Name: Simmer Down
Date: April 2022
Number of episodes: 40
Genre: Romance, Life, Family
Based on book/manga?: Yes! I couldn’t find the book title and authors name in English.
The first half is a relaxing watch and the leads chemistry keeps you hooked. Unfortunately, after the midway point, the drama falls off a cliff and lands into a puddle of boredom. Perhaps this could have been prevented with making it a 24 and not a 40 episode one – the story isn’t that complex and a lot could easily be been cut out or resolved much quicker.
What is good:
- The leads stay in character the entire time. This comes to the smallest of gestures. For example, in episode 12, When Liao Wang goes for a run and Yang Guang texts her (there was no translation for the text, let me know if you could read what it said). For example, it’s quite a simple scene, but it’s acted so well, it’s hard to believe that these aren’t real people.
- Chen Xiao, The male lead, I have always been intrigued by him, and this role suits him. Again, it’s such a pleasure watching him as he acts so well even when he is sitting doing nothing. The character is also attractive that his haircut is handsome, and the camera angles. He has high self-esteem, doesn’t let others ruffle his feathers, doesn’t hold grudges, and is stoic and can handle a lot without it taking up his energy. He could do without the baseball cap – it’s not flattering on him! High emotional intelligence is part of his nature, and he can see through people, but respects their boundaries – unless it comes to using sly tactics to get guest on the show.
- The chemistry between the leads is fantastic! Is one thing that keeps me hooked. It really kicks-off when he helps lift her off the wall – it’s quite a charming scene. To an extent they have that “bickering” set-up, but Guang is mature that he doesn’t really get his feathers ruffled, so the bickering is more one sided – although that doesn’t mean he lets things slide, unless it comes to work. He won’t allow her to swoop in and sabotage it. As time passes, you can see them so naturally falling for each other. One of their best scenes together is in episode 24. He walks her home and as she tries to leave, he pulls her back. I must have re-watched this scene 10 times!
- The second couple has an odd dynamic. Niu Zhi Ling is playing with fire in how she treats Li Heng Ji, as she presumes he’ll always be around and that she can call the shots.
- The friendship between Li Heng Ji and Guang is healthy and solid. When Liao Wang could have benefited from having a good girlfriend, it would have balanced her out more.
What is not so good
- The locations are on a loop, which makes things monotonous, as you can predict where they’ll be next. It’s typically the studio, Liao Wang’s office, a random simple locations (based on case), Guang’s car, talking on the phone, or any of the four leads houses. That’s pretty much it. Perhaps the production was tight on time or money? More diversity of locations would have added more energy and interest to the plot.
- Without a doubt, it is the third couple, Lou Xiu and Jing Jing . What a waste! They could have been intriguing and something to look forward to. These modern slice of life Chinese dramas are good at the good at third couple chemistry. These characters are shallow and it’s just bad casting and acting. The girl is juvenile, even her outfits and her devotion to Lou Xiu is silly. He is grumpy for no reason part from to fill the purpose of a cliche. If they just got a slightly more mature female and toned down male lead, more logic, this could have been great. But alas, it has downgraded them to simple being fast forwarded when they pop on screen.
- In episode 11 (I think) Yang Guang grandmother, lays down a verdict that he can marry a woman of any occupation, except a lawyer. This is so clearly put in conveniently for future conflict. – boring and unnatural to the plot.
Overall, it’s a good drama to watch if you’re willing to let it go half way.
Who are the main characters? Which actors play them?
Yang Guang played by Chen Xiao (male lead)
Liao Wang played by Wang Xiao Chen (female lead)
Li Heng Ji played David Wang (rich realisate developer)
Niu Zhi Ling played by Zeng Li (Guang’s boss)
Lou Xiu played by Leon Lai (photographer)
Su Jing Jing played by Zhu Jim Tong (Guang’s cousin)
Theme: Do your best, be tactful, and try understand those around you while having solid boundaries.
What it’s good for? Like a pick-a-mix – sift through it to find candy that you like.