Wednesday, May 19, 2010
No. of episodes: 22
Dayo Wong – Mak Tai Song
Charmaine Sheh – Miu Miu
Power Chan – Lam Mok Sum (Sam)
Mandy Cho – Wah Kiu
Theresa Lee – Sheh Mo Lin (Melissa)
Ha Peng – Betty Chow Siu Chiu
Cheung Kwok Keung – Ho Man Tin (Martin)
Michael Tse – Ngon Jo Lin (Johnny)
Queenie Chu – Ngon Sum Bo (Bowie)
Wu Fung – Ngon Sing Yin
Suet Nei – Ha Ching Ching
Characters' Relationship chart
Mak Tai Song (Dayo Wong) is a talented and inspiring young businessman with a prominent track record in the United States.
However, following the reported suicide of his business partner cum mentor indirectly caused by him, he ended his business and offered the balance of his property to his mentor’s wife, Sheh Mo Lin (Theresa Lee) for her to support her son and mother-in-law.
In the opening scene, we see Song on the flight bound for Hong Kong whereby he managed to get an upgrade to the business class through his wits. Upon landing, he bumped into Miu Miu (Charmaine Sheh), a debt collector by profession and due to a few misunderstandings; they both got on the wrong start as Miu Miu misunderstood him as the cruel and inconsiderate husband of Mo Lin.
At the same time, Miu Miu despises his cheapskate ways in getting free and cheap stuffs from people around him.
Song, on the other hand was sought after by Tong Kat (Benz Hui) who was the son of hotel billionaire played by Chow Chung. Uncle Tong intercepted to hire Song to train his useless and philandering son in business tactics to run his hotel business and Song finally agreed, with shelves of wines and a comfortable office for him.
Song and Miu Miu’s conflict deepened when the Tongs tried to buy the row of shophouses, including that of Miu Miu’s family noodles shop and they put up a fight, with Song constantly giving off hints to the unsuspecting Miu Miu and Mo Lin, knowing Song’s capabilities, persuaded the whole family to believe in his tips and they managed to fend off the Tongs.
When Miu Miu starts to develop an admiration and affection for Song, Song bumped into Johnny Ngon (Michael Tse) who was another playful heir of a rice company and was the boss of Miu Miu’s crafty brother, Sam (Power Chan). Song and Johnny became fast friends but when Song discovered that Johnny’s mother was his own mother who left him and his father when he was young, he turned cold and started doing things to harm Johnny, much to the disappointment of Miu Miu.
However, it turned out that Song was just merely encouraging the teamwork and cooperation among the twin siblings; Johnny and Bowie (Queenie Chu) following the instructions of their father.
Song also realized that he had fallen in love with the sweet Miu Miu, who had fended off the advances of her ex-boyfriend (Joel Chan) whom she had gotten over after their cooperation on the recycling business.
Their relationship soon blossomed into love, and although there were a lot of conflicts, it all ended with a happy ending which will make you laugh out loud at the end of it.
When I first heard of the phrase, “Exchanging things of equal value” from my colleague, I did not get it (totally) and I was recommended to watch this drama.
Initially I thought it was just a sloppy comedy drama ( I am not particularly fond of comedy dramas which do not seem to be realistic sometimes), but I can tell you, the pairing of Dayo Wong and Charmaine Sheh was fantastic and the 20 episodes were just simply hilarious!
I enjoyed every episode of it, especially scenes with the two of them or even either one of them.
The whole cast was lively as well, and I welcome the return of Theresa Lee (one of my favorite actresses as well) and also Cheung Kwok Keung, who played the villain in this drama (again)
The dialogues and scenes in this drama were really creative and they are bound to make your sides burst from the laughter. Mandy Cho was also especially good in her role as the calculative and witty sister-in-law of Charmaine.
Another thing that I loved about the drama was their clothes; particularly those of Charmaine’s and Mandy’s. They were both avid shoppers in the drama, and were constantly seen in trendy and fashionable dresses, blouses and skirts, not to mention their shoes and boots which Charmaine was spotted in.
Charmaine was also a fanatic of designer handbags, and you could see her toting a different bag with every different attire; not to mention her earrings and accessories as well.
A few things learnt from this drama:
1. Exchange things of the equal value
- Never ever agree to a bargain which does not promise the same value (if not higher) in return for yourself. This is a key point in every negotiation.
2. Never trust a person completely
- Look at how Martin took advantage of Song’s guilt to make him do illegal things and in the end, betrayed Song.
3. Manage your finances wisely
- Watch your budget when you spend/shop (especially true for ladies)
1. When Miu Miu was upset and was relating her story to Song, Song yelled, “Tissue tissue” from behind and when she handed him the tissue which she expected him to wipe her tears from, he took it and said, “Thank you, the ice cream was melting into my hand”
2. When Miu Miu first showed her name card to Song to show him her name, he looked at it hard and then said, “There is so many “sui”(water) in your name, you are called Lam Sam Sui ar?” and she replied, “Are you illiterate? My name is Lam Miu Miu!”
3. When Power and their worker came to pick up Song from his apartment to attend the appreciation dinner at the restaurant and insisted he put on the coat instead of his usual rain coat jacket
Song said, “No. 1, my coat is not a rain coat, it is a very expensive designer coat!”
Then when they asked him to pick up Miu Miu and wear formal, he chided, “Do you all belong to the descendants of Confucius? Why do you have such regulations for a simple appreciation dinner?”
1. Dayo Wong
Naturally funny and poised in his role; his expressions are enough to tickle you to your bones! Need I say more?
2. Charmaine Sheh
Excellent portrayal of the wild spender and someone who just cannot resist shopping for new clothes, bags, shoes, etc. I loved her character, albeit the danger of shopping too much but she was just so fashionable!
3. Mandy Cho
She improved a lot and I liked seeing her sweet face in this drama; paired with plenty of lovely and elegant attires, she just played her housing agent/broker role to perfection!
4. Michael Tse
He is always another natural and versatile actor, and I must say he played his role as lame and dreamy young man of the rice company very well. He did not have much funny scenes here; besides the one where he sang on the stage; snagging another singer’s meet the fans session. I guess he was also overshadowed by Dayo.
My verdict says, GO WATCH IT, it will have you laughing in no minute and will bring a spark into your life.
Highly recommended for those who are depressed or burnt out, I know it cured mine =)
I may even re-watch it again!
Thursday, May 13, 2010
No. of episodes: 41
Ray Lui – Marcus Cheuk Yat Yin
Gallen Lo – Cheok Yat Ming/ Sa Fu Loi
Kenix Kwok – Angie Tung Ling Zhi
Jamie Chik – Connie Ho Sau Nin
Anita Yuen – Rene Cheuk Yat Sam
Joe Ma – Topman Koh Tok Man
Nancy Sit – Musa Sheung
Kenneth Ma – Sa Po Loi/Sa Po Chai
Benz Hui – Dai Wing Lok
Angelina Lo – Eva Bao
Sharon Chan – Yan
Vincent Wong - Sze To Fung
Lau Siu Ming – Tung Tin Juk
Marcus Cheuk (Ray Lui) is the CEO of the prominent Cosmo Bank in HK; running the operations of the bank with the help of his sister, Rene (Anita Yuen) and assistant/COO, Topman (Joe Ma).
Behind the daily scenes of the business, Marcus was still brooding over the sudden disappearance of his father a year ago and promised his mother (Nancy Sit) that he will continue to search for his father.
However, when his wife, Connie (Jamie Chik) advises him to let go of the past and give up on the search, he was in turn accused of being ungrateful and not fulfilling his filial duties as a son by his mother who was furious when she returned from her vacation. She blamed his irresponsibility on his wife, Connie whom she does not like from the start.
When Marcus and Rene decided to bury the past and stow away their father’s belongings, they found an old photo of their father with another woman and a young boy. Rene was angered by the discovery and could not believe that their father had been cheating on them for the past years, she refused to join Marcus on his trip to Sabah, Malaysia to search for their long lost stepbrother; whom they believed was the objective of their father’s trip before he went missing.
Marcus mistook Sa Fu Loi (Gallen Lo) as his stepbrother.
Unknown to him, Sa Fu Loi and his younger brother, Sa Po Loi (Kenneth Ma) were both conmen and upon realizing Marcus’s real identity, Sa Fu Loi decided to play along and make Marcus believe that he is the long lost son of the Cheuks.
He played hard to get initially to make Marcus believe that he was angered by the irresponsible actions of their father.
Marcus finally managed to bring him back to Hong Kong.
At the same time, Rene actually bumped into Sa Fu Loi on one of her earlier trips to Sabah and they had both fallen for each other. When Sa Fu Loi came to Hong Kong, he was happy to meet Rene again and planned to pursue her when he established his identity as Cheuk Yat Ming.
Despite the protests from Rene and his mother, Musa, Marcus insisted that they should reunite with Yat Ming and compensate for his years of abandonment. Rene ran into Sa Fu Loi on the night of New Year’s eve and the two shared a passionate kiss on the street, under the jealous and watchful eyes of Topman, who had been in love with Rene for a long time.
The love struck Rene and Sa Fu Loi returned home happily, with Musa willing to accept him as her son finally after an incident and it was then that both realized that they will be biological siblings from then on.
Of course, it was a fake relationship which is only known to Sa Fu Loi, now known as Yatming.
Rene was devastated and turned to Topman where they soon became a couple, to the dismay of Yatming.
He then turned his focus to career, where he started to make his way into Cosmo Bank and slowly gained the confidence of the board of directors to become the next CEO.
In his course to expel Marcus from the board, he resorted to evil ways to demean his reputation by breaking up his marriage with Connie.
Marcus fell into the trap despite his strong will in the beginning when he met his ex-girlfriend, Angie (Kenix Kwok) who returned from Canada after completing her law degree.
She was then in a relationship but then broke up with her boyfriend when she realized she still loved Marcus and upon finding out about how Marcus and Connie used her back then, she decided to strike back by seducing Marcus.
Connie was aware of Angie’s actions and warned her that she will do what it takes to defend her own marriage. When Marcus was kidnapped, the two women set their differences aside to search and rescue Marcus. However, Marcus’s release left a psychological effect on him which left him feeling insecure.
He blamed Connie for not being understanding enough and it was then he ran to Angie and the two started an affair.
Yatming used this opportunity to ruin Marcus’s image and reputation among the board of directors and they unanimously voted him out as the CEO. Topman was on guard against Yatming but unfortunately, he was misunderstood by Marcus and in the end, he left the company.
Yatming continued to gain the trust of the Cheuks and slowly gained power in the bank, with the support of Marcus and Musa. However, Marcus was starting to be suspicious of Yatming and conducted a secret investigation into his background.
Angie’s father, Chuk Yeh (Lau Siu Ming) was the first to uncover his identity when he bumped into their long time/childhood physician who revealed that the real Yatming had a hearing disability in his left ear.
Chuk Yeh was then accidentally murdered by the anxious Yatming. When the truth was slowly uncovered, Yatming turned ferocious and more dangerous in nature, despite the constant persuasion by his own brother, Sa Po, whom he almost indirectly killed and he blamed his brother’s death on Marcus’s never-ending investigations.
He then raped Rene when she announced her engagement to Topman and caused the death of Angie.
It was then that the Cheuks united to uncover the true identity of this conman and bring him to justice. Sa Fu Loi, at his wits end, wanted to blow up the whole family, but when his own brother re-appeared to coax him, he released Marcus’s family and they also escaped from the bomb which exploded the whole floor.
It seemed that Sa Fu Loi and Sa Po returned to Sabah and led their old lives; with Sa Po owning a bakery after marrying Yan (Sharon Chan) and Sa Fu living in simplicity after losing his memory during the explosion.
It was another bombastic drama, uncovering the scandals of the rich and powerful, with conman and schemes to weasel wealth from the affluent family.
The storyline seemed to be a mix from a few plots; with long lost stepbrother and power struggle and greed taking over in the end.
It was refreshing to see Gallen in the villain role after so many years of him playing the good and noble gentleman.
It was also unexpected that he turned so evil towards the end of the series, and it seemed that his character had lost all sense of conscience in him.
That was one part which was different from others, and perhaps it is also kudos to the actor’s convincing portrayal which kept me on the edge, guessing his next move.
I did not expect him to become so evil as he was still portrayed as someone with passion and humanity when he helped people around him. Perhaps poverty and his having to bury his love for a woman whom he had to call sister drove him to the edge of insanity and leashing them on other aims helped to console or compensate for his loss.
Other refreshing factors or attractions to woo viewers include the return of Jamie Chik to the screen after so long, to play the calm and sophisticated Connie, the wife of Marcus.
She is truly a picture of elegance and I really enjoyed her performance, from playing a calm and collected woman who stood behind her husband and behaving in public, to a woman who was just hurt and dismayed by her husband’s betrayal and to the extent of finally letting her guard down and just begged to reunite with her husband.
There is a reason why veterans are always the audience’s favorite.
Ray Lui was also another veteran actor who appeared in this drama, but I find his performance rather on the average. He did not seem to know how to wear his expressions well enough to convince his audience. I felt that I could not feel his anguish when he suffered the after effects from the kidnapping incident and how much he loved Angie when he decided to divorce Connie. It seemed like he was wearing the same expression throughout the drama; which was quite long. Also, I could not help noticing how he constantly had this tired look on his face, perhaps too long of a filming schedule or it has been a long time since he has been acting?
Anita Yuen, was also a fresh return after so many years and initially I felt she was rather stiff in her acting but she relaxed and totally immersed in her role after that.
However, I have the same comment about Anita that she tends to be expressionless sometimes, and that can be hard especially when you are playing an indignant, adamant and yet cool character like Rene.
Nancy Sit, is one veteran whom I always feel over-acted in all her dramas or scenes and this drama is no exception. I was surprised to see how the lame humor of the Agogo sisters and how she was showing her tantrum like a child on the lawn when she found out about her son giving up on the search/investigation into her husband’s disappearance. I felt that was much too absurd and it downgraded the quality of the drama.
Angelina Lo, who played her fraternal sister in their singing band, was much subtle and natural in her character.
Kenix Kwok, as usual, was poised in her acting and of course, she played her character well enough to make me hate me for trying to ruin another’s marriage and seducing someone’s husband. At the same time, she was also pitiful since her own relationship was broken up by Connie, who was considered the third party back then. She was initially just selfish but as she slowly regained her conscience, she fell into the affair and yet she tried to mend the consequences with everyone. It was a pity she had to die.
Sharon Chan also had a refreshing role; playing a naïve and innocent girl who just believed in love and the man she loves. It was also a change from her usual portrayal of an evil witch who is always jealous or taking advantage of people around her.
Kenneth Ma played a good but rather dumb guy, and I would say, like most of his performances, just moderate and he still tends to overact or exaggerate his expressions. This drama though, his character was quite likeable as he was the one who tried to get Gallen back to the good side.
Joe Ma was your typical suave and charming prince always there for the damsel in distress. Somehow his character just reminded me a little of his previous character in the Drive of Life, only this one had more charm as he was always the one to support and protect his lady. He was quite funny in the beginning when he kept picking on Rene but as he slowly progressed, it was revealed that he only wanted to get her attention as he was interested in her. His playboy self slowly transformed to a responsible and protective man; one that every girl would want in her life time partner.
Lau Siu Ming, is another of my favorite veteran. I have always felt his acting was really good, in whichever role he played; especially those stubborn and unreasonable seniors. Facial expressions and emotions, good!
Overall, the drama was quite interesting but I felt there was just something sinister or dark about the drama despite all the humor which can at times make it dull and draggy.
Perhaps it was the color of the poster or the setting, but sometimes I just felt it could not sustain my interest long enough to enjoy the drama and I found myself wishing that it would end soon.
Maybe that is the reason it lost in the bid to compete against Beyond the Realm of Conscience which was released at the same time.
One thing to note: the song which was played when Kenix and Marcus are together was actually a church hymn; Rejoice. I was just surprised it turned into such a seductive song, and can be rather catchy on your mind too!~