Jerry Yan x Barbie Xu: Best Last Decade On-Screen Ever!
Too bad they didn't have other scripts!
I may be biased in saying this considering Meteor Garden is the very first Chinese series I have watched from start to end with Meteor Garden II the next one. I watched Lavender, Westside Story, Dolphin Bay and a couple more Chinese drama. I have seen some interesting chemistry between Ambrose Xu and Tammy Chen but Jerry Yan and Barbie Xu for me had the best chemistry ever. The interaction felt real even when it wasn't a real romance, just TV romance but dang, I thought they would have made a great couple in real life. However, like Liu Xuehua, Barbie Xu married somebody else instead of her on-screen partner.
For Meteor Garden, I had no doubt enjoyed watching Jerry Yan and Barbie Xu play as Daoming Si and Shantsai. As Daoming Si, it required a really good actor like Jerry Yan that not even Lee Minho or Jun Matsumoto (who is marrying his on-screen partner Mao Inoue this year) could match the performance! Barbie Xu for me really made the strongest performance for Shantsai, I mean Mao Inoue was okay but the Korean version was so bad. I thought of Jerry Yan and Barbie Xu having the chemistry that we really want to have.
I did enjoy other couples like Wallace Huo and Penny Lin in 100% Senorita but they didn't have much of the charm of Jerry Yan and Barbie Xu. Later on, Jerry Yan had other leading ladies but none of them had the charm of Barbie Xu. Barbie Xu had other leading men but none of them had the charm of Jerry Yan. Maybe it's because Jerry Yan really has the debonair charm in acting and Barbie Xu really knows how to act. Put together, they would make a good weepy couple on-screen especially for Qiong Yao's classic novels.
Only if they make a comeback playing as the parents of the leading guy...
So a couple of years later, I was watching some old school Chinese drama from the 80s namely the 1986 version of Romance in the Rain. While I prefer the 2001 version better due to the 1986 version being too depressing (but there were minor changes from the gritty novel), I felt like Qin Han and Liu Xuehua had better chemistry than Leo Ku and Vicki Zhao. So quickly did I further understand why some of my older relatives called Jerry Yan as "Qin Han Jr." (and my mother called Qin Han as Jerry Yan Sr.) and were impressed by Barbie Xu's acting. Barbie Xu's acting reminded them of Liu Xuehua back in their day. For me, I have a harder time relating to their era because I've only seen Liu Xuehua in her later, middle aged years playing as a mother to either the leading lady or leading guy or at times, the mean antagonist (she should have played Daoming Feng in Meteor Garden).
The chemistry between Jerry Yan and Barbie Xu (for my elders anyway) would be comparable to Qin Han and Liu Xuehua. I couldn't relate that much back then considering I didn't have much of an interest with Chinese entertainment even if I was born two-three generations later from Chinese migrants. After watching the depressing version of Romance in the Rain (1986) I could really understand the charm Jerry Yan and Barbie Xu had, to the point that old school people watched Meteor Garden. Then I started hearing of other of Qin Han's and Liu Xuehua's shows like "Courtyard Deeply", "Seagull's Home" and "The Unforgettable Character" which I thought should have been remade with Jerry Yan and Barbie Xu. I even thought Barbie Xu should have been his leading lady in "Starlit" which was a sad, sad drama.
If there were some scenes that ran in my head that I wished happened between Jerry Yan and Barbie Xu were the following. I wanted to imagine Jerry Yan as a blind man who couldn't get go of his first love with Barbie Xu being the presumably deceased wife. I wanted to imagine Jerry Yan narrating his sad love story about his supposedly deceased wife and Barbie Xu having tears. I wanted to imagine Barbie Xu playing the piano and singing "Across the Water" while Jerry Yan and his family listens to the song or the two of them finding love across the way. After all, Barbie Xu has more or less the same charm as Liu Xuehua and Jerry Yan has more or less the same charm as Qin Han.
Well it's been done and somehow, maybe Jerry Yan fans would have to endure more teary eyed dramas than his lighter and softer projects like "Down with Love". Then again, it was a wasted opportunity for Qiong Yao to be able to redo a charm back in the 80s. After all, Jerry Yan and Barbie Xu were the Qin Han and Liu Xuehua of our time.