There is a time and place for everything, and this adage is especially true of dramas. Even the best dramas can fail to connect with a viewer if watched at an inopportune time, when the mind or the heart isn’t in it for whatever reason. Hunan Television’s decision to air the long-completed Sunshine Angel starring Wu Zun and Rainie Yang during the height of Summer is perhaps a masterstroke of brilliant planning.
This drama is pitch-perfect as a breezy and adorable Summer fare, and just the rom-com I’ve been craving. I watched the first two episodes with a giant doofy grin on my face in every single scene between Wu Zun and Rainie. For a brief instant I felt like Rainie was cheating on her chemistry with Joseph Chang with her different yet equally smoking chemistry with Wu Zun. But her character here is so immediately unique that I’m quickly comfortable with seeing her sparking with another co-star. Folks, I see another Koala-approved onscreen couple forming right before my eyes.
As a drama, plot and execution-wise, Sunshine Angel is just a step above stupid. Anything outside of the OTP’s love story and interactions must simply be accepted for the mind-numblingly brain dead fare it is. It is exactly a remake of Successful Story of a Bright Girl starring Jang Hyuk and Jang Nara, and no one has ever claimed that drama was insightful and brilliant in any way.
What that drama had was a lot of charm, some good old-fashioned drama angst, and a cute love story to entertain on a popular level. Same goes with this remake. While the Wu Zun today can’t even hope to compete with the Jang Hyuk of even 11 years ago in terms of acting, he’s so handsomely dorky that I simply haven’t the heart to get annoyed at him. He acts like a really earnest robot, and it works here. Seriously, I laugh at and with him, because he’s just so hit and miss. In all seriousness, all his scenes with Rainie are wonderful even if everything else is abysmal.
The best part of Sunshine Angel is, no surprise, Rainie Yang. Those of you watching Drunken to Love You and are used to a more sophisticated and mature performance from Rainie need to know that this drama was filmed over a year ago, and the Rainie onscreen is the typically cute and bubbly Rainie performances of yore. But what Rainie’s performance lacks in technique in Sunshine Angel, it’s nevertheless very down-to-earth and sincere. Compared to Jang Nara’s gratingly screechy performance in Bright Girl (exacerbated by a painful on the ears Saturi accent), Rainie is simply sublime as the cheerful maid to Wu Zun’s arrogant chaebol son.
I can’t stress enough how Rainie and Wu Zun are so cute together. Their bickering makes me grin like a mad fool, and the stupid run-ins and antics between them are just the right balance of ridiculous and entertaining. He parachutes into her outhouse. She pours water on him because he murdered her goldfish, but he pours water right back at her. They are like two equal forces to be reckoned with. I’m definitely watching this drama, and it’ll be an easy wait to watch it live since I already know the entire story. I can’t wait to watch Wu Zun’s Di Ya Xing fall for Rainie Yang’s Yang Guang (her name means Sunshine in Chinese).
Unfortunately, Hunan TV has apparently edited down the completed footage to shorten the broadcast, so many scenes feel choppy and the transitions are terrible. I’m hoping if this drama takes off in China, it’ll be broadcast in Taiwan and hopefully the entire drama will be aired. For now, Sunshine Angel debuted to win the timeslot for the first episode, so it looks like the Chinese audiences are also craving a sweet, cute, and silly rom-com to beat the Summer heat. I’m not going to recap it, so don’t ask. It’s not worth recapping – unless it’s simply to recap scenes between the OTP.