oyceter: (dramas dramas dramas)
NOTE: My episode numbering may be entirely wonky, as it is based on the Taiwan DVDs.

Well, I'm glad this one didn't dive off a cliff like Why Why Love!

Overall, Sweet Relationship is a fairly cute drama about food and restauranting. The writing isn't particularly good, and all the characters are incredibly stupid about romance many times, complete with unintentionally hilarious angsty scenes, but I ended up watching it because I did genuinely care about the heroine and especially about the restaurant she starts working at. Also, every so often, one character or another will expound on food and cooking in great detail! I don't know how much of it is accurate, but who cares?

Clearly I will watch almost anything about food!

Spoilers )

In conclusion: entertaining, often very frustrating, relatively worth it in the end, though not spectacular or solid by any means.
oyceter: (dramas dramas dramas)
Note: Taiwan apparently re-cuts episodes when they create the DVDs so that the episodes are actually shorter than the ones that air. This makes absolutely no sense to me, but anyway, that's why all my episode ordering will be wonky.

This is really not a great drama. The romances are boring, the hero is completely unattractive, the heroine is not quite too stupid to live, but only barely, and there is little to no character development. On the other hand, I keep watching because I have watched so much already that I feel I deserve to see the end, and because I am invested in the drama of what happens to the restaurant Little Bear, and what happens with Bai Hui, Zi Tian, and He Ma's culinary careers. Also, though the actress who plays Bai Hui only has three expressions, I am sort of won over by Bai Hui's endless optimism and complete lack of a clue. Plus, in her defense, the actor playing Zi Tian is even worse! I think he only has two expressions: teeny smile and angry stare.

My mom and dad also keep making occasionally funny, occasionally annoying comments while I watch:

DAD: What restaurant is that?
ME: Amour.
DAD: Where is it?
ME: ... I don't think we can actually go eat there.
DAD (disappointed): Oh.

MOM: Look at Zai Zai [Vic Zhou's nickname in Taiwan]!
DAD: His hair is so ugly!
MOM: It's better than when he was in F4 [Taiwan boy band].
DAD: What's wrong with all the guys' hair! I look at that and think the hygiene in the kitchen must be very bad. Who would want to eat there?

DAD: What? They're drinking red wine out of those glasses? What kind of a restaurant is that?
ME: They're using the bottle as a flower vase, Daddy. Look, they put flowers in it.
DAD (sniffs): Oh. (pause) That makes a very ugly vase. Also, why don't they have a tablecloth? They should have one. Well, not all good restaurants have to have one, but only if the table is very special or made of good wood.

MOM: Who would want to date a guy like that? I would never date a guy like that! He never says anything and you end up feeling stifled.
CHARACTER ON SCREEN (to aforementioned guy): I feel so stifled!
MOM: See!

DAD: How come everyone is always either crying or yelling at each other?
MOM: Aiya, Daddy ah, you don't understand. That's just how young people talk these days.
DAD (sniffs): The actors we see never talk like that.
MOM: We're not watching the popular stuff. We are not young people now!
DAD: The older ones were better.

Spoilers make me fall off the sofa laughing )

Spoilers and talk about gender and cooking )
oyceter: (dramas dramas dramas)
Chang Bai Hui's father is a renowned chef, and for her college graduation, he's rented out an entire fancy French restaurant and cooked the entire meal himself. Unbeknownst to both of them, the actual chef, Fang Zi Tian, was never told of this, and ends up throwing out the beef consomme as well as flouncing out and quitting. The consomme (now substituted with Zi Tian's via the magic of the freezer and a quick-thinking cook) is the last taste Bai Hui gets of her father's cooking (or so she thinks) before he drops dead.

This is apparently based on a manga, Oishii Kankei, although it looks like some minor plot points were changed (namely, the father-as-chef bit). Bai Hui finds out she's broke and largely useless, and meanwhile, He Ma Yang has begged Zi Tian to take him on as a disciple. They all end up meeting when Bai Hui stumbles across the restaurant Zi Tian cooks for, the family-style Little Bear. Overtaken by the taste of the beef consomme, which reminds her of her father, Bai Hui begs Zi Tian to let her work there, saying that she has to stay around the restaurant that has the taste of her father's cooking.

As one does.

So far, I have decided the actor playing Zi Tian is very cute, the actor playing He Ma is pretty cute, and the actress playing Bai Hui is pretty lousy. Bai Hui herself is largely useless, and I frequently want to whap her over the head for having no common sense. I realize this is a drama and I have a fairly low standard, but seriously! There's one scene in which she's looking for #776 on a street:

BAI HUI: So... I came across 775 and 777, but where's 776?!
RANDOM GUY: It's across the street.
BAI HUI: What? Why isn't it in order? That makes no sense!
RANDOM GUY: Because all the odd numbers are on this side, and all the even numbers are across the street.
BAI HUI: What? I've never heard of anything like that!
RANDOM GUY: ... uh. We've only been doing it that way for the past five hundred years or so.
ME: ... wow. I have a new low standard for cdrama heroines.

Given my completely random sampling of Taiwan dramas, I have been somewhat annoyed at all the heroines, who are sappily sweet (perfectly fine, as hey, I read shoujo!), fakely sweet (very annoying and more the actress' fault than the character's), and really, really stupid (as in, stands in the middle of a street intersection hugging a stuffed animal and nearly gets run over by a car). I think they may rival romance novel heroines for spiritedness and Too-Stupid-To-Live-itis. My sister and other friends have confirmed this, so I don't think it's just me who thinks so.

That said, I am continuing to watch this because though Bai Hui is annoying and seems to think going over budget to make tasty salads for the restaurant is a good idea, she is also immensely in love with food and spends tons of screen time rhapsodizing over such-and-such dish, be it a fancy French salad or omelet rice. And she finally yelled at Zi Tian, so I am hoping she will grow a backbone, albeit probably in vain. Zi Tian dislikes everyone and had a bit of a misogynistic streak while Bai Hui begged him to hire her ("I hate pampered rich girls and how they cry all the time!"), but by and large, he strikes me as less of a woman-hater and more of an everyone-hater. Basically, he's the chef version of Sanzo.

So far, there have been the standard [insert occupation] trials to overcome, from the salad that keeps being sent back to Zi Tian's old rival, Gao Qiao, setting up shop in a fancy French restaurant down the street. It is cheesy and largely predictable and I don't care and am going to run out and rent more tomorrow! The characters spend their entire time onscreen thinking and talking and making and serving food! It makes me so happy!

... also, Zi Tian is really cute, and I'm dying to see if the actor can pull off falling in love with Bai Hui.

But mostly, food!

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