dangermousie: (Chuno: hold2 by meganbmoore)
[personal profile] dangermousie
As you can probably tell by now, SoaB and I are not working out. But if there is one thing I loved unqualifiedly about it, it was Feng Shao Feng and Myolie Wu as Liu Zhang and Lu Yu - their story was everything I love in dramas and I ended up wishing the drama was about them entirely. I loved their story and their characters and their chemistry. Once their story ended, it's like all the colors went back to faded and my interest plummeted.



It's like they were acting in another drama altogether. That drama being like too many delicious kdrama romcoms or period romance novels, only set in the beginning of Han Dynasty.



So, how many romance novel cliches do we have? Well, let's start.

Point 1. She's lower-class (she's a fishmonger in the market!) and he's very upper-class - he's marquis who is a grandson of Lui Bang, the founding emperor of the Han Dynasty.

Compare and contrast. This is his introduction. Empress Dowager is trying to mediate between her family, the Lus, and her husband's family, the Lius. Her niece basically got her husband, a Liu, killed, and Lius want revenge. But they are all cowed by Empress Dowager, who's basically Satan Incarnate. All, except for Liu Zhang.




Yup, he kills the woman in front of the Empress Dowager without blinking. And calmly says it was according to military law. Shockingly, Empress Dowager is not pissed but amused someone dared to stand up to her. She actually thinks it diffuses family tension so she's OK with it. What do we learn? Liu Zhang is (a) obsessed with family loyalty (b) fearless (c) is going to find it hard to survive with all these people who can scheme circles around him and have fewer principles of any sort.






This is our heroine's introduction. Yup, she's selling fish at the market and is handy with her cleaver. Woo-hoo. Oh, and romance novel Point 2 - she's secretly upper-class with Point 3 an evil family - her half-brother, one of Empress Dowager's fave relatives, kicked her and her mother out of the house when their father died and hey, a girl needs to live. She's a Lu. Point 4 - enemy families ahoy.




They have the most awesome first meeting ever as required by romance novel Point 5. Her scumbag boyfriend has been scamming money off her and plans to marry a hooker instead. When Yu rightfully breaks into the brothel and makes a scene, he insults her in ever possible way.




Guess who overhears and is appalled?



He comes to her defense and rescues her (I loved that scene like cake - when her scummy ex is all "who are you blah blah blah" and the Madam, terrified out of her wits, yells at scummy ex that this is Marquis Liu Zhang, grandson of founder of Han Dynasty. LOLOLOLOLOLOL)




They have the most hilarious and adorable and random conversation. She tells him she'll repay her rescue by sending him the nicest fish she has and then all "oh yeah, she said you are a marquis, you probably have all the fish you want anyway. OK, I'd offer my body, but I probably wouldn't be to your taste either." LOLOLOL I love you, Lu Yu. And then he leans in (which freaks her out because she clearly thinks he's going to take her up on her jokey offer) and tells her that she shouldn't presume she wouldn't be and the scummy ex was an idiot not to see how pretty she was. And then leaves her so she can go home by herself. Awww, he's such a sweetheart.

















Point 6. Rescues! She needs to earn money to pay her mother's gambling debts so she sells herself to the brothel (as a dancer, not a hooker) and he sees her there and drags her out and when she tells him she needs money for debt, the following convo ensues. He: "instead of you selling yourself to a brothel, why don't you sell yourself to me?" She: "I am a good girl! I was there only to sell my art, not my body!" He: "who said I want your body? I'll pay you to do chores for me." Oh, darlings!











Did I mention Point 7 - he has ISSUES due to being a member of insane, murderous, backstabbing etc royal family? A lot of said issues being trust issues - in fact he probably likes her in giant part because she's not connected to anything at court of power struggle. Hmmm, you think that may be a problem? Naaaah, couldn't be. Not as if she's a member of the Lu family whose slimy half-brother located her and plans to marry her off to Liu Zhang to keep him in line (slimy promised to pay off her mother's debts if she agreed but she refused to trap Liu Zhang and that is why she was at the brothel to earn money).



Romantic swoony kiss as per Point 8.









Because Liu Zhang seems to be sort of insane, when Lu Lu, the scummy half-bro, proposes the marriage alliance and Empress Dowager endorses, he refuses because he already has someone he loves. Yup, he just told Satan with absoulte power and a hard-on for murder he isn't going to marry her relative for the sake of a fishmonger. Yup, insane. Lu Lu looks super-pleased and tells Dowager Empress that it doesn't matter because Liu Zhang fell into his trap woo-hoo etc etc. They tell Liu Zhang to bring the girl her so they could take a look at her.




He shows up as she was about to leave because she was worried her sticking around can lead to trouble thanks to her half-bro. If only she knew. But he asks her to come with him and she, having no idea where they are going, gets on his horse and off they go.






He tells the Empress Dowager and Lu Lu that this is the girl he's in love with and wants to marry.




And Lu Lu, grinning from ear to ear, tells Liu Zhang that this is exactly his half-sister Lu Yu, he was talking about. And Empress Dowager mandates them to be married.






Point 9 - Big Misunderstanding. Of course he think she was part of her family's plot to tie him to the Lus and played him like a fool and manipulated his feelings.










Point 10 - angsty wedding night. She tries to explain but he (understandably) doesn't want to listen and tells her he will never love her or treat her well, ever ever ever. Ummm, I hate to break it to you, young man, but treating her badly in that society would probably involve marital rape or beatings, not just walking out and not interacting with her in any fashion after that, while she can dwell in luxury. You sort of fail at being mean to your OTP, thank God.






Yeah, I'd weep too if I was married to FSF and he refused to touch me in any fashion. talk about a Tantalus-type situation.

To be continued in Part 2, in which more misunderstandings occur, the old favorite of "hurt him to save him" situation arises, and Mousie's favorite scene occurs. It involves a fish market, a red carpet, and a certain hot aristocrat walking on his knees and begging forgiveness.

Date: 2011-03-28 02:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calixa.livejournal.com
I loved them and the storyline but seriously this has got to be the worst editing I've ever seen in any drama. The scene where the niece kills the mistress and then the husband offs himself had me LOL irl. SO BAD. This show has great visuals and costumes but awful, awful directing.

Great groveling scene though :D

Date: 2011-03-28 03:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
I fund both FWC and JPLH (the other two Yu Zheng dramas I've seen) somewhat better on the editing front (especially JPLH which is good on its tech stuff) but FWC has a bit of that abruptness too though nowhere near as much as SoaB (it made for it with melodrama of amazing levels though). I wonder if it's a Mainland thing because Men & Legends had that problem with editing too, IMO (though once again, not as bad).

It is my favorite grovelling scene ever. I am not sure whether it's because he's grovelly enough to walk on his knees through the marketplace or because he's upper-class enough to require a carpet and servants to unroll it for him to do so.

Date: 2011-03-28 03:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calixa.livejournal.com
Of course a Marquis (hahahahhahahaha I can NOT get over how regency romance novel-y that is) needs a red carpet for his groveling.

Date: 2011-03-28 03:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
He might demean himself to be gawked at by plebeians as he grovels, but he'll be damned if he lets his expensive work-of-art clothes get ruined into the bargain :P

Every time they said 'marquis' or called him 'your grace', my inner romance novel lover shrieked inside in glee! Seriously, this was the most romance novel plot in a cdrama I've ever seen. Too bad there was no Han equivalent of Almacks :P

My second fave part after the grovelling was when they conquered ChangAn and she escaped confinement and they reunited and he's all "woohoo, I am going to have both the throne and my OTP, awesome!" and she starts pouting because "there are 3000 beauties in the imperial harem." ROFL forever. Of course, in true romance novel fashion he tells her he will only have her. I am sure he meant it but I am equally sure she was secretly pleased as punch when he gave up his right to the throne in exchange for a small countr of his own and saving her life (how romance novelish, again!) I don't care how in love husband is, I wouldn't trust him around 3000 perpetually available hotties, especially if I first met him in a brothel.

Date: 2011-03-28 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calixa.livejournal.com
Not to mention his pleased little face when she pouts about the concubines and he gets to say he only needs her.

FSF and Myolie have actually been in a drama together before; it was a TVB drama - I think 2 years ago? Or maybe it was last year - called Drive of Life which was another VERY LONG melodrama (though not a historical) with an ensemble cast. I watched it for Myolie's relationships with Raymond Lam and FSF's characters. I liked the stuff with Raymond up until he ditched her for his first love (BASTARD!!!) and she ends up with FSF in the end, which reconciled me enough to keep me from hating that drama forever.

Date: 2011-03-29 12:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
Not to mention his pleased little face when she pouts about the concubines and he gets to say he only needs her.

That was so cute!

Is DoL worth watching? I can get my hands on it with subs. I like Raymond (and obviously Myolie and FSF too).

Date: 2011-03-29 01:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calixa.livejournal.com
I hesitate to recommend it because I ff'ed through quite a bit of it and it has a LOT of different sideplots and storylines. I know you're not fond of family drama stuff (I'm not really into it either) and DoL has a lot of that.

I am trying to find fanvids for Raymond/Myolie or FSF/Myolie but it's all been deleted, grr.

Date: 2011-03-29 03:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
Yeah, I couldn't find any vids on youtube, boo :(

Do the ships have a lot of time? Because that's what I want.

Date: 2011-03-28 03:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] millie10468.livejournal.com
Is it even possible to just cut and squish all their scenes together and make it a complete drama on its own instead of wading through the unavoidable scenes of they-who-must-not-be-watched? I wish that was possible because I'm really interested in these two but I don't want to run into the other two while watching.

Date: 2011-03-28 03:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
depends if you need subs. Apparently there are unsubbed cuts floating out there just of their scenes.

In any event, their storyline is just eps 16-21 so it's pretty easy to watch ignoring the rest.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2011-03-28 03:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
Glad to please :)

Date: 2011-03-28 03:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] millie10468.livejournal.com
Best news I've heard all day! Thanks a bunch! :) It's a happy end for them, right?

Date: 2011-03-28 03:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
Yup, happy ending, thank God.

Date: 2011-03-28 03:28 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I admit, I might have replayed, about a million times or so, that scene where Myolie says, "You wouldn't be interested in a woman like me anyway," in that scene where she's asking him how she can pay him back for rescuing her from her scumbag of an ex-boyfriend. And FSF looks at her, just looks straight at her, and backs her slowly into a wall while he keeps staring at her like he's really, truly looking at her, straight at her, for the first time ever. And Myolie freaks out and covers her face with her fists and yells out, "What do you think you're doing?" The music adds an awesome comedic touch to the scene, which is oh so, so, so cute.

After the Myolie/FSF couple, I think my favorite character of Schemes of a Beauty is actually Empress Lu Zhi. She's absolutely ruthless, but she also has her principles, which is upholding her husband's kingdom, and she absolutely sticks to her guns. I love how she reprimands her family, on her deathbed, for greedily thinking that the world belonged to the Lu clan just because she, their matriarch, was the one in de-facto power, when in fact, as she reminded them, the day that she married into her husband's family, she took on her husband's name and became a "Liu", and she had always worked to preserve the kingdom under the Liu family and not the Lu family ("her" family). While I may take issues with Yu Zheng's frequent lack of historical accuracy, I feel that he did at least get this portrayal of Empress Lu Zhi right.

Date: 2011-03-28 03:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
I really liked Lu Zhi too. Yes, she did some monstrous things, but she knew that is what she was doing, she never tried to full herself or justify it. And she was smart and a good ruler, even if being in the court was pretty close to a death sentence if you weren't careful.

I replayed that scene too. Oh, they had so much chemistry. And I love that this is the first time it occurs to her that yes, she might be pretty and be 'worthwhile.' And OMG, the way he looks at her. *dies*

Date: 2011-03-28 03:38 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Can you believe Myolie was like 30 when she filmed this? She did the "cute", naive parts so well, I was absolutely bowled over when I found out her real age. I like the part where she scratches her head, trying to think of how she can repay FSF. She doesn't overdo the innocence/naivete, unlike so, so, so many Asian actresses, too many than I want to think about. I think I have issues with how Asians seem to equate "cute" with "sexy", particularly the Japanese. I guess I'm too Western?

Date: 2011-03-28 03:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
30? No way, I was sure she was in her early 20s.

And agreed on cute v sexy. I don't get it.

Date: 2011-03-28 11:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calixa.livejournal.com
She has such a baby face.

I think the cute = sexy thing has to do partly with the patriarchal culture (men wanting their ideal spouses to be as young, as submissive as possible) and partly with just the physical reality of most asian women being of a more diminutive size than our western counterparts - bombshell bods being hard to come by. Still, I'm glad I grew up in Canada.

Date: 2011-03-29 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
That makes sense. It's interesting how it's culturally different. I am what would be considered pretty feminine (and tiny) by either American or Russian standards but I am unlikely to qualify under the Asian ones :)

Date: 2011-03-28 03:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hollyxu.livejournal.com
I loved their section, just because it seem like a breath of fresh air between all the plotting (I think there's one more storyline after the big red carpet declaration).

If you ever watch Queen of Reversals, btw, let me know. I am suffering from the urge to go all Queen of Hearts on the lead male and the second female lead.

Date: 2011-03-28 03:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
Yup, there is one - where Lu Zhi has her hostage and he takes ChangAn together with Ruby's husband but gives up his claim to the throne to save Myolie. Mmmmm.

What's going on in QoR? Tbh, I was going to skip all the scenes prior to when PSH storyline got going.

Date: 2011-03-28 04:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hollyxu.livejournal.com
The sad thing is that IRL, Liu Zhang and Lu Yu (her name is fish! How cute is that!) died not long after they went back to their marquisate. The general running theory is that they died from foul play, though it wasn't the emperor, but rather jealous cousins & co. *sigh* I'm going with the headcanon that they lived happily ever after, waist-deep in kids and grandchildren.

QoR's female second lead is so conniving and entitled and yet she gets away with it because the male lead is such a beta male even I am annoyed. (I shudder to think what adjectives you would heap on his head.) I mean, seriously, bitch, please! Do skip ahead to the PSH storyline, I don't want Baby Mousie to lose her mom through a rage-induced heart attack.

Date: 2011-03-28 04:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
Hey, in Yu Zheng's version of history, the Emperor ran off to be a masked vigilante protecting Ruby, so clearly this is an AU take on history and I am going to go with your headcanon.

But honestly, I was sort of expecting something like that. They sold it to us as a happy ending but even as they were riding off, I couldn't help but think "boy, you just pissed off a LOT of people - some because you got so much from Prince Dai, and some because you didn't get enough and gave up the imperial throne for a woman" and that in that scheming murder-happy world, they really weren't equipped to live to a ripe old age.

Thanks for the tip re QoR, I'll skip those parts.

Date: 2011-03-28 11:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kitkat-cat.livejournal.com
yep, if i could only get a condensed version with FSF and Myolie Wu, I would be happy. Unfortunately, I simply cannot make myself sit through Schemes of A Beauty for them alone.

Date: 2011-03-28 04:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
They are only in eps 16-21 though so you can just watch their story. You are safe to skip the rest because Ruby's story is borrrrrrring.

Date: 2012-01-01 03:09 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Fenolie's cut scenes w/ eng sub: PL92B0B03012629634 (http://PL92B0B03012629634)

Date: 2011-03-28 02:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karened.livejournal.com
I read half the post, and skipped to the comments parts.

I AM SO GONNA WATCH THIS.
No.
I AM SO GONNNA WATCH THIS SUBPLOT.

And maybe the MickyxYangmi one. Do you remember when the two pairs make their appearance? I'm only gonna watch them and skip all other parts...or do you reckon it'll be very hard to understand things fully (e.g. the background of the Liu and Lu enmity)?

As you'd probably have realised, drama cliches work big time for me.

Date: 2011-03-28 04:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
It's easy to watch just FSF/Myolie. They appear only in eps 16-21 and you don't really need to know much of anything of background stuff from the drama as it's all explained in their scenes.

Mikey/Yang Mi is trickier because it's a lot more woven into the main story. I've been skipping just to their scenes in the non-FSF/Mylie eps to be honest and haven't really gotten confused with what is going one.

Date: 2011-03-28 02:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hanjae.livejournal.com
Yeah, I'd weep too if I was married to FSF and he refused to touch me in any fashion.

LOLOLOLLL.

Myolie/FSF parts were so cute, but there were WAY too little of them. They were in all of 5 episodes or something. Serious oversight on Yu Zheng's part not to reduce Ruby's screen time and share it out between Myolie/FSF and Yang Mi/Mickey He instead. How can stuff about Empress Dou take precedence over hot general trying to get it on with gorgeous assassin? :/ I do not understand.

Date: 2011-03-28 04:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
Hey! This sort of misfortune would rank on par of having sexy warrior Hu Ge as your brother (see Chinese Paladin 3). Talk about a waste!

Yup, they were only in eps 16-21. I don't know what Yu Zheng was on when he made this - we got way too much of boring Ruby looking saintly while having repetitive schemes, and not enough of aristocrat who overthrows the Lus while having a mad OTP with one of them, and a sexy sexy sexy general having a forbidden angsty thing with assassin loyal to his enemies which involves doomed battles and self-inflicted wounds and God-knows what else. Why? I'd so much rather watch a drama about Mikey He/Yang Mi or FSF/Myolie than the boring-as-dirt main story.

Date: 2011-03-29 01:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hanjae.livejournal.com
Or having Jimmy Lin as your half-brother. Talk about a test of your principles and self-restraint.

Mickey/Yang Mi is clearly doomed; they're not paired up in YZ's upcoming Mei Ren Tian Xia either. At least FSF/Myolie were paired twice. And I was even sadder when Liu Heng (Sammul) kicked it, because then we were left with Ruby and sexy general at the end.

Date: 2011-03-29 03:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
Yeah, the Jimmy Lin think if DG&SD made me really sympathize with the half-sis. LOL.

I am not touching MRTX - a double doze of Ming Dao? Not even if they had Hu Ge AND Feng Shao Feng parade around naked.

Date: 2011-03-29 03:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hanjae.livejournal.com
LOL Ming Dao with some kind of old man hairstyle, too. You know, like those wise old martial arts masters in wuxia dramas; the ones with whispy hair that get killed off immediately after they've imparted whatever knowlege to hero.

Feng Shao Feng probably has some kind of ridiculously small role, because I haven't even seen a single picture of him in MRTX. However, I have seen what they've done with the women's hair, and I DO NOT LIKE. Yang Mi looks like a 30-year-old matron. Will post pictures later.

Date: 2011-03-29 03:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
Some people look good with that hair, Ming Dao is not one of them.

Yang Mi is in that? Please tell me not as MD's love interest. Actually, you can tell me if she is. Nothing can make me watch this in any event. Ming Dao *shudder*

I am just glad FSF is popular enough to star in plenty of dramas without puppetmaster Yu Zheng.

Date: 2011-03-29 03:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hanjae.livejournal.com
Ming Dao doesn't look good in anything.

She was pretty far down on the cast list, but she's on the cover posters and so on, so either she has a bigger role than I thought or Yu Zheng's just using her face as promotion. But I don't think she's MD's love interest, no worries! The pictures I've seen have him either with the female lead or with someone else. LOL I'd just feel sorry for Yang Mi if she was paired with MD; not to mention I'd hate it if they ever got a chance to pair up, because there'll always be people waiting to fangirl over them. That would only encourage Yu Zheng to mess around with the Gong movie more and maybe even continue this trend of casting MD with Yang Mi in the future. *shudders*

Date: 2011-03-29 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
Ming Dao doesn't look good in anything.


Oh, I am sure he'd look good covered in a burlap sack from head to toe :P

I would be shocked in Yang Mi's role in that drama is more than a glorified cameo, which is just as well.

Date: 2011-04-01 03:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] splendidlure.livejournal.com
Hey. I'm a big fan of Feng Shao and Myolie too. mostly because I'm a big fan of Myolie.

I wonder if you're interested in this drama: http://en.viki.com/channels/3017-huan-xi-po-po-qiao-xi-fu

Date: 2011-04-01 04:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
Ooooh, this does look good. I foresee a binge.

Date: 2011-04-01 04:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] splendidlure.livejournal.com
yeah. unfortunately, the subbing has stopped for whatever reason. I want to continue watching so badly too.

Date: 2011-04-01 04:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
Oooh, no subs? Boo.

On the plus side, YZ's dramas often have official dvd sets with subs (I own both Red Snow and FWC), so maybe there'll be a set.

Date: 2011-04-01 04:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] splendidlure.livejournal.com
http://www.yesasia.com/us/huan-xi-po-po-qiao-xi-fu-h-dvd-end-china-version/1023658150-0-0-0-en/info.html
DVD is out.

There are subs. However, they've only subbed 6 episodes so far. There's 33 in total.

Date: 2011-04-01 04:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
Yes, but they usually release subbed version after unsubbed so there may yet be a subbed DVD? /optimist.

Hopefully viki does finish subbing it though. I probably won't start it until it's done or it's too painful to wait :)

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