One episode in and I am totally in love with Drunken to Love You. This might be a new record, or else I’m getting easier with age (probably the former, since my crabby nitpicky mood towards many dramas recently negates the possibility of the latter). DTLY is magical, wonderful, sublime – a rom-com that can be crass, whimsically funny, and touching and heartfelt, all in the span of 1 episode.
Unlike dramas where I have to tell people “hang in there, episode 1 is just the set up, it’ll get better and find its footing”, I have no need to make any caveats for DTLY. This thing starts off with a whiz bang. If you don’t like it after episode 1, then this drama is not your cup of tea. But it sure is mine, and I’m on a caffeine high after drinking three pots of it yesterday.
Cup 1 Recap (each episode is titled “Cup X” as a play on the drama title which involves drinking):
Lin Xiao Ru (Rainie Yang) has gotten her plane ticket and her passport ready – Vegas, here she comes! She walks past a wedding, where the bride tosses her bouquet right into Xiao Ru’s arms. Song Jie Xiu (Joseph Chang) is drinking his coffee and sees her happily catching the bouquet, as she toddles off to buy her suitcase with this newly added good luck omen in her hands.
We are in the cockpit of a plane about to land, and the co-pilot Ren Yi Xian (Kingone Wang) voiceovers to his girlfriend Xiao Ru (whose picture he has dangling in his cockpit seat) that he’s always making her wait, but this time he’s landing besides her. We flash back to Yi Xian and Xiao Ru joking around with each other as they plan this upcoming trip to Vegas.
Xiao Ru walks past a jewelry store with a new diamond ring on display, Xiao Ru says that if Yi Xian uses that diamond ring to propose to her, then she will immediately marry him. Xiao Ru gets a call from her co-worker, telling her she has ten more minutes left on her break, and if she’s late coming back the manager has threatened to fire her. Xiao Ru says that she’ll quit then, her boyfriend is about to propose to her, and she’s about to become a housewife. But she immediately tells her co-worker that she is just kidding, she needs to the money and would never quit. She hurries back to work.
Yi Xian is landing the plane, and his pilot asks why Yi Xian switched his flight route, and came back to Taiwan instead of going straight to Vegas. The pilot says that Yi Xian looks way too happy, and Yi Xian confesses that he’s taken a two week vacation and is planning to take his girlfriend to Vegas. The pilot warns him not to get a quickie wedding there. Yi Xian lands the plane and heads to the Farglory Hotel.
Avril (Tiffany Hsu) is modeling for a diamond jewelry line for Montblanc. During an interview, she’s asked if she’s worried about her upcoming movie, where she’s the lead actress in her first performance. She promises to do her best, including whatever the role requires of her, such as a racy scene. Jie Xiu walks past and hears her interview, where Avril closes with a request for that special person in her life to come and propose to her, as she playfully models the diamond ring.
Jie Xiu gets a call from his assistant Tony, who tells him he has three minutes left before his potential client bails. Jie Xiu arrives and the cougarish client starts to flirt with him excessively. Jie Xiu wows her with his ability to quickly discern her personality and tastes, suggesting interior design ideas that totally wow her. She immediately hires him on the spot. Tony heads back to the office, and Jie Xiu is left with the pawing client.
He reminds the client that she’s married, and the client tries to pull her wedding ring off. The ring flies off and lands on the ground, where Xiao Ru is bringing a cup of coffee out. She falls and the coffee lands on Jie Xiu’s lap. Jie Xiu is angry and wants to call the manager to complain, but he gets a text from Avril that she is waiting for him upstairs in room 612. He leaves to meet Avril, and the client is angry at Xiao Ru for ruining her seduction attempt.
Xiao Ru is asked by a colleague to bring a room service delivery to room 612. In said room, Avril and Jie Xiu are discussing that she is pregnant, and he refuses to take responsibility for her situation. Of course, it turns out that they are rehearsing for Avril’s upcoming movie. Jie Xiu is upset the movie seems to have so many bed scenes for Avril. She pouts that she is 29 years old and pretty soon she will be an old model. She needs to transition now or else she will have no future career.
Jie Xiu feels a little put out, but she promises that she will never have a scandal with her co-star, especially since she only loves him. Xiao Ru arrives with the room service, and she spots a lurking photographer that she thinks may be a private investigator looking for infidelity. When the door opens, Jie Xiu and Xiao Ru recognize each other from the coffee incident earlier, and Xiao Ru pushes the delivery cart and Jie Xiu back into the hotel room and shuts the door before any pictures can be taken.
Xiao Ru sees Avril and recognizes her as a famous model. Xiao Ru is stuttering from the shock, while Jie Xiu and Avril are calming discussing what to do. Xiao Ru suggests they may want to consider capitulating. The door opens and the paparazzi chases Jie Xiu and a woman inside a bed sheet down the stairs. The paparazzi catches then, pulling off the sheet to reveal Xiao Ru underneath. The paparazzi warns Jie Xiu that he will get that picture of Avril, who is getting into a taxi wearing Xiao Ru’s uniform. Avril reminds herself to thank Xiao Ru in the future.
Jie Xiu thanks Xiao Ru for helping him, and she says to consider it thanks for not complaining to her manager about the spilled coffee incident. Xiao Ru has slightly sprained her ankle, and Jie Xiu gives her money to go see a doctor. Xiao Ru is putting on a patch for her injured ankle, and her co-worker comes by, and gives her an entire box of condoms.
The co-worker says that since she’s going to Vegas for two whole weeks, she’s going to need it. Xiao Ru wonders if she can be expected to use that entire box in two weeks. Suddenly another waitress comes by and asks lead waitress Xiao Ru if she can go handle a very picky customer who is complaining right now. Xiao Ru agrees, and heads to take the order from the picky customer, who is none other than Yi Xian.
Xiao Ru is shocked that he’s back, since they agreed to meet in Vegas. Yi Xian wonders why she doesn’t look happy to see him, since he swapped routes with his other pilots and rushed back to surprise her. He grabs her into his lap, and he confesses to having traveled half-way around the world just to come back and get a kiss from her. Xiao Ru kisses him, and they promise to meet at the bar tomorrow to head to Vegas together.
Xiao Ru sees an open book marking a white wedding chapel in Vegas. Yi Xian tells her that he wants to take her to that wedding chapel in Vegas, which was where his parents got married. Xiao Ru gets up to grab him some food, but her ankle gives way, and Yi Xian sits her down and puts some ice on her ankle. Xiao Ru tells him to get up, but he gets on one knee and tells her to expect to see him in that position again when they get to Vegas. He tells her that right now, he’s missing one prop.
Xiao Ru imagines her in a wedding gown, running and being captured by Yi Xian, who whips out a wedding ring. Xiao Ru thanks the lord for giving her such a romantic wedding. Jie Xiu is at work, and he sees his friend Tony looking at pictures of Avril online. Jie Xiu tells Tony to stop wasting time, he has some more edits to make to a new housing development design.
Tony tells Jie Xiu to stop fiddling so much with his designs, and wonders if maybe Jie Xiu is losing his design genius touch now that he’s getting older. Tony tells him that the current design is already a 100% success, but Jie Xiu wonders why he can’t deliver 120%. Jie Xiu gets a sweet text from Avril, and Tony wonders who Jie Xiu’s girlfriend is, since he’s so secretive about her. Jie Xiu promises that if gets married, he’ll announce it to the world.
Jie Xiu sees the interview of Avril on TV, where Avril asks her special someone to propose to her. Tony turns the TV off, saying that he feels sorry for whoever is Avril’s boyfriend. A goddess is for admiring from afar, especially if the rest of the world is admiring her racy pictures as well. Tony says that before Avril goes all out for her new movie role and drops trou, she’s someone who a guy can still marry and bring home to meet the folks. Afterwards, not so much. Jie Xiu considers what Tony is saying.
Xiao Ru is at home packing for Vegas tomorrow. She looks at her scrapbook which contains all the postcards Yi Xian has sent her over the four years they have been dating. Xiao Ru sees her giant bag full of condoms from her friend, and wonders if she should bring them all. Xiao Ru fantasizes about sexy times with Yi Xian, who runs off in the middle to buy condoms, which ruins the moment. She tosses all the condoms into the bag, but then she worries that Yi Xian will think she’s some sex fiend. She looks at a picture of Yi Xian, saying that she’ll do whatever he wants.
Jie Xiu picks up a wedding ring intended for Avril as he drives meet her. He walks out of the shop just as Yi Xian walks in to buy a wedding ring intended for Xiao Ru, and the two men brush past each other. When buying the wedding ring, Yi Xian gets a call on his cell phone which causes his face to freeze. Jie Xiu heads home and proposes to Avril, promising to love her his entire time. He asks if she is willing to leave the entertainment business and be his wife.
Avril gets a call from her director saying that the newly minted HK best actor has accepted the role in the movie and wants to act opposite Avril. She knocks over the roses Jie Xiu gave her in her haste to grab her script, and poor Jie Xiu’s face falls. Avril thanks Jie Xiu for rehearsing the proposal scene with her just now (pretending that his wedding proposal was just a scene from her upcoming movie). Avril says that his acting was very good, but he just forgot to bring the wedding ring.
Jie Xiu picks up the roses, and Avril sees a ring tied around the bouquet. She rushes off, and Jie Xiu chases after her, telling her that she clearly saw the ring, so she knows he’s really proposing to her. Avril says that she didn’t see the ring, and she can’t see the ring. She only has this once chance before her in her career, and she can’t miss it. Jie Xiu holds out the ring, giving her the count of three to accept, otherwise they are over. The elevator door opens and Avril walks into the elevator and leaves.
Jie Xiu watches the elevator door close and his face collapses as he looks down on the wedding ring in his hands. A hotel worker has captured their elevator parting and notes that she’s got quite a scoop for the media. The next morning, Xiao Ru heads out the door, but her cell phone falls and the cell phone accessory (a picture of her and Yi Xian) gets cracked by a bicyclist. She takes that as good luck instead of bad.
Jie Xiu is at the hotel bar drinking already this morning, and Yi Xian walks up to ask the bartender for a favor. Yi Xian then walks outside, and hides behind a beam when he sees Xiao Ru excitedly running up with her luggage. Xiao Ru sits down at the bar and recognizes Jie Xiu, asking where Avril is today. Jie Xiu, who is in a pissy mood, says that he doesn’t know anyone named Avril Tang, and Xiao Ru assumes he’s just trying to keep his relationship with her a secret.
The bartender hands Xiao Ru the note left by Yi Xian, where Yi Xian tells her that he doesn’t know how to explain this situation to her in person. But the fact is that he can’t take her to Vegas right now, and he can’t marry her. Xiao Ru rushes out, grabbing Jie Xiu’s phone from the counter by accident. Jie Xiu sees the mix-up and runs after her to get his phone back. Outside, Xiao Ru runs in front of the taxi carrying Yi Xian and manages to stop the car.
Yi Xian comes out to make sure she is okay. She asks him what is going on? He tells her that right now someone else needs him more than Xiao Ru needs him right now. She asks if he has another woman, and he doesn’t answer. He pushes her hands off him, but she grabs her suitcase and tries to put it inside the taxi. She tells Yi Xian that she doesn’t believe his story, what if he’s like a male lead in a drama and has some incurable disease, and is using any excuse to break up with her.
Xiao Ru refuses to accept his reason, she will stay by his side no matter what. Yi Xian takes the suitcase, but rather than put it in the trunk, he opens it up by the fountain and tosses all her clothes, including her plane ticket to Vegas. Xiao Ru runs into the fountain to grab her precious plane ticket.
Yi Xian heads back inside the taxi, but Xiao Ru calls him, begging him to please don’t abandon her. Jie Xiu watches this very scene, and his mind flashes back to his parting with Avril last night. Xiao Ru watches Yi Xian get into the cab, her heart breaking and she is in so much pain she cannot make a single noise.
Jie Xiu tries to stop the cab but it takes off. Yi Xian cries inside the cab, clearly something went wrong and he still loves Xiao Ru. But whatever happened, he’s totally a cruel bastard right now. Xiao Ru is sobbing inside the fountain. Jie Xiu walks up to Xiao Ru and tells her to stop crying since the guy is already gone. She tells him to stop concerning himself with her, no matter where Yi Xian goes, she will go get him back. She’s shivering and Jie Xiu takes off his coat and drapes it over her, as Xiao Ru looks at her ruined plane ticket.
Xiao Ru is inside the bathroom at the hotel, and she takes deep breathes to calm herself. Jie Xiu is waiting in the bar, and Xiao Ru walks up to him to return his coat. She’s wearing a beautiful white sheath dress, and she confesses that this dress was the only clothing item that wasn’t tossed into the fountain, and she had intended to wear it in Vegas to get married. Jie Xiu tells her to stop thinking about Vegas or that guy.
Xiao Ru tells him that she doesn’t believe her boyfriend would just break up with her like that. She believes that his excuse is fake. Jie Xiu tells her to wake up – even if the excuse is fake and just an excuse, the breaking up part is reality and did in fact happen. Xiao Ru asks if Jie Xiu had a fight with his girlfriend, and he confirms that the same thing happened to him, a potential marriage proposal was rejected.
He tells her to stop drinking juice and start getting drunk with him, and they can rail at their horrible exes together. She tells him that his Avril may be an ex, but her Yi Xian is still current, she believes that she can still salvage the situation with Yi Xian. Jie Xiu orders more drinks, telling her that the drunk person (him) is more lucid than the sober person (her) when it comes to realistically assessing their romantic woes. Xiao Ru agrees to drink, saying that she wants to drink, sleep well tonight, and get up tomorrow and book another plane ticket. Whether to Vegas or Turkey, it doesn’t matter, she’s going to stick to Yi Xian like cholesterol to the human body.
The two of them proceed to get wasted. Xiao Ru starts railing at Yi Xian for dating her for four years and dumping her via a note. Jie Xiu says he was also strung along by a goddess, who sees him a few times a year, and he has to be the one to come whenever she beckons. Xiao Ru says that Avril and Yi Xian are selfish people, and they refuse to marry them even after they have sacrificed so much.
Jie Xiu pulls out his wedding ring to show Xiao Ru, and she’s dazzled by the ring and puts it on. It’s a perfect fit, and tells Jie Xiu that if Avril saw the ring, she would marry him for sure. Jie Xiu gives her the ring as a present. She refuses, saying that no one gives a wedding ring as a present. He tells her to take the ring, because if even she refuses to take the ring, he might as well go outside and shoot himself in the head.
They start fighting over the ring, and he asks her why she won’t marry him. He, Song Jie Xiu, Taiwan’s top interior designer, who has designed hundreds of homes, he just wants to start a family of his own, is there something wrong with that? Xiao Ru says that she has it worse – yes she works in a hotel, but her boyfriend actually treats her like a hotel, coming and going whenever he pleases. She thought this time, he has finally landed for her. She just wants to get married.
Jie Xiu asks her if she really wants to get married? He gets down on his knees and proposes, telling her that they shouldn’t waste his ring and her wedding dress. She agrees, he puts on the ring, and together they stagger outside to get married, not forgetting to each grab a bottle of whiskey from the bar as they leave. And we see the progression of time from afternoon to evening and back to morning again.
Jie Xiu wakes up in his bed the next morning, wearing some green tiny sweater draped around his neck. He takes a shower, and notices a pink toothbrush in his bathroom, and ladies clothes strewn everywhere. He listens to voicemail after voicemail congratulating him on getting married, and then checks his phone to see tens of texts saying the same thing. He sees a stack of polaroids on the table of him and Xiao Ru, and a wedding certificate, which was witnesses by Tony and his boss. He opens up the ring box to find it empty, and he starts to scream.
Xiao Ru walks up the next morning, laying in a hospital bed, with her left leg in a soft bandage. A nurse comes and tell her that she sprained her ankle when she was admitted last night. The nurse says that when they were taken to the emergency room yesterday, they were totally drunk, and we flash back to drunken Jie Xiu and Xiao Ru causing a ruckus in the hospital last night. The nurse tells Xiao Ru to tell her husband to work on his temper.
Xiao Ru hears that she has a husband, and looks down to see that she is wearing a wedding ring. Xiao Ru checks herself out of the hotel, telling the nurse not to alert her husband. She doesn’t have any money to pay for her hospital stay, so she calls her co-worker friend to come and pay because she has no money left in her bank account. Xiao Ru stands there thinking about whether it’s right of her to keep the ring.
Xiao Ru confesses to her friend that Yi Xian may have another woman in his life. Scandal breaks about Avril’s secret relationship with her boyfriend Song Jie Xiu. Jie Xiu’s boss at the design firm is alerted to the breaking news that their head interior designer is on the front pages of the scandal rags. The boss has the media brought inside and he uses this opportunity to keep discussing their design firm and doesn’t answer any questions about Avril and Jie Xiu.
Finally, his boss reveals that Jie Xiu got married yesterday, and he’s not sure if Jie Xiu will get a divorce and marry Avril. Xiao Ru and her friend walk home, and she can’t find her keys. Her landlord comes running out, wondering why she is back today since she moved out yesterday with the help of her husband, and he has returned her deposit to her already. The landlord shows her his shiner on his right eye, and says that she and her husband were like a bunch of bandits yesterday.
Xiao Ru tells her friend that she doesn’t remember anything – she woke up in the hospital, with a sprained ankle, no idea where her belongings went. But all she knows is that she has a ring. She takes out her identification card, which lists Song Jie Xiu as her spouse on her card. Xiao Ru tells her friend that Song Jie Xiu appears to be a stranger she just met yesterday. Her friend tells Xiao Ru that she’s in big trouble now.
Back at the Aoya design firm, the boss and Tony tell the media that Jie Xiu called them to the civil affairs department yesterday to help witness a marriage registration. They sit down before an officer and announce they want to get married. The officer asks if they want to come back tomorrow and get married, since they appear to be completely drunk.
Jie Xiu and Xiao Ru say that they are not joking, and she shows him her wedding ring. They decide to have their wedding night right there since the officer doesn’t appear to believe they really want to get married. They start taking each other’s clothes off, until the officer finally agrees to process the paperwork.
The boss and Tony tell the media that Jie Xiu married Avril yesterday, but it’s not THE Avril Tang, famous model turned actress. When asked where Jie Xiu is right now, the boss hilariously says that he’s clearly continuing his wedding night activities still. Xiao Ru drops her friend back at the hotel, and asks that she keep it secret for now. On the back of her identity card is also Jie Xiu’s home address, and she takes the taxi there.
Jie Xiu is at home going through Xiao Ru’s belongings, wondering how he’s going to find her. Suddenly the doorbell rings, and he goes to open the door, in the process finding her bra on the ground and he picks it up. When the door opens, Xiao Ru and Jie Xiu see each other standing there. He sees the ring he bought for Avril on her finger, she sees her bra dangling from his hand, and they scream at each other. He calls her a thief, and she calls him a pervert. And we have our newlywed (un)happy couple.
Thoughts of Mine:
Where do I start? I had such high expectations going into DTLY, because I’ve loved every trailer the drama released prior to its premiere. Only in the rarest of instances can a drama actually meet and exceed my expectations, which happened here. DTLY takes it set-up conceit – a drunken night out leads to a contract marriage between two lovelorn strangers – and runs with it in such a confident and believable way that the drama comes together seamlessly without feeling like anything is forced.
I feel like the four main characters are all fleshed out in one short hour, and the two existing relationships (between Yi Xian and Xiao Ru, and between Jie Xiu and Avril) connect with me emotionally. I can feel and understand why Jie Xiu and Xiao Ru each love their significant other, and I can feel the love back, even when it’s wrapped in layers of selfishness and other issues.
DTLY is set up where there is one chance to have it all, and both Yi Xian and Avril lost that chance in the span of moments, when each walked away from the person they love. My hurt heart for Jie Xiu when Avril pretended that the proposal was just rehearsing a scene, and I love how he put his heart on the line and demanded that she make a choice, and she made a choice that she’ll have to live with.
But it was Xiao Ru and Yi Xian that made me cry. I’m sure Yi Xian did something that he has to pay penance for, much as I’m sure he actually does love Xiao Ru and wanted to marry her. Gah, it was so romantic how he has her picture in his cockpit and he flew back to meet her in Taipei before heading to Vegas together. Kingone and Rainie have sizzling chemistry, but alas, Yi Xian must’ve dug a hole somewhere in his many travels and now he has to go lay in it.
While I don’t mind when a lead character gets dumped, because it only means the right person now has a chance to enter the picture, the confrontation outside the hotel when Yi Xian took Xiao Ru’s suitcase and tossed her clothes to prevent her from getting into the taxi with him, that was tough to watch. It was meaningful that Jie Xiu saw it all, and was there to pick her up, even if they were merely strangers at that time.
Of course Yi Xian and Avril are going to come crawling back later, and I’m totally cool with that, because however Xiao Ru and Jie Xiu (who are totally made for each other) develop going forward, they’ve not yet let that previous relationship go. While right now DTLY is a perfect balance of funny and emotionally hard hitting, I can already feel that the drama will have the character and story substance to develop all the necessary emotional threads.
I love the OST for this drama, there is not a single song or score that isn’t utterly winning, and Rainie’s song is so brilliant that I can’t stop listening to it. The PD is excellent with his camera, great varied angles, expertly seamless scene transitions, and an understanding of how long to let any scene go. The slap stick moments never go too long and lose its punch line, and the emotional moments move at a brisk pace to deliver a moment without dragging it out.
I love how DTLY did not go the Fated to Love You route and have Xiao Ru and Jie Xiu drunkenly sleep together the first night. It’s not that I’m a prude, but I always felt that 99% of the ensuing crutch in FTLY was the fact that Ethan’s character knocked up Qiao En’s character, and they were stuck in this vicious cycle of insisting that “we’re together only for the baby” despite actually falling in love. It looks like Xiao Ru and Jie Xiu will be staying married out of mutual agreement.
I can’t wait to watch the sparks, arguments, and craziness fly between Jie Xiu and Xiao Ru, who are both such strong-willed, opinionated, and fearless-in-love type of person. I positively adore Xiao Ru, who is so lovingly brought to life by Rainie’s exquisite acting, in both her OTT-moments of fantasy and drunkenness, as well as her heartbreaking moments of fighting for her love. Rainie and Joseph have immediate chemistry, as actually all the characters have with each other. And this is the most relaxed I’ve seen Tiffany Hsu act in years, her Avril a character I don’t hate or even dislike.
I think DTYL has the trademark zippy Taiwanese humor, but thankfully the slap stick is actually quite restrained here and pretty effectively wielded (meaning in small doses). I don’t know where this drama is headed, since it’s live-filmed and anything can happen. But I do know that I love what I have seen so far, and hope the coming weeks continue to deliver on the promise of episode 1.
And for those of you who watched episode 1, below is the second trailer for DTLY which came out a few weeks ago. When I rewatched this trailer again today, the impact of the scenes to come hit me right in the gut and made me smile uncontrollably. I cannot wait to watch it all unfold.