If you’re on the market for a light drama with a good amount of cuteness and sweetness, and not too much angst, The Love You Give Me could just be your ticket.
Sure, it’s not as buzzy, and its production values are not quite as polished, as, say, Hidden Love (review here!), but I personally found this to be a very enjoyable – and still very pretty! – drama to unwind to.
Some lens adjustment apply, but they aren’t hard to make, and I’ll talk about that shortly.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Min Hui (Wang Yu Wen) and Xin Qi (Wang Zi Qi) broke up 5 years ago, but now find themselves in each other’s orbits because of work.
When Xin Qi finds out that Min Hui has a son (Cui Yi Xin), he’s livid with jealousy, that Min Hui could marry someone else and even have a child – but of course, the kid is his; he just doesn’t know it yet. Muahaha.
These two are obviously not over each other, despite them both being in deep denial, and our story is about how they find their way back to each other, all over again.
(Not gonna lie; I just love this premise.)
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are a few things that I think would be helpful to keep in mind, to maximize your enjoyment of your watch:
1. Show takes a little while to settle
Personally, I found our opening in episode 1 a little odd, because of the way things are set up, but I soon found myself getting into Show proper, once I hit episode 2.
2. It leans simplistic and tropey
If you’ve watched other c-dramas in this vein, you’d know what I mean.
Basically don’t expect much sophistication in the way of plotting or characterization – but you know what, I don’t count this against Show, because I see it as part of Show’s charm.
3. The romance leans warm instead of spicy
Even though we do eventually get scenes where our OTP gets all close and skinshippy, the general vibe is more warm and sweet, rather than dizzy-spicy, and I feel that this isn’t a problem at all – provided you’re in the right frame of mind for it.
Which is why I’m telling you in advance.
It’s still nicely melty though, in my opinion. 🥰
STUFF I LIKED
I’m going to be talking about everything in a reasonably spoiler-lite sort of fashion, without spoiler tags, because this story is predictable enough, that none of these should really come as a surprise to you.
Wang Zi Qi is handsome
Yes, I know this is a shallow reason, but, can’t lie; I just really liked looking at Wang Zi Qi in this.
In particular, I love his hair in this; it makes him look so sharp and chic, versus his hair in Once We Get Married (which is now on my list, because this same OTP stars in it).
Whenever I wasn’t overly interested in the specifics of the plot on my screen (like in episode 1, for example, where I found the set-up kind of weird), gazing at Wang Zi Qi on my screen, with the chic hair, the sharp suits and the sharp jawline, kept me nicely happy. 🤩😁
Min Hui’s a smart, capable woman
I like that our female lead is a very smart, very capable woman.
Is it a stretch that she’s managed to singlehandedly raise a child on her own, while making significant inroads in her career, such that she’s now the head researcher in a very niche, very difficult field? Yes.
But I’m happy to shrug and roll with it as part of Show’s set-up.
I just like that Min Hui is such a capable, decent, good-hearted person. She’s clearly no damsel in distress, and so, she doesn’t need saving, thankyouverymuch, but I still wanted her to find the kind of fulfillment and happiness in having a complete family, which is something that she’d long given up on.
Quanquan is adorable
I started this show feeling like Cui Yi Xin was a little perfunctory in his delivery of Quanquan, but y’know what, I completely changed my mind, as I got deeper into my watch.
Once I got used to his slightly sing-song manner of speaking, I realized that there’s a lot of natural charm in how Cui Yi Xin plays Quanquan.
Yes, it’s a little tropey that Quanquan’s written to talk like a little adult, but I found it all kinds of endearing that he would sometimes sound like a tiny little old man, especially when he would sometimes let loose a little exclamation of “Aiyo-eh,” which, to my understanding, is really a bit of an old person sort of thing to say. 😁
Another thing I loved, is how naturally Quanquan cleaves to his parents, particularly new-found Dad, Xin Qi. The way Quanquan climbs into Xin Qi’s arms, and holds onto him, is exactly the way I’d believe a son would cling onto his father, and these little moments were sparkly little highlights of my watch.
Honestly, don’t they look so cute together? 😍
The chemistry between our OTP is great
I really liked the chemistry between Wang Zi Qi and Wang Yu Wen, as our OTP.
Sure, Show doesn’t lean into the spicy sparks sort of romantic vibe, but I still felt like the chemistry between our OTP showed up really well.
Whether they were being suspicious of each other, or acting bickery, or being cordial and friendly, or feeling hyperaware of each other, I felt that the chemistry between them just worked.
There’s a comfort between Wang Zi Qi and Wang Yu Wen, which I’m sure comes from the fact that this isn’t the first time they’ve acted opposite each other, in an OTP sort of space.
I really enjoyed watching this OTP find their way back to each other, in spite of the emotional baggage between them.
See, don’t they look great together? 🤩
The little family together
Along with my desire to see the OTP together, I also really looked forward to any and every scene that featured them with Quanquan, as a little family.
The three of them look so picture-perfect as a little family unit, and the comfort that they all have with one another really makes this family relationship feel even more real and believable.
They always look so happy together that I found myself legit wishing that they could be a little family, in real life. 🥲
I thought Li Wei Long was pretty great, as Xin Qi’s enthusiastic personal assistant and personal wingman.
Sure, Hardy’s written on the tropier side of things, but I found him likable and earnest, and I thought it was cute how he was always so ready to help Xin Qi, whether it was in terms of getting close to Quanquan, or winning Min Hui back.
Also, I thought it was cute how Hardy and Quanquan become playmates. 😁
Show is pretty to look at
Like I mentioned earlier, I thought Show was nicely pretty to look at, whether it was indoor shots like this, or outdoor shots of the cityscape, or expansive landscapes.
The lighting is a little on the bright side, but aside from that, I thought everything was easy on the eyes. 😎
STUFF THAT WAS OK
Cao Mu’s loveline with Jiajun
Overall, I felt pretty neutral towards the loveline between Cao Mu and Jiajun (Ma Xin Rui and Chen Xin Hai).
I do think that this is Show’s effort to introduce a spicier loveline into this story world, but it was just ok, for me.
I thought the progression of their connection and subsequent relationship could have been more natural.
Instead, I found this on the more try-hard and affectatious side of things.
I still low-key rooted for them as a couple, but to put things in perspective, my interest this loveline was a far cry from my interest in the main loveline.
The loveline between Ruji and Zizhu
I had even less interest in this loveline than in the one between Cao Mu and Jiajun.
I think I was just tired of Ruji’s (Li Chuan) crush on our female lead Min Hui, which goes on for a good long stretch of our story.
And, while he’s crushing on Min Hui, along comes Zizhu (Li Xing Yao), who nurses a giant crush on him.
Of course he eventually comes around, but this loveline had me rolling my eyes more than anything, to be honest. 😅
But I didn’t actively dislike these two, which is why they’re in this section.
STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
Yes, there’s more than one baddie, but I’m just putting this picture of Cheng Qirang (Kim Jin) here, to represent ’em all.
The baddies are all pretty caricature-y, if you ask me, with the way they are so unpleasantly selfish and ambitious.
But, Show clearly wanted me to dislike them, so I guess that worked out?
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
Of course all’s well that ends well, in this drama world. I wouldn’t have expected anything less, from a cheery show like this.
I will say, though, that I did feel like Show had to lean on some filler, in order to take us to the finish line, because by the time we were in our penultimate stretch at around the episode 21-24 mark, the happy ending finish line was already so clearly in sight.
And so, Show introduces some “curve balls” in order to create some drama, to take us all the way to episode 28.
I had mixed feelings about this, as in, I felt that some of these plot points worked better than others.
In terms of what didn’t work for me, I was not at all impressed with the way Show handled the loveline between Ruji and Zizhu.
It made no sense to me, that after his drunken confession to her, where he’s clearly speaking the truth about his feelings for her, she would still give him another challenge: to remember everything he’d said while completely drunk, and tell it to her again the next day, when he’s sober.
I get that she wants to hear his confession when he’s sober, but I did also think her request was unreasonable, because there’s no guarantee that anyone would be able to remember their drunken words, right?
I’m just thankful that Ruji remembers her request, and fulfills it the very next day, without missing a beat.
Not that I found this particularly believable or touching; I just wanted Show to hurry up and complete the loop on this loveline already. 🙊😅
In terms of the plot points that worked for me, I’d say that that’s the idea of Xin Qi’s heart acting up, and getting in the way of the happy ending that we’d been on the cusp of.
Of course I was disappointed that we had to wait for our happy ending, and of course I didn’t want Xin Qi to be sick, but I understand the value of having Min Hui make the decision to choose Xin Qi, in sickness or in health.
The way she stages that surprise wedding, so that she’d be able to confess her love, and propose to him, before he flies off to the US for treatment, is very touching.
I was a touch disappointed that Xin Qi stops the wedding from going through, but I can also understand his desire to come to Min Hui in a strong, healthy state, so that he’d be able to take care of both her and Quanquan.
In the end, I’m glad that, quick time-skip later, we get to see their lovely wedding, and then, another quick time-skip later, their little expanded family, where Quanquan now has a little baby brother – whom he insists on calling his little sister, because he’d like a little sister, pretty please.
It’s all really cute and feel-good, and I’m just happy that they’re happy, and y’know, I wouldn’t be mad if we actually got another season of this show, so that I’d be able to hang out with these lovable characters all over again – just this time, with baby bro along for the ride. 😁
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Easy, breezy and feel-good. Great as a drama nightcap.
FINAL GRADE: B+
WHERE TO WATCH:
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