Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hardcore Review, Commentary and Analysis: Summer's Desire

In my last post, I told you how I was beginning to watch this and a week later I'm done. Have I mentioned on a school week too? 

Anyways, that wasn't important. Every now and then, us dramajunkies come across a drama that consumes our life. If you're like that for every drama you watch, then you aren't a true junkie. You're basically looking past all the faults of it. I'm not sure how to explain it completely but that there are only a few dramas that will stay in your head, heart, and mind because of how memorable it was. The thing about those dramas is that they are usually the ones you usually expect to like the least then some where in between you finally realize how much it truly consumes your life. It won't allow you focus, go on any other sight, as you're acting nervous as heck on what's going to happen next, what more can happen with half of it already over. Well this is how I feel about this drama. 

I'm still confused on what to do because it has taken me away from my boring into this dramatic world only to throw me back and question why its over. Why must it end? Part of me don't feel complete, but you're never really completely satisfied with anything. There I go contradicting everything I say again. 

I'm not sure whether or not you've noticed but this drama has a pull on my heart so hard that I can't let go of even if I wanted to. Sorry for the HIMYM allusion but it must be put down here.

Xia Mo and Luo Xi were both orphans adopted by the same family. Their closeness made Ou Chen, Xia Mo's rich boyfriend, increasingly jealous. He forced their separation by sending Luo Xi to study abroad. However, his overbearing behavior only pushed Xia Mo to breakup with him. Heartbroken, he got into a car accident and lost his memory. Five years later, Luo Xi returns as a super star. He reunites with Xia Mo and helps her succeed in the show biz. Just when their relationship seems rosy, it begins to crumple as Ou Chen regains his memory and does everything he can to get Xia Mo back.

Don't read if you don't want spoilers!

Cast with Commentary:
Barbie Hsu徐熙媛  as Yin Xia Mo 尹夏沫
Xia Mo is a girl who had to learn how to grow up quickly. After her mother died in front of her, she and her half-brother were put into foster care but were lucky enough to be adopted by a great family. After her family adopted a-rough-around-the-edges-but-sweep-you-off-your-feet-guy aka Luo Xi. At first Xia Mo disliked Luo Xi because of the show he kept putting on, but she was able to see right through him. Eventually Xia Mo and Luo Xi ended up spending more time together. This made Xia Mo's insanely rich boyfriend Ou Chen, who's been with her since she was twelve, insanely jealous. Xia Mo is a person who isn't afraid of anything but she is more than she puts out to be.

How the heck have I never seen her act before? She is insanely talented and her acting won me over from the first line she narrated "Do you believe in fate? A fate held on tightly has brought the three of us together. Ou Chen is the young master of the company my father works at. Luo Xi is an adoptee my father brought home just like me. These two guys are very famous in my school. But because of me, these two guys became enemies." Holy crap right? If that doesn't draw you in then you is cray cray. I'm serious, her acting ached your heart. Her empty death stare both made you nervous but felt her sympathy when it was the right part. This is kind of a random story but it weaves into Barbie's character, but on Friday, one of my friends asked me if I could be in any drama, who would it be. Of course Jan Di (Boys Over Flowers) and Mi Nam (You're Beautiful) came up but I didn't feel right about those characters. Then as I was watching this, I kept thinking I would want to be Xia Mo. Why though? Well I mean I get to have totwo guys to fall in love with me right? Yeah she goes through everything bad imaginable in a drama possible but what doesn't kill you only make you stronger right? That's the kind of character she is, her motto throughout this is "What doesn't kill you only make you stronger." I didn't exactly like how her character is kinda cold hearted though. When she's with one guy, she's distant to the other and vice versa. That's kinda why her relationship with Luo Xi was a trainwreck. But then again, she is a really admirable character, staying strong after each bad event after another and very forgiving. Another reason why I said I would chose to be Xia Mo is because I found her very selfish at time. She used Peter as a boyfriend for her dad's career, Luo Xi as protection and security, and Peter again for his kidney. After watching it though, I don't think I could be able to withstand being Xia Mo. But Barbie is just fantastic in this and I couldn't imagine anyone else playing Xia Mo. She is a woman extraordinary talents, Barbie. I apologize if this wasn't helpful but you really couldn't put what she did into words.

Huang Xiao Ming黄晓明  as Luo Xi 洛熙
Luo Xi's mom left him one day for no reason. Afterwards he was put in foster care. Luo Xi appears to be kind hearted, charismatic, and intelligent but he really a cold-hearted, lonely, and selfish person. When he got  adopted by Xia Mo's adoptive parents, he played his same cards and put on his poker face but Xia Mo could see right through him and his facade. Her anger and disinterest towards him only made him fall for her. However Ou Chen got insanely jealous of him constantly being around Xia Mo. Ou Chen later shipped Luo Xi to a a boarding school to England, or was it France? One or the other. Five years later Luo Xi is back and has become a major star who only has plans of revenge for Ou Chen and Xia Mo.

Luo Xi, Luo Xi, Luo Xi. Why must his character be so amazing but also break my heart into a million pieces at the same time? Those characters are the best and the worst. Talk about bittersweet. When I was watching this I got really one sided and only shipped Luo Xi as did many others who saw this before me. Something about his charisma, charm, smile, and his actions really stole your heart. He is definitely one of those actors that knows how to wrap his audience around his little finger. I mean there's a reason why he's basically China's biggest heartthrob right now, kinda like the Channing Tatum of China, except not as buff and definitely a way better actor, sorry Channing. One thing I liked about Luo Xi was that he was the bad edgy, bestfriend/ bro/ second lead zone but he got a chance! That is definitely a first. I think the reason why Xia Mo's and Luo Xi's relationship didn't work was mainly on her fault for not talking to him much about her situations. She knows that he can help, just not as well as young master Ou. I also didn't like how throughout this entire this drama Luo Xi was a savior yet Ou Chen gets most of the credit. The heck? Just watch him and you will understand why I still feel heartbroken after three days. Even though some people didn't love how he was constantly doing his devil playboy the entire time, I think it worked for his character.

Peter Ho何潤東  as Ou Chen 歐辰
Ou Chen was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was privileged and very fortunate, too bad he didn't enjoy it that much. After his mother's death early in his life, he wasn't ever a happy kid. He never smiled, laughed, or played around. One day when his chauffeur accidently almost ran over a girl, he brought her home and helped her out. After helping out the girl, he put her under a test to be his target (as in bow and arrows). Afterwards he asked that little girl to be his girlfriend and she would never have to worry about anything again. That girl happened to be Xia Mo.

Ou Chen... I'm not sure how I feel about his character. I'm still very discombobulated about his character. In my opinion, he was the cause for all things bad, well partly the reason. I still feel as though he only wants Xia Mo so he can control her like his puppet. Just like the green silk sash he gave her, it's a metaphor on how he treats her. He doesn't let her have any friends, he won't even let her talk to her half-brother fearing she will abandon him, and now the green ribbon so he can even control her hair (the ribbon is used to wrap around her hair), not even allowing her hair to move around freely. Psychopathic much? I understand thats he's not happy that much with his life but just because he's a young master doesn't mean he has the right to bring others down with him. Eventually I was able to ease up more towards his character. You could at least see that he did care for Xia Mo and had some affection towards her, especially when he took care of her when she was delusional towards the end of the drama. Eventually in the end I had to side with Ou Chen because at that point in the game Luo Xi had no way of getting back in the game. It's fine, Xia Mo can have Ou Chen and I can have Luo Xi (Another reason why I would be Xia Mo, so I could work things out better with Luo Xi and live happily ever after). Peter is still on a roll but I haven't been seeing him around much lately, has anyone?

Serena Fang 房思瑜 as Jiang Zang En 江珍恩
Zang En and Xia Mo began working in the same company in hopes of being assistants. Once Xia Mo began becoming famous Zang En becomes Xia Mo's assistant. She serves as Xia Mo's best friend and knows Yin Cheng's secret.

Her character was alright. I'm just not a fan of weak characters. She thought too highly of herself sometimes and cried too much. I guess I can't blame her because she was told to do so but still.

Kris Shen 沈建宏 as Yin Cheng  尹澄
Yin Cheng is Xia Mo's half brother (same mother). He is a very talent boy, intelligent and an excellent artist. He loves and admires his sister the most because they are the only true family they both have. But when he was younger he got very sick and has a serious medical condition that is evident throughout the drama.

His character is different from others I have seen simply because I haven't exactly seen it. He is such an adorable character, good for easing up the atmosphere, well that is until....anyways, his character is lovable and you will love him. Even though I found it weird that he has an attraction towards Luo Xi a lot, I think it's because he finally has a brother and doesn't have to deal with his sister crazy antics all the time. 

Chang Kuo Chu 張國柱 as Xi Meng 西蒙
Xi Meng is Ou's Family head butler/ mentor/ head of the household. Basically, he's in charge of taking care of everybody and doing everything. Xi Meng took care not only of Ou Chen when he was a little thing but also his mother. Being around Ou Chen has made him very protective over him.

Xi Meng is a one sided character. You don't need to guess it, you can tell. Sometimes his over-protectiveness gets out of hand but without it, we probably wouldn't have that good of a story. He constantly reminded me of a father figure for Ou Chen, which was good since he didn't have one.

Maggie Wu 吳亞馨 as An Hu Ni 安卉妮
An Hui Ni is a co-star that Xia Mo worked with on her first drama. An Hui Ni and her boyfriend never liked her from the beginning. Once the drama started becoming popular, as was Xia Mo, An Hui Ni got kicked from lead to secondary causing a lot of hatred and jealousy. To make matters worse, Hui Ni began spreading rumors and false images to make it seems like Xia Mo is the reason for her deteriorating relationship and a homewrecker.

This girl is such a brat. That means she's a great actress. It's kinda easier to not like her because she is just so gosh dang pretty. I still wondered why Xia Mo forgave her in the end but I think it's her forgiving nature. Throughout this, I kept thinking how she's like Regina George where people admire her and hate her, then creates drama then gets herself in a bigger hole, then gets hit by a bus then happily every after except Hui Ni didn't get hit by a bus, not that I would want her to.

Coco Jiang 蒋怡 as Wei An 薇安
Wei An is a rising star in the company where Xia Mo and Zhen En started working at. After her scandal with her manager/ agent she started to stay away from the media and wasn't as mean as she was in the beginning.

Patina Lin 林嘉綺 as Shen Qiang沈薔 
Shen Qiang is Luo Xi's co star. They both work in the same agency. She has feelings for Luo Xi and makes evident to him even though he chooses to ignore her. She dislikes Xia Mo because she has an opportunity with Luo Xi but doesn't take advantage of it and constantly hurts him.

At first I didn't like her character because hers is pretty stereotypical and I see it left and right. Eventually though, I did grow a liking towards her when you are able to see her vulnerability. She gave into Xia Mo and asked her, begged, to save Luo Xi. In the end I felt bad that she was left with nothing, even after all her hard work. She is in one of the worst friendzone I have ever seen, Tou Ye (Autumn's Concerto) being number one. She is really pretty though. In this drama you see a lot of models in this acting as actors, that's funny. 

Canti Lau 劉錫明  as Xia Ying Bo 夏英柏
Xia Ying Bo is Luo Xi's and Shen Qiang's manager/ agent. He treats these two as if they were his kids but the truth is is that he is a lonely person. Plot twister, you actually find out that he has two sons in this drama but he never acknowledges them. 

His character is pretty basic and simple. That description basically gave it away but I know he's a good actor because I have seen him before in who knows what.
Liu Shu Ting 劉書婷 as Yao Shu Er 姚淑兒
She was originally Xia Mo's boss and was also a good friend, or so we thought. She sabotaged Wei An's career by releasing the news of her scandal to the public. After Xia Mo's rising success and Ou Chen choosing her as the face for their product, she arranged for Xia Mo to be kidnapped before the audition. Even after Xia Mo found out she, like always, forgave her and they became friends again.

She is really one of those people I don't like. Her character seems a little to fake for my liking. I understand that she wanted to become a big star but hurting others isn't the best way, but then again this is the "real world".

Christine Ke 柯奐如 as Pan Nan 潘楠
Pan Nan is Wei An's cousin and Luo Xi's friend when he was abroad. She, Xia Mo, and three other girls competed for an opportunity to have a debut album be made. Through that she and Xia Mo became great friends.

I kinda consider her character to be there as a fill. She has little importance because she is able to talk to Luo Xi and Xia Mo personally but other than that, like I said, her character is a fill. I think her character is suppose to be a tomboy but that's probably just me.

Yang Han 楊瀚 as Ling Hao 凌浩
Ling Hao is the second most popular idol/star after Luo Xi. After he debuted his album in Japan he's been getting deals left and right. He turned down the opportunity to work with Xia Mo on a product for Ou Enterprises because he felt she didn't have the status to work with him. As chance would have it, Xia Mo and Ling Hao are co-stars in her first drama where he's the lead, his girlfriend An Hui Ni is lead female and Xia Mo is second lead. After the production company saw talent in Xia Mo she started getting more recognition, being bumped up to lead. Afterwards he started treating her a little more nicely than he did in the beginning. However his girlfriend was furious over everything and as the drama escalated more, Ling Hao was in a bad place, as was his relationship with An Hui Ni.

He, my netizens, is a cutiepatootie. You can't tell from his picture but he really is. I like his character, douchebag actor who thinks too highly of himself learns better, well for a while. I was happy when he started becoming sincere towards Xia Mo but his girlfriend is just pollo loco. He needs to have better control on his lady but it's pretty evident that she wears the pants in that relationship. I felt bad for him when the feud between Xia Mo and An Hui Ni was happening because he was just a victim. However I just wished that in the end, he would've sincerely apologized to Xia Mo for almost ruining her career. 

Tia Li 李毓芬 as Ou Xing Ya 歐星亞
She's Ou Chen's mom. She was the only heir to Ou Enterprises before Ou Chen was born, making her insanely rich but she didn't care for it. After she found out her boyfriend presumably had an affair she left him only to find out she was pregnant. After she gave birth to Ou Chen, her father locked her up in their home in France. Her many attempts to run away with Ou Chen to find his father failed making her feel depressed, crazy, and helpless causing her to kill herself.

She is B-E-A-U-T-I-FUL. That picture doesn't make her look like it because of her lip but she is. That's kinda the only reason why I included her, she's beautiful, enough said.

For some people there wasn't anything to write so I ignored it.

Additional Review
I will just start off by saying if you want to watch a really good modern drama, or drama period, then watch this. But you are now warned it will break your heart into a million pieces every episode. Whether or not you decide to watch it is fine but always keep it mind. For a modern drama, it is freaking amazing. The pacing was perfect, enough to not make you bored or even look away. The suits and outfits were really nice and not ridiculous and tacky. Originally my sister told me it was a very confusing drama because of all the flashbacks but it worked well. I liked how they thoroughly described all the situations and gave a chance for you to understand the minor character. Part of me was wishing for a little more though. I wondered what would happen if Luo Xi's mother could've been able to see her son again but that would've been irrelevant, depleting the purpose of him always being abandoned by anyone and everyone who means something to him. I also wished Luo Xi had a better ending instead of him being alone with orphans singing his milk and cat song. 

This review sure did take me a while. I originally finished it about three four days ago but it's a lot and sometimes it does get a little boring doing this but I still enjoy it, sorry for my slow pace.

Because I enjoyed, loved, fell head over heels over this drama, be on the lookout for more posts related to this, so for now, toodaloo~ 

Pinyin Title: Pao Mo Zhi Xia
Chinese Title:泡沫之夏
English Title: Summer's Desire/Balloon Love
Vietnamese Title: Tinh He

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