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Written by Black Eyed Susan

"It has been a while since I have truly enjoyed a TVB series. One of the must see series of 2005 ..."

SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!



Chinese Title (Cantonese)
Ngo dik yè maang nain ai aka My Sassy Mother In-Law

Released in
2005

Cast
Shek Sau – Ling Fung Tak
Liza Wang – Hei Taap Laap Sheuk Laan
Bosco Wong – Ling Mau Chung aka But Lau Ming
Myolie Wu – Tien Lik aka Eleven
Gordon Liu – Tien Moen
Christine Ng – Long Hau Hau
Chan Hoi Yee – Kwan Ling San
Wong Ka Lok – Cheung Yau Nien
Wong Ching – Ling Fung Wing

Plot
Eleven is the daughter of the converted thief Tien Moen. As a result of some misunderstandings and unexpected events Eleven married into the Ling family. The family is known for their blooming business in embroidery and the head of their household princess Sheuk Laan. She is the cousin of the Queen and famous for her bossy, arrogant and unreasonable attitude. Soon, after the wedding, it became obvious that both mother and daughter in-law don’t see eye to eye. After Sheuk Laan discovered Eleven’s true identity, she instructed her son to divorce Eleven. For once in his life, the filial son Ling Mau Chung refused to listen to his mother as he has fallen in love with his rather feisty wife. Eleven, however, seems to have taken a more than normal liking to the underdog hero But Lau Ming. In the meantime, Eleven’s aunt, Hau Hau, finally found her first love again and expect him to marry her soon. But what if it turns out that Mau Chung’s father was actually Hau Hau’s first love? Also doesn’t Mau Chung has his hands full with the two women in his life? So why is he spending so much time with Ling Shan?

Performances
Liza Wang
I’ve never seen her in a comedic role and was pleasantly surprised that she actually pulled it off. To be honest I’m not a fan of her, but her acting is usually OK so I tolerate her. This series really put her in a different light and proves her versatility as an actress. I enjoyed her performance most when she portrays the arrogant princess. Her facial expressions and body language combined with that whiney voice makes it a very enjoyable portrayal.

Myolie Wu
She has long convinced me of her acting skills. Once again she gave a strong performance. She expressed the necessary emotions when needed and to top it off, her crying is truly persuasive. For such a young actress, it is really remarkable that you can hardly detect any wooden- or stiffness. She delivered a very natural portrayal of Eleven. I still believe that there is room for improvement, though. Her roles are always very alike with the exception of maybe Eternal Happiness and Golden Faith. I would really love to see her in a villain or scheming role.

Bosco Wong
I have actually never taken much notice of him as I had yet to see him in a leading role. I only saw him in Triumph in The Skies and The Last Breakthrough but due to lack of screen time, he pretty much blended into the background for me. No need to say that I was a bit amazed to see him portray his character so well. In my opinion, his role was more difficult than Myolie’s and Liza’s. Simply because his character acts different depending on his environment. The switch from one layer of his personality to another one was very smooth and natural. He has really earned all the praises and rise in his popularity.

Shek Sau
His performance was very decent and contrasted Liza’s character beautifully. As the subtle Ling Fung Tak he got rid of his big ‘tai chi’ moves which can annoy me a lot. His facial expressions matched his body language well and with his voice he conveys calmness and reasoning. The one thing I didn’t like was his position, at times it was quite wooden.

Chan Hoi Yee
Probably the least experienced actress in this series and sadly to say that it did show sometimes. She was a bit wooden and at times her face was expressionless. But I overlooked these because she fitted quite well in the bigger picture.

My favourite scenes
· Every time Eleven and Sheuk Laan had an argument. It is funny to see what they are arguing about and how they use their arguments. What makes it most interesting and likeable is how their body language fitted with each other.

· When Sheuk Laan discovered Eleven’s true identity and forced her to leave the house with her father. Mau Chung refused to let them go and announced to the family that Eleven was already carrying his child. Everyone was overwhelmed by this news, including Eleven. Sheuk Laan called for the doctor to verify it and when the doctor confirmed this news, no one was more baffled than Eleven. She gave Mau Chung a strange look which he replied with “Silly girl, if the doctor says you are pregnant then you are pregnant.”.

· Mau Chung struggling with his jealousy of But Lau Ming as he feels that his wife likes But Lau Ming more than her own husband. Even though theoretically But Lau Ming was Mau Chung and vice versa.

· When Mau Chung wanted Eleven to disapprove of But Lau Ming. As But Lau Ming he pretended that he was after her body and Eleven was so shocked by this action because she thought that But Lau Ming was a true gent. Mau Chung was actually pleased that his plan seemed to work. Until Eleven took off his mask and was furious at Mau Chung for pretending to be But Lau Ming and making him look bad. She didn’t believe Mau Chung that he was truly But Lau Ming and desperately showed her his kung fu. When Eleven finally realised the truth, she turned all girlie and giggly.

· Eleven returned to the Ling family after a fight with Mau Chung. Full of confidence that they will kiss and make up, Eleven was speechless when Mau Chung was ignoring her and gave all his attention to Ling Shan. Now it was Eleven’s turn to struggle with her jealousy.

Comments
· I have enjoyed the chemistry very much, be it between the main leads self as with the supporting cast. The interaction between the entire was very convincing and really realistic. The body language was adapted to each other. Especially the chemistry between the main couple, Bosco and Myolie was wonderful. Those short moments of eye contact, holding hands, leaning to each other,… All these actions were very natural and conveys true caring and intimacy.

· Unfortunately, the proportion comedy-drama was divided very unequally through the whole series. This resulted in a light-hearted part of three quarters of the series while the heavier stuff all occurred in the last five episodes. The last part was, thus, too packed with emotions and that could drag down the mood of the viewer. However, I do think that the main intention was to provide the viewer with laughter. As there was no more comic-relief it became a bit too serious in the last part.

· This series has a very exaggerated way of expressing one’s emotions. Facial expressions stretched to the extreme, loads of body language and loud voices are the norm here. This combination really worked as I believe that if you left one out, then it could turn into exasperation from the viewer’s point of view.

The Verdict
It has been a while since I have truly enjoyed a TVB series. One of the must see series of 2005, mainly due to the great chemistry between the cast and the lovely acting. A true feel good series in every way.

Rating


Miscellaneous
There were lots of rumours whether Myolie and Bosco were really dating or not. Especially because they didn’t seem to avoid each other during the functions. I have to agree that they do make a very cute couple but I think they are only trying to make more promotion for the series, and maybe even for theirselves.

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