Tuesday, August 8, 2017

266. Ode to Joy 2 欢乐颂 2 (2017) Chinese

Liu Tao, Jiang Xin, Wang Zi Wen, Yang Zi, Bridgette Qiao Xin

Drama Rating: 7/10     Neck Score: A

As a continuation of the same story, this one definitely had a darker tone.  It was especially noticeable as I started this one immediately after finishing the last season, because even the filter was much darker.  Also, it went back from the seemingly happy ending implied at the end of season one, and showed that things were much more complicated than they seemed.  People who we thought were getting along weren't yet, and people we thought got back together still had stuff to work on first.  That was confusing, but maybe if I had had a year to wait like everyone who watched them on time, then it might not have been as stark a difference.  It definitely focused on the darker, more complicated sides of everyone's issues.  I actually liked it more for that.

As always, I love how raw and imperfect everyone is.  They are so human and flawed, but that's why it is so nice to see them take care of each other and grow.  Making mistakes, making the same mistake over and over, taking responsibility for their decisions, whether good or bad.  The focus is still on the girls and their personal growth and not necessarily just their romance, although I feel like that was a larger portion of this one, since the relationships all reached new levels in this one.

Can I just say how much I love Bao?  I might have started this whole show, both seasons, because of the spoiler clips I saw of Andie and Bao, which totally explains why I was having none of Bofu... that old Mr. Wei guy who looked 50.  He just wanted to "fix" Andie, while Bao just thought Andie was the best thing ever and already too good for him.  What a difference.  I also just loved the teasing little way he wormed his way into her life and into her heart.  His sexy little dimples!  So unabashedly awesome for her.

As always, Xiao Qu was my favorite little demon, and I liked how she grew in this one.  We saw a much more vulnerable side of her in this season.  She matured a lot, and her relationship with all the girls on the 22nd floor grew a lot as well.  They were on good terms more often.  I did, of course, appreciate how her and Dr. Zhao's relationship took off, became serious, went through the wringer and ended up adorable.  It was a good arch for both of them.

I was really impressed with Ying Ying as she probably grew the most from season one to the end of this season, she really progressed from being immature and complacent, to being a strong power woman who stands up for herself in love and manages a store.  She went through a lot of rocky in between.  I'm not sure how I went from liking her IT boy, to hating him, to liking him again.  I guess I was able to understand their progression as well.

Guan Guan definitely made some improvement as well as she became a more active participant in her own life, as well as these stories.  Darn it, if I didn't relate to her the most this time around, because she was dealing with things I have to deal with daily.  She is just the cutest.

Fan, man slow clap for her.  She really took some big steps in all aspects of her life.  She made me cry the most, but she also grew the most.  Her family drama and personal drama, as always, was dramatic, but she actually progressed this time, instead of just leaning on her man.  She started improving herself and realized that she has to become independent as a person if she is going to be in a happy relationship. She started taking the power woman steps too, and I was so, so proud of her.

So much growth and so much drama.  I really love how this show, in both seasons, is about women.  Normal women who are learning to support themselves and each other.  This is about their growth and mistakes, and success too.  I love that, and I am going to miss watching my girls everyday.  Wah.  I miss them already!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

250. The Perfect Match 極品絕配 (2017) Taiwanese

Chris Wu, Ivy Shao, Ben Wu, Xiao Man, Nylon Chen

Drama Rating: 5/10     Neck Score: A+

This started out really cute and fun, but like most dramas, it got really weird half way in.  Well, actually it started out so cheesy that I couldn't even watch it at first and I had to give it a second chance.  But for Chris Wu and his amazing chin, I did.  It got better for a bit, and then it got crazy.  The typical build of a Taiwanese drama seems to be a series of short but ever increasing dramatic episodes that just build up until you don't even remember how the show started.  Each problem gets resolved quickly enough that you don't hate it too much, but each problem is more ridiculous than the last until you are just watching it to see how the crazy will end.  Fall In Love With Me is the most extreme example of this.  The Perfect Match was no where near as bad, but certainly went full circle in crazy.

**Probably too many SPOILERS ahead, but these are really just how the plot goes.  You can still watch and enjoy if you're into this kind of crazy.**