the tennis club, so that she can go to Chengdu with him, for his rehabilitation.

It’s a borderline buy, though. My brain’s still protesting that she could’ve texted him, at least. 😅

But I’m mollified that You’an is the one who reaches out for a big hug, and really seems to want to sink deep into Sanchuan’s embrace, and, I’m also mollified that You’an’s not sending Sanchuan off to Chengdu on his own, but personally going with him.

I also do really like that she’s telling Sanchuan that her selfish motive for going with him, is so that she can claim him as hers, for the entire month. Aw.

It’s no wonder Sanchuan leans in to kiss her. And what a melty-electrifying moment it is – until An Cong inadvertently interrupts the moment, oops. And dang. 😅

I have to say, whatever grumbles I had about You’an not contacting Sanchuan personally during his hospital stay, pretty much all melt away, once she and Sanchuan embark on their trip to Chengdu, because she is a disarmingly great girlfriend.

I love how she refers to him so naturally as her boyfriend while they’re at the ticketing counter, and gets pretend-jealous, at the idea of other women looking at Sanchuan, because he’s too handsome.

I also love how she says that they need to sleep in separate rooms, then crawls into bed with Sanchuan late at night, because she can’t sleep. There’s just something about the way she burrows into Sanchuan’s arms that I find very endearing.

Basically, she’s just unabashedly happy about being Sanchuan’s girlfriend, and I find that ridiculously charming.

I love that scene at the end of episode 30, where Sanchuan puts on his stern face, and goes, “Liang You’an. I’d like to seriously critique and educate you. About the kind of behavior last night where you snuck into a comforter.”

You’an: “I won’t come tonight then.”

Sanchuan: “No need to change. I only wanted to tell you that you are taking advantage of my peril. Once my leg recovers, you’ll pay back on all these moves.”

You’an: “I don’t dare to think about that. I’m a little happy just thinking about it.”

Sanchuan: “Older girls can be so open when it comes to relationships?”

You’an: “You don’t know enough how good an older woman is.”

Tee hee hee. I couldn’t help but giggle at this exchange. Isn’t it adorable? I love how unabashed You’an is, in saying that thinking about sexytimes with Sanchuan is making her happy.

And I love how happy-dazed-discombobulated Sanchuan is, at how surprisingly candid his new girlfriend is. 😁

E31-32. Basically, I just love watching You’an and Sanchuan in couple mode, while they’re together in Chengdu.

I could just watch them together like this all day, and I’m pretty sure I’d be wearing a goofy grin almost the whole time. 😁

Even little things like them working on that jigsaw puzzle together, and being all comfortable and cozy in each other’s company, makes me happy.

Also, even though we don’t get a whole lot in the way of skinship between these two while they’re in Chengdu, there are little moments that suggest that this really isn’t that far from their minds.

Like how Sanchuan smiles his dazed happy smile when he wakes up to the sight of You’an smiling down at him – and then asks his rehabilitation coach to add more sets of rehab exercises for him that day, because he’s got nowhere to use his strength, all while shooting You’an a blink-and-you-miss-it rueful meaningful look, heh. 😏

I find it interesting yet endearing, that with this couple, we don’t get sexy type skinship (I assume because Sanchuan is supposed to be focusing on his recovery), and instead, we get quite a lot of casual skinship – the kind that says, “I’m know you so well, and I’m super comfortable around you.”

Like when You’an’s suffering from period cramps, and Sanchuan puts her legs up on his lap, and offers to rub her belly.

There’s no awkward shyness between them, even though this is the first time they’re doing this, and I find that quite sweet.

Of course, I also enjoyed the conversation, of them sharing when they’d first started having feelings for each other.

I just wanted to point out that the subs don’t really do this phrase justice, and that kinda affects the whole conversation.

My subs say, “When did you first have a crush on me?” – and that isn’t wrong, per se.

It’s just that the actual dialogue uses the phrase “心动” (xīndòng) which is made up of the characters for heart and action.

So a more accurate translation might be, “When did your heart first move for me?”

Which is a lot more poetic and swoony, don’t you think? 🫠

Also, isn’t it cute, that when Sanchuan talks about when his heart had first moved for You’an, he keeps moving it to an earlier and earlier occasion, until it pretty much feels like he’d fallen for her at first sight? Cute. 😁

And then, isn’t it cute when Sanchuan decides that he wants to give You’an balloon flowers, and then sneaks the balloons and pump into the bathroom and tries to make that flower, while pretending to be in the shower? 😁

And isn’t it naughty-cute, when You’an asks if he’s really ok and if he’s really taking a shower, he asks if she’d like to verify it for herself? Cheeky-sneaky dude. 😁😁

And then how about that scene where You’an’s sooo happy with the balloon flower that Sanchuan gives her, and they hug it out, while rocking back forth with silly happy grins on their faces.


I could literally watch these two being cute together, all day, and only feel tired from the ache in my cheeks from smiling too much. 🥰😁

E31-32. And about the scene where You’an calls Sanchuan while he’s reading in bed, I want to say 3 things.

1, I love, love, love the tender gentleness that’s now always inherent in Sanchuan’s voice when he talks to You’an,

2, It’s super cute that he reads to her until she falls asleep, and then kisses her goodnight over the phone, and

3, Wu Lei is looking all kinds of sexy in this scene, with the mussed up hair, the jawline that could cut through glass, and all that toned musculature casually showing under that tank top while he’s lying in bed. Spazzz. 🫠

E33-34. This set of episodes, when Sanchuan goes back to competing again, and starts experiencing phantom pains in his knee, Sanchuan does try to keep this from You’an for a while, but I do think that he means well, in not wanting to burden her, and she does find out soon enough, so this doesn’t turn out to be a very big deal, that he didn’t tell her right away.

Importantly, You’an doesn’t take Sanchuan to task for not telling her; instead, she’s full of compassion and empathy for him, for all that he’s suffering and struggling with.

That compassion and empathy feels like such a healing balm, even to me, as a third party listener; I can only imagine how comforting Sanchuan must feel, to hear her words of comfort and encouragement.

“Regardless of the results of the retest, I will stand by your side.

Fear of not getting better from phantom pain, fear of never being able to play tennis again. Those fears are making you anxious, aren’t they?

I was really just trying to say that you could be a little more patient with yourself.

Although there are times when you can’t play on the court in a rainstorm like this, I will always remember about the once in a lifetime moments you said you had with the ball under the sun and the night sky. How good it is to be able to think like this.

Song Sanchuan, it’s okay. It’s really okay.

I thought about what the doctor said. Having phantom pain is due to fear of getting injured again. But even if it’s not in this court, no one knows what accidents and injuries will come next in everyone’s life. Who doesn’t live their life with a little bit of cowardice?

In fact, I only really learned the meaning of sports after I met you. It will give one the courage to face setbacks. Training day after day. Solve the problem when you encounter it.

It’s made possible with the willpower that only people who persevere in a sport can have.”

It’s just what Sanchuan needs to hear, to give him the willpower to pick up his confidence again, and face it all head-on.

I also wanted to mention their conversation about being “idiots,” in the second half of episode 33, where I would personally translate it more as “dummies” than “idiots.”

You’an: “I realize whenever I fell even harder for you, it was when you were being a dummy. Especially when you’re being an enthusiastic idiot rushing forward.

Think about it. When you’re practicing net play, service break, how to play against the wind, and wild card tournaments, you’re really just a dummy who doesn’t care about the consequences. You’re really likable like that.”

Sanchuan: “If that’s the case, then you also charge forward without caring about the consequences. You’re an enthusiastic dummy too. No wonder I like you so much. I guess dummies attract each other.”

You’an: “That’s right. That’s why I said there are too many smart people in the world. Being an idiot is pretty good. It’s adorable.”

Aw. Isn’t that all-around adorable? 🥰 I love that they have honest, open, exploratory, uplifting conversations like these, that strengthen each other, and also, strengthen their bond, at the same time. ❤️

E33-34. I’m beginning to see that the wedding between Jiaojiao and Liang Tao, is basically mostly a catalyst, to get Sanchuan and You’an to also think about the future of their relationship.

I’m not mad about it, because I do like the idea of our OTP starting to consider their future together.

I love that little beat of conversation that Sanchuan and You’an share, at the end of episode 33.

Sanchuan: “Manager Liang. I want to interview you. What do you think about marriage?”

You’an: “Marriage, huh? To me, instead of taking it as a milestone in life, it’s more like a life experience.”

Sanchuan: “In that case, Manager Liang, do you have any recent thoughts about wanting to experience it?”

You’an: “What about you?”

Sanchuan, after pausing for a thoughtful beat: “I don’t mind if it’s earlier or later. As long as it’s with you, Manager Liang, I’m fine with it.”

Ahhhh!! I love how he sounds so candid and gentle, as he says that. Melt. Meltmeltmelt.

I’m flailing into a puddle with a big goofy grin on my face, y’all. 🫠

E33-34. The highlight of this episode, for me, is the scene where You’an finally tells Sanchuan about the fact that she might not be able to conceive.

I just love that Sanchuan’s main response, is a goofy grin, because the first thing that comes to his mind, is that You’an’s thinking about a future for the both of them.

Ahhh, his shy goofy grin is SHO CUTE. 😍

And then, I just love-love-LOVE his answer, when You’an asks him if he’s thought about having a kid.

“Do you know what kind of people are the dumbest in the world? It’s the kind of person who always goes for those small complimentary gifts.

The one I like is Liang You’an. Not the child born to Liang You’an. The only thing I can be sure of now is that I want to be with you every single day from now on.

The root of it all is only you. It only makes sense to have you. The rest are complimentary gifts. If I have it, I have it. It’s not a loss if I don’t have it.

You’re good at accounting, you should know what I mean, right?”

Glug. How is he so matter-of-fact and so swoony, at the same time. Gurgle. 🫠

And then, to have it all sealed with a kiss, is just bonus. 🥰🥰


You’an and Luo Nian

I very much enjoyed the friendship between You’an and Luo Nian.

I found their interactions to be full of mutual ease, and also, a lot of care and concern, so much so that I could easily believe that they’ve been  besties for years, and would stick with each other through thick and thin.

I love that they’re able to tell each other everything, and feel safe that the other person won’t judge them, but will actually give them some good insight and perspective.


E5-6. I love the way they spring into action, when Luo Nian reveals that her ex-husband suddenly wants to fight for custody of Luo Le (Sissi Yin).

Where other friends might focus on crying about it together, or getting drunk together, or complaining about it together, these two basically roll up their sleeves and get down to business together, to build a rock-solid case that would make it hard for the ex-husband to get what he wants.

I was so impressed with the cool-headed, logical way You’an presents all of their points and evidence, during the eventual meeting with the ex-husband. So coolly efficient, effective and badass! 🤩

E21-22. One thing I do appreciate, during this stretch, is getting to see the friendship between You’an and Luo Nian at play.

While watching True To Love, I’ve been perplexed at the way the main female friendship is portrayed, and while watching Luo Nian talk with You’an about her situation with Sanchuan, I found myself thinking, “YESS. THIS is how a bestie talks.”

There’s honesty and affection at play all the time, even when Luo Nian chides You’an for what she said to Sanchuan, the morning after.

This is so great; I love that You’an has such a good friend in Luo Nian, who’s able to provide not just support and a listening ear, but an honest sounding board too.



An Cong and Sanchuan

I had a huge soft spot for the relationship between An Cong and Sanchuan, because they are basically family by choice, rather than by blood.

The bond between them is really strong, even though it’s gruff on the surface, and even though Sanchuan was resisting this connection for a while.

I loved seeing these two together, doing family type things. And I loved how much they trust each other too. 🥰


E5-6. One of my favorite things about this scene at the police station, is how quick An Cong is, to express his trust in Sanchuan, and understand that Sanchuan was trying to sneak the money into the drawer, rather than sneak the money out.

I found that really quite touching, because most people would jump to the other conclusion, and An Cong doesn’t even need to ask Sanchuan a single question, to understand the truth of the matter, and vouch for Sanchuan’s integrity. ❤️

If I were Sanchuan, I’d be pretty touched by that, and I do think he is, based on the expression on his face, as everything An Cong is saying, sinks in for him. Like, YES, my man, this father figure in your life truly believes in you, and trusts you 100%. 🥰

E25-26. I’m glad that Sanchuan has a good cry while holding his mother’s urn, because it feels like, in that act, he’s releasing all the hurt and pain that he’s pent up for so long, ever since she’d left.

It feels like a fitting bonus, that You’an’s right there for him, as he releases that painful burden that he’s carried for so long. 🥲

I’m also relieved that An Cong gets to say goodbye too, to the woman whom he obviously loved a great deal.

This is such important closure, not only for Sanchuan, but for An Cong as well.

Specifically, I feel like it must have been an important release, for An Cong to tell Tong Lu that she shouldn’t have left without saying goodbye.

It’s clearly something he’s been holding in his heart for the entire time that she’s been gone, so it feels like an important thing, for him to finally let it out of his heart, by telling her, even if it’s in this way.

I was actually rather shocked by An Cong’s words to Sanchuan immediately afterwards, where he tells Sanchuan that it’s about time they cut ties, because An Cong’s affection towards Sanchuan is so obviously sincere.

But, on hindsight, I realize that An Cong was probably responding to all the times that Sanchuan had resisted the idea of them being father and son, which was every time An Cong told someone that Sanchuan was his son.

In saying this now, An Cong was probably giving Sanchuan the freedom to cut ties with him, actually.

I’m glad that You’an thinks to share that story with Sanchuan, to prompt him to see his relationship with An Cong differently.

I love that moment, when Sanchuan goes home, and addresses An Cong as “Dad” for the first time.

The awkward expression that Sanchuan wears, ever so fleetingly, contrasts so well with An Cong’s shocked discombobulation, as he wonders if he heard what he thought he heard.

I love the sentiment that’s behind Sanchuan’s statement, that even if they’d found Tong Lu, alive and well, he’d still have chosen An Cong.

I get where Sanchuan’s coming from; this isn’t a statement of him rejecting his mother, this is a statement of him choosing An Cong as his family. 🥰


The tennis boys

I found myself growing pretty fond of the tennis boys, despite them having a bit of a rocky start.

It was pretty darn gratifying, watching them overcome their misunderstandings and misconceptions about one another, and growing to become comrades and brothers-in-arms.

Their loyalty towards one another is so fierce and steadfast, and I particularly enjoyed the idea of them all living together in the dorm, because that made it feel like they were really one big family. 🥰

Ma Fan Ding as Liang Tao

I have to confess that I wasn’t very interested in Liang Tao for a while, but the more I saw of her, the more it became clear that she’s got some substance to her, and is a smarter, wiser, better person than she might first appear.

I ended up liking her quite well after all, which is something I hadn’t expected.

Jiaojiao and Liang Tao [MILD SPOILERS]

Again, I have to confess that I had very little interest in this loveline at first, not least because Jiaojiao’s such a dimwit, that his idea of getting the attention of the girl he likes, is to harass her and make her life difficult. So juvenile, seriously. 🙄

This was one of my least favorite parts of this show, not gonna lie.

However, once their relationship is minted, I enjoyed this couple’s connection a lot more.

I do like the fact that Jiaojiao and Liang Tao are shown to connect in a way that’s meaningful, which helps to ground the relationship and make it feel like it has some substance to it.

Zhu Yong Teng as Director Jiang [MILD SPOILERS]

I have to say that I didn’t like Director Jiang through a good chunk of our show.

Mostly, I found him to be a lousy boss, a lousy husband, and a lousy father. Three strikes and you’re out?

I wouldn’t say that Show ends up redeeming him 100%, but I do think that he learns a few important things, by the time we finish the show, and we do see some changes in him.

That’s more than I’d expected in the beginning, so I’d call that a win.

Guo Ke Yu as Chen Ke [SPOILERS]

I wanted to give Chen Ke a shout-out, because her divorce from Director Jiang turns out to be a rather understated but poignant arc, despite some dramatics in the mix.

There’s just a very organic-feeling sheen of sadness that comes with this arc, because Chen Ke had really been drained and exhausted from trying to make the marriage work – and yet, Director Jiang never seemed to fully understand why she was unhappy in the first place.

I’m glad that Chen Ke manages to get him to agree to the divorce, because you can just see how empty and spent she is, from all those years of a suffocating marriage.

And, it really feels quite perfect, that she would choose to invest in the tennis club.

After all, we already know that she’s always been supportive of Jiaojiao pursuing his tennis dreams, so it makes sense that she would want to be involved – especially since she feels able to trust You’an’s capable hands.

I liked seeing Chen Ke find her footing, in her new chapter in life, and I liked that she looked content and happy.

Luo Nian and Coach Yan

I just wanted to mention the connection between Coach Yan and Luo Nian, because for a good stretch of the show, it’s clear that Coach Yan’s got a crush on Luo Nian.

I found this extra amusing, because Coach Yan’s supposed to be this cool, gruff, nothing-fazes-him sorta guy, but he’s clearly unsettled and discombobulated around Luo Nian, and I found it very cute. 😁


We’re getting into the final stretch of our story now, so it makes sense that certain things get touched on, as our OTP develops their relationship.

The way they end up moving in together is treated with a low-key kind of matter-of-factness, in that, we don’t even see the move itself, but somehow, this approach suits them very well, as our OTP.

It feels like it isn’t treated like a big dramatic deal, because this is just an extension of where they are, in their relationship.

They miss each other when they’re apart, and they both feel ready to take this next step, and so, they just.. take it.

That scene where Sanchuan’s coming home from his tournament, and You’an meets him at the door, is so, so cute, for how giddily happy they are to see each other; our otherwise low-key You’an literally looks like she’s about to burst from happiness. 😍😁

I also like that they talk about money, which is such a practical part of them merging their lives like this.

It’s gallant of Sanchuan to want to take care of You’an and the household expenses, and that’s why he tries to give You’an that credit card, and it’s considerate of You’an to decline it, so that they can take an equal measure of financial responsibility for their household.

I also like the idea of them being all excited to have Sanchuan meet You’an’s mom, because that’s the logical next step in their relationship, but.. that doesn’t quite turn out the way any of us had hoped.

It’s only natural, I suppose, but I do hate that Mom’s so bitter about what had happened to her, in her own marriage, that she extends that bitterness into her projection of what is likely to happen to You’an, in her relationship with Sanchuan.

And I can’t deny that Mom has a point; it’s a common enough thing, that relationships involving an older woman and young man, often end in an ugly situation where the younger man ends up leaving her for a younger woman, when she gets “too old.”

But this does hurt You’an a lot, and given the kind of stuff that she’s grown up hearing from Mom, I’m not surprised that this gets under her skin and basically poisons her mind, a little bit.

And so, when the thing with Yisu happens, with Director Gao wanting to cash in the wild card favor with Sanchuan signing on as Yisu’s spokesperson at a low cost, and playing dirty by cutting off TopSmash’s investor funds, it’s natural that You’an and Sanchuan would have their first major disagreement.

They’ve been a model OTP thus far, and even with our aspirational feel-good sort of world, I feel it only makes sense that we should see how they deal with conflict.

And, I’m glad to see that they do make up soon enough, and that they both learn something valuable in the process, in terms of how they see each other, and how they should manage themselves, both in and out of conflict.

I just love that scene where they talk about it after making up, and when Sanchuan hears that You’an couldn’t sleep the night he’d left, decides that he’ll never leave again, even if she tries to throw him out. Aw. Sweet. 🥰

Y’know, I think most dramas don’t care to have their OTPs do this kind of “boring” thing, like talk about conflict management, and do a postmortem after their first big fight.

But, it’s such a healthy thing to do, and I’m glad that Sanchuan and You’an show us how to do it, in a positive and loving manner.

Generally, I just love that our OTP talks so much with each other.

Like when Sanchuan does his first event with Yisu as its spokesperson, I love that they just naturally have a postmortem about it afterwards, where You’an tells Sanchuan she’s not sure whether to encourage him to get used to it, and Sanchuan observes that in trying to support him, she doesn’t take care of herself.

I just love these healthy couple dynamics, where they manage to balance being serious with being lighthearted. 🥰

The other thing that really gets to me, this episode, is Sanchuan’s response, when they learn that You’an’s dad is sick.

I just love how understanding and supportive Sanchuan is, when You’an expresses that she’s not ready to play the role of a filial daughter, even though it’s true that Liang Shu might not make it.

And, I freaking love Sanchuan’s chosen course of action, where he goes and takes care of Liang Shu the best that he can, in You’an’s place, so that, in the future, even if You’an had reason to regret not going to see him then, she’d be comforted by the knowledge that Sanchuan had been there, in her place.

AUGH. That is the sweetest, most thoughtful, loving thing, ever, and I am a helpless puddle of swoon. 🫠🫠🫠

It’s no wonder that You’an feels more certain of her relationship with Sanchuan than ever. I feel exactly the same way. 🥰


One thing I knew for sure, coming into these finale episodes, is that we would get a happy ending.

Another thing I knew for sure, was that I would miss these characters.

Honestly, I’d started feeling wistful a while ago, knowing that I was approaching the end, with this show.

Yes, Show isn’t perfect, but the way Show presents our OTP specifically, works for me so well, that I’m wistful at the thought that my days of watching them love each other in the everyday things, would soon come to an end. 🥹

Overall, I do like the way Show wraps up our story; it feels like there’s a new chapter opening up for every one of our characters, and that’s a nice way to look at the end – as a new beginning.

For starters, we have Chen Zhe and Dai Yi leaving TopSmash, and while it’s a bit sad to see our core group of players go through this change, it’s a change that makes sense for our characters.

We always knew that Dai Yi was preparing for university and would therefore make his exit from TopSmash, when the time came, so that wasn’t a biggie.

As for Chen Zhe, it’s been clear since the beginning, that tennis really isn’t his talent or passion. He’s worked really hard to get to where he is, and that’s really admirable.

But we all know that tennis isn’t where he’s made to shine, so it would be pretty sad for him to try to make that his career, right?

I think he’s wise to make the choice to go into business with his father – and I do like the idea that he plans to return to TopSmash, as an investor.

I also like the sentiment, that even though our group of friends might not be all on the TopSmash team going forward, that they 100% intend to continue being in one another’s lives.

That’s very nice; I do love the idea of this brotherhood. They’ve come so far, and it’s so great to see how much they love one another now. 🥲

As for Jiaojiao, it’s actually pretty awesome, to see him take to training the new members in such a committed and serious fashion. He’s come a long way too, from the princeling he’d used to be.

And, it’s also nice to see that Liang Tao is so sure of their marriage, that she wants to commit to setting up house together with Jiaojiao, instead of staying at hotels like she’d initially proposed.

It’s also rather nice to see Director Jiang and Chen Ke on good terms – and it’s pretty darn awesome, that Chen Ke’s now dating someone, and that that someone, is as into pottery as she is. Nice, nice.

As for our OTP, we get to witness them going through one last big hurdle, with the long-distance relationship that they have to go through, for the two years that Sanchuan spends in Spain.

It’s a bummer that our OTP has to be apart, but on the upside, this does free Sanchuan from that horrible contract with Yisu, and I also take the point that Sanchuan’s so talented, and has progressed so far, that he needs coaching that TopSmash is unable to offer.

Narratively speaking, I get that Show wanted a catalyst to help Sanchuan and You’an realize just how much they need each other in their lives, and this two-year separation fulfilled that role nicely.

Also, I really like that Show gives us the same everyday romance that this OTP has been so adept at serving up.

Instead of making it a very dramatic or difficult thing, we see how our OTP stays in consistent touch, with frequent messages, voice memos, and video calls, and there’s just something very sweet about how happy they are to hear from each other, even though they’re so far apart, and each living such busy lives.

They make the small everyday things feel romantic, and that’s one of my favorite things about this OTP. 🥰

It was nice to see Sanchuan come back to visit You’an, several months into his stint, and even though You’an’s behavior towards the end of his trip is rather unlike her usual self, I buy the idea that love can make you behave in childish ways. 😁

While I do like the idea of Sanchuan getting that dog for You’an, but honestly, it doesn’t make sense that at least 3 years have passed in our drama world now, since You’an first tried to adopt that pup, and now Show wants me to believe that that pup’s been listed online for adoption, with no successful takers, for the last 3 years? 😂

But ok, the doggie’s cute, and I like the idea of You’an finally getting her pup, even though the logistics of it doesn’t make sense.

Importantly, our OTP successfully makes it through the two-year separation, and it’s nice to see everyone back together again, when Sanchuan comes back to Shenzhen.

It’s happy bows all-around, pretty much, and I honestly wouldn’t have expected anything less, from this show.

We’ve got Liang Tao about to give birth, Coach Yan kinda-sorta making a bit of headway in romancing Luo Nian, and An Cong happily helping cancer patients with the new car that Sanchuan’s bought him – and also, finally agreeing (kinda?) to go on some dates now, because Sanchuan doesn’t want him to be alone.

And last but not least, our OTP both decide that they’d like to get married now, in that low-key, natural, everyday way of theirs.

Their happy kisses and You’an excited squeals, that they’re getting married now, is all very cute.

We do get a bonus glimpse into their married life, which is Sanchuan bumbling his way through cutting You’an’s hair, and it’s honestly more comic than feels true to this OTP, but I take the point, that they are going through all the various parts of life together, just like that jigsaw they’d done together, and they’re happy.

And, I’m happy that they’re happy, and that they will continue to be happy together, in the big and small things, for a long, long time. 🥰


Earthy, low-key, feel-good and sweet.





The next drama I’ll be covering on Patreon, in place of Nothing But You, is See You In My 19th Life. I’ve taken an initial look at See You In My 19th Life and I’m happy to say that it’s grabbing me very nicely, so far.

You can check out my E1 & 2 notes on See You In My 19th Life on Patreon here.

Here’s an overview of what I’m covering on Patreon right now (Tier benefits are cumulative)!

Foundation Tier (US$1): Entertainment tidbits + the first set notes of all shows covered on Patreon (that’s 2 episodes for kdramas and 4 episodes for cdramas)

Early Access (US$5): +Dr. Romantic 3 [Korea]

Early Access Plus (US$10): +My Perfect Stranger [Korea]

VIP (US$15): +See You In My 19th Life [Korea]

VVIP (US$20): +King The Land [Korea]

Ultimate (US$25): +Doctor Cha [Korea]

If you’d like to join me on the journey, you can find my Patreon page here. You can also read more about all the whats, whys, and hows of helping this blog here. Thanks for all of your support, it really means a lot to me. ❤️

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3 months ago

Great review. You hit on everything I liked and liked less about the drama. I did come away very impressed by Wu Lei’s acting. He seemed relaxed and natural and YOUNG and completely different from his Love Like the Galaxy role. Wow.

Last edited 3 months ago by Alaskan
3 months ago

Thank you for the review! This is on my To Watch list, but I need to finish Love Like the Galaxy first.

The relationship beats you have described are my catnip. I LOVE dramas that show couples actually BEING a couple. So I expect I’m gonna love this one.

2 months ago
Reply to  Stacy

Eeeep, I was watching LLTG and somewhere in the early 30s episode count, and then put it on pause to watch Nothing But You and haven’t gotten back to it til now.

I think LLTG didn’t sweep me off my feet like it did for a lot of people probably partly because Wu Lei was styled so so well in his previous drama. The Long Ballad, for all its scriptwriting annoyances (the manga is consistent and good btw), really made everyone look gorgeous and had some breathtakingly choreographed fight scenes. It’s worth checking out if you’re a Wu Lei fan.