Crush – Review

Name: Crush
Writer/director: Yang Yi Xun / Yu Cui Hua
Date: July 2021
Number of episodes: 24
Genre: Romance, Life, Drama
Based on book/manga?: Yes, “Qin He Yin Kan” (“So I Love You Very Much”) by Mu Fu Sheng.

Why did I press play?
I am always up for at least checking out a romantic drama with an interesting pot.

Just a heads up that this review contains spoilers throughout.

This drama leaves an impression. Long after you’ve watched an episode, the story and characters linger around your mind. A part from the bizarre curveball that occurs in the last quarter (you’ll know it when you see it), it’s a wonderful and soothing drama.

What’s Good
One element that stood out (and increased the watching pleasure) is the fashion and styling of all the characters. Each person has a distinct look, which shows confidence in well-developed characters, and the presentation gives more nuanced information that doesn’t need to be said out loud. It adds another layer of storytelling. I LOVED Yu Xiao style, everything about it, from her hair, make-up, and understated fashion style. Simply her styling illustrates her decorating style and why Nin Qing’s house is decorated in modern and simply style, as well as his clothing style. You could say she is the one responsible for how he is presented, and makes him more attractive. She would also have picked his haircut.

Su Nian Qin is played by Evan Lin, and the actor goes all the way in portrayed blindness, even in small details, such as while in his house, when Wu Yu leads him to the chair after he cutely tells her stop pointing, he doesn’t know where she is pointing too. All the while he finds he seat and sits down, his hands are feeling the table, to confirm exactly where he is and the camera isn’t even focused on that, but he does it.

Wan Yu sums up a lot of his personality (in the first half) when she tells Yu Xiao Lu, it’s because of their indulgence of his stinky (and warranted) attitude that his negative attributes got so big. At this point, Nian Qin is prideful and self-absorbed, and lonely and can only really function in a romantic relationship if the other party has copious amounts of grace, leniency and patience? Wu Yu is this, but she too has her limits on what she will put up with, and as she says, “I also have a temper”. He really pushed her to the edge, and it’s no wonder she jumps off and breaks up with him.

You wonder what would he have been like if his mother was still alive? He most likely would have gotten the procedure and therefore not struggled with blindness, and part form resentment towards his dad, would have been nurtured by his mother and learnt to be more adapting and considerate to others. But is must be said that he always has a tender side to him. We see this in the way he volunteers and cares for the blind children, especially the little girl.

Wu Yu and Nin Qing’s Relationship The progression of their relationship is wonderful. It takes Wu Yu a lot of work to win over Ning Qing, but once he falls for her, it’ll fill you with the warm and fuzzies. There are many moments that will have you squealing out loud, and re-watching several scenes, such as when she steals their first kiss. The couple’s flirting is so natural, it honestly doesn’t feel like they were acting, but flirting in real life, but the director just happened to be filming. She truly does not look down on his blindness, and never seen him as a victim, but as a man, and respects him as a man. We see this sentiment scattered throughout the first half of the drama, such as, when they are all out for dinner, and her friend offers them a ride and Wu Yu responds by saying, why would she need a ride from her if she has her man with her. (Can we just say how cringe it was it when he wore a suit and was completely overdressed for her graduation). It is also clearly stated by in her argument with Nian Qing at the hospital that she is sick of his victim mentality.

This is about the frequency they see each other in the early days at the Disability School. Initially, it seemed like they have nothing else going on, except the couple of days they taught on the same day. But the after thinking about it more and paying attention to the little details, it’s clear they have other important things going on the rest of the week – it’s just for this part of the story, what is relevant is this time they spend together, in the latter part, we see more of the rest of their lives, especially when they start living together. In, some dramas, the characters seem to only exist while they are with their romantic interest.

One problem I had with their relationship, and wished the drama gave more explanation, was why she so quickly moved in with him – it was very early in their relationship.

Other good things:
The music is excellent, beautiful, and a pleasure to listen too, especially the melancholy piano piece. The tunes add texture and layers to the drama. Nian Qin isn’t talkative and rarely communicates his feelings, and this is amplified by not being able to read any expression in his eyes. They often talks for him and are used to bridge that gap and convey feelings. The camera shots supplement this communication, so that even though it’s the same tune, in different circumstances we get the different things it’s trying to say.

There are no villains in this drama, no frustrating misunderstanding. Any misunderstanding are resolved quickly, and it’s Nin Qin’s pride and lack of understanding of the world that causes obstacles in his relationship. He could easily rectify these things, if he didn’t leave it till too late.

Oh, there are few moments where Nie Xi (Sang Wu’s superior) becomes a mild villain-ness out of jealousy because Nain Qin and Nie Xi are dating. She liked him, even though they rarely spent time together. But this soon passes, and she is happy for them.

What’s Not So Good
There are many cut scenes, or one that were never filmed – my passive assumption is that due to budget and time constraints they opted out certain scenes that aren’t necessarily essential, but would have been nice, such as the wedding between Wei Hao and Wu Qian.

But the biggest missing and what is important missing scene is the wedding night of Nian Qin and Wu Yan. Naturally, Nian Qin is physically affectionate guy and for most of their relationship, touch was the primary way to be close to her. The consummation would be especially important, exciting, and meaningful to him. I wish we could have seen his expression of anticipation and how he would initiate it. The other purpose of such a scene would be nicely transition their pure dating relationship to a married couple, including going staring to sleep in the same room, instead of the usual separate ones. There doesn’t need to be a full sex scene, but maybe him saying something, a closeup on his expression before a kiss and the scene could cut there and the next one is them snuggling in the morning – you know the usual drill for these types of things in drama land.

The last quarter of the drama goes downhill in many respects. First, the use of music becomes saturated. Instead of providing a delightful sprinkle of atmosphere, it now provides endless annoyance. Not only that, is starts playing before the scene properly kick-off – it’s spoon-feeding the viewers, which none of us want or need. Let’s

The second leads don’t hold a candle to the first. This is not the fault of the writers because their stories and relationships are interesting, but the casting and the acting abilities of those actors. There was no pull or interest when they were on screen. This is especially the case with Wu Qian, her personality was flat, and her poor styling also didn’t help the visual appeal or add interest to her character. Her clothes simply didn’t suit her, had a hardness to them, and the plain color pallette gave a bland feel. The worse was her work attire. Had her styling been on point (and perhaps a different haircut), her character would have been more enjoyable to watch.

Let’s not even get into the utterly bizarre and poorly handled mental health plot twist in the final quarter…

Wu Yan’s relationship with her mother
Her mother is a stubborn person and mostly her flaws are shown – she could have benefited with a being a tad more understanding, and kind, without taking away from enforcing her principals. Her constant domineering becomes tiring to watch, and it’s difficult to feel any affection towards her. Most often, she jumps the gun, presuming she knows all the facts, without collection the facts and bases everything on sweeping and instant conclusions. She meets any opposition to with hostility and guilt tripping.

However, there was one moment that I respected her in, and that was when at the hospital she asked, where is Nain Qin, why is he not here to support her? And in their relationship, is it only her who supports him, and not the other way around? Wu Yan, withers and she could only make up lame excuse, and knows her mother’s point is poignant and valid. In another moment, although harsh, her mother says that they did not raise her with love to become someone’s caretaker for life. Not that Wan Yu would be a caretaker, but she certainly will do a lot of caretaking.

Nian Qin’ family
His dad marrying his old friend is odd, but she genuinely cares about her husband, and is not after his money. There is not much detail on this, and I suppose there doesn’t really need to be, but one can’t help but wonder what is going on there.

Who are the main characters? Which actors play them?
Su Nian Qin played by Evan Lin
Sang Wu Yan played by Wan Peng
Wei Hao played by Li Jia Hao (Wu Yan’s (sort of) ex-boyfriend.
Wu Qian played by Yu Kun Niu (Wu Ya’s hometown best friend and lead singer of the band)
Yu Xiao Lu played by Li Jia Qi (Nian Qin’s aunt and psuedo assistant)
Nie Xi played by Zeng Yi Xuan (Wu Yan’s superior at work and friend of Xiao Lu
Cheng Yin played by Mei Yi Chen (Wu Yan’s roommate).
Wu Wei played by Zhou Shi Yuan ( Wu Yan’s male co-worker)

Theme: It’s important to always grow as a person and learn to love and appreciate those around you.

What’s it good for: To have a sense of excitment throughout the day as you look forward to the evening’s episodes.

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