The drama literally starts with the leading man marking his birthday by being named as the heir to his father’s business and the first thing on his agenda is to piss off his father because he has mommy issues. He walks off, turns his back on the perks of being the SOB (son of the boss), runs into the leading lady and gets into all sorts of misfortune and yet cannot shake off his prince syndrome. But of course, I wouldn’t have expected anything less. It all sounds like familiar territory that it feels like we’re watching an old drama. But this is the new Van Ness Wu drama: Tiamo Chocolate.
For once, the comments on the Viki site are very consoling and not irritating in that I’m not the only one shaking my head at the way the story is going.
I never really had high hopes anyway. I guess I have seen enough dramas to know which one is worth the long haul and which one isn’t. You get that vibe, if not for the entirety of the first episode, but in the first 10 minutes.
Office Girls had it. So did In Time With You. Love Forward… first 10 seconds you know it’s hopeless. Skip Beat, you keep on hoping it will get better in the next 10 minutes. Lucky Seven had it on the first second (who can resist a half nekkid Matsumoto Jun in bed?).
Of course I do realise we have different levels of tolerance and standard in the entertainment that we watch. And we get hooked to a drama for so many reasons. I also do understand that dramas are not made for rocket scientists but I do have low tolerance for absurdity.
I couldn’t help comparing it to Office Girls especially when Shen Meng Sheng appears as the father. Producers should give Shen shushu a break, yes? He’s always playing father to hard-headed, ungrateful SOBs.
But where Qin Zi Qi (Roy Qiu why you so hot) was adorable even from the first episode when he arrives from overseas all cocky and wearing his prince syndrome on his sleeve, Fang Jia Hua (Van Ness) cannot muster enough audience sympathy. Or is it just me? I like Van but perhaps it’s the material, because he did shine in Next Stop: Happiness.
How can you be sympathetic to someone who pisses off his father and is arrogant enough to walk off from everything and then accept a car from his grandmother (even if he won’t accept the cash–I mean, okay, being rich does not mean having common sense I reckon but he also doesn’t have to be so proud only to have double standards). I don’t know who the writers are of Tiamo but if they aren’t the same team as Office Girls, then I just wish they stop mooching off ideas from OG. They tried to use the watch story arc (Fang Jia Hua tries to use it as collateral in buying a chocolate shop) but not only did it fail, it didn’t have enough element to make it more compelling. Sure, he got a one-million-dollar luxury watch. Qin Zi Qi got that too but the writers built up on it and when it became an important element in a story arc, it wasn’t spoon-fed to the audience (yeah Qin Zi Qi sold it but we never see how, he just stopped wearing it) and that made for a bigger impact.
All right, I may be too hung up on Office Girls that I’m being unfair on Tiamo. Oh let’s face it, Qin Zi Qi was a shameless brat but Roy Qiu turned him into a multidimensional character, something which I hope Van Ness could work at with his characterization. It’s still early days so…
And what about the androgynous female lead? It’s very Coffee Prince and You Are Beautiful, not to mention Hana Kimi. Although if it’s any consolation, Joanne Zeng may as well save this drama on the back of her charm. She has more life than Van Ness who trods along like a stiff mannequin (I mean, you’re already a mannequin, how stiff can you get) that perhaps he’s better off in a British drama where his stiff upper lip is more suited. But even the Earl of Gartham or Matthew of Downton Abbey are not this stiff.
Aside from Shen shushu, there are many familiar faces in this drama it’s like a game of name that actor in one second. There’s the grandmother and the mother in Devil Beside You, the father in Smiling Pasta (Shen shushu was the other father too in that drama) and Miss No Good, the pregnant best friend and pesky paparazzi in Love You… and then there’s J-girl, Hannah Quinlivan. All right, I admit. I’m watching this partly due to my curiosity over Hannah xiao jie.
Anyway, for a drama that supposedly centers on chocolates, there’s so little of that in the first episode except for that paltry box that caused Fang Jia Hua’s falling out with his dad. I was thinking, if that chocolate inside turns out to be some Ferrero Rocher (which is so drama cliche), I’m gonna tear my hair. Thank god it didn’t but it was nothing special (ask the leads, they didn’t show any excitement when they ate it).
But I really do wonder why they’re not capitalizing on the chocolates. It’s like capitalizing on a dog to win the audience. They could have shown gorgeous chocolates like in those food shows and other food dramas that showcase food porn and perhaps it could have left a nice aftertaste. Not a bitter one.
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