I heard about Stand By Me (一起同过窗) since the beginning of the year. People who had finished it said the drama was woefully underrated and it should be a must-watch Chinese drama of 2016. Having finally watched it, I absolute, completely, 100% agree. Although their plot line doesn’t scream greatness: A lighthearted drama about the shenanigans of a group of college freshmen, their character development through relationships is the best I have seen in years. It took me a while to write about this drama because they don’t have any flashing points where I can focus my attention. I’m kind of just sucked into it. Whenever the show throws me a new nugget of information on the characters, it’s like finding another piece of puzzle, which makes me go, “Ooooh… That explains why…”
Like discovering Lu Qiaochuan is a pessimist with hidden superiority complex. His major personality defect has to be that he can’t handle success. It gets to his head and turns him into a world class arrogant A-hole. The drama showed a glimpse of his big-headed tendency in the beginning, but it was resolved so quickly and joyously that I didn’t think much of it. Then later on, it became a huge problem when his growing ego alienated all his friends. I really wanted to smack him upside down for the way he treated Zhong Bai and the way he spoke to Li Luoxue. (Who does he think he is?! Don Juan?) However, it is the things he did after his success-high faded that continues to endear him to me. Sure, he was sorry. But more importantly, he took responsibility for his bad behaviors and (constructively) repaired the damages he caused. To Li Luoxue and others, a sincere, heartfelt apology and a solution to their class’ disastrous music performance. To Zhong Bai, his BFF who had been with him through thick and thin, no amount of groveling would do. So he didn’t try. He thanked her instead. Thanked her for putting up with him. Thanked her for trying to stop him from turning into an egomaniac. Thanked her for being his friend. To Ren Yifan, his other BFF who only ever wanted was for them to be the 3 musketeers (one for all, all for one), he asked him to do favor as if they had never stopped talking to each other. I’m sure Qiaochuan will lose his head again when the next success comes along. Fortunately on regular days, he is a considerate, down to earth, resourceful guy, which earns him cookie points. And, he is really good at salvaging fall-outs and that is why he still got friends.
We would think Yu Hao’s ostentatious behavior makes him the comic relief of the drama. Nope. Qiaochuan’s other roommates, Xiao Haiyang and Bi Shisan, would have us laughing with tears too.
The Big Boss (班长大人) has a theme for each episode, which doesn’t carry over to the next one, so the enjoyment of the show fluctuates depending on the episode I watch. Episode 4 is by far the funniest. Ye Muxi decided to consult her class’ weight loss guru for a way to slim down after her nemesis called out her weight gain. She didn’t expect that she had to actually do hard work to lose weight. Or that the guru, who is usually the most laid back person in the class, would turn into a monster whipmaster on her.
I laughed so hard watching the chocolate breakup scene.
Did you ever experience moments when no matter how much you eat or what you eat, you kept feeling hungry? My mom called it, “the growth fat.”
Being chubby is nothing to be ashamed of. A person should love his/her body no matter what size it is. The problem being, Liao Danyi made an objective observation that she could no longer button up her jacket because she had been snacking nonstop. She strongly objected to his statement.
How dare him for calling her fat?!
The idea that we had multiple encounters with outer space aliens in the ancient time fascinates me to no end. And, scifi romantic comedy lET’s shake it (颤抖吧！阿部) is right up that alley. What is an advanced civilization alien supposed to do when it crash landed on earth with no way of getting back into space? Merge with the locals, of course.
Abu Caca is a smuggler of primitive species, which includes apes from earth, also known as, humans. Her day of reckoning comes when the ship that was transporting her to galactic prison blew up and crashed on earth… Among the primitive apes. *Gasp. Without protective gear against the earth’s atmosphere, she had to merge with a local life form to survive. A tree worked just fine for her purpose. But she and the tree were rudely interrupted by a murder in progress of a human girl. Always motivated by profit margin, Abu tried to resuscitate the girl in the hope of selling her to the highest bidder. She and the girl were, again, rudely interrupted. This time by the girl’s brother who thought she was a demon trying to suck the life force out of the dying girl. One banshee screaming after another, he stabbed her right through chest and sent her atoms flying.
The girl died. She atomized. But her antenna survived, which is really the essence of her entire being, and it merged with the dead girl. Voila! The girl lived once more! Well not exactly. It’s more of Abu successfully body snatched an earth life form.
Thus, Abu begins her con of pretending to be a human girl as she searches for a way to get back out to space. I wouldn’t say she is successful at it, but humans do have a tendency to ignore the obvious…
According to the folklore, Sima Yi is a villain. According to the history book, he is a brilliant politician during The Three Kingdoms period, hence a villain. Wikipedia listed two instances that showcased the deficiencies in his character. First instance, he refused to see his big wife and called her an ugly, old hag in front of his younger wife. The big wife was so upset over it, she went on a hunger strike, with their sons joining her. He later apologized and begged for her forgiveness. When asked why he changed his tune, he explained that he would gladly let the old hag die but he couldn’t let his precious sons die with her. (Scathing, much?) The second instance was during the final battle between him and Zhuge Liang, a brilliant strategist who is not a villain. When he heard the rumor that Zhuge had died and the Shu-Han army was retreating, he feared that it was a trap and did not pursue them. He was mocked for missing out his best chance to crush his enemy once and for all, “a dead Zhuge scared away a living Sima.”
The first season of The Advisors Alliance (军师联盟) didn’t whitewash his character. Instead, it gave context to his actions. Sima Yi in the drama is a real person, who, at times, is cowardly, selfish, calculating, ambitious, decisive, protective, smart, humble, caring, and supportive. He does what it is needed to protect his family and his country. Altruism is a rare human trait and that’s why we call altruistic people heroes. Sima Yi clearly is not one of them. He is just a regular fellow who has been judged a wee bit too harshly by the history book.
I like this drama even better than Nirvana in Fire. It integrates humor with seriousness. It is quick paced yet heartfelt. I cried when Yang Xiu died. He is a true believer of Cao Cao’s vision and I can feel across the TV screen his intense regret for not being able to witness that vision come true.
I love the rivalry between Sima Yi and Yang Xiu because competition spurs improvement. When Cao Cao asks Sima Yi whether he feels vindicated by Yang Xiu’s execution, an enemy who has tried numerous time to get him killed, Sima responds: “I have no enemies, only teachers. Some show me the way. Some teach me a lesson.”
My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend (我女朋友的男朋友) is a hilarious scifi comedy about a human getting schooled by his robot roommates on humility and respect.
When Azhai purchased his love android, he thought he would be living the high life with the prettiest girl by his side.
Because of customization error, he got a perfect boyfriend Adam instead. To his infinite horror. (Adam’s perfect enunciation takes a little getting use to in the beginning. But now, I worship the way he speaks.)
More tragic still is the replacement android, Eve, incorrectly registered Adam as her boyfriend and wouldn’t let Azhai send him away. Since then Azhai has been living in a romance hellhole where he tries to woo Eve, but Eve only wants to be with Adam, and Adam only has the eyes for him.
Adam and Eve are not just different in gender. Eve is a first generation companion android with pre-programed personality matrix. She does not change and cannot empathize with her owner. Adam, on the hand, is the newest model with water-proof skin and upgradable feeling matrix. He can adapt and modify his personality according to his experience with his owner (which will come mighty handy later on when Azhai is feeling super vulnerable because of evil Eve.)
Fighter of the Destiny (择天记) has two of the best gray people. They are not the firmly-on-the-dark-side, bad guys. They are, however, good people who make bad choices.
I think the best drama villain is the one who does terrible things for the right reason. Sheng Hou massacred an entire academic branch, executed most of her husband’s family, ritually slaughtered thousands of prisoners, not to mention she sacrificed her only child in order to preserve the stability of the kingdom. In her mind, a ruler has to get her hands dirty to do what’s best for her people. The blood on her hands is a testimony to her resolve. This woman has never lied to herself. So it is especially satisfying to see her redemption after she has (almost) descended into madness.
Her exact opposite is Qiu Shan Jun. He is a good person who is always trying to do good. The one time that he act selfish and petty, he got suckered into the bad guy camp. Because he couldn’t reconcile what he wanted to be and what he actually was doing, so he lied to others, and worse of all, he lied to himself. His lies quickly snowballed into an avalanche that buried his conscience.
Eternal Love may have strove to be an epic tragic love story, yet humor still dots its landscape. It is dry and it is funny. I can’t say for other people but I found Su Su and Ye Hua’s discussion on “the proper way to care for a snake” to be hilarious. Mainly because of Su Su’s trademark seriousness. It quickly dawns on Ye Hua, while explaining to Su Su that snake ain’t like human, he is speaking to a common-sense-challenged individual who needs major hand holding to cross the street. The funniest one-liner is when Ye Hua says, “I have loads of patience for less smart people,” looking directly at Su Su. Wahaha!
And of course, I can’t forget about Feng Jiu. This girl lies through her teeth in almost every interaction with Dong Hua. Except he can spot her lies like spotting a 3 year-old kid who swears that she didn’t eat the cookie from the jar while there are still cookie crumbs on her face. Naturally, Dong Hua, being incredibly old and jaded, can’t be bothered with correcting her so he just looks at her with his unfathomable side-glance. When this happens Si Ming gives her the pity look that says, “Poor child, I feel embarrassed for you.”