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Written by Bridget Au

Grounded in realistic situations and emotions, the series is highly successful at showing that love gone wrong seriously sucks.


SPOILERS ... SPOILERS ... SPOILERS


Chinese Title
“Zui Hou Que Ding Ai Shang Ni”

No. of episodes
18

Year
2011


Cast
Joseph Chang as Jie Xiu
Rainie Yang as Xiao Ru
Kingone Wang as Yi Xiang
Tiffany Xu as Ai Wei
Wang Chuan as Jie Xiu’s mother
Tom Price as Rickie
Deng Jiu Yun as Peggy


Foreword
Proof positive that decent execution can make something that sounds lousy on paper into something watchable and entertaining.

Review
It’s official – Rainie Yang is back. I dropped her off my to-watch list after some recent cringe-worthy output (Miss No Good, Hi My Sweetheart), but Love You brings us the Rainie that the audience got to know and love from Devil Beside You.

As the second installment of the Fated to Love You manga trilogy, Love You’s plot is nothing far-fetched in the idol drama genre. Jie Xu (Joseph Chang) and Xiao Ru (Rainie Yang) accidentally get married after a drunken escapade following break-ups with their long-time significant others (a somewhat stale Tiffany Xu, whose selfish Ai Wei is more interesting on paper than in performance; and Kingone Wang as cheater-in-love Yi Xiang). They stay married for contractual reasons that are logical only in Taiwanese (or Korean) idol drama, and while each tries to salvage their respective broken relationships to no avail, they eventually repair their broken hearts and find love in each other. Can we get anymore clichéd?

It’s not all bad though. What sets this series apart from the usual idol drama is its portrayal of breakups. Grounded in realistic situations and emotions, the series is highly successful at showing that love gone wrong seriously sucks. Anyone who’s been in a relationship when things aren’t going great will relate to the moments of hopelessness, frustration, and ultimate heartbreak shown in this series. Fuelling much of the series is the acting by the two leads.


Readers have long realized that I’m pretty brutal when it comes to reviewing, so I guess I’ll say right here that when I first saw the poster for this series, I thought it was about a girl who falls in love with someone with a mental disability, because Joseph Chang looks like one in the poster. I know, I’m terrible. However, he does look better when he’s not static in a photo. In fact, of all the Taiwanese male leads, he looks the manliest and appears quite mature. Of course, that’s relative given the competition.


While Joseph is lacking a bit in the charisma department, he delivers in terms of acting. He looks intelligent and I believe him as an architect. Surprisingly, he has some chemistry with Tiffany Xu as well as Rainie Yang, and his performance here even hints at some comic talent. It’s the first time I’ve seen Joseph, and I would watch something with him again based on this performance.


Rainie Yang’s performance is a familiar one, reminiscent of her work in Devil Beside You, with the added bonus of less pouting and more acting in this series. She is relatable and honest here, and manages some very effective emotions in the earlier part of the series where Xiao Yu first gets dumped by Yi Xiang. One of her best performances to date, and easily the best since DBY.


I feel sorry for Kingone Wang, because he is actually a pretty decent actor but his (lack of) looks probably prevent him from collecting a legion of fans like his fellow male actors. I find his character’s ending in this series a bit disturbing – the whole concept of having to marry a girl despite the fact that you’re not in love with her and you’re marrying her just assuming that you will eventually fall in love with her is unsettling. Maybe this series is trying to teach a lesson that karma’s a b-tch and cheaters will always pay.


There’s no use pretending that at the end of the day, Love You isn’t a Taiwan idol drama, due to the unnecessary subplots, such as the paparazzi guy (portrayed by a super-annoying performance by the actor in the role) and Xiao Yu’s search for her biological mother, and caricature characters such as Jie Xu’s boss.


In terms of acting disappointments, they’re not lacking either. Tom Price is hilariously bad as Rickie, and his lack of chemistry with Tiffany suggests you should have your fast-forward button at hand for their scenes. Tiffany’s acting is still stiff and generally uninteresting. She’s lovely to look at but something about her doesn’t connect on an emotional level. She needs more practice as she is hovering dangerously close to being labeled as a flower vase. Den Jiu Yun, who portrays Peggy, is appropriately b-tchy in the role, although she switches gears to Overact as soon as her character turns good.

Overall, a perfectly fine entry into the idol drama genre. Next!


To Watch or Not To Watch, That is the Question
Recommended for fans of the idol drama genre and Rainie Yang.







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