What’s Up 2020: Week 26

Happy Canada Day! 🙂

Let’s get right down to business! Things have been going pretty well this week’s recap in all departments of reading, watching, playing and binging!

READING

call numbers

  • Call Numbers: The Not So Quiet Life of Librarians (Review)

Currently reading: The Memories We Bury

I’m in a bit of a reading blitz phase since I apparently have some lag in reading and bad organization so I end up binge reading a lot. In the matter of a 2 days of focused reading, I went through Call Numbers which is definitely a nice setting and built a decent foundation to kick off for its second book. You can check out the review now.

As of now, I’ve moved onto the next book which was a last minute commitment so I’m working hard on reading through this one right now. Luckily, I’ve read this author’s books before and they are quite easy to get into. The Memories We Bury are alright at about the 20% mark. Review coming up very soon.

PLAYING

glass masquerade 2

Currently playing: Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions

Steam Summer Sale is currently in progress so they had a sweet deal of having a few dollars off from purchases over $35 if I remember correctly. I picked up Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions which I loved the first game, one that I had played earlier this year and is this relaxing experience. After that, I picked up a sweet deal on Soul Calibur VI, Luna and Gorogoa. All games that I’ve been wanting to play. The last week was a bit meh so Glass Masquerade 2 came at a good time to relieve some stress.

WATCHING

ready or not

  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
  • Kidnap (2017, Review)
  • Killer Legends (2014, Review)
  • The Lodgers (2017)
  • Luz (2018)
  • Gone Girl (2014 rewatch, Review)
  • Ready or Not (2019)

Productive movie watching as I tried to get ahead with the double feature selections although once you fall behind, its really not too easy to catch up on. With that said, 2 selections for Movies and Tea this week as well as 4 movies for the double features and then the last one and the one that I’d love to highlight (although there were some decent titles this week) is the rental for Ready or Not. Can I say again how much I love Samara Weaving in this type of movie? Mayhem (review) was great and The Babysitter (review) was really fun Honestly, its so much fun to watch. I’d have no problem watching this one over and over again. Now to pick this one up at some point to own permanently.

With that said, I do want to give an honorable mention to Luz and The Lodgers which is the upcoming double feature which were two rather unique titles. The first was a tad odd but did land a lot of the creepy feeling and the second had a few typical horror jumpscare moments but overall, did have some unique elements and twist to the whole thing.

BINGING

mr fox and miss rose

  • Crazy Delicious (Season 1, 2020)
  • Mr. Fox and Miss Rose (2020)

Currently binging: We Are Blazing, Woof Meow Story, Yes I Do 2, Go Fridge 6, Wonderful Little Forest, Produce Camp 2020, You Are My Destiny, Viva La Romance 2, Rap Star, We Are Young

Lots of variety shows handing in the air. I love food reality competition shows and Crazy Delicious did deliver alright on that level. I’ll talk about it in an upcoming TV binge post. With that said, I wanted to give a moment to Mr. Fox and Miss Rose that just wrapped up. I honestly think they got cheated out of this because this aired at the same time as two other more popular choices so Tencent promoted those shows more and didn’t even put this one in its header banner on the Youtube channel. Such a pity because this one was so much fun to watch and it wasn’t even a teen schoolyard romance. The characters and the story and how it linked these characters to The Little Prince all was done so well that it should have gotten more views. I need to seriously think about doing a week of solely TV binge posts at this point as I’ve had too much backlog that only half written.

With the variety show Great Escape 2’s coming up next week, I’m really happy a few of these variety shows are ending in the next week or so to clear up some of the time. All the shows are currently ongoing so it makes for a hard time to remember which is playing when. Actually, the last few weeks have had another Tencent show that I’m watching but it doesn’t have an English title so I never added in. Its really crazy! New addition this week is supposedly the only channel doing a boy group competition called We Are Young run by Youku and featuring among the 84 contestants a good few that did well in other competition shows but didn’t make it in the final winning boy group. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes as a portion of the mentors are also from other shows like Produce 101/Produce Camp 2019 and Idol Producer. As for Produce 2020, its heading into the final episode next week and Katy Perry did a video for the show which is pretty cool.

That’s it for Week 26 recap!
What have you been reading/watching/binging/playing?

TV Binge: Queer Eye (Season 5, 2020)

Queer Eye (Season 5, 2020)

Queer Eye Season 5

Cast: Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, Jonathan Van Ness

A new Fab Five set out to Atlanta Philadelphia to help some of the city’s people refine their wardrobes, grooming, diet, cultural pursuits, and home décor. – IMDB

Season 5 of Queer Eye couldn’t have been released at a better time. With the world being hit by many things including pandemic. Its not been a great 2020 and yet, Queer Eye’s message from the first season always feels like we’re not defined by our differences but our similarities and that’s why every season, we see them moving to different place in the United States as well as picking different people with varying gender, backgrounds, etc. With the latest season changing base to Philadelphia, its yet another batch of “heroes” to discover all with their own touching stories.

At the fifth season of Queer Eye, its still full steam ahead. There are some very small changes to their structure. Its not really needed since they had a pretty good balance. With each person and what they need to makeover, its more about finding that more emotional change to clear out some of that emotional baggage and burden and then balancing it with the other external elements of style, home design/organization, food, grooming. In that sense, while Karamo’s role of culture is a big one, it meshes in with some of the other Fab Five’s task.

What really does stand out in Season 5 is that this season, they picked a lot of people who on different levels related more to one of the Fab Five group and gives them their time to guide each of these people with their own personal experiences. It feels like sometimes the show does help the people they choose but at the same time, it also helps the Fab Five grow as well as there is an obvious change (in a good way) of how they are as people. One of the best parts of watching shows like this is not only seeing the nice makeovers and the shock and often gratitude of the moment but also seeing these more personal stories being told that are very well relatable on different levels. Its the positive vibes that flow in every moment and the value of being able to embrace change that gives so much life to the show itself.

At the fifth season of Queer Eye, you pretty know what to expect from the show. Its a makeover show but somehow, it brings a lot more to the table than just that. Its about everyday people and their difficulties and how to get their life back on track. I’m sure that the show works on many levels because its relatable. Sure, we’re not going to go and do some intense makeover but its a way to look at the people around us as well as even our own lives and issues in a different light and with it, whatever positive message applies to the viewer. Bingeworthy, emotional and sending out positive vibes as always.

Hopefully, we’ll be seeing the sixth season of Queer Eye sooner rather than later.

What’s Up 2020: Week 25

Bonne Saint-Jean to my fellow Quebecers (if there’s anyone reading this from Quebec)!

Almost halfway through the year everyone as we hit Week 25 and summer is finally here. The tail end of this week left us in extreme heat wave so I spent a lot of time sitting in or by the pool to cool down than sitting in my partially air-conditioned home. Plus, the Summer Game Fest started off over the last two weeks and it took us a little by surprise so had to clear out some schedule to do some coverage over at Game Warp.  Let’s see how it all went down!

READING

call numbers

Currently reading: Call Numbers: The Not-So-Quiet Life of Librarians

Sitting by the pool and reading is one of those things that I truly enjoy doing during the evening so I finally moved forward with Call Numbers. I’m about at the 25% mark (maybe a little over) and I need to get more time to read some more but its been an interesting read as its about the dynamics of these characters working at this library.

PLAYING

steam game festival

Summer Game Fest bought along the Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition which was a pile (more like a mountain) of free demos to try out on upcoming or released games. It was more games than I could keep track of so I just sat down and downloaded the demos that looked like it would be my cup of tea and took a chance on it.

  • The Almost Gone
  • Moncage
  • Ami
  • Arrog
  • A Juggler’s Tale
  • Backbone: Prologue
  • Unbound: Worlds Apart
  • Slender Threads
  • Under
  • Genesis Noir

With that said, the first 5 demos in the list have already had a First Impressions post go up on Game Warp that you can check out HERE.

I’m working on the last 5 as a second batch so that should come out soon.

WATCHING

social network

  • The Social Network (2010)
  • Jack Frost (1997, Review)

Much to my awesome co-host’s credit and the latest season recordings for Movies and Tea, I finally got around to watching The Social Network. Biopics aren’t usually my go-to genre but this one is pretty good. Its the obvious standout of the week as I can’t say the same for the other movie I saw which was more of a B-horror comedy that I wasn’t overly enthusiastic with but then did have some fun. Still, in terms of biopics, The Social Network does do a good job especially with its characters and how its executed. I won’t say too much and leave it for you all to listen when the podcast eventually comes out (but we’re way ahead with recording so it might be a little while).

BINGING

me to us

  • Me To Us (Season 1, 2020)
  • Floor is Lava (Season 1, 2020) Review

Currently binging: Produce Camp 2020, Wonderful Little Forest, You Are My Destiny, Mr. Fox and Miss Rose, Woof Meow Story, Rap Star, Viva La Romance 4, Go Fridge 6, Yes I Do 2

It seems spring/summer season for variety shows and whatnot are all clashing together with content. I’ve been caught up on a bunch of Tencent TV series and then watching a lot of variety shows from Mango TV.  A few new things started up like Viva La Romance Season 4, the first season of Rap Star which is a contest for hip hop music and Wonderful Little Forest which is a show about taking a bunch of young kids on littler adventures to learn about nature.

The highlight for this week goes to the wrap-up of Me To Us which is a show about putting together bands and crowning a band to promote. The structure of the contest and how it puts together the voting system of both industry experts and public audience is a nice one that I’m going to probably do a TV binge post on it.  The first season crowned the band that I liked the most throughout the whole show (and the video above is one of their performances, not the final one since that’s not up yet) plus it has my all-time fave Nicholas Tse as one of the mentors. I’m really hoping that this show gets a second season. Bands have a fairly limited audience in the Chinese music landscape as boy groups and girl groups keep having these competitions, which are good but bands are such a different style and if they do, hopefully retaining the three mentors in this season.

That’s it for this week’s recap!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

 

TV Binge: Floor is Lava (Season 1, 2020)

Floor is Lava (Season 1, 2020)

floor is lava

Host: Rutledge Wood

Teams compete to navigate rooms flooded with lava by leaping from chairs, hanging from curtains and swinging from chandeliers. – IMDB

Anyone hanging around this blog knows that I’m a big fan of binging these reality competition shows from Netflix so in when Floor is Lava was announced, I was really excited to see how it was going to be. In concept, Floor is Lava is a great idea as its a bit of the amateur version of Ultimate Beastmaster where its just every day people teamed together to make it to navigate the room and make it to the exit.

Its definitely a fun idea and for the most part, its pretty entertaining and a lot of it is thanks to a great hosting effort from Rutledge Wood, who has moved from his car-related shows to this type of game show (although I’d really like to know whether a second season of Hyperdrive is going to happen at some point). Still, he pulls off some great background voice with some good jokes and narrating over the whole happenings of the course.

floor is lava

The rooms themselves are quite interesting to watch but as a lot of teams do work in similar fashion, some of those episodes are a little more repetitive. Luckily, these episodes run at around 30 minutes each so it keeps things pretty quick. It has that unknown factor of how many will make it to the end but at the same time, it doesn’t have that many surprises but then, this is a reality show and you can’t really control how things turn out. Lets face it, a lot of these shows work because of watching how these contestants fail or overcome those more challenging obstacles.

If there was something to comment on which makes this show a little inconsistent and feels like they are still using Season 1 to experiment on structure over the 10 episodes.  Here’s the general idea of the structure over the 10 episodes and the changes that occur so that its gives a better view of what I’m about to discuss. The show is structured in first 5 episodes are five different rooms titled Level 1 and the last 5 episodes is Level 2 of the same rooms except with some little changes like booby traps and such. However, not only do the level changes but the second half also fluctuates between some episodes having 2 teams battling it out and then 2 people teams instead of the normal 3 people team and these little changes in the norm happens for one episode here and there. Its a good and bad thing. On one hand, its good because you can see it as variety. However, on the other hand,  it felt more like an inconsistency and not sure why they chose to do it this way. Maybe it meant to feel refreshing. Its not exactly a criticism but something that I’m not sure how I actually feel about it as it didn’t feel like it added to the show as I had enjoyed the original structure of three teams going through each room per episode.

Overall, Floor is Lava is a fun concept. Its something of a silly entertainment as its not exactly serious especially the over the top sinking into the lava portions for the contestants. There are some little things I’m not quite sure about with the structure they chose throughout the season however, Rutledge Wood’s hosting is one of the standout points and some of the room designs are pretty fun and vary in difficulty level. The show has some  space for improvement and hopefully if it does get a second season, it will decide on a more solid structure. Still, its fun enough that I would watch another season.

What’s Up 2020: Week 24

Welcome back to another week of What’s Up 2020 as we look back at last week. In terms of entertainment, I’m definitely doing a lot more of everything. My time management does leave a little bit to desire though as a lot of things sitting in the to-do list. The next two weeks is something of a crunch time at work, its only going to slow down from this point until July. Before we get ahead of ourselves, lets check out what’s up!

READING

call numbers

Currently reading: Call Numbers: The Not So Quiet Life of a Librarian

I’m going to flat out say that I did some massive push on reading the last 2 weeks so I didn’t get around to much reading this week. I might have advanced a chapter or something. Not enough to say anything too significant at this point.

PLAYING

hidden folks

  • Hidden Folks: On Tour

Currently playing: Ori and the Will of the Wisps

I actually 100% completed Hidden Folks. I wrapped up the On Tour DLC which was a lot of fun to do  and then realized that I hadn’t finished a previous level so went back to do that. Hidden Folks is always a fun and silly gaming experience that makes me laugh. Its just a black and white funkier hand-drawn version of Where’s Waldo but its just so silly with all the characters you need to find with the quirky clues that its always so impressive.

As for upcoming game to play, I HAVE TO start playing Ori and the Will of the Wisps as I’ve been pushing it back over and over again and I’m a bit tired of this unnecessary procrastination.

WATCHING

jigsaw

  • Hush (1998, Review)
  • Hannah Gadsby: Douglas (2020)
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
  • I Kill Giants (2017, Friday Film Club)
  • Humanoids From The Deep (1980, Review)
  • Jigsaw (2017)
  • Blood Machines (2019)
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

As you can see, the most abundant section goes to watching movies, which is something of a change in normal pacing as usually movie watching has been very minimal. I needed to catch up with it for upcoming double features and whatnot. I watched a few meh movies and then some odd ones as well but then one of these is for Movies and Tea. To be fair, I had some surprising hits like I Kill Giants, Jigsaw and I Know What You  Did Last Summer. I chose I Kill Giants for the Friday Film Club pick so you can check out the link above. I may have a more fleshed out review when I do the double feature. As fun as I Know What You Did Last Summer was, it was very much the expected 90s cheesy slasher flick that I enjoyed whereas Jigsaw had a few bad movie sequels in the first run so I had very low expectations for this 2017 continuation which turned out to be really fun to watch and I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would.

BINGING

queer eye 5

  • Queer Eye (Season 6, 2020)

Currently binging: Go Fridge 6, You Are My Destiny, Me To Us, Produce Camp 2020, We Are Blazing, Woof Meow Story, Mr. Fox and Miss Rose

Nothing feels better when things around are fairly negative than a new season of Queer Eye. Season 5 of Queer Eye arrives at just the right time with 10 episodes in a new location, Philadelphia. Bingeworthy as always, of course and I’ll be getting the TV binge for this up soon.

As for the currently binging section, Me to Us is going to be ending soon and that one has really caught my attention. I have a band or two that I hope will win this whole thing in the final episode coming. At the same time, the newest addition to the list is Mr. Fox and Miss Rose that I was a little hesitant to start but has proved very light-hearted and binge-worthy. Its a little bit of a fish out of water story but also a little bit of gem-hunting schemes and mixed with some romance which blends pretty well together. I’m past the halfway point and its still going pretty strong so really looking forward to see where it will take the story. Everything else is still pretty fun to watch in the currently binging.

That’s it for this weekly recap!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

What’s Up 2020: Week 23

Another week has gone by as we step into June! Weather is warming up and we’re starting to find the reason to get back to the great outdoors and hike some more to escape a little and get back into shape a little more. We will leave that for the next Weekly Adventures and upcoming posts.

READING

No Signal

  • No Signal by Jem Tugwell (Review)
  • Reaper: A Horror Novella by Jonathan Pongratz

Currently reading: Call Numbers: The Not So Quiet Life of Librarians

Fantastic progress with reading this week. I’ve been reading outside by the pool or in the sun a little during lunch time or weekend mornings. Its a lovely feeling and very efficient in terms of just catching up to the book commitments that I have to try to wrap up before the end of June. I’m definitely getting back on track! Both of the books that I read are really pretty good but I’d have to say that No Signal is impressive as both a sequel and the premise it takes and especially the world building. You can check out the review linked above.

PLAYING

hidden folks

Currently playing: Hidden Folks: On Tour

Hidden Folks, in general, brings me immense joy and then they always deliver new levels for free and that makes me also very appreciative. There’s just so much to love about Hidden Folks from its sound effects made by humans to its cute little things you need to find in the level and the quirky descriptions they use as clues. Its really a lot to love and their latest free DLC level is On Tour is just great. I’m still playing through the 2nd of 6 levels or something so still a long way to go.

WATCHING

the garden of words

  • Harith Iskander: I Told You So (2018)
  • Hannah Gadsby: Nanette (2018)
  • The Foreigner (2017, Review)
  • Gwen (2018)
  • The Garden of Words (2013)

A little bit of stand-up comedy shows and a few more movies this week. Its really quite the improvement from the last 2 weeks at least. About time too, since I was running out of movies to review for the double feature if I didn’t start picking up some more movie watching time. Some solid movies here which were very different. One was slow-burn, one was nice and the other was action so it had a nice balance. The Garden of Words is my highlight of this week, although the two stand-up comedy shows were pretty decent also. This anime is only 45 minutes and is directed and written by the creator of Your Name and still has some great storytelling abilities as well as visuals.

BINGING

welcome back to sound

  • The Big Flower Fight (Season 1, 2020) Review
  • Welcome Back To Sound (Season 1, 2020)

Currently binging: Produce Camp 2020, Me To Us, Woof Meow Story, Go Fridge 6, Yes I Do 2, We Are Blazing, Queer Eye S6

While I had a lot of fun with The Big Flower Fight, I do have to say I’ve been really loving Mango TV’s latest variety reality show, Welcome Back To Sound which is pretty much bringing back the concept of radio shows where people call in with their stories and they listen and give their advice or discuss and try to suggest or guide them. The goal of the show is to pull people away from the screen life and bring back human contact of being on the phone or writing letters, etc. Some of the stories are incredibly touching and some are fairly bizarre and quirky and then each show, they have a listener goal and a different mission/challenge as their own showcase or structure. Its too bad that Mango TV doesn’t have English subtitles as its one of those shows that would be definitely worth a watch especially since the three hosts and their guests are all very fun to watch. At least Season 2 is confirmed so looking forward to that hopefully before next year.

That’s it for this Week 23’s recap!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

TV Binge: The Big Flower Fight (Season 1, 2020)

The Big Flower Fight (Season 1, 2020)

The Big Flower Fight

Hosts & Resident Judge: Natasia Demetriou, Vic Reeves, Kristen Griffith-Vanderyacht

Ten pairs of florists, sculptors and garden designers face off in a friendly floral fight to see who can build the biggest, boldest garden sculptures. – IMDB

Netflix comes up with a lot of reality competition shows and a lot of times, they do work for the most part and then sometimes, we have shows that make us wonder whether there is an actual market and who else is watching it? The Big Flower Fight is one of those shows where I did enjoy watching it because I’m a big fan of flowers, plants and gardening in general but then I’m wondering how many of us have that ambition to go and make some relatable garden sculptures like these 20 people are doing over 15 hours. However, what makes its fun is that competition element and the whole different themed weeks which bring in different types of flowers and plants that give it that educational element.

the big flower fight

If we take a look at the hosts Natasia Demetriou and Vic Reeves, they do have a nice humorous charm in their hosting style. There’s a lot to love about how they approach each stage. Sometimes, its a big over the top but it does feel like its in the context of giving this tense competition process some kind of relief. I think other than the hosts themselves, the judges themselves deserve some discussion. I’m not an expert at these renowned event florists and landscapers and horticulturist so none of these people mean anything to me and they could be saying anything in terms of their vision and what is being done to judge it, but if anything, it goes back to expanding our knowledge in this field. At the same time, they also share a lot of knowledge on the different plants available in the nursery that fit the theme on hand. The resident judge, Kristen Griffith-Vanderyacht is also quite a fun addition because he has some charisma and character that it brightens the show and his views are rather interesting as he looks at each of these sculptures.

the big flower fight

Just like baking shows and whatnot, while this feels definitely more of a niche market, it gives a platform to a different group of people around the world who has a passion for different types of planting from urban indoor gardens to event florists to artists as their outlet and a chance to show the world their skills. For that, The Big Flower Fight does a really good job. Life’s about learning new things. Just like a fraction of anyone is going to join into Hyperdrive or Ultimate Beastmaster, the same goes for The Big Flower Fight where its mostly a learning process. In the end, garden sculptures is something of an art/exhibition piece. Everyone’s interpretation and execution as the show goes along sheds some light on how they use their plants and the whole process of giving them alive. I’m not going to go and plant a garden sculpture anytime soon (or ever) and while I question how popular this show actually is and how many people are turning this on, its a unique angle to focus on and one that I’ve had a rather fun time watching as its not only about plants but also about the engineering behind each of these structures and sculptures and the balance that it achieves. There’s quite a bit of finesse, knowledge and skills needed to do all this.

Have you seen The Big Flower Fight or at have an intention to watch it?

What’s Up 2020: Week 22

Week 22 wraps up the month of May and marks over 2 months of lockdown phase. Its been one of the slowest weeks in terms of progress as I had a lot of work stuff to take care of that affected a lot of other progress. However, I still managed to get a few things ticked off the list. Let’s check it out!

READING

to wake the dead

  • To Wake The Dead (The Dead Dreamer #2) by Sarah Lampkin (Review)

Currently reading: No Signal

Book 2 of To Wake The Dead was definitely a fun read. Its a series that reminds me a lot of watching TV series like Shadowhunters and The Vampire Diaries both in the fullness of events and the direction it chooses to take. Its mostly compliments and you can check it out in the review which is already posted and linked above.

I’ve moved on to an upcoming blogging commitment as I tackle another sequel of a book that I reviewed earlier this year called Proximity (review). This has a wonderful world building set up from the first book as well and is something of a tech thriller which is rather well thought out. So far, the sequel is pretty decent and hopefully it will remain that way. However, I am still in the first half so we will see.

PLAYING

orwell

  • Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You (2016)

Orwell was released in 2016 and is something similar to the premise of No Signal where this reality has a government sets up outside people to monitor the information of everyone to protect their society. Of course, the debate is whether it works for the people or against them, right? Its an investigative style of game where you read through articles and find info to put together target people profiles. This is just Season 1 of Orwell and its out upcoming game review on Game Warp so I won’t talk too much about it.

WATCHING

joker

  • Flowers in the Attic (1987)
  • Joker (2019)

Another slow week in movie watching! I’ve just been incredibly indecisive on watching movies so its slowed down the progress as I compile a watch list for the alphabet themed Double Feature. Its cutting it close since I’m running out of movies to review so need to pick up the pace. However, we did have to catch up on a rental for Joker that was about to expire. Joker had a lot of talk last year and we wanted to give it a watch to see whether it lived up to all the good reviews. For the most part, it did. Joaquin Phoenix takes on Joker in a different way and I’ll talk about it more in an upcoming double feature (once I find a film to pair it with outside of the alphabet double feature…).

BINGING

please love me

  • Please Love Me (Season 1, 2019)
  • Youth With You 2 (Season 2, 2020)
  • The Great Canadian Baking Show (Season 3, 2019)

Currently binging: Produce Camp 2020, Me to Us, Woof Meow Story, Go Fridge 6, Welcome Back To Sound, Yes I Do 2, The Big Flower Fight

A show knocked off the currently binging list from last week but as usual, I’m adding more to it while catching up with some that I’ve put aside for a week or so. At the same time, I didn’t return to one or two shows this week while at the same time starting up some completely new shows. One of them is going back to a show I had meant to watch last year but didn’t called Please Love Me which was pretty bingeworthy other than a few elements that I’ll talk about when I get around to the TV Binge. I’m deciding on what my next show to watch is since I’m debating on whether to watching something currently releasing or catching up on another of last year’s dramas (or this year’s) that I didn’t get a chance when it was first released. Either way, I’ll figure it out while watching a bunch of variety shows.

That’s it for Week 22 recap!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

TV Binge: Find Yourself (下一站是幸福, 2020)

Find Yourself (下一站是幸福, 2020)

Find Yourself

Cast: Victoria Song, Wei Long Song, David Wang, Yu Jian Zhang, Esther Yu, Katherine Yang, Miles Wei, Elaine Tong, Jocelyn Zhou

He Fan Xing’s company is at risk of being acquired while her relationship with Yuan Song faces societal pressures due to their age difference. The consecutive blows in her work and love life push her to an emotional quagmire and it is during this time that Ye Lu Ming enters her life. Being older in age, he is mature, stable and knowledgeable. He becomes He Fan Xing’s life coach and the source of conflict between the couple. For He Fan Xing, it’s not merely a matter of choosing the man that she loves but considering the contradictions of adopting the traditional mindset on marriage. – MyDramaList

Where to Watch: Netflix

QUOTES/SCENE

Yuan Song (YS): Almost there! Almost there!
Fan Xing (FX): How long?
YS: Right away. Just a few steps.
FX: Where are we going?
YS: We’re there!
FX: Wow!
YS: Looking at night scenery doesn’t count as creative but when I spend a lot of money, you have pressure. Not spending money and making you happy, I didn’t have time to prepare.
FX: You noticed?
YS: When you filled up my fridge, I already noticed.
FX: What else did you notice?
YS: I noticed that today you are exceptionally pretty, does that count?
FX: *laughs*
YS: What are you laughing at? Was I really weird just now? Did my eyes not attract you? Online, it said that when you look at someone up close, they will be attracted to you. ..Stop laughing. Is it that funny?
FX: It tickles. Stop, stop! *hugs*
YS: I wish that time would stop.
FX: Being in love (relationship) is so good. We can happily make cups together, can go see movies, look at night scenery, have sweet talk and huge each other next to the river. You’ve already made reality all my imaginations about being in love. No regrets now!
YS: You shouldn’t be easily satisfied. You should keep making a lot of requests to me or else I’m scared that I’ll be proud.

STORY

Find Yourself takes a somewhat different approach to the romance drama love story as it tells the story of the love story between a management level lady in her early 30s and an intern 10 years younger. In many ways, this story is a topic very heavily discussed especially in China.

Find Yourself

It takes on various topics/discussions about whether the person you choose to get married should be someone that you love or someone that’s suitable to you (as in their social status/achievements/age, etc.). Its also the concept of whether respecting your parent’s appearance to others and all the other things needed to be done to be considered a filial daughter when you choose someone that will cause a lot of debate. In reality, its a fun topic to look at because the story actually gives the female lead this “stubborn” view of her ideal relationship and insisting on following her heart which is why at 32, she still hasn’t had a relationship, making this first time full of stumbles and bad decisions when she dates the younger intern as her idealistic self is met with some realistic concerns that causes them to break apart (as expected in these series) and to choose to give up her idealistic relationship bar and try to be with a man who is suitable for her. The story direction and premise is a good one to say the least and the execution is decent for the most part however these dramas are always a tad predictable and some of the events were a little unbelievable.

LENGTH/PACING

Find Yourself

Episodes: 41
Episode length: approx 40 mins.

Any dramas hitting the 40+ episode mark is a little tricky. It always has a little too much of something here and there but seeing as a lot of Chinese dramas hit the 50+ episode marks, 41 episodes isn’t too bad. The fortunate thing for Find Yourself is that it uses its time well. It establishes quickly its main couple, Fan Xing (Victoria Song) and Yuan Song (Wei Long Song) and then give them problems that make them question their relationship around the halfway point. At the same time, the story also establishes quite early on the different elements of family, friends as well as work colleagues and focuses on the relationships between these people to create the different dynamic and uses each of those supporting plot lines well. I’ll talk about each of the relationships in the next section but in essence, the story focuses on one love triangle, three groups of friends, a few families as well as one other main relationship and one supporting one. It sounds like its really full but it actually changes between these scenarios and then flows rather well. It also helps that the dialogue and character development as the story moves along is pretty good that it all wraps up in a satisfying ending for all the characters.

CHARACTERS/CHEMISTRY

Romantic Relationship

He Fan Xing (Victoria Song) & Yuan Song (Wei Long Song)

find yourself

The casting for Victoria Song and Wei Long Song is really good. In reality, their age difference is also rather similar to their characters that they portray making it even easier to believe the two of them. On top of that, they are natural in their roles and its believable when they are together and even after their break-up and still thinking of each other and adjusting to the new norm, the dynamic between them shifts and it helps their characters develop. Its what gives so much to the characters of  Fan Xing and Yuan Song when they finally (inevitably) get drawn back together. This time, its with the courage that they should have. In reality, the show gives them both space for Fan Xing to be more brave to follow her heart and not settle and force to do something that against her own beliefs and for Yuan Song to be more mature about his approach and understanding towards Fan Xing’s standpoint.The chemistry between the two is incredibly good and it has a lot to do with the many scenes (as unreal as it might feel, because I’ve seen discussions about this online) setup and structures.

He Chan Yang (Zhang Yu Jian) & Cai Min Min (Esther Yu)

Find Yourself

A flip side of the main relationship is a later developed story line between Fan Xing’s brother Chan Yang who gets pursued by his quirky and over the top student, Cai Min Min who previously was pursuing actively Yuan Song. Her character plays two fold  and in the second half, when Chan Yang agrees to be in a secret relationship with her, things get complicated because of the teacher-student element as well as the age difference. For them, it brings up the point of how people have double standards in society about men dating 10 year younger girls versus women dating 10 years younger men. That’s just an aside as these two are a different dynamic altogether. Their personalities are both more outgoing and actually they each have their own quirkiness and they both brave in their own way to embrace their relationship once they become more stable. Still, it becomes finding the balance of power between being a dominating and more teacher character for Chan Yang or being a boyfriend toward Cai Min Min. These two also have great chemistry but in a different way.

I’m not going to lie that I’ve seen Esther Yu and Yu Jian Zhang before in other TV series (in separate TV series, not as a couple) however these two are really fun to watch all the time. They do get cast in very similar character types but they also can carry their scripts and present those characters really well. They definitely were a ton of fun to watch in this one.

Cong Xiao (Katherine Yang) & Chang Huan (Miles Wei)

Find Yourself

The previous two was more of a main romance where this pair is also a different angle in a more supporting love story as they are best friends and colleagues with different views on love and because of that doesn’t embrace their feelings right away but works hard to get the girl. Their story drags out a little and flails around as they both find their footing but somehow, these story was one side of the characters and chemistry that I liked a lot and worth a mention.

Friendship/Family/Love Interests

Friendship plays a big part here and in reality, the script for the drama seems to focus a lot on the different friendships through different age groups and the things they are going through, mostly relationship-wise. Fan Xing’s two girlfriends have great communication together as they protect each other just like Cai Min Min’s two best friends who also analyze the situation different from them. You can see the script seeing them deal with different stages in life and having to face different problems from cheating husbands to deciding between a future of marriage and kids. Each of these have their concerns at their own age and their own views, giving them their value in the show.

Find Yourself

One of the better friendships to show up is from its love interests. Cai Min Min being Yuan Song’s previous love interests and ends up in a similar situation to his previous secret romance with Fan Xing and finding their discussions to be reflective on both his characters and hers as their opinions start to flip around. At the same time, Fan Xing’s trial to be in a relationship with her suitable choice, Lu Ming (David Wang) always started with a friendship between the two that was much more suitable. Their dynamic being much better when they were interacting as friends than when they were trying to be together with a goal of getting married. In fact, Lu Ming’s chase game for Fan Xing and his big game plan actually was a lot more fun to watch.

Find Yourself

In terms of family, its a huge highlight and probably one of the strengths of the show aside from the romantic elements. Fan Xing’s family in particular focuses on this fun sibling love/rivalry and the parents are very comedic to say the least and actually different from typical Chinese parents in some ways. They had some great moments as well as some great script.

OVERALL

Find Yourself

Find Yourself is a decent Chinese drama. It has a lot to thank for its outstanding cast and gives so much unique life to its characters. It also has a diverse topics of discussion and web of intertwined relationships of romance, sibling, friends, colleagues, schoolmates and family that all play a part in the story its trying to tell. Its about secret relationships and views in the eyes of others as well as age gaps in relationships. There’s enough character development throughout. The first half is a lot more fun to watch than the second half which is a bit more dramatic in probably the third quarter. Luckily, it still remembers those comedic and awkward moments to keep it more light and fluffy. TV series are meant to bring joy especially dramas in this sort of romance, friendship and family area. There’s a few episodes or moments that feel like it drags out but it does quickly find it again. Can I say that other than my obvious love for Esther Yu and Yu Jian Zhang, I’m finding a love for Victoria Song and Wei Long Song and both of them are really popular now with the former being on a good few variety shows lately and the latter having one TV series recently finished airing (I think) and probably one more series to be released.

MAIN THEME

What’s Up 2020: Week 21

Welcome to What’s Up weekly recap of Week 21 of 2020! Last week was somehow very busy or perhaps, its just that I had some writing slump as I’m trying to push through some TV binges and they take a little more writing motivation. Either way, it seems balance is the hardest to achieve in these categories on a weekly basis. This time, I’ve managed to get more reading during the week and now, movie watching is decreasing. I’ll talk more about it all in the different parts below!

READING

to wake the dead

Currently reading: To Wake the Dead

I’ve been working hard on reading To Wake the Dead. So far, I’m almost halfway through the book and its been a pretty fun read. I can’t say that I’m quite as enamored with it as I was in the first book at the moment but its still a solid sequel. There’s still half a book to go and I’m in a semi crunch time to start up the next book so you should be seeing a review for this one sooner rather than later!

It sure feels nice to get back into some morning or evening reading time! Its been actually rather motivating and a nice change in pace to not stare at the PC monitor all day.

PLAYING

Color Spots

  • Color Spots

Currently playing: Orwell, M.O.N.I.T.O.R.

Steam released their Spring Cleaning Event so I’ve been playing around their suggested games. After a little bit of a back and forth on what to review for the next Game Warp, we finally decided on Orwell and that’s what I’ve been playing lately. Its very weird because the event queued up a bunch of surveillance style games on my list including the free game MONITOR that I’ve played less than an hour of before it got hit with a bug that froze it (probably before a save point but I’m scared to go look to find out that I have to replay the section) so I had to shut it down.

On a fun note, I don’t finish a lot of mobile games unless its story-based but Color Spots has 100 levels of main game and 9 extra levels and I actually was having so much fun with this one that I finished all 100 levels and working through the bonus levels right now. I’d say that’s as close to finishing a mobile game as I’d get, right?

WATCHING

Zodiac

  • Zodiac (2007)

Currently watching: Flavors of Youth

As the week ended, I had started up Flavors of Youth but didn’t finish yet. The very sad watching section consists of one movie. Maybe its the long Fincher movie that took a lot of energy to watch and then I just didn’t feel like watching anything. Its not the truth though but more that real life took over and I had to make choices and movie watching was put in the back burner. However, my first time watch of Zodiac (if you don’t count the unfinished first time watch that I dozed off and forgot to go back to finish it) was pretty good. I’m not a fan of the length but its a pretty good movie to say the least.

BINGING

The Love Equations

  • Oh! My Emperor (Season 1, 2018)
  • X-Fire (Season 1, 2015)
  • The Love Equations (2020)

Currently binging: Me To Us, Youth With You 2, Produce Camp 2020, Oh! My Emperor 2, Welcome Back To Sound, Yes I Do 2, Go Fridge S6

I’ve been on a Sean Xiao revisit lately since its been pretty much 2 months and I’m still stuck on The Untamed and a little bothered by the whole stupidity (my opinion on the situation) that he went through or is currently still “kind of” going through, I guess. Either way, I went back to watch the competition show that he joined that kickstarted his career called X-Fire and then went on to watch the TV series with the X-NINE boys called Oh! My  Emperor. I only finished Season 1 and needed to take a moment before continuing Season 2. Love Sean Xiao’s character but not a big fan of the main male lead though. The female lead though has already been in 2 Chinese dramas in 2020 so its inevitable that I’ll watch her in more shows and she’s actually rather fun to watch.

However, the highlight of the week goes to The Love Equations ending and its still such a sweet romance. Its a little quirkier than the previous sister series but this male lead is also rather memorable. I’d have to say that pros and cons in all three. I wonder how long they can make these series because its a nice break from those really dramatic ones, plus these ones usually stay around the 25 episode length which is a well-paced length.

Lots of TV going on so I’m losing track of when certain shows release their new episodes so I’m taking a little break from TV right now to catch up on all the series that I need to do TV binges for. Probably will go back to rewatch some of them in the background as I write or something (if I can stop rewatching The Untamed…).

That’s it for this weekly recap!
What have you been watching/reading/binging/playing?