Name: Sweet Teeth
Writer/director: Lei Xin Lin / Derek Hui (Cross Fire) / Liu Hang Yang
Date: August 2021
Number of episodes: 22
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Dentist, Librarian
Based on book/manga?: Yes, “A Speck Amid the Dust of the World” by Mu Fy Sheng.
Why did I press play? It was the director (Derek Hui) that drew me to this one. It was the same director of Cross Fire, which is one of my all time favorite C-dramas.
was, Zhai Xiao Wen, who played a minor role of the female’s leads ex-boyfriend in “Falling Into Your Smile”. There was one particular scene in that drama that his acting was impressive. It was quite an ordinary drama scene, yet he brought nuance and something raw that I re-watched several times. In Sweet Teeth, he continues to be good. It takes a talent to take a cliche role and turn it into something grounded.
A few thoughts and observations:
- The story has an ebb and flow of cliche bubbliness and groundedness. Just as a scene becomes a bit cringe, something with substance, whether that is a mature moment, or unexpected camera work, soon rescued it. The director took a cheesy plot and made it not only watchable, but enjoyable, and you feel respected as a viewer.
- The camera work and lighting are excellent and add pizazz and depth to the story. This helps tell the story besides what the characters are doing and saying. For example, the shadows in the snow and during sunset. And when the main couple are sitting at the lookout and only Zhang Li profile is visible, since the camera is filming her behind her from the side.
- Yet moments before, there was that cheesy “resolved misunderstanding” that Ai Jing didn’t dump her friend. This is an example of that ebb and flow. Another example is in episode 7, there is the typical date in the market troupe – it’s done so well – I didn’t have to forward from cringing (which I almost always do – even in period dramas). The style of camera, or editing, made it interesting, thoughtful and enjoyable to watch. The lighting is less polished here, so it feels we are also at the market.
- The chemistry between the main leads was decent, and the interactions between them were fun. But there was something missing.
- Wu Xuan Yi did a good job playing Zheng Li, she was super cute and endearing without being ditsy.
- Deng Hao is such a charming guy and it’s fun how his character is slowly unpacked, that explains all his actions. Learning a little more about her brother, Deng Hao. He is such a likable guy, how he brought her the skincare product, and then for her friends, it’s such a simple thing, but it illustrate and how he cares for his sister and her friends. I don’t particularly care for his romance with the other friend – it doesn’t feel like a good match.
Not so good:
- It was odd how quickly Wu Ying went to go see a Chinese medicine specialist and went along with all the health changes Liu Yu Cheng wants her to make. It’s very sudden for a stubborn gal and for anyone who had put little value or thought into it moments before. The only explanation (although it’s a stretch) is that she feels what they mentioned in the ending monologue. She wanted “Someone to interrupt the monotony of life”.
- Both the Zheng Li friends are quite annoying and I never felt invested in them.
- Much of the plot was very unrealistic, and many things occurred to conveniently, such as Zheng Li and Ai Jing Chu going on holiday at the same time and location.
Overall this drama is decent, but it doesn’t have that something special, and after a couple of episodes I totally forgot about it. Later I did try picking it up again, but ended up dropping it again.
Who are the main characters? Which actors play them?
Zheng Li played by Wu Xuan Yi (female lead)
Ai Jing Chu played by Bi Wen Jun (male lead)
Liu Yu Cheng played by Zhai Xiao Wen (second male lead)
Wu Ying played by Zhang Bo Jia (second female lead)
Deng Hao Ran played by Terry Liu (Zheng’s half brother)
Ma Yi Yi played by Wan Zi Lin
Theme: You never know what can happen when you go the dentist or the library!
What it’s good for? To chill out with, while eating some mint-choc-chip ice cream. If you are in the mood for something fluffy, that has good camera work.