Koala Watches Crap C-drama Edition: Sealed with a Kiss and Fall in Love

This may be a one-off post, perhaps an ongoing series, or maybe once in a blue moon when I’m drunk and bitter. Recently I’ve been quietly watching some dramas that aren’t just bad (and stupid), it’s unbelievably so much so that I can’t even call it a guilty pleasure drama. I ended up watching these dramas for a variety of reasons, but the bottom line is that as I am watching I keep shaking my head at what I am seeing yet I found it almost impossible to stop. Of course I managed to stop (otherwise I might have perished from the brain numbing effect of it all), so I’m here to share some of what I’ve seen so maybe you don’t need to watch it. Or maybe it will make you so curious you’ll run off to watch it immediately.

My verdict in a nutshell is that these two dramas are so bad it’s funny, and sometimes we all need a good laugh here and there. This post will discuss two C-dramas in particular: the recently aired Sealed with a Kiss (Hawick Lau and Ying Er) and Fall in Love (Hans Zhang and Kiton Jiang), the remake of Autumn in My Heart. If you asked me to blurb about both of them, it’d go something like this: SwaK is so batshit insane and sickening I can’t believe it even exists, and FiL is so dumb and horrifically acted I worried my brain was going to lose it’s functionality soon if I didn’t stop watching.

SwaK is a modern C-drama adapted from a popular novel of the same name, which would lead one to think it ought to have some merit and be well constructed. Alas, that is not so. The SwaK story itself is beyond the pale in terms of how godawful it is, but couple it would some shoddy directing and a female lead that looks like she took a few extra turns to the buffet table (and can’t act), this drama becomes utterly horrendous. So why did I keep watching? Because the story was so gross I was rubbernecking for a few episodes, and because male lead Hawick Lau was just brilliant and completely riveting to watch. Even if he played a sociopath.

Let’s me explain the story and you judge for yourself. Male lead (not anywhere near a hero) finds himself in dire straits. His daddy is dead and ruined because of a betrayal by a business partner, so he ends up selling himself in marriage to a rich daughter of a financier who loves him. The marriage is a sham, but he’s bitter and hardened by his lot in life. He ends up at a restaurant regularly just to get away, and meets a sweet and warm young waitress that perhaps pierces through his coldness and makes him feel a smidge of hope again. He tries to pursue her, but she’s innocent and upstanding and not interested.

He has her investigated only to discover she is the daughter of the man responsible for betraying his father and causing the entire collapse of his world. He decides to kill two birds with one stone and blackmail our intrepid leading lady into becoming his mistress by threatening to turn her uncle into the authorities for embezzling funds. The blackmail occurs in the form of calling her to his beachside loveshack and giving her three seconds to undress right then and there. Wow, what a wonderful man he is. Girl cries but complies to save her useless uncle and his entire family. Girl is stupid and has a martyr complex.

The drama starts off with girl being guy’s reluctant sex slave/mistress/torment victim for the past two years. She lives in his other house under tight surveillance, and guy enjoys following her in his time off to see if she does something he has forbidden. When she does displease him, he mentally and emotionally tortures her, and then forces her to sleep with him. I AM NOT MAKING THIS SHIT UP. Of course, we are led to believe that he has fallen in love with her in the two years he’s been with her, so it’s a combination of residual hatred of her father and his jealously over her not loving him which makes him mistreat her. Oh, that makes everything just peachy.

I watched about 10 episodes of this nightmare of a drama before calling it quits. I cannot fathom what else could happen that would be worth watching. Since guy’s wife is also insanely in love with him and wanting him to make their marriage a reality rather than on paper, I’m sure once she finds out guy has a girl toy on the side he’s in love with, psycho wife will start tormenting heroine as well. Yay, she gets more mistreatment. This drama reminded me of those sick romance novels from the 70s where the heroine would fall in love with her rapist since heroine rationalized he only abducted her and raped her because he was in luuuurve with her. Yes, people actually wrote crap like this and I once read it. I wish I could scrub the memory from my brain. What’s sadder is discovering novels like this is still being written today, and turned into dramas.

Anyways, this drama is sick and dirty and makes me want to scrub my eyes, but damn it Hawick was so sexy and controlled as the sociopathic male lead. He made the revolting male lead non-revolting because he managed to perfectly convey the douchebag’s internal conflicts and tormented psyche. I only wish his leading lady Ying Er had half his acting chops, and perhaps didn’t look like she was 6 months pregnant. I don’t have a problem with chubby leading ladies, but Ying Er appeared to have suddenly ballooned from her last drama to this one, leaving me floored by how godawful she looked. Didn’t help that her wardrobe was something purchased from the local swapmeet by a blind stylist. So in closing, if anyone is feeling a sadistic streak coming on, this is the perfect drama for you.

I’ve made no secret that Autumn in My Heart with Song Seung Heon and Song Hye Kyo is one of my guilty pleasure K-dramas. It’s terrible, but I’m inexplicably drawn to the original granddaddy of fauxcest dramas. Probably also because I adore my Heon oppa. But otherwise it’s just plodding and kinda icky in concept. It’s not a drama I think any other country should ever remake, but China does whatever it wants these days. AiMH was remade earlier this year into the drama titled Fall in Love (Chinese title translates as Accidentally Falling in Love with You, which is just LOL) with rising heartthrob Hans Zhang and newbie actress Kiton Jiang (Jiang Qi Tong). I don’t know what prompted me to watch this drama recently, but suffice to say once I started I couldn’t stop. I ending up laughing so hard I almost gave myself a hernia.

For those of you who have never watched AiMH, the story involves a pair of brother-sister siblings who discover when they are in junior high that they are not blood related. Sister was accidentally switched at birth with another newborn. Parents decide to switch the girls back, and then the rich family takes brother and their real daughter to America to start over. Fake sister joins her real family which is butt poor and proceeds to struggle with getting an education and a job. Ten years later, brother returns to look for sister, and immediately it’s clear these two have more than sibling affection for each other. Too bad brother is engaged to a clingy classmate, while sister starts being pursued by a playboy friend of brother’s. Eventually they say “screw morality” and decide to be together, only to get derailed by clingy fiancee using a failed suicide to keep brother guiltily tied to her, and sister randomly having her shitty life get even shittier by coming down with hereditary leukemia. Oh Korea, only you can come up with this.

So the C-version takes the basic set up and does some nifty updates to it. Mostly of which fail miserably, likely because nothing could possibly make this story any more palatable a decade later. FiL has the same adult actors play the teenage versions of brother-sister (in AiMH, it was Moon Geun Young who so famously sold the role of teenage sister), and raise their ages to high school by the time they are separated. Which of course ups the “OMG so gross” factor by a billion, since it’s clear brother likes sister in a non-sibling way even before they figure out the birth switch. What was alluded to in AiMH becomes the pink elephant in the room in FiL, and is so ewwwww even I couldn’t ignore it.

FiL also has the teenage portions interspersed through the drama as opposed to getting it out of the way in the first episode or so like AiMH. In the hands of a better director and editor, this would have been fine, but in FiL it was just a big ole mess. Scenes were cut randomly and without a sense of flow and rhythm, making the entire drama feel painfully choppy. It becomes a series of scenes rather than a narrative. I hated it. FiL was a shining example of C-drama’s failure in post-production that dog so many of its dramas.

Beyond those failures, the acting in FiL was sadly across-the-board dreadful. Hans had two moods (and expressions) – pensive and controlled happiness, but he was so insanely adorable that I pretty watched this drama for him. Even with his limited acting repertoire, his looks pretty much won over the shallow side of me. Sadly, his co-star didn’t even have that to fall back on. Kiton is not anywhere near pretty enough she can coast on her looks alone (that would be Crystal Liu‘s forte), but her acting is just miserably soggy. She’s like a Jang Nara lite in the way she tries to act cutesy and perky, and then her character turns on a dime and becomes morose and plodding. But all Kiton can do is scrunch her face in an attempt to convey emotion, and thus fail miserably. Plus she has zero chemistry with Hans (and vice-versa), turning the OTP in this drama into both icky and lukewarm.

Lucky for Hans and Kiton, they are both upstaged by the man many consider quite possibly the heir to Keanu Reeves and the worst actor in Korea. That would be Dennis Oh, this time playing the role of a rich playboy in love with sister. It was a role made famous by Won Bin in AiMH. but here Dennis makes it a ridiculous caricature. First off, he speaks all his lines in English, so I spent every scene he was in reading his lips to figure out what dialogue he was speaking when he was acting. That was a game I played to try and see if he had any gravitas if he wasn’t dubbed. Sadly, the answer is no. Secondly, his attempt at “emoting” was so laughable to behold. Dennis had just one expression – slightly befuddled squinty-eyed intensity. But he appeared to be the only one who seemed to realize what a hot mess of a drama he was in, and how stupid the story was, so sometimes I caught a glimpse or two where he looked like he was in on the joke. For that, I applaud thee, Dennis. It takes great fortitude not to burst out laughing saying some of the lines you were saddled with.

All in all, I’m not ashamed to admit I watched 20-some episodes of Fil solely for Hans alone. I can’t help it, he’s crazy good looking that I felt my hormones propelling my hand to click on another episode. After watching FiL, I can confirm that Hans is definitely a baby Huang Xiaoming, except less smarmy. I am so onboard with that. Though I did laugh through most of FiL, so that was entertaining enough. Every once in awhile, I’ll feel like eating something pretty gross and bad for me, like a McRib sandwich or a Cinnabon, and that’s what it was like to watch SawK and FiL. Don’t let me stop anyone from watching (or loving) either or both of these dramas. Just do whatever makes you happy. After watching SawK, I went and took a very long hot shower and tried to scrub the nasty off me. For FiL, I ended up watching an episode of Conspiracy in the Court to re-active my brain cells and higher discernment of good dramas.


Koala Watches Crap C-drama Edition: Sealed with a Kiss and Fall in Love — 77 Comments

  1. haha.. ever try to watch lakorn (thai dramas) koala? Those are MY guilty pleasure which sadly have rape scenes in almost every title. Luckily it has lessen a bit nowadays and more “willing” scenes are put in 😉 Can’t stop watching though, their storylines are quite good actually imho 😉

    • I was thinking the exact same thing as I was reading about the rape scene. so many lakorns make rape scene into something that is very okay. and the girl usually ends up falling in love with the rapist. sadly.

      • They definitely didn’t really condone main guy’s mistreatment of the girl in this drama. It’s left open to interpretation whether she loves him at the end. He also lost his fortune, gave up his revenge plan, and would probably spent a few days in jail too. So, nope! SWAK definitely not promoting rape=love.

    • Thinking the same thing. Thai lakorns have many dramas where male lead rape or molest the female lead then they fall in love. Who lives in a sane/real world would fall in love to a rapist (good looking or not)–lol only in thai dramas. Just wondering if this kind of thing promotes rape/molesting ok to thailand

  2. OMG – that was the awful drama that my dad was watching when I took the kiddos to visit upstate. I had no idea what the title was but i can recognize it from the stills and the vague storyline. The fact that you could sit through it, I give you props. 🙂

    I myself have sat through some horribly awful dramas (*cough* Paradise Ranch *cough* and a bunch of other TW & K dramas)… but strangely still addicted and enjoyed them. But there are some that are just too awful for even me and I have to quit watching.

  3. I just finished SWAK… Yup I actually finished it!! It was actually pretty addictive after you get over the ridiculous plot and yes Hawick was really good.

    I read the novel first because I wanted to see what the fuss was all about… Man, if you want true craziness, read the novel! The drama version made Hawick’s character infinitely more likable and is ten times more tame LOL…

    Worth watching? IMO its ok, mainly because of the good acting on Hawick’s part, the directing, and the scenery… Actually everyone in the drama has acting chops minus Ying’er, but you have to mentally prepare yourself for the crazy plot first LOL…

    • Hawick’s character in the novel is 10 times worse. o___O Jesus, who the hell wrote that novel? The Chinese equivalent of Lars Von Trier?

      • Muahahahaha!!! I know!!! Having read the novel, which I wasn’t a fan of, I liked the drama much better LOL… The only guy I liked in the novel and the drama was Zhen Fei, who is literally the only normal guy in there…

        It was still entertaining after I read the novel… I can see it being a shock for someone who didn’t have the novel for comparison…

        Interestingly, the author is has penned many stories that were made into dramas such as “The Girl in Blue” starring Roy Qiu and Joe Chen and “Too Late to Say I Love You” starring Wallace Ching… Obviously the author is talented, just don’t know what she was thinking with this story…

    • Maybe it’s like Lolita, maybe the author wanted you to like that main male character in such a convoluted way. Or probably not.

  4. The last time I heard or saw anything about Harwick aeons ago was when he was still doing mostly TVB dramas. So when I heard about the new drama he was in and that it was based on a popular novel, I was game to give it a go especially when I had just finished BBJX and was looking for another drama to sink my teeth into. I had the mistaken notion that since SWaK is based on a popular novel (& BBJX being based on a popular novel too & what a successful show it was!), it couldn’t be all that bad. Wrong!. Watched the teaser, totally put off by all the lead characters, although Harwick was really riveting and charismatic as the psychopathic male lead. THen I thought I would check out the novel & if the storyline was worth it, might give the drama another go. But boy! Like you said, I really hate this kind of romance stories. So sadly Harwick boy, you jumped onto the wrong ship. But undeniably, just from the few shots of trailer, I was instantly captivated by his performance.

  5. As someone learning Mandarin and who loved BBJX I really want to watch another C drama… but I have no idea where to begin…

    So does anyone have any GOOD C dramas which I could watch? Because while I’ve watched some embaressingly bad stuff… those dramas just sound insane….


    • If you want easier to understand fare that is not as intense wuxia, I’d suggest Legend of the Condor Heroes 2008. I hate the deviations from the novel, but the characters and actors will keep you engrossed despite some of the terrible things they did to the plot. It’s what I refer to as Jin Yong lite. I’d recc the 03 adaptation, but it’s more traditional and might not be to the taste of some of the younger people nowadays. Odd because I’m really young myself haha.

  6. Puhaha! So I guess makjang exists everywhere in the world. Is Hans Zhang the actor from the Chinese remake of Hana Yori Dango. He looks familiar (and did I just blow my cover that I watched the first episode of Meteor Shower?). Oops.

    • That is the same actor. I watch half of each show. I ended up hating Fall in Love and Meteor was decent, but I’ve never liked the second half of any Hana Yori Dango. Fall in Love was probably the first drama that I quit. I didn’t like any of the characters and the main pair were so disgusting that it just made it worse. Only later did I find out it was a remake of Autumn in My Heart when I watched the first episode. It dragged back all those horrible memories of this drama though and even though Autumn in my Heart looks better I couldn’t stomach the thought of watching it.

    • Haha, you watched an episode of Meteor Shower? Dang, I would’ve never guessed. You have more fortitude than me. I still loathe the HanaDan story so I’ve decided to just end my journey with BoF and go no further.

      But yes, Hans is the Gu Jun Pyo of Meteor Shower. I now think he’s so cute he’s like cat nip to me. Is sad he can’t act.

      • Oh! You shouldn’t if you haven’t watched the Jdrama Hana Yori Dango. Actually, I completely agree with you on your opinion of Meteor Garden and BoF. Even the original manga is horrendous…. but somehow, in that well-executed, well-acted drama, it became so addicting.

        If, however, you’ve seen HanaDan, I agree, cut off your journey right there.

    • Hans Zhang was also in Hearty Paws 2 with Song Joong Ki…that movie was riddled with so much cute, I dont think I paid any attention to the plot what so ever

  7. hahaha! I laughed so much while reading this! I can imagine the exasperation in your writing! This actually helps a lot while going through the list of asian dramas and choosing what to watch.

    I don’t want to torture you or hope you have to encounter more horrid dramas but we’d love to hear more about them if you do get to watch some 😀

  8. I’d like to excuse myself from watching this crap, really, I would, but for many years now, I’ve been the main reviewer of Asian movies and television on a writer’s forum. I’ve watched more crap than I care to think about, and mostly, Thai and Mainland C-dramas take the brunt of my “please let the society advance beyond this thinking/writing” anger.

    I hate that the social medium of entertainment provides such CONSISTENT degradation and exploitation of women in these cultures. I review on, however, looking for signs that there’s a change in the tide, hoping that more humane and loving concepts creep or stampeded into the culture. I dislike reviewing all materials from countries steeped in censorship, and therefore, even sometimes with South Korean dramas, I am not thrilled at all.

    There’s so much bootlegged material gotten into these countries, surely by now the women know they shouldn’t be manhandled, mistreated, and objectified as just another piece of property … and yet, without an infrastructure that supports consistent social change, we will continue to have this type of “entertainment” spewed out onto their screens.

    I know the changes are there, I’ve seen them over the course of the last 4-1/2 years as a reviewer. But it is slow, so grindingly, degradingly, slow.

    And SWAK and FIL are not even on my EWWW gross I want to vomit meter, they are two of the “better” dramas. Sometime, I should start my own blog and rant until I’m exhausted about each and every degrading, demoralizing, exploitive second of every Mainland drama, lokorn, T-drama, J-drama, K-drama, and even American (GASP! say it isn’t so) drama ….. I just don’t have enough lifetimes.

  9. I watched 3 eps of SwaK in absolute shock of how shitty everything is. I have a hard time figuring out it’s 2011 coz the stuff they wore can be crappy flea market finds for 1911, sets r passably crude if we r talking about the original ShangHai Bund. Hawick is still in my perpetually constipated bunch of thespians. I’ve seen a few eps each of his rise to fame, turn of century C periods, and his looks, charms and ‘acting chops’ missed hitting me on all counts.

    I haven’t read any of the books by 匪我思存, just hated every single one of the drama adaptations, the worst offense is The Girl in Blue so far. I can’t believe she’s as ‘revered’ or more as TongHua, but I’m about to try out her 寂寞空庭春欲晚 Lonely Court in Late Spring just because YH MAY play the Qing poet Nalan. Hawick is lead again, and the story seems rape-less.

    • I really liked Hawick in SwaK, but other than that, he’s been pretty blergh for me elsewhere as well. It’s sad, cuz Hawick got the looks but didn’t inherit daddy’s range. Aside from Kenneth Tsang, Lau Dan is my next fave HK elder actor.

      I’ve seen enough raping in SwaK to last me a good loooong time, thank you. It doesn’t even make sense, too! Even his mom was like “what century are you living in, punishing the daughter for the alleged sins of the father.”

      The writer of SwaK is just garbage. The Girl in Blue is equally dumb and pointless, hated the story and the drama adaptation (my Roy, so wasted!).

      I’ll definitely watch 寞空庭春欲晚 if our loverboy is in it. As much as I dislike Tang Yan (her VOICE, OMG, it can’t be just me that thinks she sounds like a chipmunk crossed with a 19th century peasant girl), imma watching that Ad drama just for our loverboy. But Raymond is looking……not my cup of tea.

      Hey twinnie, rank them in terms of looks vs acting for you:


      • U know I have strange picky taste in looks. :X

        I find Hawick’s face ok in passing, the more closeups I saw of him though, the more I’m put off, it’s my annoying PS spotting eye at work. I checked out SwaK solely because of all the raves of how surprisingly good he’s in it, but still I don’t see it other than swarmy, I may have to watch more of SwaK then?!?!?! But nah, not curious enough to offset the puking .

        Wallace is not eye catching at all for my eyes, but if I have the pick the most decent actor of the 3, it’s Wallace. I know hardcore C periods fangirls r kissing his feet as some equivalent of a Demigod in flesh, one of the Four Great Beauties ( the top one to boot in the group with the rest being the other Wallace, Yan Kuan and Qiao Zhen Yu (the new Chen JiaLuo), and again I’m the 0.001% thinking Wallace Chung’s face is the least attractive) And he has a resemblance to Tony Leung (or even prettier to his fangirls)?? I do agree to an extent he looks somewhat like a pudgy Tony in features but none of that screen presence nor a sniff of the talent (for one, most of the time during Royal Tramp, I forget he’s there on screen, he totally misinterprets LC’s young KX imo, he’s playing KX like a supporting token emperor, yes regal and collected but none of that naivete mixed with verve and shrewdness.) imo, he’s a very cautious actor, never a terrible misstep…but quite boring to watch. I’m dling his star making role, 逆水寒, I may be the only girl haven’t seen any of it except in slashy fanvids, so I may not be fair to Wallace.

        Raymond…a waste of silicon/plastic :X. I do think he’s serviceable an actor, maybe the exact same league of Hawick, and he’s better in movement/emoting than in stills (largely due to the failed and too numerous PS :X) But he’s the FUG-est of the 3.

        My prob with The Girl in Blue is, we can sense the novel itself may have some decent plots and character developments but NONE is translated on screen, and JoeChen’s perf there made me take back every nice word I’ve said of her.

      • Wait…I thought the female lead for 寂寞空庭春欲晚 is Tong Liya? Tang Yan is in it too? I know SWAK was psychotic and warped, and hard to swallow for the typical sensitive souls, but I thought the drama was enjoyable in terms of storytelling. Hawick is absolutely brilliant as the sadist and conniving Mo Shaoqian. I guess I’m a person full of paradox. I love watching Mo Shaoqian despite his sociopathy. Just like some people who are fascinated with Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter even when he’s just a cannibalistic monster. But if I’m unfortunate enough to meet a guy like Mo Shaoqian in real life, I’ll be running away like a crazy maniac and calling 911.

      • You are right, it’s Yaya in Lonely Court, but Koala was talking about TangRen in Ad Mania. And Twinnie, sadly it’s the EXACT same voice actress doing the VOICE (at least in the previews). There’s a slight chance her character is not her typecast and I’m holding DEARLY that thot.

      • If Tang Yan was dubbed, like in CP3, is she tolerable to you? I thought she was great as Zi Xuan, but couldn’t stand her real voice in Unbeatable II

      • @surelyshoe, sorry for being ignorant and this may be a very dumb Q, so ….it’s TR’s real voice in Unbeatable, Daughters and Waking up Love>?!!??!?!? 0_o I do like her ZiXuan, maybe my fav char in CP3

      • Nope, you only hear Tang Yan’s real voice in Unbeatable II… the other series are all dubbed…

      • You must have lived a very sheltered life or are very naive/ignorant! FYI, these things actually happened in real life! That’s the behavior of an abused woman–she’s so programmed and threatened by the abuser that she’ll have no choice but does and accepts the physical and mental abuses. I have met lots of women like that in my job. Without help, they usually will end up dead. Fortunately, domestic violence is a crime here now but there are still many women/young girls who could not get help until it’s too late.

        BTW, I think Ying Er is beautiful–she’s like a breath of fresh air! I know Asian viewers love that skinny, flat chested, anorexic look that are mistakenly perceived as beauty; but in my opinion, those females look like some young males dressed up in female clothes. On the other hand, I’ve to agree that the dressing department is to be blamed. The clothes that they dressed Ying Er are totally tasteless! And, you’ll be surprised how clothes can make a big difference.

    • @mookie no it is not tang yan’s real voice, where did you get that?
      i’ve seen several interviews and she has a voice like yang mi
      not too deep or high pitched

      @ockoala from your synopsis, sealed with a kiss sounds kinda like hot gimmick, a manga series where the guy is psycho and makes one of his classmates his “personal slave”

      i watched some of fall in love…i guess it’s not that Hans performance is bad, but like you said, how the story doesnt flow
      Hans is always cast in some new project, so i guess the production ppl find him ok
      hope SOP queen is good

      the girl in blue was so boring and draggy
      I really like feng shao feng (the male lead) opposite Roy
      but i think i’ll stick to his costume dramas from now on
      can’t wait for his new movie, 3 kingdoms

      i didn’t know there was another wallace
      at first, thought you were referring to wallace huo

      • fr @surelyshoe (and Koala)?

        So…..was she dubbed or not or to be specific (since I’m 100% the lines were dubbed) was she doing her own dubbing voice in Daughters, Waking up Love, Unbeatable?

        Koala was asking about what I think of the three HK actors who made it big in C dramaland. Wallace Chung has a cult following in periods and he has a slew of well loved wuxia characters under his belt. His upcoming Gulong’s classic Horizon, Bright Moon, Sabre with Baron Chen is sth a lot of peeps r looking forward to.

      • Hmmm, I think it’s her voice in the dubbing in Unbeatable then, if they toned down the cutesy silly lines she had to say in that shampoo commercial/drama, it would be better, but yes, the pitchy screech of line reading is a constant there.

        Honestly I can’t tell the diff of her speaking voice in Unbeatable with the rest of her modern dramas I’ve seen (I just watched 2 eps of Daughters…) I can only tell it’s definitely not live recorded audio in Waking up Love and Daughters, so I’m leaning towards maybe she’s doing her own dubbing?!?!?!?!
        Anyhow, from the preview of Ad Mania, it’s the same pitchy voice of either Miss Tang or her usual voice actress and it’s not pleasant to my ears, but it’ll be bearable IF her character is not written as a scatterbrain.

      • @mookie
        hmm…sometimes i can’t believe she’s the same girl from chinese paladin
        she did great there
        and her voice actress sounded good too
        don’t you think she has a beijing accent?

      • @mookie
        yea, the chinese netizens say its her voice in unbeatable
        have you seen sealed with a kiss
        is it really unwatchable?

      • @bubujinxinaddict

        MTE with TangYan. I don’t care for CP3 as a drama, but it’s not an offending PoS for me, I ff’d and watched her char mostly and by association her relationship with WallaceH and that’s the first drama I’ve seen her.
        Too bad she’s typecasted atm in playing the ‘naive’ girl1 and she amps up the OTT Cute and Squeals. She’s MUCH better as a femme fatale in a melo. Don’t touch Unbeatable unless u r a hardcore RoyQiu fan, he’s the only character with ok plots, the rest…is mind-numbingly painful.

        SwaK: I stopped at ep3 because I’m not even slightly intrigued by Hawick’s performance which is the ‘shining beacon’ per every opinion exc mine. I drop things when sth is peeving me, no matter how random/trivial. haha for SwaK, it’s how extremely crappy/cheapo everything looks: clothes, makeup, sets (and faces for ALL actors :X sorry for not being PC)… Is even more shallow when it comes to trashy guilty pleasure romance.

      • from the stills, i though iwak was set in the 1900’s or something…
        oh me too, i hate that she’s typecast as the cute kind
        i heard she won an award for a sad movie when she started out
        her interview suprised me. she seems mature.
        i’ve seen qi wei (who plays roy’s gf in unbeatable) way too much
        i couldnt stand her in 3 daughters, schemes of a beauty, or waking love up!

    • @mookie

      I’m fairly sure it’s her real voice in Unbeatable, but I know for sure that Waking Up Love and Daughters was dubbed. It’s true, I hate her typecast roles now. But thank goodness she’s going back to femme fatale in Xuan Yuan Jian with Hu Ge and Liu Shi Shi

  10. “male lead Hawick Lau was just brilliant and completely riveting to watch. Even if he played a sociopath.” haha I actually watched all of swak. Guilty pleasure. The plot was so wrong but I just couldnt stop. Having watched Hawick in his past dramas I say imo this is his best performance. Ever. What is it with hk/tw actors that go to the mainland and suddenly become better at acting? Ying’er/tong xue was the only problem in this drama. And despite the moral wrongness I like how it ended. This is one time I thank good for chinas broadcasting standards from turning it into a Thai lakorn

  11. I’ve seen AiMH. Which I admit that I sat through for the shallow prettiness that is SSH. And of course WON BIN! 🙂 To expect me to watch that story again, with Dennis O? Very probably the worst . actor. ever. Not gonna happen. Sorry but he takes cringe worthy to new heights.

    I did see a few episodes of SWaK. And It really did remind me of the awful romance novels of the late 70s/early 80s. I felt like I was in high school all over again. 🙂 Who knows, I may go back and finish sometime when I am in the mood for a trainwreck.:)

  12. Haha, I actually love Fall in Love and I’m not ashamed to say it.
    Even if most of the cast is terrible (especially Dennis Oh, oh god), even if its totally sappy and ridiculous, even if it directing is inconsistent and post-production is choppy, I still love it to bits and all because of the OTP. I don’t know but they totally appeal to me. I love the way they deny their feelings for each other and struggle because of it. I love how tender and romantic their relationship is. I love how they are not only bound by romantic feelings for each other but by “familial” connection. It’s just something that appeals to me on personal level.

    I know I don’t have to justify myself for liking it, but just want to put out some love for it out there ^_^

    Koala, you must feel that way about “Lie to Me”.

  13. By “she took a few extra turns to the buffet table” you mean she is chubby? If yes, what´s wrong with that?

    I have already read somewhere that those two pieces of art are bad on so many levels that I haven´t watched them.

    • Even though Ying’er isn’t marvelous in her acting, I actually prefer her chubby looks over the typical bony female leads. I actually like her baby fat. She may not be gorgeous nor good looking enough compared to other actresses (sometimes even awkward in certain angles), but she exhibits the fresh innocence that I find lacking in many actresses nowadays.

      • Good and observation and constructive comments! She’s still very young–give her time!

      • Sorry for the typo–what I meant is “good observation and constructive comments!”

        Again, I think Ying Er and Hawick Lau were awesome in the drama. Oh, how I wish there’ll be another series after the miniseries–one with a happy ending for the couple.

      • I know how bad her outfits and hairstyle are in the drama. I couldn’t stand it at first as well, but got desensitized later on. But I wouldn’t attack the actress personally for her bad looks in the drama like many Chinese netizens are doing. Ying’er actually looks okay in real life, at least in the interviews I saw. I blame the producers for bad management and costume designer for not doing the job correctly, not the actress. SWAK is a low-budget production, so apparently they cut off the expense on the costumes to save $$.

      • The drama actually said “this woman is beautiful therefore the main guy lust/fell in love/ whatever with her”? Did the script clearly spell out that main actress must be gorgeous and rail thin b/c god knows, that’s the only standard of beauty Asians can appreciate?

        I’m genuinely curious b/c the attack upon this actress’ look baffles and disgust me at the same time so I really want to know if there’s an actual reason here.

      • @Rossi: you’re right. The character is not supposed to be drop-dead gorgeous. She is only pleasantly attractive in a normal way according to the author. It’s her undying resistance to break down under intense pressure/oppressive lifestyle that makes her attractive to the main guy. Her physique was never even a big element in the attraction. On the other hand, the wife character is supposed to be the “beautiful goddess” in terms of good looks in the novel.

    • Ying Er was hideous in SwaK. It wasn’t just the weight gain, which just weirds me out because unless someone is pregnant or just off maternity, I can’t quite gather an actress putting on a good 30 lbs between two dramas. It was how her character “looked”, the entirely of her costumes and the way she portrayed her character.

      Ying Er played Princess Xiang Xiang in the ’09 version of Book Sword, that idiotic princess being one of Louis Cha’s three great beauties (the other two being Xiaolongnu in RoCH and Wang Yu Yan in Demi-Gods). She looked great back then, so I’m as flummoxed as anyone when and how she turned into a ahjumma overnight.

      This was the Ying Er I knew, but Ying Er in SwaK appeared to have eaten old Ying Er.

      And no, I don’t need my actresses stick thin, but if they are playing a beautiful woman, I need them to be, well, actually attractive onscreen. Ying Er was the opposite of that in SwaK, and she can’t act, so it was a double whammy of bad.

      • According to some interview, she was supposedly taking some diet pills to lose weight for SWAK, but then stopped cuz for some reasons…so her weight just multiplied. I bet if her outfits were better, her onscreen presence would have been much less of a eye sore for many people. That’s why I really blame the costume designer for this drama! It wasn’t just Ying’er costumes they messed up, the other characters’ outfits weren’t much better.

      • I know this is 2020 replying to a disgusting comment from 2011. I hope by now you have looked long in the mirror. Actors/actresses are people with bodies that change like all of us. This actress by your standard (which doesn’t matter) had weight gain. So what? And, by the story line, she did an excellent job.
        I just watched this drama. Excellent performances. Congratulations ??? to all.

  14. have watched SWAK because of the two leading TW actor and actress who played the lead actor father-in-law and mother. They’re such great actors in their own rights. Stumbled upon Hawick in this drama and find his acting quite good.Have not watched the entire drama but only the first 3 ep and the last 2 ep. :))))) just to know how it ends.

  15. I hate AIMH. So much that I still make fun of it even after .. how many years? So no.. I will not give FIL a try.

    Have you tried Endless Love (Lai Bu Ji Shuo Ai Ni, Wallace Chung and Li Xiao Ran) by the same author? It’s said to be really good and addicting.

    I do see the growing potential in C-drama’s. Mainland’s average production this year is around 15.000/20.000 episodes. Only 3000 will actually be aired on screen.. so the competition is enormous. It’s just that people tend to focus more on Hunan’s productions. There are a lot of other good productions outside Mango, such as Men’s Group (better known as Nan Ren Bang), which is another recent hit after BBJX. There are actually a lot of upcoming productions that I’m looking forward to..

  16. ” She lives in his other house under tight surveillance, and guy enjoys following her in his time off to see if she does something he has forbidden. When she does displease him, he mentally and emotionally tortures her, and then forces her to sleep with him. I AM NOT MAKING THIS SHIT UP.”

    O.O WTF? Jaw on the ground…

  17. was thinking, regarding SWAK, “omfg, you’ve got to be making this shit up!” and then you wrote “I AM NOT MAKING THIS SHIT UP” It really does sound like those old-school romance novels. But i think in those old-school romance novels, the heroine isn’t tortured like this for 2 years!

    And I remember Hawick Lau from his Virtues of Harmony days as the really nice, innocent eunuch. I don’t think i want to see him as this sort of evil character.

    I don’t get all these remakes of kdramas in China. A Wife’s Temptation, My Girl, and Autumn in My Heart. There is already a ton of talented people there.

  18. SWAK is really not your typical Chinese drama, so people may either absolutely hate it or love it. Despite its controversial storyline, reception in China seems to be generally positive, particularly regarding Hawick’s acting. He really does shine in this role.

    Well…if anyone is still not gross out by the SWAK storyline and want to read more about it and Hawick’s sociopathic character, Jolecole’s Station blog has some episode recaps and summaries.

  19. I didn’t watch the first drama and I’m simply judging from the caps that you’ve taken but the actress looks fine to me. And even if she doesn’t look fine, I’m still offended by this quote, “…but couple it would some shoddy directing and a female lead that looks like she took a few extra turns to the buffet table (and can’t act), this drama becomes utterly horrendous. ” I find it disgusting how you disparage the actress on such a shallow level. Plus to imply that her ability to act is only secondary to her role by putting that comment in a parentheses clearly shows what’s important for you in watching a drama.

    Then the snide comment about how the current version of this actress must have eaten her younger self is as bitchy as I’ve ever come across in a blog. Yes, I may have thin skin or too sensitive or perhaps I’m just a fat girl who’s touchy but to criticize someone like the way you did with this actress by saying how besides the plot/the execution being horrendous, it’s b/c of the way she looks that ruin this drama is just damn messed up. This is your blog so you can say what you want so I’m only here to point out that your opinion is shitty.

    • I find it amusing you have taken such an intense affront to what I wrote. I said Ying Er looked hideous IN SwaK, not that she was ugly or fat in real life. I didn’t disparage her personally. In critiquing a drama, it’s appropriate to call out a character being written/described one way and the actress being so wrong for the role it is detrimental to the drama. Aside from the bad story and execution, Ying Er was very unattractive in the drama from the combination of her putting one quite a lot of weight AND being styled terribly by the costume designer. If she were skinny then the ugly outfits would have been less distracting. It’s a sad but true reality that skinny girls can get away with wearing what a chubbier girl can’t quite pull off. And I hesitate to censor myself simply because my opinions are non-PC. Ying Er is still very pretty even if she gained weight, but a combination of factors led to her looking very bad in the drama. I’m not sure why my opinion would be shitty. A miscast actor can absolutely ruin a drama, and miscast can range from acting ability to looks.

      • Well…not sure if this will make Ying’er character any better, but in the novel, she’s supposed to be the least attractive out of all the female characters. Her greatest asset is her youth, height, and good pale skin, not her face, which fits YingEr’s criteria. The wife’s beautiful looks should far surpass Tong Xue. In the drama, there was only one comment regarding her looks. And that comment is “she’s only very very slightly more pretty than the average girl.”

    • I never thought she was fat myself. Her acting could have been better. In terms of looks I thought she was quite fresh and not overdone like some actresses. Her wardrobe was bland but since I’m not too picky about these things it didn’t bother me. I guess in terms of appearance she did have a slight problem with obvious increase in weight within the series especially face-wise. Otherwise my main problem would have been her acting.

  20. lol. Yeah China does make some pretty crap dramas.
    I think cos its just starting to make ‘modern’ dramas, most of them are quite bad. Only the longer historical ones are a bit better. Probably cos they have a larger budget.
    But in saying that, the new Princess Returning Pearl was pretty bad as well from what I’ve heard…

  21. ohhh Koala I give you tons of credit for watching all that crap..I know crap can be entertaining in the sense that just absolutely insane!! believe me I have had my share of dramas or telenovelas (I’m hispanic-so I have watch pretty much every wacky/insane plot out there possible) wonder why I have stay away form Cdramas too much DRAMA indeed … 😀

  22. From what I know.. They cut a lot of the scenes from Sealed with kiss…. Luckily, one of my team uploaded the uncut scenes from the dvd version in the Sealed with kiss channel on viki…

  23. I actually liked Fall in Love and finished that before Autumn Tale (10 eps in). I think because Zhang Han is one my favorite “F4” boy out of all the versions. And I have a love for him, so I’m super excited for SOP Queen with him and Chen Qiao En!!
    I really didn’t like Dennis in it. Won Bin <3
    But I'm anxiously waiting for season 2 of Fall in Love. I'm not really picky with dramas. As long as I like the leads. The acting, the story will come to my liking at some point.

  24. I like SWak… cos I really enjoy seeing all these mad char in drama and not real life….the story is not your typical drama…BUT I am surprise no one mention the OST….there is 3 songs in it which really bring out the emotion ESP the Korean one. It would be perfect if Ying er did not sing Mu Xue… for acting chop, beside harwick, Liu xue hwa (his mum) and his FIL, the rest of the cast give a v average performance….the nail to the coffin is of course Tong Xue clothes…. She must have really offended the stylist. Even her love rival for her first love (15% of screen time) wears a better looking coat then all hers combine!!!! Every actors or actresses only had 2-3 sets of clothes thru out the 28 or 30 episode so it really is an eye sore.. Plus, we watch drama to look at the beautifuls and handsome….so physical looks are important… I feel that Liu shi shi would b a better cast for tong xue character..

    • No way–not Liu Shi Shi as Tong Xue!!!!!!!!!! She does not have that vulnerable and innocent appearance and quality. Besides, I don’t think she and Hawick Lau will be good together! I think Ying Er is just perfect–she has that innocent and vulnerable characteristics! She and Hawick Lau have great chemistry onscreen in this drama. Great job guys!

  25. SWAK can make me stuck on the screen so much so that I can’t wait to see the next expisode then I would say it’s a good drama. Love Hawick in this drama, he is superb! I think both Hawick and Ying Er did very well in this drama!

  26. I am probably late in commenting with SWAK. The ML is abusive, and in all culture ( no cultural variation; it is because of patriachial beliefs),we should stand against it. No matter what the circumstances/situations are, the abusive behaviour should be condemned. . Hawick Lau was so believable in his acting; you can feel his pain. He made the ML sympathetic enough that ignore the appalling premises. This probably the reason why I persisted watching it even if I did not like the storyline.

  27. I read that the author of this novel said that ML is the “ideal husband material”. OMG I cant even fathom. this is the reason why we have domestic violence tolerated because of some authors making abusive character traits as desirable and concocting fairy tale stories about abuse ( especially the rape). It is a criminal act and should be condemned.

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