Friday, October 26, 2012

Ex-Boyfriend: Episode 1

Ooooh. I am happy to report that I'm following a twdrama, Ex-Boyfriend (Qian Nan You), a show on which its central conflict seems to be present in almost all twdramas, ever: Do you take a leap of faith with an old flame or go for the shiny new thing?

First impressions-wise, if you look past the annoying in-your-face sound effects (whyyy are they ever-present in twdramas, WHY?) and the overacting from the office sidekicks, this show has got potential to be... finishable. 

My apologies, I know it doesn't sound like much, but given my history with twdramas - I complete four shows a year, tops - this is a HUGE commitment, okay. Best case scenario: show being so cracktastic I finish the whole thing in a week. Woo, imagine that? I have my fingers crossed.
Their teenage counterparts was a pleasant surprise (since in twdramas leads usually take it upon themselves to play their high school selves). Though the appearance was short (it's a flashback) but it totally sets the tone of the series, giving us a glimpse to the character's psyche, lest you think her actions were unwarranted.

My heart went out to the teenage girl, her heart set on her sleeve - you can practically see all the love in the world shining in her eyes - and what did this guy do? He crushed her heart into a million pieces and fed it to the wild animals in Kaohsiung Zoo.

I have no pity on your future self, you heartbreaker. You had it coming.

DIANA LIN CHUN JIAO (Gina Lee) is as severe as her hairstyle. A no-nonsense high-flying career woman at Never Land (rumors have it that she seduced her boss and is the reason for his divorce), she is the boss everybody loves to bitch about - no thanks to her type A personality. 
The story sets off with an emergency phone call from Chun Jiao's bestie: Her man is cheating! Needless to say, Chun Jiao does not react to that c-word well. CHEATING?!?!? She leaves her office party in a huff and takes it upon herself to avenge her eccentric gold digger friend, XIAO Z (Liao Yi Qiao). From Chun Jiao's reactions, one would think that like she's the one being wronged, and methinks she's projecting her unadulterated hatred for a certain Mr. Ex towards Xiao Z's cheating boyfriend. 
Chun Jiao barges into the hotel room and swiftly punches him, with bestie protesting, "Not the nose! That's my favorite part of him!" followed by an even louder protest when she knee-kicks his family jewels. Meanwhile, the real perp in the opposite room makes a run for it, now that he has been spotted by Xiao Z. Wait a minute, Xiao Z, are you saying you got the WRONG guy? I know it was a hectic situation, but you didn't really think that your BF would grow several inches taller overnight, did you? Not to mention owning a set of very defined washboard abs.

The unintended victim - though one could argue that Chun Jiao got it right the first time - is LAI ZHI MING (Tony Yang), our hero (I use that term loosely). As he confronts her, both are shocked to see a familiar face  - it's YOU!!
Somehow, all four of them ended up at the police station, with the policeman reaching to the incorrect conclusion that the perpetrator, Chun Jiao, is the 3rd party in the relationship, and poor her must have been harboring unrequited feelings for the guy. Meanwhile, the victim is looking bashful at that prospect - LOL - while Chun Jiao looks like she just swallowed a caterpillar. Mmph, as if! There is absolutely no way she'd be the 3rd party because she absolutely despise cheaters. 
The puzzled policeman then asks, If she isn't in love with the victim, why is she mad at him for sleeping with his girlfriend? But before Chun Jiao could answer, Zhi Ming got all huffy:
Zhi Ming: "Mr. Policeman, this woman (points to woman sucking on him like a leech) is NOT my girlfriend! She (points to Chun Jiao) is the one who's my..." 

He's about to say "ex", but has difficulty saying the word. Things were about to get awkward when Chun Jiao cuts in, "He's my ex-boyfriend." Everyone who doesn't know: EX-BOYFRIEND?! And we go back in time to...
... the year 1999. As the teacher takes their attendance, their adorable high school counterpart answers with a "here!" (which is "you!" in chinese, but sounded like an adorable "yo!" to me). Whoa, Chun Jiao looks so... different. And I don't mean by her looks, obviously. She is actually smiling! (and not in a perverse I-am-so-gonna-have-fun-torturing-you kinda way). She's all shy and demure. Aww. He's about to hurt her real bad, isn't he?
The class goes wild at the Zhi Ming x Chun Jiao connection [note: their names coincides with Taiwanese band Mayday's breakthrough hit, "Zhi Ming & Chun Jiao," a song that made them a household name in the late 90's.] and they start singing the song. 

As the class chants,"Get together! Get together!" the embarrassed Zhi Ming tries to shut them up, but to no avail. Chun Jiao looks back and gives him a shy smile. So. Cute.
And that concludes the flashback. (I want moar!) The present Chun Jiao is leaving the police station, but pauses as Zhi Ming calls out to her. He awkwardly attempts to make small talk, but she cuts him off, giving him the exasperated just cut to the chase look.
Zhi Ming: All these years... how have you been?
She smiles, about to answer... then snapped at him, teling him it's none of his goddamn business. She promptly leaves, leaving him at a loss, watching her go.

But inside the car, it's obvious that she was more affected by the coincidental meeting that she let on. She remembers... 
That fateful day. She heads to his house, looking ever so happy at the prospect of meeting him. But that was before she walked in and found him kissing another girl. (And it ain't no chaste peck either!) She did nothing but stood there, stupefied.  
Zhi Ming just looks annoyed, yes annoyed, at being interrupted. He glares daggers at her and then drags her out of the house, slamming the gate to her face. But she keeps calling for him, wailing over and over: "Lai Zhi Ming, why are you doing this to me? Why? Why?"
Oh god, this is too sad. But then we see the hero on the other side of the gate, seeming genuinely upset by the turn of events. Is that a look of regret? Shame?
Cue emotional eating. She wakes up the next day, only to discover on the weighing scale that OMFG Zhi Ming "made me gain ONE kg!"
And so she starts her day off in a shitty mood, in contrast to his all-smiles disposition. It gets even worse for Chun Jiao when her boss, the chairman, calls her in and basically pushes someone to her, "an outstanding young man" for a job. An imaginary lightbulb dings in her head: Nepotism!
Urgh. There's no getting out of this one. She smoothly answers "not a problem" but once out the door, her face darkens. You see, the there are two kinds of people she absolutely detest in this world, "One, cheaters! Two, nepotic trash!" Girl is in a killer mood.

And what do you know, in walks a person who fits the bill - her dreaded ex. Not that we didn't see this coming. But surprisingly, Chun Jiao is in a jolly mood - perversely so, since she is already thinking of ways to torment her future assistant. The interview is clearly for formality's sake, but he doesn't know that. She takes this opportunity to put him down a notch. Or ten.
The interview begins, and without missing a beat, she "minus points" every chance she gets. She also reaches to the (correct) conclusion that he's not the one who prepared the CV. 

He answers affirmative - frankly, he doesn't care about the job, he's only here to humor his mom. And he's fine with her put-downs, but out of all the things she criticized him just now, only ONE thing she said irked him: He is a man of his word, so take that back!   
She's all, pfft, yeah right. Should she lay out some examples? Zhi Ming's all, be my guest. Um, does anyone feel like this is a bad idea? 

Dead calm, she goes:
Chun Jiao: "Who promised to go with me to Mayday's concert, only to make me wait for him out in the rain for 5 hours and not show up? Who promised me that we'll graduate together, only to withdraw from school in the last week? Who taught me how to finally trust someone, only to betray me to show me that "trust" is merely a fairy tale on earth?"
Heated words, but they're spoken without emotion. Zhi Ming has nothing to say in return. Defeated, he bows and apologizes for not being fit for the job. He turns to leave but Chun Jiao stops him in his tracks, "Who said you could leave?" On the contrary, she tells him that he is hired as her assistant, effective tomorrow. Phase 1 of Operation Torment Zhi Ming, complete! (Karma sucks, bro.)
Zhi Ming goes to KE BO WEN's (Natto) bar to let off some steam. Ke Bo, ZHENG JIE (Masuyama Yuki - omg. Can I just book this one for fangirling purposes.) and LAO YU LIANG (Patrick Lee) have been friends with Zhi Ming since high school, so they all know about The Breakup. Yu Liang wonders why Chun Jiao would hire Zhi Ming, given their past. Zhi Ming: "Who knows."
Ke Bo booms: "I KNOW!" He deducts Detective Conan-style, that Lin Chun Jiao still hasn't forgotten him. "She still FEEEELS for you~" 

Yeah, she has feelings - it's hatred. Zhi Ming still reminisces fondly though - in his wallet, he still has a photo of her from when they were dating. Looks like he's the one with the feelings, despite all the mean things the present Chun Jiao says to him.
Next day at work, her hatred of him is stronger than ever. She tells him keep his distance with other women, since "you're someone who already has a girlfriend." Zhi Ming: "What girlfriend?" You mean that day at the hotel- oh no, she got it all wrong. You see, he was working at Ke Bo's bar ("remember that fatty in highschool?") and that woman was merely a drunk client. 
Chun Jiao's like, whatever, it's none of my business. After all the explaining? Girl, you totally wanted to know. 

Ke Bo has a younger sister, KE MIAO LI (Chu Jia Qing) who holds a torch for Zhi Ming, although the latter just sees her as a younger sibling, and has no qualm rejecting her advances (it was a setup for him to bring her to a swanky romantic restaurant, he brings her to KFC instead). 
At the fast food chain, Zhi Ming spots Chun Jiao - with a kid! (she doesn't see him though) During the meal, Zhi Ming is engrossed watching Chun Jiao play with her daughter, much to Miao Li's dismay.
Miao Li feels threatened that Zhi Ming seemed so affected by the meeting, so she rubs it in his face, "she has a kid now so your feelings won't matter." They both proceed to brood at a bar (seperately, at a different venue).
And lest you feel sorry for Miao Li and her one-sided love, she is also the recipient of one - and it's Zheng Jie. Lucky girl! Zheng Jie's her colleague, and he often helps her out of situations, of which often finds herself in, due to her half-assed attitude at work. *sobs* My cutie pie is too good for her. 

It's morning, ie. the second day of work/torture. 
Meanwhile, Chun Jiao sends him out on near-impossible errands, to humiliating ones: He is to work as a bra salesman - and it's a very cushy job, so to speak.

But he's had enough of padded bras, and after a day of wearing them, he goes to confront her, "What have I done to offend you? Why are you making things difficult for me at every turn?"

Chun Jiao: "You're right, I am making your life difficult. I despise trash like you who comes into the company through connections because they don't have any talent. This team doesn't need you! You were hired by the Chairman, so I can't make you leave unless you want to yourself."
Woah, that was harsh. Zhi Ming: "Fine, I'll hand in my resignation right now." And turns to leave.

Chloe Says
Chun Jiao... you're so mean! I'd get it if she were just harsh to Zhi Ming, but no, she's just plain mean to everyone. The only time we see a different side of her is when she's in the company of her kid and her may-be husband/boyfriend (things are still unclear on that note). 

And frankly, if that memory from ten years ago was the worst of it, I'm not sure if that's enough to justify the 180 degree personality change. Whatever happened during that ten year gap, it had better be a damn good reason. 
There's such disparity between both personalities - her adult self and her teenage self - that I find it hard to reconcile the two.
Everything, that's what

The reason for my drama whiplash: Child actress Wen Zhen Ling's heartbreaking performance of Chun Jiao's teenage self in the flashbacks. Oh, the wailing. It's still ringing in my ears. From the adults' conversation, it's clear that the young Chun Jiao loved Zhi Ming without reservation, just giving and giving and giving. 

Child actor Xu Yi De gave a stellar performance too, as a %$#^@* heartbreaker with a cause. Why did he do what he did? We'll find out soon enough, I suppose.


  1. Sounds like a fun drama. Doesn't look like it ever got subbed, though.

  2. @LadySaotome: REALLY?! Unbelievable! I thought for sure viki has it (not sure how to navigate the site now - don't find it user friendly when finding non-Korean dramas)

    I'm only in Episode 2 now, but so far so good. Am only sorry I didn't caught up to this earlier.

  3. Thank you for the recap) I've been waiting for eng subs since summer and it's still not subbed))) I hope you'll post more recaps so that i'll be able to watch this drama) I read that it's one of best TW dramas with In time with you since Autumn's concerto)

  4. @Nastya: Yes you are right! This drama is really good and I am not getting the urge to bang my head on the desk out of second hand embarrassment.

    I don't mean this as an insult to ITWY (the show is a class of its own) but I don't find the characters as frustrating, so time goes a lot faster when watching this.

    I sincerely hope viki peeps would pick this up. This show is too good to pass up!

  5. Totally agree with you, i don't understand why people are not interested in this drama, i read somewhere that it's probably because of casting, there are no stars so there are no fans))) I'm watching In time with you right now and I also find several characters rather boring, I hope I won't see Maggie anymore)))) and even Ariel's character is bitchy but i don't mind till i have Li Da Ren and her ex))) ah, i'll share my impressions for this drama with you) P.S. When I think that even the worst K dramas are subbed and not this one, i'm getting angry)))

  6. Oh no don't be angry, hun! For every show has its fans :)

    Ah Maggie of the baby voice. She is one scary chick, good luck at tuning her out

  7. Hi!
    Finally i watched the first episode and I'm in love)) I wanted to kill a teenage version of Lai Zhi Ming) I hope that this kiss will be explained) and I wanted to ask you about what Diana talked to a guy from Paris) Is he her boyfriend? As I understood there is no answer for that) We'll see) Thank for this recap)

  8. @Nastya: In that episode, it wasn't clearly explained who he was, he could be a boyfriend or husband. You'll need to watch the following eps to find out, hehe.

  9. Hey girl, thanks for recapping! I'm a huge fan of this drama and I'm so happy it was nominated and recognized ne! It is my favorite drama this year (and possibly so far~). And I'm totally in love with Tony Yang now! Haha! (I also recommend his other recent project: "Wishing For Happiness" with Rainie and his infamous debut: "Formula 17")

    I have not the slightest idea why no one pick this up to sub! I hope it'll get sub soon! I personally love this 1000x more than ITWY!

    I can't wait for the other eps. I hope you'll like it enough to recap the entire drama!


    1. Ooh wishing for happiness sounds interesting *strokes chin* Shall baidu it, thanks!

      Yeah this show is def killing me, especially the kid counterparts (they're so good! I hope they'll choose acting as a profession). That being said, the reason why he left her all those years ago SUCK BALLS. I was anticipating a good explanation and they came up with some lame-ass makjang reason. *shakes head*

    2. agree with you! the youths were great!!!!!

  10. @ah Man: hehehe i know you'd find your way here and to the Ex-Boyfriend recaps XDDD me is so happy to have found this blog too!! ^_^

    1. hahahahah! *thumb's up* it's about time someone recap this! XD

  11. Hey thanks for the recap! I watched the first episode raw but decided to wait for the very unlikely possibility of subs. Your recap clarifies everything! :3

    And Tony is so HOT!