Name: My Fated Boy
Writer/director: Meng Hu/Sun Cheng Zhi
Date: July 2021
Number of episodes: 29
Genre: Friendship, Family Friends, Romance, Work
Based on book/manga?:
Why did I press play? I thought it was a different drama, and decided to give it a go.
Thoughts and observations:
The first couple of episodes are great! The acting from both leads is strong. Sierra Li has a wide acting range and superbly expresses all the nuances need to bring her character to life. Her character, Lin Yan, in some respects, falls into the typical, “single, but thirty” arch. However, this drama tactfully avoids plummeting into the depths of cliches. This is achieved via a solid script (mostly), the lack of overacting by the leads, and the logic behind events and characters’ actions.
Back to Lin Yan, whenever she feels discouraged, which is much of the time in the earlier episodes, it feels real, so real, it misses being draining to watch by a hair. One attribute of hers that is particularly impressive is the way she stands up for herself and is unphased by the immaturity of Li Tian. When push comes to shove (metaphorically and physically), she draws the line. Li Tian is constantly loosing all the battles she starts.
The male lead Lu Zheng An is an unique character. As mentioned above, his character could also easily fall into the pitfall of cliches: handsome, talented, young, tall, successful, smitten with an older woman, but again he doesn’t. His train of thought and his actions all make sense. The reason for his infatuation, or rather after all these years, it’s simply love, also makes sense. His relationship with Ling Yang began since the day he was born. Their parents are incredibly close friends and always planned for their children to get married. This is no secret, and he grew up calling her wifey and adored her.
But as he got older, he saw her in many relationships, and she would cry from heartbreak in front of him. Never seeing him as anything more than a younger brother, which is totally understandable given their age gap at that point in time – he was a high schooler. It was in episode three, where he went to go visit her at college before he left to go study abroad. She meets up with her boyfriend and it’s painful to watch him dragging behind him and then getting into the taxi. In this scene, he suddenly cries from humiliation, being hurt and so indirectly rejected and forgotten. It was here that I thought, “… this guy has some skill” and knew that he could handle his role.
The premise of their relationship is sweet, original, and makes for an angst free romance. It also creates logic for why he devoted to her despite his success and popularity. There is chemistry between them is good and they have a natural skinship and comfort from years of knowing each other.
The drama has a real earthy, realistic vibe to it. It is quite a subdued, almost pale color palette. They toned down even the wardrobe styling and makeup. This also makes what could easily be a cheesy and cringe drama into a mature one. It’s safe to say that the director always knows when to draw the line and sticks to his vision.
One of the greatest attributes of this drama is that it allows the viewer to figure things out for themselves. Something will happen, like when Ling Yang hugs Lu Zheng An when she sees him for the first time. Initially is seems like she hugs him out of desperation for comfort and it seems exceptionally bold, but then we learn based on the nature of their relationship, that hug is nothing to out of the ordinary. There is an abundance of these plot points that get revealed over time. Then the characters’ previous actions make total sense.
Ma Le, who is Zheng An’s manager, is a fun and eccentric character, but not overdone.
What’s Not So Good
Li Tian is your typical immature, entitled, silly rich girl, that you just can’t take seriously. How can one get by in life at that age and be vain?
Xie Nan Ke is a dull character.
Something about the color grading doesn’t sit well. It adds an element of fatigue to the plot – but perhaps that is the intention?
The reason I dropped this drama was because of the slow pacing, and after the initial set-up, the story just feels ho-hum. In this drama season of life, I’m looking for a meatier plot. Perhaps in the future I’ll come back to this one.
Who are the main characters? Which actors play them? ( Couldn’t track down most of the supporting actors)
Ling Yang played by Sierra Li
Lu Zheng An played by He Yi Qian
Xie Nan Ke played by Shang Bai (Zheng An’s Cousin)
Li Tian (likes Zheng An and becomes Ling Yang’s assistant)
Ma Le played by Zhou Xiao Chaun (Zheng An’s manager)
Theme: It’s a delightful surprise when someone who loves you, unexpectedly breezes into your life.
What’s it good for: To watch, while waiting for episodes of other dramas to air.