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Written by Funn Lim


This review was posted many years ago, exactly when I am not sure but it should be within months from the original broadcast of this series. I am posting it as I have posted it originally.


SPOILERS ... SPOILERS ... SPOILERS



Title
Green Green Grass By The River (Qing Qing He Bian Cao)

How Long
I can't remember,but I do recall that it was too long.

Who
Yue Ling as Qing Qing
Jin Ming as Xiao Cao
Ma Jing Tao as He Shi Wei.

Hence the title,Qing Qing He Bian Cao.

What & Where
Old China,probably about 1920's or so when China was still full of nobilities,rich people and simple farm people,all in one place.It is basically about love,forgiveness and acceptance,seen through the eyes of Xiao Cao,in my opinion.

Remember
I saw this like eons ago,and I never intended to write for it when I realised I can't remember much of the plot,but some still remained intact in my memory bank,which can only store up to 1MB.Anyway,this is the first Mandarin serial by Chung Yao that I've watched when I was still young,and doesn't expect much other than to be entertained,but still I found it boring most of the time.So this will not be a favourable review.

The storyline
It started out interestingly enough,but as it progresses,it was evident that this serial is all about repetition and ultimately,nothing much in the plot.

Liu Xue Hua is a poor girl,I think she was the servant .She fell for the only son of a rich man and woman and defying parents' wishes,they eloped and married and subsequently the son was disowned.The man who had lived all his life in luxury clearly could not take care of his new wife and soon to be born child and they lived in extreme procerty,subsequently he died of TB,after going into the wilderness trying to find wood during winter time.The wife brought him back home in a coffin and the whole family was shocked and was crying non-stop.The father blamed the woman but the woman gave her daughter,their only grandchild and told them to look after her.Naturally,they refused because in their heart,they cannot accpet that thing in their hands.I recalled Liu Xue Hua not one second after handing over the child to them banged her head hard against the coffin to kill herself.Somehow,she didn't die and lived in her little imaginary world and her imaginary daughter in her arms,whilst her real daughter was sent to live with a cruel and selfish uncle who tortured her,emotionally most of the time.She grew up to be Xiao Cao,a precocious and bloody cute of a little girl,(ten years old if I am not mistaken),and she had only a big "sister" in the form of Qing Qing,who was forced to marry an old man who had already more wives than he could handle and was 40 years her senior.So they ran away together to another place to look for the kind grandpa who always visited Xiao Cao but didn't do so for months now,and along the way they met a nive young good looking man by the name of He Shi Wei who ran away from home to defy his parents' wishes for an arranged marriage with a girl he haver never met and they became almost like a family.Xiao Cao liked him and treated him like her big brother and he loved her and would have protected her with all his might.Qing couldn't stand him and vice versa.They all shared a similiar fate,all of them were running away from unhappy circumstances,Qing Qing from a forced marriage,He from a loveless would-be marriage and Xiao Cao from everything else that a child would want to run from.However,as time goes by He fell for Qing Qing and vice versa but this kind of union is a pararel to Xiao Cao's parents,a rich man's only son and a poor uneducated girl.They stayed quite coincidentally at Xiao Cao's grandparents house,where He pretended to be the son of the blinded woman(Gui Yah Lui),because she cried too much when her son died so she became blind and an inconsolable man who is her husband.It was quite a place to be but slowly,Xiao Cao warmed everybody's heart and when they discovered she was their long lost and unwanted grandchild,it was rather a blessing than a curse they have once thought.They rejoiced,but right now,I can't remember when this happened,either before the tragedy or after.But Xiao Cao met with a terrible accident that left her in coma for a very long period and her surrogate parents did all they could to bring that man to justice or at least persuade him emotionally (read:used all those "If you have a heart, you'll admit your wrongdoing and plead guilty instead of hiding like a coward and we can't get you that way because you're protected by your power as a powerful and influential person" tactics) and they succeeded because that man has a son and he knew how he would feel if such a thing happened to his son.And when she woke up,Xiao Cao was reunited with her real insane mother who refused to see the real truth or was hiding from the painful truth that her hubby was dead and daughter don't know where she went.At the end it was a happy reunion.But the young lovers had one tiny little problem.His fiancee came to see him and Qing Qing discovered she was not bad after all.Young,rich,beautiful,polite and very educated,she is everything that Qing Qing would want to be but wasn't.But she had He by her side.There was some difficult decision to make and Qing Qing even wanted to be the 2nd wife to He but in the end,there was no need.The young girl left when she knew she was unwanted and unloved and in the end,everybody forgave everybody and there was acceptance and Xiao Cao finally had her very own family and everybody to love her and be loved.

So What About The Others?Just Ke-Le-Fe? : You know,this serial at most,in any given scene would only involve about 6 people.That's it!
Anyway,there was one character that I forgot to mention earlier,that is the lifelong maid of the grandma of Xiao Cao.Nice woman,cried too much,but anyway the funny thing was that when Qing Qing has that big problem about whether to be 2nd wife or just refuse He,this old man,with a grandchild 10 years old mind you,has the nerve to want to marry that maid!Of course,which was rare in a Chung Yao story,they married with the woman's blessing,not before she screamed "traitor!!" to the maid.I understand her feelings.I mean sure the husband felt neglected that his wife chose to cry rather than spend time with him but hey!She is a grieving mother and she lost her only son and her only grandchild because of his stubborness as to class and education distinction. What a dirty old man was how I see him.

The Most Annoying Character
I could not decide ,between Qing QIng or that old lady that cried too much.Both are so very annoying that they just get to me,big time just a few episodes into the serial.

The old woman (Gui Yah Lui) because she cries every ten seconds of the show.
Qing Qing because she screams every ten seconds of the show.She is supposed to be this utterly stubborn young woman.Don't get me wrong.She is a nice girl but she has no class whatsoever.Not that she is those kind that speaks her mind,not that type but those that makes a big issue out of no issue at all.I do wonder why He loved her enough to want to defy his family to marry her(again).They have been through a lot together but when she stands next to the fiancee,she is nothing compared to that girl and frankly,she feels that way to which was why she has this "I feel so little" episodes almost every episode and she starts throwing her tantrums and letting that man see her tantrums every single episode.Poor He.This girl has got some serious attitude and self-esteem problem; can't blame her though but what has she got to cry about? She has got the man's heart and the man's will to defy his parents to marry her. And she found it difficult to share her future husband and when she finally agreed,after many many episodes that she was willing to be the 2nd wife,the funny thing was that the man disagreed.But what made her think that his family would let him marry her without being threatened of losing their son for the rest of their lives?What made her think that THAT woman would share her husband with her?She was a bit naive and there were times she was the most egoistical girl in the world because she sees her problems being the only problems in the world,without thinking perhaps she might be a problem to He.

Nonono, I changed my mind. The most annoying man had to be that father. The way he acted had me laughing. I mean why the son was so afraid of him? The father looked more like a spoilt brat who lost his favourite toy than an old distinguished man. The way he talked was laughable, and seen those scenes where he was very emotional? Noticed how he would jump up and down whilst delivering his rather emotional lines? Very funny actor and very dramatic so to speak but to tell you the truth, unnecessary drama.

Anyway, maybe I should just change the title of this heading to Most Annoying Couple. I can't decide, the wife or the husband. So I guess BOTH as annoying and irritating and too dramatic in EVERYTHINg.

The Most Pitiful Character
That Fiance of He Shi Wei.She went all the way to that house to ask for an explanation for what happened,found him being in love with another woman,thought of his as a good man and wanted him for herself and at last she lost.But she was gracious enough to not get in between a really loving young couple,though they argue like every single episode.But there is undeniable strong bond between the two woman and what should a good woman like this young girl?She left.

The Nicest & Best & Most Favourite Character
I can't hate this sweet young man who ran away from home,loved a little girl as his own and fell for a woman who he disliked at first,that was He Shi Wei.He has got the nicest personality and the most level-headed character in here. The reason he chose to endure Qing Qing's screams at him was because he genuinely wanted to protect Xiao Cao until she found his Hai Yeh-Yeh. Little did he know that Qing Qing fell for him at first glance and those screaming was to get his attention, which later proved successful because he fell for her. But the sad thing was,whilst he was consoling a woman who thought he was her dead son,his own mother back home was sick with worry about his safety.In a way,he failed as a son but clearly was a good man.You'll know why Qing Qing wouldn't want to let go of this good catch,and she is willing to be the 2nd wife.And the fiance almost didn't want to let go but she had to.An overall amazing and good tempered young man whom I see letting Qing Qing get her way most of the time,probably didn't want to start a fight.

Most Unnecessary Character
Which should be the maid to the old lady. Why was she there? I can't stand the way she cried and talked, like she needed gallons and gallons of oxigen just for one line.

The Cute Element
The "cute factory",Xiao Cao.I really liked this character and definitely loved the actress.

The Best Scenes
Every scene with that little girl in it.She was such a delight to watch and one of the best so happens to be every scene where she cries and the one where she was dragged some few feets under a car and which she went into a coman for some time.My heart couldn't stop beating everytime I saw her head banging against the front of the car whilst He and Qing Qing ran after the driver to beg for him to stop,which he did,but damage was done.Luckilly no scars in any way.A very touching scene also when she was reunited with her mother.Actually,every scene with the girl is worth your time.

Ma Jing Tao, sometimes. Depends on which scene he was in, but dare I say he looked mighty dashing in here, especially with that white scarf around his neck.

There was one scene that I liked because you knew whatever she did later was to get his attention. Early into the series where they met and He was injured and woke up in a hotel, he realised he wanted to escort Xiao Cao to her Hai Yeh Yeh and he told her so, and with her back facing He and Xiao Cao, Qing Qing secretly smiled. So I guess she already fell for him even before that.

The Worst Scenes
Every time the old lady started to cry.every time the maid appeared.Every time He is with Qing Qing and no one else is there and eithr she was doubting herself or crying like mad.It so bloody long and so boring,because thsoe scenes talks about stuff that they had talked about earlier and they kept repeating it again and again and again.Cut that out and this serial will be really short.
Most Favourite Pair : Shoudl be gang actually,which would be the three main protagonists in this serial,Xiao Cao,He and Qing Qing.But Xiao Cao above all.

Best Performances
Without a doubt, Jin Ming. That little girl with her Beijing accent.Vicky Zhao could've been her when she was 10.I mean such a cute girl and she could act so much more better than everybody in ALL her serials,not just this.Her cure face,her cute smile,her cure voice,her cute antics,her cute everything.She was such a delight to watch,that I watched this serial just to look at her.And she was so pretty.Unfortunately,she is not acting right now,because she is really grown up now.Undoubtly,she was Taiwan's number one child star and deserved to be.No other children came close to her ever since,not in terms of looks,cuteness and talent.Amazing little girl now a grown up girl.I do wonder how she looks like now and what is she doing.If you know,please E-mail me.

Ma Jing Tao was quite effective as He Shi Wei.He looked like an educated young man,and my first impression of him was he has got a nice soothing voice and accent,Though his mannerism was a bit,how shall I put it,effiminate.But I liked him and it's not wonder he became extra famous after that show.But he tends to over act sometimes.Not in this serial but in all subsequent serial.And Seagull,my partner hates him and thanks to her I now do noticed that strange way he would rub his chest every time he is mad/angry.But another friend of mine is a die hard of his,and calls him the "King of Dramas Of Taiwan".You decide.I like and I hate him.It depends on the serial.

Gui Yah Lui was quite good though I did not like her character.But she can really cry.

Liu Xue Hua was too good here.Her expressions,her eyes filled with tears that doesn't seem to fall and yet it will,ever so gently and you could see her pain in her expressive eyes.She was so good in here,though she appeared only for the most a few minutes in any given one scene,she overshadowed everybody.Excellent "cry" actress.
That actor that played the grandpa of Xiao Cao.He was ok though he didn't strike me a very authoritarian father which he was.He killed his own son in a way.

Worst Peformances
That maid to that old lady.She looked like she needed 10 gallons of oxigen everytime she opened her mouth to speak,like it was so difficult for her to do so.And yet this was the same actress that played the jealous wife in Princess Xin Yue and in there,she was very good.But not here.

The husband of our old lady. As I have said above, very dramatic actor. First scene with him screaming at his son, you knew this man will do all the "over the top" acting, but I never expected him to jump up and down (though slightly but very noticeable act) whilst delivering his "You're no longer my son!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" lines.

Not So Good Performance
I hate to say this right now but when I saw this show,which was the first time I was introduced to this actress that will be my favourite actress today,she didn't strike me as paticularly pretty.In fcat I thought she was dark and too skinny,which I guess was Chung Yao's intention.Qing QIng cannot be too pretty because then she might overshadow the Fiance.Anyway,I don't know what to say about her as I sit down and worte this review.Because I could be biased.I might be more forgiving,less harsher because I am her fan.But I'll try to be impartial.

Frankly,I didn't like her character and compared to Liu Xue Hua,she couldn't cry as beautifully or as expressive.Her acting as the hot tempered QIng QIng was quite impressive but something was terribly missing.She annoyed the hell out of me then,which was probably the purpose of her character Wing Wing in that serial anyway.For that I guess her performance was good.But I still didn't like this actress and I thought,even that little girl could act better than her.
Ok,I am eating my own past thought right now adn yes,it's yummy!I became her fan after For Better Or Worse because I guess by then she has found her niche in her acting talents,she knew how to use it and make us see it.I sympathised with Ru Fang.But I guess as in all tradition of all Chung Yao's works,I always ended up hating the girl we are supposed to like and liking the one we are supposed to hate.So not really Yue Ling's fault that she wasn't able to grasp this role.I would bet if she were to do the role today she might give a different interpretation to it and this review would not be so long as to comment on her without really having a real verdict to it.
But as I have to limit my review to this serial itself,her Qing Qing failed to reach out to me,she failed to make me understand her pain and her plight and her desperate hold on He Shi Wei and for that,I would say Yue Ling's performance wasn't that good.But frankly,it wasn't that bad either.

If I Were The Writers I would ...
Cut short the whole serial and not have loud music playing all of a sudden in some scenes.Woke me up though, several times.Ask Gui Yah Lui to stop crying so much and that old man to stop jumping.

Was Qing QIng as annoying as...
Well, I could think of several lead characters in Chung Yao story.For one,Xin yue herself,or that Little Swallow or even that Chen De Rong 's character in that first Plum Flower series.Frankly,it had to be a tie between that Chen De Rong's character in Plum Flower series,(actually she is annoying in ALL of her serials) and Little Swallow from HZGG II,not HZGG I though.Compared to them,Qing QIng is the most decent girl in the world,and epitome of perfection.I really can't stand the above two named characters.I am not talking about the actresses that played them though.Notice the distinction and be aware of that.

Was it worth Renting/Buying
You want drama?This would be it.But if you're those that can't stand Taiwanese serial,avoid this one.Go for For Better OR Worse.But actually,this one is not THAT bad but English educated people and some section of the society may even hate this one.So I guess if you're a fan of Taiwanese serial,go for this.If you're generally not those type,then avoid it.If you want to start watching Taiwanese serial,avoid this one and start witg HZGG I.That will leave a good impression and you'll then continue watching Taiwanese series and then you watch this one.

Was is BETTER than...
Any of Chung Yao's other works?Some yes,some no.Generally,no.It's not as exciting,though it does have its moments.

Interesting Facts
This series made two actors in it into household names,Yue Ling and Ma Jing Tao.But I'll repeat,Ma Jing Tao was never the Number one actor in Taiwan,he may've been second.Anyway,it was Lin Rui Yang,that tall guy.
It seemed that Yue Ling would often lock herself up in the trailers to practice her crying in front of the mirror,because after all you're acting next to Queen of Tears,Liu Xue Hua.

The Little girl was once asked how she could cry so fast in all scenes?And her reply was she thought about the sad things in her life and she'll then cry.

Liu Xue Hua at that time was the undisputed Queen of Taiwan TV and always a frequent star of Chung Yao's TV adaptions.Anyway,she is not that famous now because she aged a lot.Anyway,did you know she was from Hong Kong and was an actress there but never made it big until she went to Taiwan?

Interesting Observation
Nice title.Qing Qing He Bian Cao,meaning Green Green River by the Grass.So for good English,it became Green green Grass By The River,incorporating the three main characters names.

Unimportant Stuff
This series is at least 7 years old,so i doubt you can still find.So better to read the book then.Same title.By the way,Chung Yao was also the woman who gave us the immensely popular,Huan Zhu Ge Ge.


1 comments:

  1. this is my most fav all time. do you have the series? i've been looking for ages but never find it.

    ReplyDelete

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