Remembering Meteor Garden
I would be rude not to write about Meteor Garden as a first opening. After all this is what sucked me into this world of Chinese drama in the first place. I've written about F4 but not Meteor Garden. This was the show that gave F4 its career and its name.
To those who really don't know what it is, it is a somewhat live adaptation of Hana Yori Dango which is a Japanese anime. The whole plot has the main characters of Jerry Yan as Doumyoji (Dao Ming Si), Vic Zhou as Ryu (Lei), Ken Zhu as Soujiro (Xi Men) and Vanness Wu as Akira (Mei Zuo). Barbie Xu played as the protagonist Tsukushi (Shan Tsai).
Along with them were some long-term seniors. One is Bu Xue Liang who acted as the teacher (short shots only), Tang Qi (Yu Sao), Dong Zhi Zheng and Wang Yue as Papa and Mama, and that Zhen Xiu Zhen (some people who have bad eyesight thinks she's Liu Xue Hua) as the evil mother Kaede Doumyoji (Dao Ming Feng) who is a more obvious form of evil than her manga counterpart.
I pretty thought of it why it was the first Chinese drama to easily click in the Philippines. Well I began to analyze the situation in the Philippines with the protagonist Shan Tsai (played Barbue Xu) and her parents. Her parents don't have money yet they continue to keep having debts, they are too conscious of material things, they foolishly spend the money and living with the Cinderella mentality which has become an ugly stereotype among many Filipino families. Shan Tsai would be comparable to the Filipino woman who strives on her own without much ambition who runs into a wealthy Filipino-Chinese guy that would be Dao Ming Si. And for Dao Ming Feng, well she would be the scary typical Filipino-Chinese mother who would object to the relationship.
Actually the part of Zhen Xiu Zhen as the wicked mother was iconic. I mean she's been playing soft characters now she's got to play as a really wicked one! Hmmm... her flexibility is shown in the second season when she does present her own impressive dance number. It was iconic too! I could say Zhen Xiu Zhen really acted her part as it should be- a despicable old hag that makes our lives miserable. In Meteor Garden I or II, her performance is consistent throughout.
Side story: I ended up thinking about the Ken Zhu and Rainie Yang scenario when I fell in love with another girl in College whom I intended just to play along with. Another is I think I might end up picking up a slightly scratched remain of an ordinary girl who gets a bad ex-bf. I don't know but Xi Men and Xiao You's story seems to hit me the most.
Between Meteor Garden 1 and 2, I prefer the first season because of the wide range of humor, more direct plot rather than the second season which dragged it for too long. Meteor Garden 2 was good but dragging got me to think it wasn't worth the rewind except to see Pace Wu who appeared mid-season.
My ratings are a 9/10 for season one and a 7/10 for season two for those reasons.