Koala Rants and Raves about In Time With You

When watching dramas, I can simply like or dislike based on my immediate reaction. It’s personal and introspective. When writing about dramas, my likes and dislikes take on a life of its own outside my private thought bubble. I’ve noticed people can be offended if it differs from theirs, or find validation when it coincides therewith. That’s fine by me, since I take it in stride, believing only that candor is always cathartic.

With that said, this rant and rave discussion of In Time With You will likely put me squarely in the minority opinion on this drama, and likely rile some feathers. Eh, if I can eviscerate Secret Garden earlier this year, I’ll take on all comers with my discussion as to why I am having a horribly constipated time watching ITWY, which stars my favorite TW-actress Ariel Lin. I still love you Ariel babe, but I freaking want to destroy your character Chen You Qing. Imma getting my sword ready now, sweetie, so you better hold on tight.

Like all first impressions reviews I write, it’s based on one or two episodes at most, and is merely a snapshot of the set up to presuppose what’s to come. I genuinely loved episode 1 of ITWY, and elected not to recap it because I felt it was a drama best watched alone and not discussed communally. The subsequent episodes continued to be enjoyable for me, but I was starting to get that little pit in my stomach, that flutter which left me feeling uneasy. Something was beginning to feel more and more off, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it (yet). As my love for the drama turned to merely like, and finally into a reluctance to watch each new episode, I figured I owed it to my darling Ariel to figure out why.

After much inner back-and-forth debate, I finally came to a startling realization. It feels like SG déjà vu again, a drama highly anticipated by me, starring my fave actors, helmed by my fave scribe or director, ending up disappointing me to such a degree that I have whiplash and feel way more horrible than if it just sucked out right. The main reason for SG and ITWY’s failure for me is the exact same crutch – both dramas aim so high, have such promise and ability to fulfill every expectation, but fail because it refuses to dial down the manufactured characterizations. Or like Serendipity once said about a drama “this fails the Aspirational Gap test.”

What fails for me in ITWY? It stems from one person only – the heroine Chen You Qing – and radiates outward from there like a miasma. Let me explain. From the beginning I found You Qing difficult, a character that is prickly and seemingly complex. I liked that she had an attitude, even if her attitude comes off as self-absorbed and holier-than-thou. I figured we’re along for the ride to see her mature and change.

She spent all of episode 1 waxing platitudes about turning 30, complete with dreams of furry time chasing her, and making it Such A Big Deal. Lemme tell you something – turning 30 is not a big deal. Turning ANYTHING is not a big deal. Every day is a big deal, living your life with purpose, conviction, and meaning. A birthday with a round number? That’s just a figurative milestone but is not a literal switch that means You Qing is starting to age. But You Qing makes it that way. She’s like a 16 year old who thinks that her life is pretty much downhill once she turns 30. But a mature (and realistic) 30 year old would look back fondly on her life lived until then, and then press forward to make sure the next 30 years are just as good if not better than the past.

So right off the bat You Qing gives me the impression that she is self-absorbed and a drama queen. Remember her chiding the teenagers in the elevator, and her attitude towards vapid La La who might be clueless but surely isn’t spiteful or evil and warranting such condescension from Queen You Qing. While You Qing may think she knows better and can lecture people, but she comes off as petty and patronizing. As I watched more and more of this drama, I came to realize that You Qing doesn’t just come off that way but is secretly magnanimous and wise, she IS in fact petty and patronizing. Even worse, she’s that way to everyone, including her best friend and poor mistreated Li Da Ren.

What really drives me up the wall is that 30 year old You Qing is literally the same version as her 18 year old self in high school. She has not grown a single bit of emotional maturity, and instead continues to think the world revolves around her. She can give pep talks to friends and family members in trouble, but she doesn’t actually live any of the grand speeches she spouts. She tells her divorcing friend to be strong and move on, when she herself is stuck on Ding Li Wei still. Worse yet, You Qing lies to herself and tries to pretend she’s not. She’s the worst combination of hypocritical and delusional when it comes correctly judging herself.

You Qing really needs to thank the lucky stars that she has a friend like Da Ren who understands her and gives her such wide latitude to be a snippy bitch whenever she feels like it. The fact that all the guys love You Qing makes me even more pissed, because the drama posits that men like her brand of passive-aggressive posturing paired with only the least amount of ability to be genuinely honest with herself. If You Qing derides men in general for liking the “eternal 25 year old” pretty young thing, at least they admit to thinking with their shallow primitive instincts and don’t pretend otherwise. I can’t fathom what the drama is trying to convey when two male leads are in love with a selfish and condescending harridan like You Qing who believes she’s some sort of awesome specimen of womankind.

While I loathe You Qing, I firmly stand by my initial impression that Ariel is hitting it out of the ballpark in her performance. The eye-rolling, the know-it-all smirks, the piercing looks of annoyance, Ariel has got all the tics down pat. Ariel can’t possibly do anymore to sell You Qing, who feels three-dimensional because of her performance, but completely one-dimensional as a character construct. I never thought the day would come that Ariel could play a character I dislike more than I disliked her Yuan Xiang Qin in It Started with a Kiss, but she’s outdone herself this time.

I disliked Xiang Qin in ISWAK because she’s got no backbone, has the brain power of a mildly intelligent guppy, and looks perpetually confused. But that dislike never veers towards loathing because she’s so damn earnest, and is such a caring person with her heart on a platter for Zhi Shu. Xiang Qin is like my uber-affectionate Shih-tzu, who can lick me to death but also can’t quite figure out where his tail is. How can I hate on such a clueless but big-hearted puppy?

You Qing is completely different, and right now something HUGE has to happen in the drama to redeem her for me. I refuse to conditionally like her just because she’s the heroine of this drama and is played by Ariel. That would make me a brain dead lemming. I find You Qing akin to my neighbors annoying pampered pet Chihuahua. That thing thinks she’s god’s gift to the world, prances around like she’s the Queen doling out haughty looks left and right, and then nips at my fingers when I try to be nice and pet her. She has the most annoying high pitch yapping, and doesn’t have a clue that even in the dog world, she’s small fry that the neighborhood sleepy Golden Retriever can smush with one paw if he wanted to.

Stepping back from the You Qing ranting, as a whole, ITWY is a masterful work that is leaps and bounds above almost any other TW-drama out there, current and previous works alike. Director Winnie is just brilliant in the way he films, mixing shot angles and movement (or inaction) so that the scenes feel intimate and connects with the audience. For the last few episodes, I’ve been watching solely to appreciate his directing, as well as enjoying Bolin Chen’s spot-on and understated performance as perpetually lovelorn Da Ren. Newcomer Sunny Wang is totally making me cross-eyed and spazzy with how much impact he’s making in any of his scenes. His massive body tattoo aside, he’s got masculine sexual chemistry oozing out of his pores. No wonder You Qing goes weak-kneed around him.

While I complain about You Qing, I know there have been leads in other dramas written so unlikeably which doesn’t drive me nearly this insane. What perplexes me is how ITWY tries to force feed the audience into accepting that You Qing is supposed to be “right” and “commendable” and “strong”, when to me she’s none of that. It’s the aspirational gap at work, where the drama wants me to like a heroine who I can plainly see is a grade-A bitch if I ran across her in real life. I simply find You Qing holding her temper in check most of the time because she has to since she’s in the professional work place and is supposed to be an adult now. Otherwise she’d be even more impossible to stomach.

In high school, You Qing didn’t have to pander to anyone (such a work place environment and professional and personal etiquette), so she was free to prance around class like she had a stick up her ass and purposely torture the poor belittled male classmates. She clearly must’ve gone out of her way to design that ridiculously froufy pink cat mascot just to stick it to the boys, because otherwise I can’t figure out why she’d pick that rather than some less polarizing mascot that might appeal to both genders of the class.

But since You Qing was still in high school, and I found their boy-girl battles funny and cute in it’s pointless silliness, I cut her some slack. But over a decade later, I feel like she’s still the same immature girl inside, now wrapped in the professional shell of a seemingly well-adjusted and successful career woman. Which is why her jabs and passive-aggressiveness towards many of the characters in this drama drive me bonkers, because she should know better by now and accept that she’s not some all-knowing goddess with the right to judge everyone else.

I had huge issues with the way You Qing behaved towards Da Ren and his clearly not-going-to-work relationship with Maggie. First You Qing snarks about Maggie behind her back, and during the dinner early on when Maggie invites herself along and tries to be polite and engage You Qing, all she gets is loads of backhanded comments and eye-rolls that go all the way to the ceiling. Really, You Qing? This is how you treat the friend of your best friend? Granted Maggie isn’t the right one for Da Ren, but You Qing’s complete lack of graciousness really grated.

Things went from bad to worse when Maggie tagged along, as she had every right to because she was dating Da Ren, on the weekend trip with Da Ren and You Qing. One would think You Qing was Da Ren’s girlfriend and Maggie the interloper, the way You Qing acted like her trip was ruined and couldn’t even be bothered to be anything more than barely civil to Maggie. When You Qing declined to go sightseeing the next day with her excuse that she wanted to work out some more at the hotel, I seriously wanted to reach into the screen and slap her silly. That was how I behaved with I was 9 years old and didn’t want to attend a family dinner with my folks, and my parents did slap me silly for being a brat.

I think the drama cannot have its cake and eat it, too. It cannot build up You Qing to be so distasteful, and then force feed her to me as something tasty. This is not saying You Qing doesn’t have plenty of good traits, and push comes to shove she is a decent person. But she is nowhere near the endearing and generous character that we are led to believe based on the fact that poor blind Da Ren loves her and Ding Li Wei is inexplicably still hung up on her.

Da Ren is clearly much too good for You Qing, but I don’t have much sympathy for him in the conundrum he created for himself. A man who doesn’t have the guts to confess his feelings for the woman he loves digs his own grave of self-pitying sadness. Though You Qing really is to blame for most of it, since she actively refuses to allow Da Ren even the slightest chance to confess to her, even if neither is that delusional as to think the other person doesn’t secretly know the truth already.

Eight episodes into ITWY (which is scheduled for 13 episodes total), I’m just exasperated by this story despite the beauty of the storytelling mechanism. If You Qing still wants Ding Li Wei and the man is back and supposedly changed and still wants her, then she should by all means go for it. Her woe-is-me resistance rang so false and futile, like a queen dramatically falling down in a faint oh so daintily. That man is sex-on-legs, and I for one would be completely understanding if You Qing took him back and gave him another chance. If he’s still a douchebag, then end it again. It’s really not that big a deal.

But once You Qing took Ding Li Wei back, then clearly something has to give with her very complicated relationship with Da Ren. While men and women can be platonic friends, it’s clear to everyone in the drama that Da Ren does not have platonic feelings forwards You Qing. I don’t blame Ding Li Wei for being insecure about him, and I fault You Qing for being so self-absorbed that she’d completely dismiss her boyfriend’s very valid concerns.

I feel like all the relationships in this drama are a series of people going about love in all the wrong ways, and then suffering more because of it. While everyone else accepts their faults, only You Qing appears to live in the self-deluded grandeur that she’s doing things right (for the most part). Erh, no. I found You Qing’s break up with Ding Li Wei years ago to be really screechy and whiny on her part, even if she was in the right and he was in the wrong. I find that even when You Qing is right and logical, her attitude and the way she conveys it just comes off all wrong.

It pains me to have such a huge aspirational gap with this drama, because it might be one of the most beautifully filmed and acted dramas I have seen from any country. So much care went into it, and it is conveyed beautifully. The drama continues to climb in ratings, breaking 3 as of episode 8 which aired this past Sunday. I think ITWY deserves all the accolades, and I am happy to pile on more when it comes to its presentation and execution. I think the OST can be dialed back a tad, but the music is wonderfully evocative most of the time.

Ultimately I think the story concept is fundamentally flawed and not even the best acting by Ariel and Bolin can patch the gaping holes. I still don’t understand how and why You Qing and Da Ren are best friends, and the depth and meaning of their friendship eludes me on a fundamental level other than the superficial trappings where they know each other’s likes and dislikes and put up with each other’s quirks and shortcomings.

I’m told they are best friends, they act like best friends, but the foundation of their friendship rings hollow to me. It feels like Da Ren has been in love with You Qing but hadn’t the courage to confess in the beginning, so he elected to become her best friend to stay close to her. And You Qing reciprocated his friendship because Da Ren was always reliable and not a threat, becoming her perpetual fallback option. That is not a best friends story I can buy into and root for.

At this point, I want You Qing and Da Ren to get together because he’s obviously the only one who can put up with her attitude and love her unconditionally because he knows ALL her flaws. You Qing also needs Da Ren because she’s so insecure that only someone with his grounded sincerity can give her the security blanket in love she craves. I feel like all the secondary leads like Maggie and Ding Li Wei are the collateral damage to the pas-de-deux of You Qing and Da Ren’s low-EQ way of having a relationship.

I love Ariel so much it actually tempers how much I loathe You Qing, because anyone else playing You Qing I would pretty much stabbity to death in my mind already. I’ve had to go rewatch parts of LoCH2008 to coo over Ariel’s perfect portrayal of Huang Rong to get the bad taste out of my mouth from her You Qing. And while watching LoCH, I suddenly had an epiphany, realizing that You Qing is a modern day version of Huang Rong, with even the same character growth trajectory.

High school You Qing is bratty and prickly, thinking she’s smarter than everyone else and always itching for a battle of wits. She’s pretty much Huang Rong in LoCH, the 16 year old Rong Er who caused havoc because she could until she met her steady rock of a Guo Jing. You Qing at 30 years old is identical to adult Hong Rong in RoCH, which universally all the critics have found fault with for being an adult but still having teenage Huang Rong’s brain smarts but not enough of a mature woman’s EQ.

Everyone loves teeange Huang Rong in LoCH and hates adult Huang Rong in RoCH, even though she is the same character in both books. Young Huang Rong was motherless and had a barely there father, hence her dissociation with human affection and morality until she meets Guo Jing. I accept her character’s growth in that story, but hated when the adult retained her brilliant deductive mind but appeared to have lost empathy along the way. Similarly, while high school You Qing’s attitude and antics are cute in its childish pettiness, the same shit being pulled by a 30 year old You Qing is just unacceptable and really off-putting. I expect characters to grow, and so far I see none of that in ITWY.

I feel like ITWY is like a bizarro modern version of the LoCH love story. So instead of smart but morally ambiguous Huang Rong (You Qing) and dumb but kind-hearted Guo Jing (Da Ren) getting together when they are teens because they realize they are made for each other, somehow that relationship doesn’t happen. So Guo Jing instead wastes his time with clingy and forward Princess Hua Zheng (Maggie), while Huang Rong messes around with a bad boy like Ouyang Ke (Ding Li Wei) for awhile. What a big old waste of everyone’s time, forcing everyone to spin in circles because the two leads refuse to just be honest with each other.

When I watch a romantic drama like ITWY, which tries to aim for realism and sincerity, I am even more picky than if the drama was some over-the-top silliness that doesn’t purport to be anything other than throwaway entertainment. I wanted ITWY to be brilliant inside and out. But my conclusion is that it’s just fabulous looking on the outside, but rings with manufactured manipulation on the inside. ITWY is akin to a gorgeous photobook, beautifully put together, but a deeper look reveals each picture is artfully but artificially posed.

I’m not even sure I have any desire to finish the drama, other than to keep enjoying watching Ariel onscreen plus savoring the eye candy of the visual presentation of this gorgeous piece of work. Frankly I don’t care if I’m the only person on the planet who feels this way about ITWY. In the end, this is simply my personal opinion. I will never say ITWY is a bad drama. On the contrary, I think it’s an excellent drama that has one huge and significant characterization flaw that I simply cannot bridge because it undermines the very foundation of the love story it wants to tell.


Koala Rants and Raves about In Time With You — 77 Comments

  1. So sad, but it’s good I hadn’t started to watch it ’cause I’m still on a Drunken to Love You High and have not been able to get past ep.7 of Black and White.

    I trust your judgement.

  2. You know, I’ve been kind of going through this same thinking the past few days. I loved the first few episodes and, I was waiting for her to start to redeem herself. Then it just didn’t happen. I had to stop after they went on the trip together. I haven’t watched the newest episode, and I kept trying to figure out why I didn’t really care to, but I do think it’s because of her character. I just can’t relate to her in any way and it’s hard to root for her too.

    • Not relating to You Qing in any way does make it hard for one to love this drama because she’s the heroine. But for me, it’s deeper than that. I think there are load of inconsistencies in the way she’s written that move beyond simply disliking her character. I can dislike a character but still connect with the person if he/she is written thoroughly so there are no glitches that take me out of the rhythm of the story. Da Ren, for example, is written superbly. I dislike his passive and reactive nature, but completely can connect with him as a three-dimensional character.

      • I love ITWY. xD I can understand if someone dislikes YQ, but in my opinion DR isn’t that much better. That guy didn’t change much from High School to now either, because if he had changed he would have confessed his love to YQ. (or at least told her that he didn’t mean his words back then, when she asks “Why did you say that you could never love me?”) I don’t think YQ is actually that strong, and confident as she likes to think she is. If she were, would she call her mum and ask her if she is loveable and cute? If she were would she take LD words ‘I can’t love you” to her heart until now? If she were would she really believe that the only man left for her is a man that left her 5 years ago completely heartbroken. I can understand why she treated Maggie the way she treated her, because Maggie may seem innocent but she is actually really intrigant. In my opinion YQ is woman that is strong and self-centered on the outside, but rather weak and unconfident on the inside.

  3. Erm…I don’t know what to say. I understand You Qing’s treatment towards Maggie. Ugh, that girl was annoying. And You Qing probably wouldn’t think being 30 was such a big deal if everyone around her didn’t keep reminding her…so I get that too.
    While I don’t really like You Qing either because she is I admit, hypocritical…I can relate to her because she seems so real. All of the people in this drama feel like they could exist in real life.
    Overall, I like this drama. Some scenes are so poetic. I love the dialogue between You Qing and Da Ren. I think they sound like wise people…
    At the moment, I am frustrated with Da Ren for not telling You Qing straight up that he’s in love with her. Telling her that would put an end to this ridiculousness with Lei Wei.

  4. Ms. Koala,
    I have to say that I find your opinion very well thought out and agree with many parts of it, but yet I love and enjoy ITWY. I like that Ariel’s character is basically an unapologetic, whiny bitch because I feel that is more real to life than the shiny wallflowers that are usually the drama heroines. YQ may be immature, but she is shown to be fairly professional at work and she has obviously done a well enough job to get promoted. Also, *spoiler* she originally says no to DLW’s proposal telling him that Da Ren is more important to her. YQ knows her priorities, they just get lost or confused sometimes. Also addressing the statement, “She’s the worst combination of hypocritical and delusional when it comes correctly judging herself,” in the most recent episode when she’s talking to Nick, I felt that she knew this about herself. She says that it’s easy to see solutions to others’ problems, but difficult to know what to do about yourself. I feel that it’s not that she doesn’t know she’s wrong, rather she just doesn’t know what to do at all.
    That all being said, I wish for once a show could realize that guys and girls can be friends without being in love. I have close guy friends (plural) who I would never date and they wouldn’t date me, so it’s possible. I think I would like this show better if DR and YQ weren’t supposed to be the OTP. Then I wouldn’t just be “like, so, when’s it gonna happen” I could just enjoy their friendship.

  5. I agree with you regarding YQ….just a few weeks ago I was gushing about Bolin’s LDR. Sure, he’s spineless when it comes to confessing to YQ but he’s such a beautiful person….Episode 7 exasperated me….I don’t care a fig about YQ’s ex (he’s hot ‘n all but my loyalties lie with LDR :D)….I remember skipping all their scenes. All, I want is YQ-LDR to get together already….is it too much to ask?! Ep 7’s exasperation led me to not yet watching Ep 8. I did catch the preview for Ep 9 and with YQ kneeing LDR I guess he did confess to her :/ In hindsight, I kinda get as to the reason why he hasn’t confessed. YQ is way too arrogant and frankly if he would’ve confessed a decade ago in addition to breaking off her friendship with him she would’ve slapped him silly. :/

  6. I kinda get what you are saying and when reading what you wrote i see what you mean and how horrible YQ can be, but when I was watching it i never thought or felt about her that way. The only time i really disliked her was when she forgot LDR’s birthday. I mean he helped her celebrate her birthday and brought her this very special and meaningful gift, and she forgot his birthday because she was too busy thinking about her ex and got him a pen as a gift. Really? But i kinda understand her and i think she, too, knows some of her imperfections like that conversation with Nic about relationships and such. And her relationship with her ex i understand. Watching him ooze his charms towards her makes it very hard to resist him even if he does annoy me. And she does just want to date him and see where it goes but he all of a sudden wants to get engaged and the parents are kinda pressuring her to it. I also got why she was so annoyed with Maggie because Maggie was very annoying. I don’t find her as annoying now that she broke up with LDR and i liked that she didn’t tell the reason for their breakup. LDR and Bolin’s acting is so sincere and it hurts watching him in pain. I also understand why he can’t confess now but i don’t understand why he didn’t confess in their teenage years. Overall i am thoroughly enjoying the drama and i can’t wait for episode 9. The storytelling and directing is enough for me to watch.

  7. I was at first nervous when I read the title of this review, (I admit to stalking Viki each Monday/Tuesday until the new episodes of ITWY is subbed). How can Koala hate such a beautiful show? Then I read it, and realized that subconsciously I have been feeling the exact same. I have been so caught up in the trappings (the gorgeous cinematography, the phone calls that symbolically/visually bring our leads together), that I never deeply considered whether or not I actually liked the characters. I remember thinking at moments like when You Qing screams at Da Ren about giving Li Wei her number and taking responsibility, that I’m not sure why she is being so selfish and aggressive and why Da Ren is just taking it, but then the drama would bring on the pretty and suck me right back in.

    I agree with your assessment of You Qing, but now I think Da Ren deserves the same treatment. It may seem like Da Ren deserves Man of the Year for the patience he has shown this far, but spin it another way, and Da Ren may be one of the most passive characters ever. He never seems to take charge of his life, regardless of his relationship with You Qing. Everything seems to just happen to him, and he rarely seems to take a stance on anything. The poor guy has allowed all of the aggressive people in his life beat him into submission. At least You Qing has personality (albeit shrill and egotistical) – I can’t even think about Da Ren apart from how he relates to other people.

  8. You said some very true things about YQ and LDR but i still love the drama. while i hate the self-righteous side of YQ and wish she would make more sacrifices for LDR, stop taking herself so seriously, and admit when she is wrong more often (it seems like LDR is always the first to extend an olive branch), I love how it was filmed and still feel for the characters (though I, too, would NOT like YQ in real life). YQ seems to have a tough exterior that covers an insecure little girl, so she can be relatable, and her small epiphanies do seem to show baby steps forward (though recent episodes also show steps back–but this, also, is relatable). Perhaps the five episodes to follow will give us the character growth and honesty we all want.

  9. I guess you were pretty pissed off at the end of ep. 8 Koala?.lol I was pulling my hair out too. But, like you said we are here to agree and disagree at the end of the day. To me the drama hasn’t fail me yet, it still amazing and one of the best twdramas in ages. The concept is very different from so many dramas out there and the directing has been top notch to say the least, every shot, every angle is beautifully done. The acting we get is outstanding.

    The reason I love YQ character is cause she is real, she is flaw to no end, she is selfish, she is a drama queen, she is smart, she is kind, she is clueless, she is childish, she is stubborn, she is loyal and caring. To me YQ is complexity and I love that in characters. I hate cookie cutter characters in the sense that we know our heroine is so morally good that she will suffer anything and have people walk all over her cause she feels she has to let them. YQ is so different and that why I love her, she is real to me, she is real on how she debates on what to do with her ex, how she feels jealous of Maggie because she feels she is stealing her best friend away from her. You guys can call me childish too, but I would have done the same thing to Maggie on that trip, I’m sorry the trip is supposed to be with me and my bff not his girlfriend. So, yes YQ is real to me.

    The whole drama in my eyes is about YQ journey and getting to a place of happiness within herself or with someone else. I love how she has struggled for 14 yrs on regards toward her true feelings about DR, she knows deep down that DR is her soul mate, I mean every episode starts with YQ thinking “Li Da Ren….” yet she is afraid of crossing that line and destroying their friendship, that to me is real insecurity and who doesn’t have those insecurities feelings. Same goes for DR he is afraid of breaking that bond, and I like that he is stepping back and let YQ make choices without her security blanket a.k.a DR.

    I love how the writers have DR and YQ dance around each other and I do buy their friendship. I guess that why DR during High School told YQ he will never fall in love with her, cause he didn’t need her will strong attitude, he had enough with his mother. But yet as he gets to know her on a deeper more intimate level he can’t help but fall in love with the real insecure, childish, caring, kind YQ and that to me is what resonates with me. How two different people with so many layers of flaws and qualities come together and balance each other out.

    What I also get from ITWY is that nobody is perfect and we can be 20, 30, 40 and yet never reach that level of maturity either emotionally or mentally.

  10. Agree with everything you said about YQ. Hated her during the high-school scenes, hated her snarky treatment of Maggie during dinner & the trip (although I loved part of it too because Maggie is so annoying) hate her superior attitude towards almost everyone and hate the way she treats DR. However, I love this drama to bits. Love seeing that she does indeed have faults, one of them being the inability to resist bad boy Li Wei. As for having the men fight over her, maybe it’s the same – they’re drawn to a bad, bitchy girl? Dunno.
    I truly think this is Ariel Lin’s best work but that’s just IMO. (absolutely hated ISWAK1 & 2) *ducks from things being thrown at me*

  11. I like You Qing. Granted I thought she was crazy as a teenager, but I relate to her as an adult. (So my impression is opposite yours. I was annoyed with her as a teenager, but I like her better now.) She strikes me as a more honest portrayal of a flawed modern woman who has had to struggle with love and heartache in her life. I’ve accepted so many asshole leading men in the dramas I’ve watched so I’m cutting her a little slack when her flaws take center stage. Her flaws aren’t that off putting to me anyway, but that’s just me.

    Da Ren’s character and his role in his relationship with Maggie is a much bigger problem for me than You Qing. Da Ren is in a relationship with Maggie. Those two have a promise to each other. Although it’s not pretty, You Qing doesn’t owe Maggie what Da Ren owes Maggie (You Qing does owe more respect to Maggie though). I have had a bigger problem with Da Ren’s behavior because he’s been a coward being with someone who obviously likes him when he can’t possibly even try to give his heart to her. That’s an asshole move. The same reason Da Ren has loved You Qing for 15 years and never said it is the same reason he let his relationship with Maggie progress even though he’s in love with someone else. Cowardice. Nothing irks me more than someone who’s a coward towards love especially such a deep-seeded, lasting love. As much as I’m moved by Da Ren’s love for You Qing, that cowardice, that’s part of his character, is really off-putting and unattractive in a hero. I can forgive bratty or even bitchy, but cowardice is… a real problem, more than annoying or aggravating. So basically I have bigger problems with Da Ren than You Qing. (You could make a case that You Qing is guilty of the same thing, but that’s for another time.)

    As for You Qing and Da Ren’s friendship, I think they are best friends because they depend on each other and because after 15 years they are still there for each other and want to be in each others lives. That counts for so much- the desire to be a part of someone else’s life. (Totally anecdotal, but my best friend and I simply realized we were best friends when we saw that a decade had passed by and it was still the 2 of us. We made the 3 musketeers out of 1+1! We never had some grand defining moment that ties us together. But trust, I wouldn’t let her down for anything.) Often times it seems that You Qing more than Da Ren is the dependent one, but I don’t have a problem with that. All long lasting friendships/relationships are lopsided, usually in more than one aspect, and the lopsidedness swings back and forth over the years. I think they really just depend on each other. And maybe their deep friendship doesn’t ring true because in Da Ren’s heart, You Qing isn’t a friend, but a deep love that has yet to be fulfilled– someone he’s been quietly chasing for years. Even if their ‘best friends’ status seems contrived, it’s undeniable that they are attracted to each other in all the ways that count when it comes to romantic love.

    I really like ITWY. I enjoy each episode immensely. It’s gorgeous. Their dialogue is beautiful and it’s wonderful storytelling on the side of the writer and the director. Despite its flaws, it does right what we complain about so many dramas doing wrong. I’m happy to savor all the things it’s doing right. I still battle with reconciling my expectations of dramas with what they are, but I’m practicing not letting my unmet expectations get in the way of me enjoying something really good. Sometimes I’m better at it than others…*cough, cough* City Hunter. ¬.¬

    • I agree with almost everything you said but one. I don’t necessarily agree that it’s cowardice that’s stopping Da Ren from declaring his love; I believe is fear, fear that he will lose her if he does, because their relationship will surely change once that feeling comes to light. Imagine if the other doens’t feel thesame? You can’t just take everything back and go back to the way things were. Ones he’s says it, he’s either going in or out. His only decision is to accept it and go right ahead and see which road will be opening. It will either mean love or the lost of friendship, even if tainted with love. That is what his fear and what you may have called cowardice is all about. I don’t think it’s an easy decision, but after 13 years, it’s time he makes it.

      • 15 years of fear of the same thing = cowardice. It’s time to do something about it. They’ve had conversations where they breach the topic of the bounds of their relationship so he’s had some opportunities. How many drunken nights do you need to admit you like a girl?… I think deep down inside You Qing knows how Da Ren feels even if she’s unwilling to admit it. Men don’t treat women they don’t have feelings for the way Da Ren treats You Qing, even best friends.

    • I agree that Da Ren and Maggie was a billion percent his fault and nearly turned me off him. I can barely stomach Da Ren at this point, because he’s been a coward for over a decade with You Qing. He may fear losing her friendship today if he confessed, but he’s only in this situation because he clearly was afraid of being honest with her from the get go when they were still in high school. He’s like her since then. If he didn’t like her back then and only grew to love her more than a platonic friend over the years, I’d cut him lots of slack. But he’s treated this friendship as an easy way out with You Qing, staying by her side without having to take the brave step forward and risk it all for love. He’s barely earning my sympathy at this point. I kinda feel like they deserve each other.

  12. “But my conclusion is that it’s just fabulous looking on the outside, but rings with manufactured manipulation on the inside. ITWY is akin to a gorgeous photobook, beautifully put together, but a deeper look reveals each picture is artfully but artificially posed”.

    Koala, as per your conclusion above, I have to remind you that nothing in this world is ever what it seems to be; so, how can you expect it of this show?

    As much as I had issues with the last episode of this drama, I do not agree with you on many things. I do know how much some like to see character growth in drama’s, but even in real life, people rarely change, they just adapt and learn how to manuever through situations. I think the whole purpose of this drama is not necessarily about You Qing’s growth personality wise, but rather of her finding herself and realizing that she does not need to change because their’s someone who already accepts her as she is.

    koala, you said something about her having thesame attitude with all men, but like Da Ren pointed out in the beginning, she changes herself for the men she dates instead of being herself. He hated that if you remember. To make a long story short, it is only with him that she’s herself and that’s all she needs to realize. The other characters in this show are just fillers until she comes to the realization that she doesn’t need to be afraid of time passing by because their already someone who will make them meaningful. Am pretty sure she loves Da Ren as well, but just like him, they are afraid as to how the other feels.

    As to what you said about their friendship. I am not sure how you will decribe your friendship or the reason why you are still friends with someone, but I am convinced of their friendship, even if it started off on the wrong reasons. They trully do care for each other and I feel that.

    I totally disagree with you on the Maggie issue about the trip. Unless one is invited, one shouldn’t intrude, even if they feel they have the right. She invited herself to the trip and then his home.

    • Everything else may be subjective, but the Maggie issue and that trip I firmly believe there is but one right answer.

      Maggie has every right to ask Da Ren if she can go on the trip. She is his girlfriend. Yes, we know he doesn’t love her and it’s clearly not going to work. But she doesn’t know that, and he’s too much of a coward to tell her (at that point). Who let’s one’s boyfriend just go on an overnight trip with another girl, even if she is his long time best friend.

      You Qing is even worse. Of course she wanted her trip with Da Ren to be just the two of them. Then she needs to just SAY IT. Instead of being passive aggressive about it to Maggie, who has done nothing wrong. Either tell Maggie she can’t go, or let Maggie go and then behave like a civil adult rather than a petulant child.

      Maggie did not lock herself in that car and insist she be taken along. She invited herself, yes, but Da Ren, her boyfriend, said yes. I fail to see what was wrong that she did. She’s clingy, which annoys me, but Da Ren doesn’t have the balls to tell her to back off. That doesn’t make her right, it just makes him a douchebag.

      Of course You Qing and Da Ren are made for each other. They need to stop using other people in an futile attempt to find happiness elsewhere, and get with each other and make babies, so everyone else can move on instead of thinking either one of them is available.

      • I blame Da Ren. He should know better than to agree to go on an overnight trip with another girl when he already has a girlfriend. That’s a big no-no… Even though Maggie is in the right, she still annoys me.

      • Yup, Maggie’s right, but she’s annoying. I’m not surprised Maggie annoys You Qing (hell, Maggie would annoy most anyone), but it’s You Qing’s inability to be cordial and civil on that trip, and being difficult about where to eat and what to do, that made me want to beat some sense and decency into her. She seems to believe the world revolves around her, and that’s a no-no in Koala land.

      • “Of course You Qing and Da Ren are made for each other. They need to stop using other people in an futile attempt to find happiness elsewhere, and get with each other and make babies, so everyone else can move on instead of thinking either one of them is available.” hahaha…agreed

      • I think YQ was being cordial on the trip…she backed out of the situation so those two could be alone. Maggieensured that YQ couldn’t complain about her coming along by saying, ” I told Da Ren Ge you wouldn’t mind.” Come off it…that is war with words. Their situation is Da Ren AND Maggie’s fault though…seriously her for being so passive aggressive and clingy and him for letting her.

    • But if YQ suddenly be friendly and get along well with Maggie, then, she’s not being true to herself, and will contradict with her built up character. as you guys were saying, she is bitchy and thinks the whole universe revolves around her.

      I still think that YQ is being reasonable on that trip. although she definitely dislike having Maggie with them but she never attack her of being an intruder and even back out to give space for LDR & Maggie to enjoy just the 2 of them. I f I were her, i’ll also feel that I was the 3rd party and will excuse myself. and this is coming from a 30 year old female.

  13. I completely agree!
    At first it was good, then it became tolerable, and now it’s at a point where I don’t feel the urge to continue.

    As much as I loved ISWAK, because honestly who could resist her undying devotion, I really wanted to see her in a more mature role, so I was pretty excited about this.
    However, it’s starting to go downhill because I don’t feel like there’s any development on the characters. You Qing reminds me of the girl at school who believes that everything belongs to her because she’s the most popular, has the most friends, etc, but is unable to see the full picture.
    I think it’s very true that they’re running out of time to tie up the drama; I don’t really think she HAS the potential to change drastically in the remaining few episodes, only because her character’s been built up to be … a certain way.
    This disappoints me because I so wanted to love this drama. I’m hoping that the remaining few episodes can salvage what’s left of the “likable” side of her character and complete this project on a high note! 🙂

  14. You are awesome! You basically put down everything I was thinking about this drama, especially in regards to my feelings about You Qing. And ugh, 13 episodes? I thought it was only 12. Not sure I can stand another 5 episodes of pointless drama, angst, and YQ whining until the inevitable end when she and Da Ren get together.

    Li Wei is ok, but frankly a bit of an obnoxious tool. He’s moderately hot, but no appearance can make up for his crap possessiveness and forcefulness. He’s about two steps away from becoming an abusive boyfriend.

    Actually, I’m not so sure that Ariel’s performance is really helping things for YQ. Ariel tends to be overly shrill in a lot of scenes where I feel it’s not altogether necessary. She does the bitch act so well that I really don’t think she’s trying very hard to make YQ at all less bitchy or more likeable. Maybe I should watch LotCH, because frankly all of the performances that I’ve seen have grated on my nerves (ISWAK 1&2, Love Contract, Love or Bread). She’s certainly a very talented screamer and crier. Although if LotCH’s HR really is like YQ, then forget it.

    And yeah. Da Ren needs to grow a pair. I’m sure at some point in 14 years there would have been an opportunity to tell her his feelings, but he obviously lacks any drive to take the final step.

    • Huang rong in loch is a teenager though. And at least she is 100% in love with one man only. So the girl clearly knows what she wants and where her heart is.
      Now i havent really watched itwy. Ive only seen a couple of eps. But my 1st impression is that it’s really pedantic. It looks way too close into every moment of these people’s life. Her voiceover of inner thoughts too makes me feel like it’s a bit analytical. I guess it’s not my choice of story telling cuz then the characters feel like they’re studied subjects. That’s my major nitpick of the show. I havent watched enough to know if yq is a bitch or not lol

  15. i have just seen one episode! one! and i love it so much that i have to see the endings and prevs of the other episodes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    but i get flustrated….. why is he so coward when everybody knows he loves her!
    why is she so stupid to not look around and see that the only man that loves her deeply is him! just sooo mad at that! mad mad!!!!!!!
    is simple people! if you want someone! say it because no one is going to say it for u!
    and is simple ! i love love stories!
    and i hate that type of thingS ! more whe the f… solution is SO SIMPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    i will see it! because i want to see how much of frustration this drama will gava me!
    and because im curious about how the writter is going to end with this!
    lets hope for the best!

  16. I too am a fan of ITWY and continuously lurking at Viki every Mon/Tues for the new eps sub. While I agree that YQ is a drama queen and bitchy sometimes, but that what’s make the character interesting for me. Although she can be a bitch, but people around her still liked her because of her levelheaded, leadership and a good listener. A heroin who is like a wallflower or those who sacrifice themselves for others are just blah and surely will ignite hatred after watching them being stepped by the evil characters that was meant to …’yup’ destroy the emotions/physical of the heroin.

    And I feel that the contrast of character between LDR & CYQ that makes them perfect for each other. It bring the balance in their relationship. I agree on that i hated LDR’s not taking a stance in anything from love relationship, family and also career. even when he was promoted he was clueless. I can’t wait to see whether he will take the offer to go to Singapore (or is the plot non-existence coz he went to Singapore already for that restaurant survey) so that YQ can realize the value of their frenship & love.

    And that part about Maggie, I don’t care much for her and if i was in that situation, I’ll probably will act like YQ. and she didn’t want to join their outing and opt for working out in the gym, she already told DR that she’ll back out and let them have their couple time together. I don’t feel that YQ was being a cry baby for not wanting to join them strolling at the flower gardens.

  17. Thank you.
    I’ve been putting off continuing ITWY only after watching the 1st episode. I was so annoyed with Ariel’s character even from the very beginning. What really did it for me is the high school flashback scene. She came off as a girl that was not only bratty but also mean to the bone. It seems like this girl had issues and constantly had PMS. The worst was when she cornered her supposed friend – that was plain wrong the way she did it.
    I thought since then I should give this show another chance as I should not judge it just based on one character from one episode.
    But after reading your thoughts, I will probably wait and save it for another time.
    While I prefer a drama that depicts reality, I do want the characters in it to be at least likeable. It will be difficult for me to truly enjoy the show if I end up loathing one of the main characters.
    Thanks for sharing your insight, and I applaud you for being brave to be vocal about it as we all know that we are completely against the flow with this one.

  18. Word (x a million). Other than I disagree Ariel is doing a brilliant job. I was with u even the rewatching LoCH part and dissecting the HR vs YC in head.

    Imo, Ariel didn’t grasp deeper into her YC. She’s a very competent actress, nailing every expression and what she’s doing here is doing exactly what PD Winnie is asking of her and her character as written on the pages of the script (which imo is pretentious turd, yes, SG kind of shit). For a smarter job, imo, she can dial wayyyy down all the histrionics, put in some nuances not in PD’s or writer’s vision and as a 30 yo lady herself, I’m ragey (may not be rational, I admit) she didn’t put in some of her own personal spins. I’m appalled if she really believes in the bottom of her heart this is a realistic, respectful portrayal of a 30 yo woman. Almost every time YC rolls her eyes or any word coming out of her mouth, I’m not minding the bratty attitude, entitlement, all the annoying flaws of YC as a person but how it’s expressed every little flicker and I have to witness it, I find how she’s emoting everything out very Very 畫蛇添足 (drawing snakes with feet). It won’t necessarily make her more likeable, but as all other characters r all blind to her bitchiness, it’s double grating.

    And frankly, though I have a soft spot for PD Winnie and he’s trying very hard and it is showing in good camera work and other touches, his heroines r often very 2D caricatures and I think he fails to delve deeper into YC which she desperately needs.

    • So should I not watch this, jie jie? A lot of people have been recommending this to me, since I’ve been on the lookout for a TW drama to get my hands out, but if it Ariel’s character makes y’all batty, then maybe I shouldn’t watch it… Hrmmm.

      • MeiMei, try it out!(if u have free time at hand^^) There are things discussed that r real and substantial, but it’s trying too hard, aiming
        too high.

        But yes, I’m traumatized because I no longer hold the opinion Ariel has the depth to handle more complicated murkier characters. imo her YouChing is coming across, as how lovely Koala is putting it, a kitchen sink of traits without the craft in connecting them, fleshing them out to form a whole real person.

    • Haha, I read your rants today, twinnie, over at your journal. So. Word.

      ITWY feels like a pale washed out “precious” and “self-aware” version of Goodbye Solo, without any other character to flesh out the world they live in other than attempting to throw the kitchen sink of character traits into You Qing (she’s a bitch, but can be nice; she’s insecure, but often wise; she’s difficult, but can be caring; she’s hypocritical, but knows it; she’s capable, but strangely weak to temptation; she’s selfish, but good-hearted; on and on I can go with this).

      I don’t dislike You Qing because she’s a bitch, which is what some folks misunderstood my rant about her. Hell, I love tough prickly and selfish heroines who have the guts to be true to themselves. You Qing is not one of them. If she were Bae Jung Ok’s character in GS, I’d grab her and weep, thanking for for existing as a honest validation that we all want and can be weak but also strong. But You Qing is not. She’s just manufactured artifice representing the modern adult woman.

      • Same here. We’ve seen conflicted flawed characters before, but most grating is YC is proudly oblivious to her flaws, and made more exasperating by everyone around her not notice any of it (it actually takes away the believability of all the decent side characters populating the drama for me…). It is as though each trait pops up, service the story, making an appearance for show to move the plot along a tad, instead of being part of a whole breathing organic person.

        But really, I don’t see YC as written out as so unsavory, it’s played up for the dramatics/’plot’ when the story itself is nth extraordinary. I just can’t process anything YC and fit everything I know of her into one puzzle of a character. The only way drama may redeem is IF surprise!surprise! YC is actually suffering fr some psychological disorder/ is delusional.

        And I have no rants on Bolin, because although he’s a weakling without a backbone and guts, he’s presented to me like so fr day 1. Not as complex a character I like, but at least it’s A character.

  19. I can see where you’re coming from, Koala, and you’re not alone in your opinion on You Ching. There are quite a few people who absolutely loathe her character. There are quite a few things that bother me about the main characters, especially You Ching, but that’s also part of what makes them easier to relate to (for me). I’m so tired of the stereotypical ordinary, hard-working, good girl who bears everything with perfect fortitude and gets together with the handsome, rich jerk who actually has a good heart. Give me an antihero/heroine, please. (It’s actually kind of funny, because You Ching and Da Ren are more like typical second leads, and Li Wei is more like the typical first male lead… at least on the surface). I feel almost like You Ching’s a real person, because she reminds me so much of several women I know (myself included, in some ways). I guess part of the reason I like ITWY and You Ching is that I’m tired of fairy tales which have such a big disconnect from real life. ITWY is still a drama, so it still has its dramatic moments and things which would only happen in a drama, but the transition from the drama to reality and vice versa isn’t so jarring. I like how easily I can pull tidbits from the drama to apply to real life. Hmm, not sure if I’m saying it right.

    You Ching is a bitch… but I think she’s a bitch with a good heart. Sometimes she annoys the heck out of me, and I just want to slap her, but other times, she’s so relatable, and I just want to hug her. Part of the reason that I get so uncomfortable with her character sometimes is that she kind of acts as a mirror (for both good and bad characteristics that we share). The thing that annoys me most about You Ching is how she treats Da Ren sometimes… like forgetting his birthday and then pretending she didn’t. (I honestly think that Da Ren and Li Wei are at least partially attracted to You Ching because she is a “bitch.” That sounds weird, but I think it’s the combination of her “good girl” and “bad girl” characteristics which make her so appealing to them).

    As for Maggie… I found Maggie super-annoying on the trip, but I also found it annoying that both You Ching and Da Ren were talking over and around her and being condescending to her. On the other hand, it’s not really fair that You Ching’s friend vacation escape with Da Ren turned into her accompanying Da Ren and Maggie. It’s no fun being the 3rd wheel, and I thought it was actually good of You Ching to let Da Ren and Maggie go off on their own and occupy her mind with something else to help her relax and de-stress. With the whole eating thing, I thought it was more like You Ching was trying to go along with them, even though she was tired, and then she just picked something easy to eat that she liked, so Da Ren and Maggie could go and get their own food together. And Maggie wasn’t innocent; she was being totally passive-aggressive, too. (To be fair, if I were Da Ren’s girlfriend, I’d have my hackles up around You Ching, too).

    I will say one thing, though… if You Ching really hits Da Ren, I think it will be over for me. I really hope they don’t do that to her character, though.

    • Eh, I take it back that You Ching’s a bitch. I shouldn’t really throw that word around so lightly. I don’t actually think You Ching’s deserving of such a derogatory term. I think the reason her personality’s taking a nosedive right now is because she’s back together with Li Wei; I think they really do bring out the worst in each other :\

  20. I totally agree with you. I can’t stand You Qing’s character. She seemed to measure people with a different cannon than the one she used for herself. She whines and looses her temper far too often. I didn’t want to watch the drama anymore but found myself strangely drawn to the show. I believe it’s Director Winnie’s touch. I really like some parts like Da Ren removing makeup for You Qing. Very stirring and romantic. Nicely done.

  21. There is this inexplicable feeling of calm and quiet everytime I watched an episode of ITWY as compared to other dramas I’ve watched/been watching. Must be from the laid back attitude of LDR and the “normal routine” of their lives or the poetry of the scenes and the dialogues.

    Okoala’s characterization of the leads hits all the nails on the wall but I cannot totally fault YQ’s character as the total whiny bitch (aren’t we all at some point exhibit this behaviour? I mean when push comes to a shove). I put all the blame to LDR’s wishy washy behaviour and cowardly conduct which gave us those “Maggie moments” when I had to restrain myself from slapping her wits out of my TV screen. LDR’s sincerity comes off me as his weakness. Where is sincerity in loving someone but dating someone else? He actually used Maggie as his shield from his unverbalized/unrealized love for YQ! He could not even manage a sceaming YQ in the middle of his love confession!? Such a weakling. . Truth is annoying as she is, Maggie is the only honest character among the four – followed by the Sunny character who admits to his mistake and unapologetically (to borrow from someone above) working hard to correct it /get YQ back.

    The crux of the matter is that both LDR & YQ are hypocrites who clings to their silly notion that friendship ends where love begins (too textbook phrase). The truth is it is their “love” that keeps them together in the guise of “friends”. Else how to explain strings of break ups with their love ones when the issue is their “supposed friendship”?

    In real life who puts their friends above their love ones (they are not even measured the same way)? Only in the movies or dramas. . . . Friends no matter how close are put on a shelf when we are busy with love then taken out whenever convenient. That’s what friends are for . .

    As a whole I like where ITWY is taking me as i can take either YQ with the reformed hottie or YQ with no backbone LDR (YQ has a lot of those anyway). It’s not the expected end that I am enjoying – it is the journey which is totally unexpected.

    I like the juxtaposition of the scenes as if the two leads are talking to each other in person – credit the director, and the poetic lines – must be the scriptwriter, and the overall acting. There goes my feelings, I respect yours and other too. .

  22. I concur most of your thoughts if not at all, ms. K especially with regards to YQ’s attitude problem. I hated her most for being so domineering in her high school days but I admire her when she admitted to Nic that she’s good in giving advices to others but clueless to her own love life. And yes, I hated her too when she forgot DR’s birthday because of her silliness with LW. But for me, the very good thing she did is when without hesitation, she told LW that she will choose DR when she’ll be asked to choose between him and DR; and that’s not only once but twice. One more thing is when she declined to be engaged with LW since they’re just starting anew. About the trip, yes, she’s being immature but I guess most people tend to be one when blinded by jealousy. At least, she’s being true to herself. I must say then that compared to her annoying character in ISWAK, I still prefer her YQ role.
    As for DR, I’m disgusted with his cowardice. So many times he got the chance but blew it off. I understand him why he’s uncertain to love YQ. He has already strong-willed women in his life, his mother and sister and adding more is too much. But he should have stayed away from her in order to prevent from falling hard instead of staying by her side half of their lives. I feel sorry for DR for what he’s going through but somehow he deserves it.
    I got lost too as to how they became BFF and when did it start since it’s very clear that YQ was so distant with DR not only in high school but also during their college days. Nevertheless, I love how comfortable they are with each other and how they understand each other. They’re soul mates and they deserve each other.
    As to the two men in YQ’s life, I still love DR no matter how slow he is in confessing his feelings to YQ. But yes, LW is oozing with hotness galore but I don’t like guys who look like he’s been incarcerated or a Yakuza member. LW is a boyfriend material but DR is someone who you want to be with for the rest of your life. Oh, that’s just me so no big deal. Heheh!
    Watching ITWY at first somewhat eases the tension I had after a day’s work. I enjoy its simplicity and dialogues more so our OTP who I love most. But episodes 7 & 8 kinda made me pull my hair and it looks like more angst awaits us. But who cares, I’m a masochist anyway. LOL

  23. It frustrates me that at Episode 8, Da Ren and You Qing are pretty much where they started off in Episode 1. There wasn’t much character growth and the most inconsistent part is how YQ spouts loads of wisdom to the people around her but doesn’t actually reflect that in her actions. That being said, I still love YQ as a character. I wouldn’t like her as a person irl, but I enjoy seeing the different sides of her in ITWY. I love how YQ is such a flawed heroine.

    ITWY is close to my heart because some parts of the drama mirrors the situations that I am in and as I watched it, I made some realizations and grew as a person, even if the characters in the drama didn’t grow.

  24. so far i’ve only watched 2 episodes of ITWY and love it! it’s so different from all the fluffy tw-dramas. the characters feel real. 🙂 i dont feel like dramas always have to be about nice, rational people all the time. they can be about shrill, bitchy or cowardly people too.

  25. Wow, delurking to say your assessment of the You Qing character is spot on. I dropped the drama a few episodes back because I couldn’t stand her.

    On a tangential note – as an owner of a smallish and yes, feisty, terrier, I have to admit I get a little upset when people reinforce negative stereotypes about small breeds. We all have met that annoying ‘yappy little dog’ but most of the fault lies with owners who reinforce, overlook or indulge poor habits, whether consciously or unconsciously. Sorry, I know I’m taking this too seriously, it’s just button pusher for me… If you want to try petting the chihuahua again, avoid reaching over his head or eyes to do so – it’s a doggie faux pas, and comes off as intimidating, although many dogs learn to get used to it. Crouch to the side of her head and extend your hand from below to let her sniff before trying to pet her.

  26. I didnt realise the many flaws of YouQing, till you mentioned it. I guessed I may have focused too much on the theme, the sweet parts between YQ and LDR. Actually, for me, I think that YQ wasnt being too bitchy when Maggie tagged along for the trip that was meant for the two of them. I think she handled it why. If I were in her shoes, I would probably not even want to go, especially if I would end up being the 3rd wheel.

    From Koala’s viewpoint, there is no such thing as platonic friends after the girl is with another guy?

  27. I personally like YQ…she is entirely realistic. I suppose that’s the problem for most people since dramas are supposed to be an escape from reality.

    Within the story I saw that the whole high school thing had an event that spawned the girls vs boys scenario which was the guys’ treatment of the girl who was poor.

    Honestly I never understand those scenarios where people suggest they’ve changed since high school. I’m 28 years old…most people’s personalities seem to be set by the time they hit college. I just had my 10 year high school reunion and all the usual suspects are still the same LOL. Perhaps there was a bit less of the rich kid brattiness from high school since we’re buying our own stuff now instead of Mommy and Daddy…but not much. There isn’t an extensive change happening unless a serious or traumatic event occurs and even then after you recover the old you, hopefully, still leaks through. That could be only a personal opinion from my military experience though.

    Aside from all that I often wonder who is always frankly honest with themselves or doesn’t vent to their best friend when they feel things are spinning out of control? I rather think her character, and a few others of late, are refreshing for being realistic and bitchy at times rather than pure hearted spirits of goodness who can do or think no wrong.

    • I like the characterization of YQ to an extent..I mean granted she can be a total bitch sometimes and makes no pretenses about her bitchiness but that just makes her so much more real then the ever sacrificing goody two shoes drama heroine who is good no matter how many layers of her personality that u peel off..That being said, I do hate the way she expects all the ppl in her life especially LDR to revolve around her..I hate that though she is concerned about him, when they had that argument and her phone was messed up, he made the first move to fix everything…But i hoping that during one of the changing moments in her journey to realize what LDR means to her, she realizes how much he has given in to maintain their friendship..So I guess i can tolerate her..But in response to the above comment, I totally agree..Our personalities are relatively set when we enter college..there are some character quirks that disappear or appear but essentially the core of our self remains the same..
      And last but not the least- LDR..Ok he is a bit of a coward at times..But honestly I get it..You become so attached to a person, especially when you have feelings for them that you get to a point where you honestly cannot imagine life without them..I know how sappy I sound and realistically speaking of course life moves on…It never stops because of someone BUT I mean lets face it, how many people can be realistic when they have deep feelings for someone..And i truly think that though LDR did like her, he just shut those feelings off in a corner because a) did’nt want to even imagine what it would be to completely lose YQ from his life b) its easier to deal with day to day life and both were so focused on their careers along with providing the emotional support to each other that their relationship just got into a comfort zone that no one watns to step out of..
      BUT now, both are 30 and she is seriously considering marriage and knwoing how she becomes when she likes a guy, she is willing to go the extra mile just so she can be married especially since everyone is on their case about it..
      Anyhow in conclusion, I understand why a lot of ppl including koala are annoyed by the characters but I feel a connection of sorts to both the characters..

  28. Everyone is entitled to her/his opinion and I respect your opinion. At least you gave an honest yet constructive criticism based from facts and not just an “emotional” tirade. Personally, I love ITWY and loving it more and more every episode.

    First of all, I agree with you that Ariel is doing a great job as You Qing. Second, I agree that You Qing’s character is flawed but I feel, the writer intended it to be that way. She is made to be arrogant,stubborn, self-absorbed, bossy, perfectionist & whinny yet capable, hardworking, loving & caring. And that’s the beauty of her character, you can hate her or you can love her. It makes her more real and may represent several insecurities & struggles of women. Part of the premise of this drama is a woman’s inner struggle when she reaches that magical age of 30. For some women, like myself, reaching 30 isn’t really a big deal but to other women, like You Qing, it is. But I can see that her problem is really not reaching 30 but the fact that she hasn’t found happiness. And why, maybe a lot of it has to do with her attitude and basically going back to her overbearing character. It’s the inner struggle & flaws of her character that makes You Qing so real. We can hate her, because women her age shouldn’t act like her but we can also love her because, in one point in our life, we can relate to her.

    You Qing & Da ren’s personality is shaped by the their family environment. Da ren, growing up with an arrogant & assertive mother & sister, had taken the role of pacifier & mediator. Thus, making him less assertive and unable to voice out his feelings because he’s overpowered by the women around him. You Qing on the other hand, being the youngest of three children had to assert herself and prove her worth. And didn’t her mother mentioned in the first episode that even when she was a child, You Qing was already a handful & speaks her mind. Actually, both You Qing & Da ren have their own flaws. It’s just that, in the case of You Qing, it is more glaring & evident that it irritates and affects us. That’s why it’s so easy to hate her character. While for Da ren, I think being “too nice” can also be a flaw but since we love his character, we can bear with that flaw & in fact, it endears his character to the viewers.

    Well, to each his own. It’s a not a matter of convincing others to like the drama but more of the personal experience from watching ITWY. And so far, I’m loving the experience. One of the best Tdrama in recent years. 🙂

    • Yes, I do also agree that You Qing’s character is flawed and that the writer intended it to be that way, that’s why at the end of each episode we see her changing to improve herself, to be a better person.

      Although each episode has its angst and frustration, there’s also has a little sweetness between the leads which makes it totally enjoyable. I applaud the acting skills of Wilson and Ariel, they make the characters of Da Ren and You Qing come alive, the dialogues in this drama is so meaningful and touching. It certainly has to be one of the best TDrama in recent years ☺

  29. I haven’t been able to read all the comments yet but here’s my 2 cents.

    Mz Koala – I agree that YQ is a haughty and self-righteous b**ch sometimes, but I also think she is very understanding and level-headed at other times. It’s inconsistent, but I think that’s what makes it realistic. She has her moods and she goes with them. Sometimes she just feels like she’s better than others and sometimes she feels down in the dumps. It happens. I agree though, that she has not matured much since high school and she still expects DR to drop all for her and when he doesn’t, she needs to ‘reconsider’ his friendship or whatever. One scene that really irked me was the one when DR called during her crazy shoe sale and she just hung up on him because she was too busy and you don’t see him upset, just kind of sad. Then a day later, she calls him when he’s got some crazy crisis going on and he does the same to her, but she reacts more harshly to it instead of thinking ‘oh, I’ve done this to him too”.

    The whole argument about the YQ/DR trip though… I have to say I’m on YQ’s side. I get that Maggie is DR’s girlfriend (of what, 2 weeks?) and all, but this was still a trip for YQ and DR. I guess I should be blaming DR more since he should have manned up and either told Maggie no or at least given YQ a heads up. Having Maggie surprise YQ is unfair to YQ who had expected to just have a relaxing trip with her best friend, not to have to cater to Maggie’s childish antics. I think with the way the situation ended up, YQ

  30. I honestly don’t think that ITWY is trying to force feed the audience that You Qing is right, commendable & strong. On the contrary, I felt that it was pointing out exactly the reasons why You Qing hasn’t found her true happiness, mainly because of her flaws– her insecurities, being hypocritical (not practicing what she preach), stubborn, arrogant and self-centered. I disliked her a lot of times because it’s basically her personality that’s preventing her from finding happiness. But I don’t feel like the drama is forcing me to put her on a pedestal & adore her. In fact I want her to realize for herself where she’s gone wrong, why is she so confused & unhappy.

    • yessssss… exactly.

      I’m rooting for her because she is so flawed. that’s what makes her so real to me. nothing is really black and white – it’s all gray. her personality, her relationships, etc. She still has a lot of growing up to do and that’s what I’m hoping will happen in the next few episodes.

    • Cottontwyst I totally agree with you, YQ is the type of character that either you love or hate from the very beginning. She is not the typical heroine where she is love by many and so good it makes my teeth ache, I mean the sacrificial lamb is not doing it for me anymore. YQ on the other hand is the total oppesite and I love that about her.

      Ariel acting is just impressive she totally owns YQ, yet she brings that softness and vulnerability when is needed it.
      Bolin Chen is hitting it out of the park too, his chemistry with Ariel is awesome so natural that you wonder if both them are bff behind scenes.

      My theory behind why we love and hate DR character is that the writers has writen Li Da Ren as a second lead. The second lead who is awesome but at the end he never gets the girl cause he too slow to confess. Hence we in pin in needles waiting for the moment when he finally gets his confession across.

      • Honestly, the feeling of “hate” for You Qing’s character is more of dislike & frustration. She’s one confused woman! Tough on the exterior but vulnerable inside. Confident yet so insecure. Mature but childish in so many ways. Competent with work but becomes stupid with love (haven’t we, in some point in our life). She’s just too proud. Her brother even pointed out that it’s hard to love women like You Qing. Her family members, co-workers & even Da ren are aware of her “attitude”. Da ren, in the 1st episode pointed out to her that nobody’s perfect but obviously she misunderstood Da ren. In her desire to be perfect, she just turns out to be more flawed. Hehehe!!! Watching her at times, makes me so confused too & very frustrated. Lol! But I understand her struggles. Actually, if not for her “crazy” personality, maybe she’s already married to Da ren with kids. But that will be a totally different drama. 🙂

  31. This got to be my drama of the year. I get why people are annoyed with You Qing character.Yes she can be annoying at times, and that make her so real and thats what i am drawn to. Let me share my experience as an Asian women who is about to turn 3O. Well! most of my friends are married or about to married by now. And i am single. I dread going to my hometown…..Yap, the whole thing that You Qing experience about marriage or question about marriage to be precise is real. I identify with her character so much. Trust me its not the best place to be.

    What i love about her character is how flawed she is. I hate to admit but i see bit of me in You Qing. Insecure, self-absorb ( i can be sometime)……. And i am not even successful as her.

    As for Li Da Ren. I love Bolin Chen. I want him to get the girl but i am getting little annoyed with his pace.I am just hoping he man up in the next episode. Honestly at the moment towards Li Da Wei. Can’t help….he’s hot.

    • Oh yes, not to stereotype, but what is it with Asian culture that being 30 makes you feel so old? People asking you why you haven’t gotten married yet. Fortunately when I was 30, I wasn’t stuck on that notion & didn’t feel the urgency to get married. Lol 🙂

    • Emeldy, for a girl like me who just hit the big 3-0 and single YQ speaks to me in very deep emotional level. That why I love this show.

    • You’re incredibly honest Emeldy to admit to seeing yourself in You Qing. I think she’s more like most modern women than we would like to admit. I certainly relate to her. You Qing is not an ugly soul. She’s not a bitch either. She’s actually a very realistic portrayal of the modern 30ish working woman who is looking for love, fulfillment and happiness in life. We always want heroines we can look up to, but sometimes what we get is a mirror.

      One of the things that struck me is that people think that at 30, You Qing is too old to be acting as she is, but I laugh at that. Maturity has very little to do with age. People mature based on a combination of their experiences and their innate personality. Age ain’t nothing, but a number. ‘Protect the Boss’ should’ve remind us of that earlier this year :). Most people at 30 aren’t any more sure about life, who they should be and how they should act than they were at 20. We just learn to put up a better front.

      • “Most people at 30 aren’t any more sure about life, who they should be and how they should act than they were at 20. We just learn to put up a better front.”

        amen to that! I’m going to be 31 in a few months and in all honesty, I am not anywhere closer to knowing who I should be than I was 5 years ago. I guess I just know what I DON’T want to be lol. that’s the beauty of trial and error haha. I count myself lucky though, that my immediate family at least is not pressuring me over the marriage issue. Any aunties and uncles I encounter along the way though, different story.

        As incredibly flawed as YQ is, that’s what makes her character speak more to me. She gets mad, gets sad, cries, lashes out unfairly, freaks out over her douchebag [hot] ex, is not as appreciative of her bff as she should be… it’s just all so real to me. She does not have a heart of gold that forgives all manners of atrocities, but instead feels like a normal living breathing woman who just can’t quite get over parts of her past.

        Now if Show really was going for ‘realism’, she’ll probably end up with douchebag instead of bff. Let’ s hope Show reigns in the realism at that point and gets our OTPs together instead…. i still need my happy ending lol 😀

  32. *crap – accidentally posted before i could finish!!*

    couldn’t say no to Maggie without seeming like she wanted to get her hands on DR, but also couldn’t just back out of the trip. YQ has her pride and I think that is one thing she holds onto for dear life. Basically, the catastrophe of a trip was DR’s fault for not communicating!! I think YQ not ripping into Maggie’s annoyingness is probably better than I could have done. Maybe I’m just not as evolved as some others are…

    I have to say though… I can relate to YQ on some level – her mood swings, her immaturity, her unwillingness to let DR go. She’s confused to the max. DR is unconditionally there for her but he has never clearly told her how he’s felt after 15 years…not that she’s really given him much of a chance to either. She’s scared out of her mind to lose the stability of their friendship – I get that. What I really really don’t like though… is the double standard that she holds him to. He needs to drop everything for her, but she cannot be bothered to do the same. I’m not saying she doesn’t care a lot about DR, but as of now, it’s clear that he is way more invested in their relationship than she is.

    I need to see a reversal in priorities for them.. I need to see YQ sacrifice something big for DR at this point. DR really is the only one who can put up with all of YQ’s craziness and I think YQ is the only one who can really make DR happy, though I’m not sure why ha. I don’t doubt they belong together, because they really do understand each other better than anyone else does. It’s just that I need to see DR find his balls and tell her already… and I need YQ to take off her blinders and work as hard on maintaining their relationship as he does.

    ok that is all. I’m still totally loving this drama, but yes, it does frustrate me at times. Mostly just cuz I want them to get together already.

    Oh and though Ding Li Wei is a grade A douchebag, i’m a sucker for ink and think his sleeves are hot. damn me and liking the bad boy when i know it’s bad for me. it’s all a downward spiral y’alls.

    • Oh if I may, Ding Li Wei a Grade A Douchebag? You have a point if it means sleeping with someone else other than his GF/YQ. But after five years of repentance (and the oooozinggg sex appeal) I’d say he has hope. On the other hand, LDR who knowingly love her BFF for 14-15 years but not do anything about it instead create situations where his GF & BFF had to fight for his attention and show their bitchin behaviour – is to me also a douchebag! The question is who is the worst douchebag.. . . . . The reformed one or the spineless one? just a thought . . . .lols

      • At this point I’ve only watched up to half of episode 7 so i know pretty little about the Ding Li Wei situation except that he cheated on her 5 years ago and now he’s back and is essentially stalking her to get her back. Any other information revealed beyond that I don’t know yet… So as of now, he’s a grade a douchebag to me.

        As for LDR – I don’t see him as a douchebag, just more as a coward. Yes, he perpetuated the Maggie situation into way more than it ever should have been. He tried to break it off, but as we all know, LDR’s communication skills are not exactly up to par and he’s non-confrontational about everything, so then the inevitable breakup just lingered.

        I really hope that there are redeeming characteristics to DLW’s character and/or situation that make me see him as an actual contender for YQ… cuz right now, as spineless as LDR is, I still see him as the only real OTP with YQ.

      • Thanks for the reply but please don’t take me seriously on the DLW issue – a douchebag is a douchebag! I’m just saying I’m giving him a chance because he is awfully hot and a bit challenging (not really expecting any redeeming qualities as he is written in the story as such). Of course we know where YQ will end up with eventually – with the good guy. We just need him infused in the story to spice it up a bit, otherwise no matter how good the lines are we would have been bored to death by now.

        On hindsight, what to do? I’m just a sucker for bad guys! lols.

      • HA! you don’t need to tell me about being a sucker for bad boys… no joke, the second i saw DLW’s ink i was swooning. i know some people dislike tattoos but i can’t help but be drawn to them and sometimes, unfortunately, the guy lol.

        as douchey as DLW is, i can see how YQ is drawn back to him. i mean right now, he’s the only one aggressively (and i mean AGGRESSIVELY) pursuing her…what’s a girl to do!?

        cmoooon LDR..step it up already~!!!

      • Exactly my thoughts!

        I mean for LDR to step up ,

        And that bad boy is realy really baddddd…. I am usually turned off by the sight of ink on skin but this LDW just got me. . . And the way he seduced YQ with his “ice melting look” oh mama . . . . And I call myself conservative – – – in my dreams.

      • haha i read recaps of episodes 7 and 8 cuz i just couldn’t wait to see what was going on and i just haven’t had the time to watch the episodes after work lately. and there is nothing redeeming about DLW so far haha.. i was *hoping* he would not be so much of an a**hat, but he is super duper controlling!! … dammit why does he have to be so hot though. excited to watch the actual episodes soon!! 🙂

      • It seems the story is now moving to the direction we wanted (LDR- is breaking away from the non-existent dormat of a lover) but still working on it. The problem with YQ is she is so stubborn and one track minded that she needs the controlling DLW to “manage” her temper.

        It’s getting interesting between our OTP, you need to watch now if you haven’t done so.

  33. Can i just say, this got to be the most “civilized” discussion i have come across. We all agree to disagree, which is such a rare case. Love reading all the comments. Thanks Koala for the post.

      • LOL I agree too…I love reading people point of views and ideas. This is a great discussion topic.

    • That’s because Ariel’s fandom is one of the most civilized, cool headed, intelligent group of people I have ever encountered on the Internet.

      I agree and disagree with your whole post, Koala. Interesting point of views, some similar to mine. I’m not addicted to this drama or anything, the plot is a let down, but it’s pretty to look at even if I don’t feel connected to its characters in any way. And Ariel Lin’s whole on screen charisma helps me get through this drama. Bo Lin, I’m afraid, is quite a typecast actor and his versatility is limited. With all its faults, ITWY has carved a niche in Taiwanese dramas making, a ground breaker in terms of story telling, character’s originality and cinematography.

  34. I love this long and thoughtful entry. You are definitely not the only one who thinks in this way. Mookiehuyn over at lj made the same exact comments as you, although in a bit more ranty way ^^ (http://mookiehyun.livejournal.com/49015.html#cutid1).

    I haven’t watched anything past the 1st episode but aside from YC’s attitude what pissed me off was how artificial the friendship seemed. I can handle “unrealistic” or “idealistic” but not artificial.

  35. I kind of understand how you feel, but I like YQ and LDR’s characters, I like that they are so serverely flawed and because of it, I find them very relatable. Even at 30, YQ is still at her immature 16 self, and LDR his passive self. The people in my life and myself included are still our flawed self even at 30. All people are somehow flawed, some more than others. Some people will “grow” over time in some degree, however some “flawed” traits will be with you until death. Despite YQ flaws, LDR loves her.
    I’ve just returned from a wedding, and asked the bride how she felt about the groom. It’s hard for she to accept his faults but despite of them, she is willing to take a leap if faith. In real life peole may never change, however they will still have loved ones and life will continue. I like that this series creates such “flawed” characters, even if by episode 13, YQ is still her 16 self I will accept it because why must there be character development to be considered a good story.

  36. It’s been a while since I’ve encountered a drama that really goes the extra mile to have such nice, complex characters. We’d all love for everything to be a little simplified, but to be human is to be hypocritical and unpredictable. I feel like she continues to grow as she reconciles with the fact that she’s aging every time I see the little maturation lessons at the beginning and end of episodes. It’s nice to have a main character who progresses and learns–we don’t usually see a lot of that.

    I can really relate to YQ, and maybe that’s why I can’t dislike her. I see a bit of myself in her, so all of her contradicting actions are actually quite reasonable. In almost every situation I feel like I would have done the same thing, and that amazes me–that a character from a drama captures human behavior so well. Haha maybe that makes me a dislikable person, but I can at least vouch that this drama is realistic and honest.

  37. TVs are dramas, everything is just slightly overexaggerated. This one is already very toned down from the wacky setups in other dramas.

    For YQ, she reminds me of that in every situation, there’s always a girl in the class where she’s a big bitch with a nice boyfriend. it makes me think, should i have been bitchier just to have a more passive aggressive personality to attract someone to cater to my every whim and inconsiderations? It makes no sense, but those couples are still together and living happily. No fair and no sense.

    I agree with your comments. Lol, and funny to read, because those thoughts ran through my head in the first ep when she stood him up on the birthday dinner and he did not have ONE squalm about it. i was like YQ, you’re walking all over this guy. and DR, being stood up for possibly like at least 2 hours, i would at least call and ask why. nop. IRL, after i am a perpetually late, my guy bff would literally keep track of how many minutes i kept him waiting and tally up to a few hours or sth, then i’d have to buy him dinner to make up for it. Friendships are about give and take. YQ take take take… i hardly see her ever give back.

    After about the 3 eps, i realised no matter how real the show tries to be, it’s a tw drama. there must be idolizing going on with lots of sacrificing. Ariel’s acting is top notch, DR just have to act very patient all the time and only smile broadly with teeth showing when he sees Ariel. not hard. Just enjoy the story being unfold without the wackiness. hence, the show is worth seeing. the happy moments are so subtle and endearing. Again, ignore any inconsistencies for self enjoyment, similar to SG.

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