TV Binge: A Love So Beautiful (致我们单纯的小美好, 2017)

The first to show up is one accessible to most because on Netflix. International stuff, yay! I probably should have written the Meteor Garden one up first since that was how I landed on watching this one. Oh well, that one is coming up just it is a whole lot more work for that one so here we are at A Love So Beautiful. Its also perfectly timed because another story from the same author was also adapted called Put Your Head On My Shoulder (致我们暖暖的小时光) is currently playing on WeTV channel on Youtube.

While I’ve been reviewing a lot of Chinese variety shows, this is the first drama that I’ll be talking about and after some thought, I’m going to work on a few points that I think should be discussed as a general outline for future TV binge posts to make it easier to write up, especially for the Chinese series.

A Love So Beautiful (2017)

A Love So Beautiful

Creator: Yang Long

Cast: Shen Yue, Hu Yi Tian, Gao Zhi Ting, Sun Ning, Wang Zi Wei, Monica Lv

It starts off with high school classmates Chen Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen who are also neighbors. Xiao Xi, a cheerful girl who doesn’t study much, is expressive about her admiration towards Jiang Chen, the popular guy known for his looks and high grades. Together with their fellow classmates the funny Lu Yang, athletic but loyal Jingjing, and cool swimming team member Wu Bo Song, they embark on high school life to university until their adult life. – MyDramaList

STORY

A Love So Beautiful is adapted from To Our Pure Little Beauty by Qianqian Zhao. The story revolves around the very outwardly Chen Xiao Xi (Shen Yue) who professes her love directly to Jiang Chen (Hu Yitian) at the beginning of her senior high year, which kicks off the ton of the film. She tries to impress him and in turn be a better version of herself to match up to him. The story itself is cute and hilarious because she does a lot of little things that most of the time backfire or becomes very awkward. However, there is this heartwarming element of coming to age and finding herself especially as she grows up. Its this lightheartedness of the story and how its delivered that makes the few years in high school and their step into university and then adulthood become such a fun experience (most of the time, because this is still a drama). The tone of the series sets itself up right at the beginning and it maintains it. At the same time, what helps it in the storytelling is filling in those little moments at the end of every episode to give a hidden moment or just the inner thoughts of a character (mostly used by Jiang Chen since he talks less). At the same time, the story focuses on the friendship of five friends that also gets sparked from the first episode onwards.

LENGTH/PACING

A Love So Beautiful clocks in at 23 episodes with shorter 20 minutes special to make total 24 episodes. Each episode is about 40 minutes long. Those are one of the most fun to watch as the episode lengths are very reasonable and episode count is also very restricted giving it the space to be paced fairly quickly with enough development to give all the characters space to grow but never linger on anything too long.

CHARACTERS/CHEMISTRY

A LOVE SO BEAUTIFUL

The main focus of A Love So Beautiful is on five characters. Billed as the main leads is Shen Yue playing Chen Xiao Xi and Hu Yi Tian playing Jiang Chen who both star in their first main roles here. Fighting for Shen Yue’s love and attention is Wu Bosong, played by Gao Zhi Ting. On the other hand is Chen Xiao Xi’s good friends, Lu Yang played by Wang Zi Wei and Lin Jingxiao played by Sun Ning who also have a love tangent as Lu admires Lin and sets out to chase her also. Looking at the characters, each of these five have their differences in their personality and make them mesh together really well. Chen Xiao Xi works with her cute and silly personality but not as invested in school and the more serious things at school, while her best friend Lin, is more of a strong and smart character. Their friendship starts at the beginning of the series and sees it become very strong to almost being sisters. While at the same time, the boys in the series are held together by Lu, who is not so much invested in school who plays almost a male version of Chen Xiao Xi and explains how they always share the same general interests but also argue with each other a lot and its these friendly bickering moments that make for a lot of comedic moments. However, the love triangle is presented as a very skewed one because we know that Chen Xiao Xi likes Jiang Chen and Wu Bosong likes her while we eventually know that Jiang Chen, while always acts cold and indifferent actually can see in his small movements that he does care about Chen Xiao Xi also.

One of the strengths of A Love So Beautiful is in its characters. The way that they focus on the friendships here and the strength of it no matter what happens between them. At the same time, the love triangle is also not frustrating but rather one that its easy to get wrapped up in who is better for Xiao Xi, despite the fact that there is no doubt that she does like Jiang the most from the beginning and her perseverance is one that is admirable to say the least. However, as she gets over and gives more than she gets back (from what she knows), its hard to not feel bad for her when Jiang’s resistance to sharing his feelings eventually becomes to get in his way. Its the moments that we see them together that we also learn a little more about a lot of actions is stronger than talk and their chemistry works because of that. However, a lot of praise has to go to Wu because he really is a great person here as he is the role of ultimate unrequited love but is so great because despite everything he is not only loyal to everyone in the friends group, he also is one of the more simple characters as he has big dreams. What works here is that whether who it is, the differences in each of the characters here give each of their interactions something different and depth and it works in the show’s favor so much.

OVERALL

a love so beautiful

A Love So Beautiful is a fun little TV series in the landscape of Chinese TV dramas. In its high school crushes to romances and friendship, it highlights the emphasizes a lot of positive themes other than its cute romance but it embodies a coming of age for all these characters in each of their own ways, having the courage to step forward to follow their own dreams as well as the importance of family and friends. It takes a more lighthearted, well-paced and cute/fun and heartwarming angle and it works so very well. Its one of my favorite TV dramas so far. One that I willingly rewatch. While I do like all the characters, this series really fortified my love for Shen Yue and her acting and looking at the different role she takes in Meteor Garden (will be discussed soon) and her upcoming roles which also go in different characters, it’ll be interesting to see where she takes her career especially since she keeps a down to earth attitude when in variety shows which gives her a uniqueness to her as an actress. My only real criticism for A Love So Beautiful is how it ends because it feels so random to end that way. In its way, it seems to go full circle but then it felt a little awkward to cut it off where it did.

That’s it for this TV binge!
The first Chinese TV drama binge finally crossed off the list!

A Love So Beautiful is available on Netflix with all kinds of subtitles so its one to check out if this type of series if up your alley.

Music Obsessions – November 2018

music obsessions

Welcome to the next Music Obsessions!

This past month has been quite a new adventure as I strive to get out of a writing rut as well as get out of this black hole that Meteor Garden created in my life. The good news is that I’ve moved on to various Chinese series and the bad news is that they have somewhat invaded my life while everything else was going on. They all had their own desired effect from helping me let out my frustration because the show was so freaking frustrating to watch falling on the tropes that get me annoyed despite liking the characters. Or falling into the cute and sweet high school life series and so on.

123 I Love You

Nothing like a cute song to kick things off, right? 123 I Love You has some very adorable lyrics and the tune is really upbeat. Its kind of like the song to sing at some romantic event like a wedding or something. Very cute karaoke style as well. I heard it from a game show segment on Happy Camp and seeked it out.

It’s a Dream – Hu Yi Tian
(A Love So Beautiful – Ending Theme)

Right after Meteor Garden, I went to seek out another TV series and found that Shen Yue debuted in A Love So Beautiful which is a short little TV series which is really cute but has some incredibly touching moments. I’ll have a TV binge on that one soon since I’ve watched it like 2 more times afterwards. The opening theme is also really good but somehow I like the ending theme a little more The lyrics connect with me a little more.

Not a Damn Thing Changed – Lukas Graham

Lukas Graham’s music truly soars when he sings about something very personal to him/them since it is a band. This song actually was released about the time that I learned about my grandmother’s death (or a little before but I don’t remember exactly) and it touched me quite a bit. Its a powerful tune and lyrics.

Chasing the Light – Yoyo Sham

Suffice to say that A Love So Beautiful moved into watching the debut series for the guy in that one and it landed on Rush to the Dead Summer and while Hu Yi Tian isn’t the main guy and is a cameo/supporting character,  this one is also one that I liked a lot for various reasons and I’m currently rewatching. This song is a great one that I’m currently still very addicted to and actually trying to learn how to sing it correctly. Its been a while that I’ve had some more current music that makes me want to get it right. It is a pretty awesome feeling to get back in touch with my singing. Rush to the Dead Summer also has a great soundtrack but this one is the one that tugs my heartstrings the most.

A Person Like Me – Xuedong Chen
(cover on Transboundary Singer Season 3)

There is a whole connection going on here but the main star of Rush to the Dead Summer, Chen Xuedong is currently someone I’m the most interested in following his career so I went back to this summer’s Transboundary Singer Season 3 because I also heard him sing and loved it on Happy Camp and decided to follow that. His music choice and his voice is fantastic. One of my faves because of his range. This was the song he sang at Happy Camp but this is the Transboundary Singer performance. I love everything about this from his style change to the way he sings it.

Fairy Town Plus – An Gang

One of the performances of Chen Xuedong on Transboundary Singer was a cover of this song. Because I liked his rendition so much, I decided to seek out the original and this is a twist on an original called Fairy Town. This one takes on a different style but the lyrics here really are awesome. I’d translate it but its a 5 minute song so would take a long time and I’m a bit lazy. One of my favorite lyrics that kind of relate to how I feel sometimes about this whole blogging and podcast business is translated into this:

他們問我堅持了這麼久是為了什麼 ?
我說我沒有堅持因為喜歡所以快樂
很多人一輩子忙忙碌碌不會懂得:
有個被嘲笑的夢想萬一有天實現了呢?

They asked me why I persevered for so long,?
I said that I didn’t persevere but because I like it that’s why I’m happy,
A lot of people are busy all their lives  and don’t understand:
What if a laughable dream one day will come true?

Not a perfect translation but I hope you get what I mean. Anyways, there is a lot of cool stuff in here as it takes fairy tales and mixes in reality and dreams. Its pretty awesome. The original song is also really great and the lyrics are different and not in this rap style.

That’s it for this Music Obsessions!
Very Chinese music heavy but still, its the phase I’m in.
Hopefully you find something that you like. Some of these videos have English translations in their videos so that’s a plus. 

What have you been listening to lately?