Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Perfect Match: The Perfect Combo of Tropes and Twists... I love Taiwanese Dramas

It's been a while since I've watched a Taiwanese Drama.  I've been focusing more on the Korean and Chinese lately, not by design, that's just how it happened.  But I was wanting to watch something fluffy and romantic, and I saw this one with Chris Wu.  I hadn't seen his as the lead yet (again, that's just how it worked out), so I thought I'd give it a try.

I stopped in the middle of the first episode.  I forgot how campy Taiwanese Dramas are.  But then, for some reason, I felt I needed to give it another try.  Five minutes later I was hooked.  I had forgotten how quickly Taiwanese Dramas give you the good stuff.  They don't mess around with romantic comedies.  They start with a bang.

I wanted to get this post out back when there were only a few episodes out, but Ms. Minus Hands struck and my laptop is still in need of repairs.  So, I am sneaking this out on my work computer during breaks (it's much nicer than my laptop anyways).  So here is my summary of the first two(ish) episodes of The Perfect Match, even though there are many more to catch up on.  Exciting.

The premise of The Perfect Match was such that it could be good or bad.  Rivalry plots are like that.  He's a famous chef, and she's a naturally talented cook at a night market.  Her curry shrimp burgers are compared to his famous curry lobster.  This, of course, offends him, since she's using his name for publicity.  This starts a love/hate relationship?  Or, at least that's how I thought it would go.

I mean, he was slated as the rich jerk.

She was so obviously supposed to be Candy.

But each of them still had a pretty fresh twist.  I like how bad-a she is.

And while he is blunt, he's never mean.  He is a softy underneath.

He's just not the smoothest talker.

Which is probably why they are the perfect match.  It's all about the food and the skills, guys.

So far okay, but when I got to this dance scene, I just had to stop.  It was too cheesy and completely random.

I came back again later, not sure why (probably Chris Wu's neck), and gave it another chance.  I skipped the dance commercial and it suddenly got good, really fast.

So let's back up and talk about it.  He is a chef, famous for his lobster curry.  He's also got a really blunt tongue.  Then all the media starts comparing his famous curry to this girl's street market shrimp curry burgers, calling her the "economic version" of him.

He doesn't like it, but really doesn't want to bother with it.

I love the faces his friend makes!
But they still inevitably have that fateful meeting when he shows her up at her night market booth, proving his superior knowledge.

Is he a jerk about it?

A little, but surprisingly not as much as he could have been.

They are totally not seeing eye to eye.

But he still totally wins.

But she's spunky, so she comes right back at him, and challenges him right back.

Wouldn't it turn into the typical love/hate relationship?

But then that's not quite how it went.  It's like this show is using every trope, but doing it with a twist.  It made them much more likable, at that.

For instance, she's humble enough to admit that she doesn't have enough experience.

But is confident enough in her talent to know she can learn it.

And he unabashedly respects her natural talent and guts.

He still teases her, but it's because he sees her potential.

It's not quite rivals, because now their suddenly in a master/apprentice relationship, but that doesn't mean she's not challenging him all the time.  She's constantly calling him out.

Just as he is teaching her, in a cocky, teasing way.

They get so comfortable around each other so quickly, which is weird because they are still "fighting" just with some mutual respect?

I like this dynamic.  Lots of good back and forth.

I also love this friend.  He makes the best faces!

It's shaping up to being a good power couple if things keep going this good.

But there are still the same elements that are in all Taiwanese dramas.  We have the "OZ" crowd.  In this case, the night market crew.

The second leads who aren't necessarily bad... yet.

The annoying buddy character.

And the classy bitca.  Only she's so far only said one questionable thing to make me worried.  Mostly she's just very bold and pushy.

That's a face that says: "I'm gonna make you mine, you sexy chef!"
Did I mention that those two are probably siblings?  Sibling seconds are usually bad news.  We'll see later if that is actually the case.

Also lots and lots of skinship tropes.  Within the first two episodes alone, we have every trope imaginable... almost.

Falling off roofs...

Waist grabbing on bikes...

Hugs in the dark...

Wrist grabs...

The crash and catch, accidental boob grab, more hugging in the dark... ooh-dah-lah-ly!

This might be sweeter if he hadn't been the one to turn the lights off on her, haha.

It doesn't take too long before he's basically secretly chasing her, sometimes acting more like a second male lead, because he's way nicer than the actually second male lead (who is annoying and possessive).

Oh really?  How so, Tingen?

You tell him, girl!

He doesn't even think about hand holding any more, just goes for it.

I really love how they admit when the other is right, and how quick they all are to apologize.

And how worried/jealous he already is.

Even though she's so clueless.

He likes her so much that even when he's about to sexy cook for this girl...

He's looking at his phone this tenderly, while checking up on our main girl.  This is all in the first two or so episodes, BTW.

Tender, with a hint of buttheadedness.
I love how he's terrified of the second female lead, but is so natural and teasing with our girl.  It's probably because his roots are really closer to the night market than the fancy restaurant.  The whole tragic past thing, you know.

Helping a girl because she reminds him of his sister and he has so many regrets is not the worst tragic back story.  Better than him liking her because she reminds him of his dead mom... a bit.

There are a lot of reoccurring themes about not regretting and also not forcing someone into the future they don't want.  I like how we can see the effect that the past has on our characters, but it doesn't bog down the present to the point of being annoying.  He's not a big lump of PTSD or anything, but he does have some problems, and so does she.  It helps them bond really.

So far (and I mean this for all the currently aired episodes) there hasn't been anything to make me not like this drama.

And the fact that Chris Wu rarely sleeps with a shirt doesn't hurt at all.

So don't mind me, I think I'm in until the end with this one.

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