"It is like I said above a great pity his Nardo wasn't being given enough attention thanks to the overwhelming positive response to his Ah Wong. I feel in some ways his Nardo is a much more complex and interesting character than Ah Wong. As Ah Wong, we like him for being cute, lovable and innocent with some very funny dialogues. But Nardo is different; it requires more than cuteness to make us like him because he is so mean."
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
Roger Kwok - Nardo
Joey Yung - Pat
Tiffanie Lam - Trammy
Victoria Jolly - Rachel
Kevin Cheng - Wilson
Margaret Chung - Betty
Lok Ying Kwan
Loh Hoi Pang
Liu Kai Chi
How an ugly duckling became a beautiful swan with the condition that she fulfills the Heaven's one condition; that she, in a few months time find a wife bearing a certain set of numbers for a man so despicable that the mere thought of being near him disgusted her. But then a comedy of error ensued and eventually she found herself falling for the changed man who himself found out that he actually has the heart to become a good man.
Nardo, or Leonardo is not a man that you can like. He was disguting to the core, with his meaness and malicious actions. So when he was betrayed by his family, friends and started losing hishair due to worry as well as losing his career, you really feel no pity for him, but I can't help but laugh myself silly seeing his suffer as he was suffering. I was cheering in fact because he deserved no less. However he had one redeeming quality; he really loved his family, however unreasonable he may have been towards his family members and in some ways as you will discover later on, his family truly loved him too despite his obvious inadequacies as a human being.
His interaction with Pat, the direct opposite of him is perhaps the highlight of this series.
Pat is not like Nardo. Whilst Nardo is attractive and he knows he is attractive, Pat is someone who was used to being fat and ugly. But she never once felt sorry for herself because when she was very young she met a very handsome young man who was asking her for donations and that young man said one sentence which shaped her life; "You're beautiful because you have a beautiful heart". And she grew up by that mantra; she is beautiful because she has a beautiful heart. She helps people, she never complains when her mother seems to favour her young and more beautiful sister, she was hard working and very good at her work but never gained recognition because of how she looked and she thought her life was perfect as she had a loving but dim witted boyfriend. Then things came to an abrupt stop when Nardo's boss tookover the PR company she was working at.
She once helped do CPR on Nardo who woke up horrified that he was kissed by such an ugly woman. When she recognised him and greeted him in her usual friendly way, he vowed to get rid of her because of this embrassment. So he got her fired and she knew his ugly side. To top it off, she found out she may not be her parents' real child as she found one woman looking exactly like her and she discovered her understanding boyfriend was having an affair with her colleague who was also her best friend, the prettier and slimmer one.
In anger, she realised being physically beautiful is the solution and she went for plastic surgery. But she slipped into a deep coma during the surgery and there she went up to Heaven and was told she was supposed to die. Angry, she ranted that the Heaven was unfair to her by making her ugly and now by killing her. So the Heaven struck a deal with her; that she must complete one task and she can be beautiful forever and if she failed, she will revert to her former self, despite the fact she did plastic surgery.
Once she woke up from her coma, she realised her parents were very worried about her and her little spoilt sister took special care of her. But she still had a task to do, and her guardian angel, in the form of a very serious looking guy disguising as a dog revealed himself before her and told her the tast;
that she must find Nardo a wife bearing a certain set of numbers within, if I am not mistaken 3 months time, failing which she will be ugly again.
Pat reluctantly agreed as she placed physical beauty above all else. And being as resourceful as she was, she got herself rehired by her former company, spent her time arguing with Nardo and trying to find him a wife, when she herself was going through some startling changes. For one, she fell for her boss' son, the handsome and flirtatious Wilson who has but one flaw; he can't make up his mind. He can't make up his mind about the woman he loves and he can't make up his mind about the project he is handling. He was suffering from a very serious low self esteem, thanks in part to his very demanding father who over time did not demand anything more from his only son. But Pat helped him, and they fell in love. Unfortunately, Wilson fell in love with a model and he has also one cousin in hot pursuit of him. Pat being very tired of his undecidedness decided for him; she left him, thinking she has failed in her task since Nardo's only candidate for wife called Trammy, a rich and capable young woman wasn't interested in him.
Nardo himself went through some difficulties, and lost his confidence when he began to lose his hair. His family and Pat never gave up on him and it was during such times he realised he was a good man and he began a life changing process to become a better man and soon realised he was in love with Pat. Pat was convinced she was the one destined for Nardo when she found the ticket she bought many years before from a that very handsome boy who turned out to be Nardo and that ticket had the same set of numbers given by the Heaven. Problem was the Heaven told Pat that she wasn't the one for him but Trammy was as she was the holder of the set of numbers in the form of her identity card. Pat refused to back down and she went into a one woman battle against destiny to be with Nardo.
Can she succeed?
It is a great great pity that this series was released so close to Square Pegs, at least in Malaysia. Roger Kwok was already on the high note with his amazingly successful performance as the lovable Ah Wong in Square Pegs that I believe when this series was released, little attention was given to it, except for the obvious fact that Roger Kwok is a phenomenal actor. Simply said, Nardo was overlooked. If it wasn't, I am sure many will agree Nardo is a gem of a character.
I have followed his career since my teens, he was my very first teen idol when TVB was intent on promoting him and then suddenly he disappeared. He came back much later in secondary roles but always making an impact, however small his role was. I believe At The Threshold Of An Era made people sit up but it was Square Pegs that propelled him into TVB big brother to which he is still gaining new fans and winning recognitions for his performance as Ah Wong. I can't fault his performance in Square Pegs. I too laughed at his Ah Wong's innocent and silly antics. But when I saw this series, I was very surprised not many mention his Nardo.
It is in restrospect that I feel Roger Kwok who was indeed magnificent as Ah Wong somewhat should get more recognition for his performance as Nardo, a part that I feel tested him as an actor in all departments of acting. Nardo is not someone you will like immediately. In fact his character is written in such a way that you will hate him on first sight and when he told Pat that "His company is not a farm for pigs" I am sure like Pat, we all were disgusted with this man. Roger Kwok made him even more irritating with his constant movement of his hands, the way he strutted like some male model walking on the runway and his trademark words like "Go!Go!Go!" with his two fingers pointing up with each Go! And yet it was these movements that made his Nardo even more memorable and at times very funny although as despicable as ever.
I admire Roger Kwok's professionalism, in his ability to morph into a particular character and making us forget that's Roger Kwok but rather Nardo. His chemistry with Joey Yung (as Pat) is definitely a highlight to watch though Joey Yung seriously need some acting lessons. But she gets to learn from the best of course!
I can't help but heap praises on Roger. It is like I said above a great pity his Nardo wasn't being given enough attention thanks to the overwhelming positive response to his Ah Wong. I feel in some ways his Nardo is a much more complex and interesting character than Ah Wong. As Ah Wong, we like him for being cute, lovable and innocent with some very funny dialogues. But Nardo is different; it requires more than cuteness to make us like him because he is so mean.
The best scene in this series was when Nardo realised he was capable of being a nice guy. This was when Nardo returned to his family and convinced them he was a changed man but he wasn't. He was offered a filthy amount of money to cross over to a company formed by Wilson's jilted cousin, Betty who wanted to seek revenge against Wilson. He was thinking about the offer, laughing to someone he was speaking over the handphone and as he predicted Wilson's ruined career, he inadvertantly helped a young lady locate her wallet, saved a kid from being hit by a car, helped an old lady who was being bullied and saved a man's life. He only stopped to wonder what he had done when the crowd said "You're such a good man!" and he suddenly realised and declared "I am a good man!". That was his moment of change and that scene was so funny. And Roger Kwok pulled it off perfectly.
There are many more of such scenes but you will have to see them for yourself the brilliance of Roger's performance. Which is why I will declare here that he should have won an award, whatever the award for his performance as Nardo and not Ah Wong because Nardo was a much better character and a much better performance.
Joey Yung on the other hand got worse and worse as the series went on and on. Her ugly image was overrated. Basically her ugly image can be corrected with plastic surgery, and I really didn't find Pat that ugly at all. Joey seemed like she was having fun as Pat the ugly one. One of her best scene was when she woke up beautiful and slim, she went on a shopping spree and that one scene where she tried out the clothes and gave that pose she did, I thought that was such a lovely pose in slow mo and funny as well. Her best scenes were with Roger Kwok and at times I thought their chemistry was so natural and they were so funny together. What amazes me about Joey Yung is her ability to hula-hoop, you know non stop? Very funny moment. But her acting got more and more superficial and shallow as the series went deeper and deeper into drama. I was thinking Miriam Yeung would be perfect as Pat as I find Miriam Yeung more lovable and a better actress. But for a singer who acts occasionally, Joey Yung is quite ok. And I must say, she looks so pretty these days.
Another actor in this series that performed slightly better than usual was Kevin Cheng. Except for his messy hairstyle, he is simply delicious to behold. He has such perfect features, a pity though that he is such a small man. He looks too slim but check out his fashion in here. His acting was I must say disappointing for an actor acting. He does have that coolness and devilish charm as Wilson. I can't imagine anyone else as Wilson but his performance was average at best. At times of drama, he did badly with his rather cold eyes and his worst had to be when he was around Victoria Jolly, the worst actress in this series. I can't blame him though because in one particular scene, his Wilson felt betrayed by Rachel (Jolly's character) who had lied that she was an orphan. He flew into I think a rage but more like confused rage and walked away. That very scene was ridiculous because it was too sudden. I find the union between Rachel and Wilson too superficial and no depth at all. It was like cute guy meets cute playful girl, instant attraction. But the problem was these two actors have zero chemistry. I find Kevin performed better when around Joey Yung, but still lacking that chemistry, or shall I say sexual chemistry. They were like bland but compatible. Kevin was much much better when around Margaret Chung who played the scorned Betty but they were seriously lacking in chemistry. It is very hard to understand how come an ordinary looking man like Bobby Au Yeung can be paired with any actress and yet Kevin Cheng seems to have zero chemistry with his female co-stars? Kevin however did well around Roger Kwok and Lok Ying Kwan who played his very successful father who had loss all expectations of his only son. Other than that, I thought Kevin gave a decent performance in the cool and devilishly charming guy but don't expect anything great from this actor who under performs in more demanding scenes.
The interesting performances of this series came from the secondary actors, a few deserved special mention.
Loh Hoi Pang, always excellent in everything his is in is definitely a delight to watch in here. He was very mean, and in some ways Nardo was just like his father but the brilliance of his performance was when his character allowed Nardo to suffer a bit on his own and his pain at seeing his son at such a pitiful state was simply heart breaking to watch.
Likewise Lok Ying Kwan and Liu Kai Chi were simply excellent in their respective role; the former as a egoistical father who realises his son is not so dumb after all and finally gave his son due respect and the latter as a loving and devoted father.
Nancy Wu gave a very good performance as the spoilt sister of Pat. Nothing much for me to say though except for that I find her acting interesting. Time can only tell how well she will do in future as an actress.
I was surprised to see Margaret Chung as a secondary actor and she looked very pretty in here, although a bit too thin. Her scorned Betty was very interesting to watch and what I love about this series is the unexpected ending; that Wilson had actually loved Betty for a very long time but never realised it, thinking it was just an affection of a brother towards his sister, after all they were cousins. But when Betty changed for the better after she realised it was hard work being mean and jealous, Betty moved away. Wilson wrote many emails to her but never sent them. These emails showed his real concern for Betty and when Betty received these emails and I think Pat sent them though I can't remember, Betty immediately flew back and that was the beginning of their love affair. One big round and my fear of Wilson ending up with that plastic Victoria Jolly, he actually ended up with Betty, a totally unexpected ending.
One performance that surprised me was the one by this actor who played the guardian angel, here called Dog-Dog or Gau-Gau. Someone once told me his name but I can't remember. Gau-Gau, before becoming an angel was actually Nardo's grandfather and in some twist of fate, he was sent to assist the daughter of a family who has been wronged by Nardo's family as I think having to do with the sudden and accidental death of Gau Gau. This actor at first played Gau Gau as a very serious guardian angel who didn't quite understand the meaning of humour. But when he remembered who he was before he died, he suddenly took on a very old mannerisms; like an old man, the way he talked was so 60s or 70s, very straight, very serious and very honest type of voice. It is hard for me to describe but I must say, I was very surprised at the discovery of such an interesting actor. For one, he could really act. And he gave Gau Gau dimensions, personality, a change of personality and therefore a change of mannerisms. His costumes are a bi silly but his performance wasn't. I also liked the fact that whilst Pat saw him as a human being wearing yellow fur, everybody else saw him as a dog. And even the dog can act! Amazing performance.
Another performance which was a delight to watch was from Tiffany Lam who played Trammy. She has since left TVB and left acting altogether, but if she had stayed, I would predict good things for this Miss HK. Not only is she beautiful and cute, she actually gets better and better as the series progresses. I find her acting natural although at times not much in the emoting department. But I can't ask more than not to be annoyed from a new actress like her and she exceeded my expectations. She was also very convincing as Trammy who was very pressured in her work and who wanted to win the Entrepreneur of the year award that she forgot to care for her problematic younger brother. A pity indeed she left. She would have made it to the top if she had stayed.
The one actor that I thought was good looking and did well was the guy who played Trammy's brother. I wonder who he is?
The one actress that I thought should be banned from acting is Victoria Jolly who thankfully left TVB and acting world not long later, maybe because she realised how horrible she was as Rachel. For one, her Rachel is supposed to be this ultra hyperactive, hypercute, hyperlovable and sometimes irresponsible gorgeous young girl who Trammy saw as a model potential for her cosmetics company. I thought Tiffany Lam was much more model material than this Jolly and it was jolly good news that she is no longer acting. I don't think I can take another look at one more shallow performance of a very bimbo-ish character. Her every movement seemed deliberate, seemed unnatural. Maybe this was her first performance but I have had it with lowering my standards and expectation more and more with each new Miss HK or newcomer acting. I demand for natural talent. My only compliment to her is she isn't thin. She looks healthy though her lazy eyes could induce one into deep sleep, though her performance will bring out the Hulk in us all. But darn! She was the only one who got to kiss Kevin Cheng in here!
Everybody else gave average to above-average performance. Mostly very memorable characters and performances.
This series is funny, interesting and boasts some fine performances. And I believe this is Roger Kwok's best and funniest performance todate. Fans of Joey Yung and Kevin Cheng may want to check out this series. Especially fans of Kevin Cheng who looks great in here. A very handsome man. Highly recommended. Don't miss this gem.