I started watching this because I needed a palate cleanser after the gut wrenchingness of Glory of Tang Dynasty (still haven’t brought myself to watch ep60!) and although I was rooting for OTP Sun Yi and Zhang Ruo Yun in 15 Years Waiting for Migratory Birds, I thought she and second male lead Deng Lun made a cute couple too. The fact that I love embroidery sealed the deal despite it being a 46 episode modern drama.
How was it? Surprisingly good! Sure there were a few facepalm moments but overall, it was well acted, well paced and well thought out. I am usually wary of modern c-dramas because without the surfeit of gorgeousness present in palace or wuxia/xianxia dramas with the still-understandable-life-or-death-whole-world-will-end situations there, I find modern c-dramas tend to be trope-heavy and utterly repetitive, cough ehem Stay With Me, when they exceed 20 odd episodes.
Because Of You is premised on an age-old drama trope – little rich girl gets lost , loses her memories and evil second female lead assumes her life. However, it manages to inject some freshness and vitality to this theme as:-
1. The OTP Zhang Guo Guo/ Jing Yi Bei (Sun Yi) and Lee Yun Kai (Deng Lun) have very few ridiculous misunderstandings and by and large, have a normal relationship. Sure it’s not all hunky-dory but neither is it a tragedy of mammoth proportions despite initial resistance from Yun Kai’s family. It’s 2017 people – nobody can forcibly separate you just for being in a relationship!
2. Evil second lead, Zhang Yu Xin (played by Wu You) and who has a really amazing wardrobe of Gucci inspired clothes does not fight with Guo Guo over Yun Kai. Sure, she is a narcissistic near-psychopath who doesn’t think twice about forsaking her mum or her kid BUT at least, she is not doing it to win over a man!! So refreshing!
3. Guo Guo and Yun Kai meet and fall in love as adults despite them having met as kids without developing that strange c-drama affliction where every adult has crystal clear memories of their 8-10 year old self and do not find it weird to fantasize over a childhood playmate which has become the symbol of undying love imprinted in their minds!
4. Guo Guo’s noble idiocy actually made some sense – I still think she was foolish not to tell Yun Kai about Le Tong’s parentage after they had gotten married and was one of the unnecessary drama-mama moments but aside from that, I could understand why she was adamant in not immediately disclosing that Le Tong was adopted. The backstory as to why she was immediately drawn to Le Tong made sense too – she met Le Tong quite soon after discovering she too, was adopted, and felt an immediate affinity with the abandoned child on their doorstep, a mother’s love is noble, regardless whether she birthed the child and for once, I didn’t roll my eyes (as much!) on that aspect of noble idiocy.
5. Without being preachy and self-aggrandizing, I thought the show demonstrated quite nicely how our behavior is , too, shaped by the environment and the people we interact with, despite our core self. Would Guo Guo have turned out differently if she had lived her life as Yi Bei under the auspices of her uber competitive, pre-occupied mom, Hui Jie (played flawlessly by Pan Joy) with an inherent streak of meanness? Being by nature rather compliant and forgiving, would she have become another Yu Xin in her misguided attempts to please her mum? Ai Yu (played as the world’s worst enabler mum by Gou Hong), whilst definitely biased against Guo Guo when it comes to Yu Xin, did love Guo Guo in her own way and her more relaxed attitude in Life as a whole rubbed off Guo Guo too. Would Le Tong, who is obviously precocious and self-aware, similar to her birth mom Yu Xin, turned out differently if she had been raised by her instead? With a giant chip on her shoulder as a child born out of wedlock would have turned out to be an even more vicious manifestation of Yu Xin? All interesting thoughts that did not weigh down the drama but yet worth pondering on.
6. Song Xiu Hua. I really like how Liu Min Tao played her. A lady in every sense of the word, classy and graceful but yet not a doormat. She was not a person to fight for glory but yet when pushed to the brink, she would defend her position the best she can. Love, love all her dresses too – those embroidery and muted pastel hues! And on that note,
7. All the ensemble cast members – everyone did such a great job and there really isn’t one truly bad character (aside from Yu Xin!). They were just humans trying to live their Life the best way possible beset with the range of human frailties. Li Yun Zhe (Played most steadfastly by Dai Chao) was not the typical fight-for-inheritance-son and even Lu Si Chen (played with utter calm by Li Zhi Nan) was not a deranged ex but rather a thoughtful man who wanted to right things and protect his loved ones.
Were there flaws? Definitely. Did some parts drag? Undeniably. But I didn’t really use the FF button (except where Yu Xin was just a tad too sickening with Yun Zhe!) and I found the OTP so rootable and the entire story watchable. Sun Yi has such a pretty dainty face but I really like that she is not prone to kawaii actions and is able to convey that sweet factor without being trite. This wasn’t a difficult role for Deng Lun I believe but I like him so much! That earnest Boy Scout-ness and that smile which lights up his face. I hope to see these 2 in other shows since Because Of You has become such a runaway hit even surpassing 3L3L!
A watch? Absolutely!!
Note: Just been informed that this is a c-remake of a korean drama, Jang Bo Ri, so not sure which parts of the storyline are from the original and which new!