Name: Love is Sweet
Writer/director: Wang Wen Tong / Yu Zhong Zhong & Wu Jian Xin
Date: September 2020
Number of episodes: 36
Genre: Love, Business, Love/Hate Relationship
Based on book/manga?: Not sure, but I don’t think so.
Why did I press play? Bai Lu is great actress, especially in romantic comedies.
Thoughts and observations: The best way to describe Love is Sweet, is with this analogy: the story is comprised of little different sized bubbles (incidences), that eventually float connect in a haphazardly way. The plot is weak, but the writers priority may have been the bubbles, with the goal that random (cutsey) scenes catch a viewers attending, instead of the whole package of the story. This hinders attachment to the story and even a few of the characters.
- Yuan Shuai, he is just fantastic in this! I often hung in there for him. His comedy is on point. I can’t remember which episode, but he waits for Jiang Jun to leave her apartment, the when her door opens he rushed back into his apartment, with his limbs flying everywhere. His monologue after hit is charming, he says the one with two wheels is later than the one with four and does little hand gestures to complement what he is saying. So charming! I watched this scene several times. Despite an odd premise, his character is mostly fleshed out and believable. This roles shows what a versatile actor Leo Luo is, this character is completely different than the one he plays in “Ashes of Love” – not an easy feat!
His fashion scene and apartment contribute to telling use more about him. His dynamic with this direct subordinates are enjoyable to watch.
It’s quite amusing as a boy how quickly he accepted the offer to receive money to look out for Jun. We soon see, he took this “part-time job” quite seriously.
- Cinematography & use of own voices.
- Good acting from the supporting (not second leads), but third, fourth actors.
- Du Lei, the second male is intriguing. He has great on screen present and oozes a kind of masculinity and his voice is dreamy. Kido Gao must have extensively reflected on the character, to bring that feeling of a challenging life, without initially saying anything about. When the story is revealed it explains a lot of his demeanor. It’s when Linda shows up drunk at his apartment, that is his world feels so much more “adult” and less innocent than Shuai.
- Linda is also interesting. Although she doesn’t have the best intentions, I found her to be such a natural actress and comfortable with the camera. She felt so real. I am keen to check out her future work.
What’s Not So Good
- Shuai’s immediate devotion Jun is quite bizarre. He’s made no attempt to re-connect in past ten years, but when she coincidentally shows up, within a few brief encounters, he is smitten, and basically ready to marry her. What would have happened had this run-in not occurred? Had he even been pinning for her these years? Even in the back-flashes of their childhood, he doesn’t exhibit romantic feelings.
- Jiang Jun’s character is a disappointment. She doesn’t make sense in the context of the plot and world we enter as we watch. There was potential for her to be an enjoyable character and be fleshed out as her past is quite a substantiation story, but her depth stops here. Her personal is so minute, you’d need a magnifying glass to spot it. It plateaus, consequently resulting as a one dimensional character, lacking both charm and charisma. When you do find it under the magnifying glass, it’s only to discover that her “growth” is eventually falling for Yuan Shaui. This wastes so much of the other opportunities for grow, such as her career and common sense.
- As for Du Lei, what exactly does he eventually fall for? What captivates him? In reality I can’t see him being seriously interested in Jun. She mainly talks about her work problems and doesn’t seem to have a real interest in him for who he is. Additionally, for a “smart gal” how can she meet a guy she doesn’t know anything about like late at night, when he call her on a whim. What about her personal safety, what if he was a dangerous person? She believes him so quickly that he indeed is experienced in the field.
- The high school incident that occurred around ten years ago, was embarrassing, but not devastating. She chose to move schools, and could have stayed at her current school, as the humiliation would have eventually subsided. She keeps saying he bullied her all the time, but in the flashbacks these moments are few and far between, he is quite caring towards her. In ten years, with various life experiences, she presumably would have matured, but instead behaves with juvenile rudeness, , disrespect with her what should be long expired anger towards him. Her behavior is so fresh, you’d think this all happened a few months ago.
- The writer added little pops of foolish scenes, which takes from an actual what could be rich plot. For example, in episode three when the power is cut – what a waste of time, nothing is gained from it. In episode six, there is yet again another power outage when they go to the photo booth. Here again, this causes little to no plot progress. The writer seems to love a good old power outage troupe. Another unrealistic scenario is in the episode when Jun’s water is cut (doesn’t this remind you of the power outages?) and she needs to use Shuai shower. There are many, many more of this types of occurrences.
- Almost all the initial “close encounters” are not to draw them closer, but rather for Shuai to get his jollies – he merely becomes more physically attracted/aroused by her. Also through jealous when he sees her “dating from the balcony” rouses his devotion to her. Underneath all this, where is the down to earth security? To me, these things don’t bring them closer because they mean nothing to Jun. It’s only when she sees his support and kindness that she accepts him more (a tiny bit at a time). The blossoming of a healthy relationship is through mutually enjoyable encounters. Until he kisses her, in her sleep, does her attraction come, but they had been getting closer before this point. But her immediate enjoyment is also a bit odd because she still is antagonizing him.
- In the first episode, Xu Li comes across a competent girl with a good heart on her shoulders. Unfortunately, transforms into a total airhead, due to the fact that she becomes smitten with a young man/her muse who often uses (for free) the internet at a convenience store. Her original desire was to watch him to get ideas for the male character in her book (that she needs to start). Having quit her previous job (she wasn’t even fired – there was a chance she could have kept her position), on a whim she worked at the convenience store, for the above reason. Rapidly, her whole world revolves around him. On a side note, her apartment is gorgeous! How on earth does she afford the rent now that her income drastically decreases? The second leads’ romance held little interest for me. There is substance there.
- During the first episode, we learn that Juang Jun is an intelligent postgraduate student, who has fantastic grades. Her unwavering ambition is to work in investment baking. She doesn’t believe in the cut-throat attitude, but believes that a harmonious work environment is the key to success. During round three and the final round of interviews, she is rejected for her somewhat placid attitude that realistically isn’t a good fit for the nature of the industry. Through practically stalking one of the partners, she aims to leapfrog her rejection and enter the company through the backdoor. Bizarrely the partner accepts her due to correctly analyzing and answering a question posed to her. In all honestly the question isn’t groundbreaking and hardly worthy of a swift hire. This is the first of many convenient work related plot points.
- Many people have been highly successful in this industry due to succumbing into the necessary competitive and cunning tactics. But here comes Jun skipping along with her different perspective and actions and thinks he’s smarter than others or her convictions make her competent than others. This is vain belief. Her co-workers are good at their job and not to be so easily judged. The veterans know what they are doing. The response to her harmonious attitude where she gets results is also unconvincing, either she magically gets someone to co-operate or her naivety is taken advantage of, yet she always magically lands on her feet. When she does come into stumbling blocks, without hesitation she accepts a complete stranger as her “shifu”. If she is so smart at work, why is she ditsy in her personal life? If someone has a good head on their shoulders at work, it’s likely that level of maturity trickles into other areas of life. We can conjectures that her “success” at work isn’t realistic and her attitude and decisions outside of work are far too immature. If the personal and professional attire could meet in the middle, then there would be a convincing character to root for.
- The other new hires are highly intelligent and competent people. Only the he crème de la crème get hired. They would not be hired otherwise, but the story portrayed them too unfit and only Jun is the shining star.
In the drama “Twenty Your Life On” (great drama by the way!) You can see a great portrayal of a young intelligent and talented graduate doing very well in her job. The writing and the main lead with the context of the story are perfectly done. The contrast between these two are quite drastic.
Who are the main characters? Which actors play them? ( Couldn’t track down most of the actors)
Yuan Shuai played by Leo Luo (male lead)
Jiang Jun played by Bai Lu (female lead)
Du Lei played by Kido Gao (second male lead & completed the love triangle)
Xu Li played by Shane Xiao (Jun’s bff)
Li Xiao Chuan played by Riley Wang (guy building the dating app)
Qiao Na played by Zhao Yuan Yuan (Jun’s supervisor & VP of MH)
Linda played by Ariel Ann (Du Lei’s mentor & pseudo sister)
Su Chang played by Guan Zi Jing (Yuan’s secretary & his girlfriend stays in Yuan’s apartments).
Theme: Apparently, we don’t not mature with age.
What is it good for? Something too passively watch, while folding the laundry.