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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Beneath the Charm: Episode 1-2

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Ladies at their utmost 'pettiness'

Finally watched BTC episode 1-2. I was supposed to collect them from the rental store on Monday, but I forgot therefore has to postpone till last night.

Overall, I'm impressed with the costumes in here but certainly disappointed in the script. Maybe it's to early to judge, but my dear, the dialogue ain't so original. Afterall, the highlight of this series is the (cat)fights among the cast. Instead of being entertained by the acidic exchange between Gigi and Kiki, or Moses with Kiki, I feel a little bored. It's like drinking the diet version of coke.

First, let me do a favor of introducing the main characters of episode 1-2:

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Gigi Lai as Chuk Ming Wai
3rd daughter of Master Chuk. She's intelligent and competent but because she's a woman (in those day, daughters have no say or power in family business), therefore she placed all her hopes on her husband. Her biggest enemy is of course her aunt, Nga Sin (Kiki).

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Tsang Wai Kuen as Chuk Yau Seng
Eldest son of Master Chuk and definitely my fav character to date (more to this later). Yau Seng is like the right hand of Master Chuk, he's to inherit the family business - the favourite son of Master Chuk. Kind hearted and very gentlemanly - and he's really lonely as he was widowed at a young age.

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Gigi and her husband.
Kwok Cheung (Cheung Chi Kwong) was a very timid man and contented of being henpecked by his wife, Ming Wai. Eventhough he's terrible at business, he is very good at coaxing his wife. I like the way he try to coax his wife out of pressuring him by saying "Aiya, the more you do, the more mistake you make. The less you do, the less mistake. So, better do nothing as there will be no mistake!"

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Moses Chan as Chuk Yau Yip.
He's the (playboy-ish) 2nd son of Master Chuk who preferred to travel throughout the world. In the first episode, he returns from France with a grandfather clock as a present for his family new shop. Choi~ of course Chinese feel taboo of giving clocks; sung zhong means death. But apparently Yau Seng is very gifted in the 'articulation' department so no need to worry for him.

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Kiki Sheung as Lee Nga Sin.
The sister-in-law of Master Chuk and also the head of Chuk household. Ming Wai was eyeing for her position (head of household control the finances and allowance in the house) and constantly pick fight with each other. Has a terrible tongue and a meaner sidekick in Aunt Ng (Yoyo's mother).

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Kiki and her husband.
Her husband is the stepbrother of Master Chuk and due to the fact he was born of concubine, he was not allowed to inherit the family business. Greedy character.

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Chan Hung Lit as Master Chuk Moon Shan.
Very domineering father and shrewd businessman. The 'one is one, two is two' kind of person. Hate Wan Sheung (Anne) because of her shady past.

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Yoyo Mung as Ng Yee Fong.
Yee Fong mother is the sister of the demised Mrs. Chuk. Her mother is a very greedy woman and always encouraged her to woo her cousin, Yau Seng. Even though Yee Fong does has a crush on Yau Seng, but she's too shy to approach him. Loggerheads with Yau Yip.
p.s. Why Yoyo is so darn thin here? I wish for another more charming looking actress!

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Anne Heung as Song Wan Siong.
Girlfriend of Yau Seng who works as a waitress in a tea house. In those day, some tea house were a cover for prostitution parlor therefore the waitress there were considered nothing more than prostitutes as well. Turn out that both Yau brothers like to frequent these places. Well, Yau Yip I can understand, but a prim and proper man like Yau Seng? That's why I say he must be very lonely. Back to Wan Siong. She looked like a very understanding girlfriend but her shrewdness can be seen in episode 2. She's upset because she thought Yau Yip exposed her true identity to Master Chuk and from thereon, she distrust him and also Ming Wai for accusing her of ruining Yau Seng's future. It's a open secret that she is the villian here, but poor girl, her downfall was because she's too in love with Yau Seng.

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Our Romeo and Juliet of the story.

My favourite scene:
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For every two episodes, I will dedicate a section for favorite scene. If you see none in the future, that mean it's so terrible I couldn't find a better scene in them.

In the ending scene for episode 2, Yau Seng decided to elope with Wan Siong. Yes, cheesy, I know it's like been in every darn series out there but still, can't help to be moved by Tsang Wai Kuen performance lah. Two particular moment:

1. When Yau Seng sincerely begged his father to let him marry Wan Siong. Very good eye expression here. His family member was telling "Don't marry that woman, she's not worth it, etc. etc.." he shouted "SHUT UP!" then regained his composure and begged his father to listen. But of course Master Chuk never listen lah.

2. Yau Seng realized that they won't be happy staying in Chuk household and grabbed Wan Siong to leave. Master Chuk, in a fit of anger shouted: "If you leave, don't ever come back! I still have another son to inherit my business!"
Yau Seng looked back with a hurt expression (tears in eyes) and that make him more determined to leave Chuk's. I mean, you served your family wholeheartedly like; 10-20 years and in the end, you're just asking your father to let you marry a woman but instead he said you can get lost because he has another son standing by anyway? That moment of anger flashing in his eyes, I admit I was charmed by Tsang Was Kuen.

I don't know why, but Tsang Wai Kuen looked extremely good in this series. Maybe it's his trenchcoat or expensive suits. Though not as suave as Kong Wah, but he does remind me a bit of Kong Wah in here. Ah... another favorite moment is when he pawned his father beloved jade figurine for money; he was really ashamed of it but he has no choice as he was desperate to buy back the negatives of Wan Siong's naked photograph. Ming Wai saw this and I guess this is why she said those mean words to make Wan Siong leave; she will ruin her brother in the end. For the sake of Yau Seng, Wan Siong left reluctantly but of course this is TVB and lovers will reunite lah.


Kidd said...

On the contrary, I don't think Tsang Wai Kuen looks good here. I think he looks a little on the fat side. He has seen better days. But I love his character. My favourite scene is at the end of episode 2 where he left the Chuk family pulling Wan Sheung with him. That scene was so touching.

As for Wan Sheung. I don't know. Maybe because I already know she's going to be a villain, so I view her action with more suspicion. I have no doubt she truly loves Yau Seng. But I don't think she is as innocent as she look. Like when she wrote her letter to Yau Seng before leaving. She mentioned Ming Wai in her letter. I suspect she purposely wrote 'What Ming Wai said is right,...' to let Yau Seng know that it is Ming Wai who made her leave. Whether she adjusted the time to let Yau Seng find her in time on the train or not I don't know. Seeing her walking at the train station crying, it doesn't seem like she has planned out anything.
But eventhough she will be a villain, I think I will still sympathise with her. I've seen the short introductory clip of this series. Wai Seung went through a lot of hardship (at least emotionally) after Yau Seng's death. The Chuk family treated her badly.

So far, I like 3 characters in the series.
-Chuk Yau Seng
-Ng Yi Fong
-Ng Yi Jing

Chuk Yau Seng, I already said why. As for Yi Fong and Yi Jing, I just like these pair of brother and sister. I like Yi Fong, because she is the only female in the Chuk family that did not scheme and fight for power. She is the only one who doesn't have "sum gai". As for Yi Jing, I just like him because he is funny. He is also another one that is without "sum gai". With so many scheming family members, it's good to see that there are still someone genuine in the family.

sehseh said...

Ah, another person who like Yau Seng! :)

As I mentioned, Wan Sheung was a very shrewd and petty woman.

She wrote Ming Wai name not because she planned it, but because she was resentful of Ming Wai and she would never hesitate to voice her feelings to Yau Seng. Same as in Yau Yip incident in 'exposing' her true occupation. She was annoyed when Yau Seng said it was just coincidence - just because she's convinced that Yau Yip (Moses) cannot be trusted. Can't blame her, because her suspicious nature was moulded mostly due to life hardship.

I truely believe she loved Yau Seng, though a bit possesive at times.

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