Ba Ba Pai Ngai. You can translate as the troubles that befall the fathers but to be more poetic, I thought The Troubles Of Fatherhood is a better translation.
Bobby Au Yeung as Man Tin Chi
Yoyo Mung as Kam Mei Juen, Amy
Ha Yu as Ko Chi Tim
Wong Hei as Ko Ching
Tavia Yeung Yi as Law Sei Hei, Joey
Halina Tam as Ching Yuk See
Jacky Wong as Man Tin Hang, Jimmy
Chris Lai as Lui Ka Sing
Evergreen Mak as Lui Ka Chai
Anne Heung as unknown
Unknown as Marco
Bak Yin as unknown
Unknown as Ko Pui Pui
Unknown as Old Mr Lui
Unknown as Old Mrs Lui
June Chan as unknown
If you know the names of those listed as Unknown, please do tell so that I can complete the list above. Thanks.
Ok, the plot is full spoilers although I hid some of the spoilers at the end. BUT the comments section is FULL OF SPOILERS as well so if you don't plan to know, better skip.
TC is a market research manager whose company handles the portfolio for a supermarket managed by the efficient and thrifty Amy. Although Amy is her client officially, they're also very good friends as both shares an unbreakeable bond and closeness. Amy has been dating Ka Chai for many years and Ka Chai is the CEO of the Lui company, established by his old father many years before but now semi retired except for his involvement in a small meatball factor called Mui Kei Meatballs. Ka Chai runs his family with an iron fist, always reprimanding his lazier and bitchy younger sister and a laidback baby brother, Ka Sing who has no aim in life. On the appearance they seem to listen to their old father but the old father agrees more than often with the more controlling mother.
Whilst Amy is happily dating her perfect Ka Chai, TC is looking for his "Dae Jang Geum" to his "Officer Man". After a few mistakes, he meets Anne Heung's character, an independent beautiful woman who is as much into him as he is into her. They starts a relationship and is blissful with just the two of them, having much enjoyment in life, more so when TC had to resign from his job to save face when rumours had it he had found a better job with Ka Chai's company eventhough it may have been true, TC didn't want to leave although he was in a way played out by his much schemier boss, Marco.
So TC took time off to go to art classes and planned a long holiday with his girlfriend. He has already decided she was the one he would settle for after having to go through a sudden divorce that broke his heart some 8 years before when his wife suddenly left and she refused to return his calls due to a meddlesome mother in law. It was through friends some time later he found out his wife had died of cancer and his mother in law did not bother to inform him and to that TC was quite bitter he didn't have a chance to say goodbye or to pay his respects.
TC also went in search and found his godfather, a man he loves like his own father, Uncle Tim and TC was overjoyed to have met Uncle Tim again. After a minutes babysitting an obnoxious boy brought by Amy (a relative of Ka Chai) who loves children, TC and Anne realised they could not handle a child in their lives at this moment when they became exhausted running after the naughty boy. However something would happen to change TC's perceptions.
Whilst TC was ready for the holiday, a knock on the door revealed the reemergence of his ex mother-in-law who swiftly announced that she was planning to marry her American honey and that she would no longer be able to take care of her 7 or 8 year old grandson, Jimmy who is TC's son. TC was so shocked by the revelation he didn't believe it and secretly did a DNA test which confirmed the bad news. TC blamed the appearance of Jimmy for causing chaos to his carefree and orderly life and Jimmy was sulking that he was abandoned by his flamboyant grandma. It took Uncle Tim to remind TC what was most important in life; getting to know your son before it was too late. This came from a personal observation as Uncle Tim has a very cold relationship with his only son, Ching.
Ching is everybit the devoted father that his father never had a chance to be. Married to a soft spoken secretary wife, See and blessed with an obedient beautiful 7 year old daughter, Pui Pui, Ching devoted his entire time, money and energy on Pui Pui, doing his best to be the best father for Pui Pui. As a result, Pui Pui is smart for her age, dressed very well, bathed in her father's love, is devoted to her father as her father was devoted to her so she was closer to him than See and See grew to become rather jealous of the attention given to Pui Pui and felt ignored as a wife. Ching being very cash strapped due to the many classes he enrolled his daughter in, even enrolling her in an expensive private school for the best education there is, rarely treated his wife to anything. However he realised that so one day he bought online a bracelet his wife wanted at a discounted price. The person selling is the very enterprising and hardworking Ah Sei who so happens to be the cousin of Amy, living with her as well. But due to a theft right under their noses, Ching who paid Ah Sei the money did not receive the goods and he pestered Ah Sei to return his money. Both became rather annoyed with one another although later Ah Sei realised Ching wanted the gift for his wife and after Ching quite gallantly helped her a few times, she decided to return the favour and get him a new bracelet of the same kind, although the thief was later caught selling the same bracelet to Ah Sei. Ah Sei grew to like Ching for his honesty and chivalry as well as his devotion to his daughter.
But See couldn't see that and one day she left Ching as she was having an affair with her boss who treated her well. She left Pui Pui with Ching and Pui Pui didn't realise it until she found out her father was the one who sent her I think a birthday card, pretending it was from her mother who basically never contacted her since. Pui Pui realised she'd rather have her father than her mother and accepted the things that is.
Uncle Tim took this opportunity to bond with his son as well as babysitting Pui Pui although he is employed as TC's nanny cum house maid looking after Jimmy. Uncle Tim did an excellent job taking care the ones he loved and he enjoyed his work as he is living with TC and TC lives opposite Ching. When Ching lost his job (earlier), it ws TC who gave him a job and because TC needed advice on how to approach his son, TC too in time became friendly with Ching whom he didn't like earlier for being cold to his father. Uncle Tim explained when Ching was very young, Uncle Tim left to Macau to work in a meatball shop, leaving his son with his wife. Some years later when he went to HK, he realised Ching was no longer a child and they both could not communicate with one another. Ching also blamed Uncle Tim for squandering off I think HKD50,000-00 due to gambling habit and never quite forgiven his father. Uncle Tim asked TC to understand why Ching treated him the way he was treated although to TC all these were minor problems. Whilst TC had problems with Jimmy, in time all things were smoothed over and TC began to bond with Jimmy. He even wanted to register Jimmy in the same school with Pui Pui who enjoys a close friendship with Jimmy.
Meanwhile Ah Sei was pursued by Ka Sing but Ah Sei didn't like the useless playboy who played many mean spirited tricks on her, each time she was saved or helped ultimately by Ching. Overtime Ah Sei realised she was in love with Ching but nobody seems to see the idea of Ah Sei and Ching together. Ching was oblivious, in his eyes only daughter mattered. But after one accidental kiss, Ah Sei confessed her love to Ching whio cautiously told her he would not be able to devote his time to her, as was what happened to See. Ah Sei didn't care, she knew no. 1 is Pui Pui and she would never compete with that. Much later Ching decided to give it a go and they began dating. But Ah Sei's mother who has lived in a small town all her life didn't like the idea of Ching, a divorced man with a daughter. She felt her daughter deserved better and so she opposed teh relationship. Uncle Tim who quite like Ah Sei's mom and they did get along became annoyed that anyone would not accept his perfect son that he too quarreled with Ah Sei's mom. Ah Sei stuck in the middle decided to announce she will be with Ching no matter what and Ah Sei's mom threw a tantrum and so Ah Sei is again stuck in the middle.
Meanwhile, Old Mr Lui, Ka Chai's father has spent his life looking for one woman and everytime he got close, his wife closes down on him and prevented him from doing so. But after some time he found the tombstone of that woman he was looking for and he was now looking for his long lost son, Ka Chuen. After some investigation, he realised TC was Ka Chuen. TC refused to reconcile with old Mr Lui and walked away. Old Mr Lui knew he owed TC some explanation.
Many years before in Macau, TC was a young boy whose mother was a maid and could afford very little luxury. He knew he had a father, and remembered fondly the tick tock sound of his father's old watch which he loved to lean his ears to everytime his father took him hand in hand for a walk. But even when he made himself very sick, his father never appeared. Her mother tearfully and angrily said his father would never see them again and they would never see them again too. They moved and lived in near poverty. TC hated his father since for abandoning them and in his mind, he thought his father had a second family in HK. Meanwhile his mother changed his name from Lui Ka Chuen to Man Tin Chi. TC one day was very hungry and came across a meatball shop. He was very poor and could only afford a bowl of nooddles. The seller was Uncle Tim who took pity on him and made him a big bowl of noodle with many beef meatballs, each carved with smiley faces. TC was so grateful for this and felt so happy, for the next few years he began his frequent visits to Uncle Tim shop that after a while he called Uncle Tim his godfather. But one day he returned there to find Uncle Tim missing and only found him many decades later. So he felt closer to Uncle Tim than his own father and when he found out old Mr Lui is his father he could not accept it although he was the research manager for Mr Lui's Mui Kei factory.
Uncle Tim knew how difficult it was for someone to lose out on a loved one and so he secretly took Jimmy to meet old Mr Lui who even made a phone call and Jimmy did not even have to attend interviews to score a place at Pui Pui's prestigious school. Jimmy was very excited but when TC found out who helped him, he said no and went on to find another school. Jimmy was so upset they argued and tempers flared, TC spanked Jimmy on the buttocks. At the same time old grandma came back to visit Jimmy and seeing Jimmy being spanked, grandma wanted to take Jimmy back to the US and Jimmy agreed. Uncle Tim scolded TC for his stubborness and even Amy agreed TC went overboard and after a while on the day Jimmy was to leave, TC realised he could not leave his son and wanted to I think rush to the airport to stop Jimmy. Meanwhile Jimmy realised he was being unreasonable too and he didn't want to leave his father and in the end his grandma took him back to TC who was overjoyed to see Jimmy. In the end TC relented and agreed to let Mr Lui to help and Jimmy finally got to go to the school he wants.
TC too was on the mend with his father although not very smoothly. But all hell broke loose when the wife found out and in one angry encounter, TC found out his father didn't leave because of a second family. He and his mother was the second family and that his mother became guilt ridden as a mistress decided to sever all ties with his father. He could no longer bring himself to blame Mrs Lui and even felt ashamed at his real status. He didn't blame Mr Lui too as he knew Mr Lui loved his mother and moreover Mr Lui was very old and fragile and so he took Uncle Tim's advise to get to know Mr Lui even when insulted, prevented and humiliated by Mrs Lui and the vindictive Ka Chai.
At this time Amy was pregnant and was trying out a wedding dress when she found out Ka Chai was having an affair with the wedding planner. Angrily she broke off the relationship but for the sake of the baby wanted to forgive Ka Chai when suddenly she had a miscarriage. Ka Chai wanted her back and she almost relented until she found out it was to save face since the invitations have been sent rather than actually loving her. So Amy broke it off for good. The Lui family cursed her and said awful things about Amy but old Mr Lui knew better and he maintained a friendly relationship with Amy. Meanwhile Amy after being comforted by TC began to fall for him. Ka Chai was so jealous and angry at the emergence of a bastard brother who now was dating his ex fiancee, he went all out to destroy TC, and wanted to charge TC when TC punched him only to be stopped by old Mr Lui when Mrs Lui told Ka Chai to listen to the father because Mr Lui had only 6 months to live. When Ka Sing was given the task to run the meatball factory which he took with enthusiasm as he wanted to how he wasn't useless, Ka Chai went overboard with destroying the factory because he wanted Ka Sing to be forever useless. Ka Sing asked for TC's help and in the process recognised TC as his brother. When Mr Lui lay dying, Ka Sing was on the way back from China factory, the daughter was missing and Ka Chai chose to go to a meeting rather than to see his dying father. Alone and childless at that moment, Mr Lui cried tears of sadness as Mrs Lui looked on. Ka Sing called TC to tell him and although Ka Chai did not let TC to visit Mr Lui in fear of change of will, TC came with Jimmy and Mrs Lui did not protest and let Mr Lui die a peaceful death with his son and grandson by his side. TC promised to take care of Mui Kei Meatball Factory, whose namesake was actually TC's mother.
The 3 siblings inherited the fortune but TC didn't have any. Ka Sing was very angry when he found out Ka Chai put Mui Kei on sale. TC tried to prevent it but Mrs Lui refused to help when she found out Mui Kei was TC's mom. Ka Chai told TC to pay him a price he quoted and everyone, from Amy to Uncle Tim to even Ka Sing all paid out the money to raise the sum. But TC knew better and got a 3rd party to purchase the business for him and true enough Ka Chai rather sell cheaper to someone else than let TC win but TC got the factory and Ka Chai was determined to destroy the factory.
So what happens to everybody? Must stop now before the ultimate spoilers. If you really wanna know, highlight from [ to ].
[Meanwhile See came back and revealed she lost her baby and her husband who died in a car accident and since she is now barren, she wanted to take back Pui Pui to America. Ching naturally refused until See dropped a bombshell; Pui Pui was not his biological daughter. She was already pregnant when she suddenly agreed to marry him. Ching was devastated but then Uncle Tim also dropped a bombshell; Ching was adopted! Ching's mom I think died during childbirth or something and his father was too poor to keep him and since Uncle Tim and wife couldn't have children, they were given Ching. But sometime later Ching's father came back and threatened to reveal the truth if Uncle Tim didn't pay him. So Uncle Tim ended up selling his shop and despite the wife's protest, gave the money to that man. It was the money Ching thought he gambled away. Then Uncle Tim had to leave home to work in Macau to earn money and he said to himself "If I knew I would have not been able to see you grow up, I'd rather be poor and stay back because at least we have each other, our family." Ching realised he had misunderstood his father and his father truely loved him, rather that he thought ill of him than telling him the devastating truth. And so he begged for his forgiveness and Uncle Tim asked "So about Pui Pui, are you going to just give up? She is your daughter!". Ching consulted with some lawyers and was told he had a chance to fight the custody and so he told See that and See said "see you in court then". Moreover, Pui Pui refused to go. But in the end Ching didn't want to drag Pui Pui into the court battle and reveal the truth to her and so he decided to pack up and move to US with Pui Pui and work in See's father's restaurant as a chef. When Ah Sei found out and wasn't even told until Ching was breaking it off with her, Ah Sei mused that if she had been given a choice she would have gone with him to US too and so Ah Sei broke off the relationship and walked away. Ching left and TC agreed to take good care of Uncle Tim who gave Ching his blessings. But Uncle Tim was sad and TC proposed to Uncle Tim that from thereon if Uncle Tim agrees, TC will call Uncle Tim father and Jimmy will be his grandson. Uncle Tim felt happy at last.
Business was bad for Mui Kei. Everytime Mui Kei did something, Ka Chai followed the same suit and even sold beef meatballs. When TC used Uncle Tim's smiley faced meetball ideas, Ka Chai stole the idea and sold the meatballs at a lost. TC was at an end trying to keep up. One night Jimmy was stricken with fever and was rushed to the hospital by Uncle Tim and I think Amy. Jimmy was alright but suddenly Uncle Tim collapsed and he had a stroke or a heart attack or something and had to be operated on. He went into coma and TC felt guilty for neglecting Uncle Tim. Ching rushed back and felt bad too. Even Pui Pui and See came back. But Uncle Tim was in a coma for weeks and then months. TC began to write in his online blog the story of the smiley faced meatballs, Uncle Tim and the struggle with Mui Kei Meatball Factory and along the way garnered a cult following. The publicity that follows thanks to the local papers gave Mui Kei an edge over Ka Chai's meatball company and so Ka Chai lost in sales. Unwilling to admit failure he wanted to do worse but suddenly the police from the Commercial Fraud dept came and arrested him for fraud or insider trading, one of which and that was the last we hear of him.
Meanwhile Ah Sei falls for Ka Sing who actually secretly funded the publication of her own comic book and when Ah Sei saw the change in him and also realised her love for Ching is over when he saw Ah Ching and felt nothing, Ah Sei decided to give Ka Sing a chance.
Ching and See reunited whilst Jimmy accepts Amy as potential mummy and the last we see of her Amy was married to TC and was pregnant.
Uncle Tim finally wakes up and much the shock of many, Uncle Tim lost all of his memories. Knowing very well Uncle Tim's greatest regret was never having spent time with Ching during his childhood, everybody told a lie; that Uncle Tim never left for Macau and stayed, for better or for worse at Ching's side and met TC as well. So Uncle Tim felt he was the happiest man alive being surrounded by his 2 sons, 2 grandchild and many friends and concluded whatever riches one may have, nothing beats family.
How long was it that I have sat down properlt to watch a TVB series from start to end? How long was it that when I had to miss 3 episodes of a TVB series that I felt I have missed out so much and even reluctant to go on a long overdue holiday? In fact how long was it that a TVB series actually awakens the fan in me and enjoyed the series very very much? Very long I must admit, so long I can't remember when was the last series I felt in anyway that TVB have impressed me. Truth is TVB hasn't been impressing much these days, choosing long windedness over brevity, beating around the bush rather than just show it as it is and getting the cast right for the right roles. When I saw the trailers for Fathers And Sons starring 2 of my favourite actors, I felt I had to watch it, even if my somewhat last encounter with Bobby Au Yeung was in that idiotic and disastrous Forensic Heroes.
Fathers and Sons does not pretend to be any dramatic series or any series with any gimmicks. You may call the child actors gimmicks but some may find them exceedingly annoying since children act differently from adults, as they well should. It is a simple family drama about relationships. Nothing complicated and in the end you will realise the idea that is presented by Fathers and Sons, the meaning of family does not really stem from a blood related real father and son relationship. It could be a feeling and I think no other series could be a better example of this idea than than this series.
We have always seen how loving mothers are. We have seen how mothers are willing to sacrifice for their children, that they can raise the children singlehandedly. The one good publicity for fathers is Finding Nemo. This series isn't about sacrificing by mothers or even parents. Truth is the series begins with abandonement in various degree. TC was abandoned as a child by his father Mr Lui. Ching was somewhat reluctantly abandoned by his father Uncle Tim as a child. Interestingly both men were raised by perhaps strong mothers. Both men shared a negative view of their fathers. Both fathers came back to make amends realising perhaps they may be too late, but the bond between a child and a parent, whether biological or otherwise is so strong in the end things do work out for those who are sincere in their approach. Both old men were sincere, and ready to make amends. Then the next generation realised they too have something to learn about fatherhood and how to approach it. TC learns he has a son he doesn't know and through no fault of his he never spent much time in his son's early years but he is still young as Uncle Tim said, there is still time to make amends and to forge a bond. At times Jimmy felt he was abandoned by his grandmother and later on when TC was having a relationship with Amy, he felt he was again abandoned by TC. But TC picked up on that and even as a novice father he knew instinctively children needs time to adjust, a little bit more tact, a little bit more love and a little bit of reasoning will help things. It also helps Amy is gracious and genuinely likes Jmmy. Ching was too doting a father that he sacrificed his own happiness so much so his wife feeling neglected and left him. To everyone else Ching may have went overboard and one asks; "Ching, what about yourself? What about your needs?". It is very clear from the start Pui Pui's needs is his needs, her happiness is his happiness and luckily for him, Pui Pui feels the same. She is so close to the father that as long as her father was by her side, she is happy. She is indeed a daddy's girl.But the joke was Pui Pui isn't really his. Son when confronted by that revelation by a selfish ex-wife, he felt he had no part in Pui Pui's life and it took his father who in turn confessed he wasn't his bioligical father to explain to Ching that even if had no part in bringing the child into the world, he was the only father she had ever known. He loved her so much that again he neglected his girlfriend Ah Sei who left him for good. Sometimes again you willm wonder, "Ching, what about you??". But what you will understand in the end is Pui Pui is him and he is Pui Pui and you can't draw the line between the two. They may not be related biologically but whoever she is or will become is because of him.
I find these two characters fascinating and both guiding each other in their quest to be good fathers. Uncle Tim is also a great character that pushes things along and acts as their conscience and their guide. Uncle Tim is a happy man but then he chose to be happy. To just be able to be by his son's side is his entire happiness defined even if Ching was cold to him at first. TC who despite all his hardships grew into a respectful man who in turn treats Uncle Tim with such respect that sooner or later you know he will call Uncle Tim his father. Their closeness, Uncle Tim and TC is a perfect example of how one simple kindness to a boy in need of a role model helps mold TC into a reasonable responsible loving man in his own way. Ching not having his father at his formative years turned out pretty good himself.
Seriously there is no villain in here, except for Lui Ka Chai who is a caricature and should be ignored. A bitterly angry man, even when he had money, wealth, fortune, he felt bitter and was unexplained why he was bitter but you can guess that perhaps like all of us in real life, if we were to know our fathers fathered illegitimate children out there, you too will just feel this overwhelming anger, the need to degrade them and to crush these pariahs. I understood his feelings, even if in the end his actions were really the worst written story in recent TVB series' history, apart from the saintness of certain characters in Drive Of Life. In fact, of all the characters in Drive Of Life I hated Sau Foong the most because her character is the most ridiculous and unrealistic of all. In that sense Lui Ka Chai is as unrealistic and ridiculous and the way he do business is like throwing money into water because as he like to shout "I HAVE MONEY! I CAN EASILY MAKE THEM IN THE STOCK MARKET!!". Even before his end, I kinda guessed his downfall will either be losing all money and killing himself or getting arrested for insider trading, also a concept so alien in the big business world invented in Drive Of Life. One wonders why resort to such gimmicky way to show a villain? Fathers And Sons already have a very strong premise, there is no need to go all ridiculous all of a sudden.
Luckily the series was saved by really strong characters that have good and bad characteristics.
Old Mrs Lui is a bitter old woman. She lost to the mistress and she was really mean so that she was bad. But her good side is she truly loved her cheating bastard husband. I mean Mr Lui is a bastard, let's be clear on that. He was married and he had a long term affair, even had a child. Mrs Lui is right to be angry and bitter and jealous. When TC realised he was the bastard child he quietened down and let Mrs Lui hurl the insults because he somewhat realised his mother knew what she was getting into. His mother wasn't noble but it was love. And yet when Mr Lui was dying, crying he didn't have a son by his side, Mrs Lui didn't even utter a complain when TC and Jimmy went to his side and TC was actually grateful to her. They said farewell and when Mrs Lui said to him not to come to the funeral and he could pay his respects at the grave later, TC actually agreed. No fighting, no like "I AM HIS SON TOO!!". In some ways TC knew his mother and old Mr Lui owed her this much of dignity because as Mrs Lui found out in the end, she was the loser. Why? Mr Lui kept TC mom's pic in the safe and tried his best to maintain Mui Kei Factory, named after TC's mom, something Mrs Lui only knew at the end since that name, Mui was a petname. Mrs Lui cried "I tried to stop them from seeing each other, all I have ever done and in the end I am the loser. I have lost, he still loved her after all this years". This does not mean she accepted TC's mom or the fact that she played a big part in Mr Lui's life but rather this was the cry of a bitter woman who knew whatever she had done was pointless. She never really had her husband's heart all those years ago and in some way I pitied her.
Mr Lui was a bastard. Did I mention that? But then he was a dying bastard. He seems such a nice fellow. I thought at first he married TC's mom and then went to HK and married a rich man's daughter. Nope. He was poor when he first married Mrs Lui, perhaps later he met TC's mom who was his true love. He couldn't leave Mrs Lui so when he came back and didn't go back to Macau, probably because he was prevented from doing so, perhaps TC's mom felt anger that she cut off communication or perhaps as TC said she felt ashamed as well because she knew he was married and she was the 3rd party. Not really explained in the series and is one of the big loophole in the series.
The old in this series seem pretty fragile and all of them seems to have some mistakes to atone to. However the young women are all quite impressive except for Ka Chai's sister who is useless.
Amy is one impressive woman. She is capable, intelligent, calm and strong. She has her moments but overall she is a good friend and a great girlfriend. She thought Ka Chai was perfect until she realised she wasn't and she did cry over a cake but in the end after all the crying she picked up the pieces and simply move on. She even later mused "I wonder how I could ever have fallen in love with that jerk Ka Chai" which is perhaps in all her life her one moment of bad taste.
Ah Sei is also one impressive woman, one whom will grow on you. She seems money minded at first but that is because she is hardworking, resourceful and very enterprising. She seems to have so much work, from selling on ebay to being an art teacher to even drawing comic books. What can't she do? What I like about her is she fell for Ko Ching. Who would fall for him anyway? But she did, big time. And when her mother and Uncle Tim tried to introduce girls to Ching, she felt frustrated that why no one ever considered her. Isn't she compatible with Ching? Truth is she isn't. Ko Ching is a good man, a quality she sees and also knows is a downfall since his goodness stems largely from the fact that he is a great father. He is also very chilvarous, rescuing her many times even when he didn't seem like it since he is quite effiminate. Never in my mind would I have connected the dots between these 2 and yet when she fell for him, it was an inspired storyline. To me she sees the good in him, the very same good that his wife have failed to see. She herself said "That wife of his definitely lost out a gem". And yet fantasy and reality is different thing. When Ko Ching wanted to break up with her to leave with Pui Pui to US without consulting her, he was surprised when she said "If you have asked me earlier, I would have leave for the US with you, I would have". That was how much she loved him. At that moment I felt Ko Ching didn't quite deserve this great woman because I didn't feel the same level of devotion. And then she said "But you have missed the chance. I always knew I would never be your first priority and I have never thought of replacing Pui Pui in your heart. I knew that but I never knew I would never be your 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th priority", which is true. His heart could only have Pui Pui in it and sadly Ching knew and Ah Sei finally realised that. This woman wasn't even asking to be the 1st, but what she wanted was a little corner in his heart but he couldn't give her and so rightly so she left him. Ching in my opinion will grow old alone or at least until Pui Pui grows up. Luckily for him his wife reunited with him in the end. Which is why I decided I didn't quite like this part of the story. I wanted Ching to learn from his mistakes with See, that he would find love with a formidable woman like Ah Sei. He deserves that and every woman deserves to be with the man they love, no conditions, no strings attached. But sadly the writers differed and in a shocking moment in this series, they parted ways. I actually thought they would end up together.
The one I genuinely hate and one who gives woman a bad name is See, the wife of Ching. Of course she felt neglected but her actions after leaving Ching and Pui Pui were to run away with her boss. Luckily for her her boss actually loved her and she got pregnant and asked Ching for divorce which he agreed. Fine. And then that woman came back, said no more baby, boyfriend died and guess what? She wants custody for a child she just pushed aside like some toy she didn't want. At this point I felt the writers should have gone all out and just show that this woman was insanely jealous of her own daughter. But then there is the reunion at the end so the story couldn't go all out. She even revealed Pui Pui wasn't his. That was terrible. What a selfish woman, she wanted the daughter back because she couldn't have any more children. And as if to discount all the love and affection poured into Pui Pui, the one statement like "She isn't your daughter" could as if wipe out all the love Ching felt for Pui Pui. She never thought of Pui Pui and to me that is one disgusting mother. There are many like this in real life. Interestingly when Ching decided to still fight for Pui Pui not out of spite but out of love and when he left for US with Pui Pui, ready for a compromise, surely See would realise now what a gem of a man she has. She did not marry him for love but out of desperation but now, this man was willing to do so much for a daughter he knew wasn't his surely this is a good man, surely that would be a basis to fall back in love with him. Curiously there was no reason or how they fell back, just Ching putting his arm over her shoulders and we kinda conclude yep, they're back together again. She doesn't seem thrilled though if you ask me.
The other backbone of this series is the children. Loads of them since there is a daycare centre and I must say, the girls are so cute! No doubt Jimmy is cute, way way way cute and what I like about this boy is yes he is stubborn, yes he can be quite rebelious sometimes but compared to the earlier devil brought home by Amy, Jimmy is essentially a good boy. He knew his father never abandoned him in the 1st place and so he was willing to work things out with TC. He drew, he bought him a mug, etc but it was TC that never quite caught on his well intention. So Jimmy was rightly moody and sulky. TC didn't really give good example you know. I like Jimmy like I said, nothing nasty about the kidd. Decent kidd. Also quite interesting that before he met TC again he already had good impression of him since his mom used to tell stories about how good TC is. If that seperation was as awful as TC said, why would ex Mrs Man sing him praises? I believe the mother in law was the instigator and that the mother was still very much in love with TC. By the way we never get to see her in flashbacks so I can't be sure.
So is Pui Pui a decent girl. Never a temper tantrum, never out of line, always respectful, certainly the work of a good father.
The children are mostly decent, the adults mostly respectful, the old ones most quite sympathetic. This series has got to be a series that is most encouraging about women, children and adults with impeccable manners.
The ending though may come as a shock to some. For one when I read that Uncle Tim losses his memory and they invented a new one for him, I thought what a lousy way to end a series. Many complained of this factor, saying it put a damper on Uncle Tim. Frankly I would think it is more feasible IF the memory loss is everything after Uncle Tim was contemplating to leave for Macau or not. A 100% memory loss is drastic, you're would be confused since Uncle Tim so old, how can he cope with decades of lost identity. You won't even recorgnise yourself and without a past you're basically empty vessel. But in light of everything I felt the ending was appropriate and it was funny too with the children joining in the made up reality for Uncle Tim. I felt it may not be realistic, it may not be perfect but after watching it, it works. The story is about family and Uncle Tim's regret at not having spent time with Ching during his formative years is in effect the core story of this series, which
is related to TC trying to bond with his son, why Ching is so reluctant to leave Pui Pui and etc. So I like the ending.
Now there were some grouses the way Mui Kei Meatballs became popular. Uncle Tim had loyal customers and there are people who remembers the feelings rather than the taste. Moreover there is a good moving story and so it is entirely possible how Mui Kei could survive the crisis. And a blog being read by total strangers is believable as well. I assume TC was writing at his MySpace page set to public. Believe me even with 0 publicity someone will always land on your website by way of the confusing search engines and keywords. To have that many readers in a matter of days or weeks is to me realistic. Quite a smart move too, incorporating favourite modern past time into the story. I mean blogging is hot you know.
Anyway some favourites;
Most Moving Scene
Ooooohhh the one where Ching got the DNA results and realise Pui Pui indeed isn't his. He sat down quietly and told Uncle Tim he would let Pui Pui go to US with See and Uncle Tim was like accusing him of abandoning her when suddenly he broke down and in huge drop of tears cried and said "She isn't mine" and kept on crying. Heart breaking. Imagine all you have done and she isn't even yours. Disgusting wife! And that scene also showcase the superiority of Wong He who is easily TVB's best male crier. That man can cry. Have you seen Burning Flame? His best performance todate and also the most heart breaking scene where he cried in the rain.
Almost As Moving Scene
When TC told Uncle Tim he wishes to call Uncle Tim his father and Jimmy will call him grandpa. That was when Uncle Tim was very lonely when Ching left.
Had to be the scene where TC scolded Jimmy for reading on his bed with one leg over the other, which he considered a bad sitting pose. Later when Jimmy passed TC's room, TC was in the same exact position reading his folders. What ensued was funny, with the boy practically calling him a hypocrite! Very funny scene.
The other funny one was the child devil brought by Amy that drove TC and his girlfriend to exhaustion.
Then there was Ah Sei, forever not the candidate in everybody's mind when they're thinking of finding Ching a girlfriend. Her reaction was hilarious.
Finally the one where TC and Ching fighting very politely to take care of Uncle Tim who was in coma at that time. Both his sons, both wanted to take care of him, taking responsibilities for failing him. It wasn't a very serious scene, it was quite funny actually.
Most Favourite Character
Even if Ah Sei hardly is in all the scenes, I felt her character is one amazing woman as I have explained above so I feel she is my most favourite character.
Most Hated Character
Ah See. I don't care she got back with Ching in the end. That's cliche. That's lazy, that's unimaginative.
TC and Amy is a great couple but rather boring but very respectful. Ching and Ah Sei is also a great couple but hardly do anything together and seems a bit like odd coupling. TC and Anne's character seems more like a couple, hugging, laughing. Don't have one favourite. Maybe Uncle Tim and TC. They are great together.
Best Employee Ever
Uncle Tim. Give him a raise also don't want. He even argued with TC about too much money paid! He is also a great babysitter, taking care of two children and also TWO adults, making soup, etc, giving good advice and even gave TC money for the Mui Kei business! Where can you find such a nanny?
Most Drastic Change
Probably you will say Ka Chai because he was nice at first and became such a fanatic crazy bastard. But seriously I saw it coming from 10,000 miles away. Who else to be the villain? Moreover this guy obviously liked the fact the siblings are useless, he even encouraged it because he wanted to control the business, so no competition. Selfish bastard.
You will probably also say Ka Sing since at first such a jerk and suddenly became such a determined young man who lack fashion sense since his favourite coat is trenchcoat-ish. But seriously I also saw that comig from 1,000 miles away.
My choice of most Drastic Change had to be Mrs Lui. Why? Can't you see? From the beginning consistently she would scream at TC "Bastard child!" and Jimmy "Bastard's bastard child" and I suspect any great grandchildren will fit the equation "bastard x 10 child". And yet she was the one who asked Ka Chai to stop suing TC and also let TC to pay final respect to Mr Lui. She even allowed him to be near Mr Lui's grave even if she wasn't there and to me that was like the most drastic change for that short moment of time. She didn't have to do that but she really loved Mr Lui.
A Character That Should Have Been A Villain
Old Mr Lui as explained.
What Happened To ...
That mistress of Ka Chai? That wedding planner I mean? Hmmmmm.... Also in the end what about Mrs Lui? Move to monastery and be as bitter as ever?
Do you think ...
Uncle Tim will remember his past you ask? Of course. He already had remnants of his old self in the end so I am sure given time he will remember.
Jimmy will marry Pui Pui? Probably, but then they're kinda like family right? I mean TC is calling Uncle Tim father and all...
The wardrobe. Ah Sei's fashion sense. Cool! And the dress that little Pui Pui wears. You could see the father pays good money to dress her but paid little for herself. Also Marco's suits and ties! The best cut there is isn't it? I love the attention to the fashion in this series, how TC dresses better than Ching but Marco dresses the best. I mean the suits and ties in here can trump any expensive Hollywood flick. Who designs the suits huh? And so colourful also, the ties I mean. They all looked great. How a devoted father would dress his princess beautifully and yet be frugal on himself. Notice how See dresses before and after the breakup. Still conservative but higher grade. Amy dresses down to Earth.
I must mention though the interior decoration of the apartments. TC's apartment is of course more modern single guy decorated whilst Ching's much simpler. But walk into Pui Pui's room and my God! You can see where the budget went. What a beautifully decorated room. This series paid a lot of attention to finer details, but not for all characters though.
I know the themesong was sung by Eason Chan but the song is terrible. The opening sequence is even more terrible and it went on and on and on until I thought it was gonna eat away the time for the episode proper. It just felt like a really long song and the beginning is simply boring. Of course this is a low budget series all things being considered but just to let you know, I didn't like the Drive Of Life opening sequence as well. Like I said boring.
Really Cool Stuff
Earlier episodes, Ching gave Pui Pui a watch that also works as a walkie-talkie. Very useful and good idea because the girl goes to a ladies toilet which Ching obviously can't enter. So when Pui Pui is delayed a bit, at least she can contact her father. Someone so young shouldn't use handphone but this walkie-talkie watch is the closest thing to it. It is also useful for looking for someone. Like when Ah Sei was locked in a big room or something by Ka Sing who played a mean trick on her, her handphone died out, Ching went to each floor. I was thinking how he would know which floor when at the right floor within a few metres I suppose his watch suddenly lit up, meaning there was a connection with the other one held held by Ah Sei. That was how he rescued her and believably she started to have a crush on him. Anyway awesome watch!
One performance surprised me which was Ha Yu. I mean that man has spent most of his scenes in 2 previous big time series as someone who grins too much. In here also the same but yet different effect. Here his Uncle Tim is really a jovial happy man that is not stretching the believability thread. His Uncle Tim gives me an impression he is a simple man who is genuinely happy even when he shouldn't be. I thought he brought charm to this character and especially like those little scenes like how offended he looked when someone actually thought his son wasn't good enough or said bad things about his godson. There is also dignity , integrity and ease in his demeanour in the way Ha Yu injected into Uncle Tim making Uncle Tim one of my most favourite old character of all times.
Another performance that surprised me was Wong He. I am his fan but I can't deny ever since he got famous he seems to have an inflated ego that kinda destroyed his acting. In many series he was terrible, like reading from a script or isn't natural. The feminine gesture in here are not natural, seems deliberate but he made do what he could. His best scenes were with the little girl and that scene where he cried his heart out. You could feel his pain. And fans of Ah Sei might hate him for being so daughter oriented but I felt Wong He balanced his character so well, I feel for him. I actually wanted him to end up with Ah Sei and still have his daughter. He really works great in the "devoted father" department and I felt so happy to see some of the old Wong He back, the underdog you know. I miss that Wong He. By the way at first he seems bloated I was shocked. How old he was I thought and as the series progressed I swear he got slimmer and his body toned a bit.
One other performance that I quite like is Yoyo Mung who gave her worst performance in Forensic Heroes where she was like a walking dead. Here she seems to pay more attention to what she was doing. She was sophisticated, mature, intelligent, elegant, independent.. she injected these characteristics into Amy that Amy becomes believable. I like Amy, a very strong woman and in one good scene, Yoyo was like crying her heart out over a cake crying to Bobby's TC "You get your own cake! Why must you eat my cake? Why must you always take my cake? I chose it, it is mine! Order your own cake" and this was right after she found out about the affair. That was a really good scene and Yoyo handled it well but at most times, or rather sometimes she does seem preoccupied, like she wasn't paying attention.
Tavia Yeung is excellent. Of course her role isn't much but for a secondary role she stood out. No need to be the lead all the time if you're going to be lousy, so better be memorable in a memorable character. I really like Ah Sei and I feel Tavia gave her a degree of feisty independent. I also like her well, kinda like chemistry with Wong He. I would have liked it if they hugged or kissed more. Frankly though Tavia doesn't look as feminine these days, probably too toned.
Bobby, Bobby, Bobby. BACK FROM THE DEAD! Ok, Forensic Heroes was terrible because of the script. Bobby Au Yeung in here shines. Great comic timing, great dramatic turn, expressive and great chemistry with little Jackie. Fantastic performance. And this man looks great in suits.
Halina Tam looked like she is sleepwalking. Which is why I didn't quite get her character. Too one tone, especially her voice.
Chris Lai is ok but I am getting bored with his "I am so panicking" kinda look.
Evergreen Mak is great as a villain even if his villain is ridiculous. This man can play almost any character, like Wayne Lai. I hope he gets his recognition one day but he should steer clear of crying scenes since he tends to sound whiny.
The old actor who played Mr Lui didn't surprise me. I thought he was awful in At The Threshold Of An Era but he was way way way younger there than he was now. What you expect? Gallen Lo left AND came back to TVB so just imagine how long ago that series was. Anyway still bad but not quite as awful. Too monotone for my taste and now too old to actually have an expression. Where is Chun Pui when you need him?
Jacky Wong is cute, can act but can be over the top cute that some may find what I call many cringe-worthy moments. But he is a kid with more expressions and emotions than most adult TVB actors so he is to me suitably cringe worthy in this series. Moreover he was very young then, so being very young he obviously and suitably had squeeky voice which like I said can be quite whiny at times. However as the series went on he got better, less whiny but still as dramatic in his performance. I wouldn't call him the best child actor since forever but he isn't but he is certainly one of the cutest. How can you not like him? But the best though is his chemistry with Bobby Au Yeung and Ha Yu. Not so much with everyone else but whenever he was with Bobby in the same scene, there's always some spark. They're believably father and son.
So is the girl acting as Pui Pui with Wong He. Not sure what's her name. In the first 10 episodes or so she seems rather wooden. Whilst Jacky is more dramatic and whiny sometimes, this girl is mature beyond her age and yes, wooden too. But as the series went along, she grew into the role and became suitably engaging in some very emotional scenes with Wong He. I ended up liking her although her monotone child like way of delivering her lines can be irritating at times. One thing I must mention though which I have mentioned above. Her every dress, her every hairstyle, even her accessories, like her hair, boots, shoes, covers, etc all are killer stuff I tell you. Girls should dress like her. So cute, so pretty and so adorable.
Oh yeah, Anne Heung was in this series more as guest star than anything else. She was ok. What more can I say?
An excellent series with a strange, quirky somewhat cliche ending that works in this series. I haven't enjoyed such a funny, tender, touching, moving and well acted series in such a long long time. Bobby Au Yeung is always watcheable even if the story is terrible and the script is TV throwing worthy, Wong He is a very good actor that seems to have been sucked into his own pretentiousness that he was drowning but in here he managed to swim up and almost, quite almost get out of the pool. Yoyo Mung was surprisingly bearable, giving her character a quiet strength, she wasn't hysterical or giving the laser beam eyes with laughable body language but nonetheless she still seems preoccupied with something. Tavia Yeung was a big surprise. I find her performance engaging and funny as well eventhough she didn't really feature much in the story or some may dispute the purpose of her presence in this series. But a good actor always rise to the occasion whatever role they're given, however much screentime or whether the character is relevant or irrelevant. I think her character is relevant to Ching's life. I didn't like the ending for Ching, I'd rather he ended up with Tavia's character rather than conveniently going back to the wife when he didn't seem to have any passion for her, nor he any passion for Ah Sei frankly. It's is a strange relationship and Tavia was very engaging as the feisty super multitasking Ah Sei who fell for someone that I feel was undeserving of her and yet very deserving of her. Depends on how you see it. Ha Yu's fans will definitely enjoy his performance in here where his every smile, every stare, every laughter, behind it has a story and sometimes a tinge of sadness. Very multi layered performance The children are super cute but the wardrobe department deserves extra 2 thumbsup for the fantastic looking suits. The story is a classic family story that many would enjoy. I wouldn't even call this series average. It is beyond average but not quite classic. But amongst all the so called big time series that all turned out to be repetetive unimaginative tired uninspiring junks, this series shines like no other.
Ok, forget about my flowery jargons. I was just trying to be poetic. Simply put, I have not seen a series depicting such good manners in adults (not all but some) for a long time where this series teaches, but never preaches that family is no longer a concept of people of the same gene pool. It can be beyond that.
It didn't strike me but it did later. I remember reading some ridiculous gossip that Yoyo Mung was having some rivalry or being rather mean or bullying (depending on which gossip you heard) to a young actor and I suddenly realised this series was it. The young actor in question is Jacky Wong, who is now everybody's favourite son so to speak. Apparently gossip has it that Yoyo either ignored the boy or wasn't very friendly with him. You know some actresses run to hug a cute baby because women, by natural instinct are maternal, more so in the face of cute baby actors. Interesting is that the people don't quite get the fact that not all women are by nature built in such a way. I think Yoyo Mung is the type who dislikes children, doesn't want any or maybe does not have the touch when it comes to children. I don't believe in the ridiculous rumour that she bullied Jacky. Not everybody likes children and not everybody is amused by playful cute kids who can be noisy and burdensome and also hyperactive. I remember being on Yoyo's side. I did not and still do not believe the gossips and I felt not every actress has to be BFFs with the other actresses or guys going to pubs with other guys. Not all actors playing lovers actually became lovers in real life or not all actors like animals even if their characters do. So likewise not all women like children and when being around one and still acting like an adult like herself normally does don't mean she was bullying or ignoring him. So she may be rude but hey, she's not mean.