Thursday, July 06, 2006

Watching "Cheesy" show to Learn Mandarin

This Taiwanese Drama Series looks promising. It’s got quite high reviews from viewers at these sites ( and ( Not sure how reliable the sites are in terms of reviews, but it will do for me.

This series fit my criteria for “a Mandarin series to watch in understanding the language and culture better”. It is in a modern setting, it is a popular series among the fans and it has hot cute girls. What better excuse to watch TV!

*sitting in front of TV*
Mom = “why are you in front of the TV for the last 12 hours!!!”
Me = “shhh… studying”
Mom = “what???”
Me = “learning mandarin”
*Me drooling over cute actress*

So, I went ahead and bought the DVD of this series called “Devil Beside You” with subtitle of course…
It’s pretty expensive but it’s ok… hopefully it’s nice and entertaining. We do show Taiwan series in Malaysia TV, it’s just hard to fit my time to watch it so it’s more convenient to just buy and watch whenever I want to.

Finished 5 series within 5 days…. So far so good…. It did manage to get me engage so far…mainly because it is beautifully shot and has great looking actor and actresses…
Lots of eye candy….

However, I have to say that the show has several “cheesy” moments…. Not so bad as the other Taiwanese series (from what I have been told) but it’s there nevertheless.
I am quite a TV addict for American series such as “The Practice”, “L Word”, “OC”, “Lost” just to name a few….and comparing it with those is just no comparison at all.

“Devil Beside You” like many other Taiwanese series lack depth. It had many moments where I just wanted to laugh, not because of the comedy element but because it is so corny and predictable. So much, that it makes it look fake.

I am not talking about the over-acting and extreme cut-scenes because I do know the style of this show is directed in a “Manga” comic kind of way… it’s usually the serious moments in the show that falls short.

Let me show you examples with pictures on what I mean.

This is a scene where the “good guy” has just been turn down by the lead actress in his face….*ouch*…. because she finds the “bad guy” more attractive… so, he walks away.
Of course… the lead actress’s girl friends so happen saw the whole situation (they always seems to be in the right place at the right time) and one of them ran to the “good guy” as he walks away and shouted his name. Our “good guy” turns his head… smile… and walks further away…….

This scene is so typical… girl runs down the hallway and shouts name… guy turns head… smile…. walks further away.

In real sense, shouldn’t the guy response in words? In fact… he isn’t even surprise she knows the whole situation had happened…. I guess this is the director way of making the audience feel the moment….

Here is another scene. See the guy in black? He’s the main actor, the “bad guy” discussing with the girl on the right on some serious matter. See his pose? Yes… this is the “cool” pose. He is always posing like that. Always! Always posing…. Too much that it just gets funny.

See the 2 girls at the background? Yes… like I said… they are always in the right place at the right time. And of course… the coffee shop is usually empty (besides the casts) in moments like this.

A "cheesy" moment…. Girl tells guy she will go out on a date with him if she sees a red umbrella… (Serious! I have no idea why!!!)

In a dramatic moment…. A girl pulls out a red umbrella!!!! (why am I not surprise…)

Girl is happy…. Smile… and runs away. Yes…she runs away saying nothing. They always seem run away saying nothing when they are supposed to say something.

There you go….A small portion of the corny scenes that I have to endure throughout the series. Oh ya… one more thing… they keep repeating the same love song over and over again till it drives you nuts!!!.....

The question to ask is, since I complain so much why do I keep watching? And plan to continue watching and probable hunt for the next Taiwanese series….

Maybe it’s the beautiful way it was film… Watching the show is like looking at a beautiful painting. The show is film in angles and position that depicts a comic and it is full of color and energy.

The actors and actress are gorgeous and engaging. Despite the fact they have to over-act at times, they pull it together really well. It also helps that they give plenty of eye-candy.

Most important of all, it is entertaining. Despite the "cheesy" moments, predictability, over-acting, etc…. it somehow managed to keep me at my sit. This is the thing about these series.... despite its many short comings, it’s still engaging.

Who am I kidding… it’s mainly because of her, singer and main actress Rainie Yang Cheng Lin that kept me at my sit… she is just so adorable.

So, did watching Taiwanese Drama series help to improve my mandarin? ………
I am sure it did in small ways…. But one thing is for sure….. I have definitely developed a fondness and better understanding on Chinese pop culture.


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