24 March 2008

公主小妹 Romantic Princess

Title: 公主小妹 Gōngzhǔ Xiǎo Mèi
English Title: Romantic Princess
Country: Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Language: Mandarin Chinese
Year: 2007
Episode: 13
  • 張韶涵 Zhāng Sháo Hán (Angela Zhang)
  • 吳尊 Wú Zūn (Wu Zun)
  • 辰亦儒 Chén Yì Rú (Calvin Chen)
  • 卓文萱 Zhuō Wén Xuān (Genie Zhuo)
  • 胡宇崴 Hú Yǔ Wǎi (George Hu)
  • 利昂霖 Lì Àng lín (Eric Li)

飛輪海 Fēilúnhǎi (Fahrenheit), S.H.E. - 新窩 Xīn Wō (New Nest)
Mai Qui Sui, affectionately known as Xiao Mai, always dreams about being rich. With her family being middle class, she has to work and study at the same time. Although she's quite happy with her parents, she wishes that she's rich so she doesn't have to worry about paying her bills and her tuition.

One fateful day, Xiao Mai finds out that she's adopted by the only family she has known and she's actually the long lost granddaughter of the Huang Fu clan, who owns a large enterprise in Taiwan. She moves in at her biological grandfather's palatial mansion and tries to get used to a life full of riches.

Her grandfather has four surrogate grandsons, all from the Nan Feng clan, who are training to become his heir. Out of the four, Nan Feng Jin is the old man's favorite and seems to be the most capable for the huge responsibility.

Nan Feng Jin wants an ordinary life more than anything. He hates all the trappings and privileges that come with being rich and powerful. He wants to start from the bottom and work his way up -- something impossible to get if he's the heir to the Huang Fu empire.

Xiao Mai's grandfather wants Jin and Xiao Mai to fall in love and get married. He wants to make sure that his granddaughter will be taken cared of by someone trustworthy and responsible.

Although initially irritated with each other, Xiao Mai and Jin end up falling in love with each other. But with the two set to travel different paths, Xiao Mai to fulfill her birthright and Jin to follow his dreams, will they manage to still be together?

Romantic Princess seemed like a very interesting drama. Although I'm quite aware that this is one of those dramas that are meant to be enjoyed and are not meant to be taken seriously, I was still somewhat disappointed. Let me count the ways.

First is the faulty storyline. Mai Qui Sui or Xiao Mai will inherit a large enterprise and whoever she marries will automatically handle all corporate responsibilities (because tradition and culture say so, but this is another issue altogether). Nan Feng Jin's greatest dream is to start from scratch and work his way up. So the main issue to be resolved in the drama is, although Xiao Mai and Jin are in love with each other, how can they remain to be together?

The drama struggled with this issue for the first ten episodes. And in the last episode, Xiao Mai decided that although she's a girl, she's capable enough to manage the corporate responsibilities so that her would-be husband doesn't have to. A great resolution but couldn't someone have figured this out early on in the drama so that the main issue could have been if she's qualified enough to be the head of the enterprise instead?

Second is the lack of chemistry between the lead actors (or maybe it was the awful acting?). I'm not asking for award-winning performances but I am expecting that the acting would be believable enough that for an hour or so every episode, I would be transported into their world of make-believe. That was not the case.

Honestly, it was almost intolerable to watch the scenes between Wu Zun and Angela Zhang. You can clearly see the actors acting and not the characters they are portraying, if that even makes sense.

But the drama did have its redeeming factor and that for me is the love story between Nan Feng Cai and Gong Mo Li. It was the only thing that probably kept me watching until the end and I sometimes wished that Romantic Princess is all about them so that they'll get more screen time.

I'm not saying that Calvin Chen and Genie Zhuo are better actors. But I think they were able to portray their characters more effectively and they have great chemistry together.

Although I think it could have been better in a lot of ways, Romantic Princess is still an entertaining drama.

公主小妹 Romantic Princess