Sometimes Office Girls reminds me of a stage play. The directing and set pieces are very rudimentary and flimsy, and the cast appears to be ad-libbing and riffing left and right. That does add a sense of spontaneity and gaiety to the proceedings, like watching a talented cast of performers with great chemistry put on a show right before your eyes. The drama’s lure lies in its ability to convey great character interactions even if the story is utterly forgettable and simplistic. Episode 13 continued to press forward on all fronts, taking a new couple’s tentative first steps together and making it feel so heartwarming to see.
Day 13: How do you add a little bit of happiness to love?
Mina walks into her apartment with Yu Cheng Feng, who thinks she’s back, but instead she’s here to return the keys. He asks her to continue supporting him like she’s always done, and she in turn asks him to return to Paris with her. Mina asks Yu Cheng Feng what is so great about Xing Ren? And why he went to train employees at Jing Shi Department Store? He explains the president was good to him and he could do something back for the store which is hosting the first PB booth.
Mina concedes he isn’t doing this for Xing Ren, which just annoys him that she continues to direct her frustration towards Xing Ren when the issue is between the two of them. Mina correctly points out that he’s becoming so impatient with her these days, to which he says the current Mina is also not the same woman she was before. Both of them sit in sad uncomfortable silence. So this is what its like when a relationship putters to a standstill
Stallone waltzes into work happily greeting an exhausted Xing Ren and Zi Qi. He says “you guys look so tired” and wonders if the two of them took their day off to go “have a latte and open a motel room” (it rhymes in Chinese). Xing Ren says she spent the night drawing Mina’s booth design, to which Zi Qi pipes up that he helped Xing Ren draw yesterday. Stallone wonders if Xing Ren is too busy to do her group’s report for Yu Cheng Feng? Zi Qi correctly notes that Stallone is happy to see Xing Ren fail at the project since they are not on the same team.
Stallone putters that he’s not such a pathetic person. Zi Qi replies that Stallone is not a shameless human being, yes, but when he becomes shameless, he barely resembles a human. LOL. Suddenly Xing Ren gets a call and runs off to meet Yu Cheng Feng. Zi Qi immediately gets annoyed while Stallone loves watching the drama. Zi Qi runs off to walk the floors, while Stallone reminds him not to jump off the floors.
Xing Ren asks Lao Yu if Mina will accept her design. Lao Yu says the Yu Cheng Feng brand will never come to a department store, and Mina has not changed her mind. So Mina liking her booth design doesn’t change anything, she is only messing around with Xing Ren. But Xing Ren wonders if Mina has changed after watching Lao Yu working so hard for his dreams recently. He doesn’t think so, and tells Xing Ren to expect the only thing to change is her design. Xing Ren wants to continue working hard on this project regardless.
Suddenly we see a toy gun pointed at Lao Yu, who is standing close to Xing Ren. Of course it’s jealous boyfriend Zi Qi taking aim at his hated rival. Afterwards, Zi Qi corners Lao Yu to remind the man to stay away from Xing Ren. Zi Qi wants Lao Yu to communicate anything to Xing Ren through him. Lao Yu gives Zi Qi advice, that his method will only cause him to lose Xing Ren early on. Xing Ren may be innocent but she has the ability to solve her own problems.
Zi Qi’s insistence in protecting Xing Ren may be his own selfish ways. Zi Qi doesn’t accept his advice and reminds him to stay away from Xing Ren. Lao Yu reminds Zi Qi that Xing Ren is person he considers a good friend and he won’t stay away from her just because Zi Qi says so. Lao Yu asks Zi Qi to respect Xing Ren if he loves her.
Zi Qi bitches to his all-knowing friend about how annoying Lao Yu is. His friend can’t help but agree that Lao Yu has a very powerful mature man’s allure. He thinks it’s natural for Xing Ren to be attracted to Lao Yu. Zi Qi teases his friend for considering going bi. His friend thinks Lao Yu’s advice for Zi Qi comes from his failing relationship with Mina, which reveals that communication is the most important thing in a relationship.
Zi Qi explains that Xing Ren refuses to talk to him about Lao Yu. Friend thinks Zi Qi can try being more considerate or more mature. Or maybe Zi Qi can play the guitar for her, or pretend to be beaten up to get her sympathy. His friend finally gets fed up and tells Zi Qi the truth – Zi Qi knows how to land a girl, but what he lacks is the ability to give a woman a sense of security. Zi Qi is simply too immature and controlling. Zi Qi is annoyed hearing this, dismissively saying he knows what to do and then prances off.
Xing Ren calculates her monthly expenses and is excited she stayed under NT5000 and saved a few extra hundred NTs this month. Le Le thinks Xing Ren will never get her dream house by saving pennies a month. She think Xing Ren should just marry a rich man instead. Xing Ren laughs, wondering how she’s ever going to meet a rich guy. Which is when Zi Qi walks in with a blithe “hi”. Le Le huffs off while Zi Qi sits down and shows Xing Ren some locations he scouted for a very romantic date.
All the places Zi Qi shows Xing Ren makes her smile and concede it’s very romantic – like a candle lit dinner, a spa stay, etc. Xing Ren calculates the cost and reminds Zi Qi that this will make them unable to afford meals for an entire month. Plus…..she twiddles her fingers and asks when she agreed to stay at a presidential suite overnight with him. Zi Qi says she can agree anytime. But then he changes the subject and says Lao Yu can pay for this trip. He organized this trip for Lao Yu and Mina to help them through their rough patch.
Xing Ren actually looks annoyed this trip wasn’t for her, so she asks why he’s doing this? Zi Qi says if Lao Yu and Mina get back together, Mina will stop bothering Xing Ren. Even better is if they go back to Paris and all of this is just a bad dream. Xing Ren yells at Zi Qi for being a busy body and interfering with someone else’s relationship. Plus she worked so hard on the booth design, she doesn’t want this to be all a dream. Xing Ren leaves Zi Qi sitting there feeling silly about his great idea.
Zi Qi sits in the office and starts sticking pins into a picture of Lao Yu, still upset at Xing Ren yelled at him last night. Stallone sees this and puts on glasses and narrates ala The Twilight Zone to the camera about how Zi Qi and Xing Ren’s love may continue to reveal itself within Lao Yu and Mina’s complicated relationship. Hahaha, Stallone as Rod Serling is adorable. Afterwards, Stallone yells at Zi Qi for doing something useless like pinning Lao Yu’s picture. He drags Zi Qi out for a walk.
Stallone wonders how Zi Qi managed to land Kai Er despite him being butt poor? Zi Qi explains again that he is just friends with Kai Er, but then tells Stallone that the ability to land a hottie is all about natural talent and can’t be learned. Stallone reminds Zi Qi that year end is coming up and if Zi Qi won’t help Stallone, then he won’t help Zi Qi at his year end reviews and bonus. They sing a little Justice Bao about remaining righteous, and then Zi Qi agrees to help.
Zi Qi explains the first step is being romantic. Stallone doesn’t know how to be romantic, so Zi Qi borrow’s his friend’s advice and tells Stallone to serenade Le Le with a guitar. He also suggests Stallone read a romantic poem to her. Stallone thinks this is old school, but Zi Qi says old school tactics are in now. Zi Qi tells Stallone to have the courage to do this and he will make his love dreams come true. Zi Qi reminds Stallone to end with a single rose to make the gesture complete.
Mina reviews Xing Ren’s drawings for the booth and asks if she drew it all and whether she had any training in design? Xing Ren says she has no experience, but she has to do it herself since the company won’t allot any money for this project. Mina concedes that she didn’t say she disliked this design, and Xing Ren’s hard working ways make it hard for Mina to dislike her.
But Mina has no intention of setting up a booth at the department store because the Yu Cheng Feng brand is too exclusive to set up a booth. Then Mina drops another request – she wants Xing Ren to go with her to Paris as her personal assistant. The salary will be three times what Xing Ren is making right now, which leaves her stunned.
Xing Ren discusses this offer with Le Le, who encourages her to take this great opportunity. Le Le is so excited for Xing Ren, who wonders why Le Le is so anxious to push her out. And what about their job at the department store? Le Le will miss it, but as an employee they have to understand they should move on when a better opportunity arises. Xing Ren isn’t so sure, as she really wanted to stay here for her entire career. Plus Paris is so far, and she can’t let her mom stay her by herself. Whatever excuses Le Le has, Xing Ren remains unsure, which leads Le Le to be annoyed that Xing Ren is considering Zi Qi in her decision.
Zi Qi shows up and nonchalantly apologizes to her for saying some inappropriate things last night. He runs off to the dollhouse and places some miniature plants around the house. Oh god, he’s so insanely sweet. Zi Qi is so pleased the dream house has the fresh air of a garden. Le Le thinks if Zi Qi is so great, he should buy Xing Ren a real mansion. Le Le then drops the hint that Xing Ren will be joining the ranks of the high salary employed, which leads Zi Qi to immediately confront her to ask what is going on.
Before Xing Ren can answer, suddenly they hear someone warbling an off-tune song from street. They head over to the railing to peer down, and of course it’s Stallone here to serenade Le Le. Xing Ren asks Zi Qi if Stallone need some help right now? Zi Qi says Stallone has some brain damage lately. Stallone finishes reading a sappy poem titled “Oh my Le Le, let’s fall in love”. I can’t imagine how Patrick Li did this scene without cracking up. Suddenly the neighbors start yelling at Stallone to shut up.
Xing Ren and Zi Qi both consider that Stallone might really be in love with her. If she doesn’t respond now, Stallone might immolate himself. Le Le rushes off while Zi Qi restrains Xing Ren from following her.
Le Le walks over to the playground to find Stallone waiting for her. He’s so happy to see her and whips out a rose for her as a final gesture. Le Le grabs a pair of scissors and cuts the rose off at the stem. She yells at him for coming here in the middle of the night to cause her embarrassment. Stallone wonders if Le Le doesn’t like his oldie song and starts singing a trendy pop sing for her. When she flashes her scissors again, he zips it for good. After Le Le walks away, Stallone falls on his knees and cries out for “my Le Le!”
Yu Cheng Feng takes Mina out to brunch, and sweetly wipes her mouth when he sees she’s got crumbs all over her face. Mina confess that the bed at the hotel doesn’t compare to his bed and she hasn’t slept well. He tells her to come home whenever she wants, a model can’t look like a panda. Yu Cheng Feng then goes and ruins the moment by bringing up Xing Ren’s design, and asking Mina to not be difficult with her. This gets Mina upset that he invited her out just to talk about Xing Ren. Yu Cheng Feng says Xing Ren is a hardworking young girl, and he just sees her like a younger sister.
Mina says she’ll take good care of his younger sister for him, explaining that she offered Xing Ren a job to be her assistant in Paris. Mina sees talent in Xing Ren that she can develop. Yu Cheng Feng sees Mina using Xing Ren to force him to return to Paris with her. He asks her to stop being so immature, they are not her chess pieces. Yu Cheng Feng asks for some time off so that they can have space to think. Mina yells that he should just say it if he wants to break up. She warns him to tell the media that she was the one who dumped him if the media comes asking.
Xing Ren sits at her desk and considers Mina’s job offer. It’s clear Xing Ren isn’t ready to accept this offer, which is when Zi Qi sits down across from her. He notices her down mood and asks about it. She says no, but he tells her to share things with him if she’s in a bad mood. What a great boyfriend! Too bad Stallone arrives and calls Xing Ren over to talk about the project with Mina and the Yu Cheng Feng brand. Xing Ren reports that Mina has decided not to set up a booth.
Stallone stands up and goes “you…..mother……father!” Most creative epithet ever. He starts chiding Xing Ren, so Zi Qi pretends to call Le Le and loudly exclaim over Stallone yelling at Xing Ren right now. It works because Stallone backs off and discusses how beautiful women like Mina are notoriously fickle and quick to change their minds. Xing Ren turns to look at Zi Qi, who shrugs his shoulder like he did nothing for her just now.
Zi Qi sits down when suddenly Xing Ren’s phone rings with a text. Zi Qi tentatively picks it up to read a text from Lao Yu asking if Xing Ren has decided to go to Paris? Zi Qi mouths “fffffffff….FRANCE!” Xing Ren finds Zi Qi sitting near a display zoned out. She teases him for goofing off at work, but he gives her a serious pissed off look. He asks if she’s going to Paris, and she wonders how he found out. He confesses to reading her text. She’s upset, but explains that it’s not at the request of Yu Cheng Feng but instead the offer came from Mina.
Zi Qi asks why she didn’t tell him earlier? Xing Ren didn’t mean to keep it from him, but she knew he’d get upset so she didn’t know how to tell him. He’s upset that he is concerned about her right now and she’s making it his fault. Xing Ren says it’s all her fault and Lao Yu’s fault. She doesn’t know why she’s even concerned about him. Zi Qi wonders how she’s concerned, to which Xing Ren says she’s worried about him getting fired if she leaves. Zi Qi says if she’s worried then she shouldn’t go. Xing Ren quietly says Mina is offering a huge salary, to which Zi Qi offers to pay her the same amount. Xing Ren stalks off thinking he’s just being glib.
Zi Qi sits in his apartment and plays a racing game on his tablet. He puts it away in annoyance because it’s clear he’s just using it to distract himself. He talks with girl teddy and ask if Xing Ren will really go to Paris? Does she think he can’t afford a high salary for her? He thinks girl teddy is looking down on him, too, and doesn’t believe in him. He wants girl teddy to remember that she lives at his place right now. He thinks she looks so sad right now, he’ll send a text to Xing Ren about her. LOL, great excuse, Zi Qi.
Zi Qi then asks girl teddy if sending an apology text is really insincere. He turns and looks at his guitar next to the sofa. Xing Ren is hanging laundry on the roof and being in a bad mood. She remembers her fight with Zi Qi earlier and how he yelled out for her not to go to Paris. She turns and walks into her apartment, stopping when she sees a note on the ground with the words “I’m sorry” and an arrow pointing to another note. The second note apologizes for reading her text, with an arrow to a third note, which begs forgiveness for his immaturity. The final note explains that he was really angry because…..she is very important to him. Xing Ren reads it and smiles.
Suddenly Xing Ren hears a voice singing off tune from outside. She walks out into the courtyard to see Zi Qi singing her a song about adding a little happiness to love. He sings and she listens quietly. After he finishes singing, they continue to look at each other. Finally Xing Ren breaks the awkward silence and asks where he learned this song? Zi Qi says he learned it from watching idol dramas. Oh yes he sure did. Zi Qi asks what will happen to him if she goes to France?
What if he’s hungry, and what if she is mistreated there and can’t speak the language. Xing Ren grumbles that she hasn’t decided yet. Zi Qi asks her to stay then, don’t go. Xing Ren asks why he wants her to stay? Is it because no one can cook, clean, and take care of him? No one to argue with him? Zi Qi looks at her, and says none of that matters. What matters is…….which is when the silly phone rings. Zi Qi grabs Xing Ren’s annoying phone and starts yelling at the person calling.
Turns out it’s Mina looking for Xing Ren. The two of them head downstairs to find Mina sitting outside with a suitcase. Zi Qi snarks that she’s too old to run away from home, isn’t she? Mina asks to stay over at Xing Ren’s place tonight. Xing Ren says yes while Zi Qi says no. Finally it’s agreed she can stay, so Mina waltzes off and hands her luggage to Zi Qi. Everyone goes back to Xing Ren’s place. Mina explains she wants to stay here instead of a hotel because it’s so boring by herself and this place feels like home.
When Mina asks if Yu Cheng Feng has been by, Zi Qi interjects to explains he’s been by and Xing Ren has cooked poisoned potatoes for him before. Mina looks perturbed. Later that night, Mina and Zi Qi are playing drinking games while Xing Ren looks on.
Zi Qi takes a drink and says Lao Yu’s talents are not in designing clothes but in designing people. Mina agrees that he’s full of it, but the clothes he designs are gorgeous. Zi Qi does a hilarious Lao Yu impersonation that cracks himself and Mina up.
Zi Qi asks Mina when she’s going back to France? Mina wants to go now, but he won’t go with her. Zi Qi says Lao Yu likely covets more than he ought to now. Mina looks sad and Zi Qi quickly tells her not to be sad, he and Zi Qi will make sure Mina and Lao Yu get back together. Xing Ren keeps them both from drinking anymore. Zi Qi runs off to puke, while Mina asks Xing Ren what is wrong with her? Xing Ren says Mina is great, very few Asian models can make it on the international stage and Mina is so capable at running a business as well. Mina doesn’t think Yu Cheng Feng thinks she’s all that great.
Mina suddenly cries that she wants to go home. Xing Ren has no choice but to walk her out. Mina stops in the middle of the stairwell and continues to cry like a little girl about how sad her life is. Okay, she’s adorable. Xing Ren tries to comfort her but Mina just keeps her caterwauling. After sending Mina away, Xing Ren walks back to her apartment to find Zi Qi passed out asleep on the couch cuddling boy teddy.
Xing Ren sits down and looks at him. She smiles to remember his apology to her earlier today. She tells a sleeping Zi Qi that he’s the most normal when he’s playing the guitar and when he’s asleep. Xing Ren then leans in and slowly deposits a kiss on his cheek.
Thoughts of Mine:
This is the episode where Yu Cheng Feng finally crossed the line and starting to annoy me. I loved seeing Zi Qi and Mina mock him for his holier-than-thou ways and oh-so-serious convictions. The man needs to stop being a self-important ass and take a step back. I support his decision to stay in Taiwan and pursue his fashion dreams in mass merchandising, but he really sucks as a boyfriend. Mina is immature and needy, but it’s not like he doesn’t know that. To ask her to just back off without giving her a proper level of reassurance is shitty on his part. I totally support Mina’s grievances against him. In a drama filled with loose screws, he’s like a wedged in nail that pokes everyone and won’t budge.
While I liked Xing Ren’s fight with Zi Qi, because every couple naturally fights in the process of getting to know each other and finding compromises and common ground, I thought Zi Qi was in the right. He shouldn’t have lost his temper with her, but his issues with Xing Ren not telling him about France directly was valid. And Xing Ren really needs to get off her high horse about Zi Qi reading her text, since she did the same thing not one episode earlier when she peeked at Kai Er’s text to Zi Qi. I like how both were upfront about the mutual text reading, but it wasn’t anything to be upset about if both strive for honesty in a relationship.
I love how Zi Qi and Xing Ren’s relationship feels so low key, just like their personalities and their friendship up until now. We aren’t force fed swoony camera-swirling moments between them, but instead savor the sweet but daily interactions they continue to have. But Zi Qi really is a romantic at heart, but his way of showing it is by making miniature flowers for Xing Ren’s dollhouse and singing for her. I love how Xing Ren mistook Zi Qi’s romantic date planning for her to spend the night with him, and he just matter-of-factly told her that she can say yes anytime (even if this date wasn’t meant for her). Thirteen episodes in, kudos to OG in maintaining its quirky charm and creating a heartpumping OTP that doesn’t require buckets of angst to make me care about them.