"This series may not have the best level of acting, as I think TVB used this series to promote some of their youngsters. To let them gain some experience alongside veteran actors, this is of course a good thing. Even though it can temper the urge of watching at times ... "
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
Chinese title (Cantonese)
Ha Yat Chaam Choi Hung
Tse Kwan Ho - Nick Yau Lik
Myolie Wu - Michelle Ku Lok Man
Melissa Ng - Elaine Poon Bo Ling
Sharon Chan - Ella Kwan Bik Yee
Rain Li - Phoebe Lui Fei Fei
Kenneth Ma - Lui Siu Long
Chris Lai - Ku Lok Man
Sin Lap Man - Mario Law
Margaret Chung - Donna
Michelle Ku is a university dropout who is returning back to Hong Kong with her friend, Donna. When her parents find out about her dropout, her father tries to pressurize her into studying again. However, she tells them that she isn’t the studious type and sticks to her guns. Michelle’s grandfather, a retired tailor, supports her decision and helps her find a job. He introduces her to his former pupil, from whom he’s estranged deeply. His pupil, Nick Yau, has become a famous fashion designer. Nick agrees to his sifu since he still respects him a lot and also because he still didn’t understand why they had that fallout many years ago. So Nick took Michelle under his wings and hires her as his assistant.
In the meantime, Michelle gets to know 2 students, Ella and Phoebe, who were graduating as fashion designers. The acquaintance had a rocky start as Michelle accidentally ruins Ella’s exam showpiece. This showpiece is very important to Ella as she sees it as her opportunity to study abroad. Unfortunately, even when Ella won that scholarship, she arrives too late at the graduating ceremony and so she still loses her bursary, indirectly caused by Michelle again. In order to make it up to Ella, Michelle tries to help her get a job at Nee, the company she’s working for now.
Phoebe has already applied for a job at Nee before and gets the news that she’s been chosen. Not much longer, Ella also gets a job as designer at Nee. Michelle, who sees her 2 friends being so driven and who have the chance to realise great things, feels something burning inside her too. So Nick takes her on as his pupil.
In the beginning, Elaine, Nick’s girlfriend, welcomes Michelle as Nick’s pupil. But gradually, she notices that the sifu/pupil relationship is deepening and that they’ve developed a genuine affection for each other. Elaine feels that Nick cares more for Michelle than for her and decides to break up with him. Mario, who is Nick’s boss and business partner, fancies Elaine for as long as he could remember. Once he hears of their break-up, Mario went to comfort Elaine and even confesses his love.
Meanwhile, Michelle is doing her best to learn the ropes of being a fashion designer. Seeing her progressing and her attitude changing, Nick is very satisfied. Ella, on the other hand, is feeling something very different. She is jealous that Nick has chosen Michelle to be his pupil, envious that Michelle’s ideas are well-received and thus shadowing her potential. Basically, she’s feeling that Michelle is stealing her limelight and tries to boycott her work in every possible way, she even steeps so low to backstabbing and badmouthing. When Ella finds out that Siu Long is actually Nick’s biological younger brother, she uses this information and his love for her to climb up to chief designer at Nee.
The true main star here is, without a doubt, Tse Kwan Ho. His portrayal of Nick Yau was just excellent and no need to say that I’ve got a big crush on his character now *lol* Although I have heard of him, I have never seen him in action. I’m glad I finally did, his performance has simply left me amazed. His emotions are brought alive through his face and his body language. No exaggerating, no grand gestures, but simple expressions by raising his eyebrows, twitching his mouth or shaking his head. And his eyes are just mesmerizing, they are able to convey so much. His eyes are the windows of his feelings, it’s all displayed in there. Tse Kwan Ho really brought out the artistic and enigmatic personality of his character. Truly a wonderful actor.
Myolie Wu is playing this typical happy-go-lucky girl again, so nothing new about that. I actually quite like her and her acting is quite consistent, even though there’s still room for improvement. It seems, though, that she’s stagnating and her acting remains the same. But this can also be blamed on the fact that she always seem to play these kinds of roles. However, it has to be said that her acting is very lively and very energetic. She really pulls you into her character, so I usually can easily relate myself to Michelle Ku or just sympathise with her. Myolie’s crying skills are very impressive, especially the way tears start welling up in her eyes.
Nothing much to say about Melissa Ng’s performance. Her portrayal of the caring, understanding and nice Elaine Poon, who is facing career troubles as she is getting too old for her job as model, was great as usual. She is pretty good in emotional scenes as she can really get her feelings across, for example the break-up scene with Nick. Both actors did extremely well in that particular scene, I could feel both their anguish and hurt.
Rain Li, on the other hand… I like her character, I think she’s the kind of friend everyone wants: supportive, helpful, loyal, happy, funny and comfortable to be with. Unfortunately, she brings her lines with apparent lack of feelings. It appears that she is always shouting her lines, which makes it kind of annoying to watch her. I know she is supposed to be an optimistic girl, but is there a need to holler most of the time? Also, she really exaggerates too much with lots of big gestures. You definitely can’t overlook her, sadly.
Sharon Chan did quite a decent job portraying a jealous, ambitious, manipulative and evil girl, particularly as a newcomer. Throughout the series, I really despised her character. Her facial expressions really expressed her feelings, especially her glares. Wow, her glares are really frightening. She still exaggerates a fair bit, but I think with some more experience she’ll definitely progress.
And then the guys, Chris Lai and Kenneth Ma… They were OK, but still wooden. Especially Chris Lai, it’s like he sometimes doesn’t know what to do with his arms and hands. He’s got potential though, just need more experience now. Kenneth Ma has this tendency to slightly overact. The truth is, I don’t think we’ll ever see him take on a lead role. Even though, he’s actually quite good.
My favourite scenes
I especially liked all the scenes between Nick and Michelle, mainly because of their wonderful chemistry. They seem so right for each other and you just can’t help but root for them.
In particular I liked:
Michelle just got out of evening class when it suddenly started raining. Since she didn’t bring an umbrella, she had to wait at the entrance. Out of the blue, Nick appeared, holding an umbrella, and said he already knew that she would forget to take an umbrella. And seeing that he was in the neighbourhood, he decided to come and fetch her.
Another night, the same thing happened again, but this time Michelle was prepared. She was taking out her umbrella when she notices Nick was coming. Quickly, she put it back and let Nick take her home.
Michelle and her grandfather went shopping, in preparation for his trip to Shanghai. In a shop, she bought him a scarf and at the same time decided to buy one for Nick too. After the little shopping spree, they went yumcha with Nick. Suddenly, Michelle’s grandfather said that Michelle also bought Nick a gift. He went on saying that a sifu/pupil relationship isn’t up to date anymore and that it isn’t the right relationship for young people. He then mentioned that once Nick accepted the gift, their sifu/pupil relationship was over. By that time, Michelle was feeling so embarrassed and uncomfortable that she didn’t know where to look. Nick, too, was feeling very awkward. The grandfather didn’t make it any easier when he made up an excuse to leave them alone. Nick then said that although he respects the words of his sifu (the grandfather), he thinks that ‘once a sifu, always will be a sifu’. Michelle was really feeling desperate then.
Another scene that I really liked was the break-up scene between Nick and Elaine. Not because I really wanted Michelle and Nick together, but because both of them really managed to bring out those emotions that goes with finishing off a ten-year relationship. Anguish, disappointment, hurt, anger, despair… The whole package was expressed in the atmosphere between them.
I think the reason why I’ve enjoyed this series is because I could really relate with the protagonist. Her father is exactly like mine, he always keeps on harping about how important a diploma is. The pressure of the parents is really tough and lots of children have a hard time to cope with it. Even though the father thinks that Michelle’s dropout means failure and that she’s ruining her future, I can’t help but admire her. A lot of children can’t fail otherwise they’ll bring down the family pride. Or they have to major in something that they’re not interested in, but they’re studying it because the parents think that with this kind of diploma they have better work prospects. So, in my eyes, Michelle is very brave to go against her parents’ wishes. I don’t think lots of children dare to do that, especially Asian ones, since most of them are very filial. Michelle wants to find out what she, herself, really wants without interference from her parents or anyone else. That for me is one’s biggest achievement in life, to live your life the way you want it.
This series may not have the best level of acting, as I think TVB used this series to promote some of their youngsters. To let them gain some experience alongside veteran actors, this is of course a good thing. Even though it can temper the urge of watching at times lol… We’ve seen this kind of plot a lot of times, it’s the plot of a typical romantic story. From episode 12 till 18,19 it even gets a bit draggy if not for Ella’s story. I mean, you already know that Michelle and Nick will end up together, but it isn’t till the very end that Nick confesses his love for her *roll eyes*. That is just so typical of TVB *sigh*.
You know what’s funny… Once again, Myolie Wu is paired up with an older actor. But unlike the previous pairing with Francis Ng, the age gap wasn’t an issue here. The others even encouraged their relationship, e.g. her grandfather, her brother, Phoebe, Siu Long,… Personally, I quite like these kinds of relationships: the playful girl and the serious man. It’s like they both complement each other. The girl helps the guy to loosen up and the guy can give her more stability.
The ending was kind of bittersweet, predictable too. They ended up together, of course, yet they aren’t really together. It was also too rushed, about two or three scenes before Nick confesses his love to Michelle and a few minutes later, it was all over. The ending was that Nick will wait for Michelle after she finishes her education. They assume that in the four years that Michelle is abroad they won’t see each other. This is kind of strange in my eyes. I mean, Nick is a famous designer, surely he’ll travel around the world a lot. Michelle, on the other hand, also has vacations when she can return to Hong Kong. Weird…
Nice and sweet story… Perfect to watch when you just shut off your brain and sit back in your couch to enjoy the series.
Try and get your hand on the four subsongs in English… They’re very enjoyable. I don’t know the singers, but here are the titles:
Here’s The Story
Knock On My Door
When Will You Be Coming?