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.**

It starts out that he is a famous chef and she is a street market "discount version" of him, so he gets annoyed that she's cashing in on his name and she challenges him to a cook off.  He beats her, of course, but is so impressed with her talent that he accepts her 7 day challenge and takes her on as his apprentice.  Then of course they fall in love, but then, of course, things get weird.

All of the sudden it stops being about cooking so much as he tricks her into pretending to be his fiancee, to keep his mom from forcing him into being engaged to Ruxi, our really nice second female lead.  She is really nice, but never had a chance.  That's ok, I shipped her with someone else, the whole time.  Anyway, that turns into forced living together and random mom war antics that force them together even more.  Did I mention there is weird family dynamics and birth secrets?  Yeah, there are two moms in the main dude's family, and his is the second.  But he's also not even related to that family at all, since his dad died earlier.  Now the show is suddenly about family politics and birth secrets.

So, then we get that mostly cleared up, we think, and all the sudden it's not just family politics, it's chaebol wars!  Our Tingen (Chris Wu) gets kicked completely out of the family!  Then we have two worlds colliding as he redefines himself and what kind of chef he is.  At the same time, the family wars turn into bankruptcy and now the dreaded night market (the worst part of the whole freaking show) is in danger and so to save it, Fen Qing (Ivy Shao) takes over the company.  Total role reversals now.

Then there is family drama that will potentially keep them apart for forever, but because everyone is so sad, then the second leads and parents feel bad and instead help them get back together despite them being the ones to tear them apart earlier.

**Safer less spoiler parts**

I thought they gave the second male lead way too much screen time.  I got really sick of that, because Little Aaron Kwak (Ben Wu) was annoyingly persistent, and as the best friend could do way too much damage.  I hated that more than half an episode was dedicated to him, more the once it seemed.  I didn't care about him enough to want to get to know him that well.  It just made me bored.

I loved Xiao Bin, Tingen's right hand man.  While he was ridiculous and slapstick, he was also tall and handsome, and had great hair.  He was also good at calling people out on their crap and being a drama queen.  His clothes were generally pretty good too.  I've seen this kid in a couple of roles and I know he can do more than just the comedy relief.  I hope he doesn't get stuck doing that too long.

I like that they acknowledged the age gaps.  They were all playing their actual ages too, for the most part.  Chris Wu was clearly a 34 year old accomplished man.  Ivy Shao was actually supposed to be around 27, and Ben Wu was definitely supposed to be the little baby he looked.  This was not dwelled on necessarily, but it played in the dynamics of their relationships, the maturity of all the characters, and their reactions to what happened.  Fen Qing was so inexperienced in love that she would literally run every time she got emotionally involved, and would second guess everything.  I liked how that played into the plot, because her problem the whole time, with everything, was that she was no confident in herself as a chef or in a relationship.  That would lead her into not believing in what was going on, etc.  We also have Tingen, who from the start is confident but self sacrificing, not just to her but to his family.  So in a sense everything that happened could be plausible, if it was not super ridiculous.  They have to make those role reversals and come full circle to wrap it up, not my favorite, but at least through all the ridiculous, there was some semblance of continuity.

So by the end I was just waiting for the end.  The last couple of episodes, like from 18-22, I could have done without, but on the whole it was not terrible, and definitely didn't get FILWM bad.  It just definitely got more dramatic than it needed to, I think for the sake of coming full circle and having them end up in the same spot, on different ends.  Trying too hard to be too poetic.  But at least there was a journey and they both changed for the better, I would say.  So on the whole, satisfying but dramatic.


  1. Only in this drama promo pic does Chris Wu look like Joseph Gordon Leavitt. It looks like some ppl on the internets think so, too.