15 March 2013

真愛趁現在 Love, Now

Title: 真愛趁現在 Zhēn'ài Chèn Xiànzài
English Title: Love, Now
Country: Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Language: Mandarin Chinese
Year: 2012
Episode: 72
  • 胡宇崴 Hú Yǔ Wǎi (George Hu)
  • 陳庭妮 Chén Tíng Nī (Annie Chen)
  • 竇智孔 Dòu Zhì Kǒng (Bobby Duo)
  • 魏蔓 Wèi Màn (Mandy Wei)
  • 張懷秋 Zhāng Huái Qiū (Harry Zhang)
  • 李維維 Li Wéi Wéi
  • 楊詠存 Yáng Yǒng Cún

Yang Yi Ru is a stubborn workaholic and she refuses to take a break from work. Concerned family and friends conned her into thinking she has cancer and she only has six months left to live so she would go on a well-deserved vacation for her twenty-eighth birthday.

Lan Shi De goes to Boracay for work and he runs into Yi Ru, the love of his life when he was in college six years ago. Determined to finally get close to Yi Ru and confess his true feelings, Shi De is devastated when he finds out that she is dying.

In order to make Yi Ru happy for what little time she has left and to make her dreams come true, Shi De proposes to her and they get married.

Yes, you read that right. I, a big believer that the shorter dramas the better, actually watched Love, Now, which has 72 episodes! This is not the first time I've watched a long drama but I think this is the first time for a Taiwanese drama so it is still quite a milestone. To be honest though, I still think this could be a much better drama if it is much shorter.

Anyway, I just realized that I have mostly watched similar Taiwanese productions in the past that I assumed that was how most Taiwanese dramas are like and I remained oblivious to the wide variety of dramas that are actually available. Love, Now is a more realistic drama with little caricature-like characters and I like that. If and when I do find shorter and interesting Taiwanese dramas like this one, I may actually watch more Taiwanese dramas in the future.

There are some aspects of the drama that are quite difficult to take in because let's be real, accepting a character who is in love with someone who lent him a pen in order to take a college exam and remained in love with her for six years even though he does not have any contact with her whatsoever requires quite a lot of imagination. He sounds amazing on paper but I can't help thinking he needs to get checked by a psychiatrist if he ever exists at all in the real world.

I also think it is strange how there are different expectations for the lead characters. For instance, Lan Shi De is supposed to accept Yang Yi Ru as she is, but Shi De is expected to change how he is in order to become a better person for Yi Ru. Another example, Shi De is supposed to do everything to make Yi Ru happy (including taking cooking lessons!) and Yi Ru is supposed to... be happy?

I don't know, the differences just irks me in some way because I think it is only fair to have similar expectations for all people involved in the same situation. Like, if Shi De is supposed to accept Yi Ru as she is, then shouldn't Yi Ru accept Shi De as he is? And if Shi De is supposed to change aspects of his personality to accommodate Yi Ru, shouldn't Yi Ru also make any necessary changes? And if Shi De is supposed to take care of Yi Ru and make her happy, shouldn't Yi Ru also do the same?

Be that as it may, I'm pleasantly surprised that I liked most of the characters in the drama: too good to be true Shi De, tough mother hen Yi Ru, playboy with an emphatic heart Sun Qi Ming, candidly cute Yang Yi Qing, and charmingly intelligent He Cai Rong.

He Cai Rong: I think that regarding love, whether it's the suitors or the ones being courted, they both should share equal responsibilities. The one who does the chasing needs to have the courage to be rejected or the responsibility to be accepted. As for the one who is being chased after, she needs to make a quick decision and accept the responsibility for her feelings. If she just wants to run away from it or remains indifferent, she will only hurt the other parties. It's because that represents she doesn't care.

I like how Cai Rong speaks out about the responsibilities of the person being courted. I also think it is important for the one being courted to respond in a timely manner to her suitors, whether to accept or reject their love, so they can in turn accept the situation and react accordingly.

One scene in the drama that have made an impact on me is when Yi Ru is trying to convey through her actions that she is accepting Shi De's love but he is interpreting her actions the exact opposite way that she intended: that Yi Ru is rejecting him. I think it's a great way of presenting the fact that people interpret things differently. It is also a good reminder that it is particularly important to make sure that our intentions and meanings are expressed clearly when we are communicating with people.

Considering the length of the drama, I suppose it is a good thing that the time frame covered a lot of events: from when Shi De is harboring a one-sided love for Yi Ru, to when they got together, to when they got married, and until they had a baby. The drama still dragged at certain parts though.

However, I am disappointed with the repetition of themes. A fake (liver) cancer and an unregistered marriage at the start of the drama will still engage our emotions as viewers. When there's a real (ovarian) cancer and an official marriage at the end of the drama, it's understandable that the real events will have a lesser hold on our emotions as viewers because it seems we've already been there and done it all.

I am also extremely dissatisfied with the development of Shin De's older sister Lan Shi Yun's story. I basically don't like the idea of a person's true love falling short of her standards or qualifications, and it is even worse if it is the exact opposite of one's ideals. Of course I know we can't always have what we want especially if we are demanding perfection but I think it's just too sad if someone compromises on all aspects.

When Shi Yun eventually disregarded her high standards or qualifications regarding her ideal man, I think it was supposed to be a case of 'love is not a science' sort of thing. But because Shi Yun is considerably older, it seemed as if she was settling for what she can have.

真愛趁現在 Love, Now