A solid start for another charming Sonia Sui drama… and this time, is she building her own harem? Sonia isn’t my favorite actress, but she always manages to choose strong scripts with independent female roles.
Sonia Sui stars with the much buzzed-about male actors, Chris Lee, who recently won the 2014 Golden Bell Awards Best Male Actor for the family drama A Good Wife, and Hans Chung, a newcomer and also nominated for the same award for gritty prison drama Boys Can Fly, in a mature drama of a writer trying to find her own Mr Right.
Lee Haining (Sonia Sui) is a 32 year old editor-in-chief of a publishing company who works with her boyfriend Fang Chenghao (Jerry Huang), a best seller author at the company. When Haining and their coworkers are planning for Chenghao’s next book, Chenghao’s affair is revealed. Haining leaves Chenghao and decides to write the new book about marriage and online dating herself! Will she meet her Mr. Right?
For the purpose of this blog, I will be using the actors and actresses’ names, instead of their character names.
The Chinese title of this drama literally translates to “marriage notice” (thanks google translate), and the previous English name for this series was “Notice from a Bachelorette”. While I do like the previous title, I think that the official name “Mr. Right Wanted” is cute too. As long as Taiwanese dramas don’t use the word “love” in their names anymore, I’ll be fine with it..
Right off the bat, you can tell what this drama series will be about, if the title didn’t give you a clue. We can see the beautiful wedding and ~true love, as Sonia gazes at the bride and groom in the intro scene and has a teary eye. Initially I thought Sonia would be the one to dream of a idealized wedding, however, we are told that she has her own reserves about marriages as her boyfriend tries to slip a ring on her finger to no avail. Next, of course, is the expectations that a 30+ year old woman needs to get married and have children. This theme is a recurring one throughout Taiwanese dramas, and seems to be a reflection of their/our society.
Sonia and Yaoyao break the fourth wall to introduce themselves. By doing so, the drama makes itself standout because there aren’t many Taiwanese dramas that use this technique. The mood of their introductions and the beginning of the show is somewhat comical-like and whimsical, especially with the orchestral background music.
So far, the drama seems well-thought out. Even the transition from the opening credits to the next scene via the shot of Jerry’s face on his book was very smooth. Maybe this drama is more ambitious in nature than the other Taiwanese ones I’ve been watching recently (this is a good thing tho!)
As a side note, I quite like Sonia’s makeup in this (minimal eyeliner and somewhat glossy lips). Even her center-parted, wavy hair doesn’t bother me.
Yaoyao is Sonia’s younger cousin and friend.
(actual actress Yaoyao has perfected her “annoyed” but still cute character – she really reminds me of anime characters and of course she’d be a tsundere? ahahaha….. Since Yaoyao was initially launched to stardom to appeal to otaku men, etc, with her boobs and cute face, I’m glad that she has improved on her acting.)
1. Yaoyao has had way more boyfriends than Sonia
2. Yaoyao and her parents are trying to introduce her shut-in, nerdy brother to potential spouses
3. Yaoyao gifts Sonia lingerie and says, “Women are willing to wear [lingerie] for men, while men are willing to buy [them] for women. That’s true love.”
Is love a commodity? I can’t say that she thinks that way, but Yaoyao does take on a very grounded approach to love. I’m going to guess that all characters will represent a certain philosophical idea of love.
Later back in Sonia’s house, Sonia’s bf Jerry blames the lack of sex between them for his inability to write good romance stories, and he wants to get married (to symbolize the “foreverness” and commitment). Sonia and Jerry’s relationships are doomed from the start because of their different ideals.
It is ironic when Sonia comes out of her room after showering, wearing the expensive lingerie to initiate sexy times, but Jerry has already fallen asleep. It’s small missed opportunities like this that slowly bring them apart.
“Why do you need to read books to learn about romance??”
This is Hans, our prince charming (insert some Frozen pun idk). So we first meet Hans when he enters Sonia’s office. Hans is in the same building for a job interview, but he accidentally goes into her office instead of the one next door. Is this fate?? He leaves behind a book, which has the same title as the drama!! in Chinese (“Marriage Notice”)
Sonia recognizes the book and ends up giving a presentation about it to her coworkers. The book is about: why do modern people want to marry?
At around the midpoint of the episode, conflict arises! DUN DUN DUN
Urgent news breaks in: Jerry cheated on Sonia! Even worse, Jerry cheated on Sonia with their coworker, who is at the meeting with them. Sonia is restrained and logical, as she puts her work first. She quickly handles the situation by fending off the media, and giving her most fake smile of all to hide away her pain.
Jerry gives off the typical cheating excuses: “trying to get your attention by cheating on you” “if you had just married me, none of this would happen” “I need more confirmation that you love me”
I have to say that Jerry’s acting is mediocre, and sometimes unbelievable. He doesn’t manage to do anything special with the dialogue.
Yaoyao being such a cutie!!
Yaoyao encourages Sonia to stop working with Jerry or to cheat back on him for revenge. Despite that Sonia is embarrassed and betrayed by Jerry, she still wants to stay with him, afterall they dated for nine years. She only wants Jerry to self-reflect and leave her alone while she’s angry at him.
Sonia meets Hans again when he shows up to her door to deliver flowers (he works at a flower shop?). Sonia wants to buy the book that he left at her office earlier from him, but he says that she can keep it. Notice how both times Sonia meets him are due to very rare occurrences.
Then we’ve got Yaoyao watching them from behind, smiling gleefully.
Do you rate your potential boyfriends like this?
Categories: height, muscle, overall appearances, smile, conversation skills
Hans gets the seal of approval from Yaoyao with three major yeses and two nos.
Back to work and perhaps her ideological crisis, Sonia wants to find out why most people want to marry. She starts a social project with her work group to seek potential marriage candidates… thus starting her own book inspiration project and introducing the actual premise of this series.
For one of the final scenes of this first episode, Hans buys the same book (the “marriage notice” one) at the bookstore. As he walks out, Jerry walks in, asking the bookstore employee for the same book. However, Hans just bought the last copy. This missed opportunity for Jerry symbolizes the demise of Jerry and Sonia’s relationship… call it fate or whatever, but the drama universe has started a new thread of connection with Hans and Sonia!! I would be surprised if Jerry and Sonia actually make it through together by the end of this drama.
Questions: What is love? How does marriage affect your relationship? (more to be added)
It’s nice for once to see a confident, professional, mature woman take charge of her own life and career. The storyline is not anything special, but the more episodic nature of this drama is uncommon for Taiwanese dramas.
I’m enjoying the focus on the friendship between Sonia and Yaoyao, and I think the actresses have the standout performances so far. Jerry and the other side characters are pretty forgettable. I’m not sure about Hans yet and am unfamiliar with the actor.
This is one of the better first episodes of a Taiwanese drama that I’ve seen.