"More importantly by being paired with Fann Wong and Jeannette Aw again, it meant MediaCorp is ready to give Shaun Chen a second chance after the whole fiasco with Jeanette Aw, MediaWorks, the merger, the sacking and the part time contract."
SPOILERS ... SPOILERS ... SPOILERS
Mandarin. Often feels like some Mandarin speech class since everyone speaks such "biao-jun" Mandarin.
English. A note on the subtitles. Every MediaCorp series released for broadcast on Singapore TV has English subtitles which is very helpful and quite well translated as well. Depending on whether your purchased the DVD or recorded it directly from TV, I am sure you will find the subtitles in there.
Where To Purchase
Very few Singaporean TV series has ever been released on whether VCD or DVD format, unless a particular star in that series is extremely famous outside of Singapore (Phyllis Quek, Fann Wong) or that series itself is a mega hit in Singapore itself (Holland V) but more often than not, that VCD or DVD in question is not cheap. I am not sure if you can ever buy this series itself and a lot never got released in VCD or DVD format.
But luckily there's a thing called torrent files and for those desperate few such as I, you can inquire around for such torrent files. I am not worried about it being illegal since
1. can never get my hands on the series since no DVD/VCD release;
2. I am not living in Singapore so I can never watch this series legally;
3. ASTRO Shuangxing is too expensive;
4. I am not distributing the series and so I'd rather be called a lecher than a peer; and
5. I am a big enough Fann Wong & Shaun Chen fan to risk my personal liberty... NOT! But truth is there is no way to legally obtain a copy of this series so torrent file is a justifiable last resort.
Just make sure you download the "20 episodes in 1 torrent" type of torrent, if not "1 episode per torrent" will zap your enthusiasm. Almost all downloaded format will be RMVB, a favourite amongst Asian community which makes the downloads faster since it compressess the files into a mere few Mbs from the original hundreds of Mbs which is most probably avi format. However there is always a loss of quality and sometimes after burning to your DVD discs, you can see blurry images and the sound quality is not top notch. But I can teach you a trick; burn no more than 3 episodes per DVD discs and believe me, the quality is better and in fact nice to watch. Anything more than 3 episodes and your eyes will suffer. I recommend using Super DVD Creator to burn the DVD if you're not too fussy about the lack of features since it is faster and the quality of very good.
A personal big shout out and a big THANKS to Kidd for hunting down the torrent for me, without her help I could never have written this review and would definitely never watch this series until I get Shuangxing channel on ASTRO which is expensive or wait for AEC Channel to show which will take well...forever.
From MediaCorp official website.
Fann Wong - Jiang Xinyu/Jiang Xinhui
Jeannette Aw - Jiang Xinhui/Jiang Xinyu
Lin Meijiao - Peiting
Shaun Chen - Qin Shixuan
Julian Hee - Hansheng
Terence Cao - Anxiang
Elyn Chong - Jingjing
Liu Qianyi - Jiang Peixiang
Zhu Haoren - Qin Fuzhong
You can view the episodic summaries at MediaCorp website but I doubt it is accurate. I am fussy. There is a difference between killed by lightning and killed by drowning so read the summaries with a pinch of salt and come back to this review for the real thing.
Jiang Xinyu and Jiang Xinhui are sisters who are as different from night and day. They're both the daughters of a chinese Sinseh who owns his own shop with a meddlesome mother and a younger aspiring musician as a brother.
Xinyu is the eldest child who is kind hearted, gentle, obliging and understanding. But she is marred by one fact; the left side of her face has one big red birthmark and she has always been plagued by insecurity which explains her easy to be with attitude as she lets people get their way, even if it minds it means stampeding over her own body. If not for the red mark, she is a pretty girl with a great heart. But because of her mark and the fact she was fast approaching 30, her parents, especially her mother was desperate to match make her with someone, mostly guys who themselves are lesser quality than most guys. As an obedient daughter she went along these blind dates and in total she went for almost 40 of such dates but with no success. Sometimes it is because the men when they saw her birthmark got really turned off but mostly because her heart belongs to one boy whom she rescued many years before from almost drowning in a lake. She had a very long conversation with that boy and when they parted, he gave her one side of a magnetic keychain with a promise he will find her again. What he didn't see was that her red birthmark on her face was hidden behind her big hat, so he never really knew how she actually looked like but he remembered her kindness and her bottle of balm.
Xinhui on the other hand is the spoilt beautiful daughter who has everything under her feet; beauty, intelligence and success as a Mediacorp artiste. She is a famous actress and she basks in her own limelight, friendly to her fans and ambitious in her career. But she is so spoilt sometimes she forgotten her words can hurt Xinyu since Xinyu loved no one more than this sister of hers.
Both of them live in the same room under the same roof and life seems harmonious with Xinyu giving in to Xinhui's demands until one day Xinhui met Shixuan, a handsome ski instructor during her skiing lessons in preparation for her skincare product. She didn't like Shixuan at first since she had eyes only for rich guys so she eyes a young successful GM called Hansheng. Time after time she felt offended by Shixuan because Shixuan's girlfriend whom Shixuan was on teh verge of breaking up with felt insulted with Xinhui's arrogance towards Shixuan and played tricks on her. Xinhui targetted Shixuan in her venomous act of retaliation but Shixuan felt sorry and quietly let Xinhui get her way.
Meanwhile Xinyu repeatedly bumped into Shixuan again and again and when she saw his half of the keychain, she began to wonder if he was the boy she saved. When she was convinced he was the one, she was reluctant to reveal her identity to him eventhough Shixuan was very kind and friendly to her. Instead she asked Xinhui to return the keychain to Shixuan as she knew the keychain was a gift from Shixuan's mother to him. But when Xinhui was about to return the keychain, she found out from Hansheng, who was the GM of a local pharmaceutical company who had just appointed her as their spokesperson that Shixuan was actually the only child of the Qin family who owns that pharmaceutical company, Xinhui changed her target and revealed herself as the girl who saved Shixuan from the lake, thus there was a mistaken identity. When Xinyu found out about this, she was hurt but she could not stay angry with her sister so she let it be, as she felt a handsome man must be paired by a pretty girl. But Xinhui thought her own sister was plotting to jeapardise her relationship with Shixuan and became extremely unreasonable, and this came to a major blowout when Xinhui was kidnapped by a mad male fan and when the kidnapper was away for a moment Xinhui called Xinyu for help. But unbeknownst to Xinhui, Xinyu just had a bad blind date and she was being pestered over the phone by her mother over the blind date. Distracted also by Shixuan who was also there and was buying Xinyu lunch, Xinyu switched off her phone. Somehow Xinhui managed to escape. But back at home, Xinhui accused Xinyu of deliberately ignoring her, and however Xinyu tried to explain, Xinhui unjustly accused Xinyu of trying to get rid of her to get to Shixuan and called Xinyu ugly, which hurt Xinyu beyond words because to hear that hurtful words from her own sister destroyed her confidence. From thereon Xinhui was extremely malicious towards Xinyu and Xinyu fed up with Xinhui and hurt with her words too avoided Xinhui.
But fate played a joke on both of them.
Jingjing whom Xinyu befriended and who saw Xinyu and Xinhui for who they really are was actually some sort of an angel or a genie in disguise. She decided to let each learn a valuable lesson in life and so switched their identities when during one time both of them almost had an accident by a car conjured up by Jingjing whilst busy fighting each other one the road and they both ended up in hospital. When Xinyu woke up, she discovered she was in Xinhui's body and Xinhui in Xinyu's body. Both were traumatised but none too traumatised than Xinhui who was now the ugly girl whilst Xinyu now the pretty girl. Both immediately wanted to switch back and when they knew it was Jing Jing's pratical joke, they both confronted her. But for Jing Jing this change will be good for Xinyu so that she can learn to be confident and get to feel being loved and appreciated simply because of her beauty whilst for Xinhui it was a lesson to teach her some humility and consideration for others. Xinyu quickly adapted to the change and confided only to Anxiang, her father's helper at the shop whom she was very close friends with for many years as she too was learning to become a Chinese sinseh. Anxiang felt uncomfortable at the change but encouraged Xinyu whose biggest problem now is not only a vengeful sister but also her sister's career as an actress. The problem with Xinyu is that she can't act and yet she realised one day she would switch back body with her sister and she did not want to destroy Xinhui's career by sucking at it. So she struggled with the scripts, with the ads, with Xinhui's manager and being humiliated by the directors daily. At the same time there was the mad fan who Xinyu could not identify and Xinhui being vengeful felt that since Xinyu so wanted to be her, then let her taste the madness of an overzealous fan. Xinhui spent her days being angry, crying and blaming everybody for her problems. It was worse when Shixuan who did not know anything continued dating Xinyu who was now in Xinhui's body and Xinyu took this opportunity to live her dream through Xinhui eventhough she knew Shixuan saw Xinhui in his eyes, not her.
All problems came head on when Xinyu was again threatened by that mad fan and Shixuan who was there tried to save her and got stabbed instead. Xinhui was wrecked with guilt but still feel it was Xinyu's fault whilst Xinyu was sick with worry and Anxiang who harboured some feelings for Xinyu realised Xinyu only had Shixuan in her eyes. Shixuan meanwhile reconciled with his father whom he blamed for driving his mom to depression many years ago. His mom was sent to some hospital and ended up running away and disappearing all these years. Unbeknownst to Shixuan, his father and aunt, an old flame of Xinyu's dad were tracking her and did found her married to a failed businessman from Brunei, that she was running a small wanton mee shop, walked with a limp and her memory erased when many years ago she met with an accident that caused the limp. She was also in the worse of health and mistreated by that husband of hers who was actually the one responsible for mowing her down with his car. They secretly helped her financially with that greedy husband of hers whilst Shixuan was left in the dark because his father felt he would only feel even more hurt if he knew his mother had forgotten about him.
Meanwhile Xinyu struggled with Xinhui's career and at the same time helped Shixuan in tracking down his mother and supporting him when Hansheng, his best friend betrayed the company and basically bankrupted the entire Vino Enterprise leaving teh Qin family financially broken, but I don't think destitute since they live in the same big huge house. Xinyu even helped Shixuan to get over his mother's eventual death and Shixuan fell deeply in love with the supportive Xinyu but Xinyu lived in fear that if Shixuan knew she was the ugly girl, would he have loved her the same?
Xinhui at the same time was going through major changes. After sabotaging her sister's career several time (which meant sabotaging her own career), she felt a bit guilty when she overheard Xinyu crying to Jingjing for help because she was screwing up Xinhui's career and that all her struggles was so that Xinhui's years of hardwork will not go down the drain. So Xinhui helped Xinyu in acting wise but at the same time Xinhui was going through changes. She was helping out in the shop and grew closer to the understanding Anxiang. One day a greataunt who was the one who set Xinyu up for blind dates complained that Xinyu must not be picky since she is not pretty, Xinhui got angry and mixed some herb into the medicine prepared by Anxiang. That was a big mistake as greataunt fell into a deep coma as the medicine she mixed was harmful to greataunt's body and Anxiang was blamed but her father believed Anxiang would not have been that careless. Faced with an angry son, a comatose relative, impending lawsuit and a clueless Anxiang, Xinhui felt so guilty that she realised her unreasonableness have caused so much trouble. She even begged Jingjing for help, as did Xinyu but Jingjing told them let nature takes it course and for them to learn a valuable lesson. Greataunt survived, her father overheard Xinhui confessing what she did but Anxiang and her father, as angry as they were forgave her. She met with greataunt and confessed what she did. Her son was very angry and threatened to sue but great aunt forgave Xinhui and begged her own son to let it go. All was well and Xinhui became a better person. During this time Xinhui and Xinyu grew closer as sisters and as Xinyu helped Xinhui in her acting career, Xinyu asked Xinhui to sit for the Chinese Medicine exams for her which Xinhui did. Anxiang helped too and Xinhui began to fall for the gentle Anxiang when Anxiang ex-girlfriend came back into his life dumped by her callous womaniser boyfriend and pregnant. Anxiang asked Xinhui's dad to let the girl sleep in the shop since Anxiang sleeps in the shop as well. But his ex girlfriend betrayed their trusts when she colluded with her boyfriend, Albert to steal things from the shop. She was caught with Albert but in the struggle with Anxiang, Xinyu was passing by and took a stab from Albert, shielding Anxiang. She was hospitalised and the ex girlfriend who lost her baby was full of remorse and begged for forgiveness. Anxiang could not forgive her but Xinyu did. When Xinyu was recuperating, fate took a worser turn.
During that time Xinyu needed blood transfusion and Xinhui voluntereed and her parents say don't bother and that was when Xinhui found out she was in actual fact adopted! Her real mother was the cousin of her mother who had an affair with a married man who told her to abort the child. She subsequently died during childbirth. Xinhui desperately wanted to know who was her father and after some digging she found out her real father was in actual fact Shixuan's father! Even her mother just found out about that when she met Shixuan's father and recognised him from a photo taken many years ago with her dead cousin. They all knew they had a big problem; Shixuan was Xinhui's half brother and they had to stop their relationship. What they didn't know was Xinyu was in Xinhui's body. Xinyu couldn't understand why her mother suddenly objected her relationship with Shixuan and kept pushing her towards the disloyal scumbag Hansheng. She accused her mother of being materialistic until Xinhui told her the truth. When she knew Shixuan was Xinhui's half brother, she in Xinhui's body could no longer go out with Shixuan. She broke off with Shixuan who when later found out she was his sister by confronting his own father after Xinyu told him to ask his father why she is breaking up with him, he took it calmly.
Meanwhile Xinyu was so depressed she was crying endlessly as she walked on the street but then suddenly she fainted, as did Xinhui in the shop. When they woke up, they had switched places again and Xinhui was very happy to be herself again. But Shixuan was very hurt when he thought Xinhui got over their relationship so easily. Meanhile Xinyu was still as sad because eventhough she can now go out with Shixuan, she felt insecure over her looks and did not dare to reveal her true identity to Shixuan. But behind his back she went on supporting him emotionally, smiling happily but in her heart she was crying with sadness.
Xinhui meanwhile went back to her old life but she supported Anxiang's decision to open up a herbal food restaurant. Her mother was very confused why Xinhui suddenly was so nice to Anxiang and was also preparing for a wedding between Anxiang and Xinyu. Xinyu kept saying no and Xinhui felt strangely sad at the prospect of Anxiang marrying another. Anxiang like Xinyu did not dare to confess his feelings for Xinhui since she is now famous and pretty whilst he was a nobody. During Xinhui's birthday party which Shixuan always thought Xinhui's birthday was on Xinyu's birthday Shixuan felt cheated and left and Xinyu chased after him but Shixuan angrily said "You both took me as a fool? Do you think it is a funny joke?" and Xinyu mistakenly thought Shixuan meant he didn't want to see her ugly face. Shixuan angry and was confused until Xinhui explained what happened. Shixuan refused to believe it but felt perhaps it was true since Xinyu now in Xinyu's body was more like the Xinhui he knew. When he was most confused, he heard himself talking in his head denying what was essentially before him until he heard Jing Jing's voice who said to him "outer beauty lasts for only 30 years but inner beauty is forever" and he is convinced by his own feelings that the Xinhui he knew was in fact Xinyu. More so when Xinyu knew how to cook his favourite food and knew intimately what had happened with the episode involving his mother, a lemon and fish sauce. Shixuan confronted Xinyu, even proposed to her but she thought he pitied her so she refused.
And then Hansheng got betrayed by his own business partner and was bankrupted. He asked Shixuan for help but Shixuan could not help. More so Xinhui told Shixuan not to help since her father's company was brought down by that man. Later Xinhui witnessed Hansheng killing his business partner. Angry, Hansheng kidnapped Xinhui and demanded a lot of money for her release. Shixuan went alone but Xinhui managed to escape and stopped Shixuan from giving the money. Fight ensued and Anxiang arrived and by trying to protect Xinhui, he got stabbed. Hansheng ran away but was later caught.
In the end Shixuan convinced Xinyu his love for her was true whilst Anxiang and Xinhui became an item. The 2 pairs got married on the same day and Jing Jing played again a cruel joke on them by playfully switching their bodies again and in the end the series ended with all 4 of them chasing after Jing Jing.
I am always amazed by Singaporean TV series in that so many things could happen with so few people. In this series itself as you can read above you will find some repetetive pattern which I will elaborate later on. First thing first; I really wanted to watch this series when I found out that my favourite actress that is Fann Wong will be paired with my favourite Malaysian actor, Shaun Chen. This mean great things; for one anything with Fann Wong is worth a watch, more so in a series where she plays a so called ugly girl.
More importantly by being paired with Fann Wong and Jeannette Aw again, it meant MediaCorp is ready to give Shaun Chen a second chance after the whole fiasco with Jeanette Aw, MediaWorks, the merger, the sacking and the part time contract. What is most disappointing though is that although he is the lead actor in this series, a limelight I suppose he shares with Terence Cao eventhough he had more screentime, I can't see him in the promo interview included in the torrent file. Perhaps he was busy. Anyway it was an exciting prospect although the character he played although complex but still not very satisfying because I know he could do better. Not that he was awful in this series. He may not seem at ease with comedy or some comedic moments but he was very much in his element in drama. I haven't seen his performances since I last saw him in NTV7's The Beginning which he gave a very good performance in an otherwise boring, unoriginal and juvenile series, but I was struck from the first scene with 3 things about him;
1. his awful hair which highlights his young age (at least younger than Fann Wong) and this affected his scenes with Fann Wong who was a good 7-9 years older than he was (she looks great by the way but still can't hide the age difference) but he still has that amazing chemistry with Jeanette Aw, even if they had a very nasty past with her accusations against him for ... well let's not get me started on that. I guess she finally grew mature as an artiste whilst he certainly became a much committed and grown up kinda man after he began his relationship with Michelle Chia. In fact I think he became more mature after Michelle Chia came into his life. I wonder are they still together?
2. his Mandarin is much much better. In fact less Malaysian accent and more...more universal Mandarin accent although you can still hear teh remnants of it. In fact I find his Mandarin improved so much I was in total disbelief for like 5 minutes. It is not helpful that everyone else seems to speak like some Mandarin coach, especially Jeanette Aw who speaks like she is giving Mandarin class to the point of disbelief and none of them speak with a Singaporean accent, so Shaun's improved Mandarin may not be that noticeable.
3. he looks buffed, slimmer and looked like those gym visits or whatever Michelle Chia had been feeding him had done him great. He is in fact in better shape than he was in Holland V, where he was even thinner. So basically with a better haircut I am sure he can climb back into the top as MediaCorp idol. We all know that is possible since how many young idols does MediaCorp has?
But apart from these 3 factors, I must say his performance is still as good as ever although the role is not that exciting. For the hundredth time he is a rich man's son, the only difference here is this Shixuan is not really that great in terms of business and work. This series never went on to show how he re-establish Vino or build a new empire so I suppose some people are just mediocre and no point in forcing us to watch how he re-establish another great company since this series isn't about him. But it would have been nice to show him having something to do with Anxiang's shop. I mean how great it would be if he actually was approached to partner Anxiang in the business, and whilst Anxiang takes care of the cooking and herbs aspect, he will take care of the management and funding aspect. Disappointingly that Harvard Degree was wasted. As for my minor complaints about his performance, it is more about the poor characterisation of his character rather than his performance itself.
For one, how in the world did he know about the switched bodies? One scene was clearly missing or edited out where suddenly they had Xinhui asking Shixuan to believe what he had heard about Xinhui and Xinyu and Shixuan couldn't believe it when we never has that scene at all. It was not just confusing but poor editing could be the culprit here.
Then there was the lack of intimacy between the characters. This series is threading on dangerous ground when they went Korean on us by showing Shixuan and Xinhui (at least Xinhui's body) are siblings. In modern world today, that would have been disaster because they went out with each other for months and by that time, at least a passionate kiss would have taken place if not for that forbidden act. This series will want you to believe these characters have either such great control over themselves or that they're very chaste or that they're very boring as a couple. It would have been nice if when after Shixuan confessed his love for Xinyu, instead of hugging her (which was more like sister-brother-ish) it would have been fantastic for just one kiss. I suspect Fann Wong must have some clause in her contract like no kissing. But that scene demands a kiss, some connection, some intimacy, some passion instead of a bland hug. Boring! Same with Anxiang and Xinhui, at least a peck on the cheek but what we have is some holding of hands. I-want-more!
There was also a lack of consistency in the performances. Individually Fann Wong and Jeanette Aw are capable actresses but we are supposed to believe they switched place. So we have Fann Wong acting very unreasonably as Xinhui, although there was little to suggest Xinhui was ever that open about her unreasonableness in the beginning. In fact Xinhui in the beginning was a hypocrite and the way she complained was by voicing it gently but with daggers to her every word or speaking like some well educated spoilty brat. Sometimes I do see a little Jeanetter in Fann, especially in more malicious or playful scene. But not enough. Likewise it was worse for Jeanette Aw who resembled very little of Fann Wong. When Xinyu became Xinhui, suddenly she looked so morose, so serious and too gentle when Fann Wong as Xinyu was very different. She was still gentle, kind hearted and serious but even on her worse days she was never that morose and never that gentle. When they switch back again, Jeanette as Xinhui was suddenly so active looking, big movements and big smiles which was how Fann was as Xinhui. Fann was Xinyu was more morose and quiet, which was understandable since she had insecurity issues but it was more like Jeanette's Xinyu than Fann's original Xinyu. You have to watch it to see what I mean since it is hard to explain but I am sure you will know what I mean.
When Xinhui was Xinhui, she seems very busy with work. When Xinyu became Xinhui, she seems to have so much time running around with Shixuan. And when Xinhui became Xinhui again, she had to take leave to help Anxiang with the shop. And at all times, she seems pretty undisturbed as she went with her activity as Xinhui the actress with Xinyu in her but when Xinhui was Xinhui again, you will see at least one scene with min 2 fans asking her for autograph. It was as if all celebrity activities seem suspended when Xinyu was Xinhui.
And all those scenes with Mrs Jiang pushing Xinyu (as Xinhui) towards Hansheng eventhough she knew Hansheng was shady in character. The most frustrating was Xinyu merely said "Mommmmmm...." or "Mommmmmmm" or "Mommmmmmmm". She had no retort, no reply towards her mother's materialistic affection against Hansheng. Never did she say "Mom, did you know that that Hansheng was the scumbag who brought down Vino?". None. And all those drama of Hansheng saying he will get to Xinhui and all that amounted to nothing until he got bankrupt.
I am not sure if I mentioned this above but if I did I must mention it again that is the utter uselessness of the character of Shixuan. Don't get me wrong; he's a great guy but he doesn't do much except to brood, pine and question. I mean I was hoping to see something useful with him, since he has got a degree from Harvard. But when Vino went down, he went back to mediocrity. So maybe Hansheng's anger is justified; he slaved all his life for Vino and yet when the prince returns, the assistant got pushed aside no matter how able the assistant may be. The entire series build the premise as if Shixuan is greatness in disguise but barely had he warned his chair at Vino, the business went kaput. And thereafter there was no follow up on how he will rebuild Vino's name again. In fact nobody seems to do anything much after that. Shixuan seems to be like Romeo, plagued by love problems Korean style and that after a while is just boring to watch.
I really don't like the character of Peiting that is Shixuan's mom. It is those "I really do not want to trouble you" types of characters that get to me because by going away, hiding or feeling pitiful at all times that that is what is troubling the people who cares and loves her. It doesn't hurt to get help once in a while and somehow this series like almost all series dealing with someone with terminal illness or is someone gentle and kind and softspoken and lembik always has that character being frustratingly optimistic when they're not. This is especially so when they're dying and yet refused to tell and forbid anyone to tell their loved ones he or she is dying until the very last moment, I suspect for dramatic value. It depends on how you see it, because telling and not telling is both good and bad but in this case for poor Shixuan who waited for his mom to come home for so many years, not telling is more cruel than telling him. After all he has such little time left with her and he had too little memory to go by if she just drop dead so by telling him he could have had more time with her and more memory.
But none is worse than the repetition in this series. Stabbing seems to be the favourite dramatic moment, so we have 3 stabbing. The only character that wasn't stabbed, or rather the actor that wasn't stabbed was Fann Wong. Then there was 2 bankruptcies. There was 3 kidnapping, all involved the unlucky Jeanette Aw (sometimes as Xinhui, then Xinyu, then Xinhui again) and countless visits to the police station. After watching many Singaporean series, I came to the conclusion that Singapore's police force is pretty useless. Most of the time they seem incompetent, they never caught the rapist, kidnapper, criminal. They seem to view all police reports like sign here, we will investigate and then they just disappear. There seem to be at least one kidnapping per series, one attempted rape per every few episodes and some other criminal activity which is always solved by the characters and not the police. Same with this series.
Then there was this major boo-boo that I feel rank the same as the grammar problem in Triumph In The Skies or the major boo-boo by Moses Chan in Dance Of Passion with regards to the name Song Tung Yeung. When Fann Wong was Xinyu, she narrated the show, we often hear her thoughts. Jeanette Aw as Xinhui was silent in this. So when Xinyu was in Xinhui's body, who should narrate the show as she was speaking Xinyu's thought? The series had Jeanette Aw taking over the narrating part whilst we do hear Fann Wong speaking in her own mind as Xinhui in Xinyu's body. But that to me is a major mistake. By having Jeanette speaking as Xinyu, it confused me to no end because a viewer should be reminded that Xinyu is now in Xinhui's body so although she may look like Xinhui, dress like Xinhui or even have Xinhui's career, she is still Xinyu as her soul. Therefore the voice should have been Fann Wong. But by not adhering to this rule of continuity, sometimes the viewers may just forget Xinhui is Xinyu. Of course one would hope that the performance itself will distinguish between the two but frankly I don't think so. The voice in Xinyu's head should have been Fann Wong even if she looked like Jeanette Aw.
I must also mention the lack of budget for this series. Because when you keep using the same scene again and again and again, it just means you lack budget or imagination. Those flashback scenes with Shixuan and mom can do with so much more, to explain to us why Shixuan so desperately wants to find his mom because he has such great memories with her and yet at all times to show her love for him, we see her climbing a tree to retrieve a kite, the kite got damaged, they repaired it and that heart breaking moment where Shixuan saw his mom mopping the floor again and again due to her depression over his father's many adulterous affair and that scene where he returned to see his mom being led away by police and he ran after the police car, which was the last time he saw her as a child. One time is pitiful, second time is still sad but every other episode, everytime Shixuan remembers his mom it is those bloody scenes again, especially that climbing tree to retrieve kite scene. Can't they show more? Like when he was a baby? Like when he was in school? Like when he was potty training? Something else please but not that same darn tree and kite! And why was she led away in a police car? The series never explained what happened when Shixuan was drowning and being rescued by Xinyu and then he returned to find his mom kinda arrested. I mean she had her hands handcuffed. Did she attacked the father? Did she went berserk? No explanation at all. Just like that scene where suddenly Shixuan knew Xinyu is Xinyu when she was in Xinhui's body.
But it was the repetition in the last 2 episodes that had me in total boredom; Xinyu doubting herself, again and again and again. Everybody kept telling her to confront Shixuan but she never did. In fact it was he who tried again and again to win her heart, to convince her. If someone needed that much convincing, maybe she is not worth it because everytime you stand next to a pretty girl, there she goes again, that "I am so ugly" pity mode. It would have been nice to show Xinyu actually took Jing Jing's advice to heart and confront Shixuan and confess her love instead of his falling into the lake (thanks to Jing Jing) and she saving him again like she did many years before, intercut between both scenes only for her to discover that the lake was very shallow and he was play acting. Boring! So TVB you know. Why can't she be the one to run to him, why can't she tell him she loves him and why can't she herself see beyond her own birthmark on her face because Shixuan certainly did. I was bored to tears with these scenes and frustratingly it ended with a hug instead of a much anticipated kiss. At this point I find Anxiang and Xinhui a much more interesting pair.
In fact Xinhui is the juicier character, whether Xinhui as Xinhui or Xinhui as Xinyu even if Xinyu had a big red mark on her face. Xinyu as Xinyu and Xinhui as Xinyu was simply boring and without personality. I like Xinhui as Xinyu, who seems to have more personality and who actually went through a big change; she became a better person and Fann Wong in this respect gave a fantastic performance, especially those scenes when she was really malicious, vengeful and remorseful. Every emotions registered on her face was full of expression and I really thought she had improved even much more in her performance, daring not just to go ugly physically but ugly in her persona. That is a breakthrough.
As for Jeanette Aw, she too faced the same problem as Fann Wong. Maybe Xinyu is such a boring character since I find her so much more interesting as Xinhui rather than Xinyu. However I must compliment her on her performances as both characters with polar opposites in temperament and behaviour although I see very little of Fann Wong in Jeanette. But who cares? As long as they both can act even if not as each other, I am fine with it.
I must question though; if Xinyu has that mark on her face AND is fat, would Shixuan have loved her? I mean no disrespect to fat people since I am one of them, I always find men would choose a slim but ugly girlfriend rather than a fat but facially normal girlfriend. And when it is Fann Wong even with a big red mark, who wouldn't want her? I must say, Jeanette is pretty, very star like and I like her outfits very very much. Problem is this; when Xinhui is Xinyu, Xinyu still dress as dowdy, but lesser with more girly clothes. When Xinyu was Xinhui, she suddenly knew how to dress. It would have been more consistent to show them trying to adjust to each other's fashion sense, especially Xinyu as Xinhui would have had difficulties in dressing herself nicely since she is not used to such stuff whilst Xinhui as Xinyu would want to dress like her former self without thinking how un-Xinyu like she was. But none. No such scene. They seem to adjust to each other's wardrobe so well it was a miracle.
I guess this was because halfway through this series the focus shifted. I was surprised that Shaun Chen had so much scenes in this series that it was less about Switched but more about Shixuan. Even Anxiang had less scenes than Shixuan. Whilst I love Shaun Chen, the pace of the story suffered. That being said Shaun Chen gave a very good performance in this series, especially when his mother was very sick and he was crying or when he saw a very calm Xinhui without knowing that wasn't the Xinhui he knew. His eyes registered disbelief, hurt and rejection and to me if an actor can register more than 2 emotions at the same time in his eyes without changing his facial muscle, that's good enough for me.
See! I too have changed. I expected less, and gained so much more. What wisdom I could impart on all viewers and this come from years of training by watching TVB series and their declining quality. That being said expecting nothing would be better, then you will be amazed how much you can gain. Even that when I was expecting nothing, certain series and performances could still leave be traumatised by its total lack of quality so it shows how had that series or performance was.
Not that Switched was that bad. It was one of those better TV series that I have seen, but perhaps I was speaking more from my affection for the 2 main stars rather than the series itself. I even grow to like Terence Cao as Anxiang, an actor I always thought had this shifty eyes look, that purse his lips to look innocent when it just made him look even more like some sex offender. I find his performance ok lar. I never quite like him so that may have been a biased appraisal.
Julian Hee, I think that's his name as Hansheng is I must say quite good. I mean he is handsome isn't he? In fact dreamily handsome with his eyes permanently wet-ish like as if Eye Mo is his favourite thing in the world and he has such a devilish smile but acting wise, especially the "I am mad" look in the end was a bit forced. And I find his characterisation so weird because when Shixuan was stabbed, as best friend Hansheng was nowhere to be seen. But that is characterisation problem and I suppose the ending had some bearing as to Hansheng's true character which will explain why he was missing when Shixuan was lying on the hospital bed. Anyway decent performance, very handsome dude and tall too.
Lin Meijiao as Shixuan's mother, Peiting is quite ok. I mean she has always consistently give good performances that after a while it becomes rather stagnant, like she has stopped improving since she is so much better than everyone else. But I find her character annoying as I have explained above.
The rest of the cast was ok, although the older generations were not exceptionally better than the younger ones, surprisingly. I find the ensemble performances in here average with one or two fantastic performances or rather fantastic moments of performances.
Good series with decent performances but in the end to me strictly for fans of Shaun Chen, Fann Wong and Jeanette Aw. Especially for fans of Shaun Chen who will have this inner deep satisfaction knowing that with Fann Wong and Jeanette Aw as co-stars and love interest and a huge amount of screentime, Shaun Chen has finally broken away from the jinx of the past and is moving upwards again, although his character may be a tad boring.
At MediaCorp with plenty of pictures, videos and interviews.
I am very happy to note that Shaun Chen's career is picking off again. After viewing the MedisCorp website, he has once again been given juicy roles that will challenge him and he even gets to act both in Malaysia and in Singapore. He looks well too, buff and handsome although he can do with a decent haircut. So what more can I say? Talent triumphs? When can I see him in a proper Cantonese drama? After all he speaks fluent cantonese. I wonder...I wonder.... Anyway I won't get to see him in latest series since I am not interested in locally produced series and those in Singapore....don't know where to get them unless it is a torrent file and even that is difficult to find. Alas...what a fan to do?