VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE

A must read, if you don't already know ...








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



Which Is...
NOT a documentary as to "How To Make A Marriage Work",but actually it is a pseudo-comedy about a guy trying to make it as a royal chef during the height of the reign of Emperor Qian Lung,whish also examines his love-hate relationship with the woman he eventually marries and his loyalty to a man whom he calls his best friend who so happens to be Emperor Qian Lung himself.

How Long
40 episodes/20 tapes,or somewhere around there.

Who
Lots of people,so I'll say it one by one.

Bobby Au Yeung ( Dai Dung Goon),
Roger Kwok ( Shuen Min Leung),
Marianne Chan ( Sun Siu Siu),
Kong Wah ( Qian Lung(the King)),
Nadia Chan ( Ngok Sum Yue/Tak Fei),
Fiona Leung ( Kam Chui Fah),
Cheung Wai Yee (Gei Sin Yung),
Ngai Wai ( Jeung Hing Gah),
Hui Siu Hung ( Hoi Mong),
Hong Wah ( Yuk Shu-Shuen Gwai Yan ),
Ha Ping ( Hung Sap Saam),
Wu Fung (Sun Chiu Kwan),
Yung Gam Cheung (Dai Dung Gwai),
Lau Wing Gin( Dai Dung Fu),
Miu Gam Fung ( Pun Wan Kam)

This almost complete list is courtesy of SCTVB.

Remember
I am a Kong Wah fan.Sure,I should slap myself for saying this right at the top of this review,even before the plot but well,I am his fan,but I'll try to be objective in here.Anyway,some of you,well 1000 plus of you must've noticed that I rewrote this whole review.The previous one had some problems with it,like deleted parts which made it all looked so bad.Not my style!So I've decided to update on this,and I am surprised at the number of poeple that reads this review,so for the benefit of everybody,I am writing it again,a year later,with much experience as a reviewer,having a much more objectivity,and I guess,much more sophistication.A-Hem!Anyway,basically same thing so to save you any wasted time,it's ALL the same thing.I'll put the verdict on top first lar har.

Verdict/Is It Worth Renting
I really do not see the point of saying the same thing twice,so for now on,I'll just put these two together,because I notice that everytime I say it's great,to me it's worth renting.Anyway,definately worth renting,however the better episodes comes around Tape 12-15,and anything after Tape 15 is just to nicely close the story,until almost the last 2 tapes,which were great.However,be forwarned,the first few tapes are bloody boring because like Is aid,I am a Kong Wah fan and the first few tapes centred predominantly on the relationship of Bobby and Marrianne.The fun stars when Bobby becomes the royal chef,aroun tape 5 or so.Anyway,one of the best during the year it was released and I really love the song by Roman Tam,so chirpy,so happy and so "Happy Ever After"-ish.
Tha fact that this is probably the only review in E-Buzz without pictures or anything like screenshots,and yet the number of readers are like 1000 plus,meaning how popular this series is.But isit any good?You be the judge.Too tired?Ok lar,I'll judge for you.Plot first.Ok ok,smack!Smack!I slapped myself oredi,for being so arrogant.I must be humble!!

The Plot
Plenty of plot,many funny circumstances and plenty of heart wrenching moments.But i think I'll start like how the series starts.

The King is like in his 80's now,still bloody healthy,all because of his faithful sidekick,the chef,Bobby.Bobby have been serving His Royal Highness for almost 60 years or so,and he wishes to serve him 60 years more,and everybody got teary eyed,including the King.But why?What's the level of relationship between the King and Bobby?Well then,flashback mode,courtesy of Bobby.

Bobby as a 30 year old man was a famous restaurant owner.He has a good tounge,menaing he can taste any food,tell you the ingrediants right to the species of the animal used,and he boasted his tounge could rival that of the King.But he never knew what fate had in store for him.He wanted to compete in a food competiton,the winner's dish will be paraded and served in the Thousand Banquest,held by the King to honour the old.He met a girl in red,Marriane who had a temper to match her really red dress,a chilli loving,and taufu making pretty chef.Anyway,she made this taufu dish,and it was so good,Bobby decided to use it for the competiton.Alas,days before the competition,he realised that he had a bigger rival in Ngai,a chef who only knew how to copy other people's style.Anyway,Bobby beat him with the most ingenius ploy ever(which i shall not tell you here),and he won.Unfortunately,then he got the biggest and most disappointing news.His Number one chef,Marianne was actually teh daughter of Wu Fung,a rival to his restaurant who had some big time rivalry with Bobby's dead father,and Bobby was left with no chef,a ruined restaurant and big debt,that he had to run away and start all over again.Then Marianne and her father got duped too,by Ngai,who was actually her father's apprentice gone bad,and they were left with nothing.When they met Bobby again,they were remoseful,and from the greatest of enemies,they became good friends and Bobby learned how to cook,and set up a small business with his newly wedded wife,Marianne.Then the call from the King came,that he was summoned to be a small ranking chef in the Forbidden Palace but he faced many problesm,amongst which he had Ngai,his bitter rival as his colleague and superior.But as a song goes,"Life Is What Happens To You While You're Busy Making Other Plans".He planned to serve the King like his father did,but in the end,he got more than he wished for.He made great friends with the King,but when the King asked him for a favour,this was the time that he had to decide,wife or King?Actually,not that he had a choice.And then came a bigger problem,a ploy to overthrown the King by his greedy Concubine,and now is a question of life or your King?Actually,not that he had a choice also.

So What About The Others?Just Ke-Le-Fe?
Not really.All has a part to play,at almost the end of this series and also to illustrate to you the different ways people treat their loved ones,to give you an overall feel as to "How To Be and Stay Married".So I'll say it one by one.

Roger and Fiona and Cheung Wai Yee
What a triangle!Anyway,Roger was involved with Cheung first.She a rich man's daughter,he a poor scholar destined for greatness,unfortunately they just didn't know when.The woman invested lots of time in this man,banking on the possible chance that he might be an official with the royal court.But then he kept failing and failing the exams,not because he was stupid but because he was plain nervous and he unwittingly made some high officials angry and so ruined his chance again and again and again.So when he kenw Cheung married a capable man later,he became depressed,but he found his soul mate in Fiona,a poor girl on the run,fro what I can't remember.They fell in love,he married her and she envouraged his studies which he almost abandoned.But then,Bobby gave the King,whom by now is of great friendship with Bobby,a recommendation of an honest official,and that was how Roger became a 9th rank official,in charge of the Library.But of course,he made some discoveries and after a while,the King tructed him ,his rank rose and he became a 7th ranked official if I am not mistaken.But alas,marriage dept not so smooth,because he saw Cheung again,thsi time a widow with little protection adn far less money.She seduced him one night,whilst he was drunk,they slept together and he had to marry her as a second wife.Funny was that Fiona wasn't the one who was terribly emotional about this betrayal,but it was her friend,Marriane and her mom in law.And so she took MArianne's advice,lose the man,grab the money.He gave almost every single penny from his salary to his wife,leaving little to the mistress,and in the end,the mistress ran off stealing an impirtant thing used for his job,and who then to help him but his faithful wife.And it was Happy Ever After after that.

How To Be Married : To Roger's type of honest man,God fearing,mommy loving,apple pie eating kinda guy,basically you just be terribly nice to him,to move his heart so to speak.And he will love you like he love his mom.

How To Stay Married : Even if there may be a woman like Cheung,preservere.Cut off all economic means to the other woman by being really nice and understanding,do not scream,do not shout but be really patient,make the guy feel guilty,and then preservere.If you want that guy back,be ready to help him in times of need to show what a good wife you are,and then really forgive him by making him save every drop of water you have splasehd onto the street,and you know he'll never save every drop,so then you walk slowly to him,use your handkerchief,soak up the water,take that wet handkerchief,wipe his forehead and forgive him ,this time for real.

How To Make Sure He's Back To You Not Because He Had No One Else : Simple.
Do what Fiona did.Not that she wanted to.She contracted Measles,which could kill at that time.She ran away,but you know your man loves you when he stays with you,hugging you,giving you words of comfort even if you told him to go,even if he too could contract the disease.And he prays day and night for you,and when you're well,he ahs this look of utter happiness.Then my friend,only then you'll know he's back because he loves you.

Marianne and Bobby and Nadia as Sum Yue
The greatest nightmare for a woman would be to discover that your man once fell for another woman,and worse still,that woman is 10 times much more beautiful than you are,100 times more educated than you are,1000 times more richer and of more influence than you are,and million times more nicer and a trillion times more understanding,kinder and sophisticated than you are.But the real problem starts when you as a wife just refuse to get out of your own jealousy and see the real truth;they're just best friends,the woman is in love with another man and your husband definately adores you,even if he can't stand your irratinal and unbelievably incromprehensible big time jealousy over nothing.Of course,as a wife,when you discover your husband was given that other woman as a second wife by the order of the King,and she is pregnant,what then do you do?Well,be like MArianne,make more noise,sue your husband and make sure the King hear your case,eveen if it emant jeapordising the whole plan laid by the King himself.You see,the King is in a secret affair with Nadia,which the mother clearly hates,so he enlisted the help of Bobby to pretend to marry her,so that he could give her a second home outside the palace and visits her every time he wants to.But Marianne kept getting into his perfect plan and so the plan backfired,and what about the marriage between Marianne and Bobby?Rocky,until of course she did what she did below and then perhaps you too can learn something from this marriage made in hell.

How To Be Married : To Bobby's type of good ,nice but arrogant man,with a great talent,first have the same interest that is cooking,have a talent to match,make sure his old GF is elsewhere,argue a lot with him to get his attention,and make sure you be nic sometimes to maintain his attention to you,make him a bit confuse by being hot and in the next second,being cold,pretend that you were reluctant but make sure he knows you aren't reluctant in helping him overcome his fear of fire,and try to be jealous like every two seconds into the series,and make sure you both are in a situation where he will have to save you from a death fall into the river below by grabbing the collar of your dress,and make sure you live during a time where any contact between a man and a woman,who are unmarried a definate No-No,look at him for the longest of time,try to be shy and then be extra nice to him,to mkake sure he will marry you.And to really make sure that he will,be extra nice to his mom,so that his mom will like you until the point that he has no choice but to marry you.

How To Stay Married : Try to be much more understanding when you husband suddenly comes home,tells you that he has to marry a girl names Sum yue and that she is pregnant.Tyr to look for the "I AM Actually Forcd to Do This" signs on his face,and when you refused to do so,he might have to divorce you to marry her on the orders of the king.And when you actually found out the truth about the whole matter,be extra nice to him and apologise like there is no tomorrow.

How To Make Sure He's Back To You Not Because He Had No One Else : Simple. Do what Marianne did.When Bobby had to save the country and the King's throne by cooking even if he was so sick and he was dying because the pins stuck in his head to stop his allergic reactions to Kiwi fruits can only stay in there for a few hours ,and he continued to cook even if you beg him not to ,and he faints with one loud scream of pain,but the kingdom saved when the king woke up from his trance like moment,he lays dying on the bed,and you were told he might not live,you ask for the King for a cup of poison so that you could die with him,you drink that poison without hesitation and make sure your husband doesn't die but wakes up to see you slowly fainting right before his eyes.Make sure he sees that and he will surely come back to you because he loves you because he almost lost you.Oh yes,one more very very very important thing.Make sure you find a king that is smart enough not to give you a cup of poison as requested by the stupid you.I mean if you are dead,what is there to make sure that he comes home to you when you won't even be there?

King and Tak Fei and The Mother
Of course,being a TVB series,there won't be issues of incest.No,no but this triangle is the most interesting of this series.You see,the King has this favourite concubine named Tak Fei/Ling Yee/Nadia who is a Han girl,who can't bear the King any children but nevertheless the King loves her dearly.But the Mother hates her much more dearly.Anyway,when the King left for some civic and royal duties,the Mother put her plans into action,by ordering for her death by suffocation.She died,he cried and mom is still his mom.So what is the King to do?

How To Be Married : To King's type of regal,mother fearing,country loving,people serving kinda guy,you have gotta be....actually i do not know.I mean they never show how the King married Tak Fei but I would assume that her abilities like playing the piano,guitar,cooking,overall pleasant personality,and gorgeous face has something got to do with the above question.

How To Stay Married : Tak Fei is a case of How They Can't Stay Married Even If They're Crazy About One Another.I mean firstly,be a manchurian.That's how to get to the mother's heart.Secondly,don't be so annoying as to like must be with the king night and day.And even if you didn't,just make sure you make your protest loud enough for the mother to hear.Make sure you know who are your enemies,like Shuen Gwai Yan for one.Though she is like smiling,and nice and all,make sure you wear your contact lenses and look closely!
Anyway,there was a time where the Mother wanted to kill her by ordering her to hand herself,but God intervened by causing the clothe to tear into two,when she was struggling for air.And then the Queen ordered her to leave the King and hide and never to be seen again.But alas,the King saw her,got his memory back and went to purseu her all over again.And she followed him home(big mistake!) to disastrous results.

How To Make Sure He's Back To You Not Because He Had No One Else : Can't be so sure because your'e dead,he is a King,and a young virile King,he will always have another woman.Would you take comfort in the fact that he falls for a woman that looks just like you?Exactly my thoughts.Let's shout the answer...NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

King and Sum Yue/Nadia and Mother
The more I write this the presence of Mother is like to Norman Bates in the Psyco!Anyway,Tak Fei was killed and he could not do anything about it.Could he hate his mom?No.Could he kill his mom?Over a woman?No!So what is a good king to do?Find another wife!And so he found her,Ngok Sum yue,daughter of a high ranking Han General.Meaning she a Han woman,meaning First Round to get Mommy's approval is like already lost.So what is he to do?First he must purseu her and she must be willing to be pursued.After that,they fell in love and my God,she slept with him after how many days of acquaintance?Anyway,then try to keep her existance a secret from your mommy by asking,ordering your friend,a chef named Bobby,a very married man to marry her!But could he succeed?If he did,this series would never be called Happy Ever After because we veiweres expect a couple to be able to be legitimately seen together,so the plan will never work!

How To Be Married : To the King,simple.Let him pusue you,woo you until he is out of breath.Make sure he funds you charitable cause by throwing big chunks of gold into poor housing areas whilst taking you by the waist and fly like a superman,make sure after you fall in love with him,you run frantically to tell him that your father intends to marry you off to another lovesick Machurian Riyal blood,make sure he is there to rescue you from that annoying Machurian Royal Blood by carrying you off into the sunset with a horse,make sure it is raining heavily,and your'e bothe soaked,make sure you build a fire,hang your clothes to dry,stand almost naked with only a piece of clothe acting a a barrier,then let him touch you,turn you towards him,kiss you and then sleep with you,and then when he tells you his true identity,act like Nadia the actress did,by not acting at all,but feigning surprise but because she is not that a great actress it looks more like,"Really?!" kinda look instead of "Oh My God?!?!!" look.And then go with his disastrous plans because you're pregnant and then,well actually look below;

How To Stay Married : Win the mother's heart,by being really cool about being held undder house arrest by evil Shuen Gwai Yan in her ploy to overthrow the King,and take this time to let her see the gentler side of you like be really calm,knit something,and then when you're saved by that annoying Royal Machurian Blood,make sure you do not run ahead of her but run together with her,gently holding the mother's hand,and then reach the main hall,scream out the evil ploy for all ministers to hear.But Nadia being such a bad actress at this point,she didn't really scream,she just say it loud enough for all to hear,with no real emotion,no real angst,no real voice of accusations.Meaning she said it this way:
"It was Shuen Gwai Yan,she held us under house arrest!"

But it should've been;
"IT WAS SHUEN GWAI YAN,SHE HELD US UNDER HOUSE ARREST!!!",with much more emotional dissatisfaction and hatred for that woman for what she did to you,and the man you love.

Get my point?

How To Make Sure He's Back To You Not Because He Had No One Else : Simple.Because he is already crazy about you.Actually this question for Ngok Sum Yue's case is quite redundant.Because he doesn't want anybody else.

Shuen Gwai Yan and The King
She is the niece of a high ranking Manchurian official,and seizing the opportunity of a King pining for his lost love(Tak Fei before he found her again after 3 years of seperation),the uncle made sure she stood the same way that Tak Fei would stand and attract teh King's attention.Anyway,then the bad news;Tak fei is still very much alive and she's back.But Tak Fei is a nice woman,she even encourage the King to sleep with Shuen Gwai Yan which he does.And then she becomes pregant but she doesn;t know it until she suffers from a miscarriage.You see she wants to get rid of Tak Fei,and so she makes suer that Tak Fei's favourite perfume(those that you burn like incense) is soaked with poison,and so when she lights it up,Shuen Gwai Yan will pretend to take a sniff,and then pretend to faint.And the Mother seeing this will hate Tak Fei for her supposed evil ploy to kill her.And then when the Mother knows that there's a miscarriage,she hates Tak Fei even more.Then much later a bigger secret is out.The King is actaully the son of a Han servant girl who was raped by the previous King,and the mother being kind,took the child as her own and the real mother became a nun.Tak Fei knew about this,and so did Shuen Gwai yan who spread this truth as a rumour.The Mother thought that it was Tak Fei's undoing,since she was the only other person who knew about this(she didn't know Shuen Gwai yan knew about this too),and so she ordered her to die,becasue the Mother was too angry with Tak Fei.And when she died,Shuen Gwai Yan moved up the ladder as a high ranking concubine recommended by the Mother and she could've been a queen but stupid woman decides to take over the throne.I mean,isn't she just hopelessly stupid?It's like,all the ministers dead?

How To Be Married : To the King,simple.Just make sure you have a powerful uncle in the Ministry,stand like the King's favourite concubine did,grab the heart of the mother by being unconvincingly nice.Simple.But how to get him to sleep with you is a different matter.

How To Stay Married : First of all,be best friends with his favourite concubine,make sure you cry in front of her of the King's lack of attention in you,make sure you get to sleep with him,then get rid of the favourite concubine,make sure you pretend to be really nice and all,then give him lots of viagra type of medicine to drink so that he spends his every waking hour in bed with you,preoccupie his mind with lots and lots and lots and lots of sex,make sure he cares nothing for the administration and running of his country so that you can be a de facto Emperor in his absence,majke suer he is in a trance like manner everyday for the rest of his life,poison him if you have too with your womanly skills.And make sure you could keep it that way until he dies slowly from the poison you give him.

Wonder why she didn't try voodoo?Because sex is the most powerful tool by a woman,as illustrated by this series.It helps if you make the King so drugged with viagra substance he wouldn't care if you're Shuen Gwai Yan or Shuen Yan Yan.As long as you're a woman,that's fine with him.


How To Make Sure He's Back To You Not Because He Had No One Else : Cannot make sure because like I said,all miniters dead ah?After a while somebody will suspect why a normally hardworking King would now rather spend his time in the company of women than in the company of men?Ok,I didn't mean it that way but you do know what i mean right?And to drug him until he died?That's not a very good plan because that takes time,takes effort and it gives other people time to rescue him.Which Bobby did by the way,by cooking some food which contained the cure for the King's supposed illness,but they dcan't cook all cure into one dish,then the woman will know,so they had to make sure the King eats like 5 dishes to get all the remedy and will the cure work.And when it did,the King woke up,slapped that woman and you do know what will happen to her and her uncle,even if they didn't show it.They will all be beheaded,or probably be given the most severest of punishment.What?Scroll down below to the Interesting Facts column,since this has nothing to do with the series.

You're Confusing Me.How Come....

Bobby fell for Marianne : Because he had no other women I guess.

Bobby didn't wait for Ngok Sum yue's return : She wrote him a letter unfortunately the letter became soaked in water or something so he couldn't read most of it.He just could read the portion where she sayd good bye to him.But the letter actually contains her declaration of love for him.That's why he married Marriane instead of Ngok.He didn't know.

King's Mom hated Tak Fei : Because she is bad luck,according to some astrologer.Also in a way she resents Han people because the King's real mom was a Han servant girl raped by her husband.I would assume,and I am reading a lot of this into the series,that her husband ignores her.She couldn';t give him a son,and the one that gave him a son was a Han servant girl,so I geuss the resentment stems from there though they never really showed this. Also because she thought Tak Fei wanted her dead(not true),she resents the fact also that the son spends so much time with this Han woman.You know,could be incestual actually,but again I am reading too much into the series.

Bobby was scared of fire : He was a little boy and he saw his father,a famous chef died in a fire.Hence his fear of fire.

Bobby later wasn't scared of fire anymore : Because Marianne,Wu Fung,his mother,Roger,Fiona and everybody else forcved him to overcome his fear,and when he got used to fire,he wasn't so scared of it anymore,and thus began his great and illustrous career as a chef,starting as a chef for Tak fei,the everybody asked him to cook for them,and then as a personal chef for the King.

Bobby and King became best friends : one of the highlights of this series is the relationship between Bobby and Kong Wah as the King.The King a lonely man actually,no friends anmd Bobby offered him the window to ordinary life.Moreover,they both loved to eat,they both share the same passion for food and also becasue Bobby was the only one who will be willing to tell the King the truth about things.Though Bobby may be a Yes man,but he is not always a Yes man to everything,though he never really say no to the King for everything.Moreover,The King liked him because Bobby was terribly cute in here.

You didn't mentioned a thing on Roger : What to mention?This series isn't about Roger you know.And I did mention some.Anyway,his role is as a best buddy to Bobby,and a loyal servant to the King.What more can i say?

Shuen Gwai Yan is so stupid/greedy/selfish/mean/evil/bad : I don't know.Somebody has to be evil in here right?But I do agree,she is stupid.Could have been queen and yet she wanted more.She wanted to be King I guess.But not really,because she wanted to be Queen/Empress and teh funny thing was that the Mother wanted her to be empress,though the KIng wanted to marry Ngok,but i doubt he would go against the Mother's wishes as to who should be queen.So really stupid of her.

The King got drugged : He was actually at his wits end as to how to officially marry Ngok.And so he decided to run away with her,leave his throne to one of teh trusted and loyal Uncles and become an ordinary citizen to live happily ever after with his Ngok Sum Yue.And then before he could do so,Shuen Gwai yan confiscated the letter to the Ministers,drugged the King,and the rest is as above.

Bobby could save the King : Like I said,they needed to feed the king the cure,and they can't do it in one dish because he is no longer a chef in the royal kitchen.So seizing the opportunity when it comes,ie the Manchurian and Han ministers were arguing with each other,(due to the fact that Ngok's father had to call off the engagement between his daughter and that annoying Royal Blood Machurian guy after he found out that the daughter is pregnant with "Bobby's" child,so the Manchruian general was pissed off,when his son became so love sick that he made mistakes in his army regime and was demoted,and then they begin to insult each other's races) and Roger suggested that they work this problem out by cooking competition between the Manchurian representative and the Han representative,and the King,before he was drugged agreed.And thus when he was drugged,and the moment came,Bobby represented the Hans and Jeung Hing Ka represented the Manchurian,and he cooked 5 dishes all with the cure,praying that the King would eat all 5 dishes.But halfway through it,Jeung Hing Ka used a dirty trick,he used Kiwi fruit as one of his ingrediant and Bobby is allergci to Kiwi fruits.HE became dizzy but he still had to cook.He asked a doctor to block his sense of smell by acupuncture but that could only last for a few hours and after that he might die of some haemorrhage,but he took the risk amidsts his wife's loud protest.the competiton was not really important,but saving the King was important.At the end of the day,the kIng ate all 5 dishes,vomitted but Bobby fainted,and as described above,everything is Happy ever After.

You're not telling me the ending : Because that's the ending.For more on this point,scroll down further.

You're always asking me to scroll down : Because the answer is not up there,but down there.Anyway,I have to ask you to scroll down because I like this review to be categorised and neatly laid out for you to read.i know it's annoying to "Please Scroll down further" but I hate to repeat the same points.So scroll down please!!

Some Dissatisfaction
I have some unhappiness with this series,so I'll lay it down one by one.

The Ending : They began with an old Bobby reminiscing the past.Why then they didn't end it with an old Bobby ?They ended it with Marianne drinking the supposed poison,then cut to the next scene,she is heavily pregnant,they have lots of kids.I mean give me some consistency please.It's like they're in a hurry to end it or something.I hate the ending.For all the drama before the ending,an ending with an old Bobby and an old Marianne and an old King together would've been great.

Nadia's reaction(or lack of it) : As Tak Fei she was good,especially that scene where she was crying and begging the Mother to please listen to her explanation.Itw as sad when she died.You do realise that she die right?I mean 2 Nadias,one King?You have gotta know that that's the ending.Anyway,as Ngok Sum yue,I see no difference in her interpretation.Other from the fcat that Ngok smiles much more than Tak fei,they're both the same with expressions,mannerisms,etc,but we do know that Tak Fei is older because of her hairstyle.Anyway,it wasn't a great performance.Especially when after sleeping with the King not knowing he is the King,and being pusjed into a loveless marriage,he reaction to his statement was really lacking.Too superficial,and perhaps it was because teh director cut the scene too soon to the next scene.

King's falling in love with Sum Yue : I mean this guy loved that Tak Fei sooooooo much and she died like weeks?Months and he fell in love again.Of course fell for a woman that looks like her but still....he knows that Sum Yue ain't her.I mean mourn longer won't die right?Anyway,it's just too fats,too soon,too fake.I certainly would hope for naother actress to play Ngok Sum Yue,instead of Nadia in two roles.I mean must they show the only reason that first attracted him to her was her likeness to Tak fei?Why not a diferent woman who wins his heart by being different?

The Characters' actions : Mainly the King's and Ngok's actions.

THe King is a very dutiful King.Even when his mother killed his beloved Tak Fei,he smiled on,and worked even harder to fill that empty void of his.

Ngok Sum yue is a very charitable and patriotic woman.NOW,my question is how come these two prefectly responsible and patriotic people would even consider eloping just for love?I mean again they should've show a scene where Nadia stops him from such an action but they didn't.She wnet along with it,which is so inconsistent wit the whole characters' behaviour.I would expect more from the King than to elope.It is one of the worst element of this series,wanting to milk the viewers' sympathy for their plight,instead it looks more like a half baked storyline.It's just too inconsistent with the whole series.

Ngok's willingness to sleep with the King : Call me old fashion,I mean they lived during a time where a woman was not allowed to show skin at any plave other than those unavoidable places like face,hands,etc.Ngok Sum Yue struck me as a very soft,lady like and very well mannered girl who was educated and nice.Then they had to show her giving herself to a man she hardly knew.I eman it was just too unreal.Maybe they're tryintg to show her as a very forward thinking person but I find it rather disturbing.Women at that time treasure nothing more than propriety and pureness.i know it's wrong to associate virginity with pureness but that's a fact during that time.To have that one scene totally spolis teh whole image or perception that I had of Ngok Sum Yue.But actually I like that scene because well you know,Kong Wah,Nadia,kissing(cut!darn!) but that scene just doesn't feet her eprsonality who earlier when was touched by this man she didn't know,she quislcy backed her had away.Of course you'll say they're in love but I personally feel it is wrong to have that scene.

Marianne's jealousy : I mean one outburst of jealousy fine but do we have to see the same outburtsts again and again and again?After a while,it is just so tiring,and you would be wondering,what did he saw in her?

Marianne's actions : i wouold expect her character to argue to death for not allowing the husband to marry Ngok.But what comes after is pure cinematic stupidity.She found out the real truth as to why Bobby must marry Ngok but instead of going along with it,she appeared before the King's Mother and screamed to the King to stop his plan.Then the King's mother knew and even wanted to chop off Marianne's head for rudeness within the palace.I eman is this woman stupid or what?What does she think?That she can pursuade the King's mother to ask teh king to retract his order?Even Bobby told her to shut up.Think of the bigger picture.This character os Siu Siu reminds me of a woman who can't think beyond themselves,too narrow minded and probably too stupid to veen know what a big mess they've created by their own ignorance.

Then at the almost end,where Bobby wanted to stick those pins into his head,her first statement was "Don't do this!" I won't let you do this",kicking and crying.Again I would expect such a statement from this character,like I say she is too stupid to think beyond herself or her husband's.I know,admire her,respect her,love her for loving her husband that much.But I wanted to scream at her and say "Lady!The country,may not be a country by tomorrow when the kIng dies!Even if your husband were to die saving the King,it must be done,because CHina ain't just about you and your husband,it's about a few million people,and having a biased MAnchurian of non royal blood on the throne could start a war with the hans,bloodshed,civil war,and if such a good king dies,where to find one just as good?!!!!!!!!!".

Of course,he's not that great a king since he considered eloping,abdicating his throne.But still........hate that Siu Siu.

The Most Pitiful Character
Tak Fei.The saddest character in this series,the way she died was really horrifying.

The Most Romantic Scene :
Not taking into account that Superman scene where The King took Sum Yue on a flying around moment,distributing money to the poor by throwing into teh houses chunks of gold,this one below I feel is the most romantic scene.

The King found out his Tak Fei is still alive.Pining for her for 3 long years he went in search of her in the jungle.She was hiding behind a big rock with her servant,afarid to come out to see him due to her promise to the Mother to not see him,he screams and then he fell to the ground,and she ran out thinking that he was hurt and he immediately tied a scarf around his wrist and hers and not letting go,forver.Too her home to see his mom,of course mom's not happy but what can she do?

I thought it was romantic.

The Best Scenes :
Any scenes with the King,the Mother,or Bobby and the King.Especially those scenes where the King fell to the river,suffered from amnesia and Bobby found him,took care of him not realising who he was.Those were the funniest scenes,and the best of the whole series because of the chemistry between Kong Wah and Bobby.

The scene where Tak Fei died,the King had to sit down listening to what his mother had to say,and she was trying very hard to please him and the King just looked empty inside,he just looked so inconsolable,and he was agreeing to what she had to say.

Bobby without Marianne,funny and cute.

The scenes where Fiona found out of her husband's intention to marry Cheung.She didn't say anything,she just used his money.I mean it was funny because I have never seen a much poorer mistress like Cheung,her clothes devoid of gold.In fcat,it was Fiona that had all the gold because she had all the money.And she owuld flaunt to the mistress,"See,I got gold,you got the man?Ha ha ha".And that scene where Fiona took every opportunity to torture that mistress.When she found out she msitreated the mom in law(not true actually),she quicly slapped Cheung and the husband did nothing about it.A good scene that shows to us being a mistress ain't easy.

The scene where Roger was begging for forgiveness from Fiona.She said if she poured the bucket of water onto the street,he must svae every drop of it and then she will forgive him.She pured,he tried but obviously he would fail.And he looked desperate and thought thatw as the end.And then suddenly she walked towards him,took out a handkerchief and soaked it with the water on the street and squeezed ont othe empty bucket.Looked at him and you knew everything is forgiven.A very good scene.Again,not a word spoken.

The starting scene where an old King and Old Bobby,and Bobby wished the King a happy birthday and said that he wished that he could serve the kind decades more,and both were teary eyed.In that one scene,I couldn't wait for the series to move on to the possible scenes of blossoming friendhsip between these two men of diffenet background,different classes but with the same passion.

The Ultimate Classic Scene
Just one,and this one scene shows to us why Kong Wah is my favouriite actor.I always admire actors/actresses that can act with their eyes.I mean no words,just eyes that tell us all.Just the eyes that probably woukd have said much more than the dialougue.Not eyes like " I am sad",or "I am happy" but eyes that could speak volumes of emotions,beyond what words could tell us and you could almost fill in the empty silence with your own words.This one scene is the one for Kong Wah,and he was so good,you could almost feel his pain.

Tak Fei just died.The King was minutes too late.It was raining,thunders and all and he carried her lifeless body out.On the way out,he saw his mother.She walked quickly in front of him,faced him and told him "You know what she did?She wanted to poison me!",and she stopped midway.Because it was obvious he wasn't listening at all.He was too angry,he didn't believe her accusations and as he slowly looked at his mother right in the eyes,she stopped talking and let him walk past her,because without words,his eyes spoke of hatred for his mother.The mother had to let him leave.

Perfect scene,such hatred,such anger,such angst all in the eyes and no words,not a single dialougue from Kong Wah.That I call true acting!

Most Annoying Character
Who else but Marianne's Siu Siu.Really hated her.Jealous jealous jealous all the time.Boring.

Most Favourite Pair :
Not man/woman pair but pair with great chemistry,it had to be Kong Wah and Bobby.I just love the scenes where they're together.

Best Performances :
Kong Wah.Enough said.Of course,I do have my complaints with his characters' actions but still,he was very good.

If Kong Wah is the drama element in here,Bobby has to be the comic element in this series.He is just too cute,more so with his pot belly.He is funny,though his acting,after this series is becoming stale.Need some spice Bobby,a different role perhaps?

Marianne Chen for all my hatred for her character Siu Siu,she was good in here.But if her character is a bit much more cuter,perhaps I might like her even more.Anyway,I have been following her acting career closely,it wasn't until Life For Life(after this series) that she found her niche in acting,and she has improved ever since,dramatically in fact.She has a moldable face,not too pretty,not too ugly and a voice that can be soft or hard.WHen she gives you the stare you might just feel the room's temperature below 0 degrees but if she were to give you her warm smile,you feel warm actually.She strikes me as an actress with great potential and hopefully she will continue to play a myrid of characters,and truly find her true acting method.There was alwyas consistency in her performance of any character,and I guess because of this consistency I hated Siu Siu.She clearly understands her character and I guess this is why she performs so well lately.This is one actress that should be given much more attention and hopefully she will get to play an all out villian one day in a big production.That will truely tell me if she has what it takes to make it and to carry a series all by herself.

Roger Kwok,another actor that shows deep understanding for his characters.His performance is always consistent,alwyas good and always sincere.I like him,and I hope to see him as a villian someday.Want to see real acting.

Hong Wah.An underrated actress of TVb,always playing thsoe mean types.She is good,and I do like her but I guess she is restricted by her looks,which is a great pity.

Not so Good Peformances
Fiona Leung.Still lacking in the emotional scenes,probably her voice.

Nadia Chan,who could have been right below if not for another worse than her.Anyway,I find her interpretation of both Tak Fei and Ngok lacking,seriously lacking.First of all,they do not have any differences.If not for the hairdo,I would never be able to tell the two of them apart.And her reactions to some really drama type moments is just too amateurish as an actress.The only one good scene is as Tak fei begging for her life,If that scene she is not that emotional,I'll tell you her name would be below.

Worst Performance
Consistently bad,probably the only actress worse than Charmaine Sheh herself,or even any actresses,would be Suet Lei.Is that her name?Anyway,that woman who plays the King's mother.I can't stand her.The only reason that this show could possibly stink is because of her eprformance.She suffered the same fate as Charmaine Sheh or any recent Miss HKs,her voice,I can't stand her voice.And everytime she speaks,in any of her seris,its like she has to take in gallops of oxigen and then she speaks.Like takes a lot of effort.And her acting is just so bad,i would dare say she is the worst actress in TVB today,the worst Actor belongs to the old guy who plays Gallen's father in ATE/ATE II.Bad bad bad acting.And she has teh most interesting role!Give me Charmaine anytime!

Interesting Facts
This series was a hit overseas,and i guess in HK too.But some were turned off by this series because of Nadia's bad acting,so my complaints do have some basis.

There was a Making Of..... documentary of this series.When they have that,you know it's a big production.Indeed!The gold plates?Real,and same designs as thsoe in the real banquest during that time.The food?According to the real menu of Machurian-Han Banquet.The big studio?Actually it was Studio One of TVb,the biggest,usually for Miss HK pegeants,took 300 men to built,three days to finish filming,designs according to the real Forbidden Palace,but of course obviously smaller scale.Those abalone?Shark Fins?Scallops?All sponsored by a restaurant owner?Cooking scenes of Bobby?Those hands belong to a real chef.ALL THIS YOU GET TO SEE IN THE LAST TAPE OF THIS SERIES.

The history of punishment,as promise by "Please Scroll Down Further" statement above.I read in a book about teh Forbidden City,for any Dynasty,the severest punishment you would think was beheading.You know one chop and that's it.Not really,Sometimes that chop guy will miss,ad you're left with half chopped head,and your'e still alive.That's the trouble for not using the guillotine.Sometimes,the most severest could punishment out of public eyes.You know,jealous queen killing King's favourite concubines.The most horrifying one should be this one;where the mistress was chopped off her hands,her legs,stuffed into one big black pot,locked in a dungeon with no lights,tounge cut out and fed shit for the rest of her pitiful life.All becasue the King,when he was alive loved her more.

Another would be the Empress Dowager,Old Buddha hersefl,where she hanged a girl high up,by the feet and hands and then,let go of the rope and Splat!You do knwow aht happened right?

Now for those legal type of punishment,this wopuld be the severest.I am not sure which dynasty but it sounds painful.Only for the worst of crime,or traitors.Anyway,the prisoner will be led to a podium,and guy will come with a knife,and he will skillfully and slowly slice your flesh like a chef would to a Peking Duck,and sure you'll scream of pain.Then comes your nose,ears,lips,forarms,etc one slice at a time,slowly and plainfuly.Blood would come oozing out of the flech,and after a while,the slicing will take such a long time that your blood will stop annd thsoe that ooze out will be yellow substance.And by this time you would be begging for instant detah becaseu too painful but now way.Slice slice slice until you die or they finish slicing.Cruel eh?

There was an Emperor Qian Lung,he loved his mother like crazy,built a golden stupa just to keep her fallen white hair!Anway,was he a product of a Han woman and the king Yung Ching like so many stories loved to depict?Rumour had it that Yung Ching may have killed his own father,Hong hei for the throne .Runour also had it that Qian Lung could be a Han woman's son.But the truth is,not true I guess.All rumours.He was truly the son of a Manchurian Queen and the Manchurian King,like that depicted in War And Remembrance.So don't believe everything you see on TV.Not true at all.

Was there a Tak Fei?Rank maybe,but same woman? NO!

Hong Wah plays a Gwai Yan,meaning Privileged Person I guess,by literal translation.that is the lowest ranks of all for a concubine.Highest rank would be a Fei like Tak Fei.The Queen would be teh officially married one,usually from a rich,powerful noble family.The erst must at least be from a family of third ranked minister.See,be a mistress msut also have some family connection.As to how Ching Dynasty Kings chose the woman to sleep with for the night,go to Legend Of Lady Yang's reviews,click it,then click The Bedroom.If you really wanna know.

So you wanna be a Minister eh?You must either have family connections or if your'e a brilliant but poor scholar,you could try to sit for the Imperial Exams,that will all be based on Confucious teachings,you know reiterate his teachings word for word.Usually a candidate sitting for the exam cannot leave the exam for days/weeks,so they eat/sleep there right at the exam table.Those that can write the fullest reiteration of Confucious teachings,perfectlt,with great handwritings,etc will be the one.Not much brobery there because there were poor scholars who made it.Exams is dunno how many years once,only ONE will pass the exam,hence the high standard of the exams.Sometimes the King will set the exams paper.Different categories,from small exams to the highest exams.Each will give a different ranking post,starting from the lowest ,the 9th ranked minister.Some successful candidate,especially that of the highest exam that a candidate can sit for were often offered a princess as a bride,meaning he became the King's son in law,some became magistrate,all will be given official posts,but never first ranked official.That they would have to work their way up.

The most famous one to sit for such an exam and passed should be Justice Bao during Dynasty Song.It seemed that he was already a genius as a child in his village,dunno passed how many exams even befroe he reached puberty.By the way,there was a Justice Bao.

Anyway,I must tell you this famous story of Justice Bao.You see,there was this poor but briliant scholar,suported for years by his poor but loyal wife.he went fro the exams,made the first place for the highest exams in the country and he was offered a princess as a bride,apart from a high ranking official position.he took both,forgetting aboutbhis poor wife.Sure,polygamy is allowed then,but not disregarding the existance of your first wife and marryng for power.He was already the son in law but Justice Bao heard the woman's pleas for justice and he heard,tried the case and sentenced thant man,KING's SON IN LAW mind you to death!!!And he just chooped off his head,and the King could do nothing.You see Justice Bao had this power to "Chop first,explain later",courtesy of teh King himself,and he was never afraid to use that power.As such,that was waht he became a legend.whether this story is true or not i don't know,but there was a Justice bao who was terribly fair during the tiome where every official was corrupted and scheming mean old chauvinistic men.

You may ask,why Confucionism as a basis for the exams?Probably because Confucious,or Hung Foo Tze was the father of Chinese philosophy.I mean this guy lived even before Shih Huang Ti!!That was like way BC people!Anyway,he was also the same guy that said (if I am not mistaken) ,women should have the qualities of (literal translation)"3 obedience,4 capabilities",you know listen to husband,etc.the rest i do not know.Yeah,chauvinist I know but still a great intelligent man.


Interesting Observation
Kong Wah,If I am an actor,I would envy him for this role.Best clothes,lots of women around him for him to hug/kiss/cajole,food he eats first,chair he sits the highest,he gets to shout at you,scream at you.Pure fun for him I guess.

Unimportant Stuff
The chinese title is "Kam Yoke Moon Tong",which bears an auspicious meaning,what aucspisous meaning I wish i could translate but I couldn't,because I do not know where to begin .


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