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Written by Bridget Au


"Aside from the incredibly annoying acting and characters, it would definitely be the childish antics meant to be funny. Some of them are funny if you’re in a silly mood, but to me it was definite overkill and most of it was forced."

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Chinese Title
“Ngor Dik Ye Maan Lai Lai” (translates to my unreasonable mother-in-law)

No. of episodes
20

Theme song
Sung by Myolie Wu and Liza Wang

Cast
Liza Wang Ming Chuen as Seuk Lan Gak Gak
Myolie Wu Hang Yee as Tin Lik
Bosco Wong Jung Jak as Mao Chun / Mo Ming Yan
Shek Sau as Mao Chun’s father
Lam Suet as Mao Chun’s grandmother (paternal)
Christine Ng Wing Mei as Hao Hao
Eileen Yeow Ying Ying

Foreword
This series sparked intense headlines all across Hong Kong entertainment media as soon as it was released, from rumours of Myolie and Bosco becoming a couple, to Liza Wang telling everyone who cared that Myolie was the one young TVB actress with the most potential, to Kenix Kwok probably losing half of her older fan population by dissing Liza Wang right before the TVB awards that year. Then there are the reviews… people singing praises about this series as if it were the most wonderful thing that they had ever encountered, to coming just short of pronouncing Liza Wang a deity for her performance in this series. But you know, there is always that one dissenting voice. And I am that dissenting voice. Oh, I am so proud.

Plot
I don’t want to waste my breath retelling the storyline because it is really basic. So here is the story in two paragraphs or less: Mama’s boy Mao Chun is accidentally set up with gang thief’s daughter Tin Lik in an arranged marriage – he was supposed to marry some nobleman’s daughter. Mao Chun’s mother, Seuk Lan Gak Gak is furious and tries to make life hell for the uneducated, loud-mouthed Tin Lik and the latter does the same with or without provocation. It does not help when the young couple actually do fall in love with each other as Mao Chun is constantly torn between the two women in his life. The marriage is further strained when his mother schemes to have him take a second wife, when she herself becomes infuriated when after discovering that her husband made a promise to an ex-lover to go back and marry her.

The immature catfight between the two women dissipates as ‘tragedy’ ensues – Mao Chun is framed for murder as his family unites to clear his name. Yippie doo dah.

Comments
You know, it took me a good 5 episodes to even see through Liza Wang’s 10 layers of foundation (and she still looked unbelievably old with all her wrinkles and lines) so I apologize if I’m the only one who’s not going to rave about her performance here. Over-makeup aside, I just cannot fathom the 60-year old Liza in a ‘spoiled princess’ role. Educated, classy, royal – fine, Liza Wang can do this. But is her character classy/elegant? She was supposed to be, and she claimed to be throughout the first half of the series because she was a ‘princess’ and all (let’s all conveniently forget the fact that her status only comes from the fact that she’s a distant cousin of the Empress and not at all biologically related to the Emperor) – but everything from the way she spoke to the things she did towards Tin Lik proved otherwise. This character and Liza Wang’s overacting is a big reason why this series was a pain to watch. Oh, and let’s remember that her character knows surprisingly little and acts unbelievably childish for someone who’s supposed to be of the aristocratic class. Useless, classless character.

And then comes Myolie Wu as Tin Lik. I love Myolie, I really do. She is a truly gifted dramatic actress but let’s just say that comedy is not her thing. She irked me to no end as the loud-mouthed, rude, uneducated Tin Lik. Tin Lik is supposed to be a likeable, Xiao-Yan-Zhi type of character who is loud, impulsive, but genuine and warm and I’m sorry, Myolie’s performance does not do it justice. Why? Because when she speaks in this series, her whole face moves. Eyes, mouth, nose, ears, and head as a whole all roll around and jerk from side to side. Overdone, viciously annoying performance that can only be rivalled by Liza Wang’s. And her character is stupid and useless as well. I am sure plenty of people found her cute. I didn’t.

Bosco Wong foreshadows his success and shows great potential in this series, but can you imagine having Mao Chun as a husband? What a passive, wimpy, useless mama’s boy! I think I would have strangled him to death first before I strangled his mother, that’s how useless he is.

Like son like father. Shek Sau’s Fung was a wimp of a husband as well. This series is full of useless people, including the gossipy in-laws/relatives.

Let’s not even get to the ‘veteran’ actress who plays Shek Sau’s mother/Liza Wang’s mother-in-law. Her name escapes me at the moment (it’s something like Suet Lei or Lei Suet…something with Suet in it) but frankly I do not care – except I do have to thank this actress because at this moment, weeks after watching this series, I am STILL laughing at how bad she was.

Christine Ng gives the one tolerable performance in here as the soft-spoken, gentle Hao Hao. Everyone else was ok but forgettable.

The Negative
Aside from the incredibly annoying acting and characters, it would definitely be the childish antics meant to be funny. Some of them are funny if you’re in a silly mood, but to me it was definite overkill and most of it was forced.

The Positive
It was better than Healing Hands III.

To Watch or Not To Watch, That is the Question
Watch for the hype, or if you’re like me and wanted to jump on the bandwagon to see just how great this series was and then regretted it.

Rating


Through the Grapevine
Bosco and Myolie, as stated in the foreword, were thrust into the paparazzi spotlight as the hottest young TVB rumoured couple of the moment after this series was aired – are they actually together? I personally think so but TVB frowns upon their artists publicizing their real-life relationships.

The Kenix-Liza war that raged in the TVB awards of the year began when both were considered hot nominees for the Best Actress award – Kenix because out of the Big Sisters of TVB (Ada Choi, Jessica Hsuan, Gigi Lai, Maggie Cheung), she is the only one to not have won the award yet, and Liza Wang simply because she is TVB’s most powerful woman. In a press interview, Kenix mentioned that Liza should be given the Lifetime Achievement Award (previously given to veterans such as Law Lan and Chung King Fai). Liza was rather offended, responding that she wasn’t yet of age to receive that award. So followed a flurry of negative press for Kenix, and probably destroyed the poor woman’s “turn” for the award for the next 10 years. I feel bad for Kenix, I believe her when she said that the comment was out of respect and that it was taken entirely out of context. Not that she deserved the Best Actress Award either – oh yeah, Liza won it (surprise, surprise).

Fans of this series (unlike me), take heart – TVB is already planning a sequel à la Square Pegs – Life Made Simple… in other words, a sequel set in modern times, tentatively named “Ngor Dik Ye Maan Sum Poh”, which, predictably, translates to my unreasonable daughter-in-law.

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