The Gist: Everything seems to finally be going right for poor girl Shan Cai (Barbie Hsu) when her wealthy boyfriend Dao Ming Si (Jerry Yan), flies her to Barcelona to propose. Good luck doesn’t last long when Si is in a car accident that wipes his memory. That leaves him lost and in the care of wandering artists Ye Sha (Michelle Saram), the other victim of the accident. Shan Cai calls in Si’s best friends and fellow F4 members Hua Ze Lei (Vic Shou), Mei Zuo (Van Ness Wu) and Xi Men (Ken Zhu) to help find him. Unfortunately, by the time they are able to locate him back in Taiwan, Si is not impressed with what he’s learned of his past self and wishes to stay lost with his new love Ye Sha. Even as Ye Sha tries to help new friend Shan Cai get Si’s memory back, she secretly loves him too. Shan Cai and Si end up torn between the relationship they had and the new mess they’ve fallen into.
Seriously the only redeeming thing about this season is the dedication of Dao Ming Si’s awesome friends. The way they look after Shan Cai is heartwarming and heartbreaking all in one fell swoop. The other versions don’t build as much of a friendship between them and I actually really liked that choice for this show. They do all the cute things for Shan Cai that Dao Ming Si is too dumb to do, like the Valentine’s Day radio dedication that almost had me in tears. Not only that, Mei Zuo’s romance and Xi Men’s father issues make up the best story lines, even if they only show up super late in the series. If there’s anything to like about this series, it’s the boys.
1. Qing He (Edward Ou)
Still fairly annoying, Qing He manages to not be totally expendable this season! With her romance in a catastrophic mess, Shan Cai needs all the friends she can get and Qing He is always happy to help. It plays up nicely when new girl Mimi (Megan Lai) takes to him to help lessen the tension between him and Shan Cai. Their scenes were pretty much filler, but it was at least a pleasant distraction from the horror show that was going on with the rest of the series.
1.Amnesia/WAY Too Long
It’s hard to even know where to start with the things that I hated about this season of this show. First off, amnesia is the WORST plot device ever. It undid all the development up until that point and instead of building their relationship, you end up spending the series just trying to get back to where we started. Now if you have to do amnesia, keep it to an episode or two. MG2 spends the ENTIRE season on this one plot problem and it is painful. It takes them almost ten episodes to even find the darn guy after his accident and then it takes a whopping 25 episodes for him to get his memory back (that’s twice as long as most series!). Nothing about this is done well at all. I have never before this skipped scenes or episodes as I was watching, but I would never have gotten to the end without doing so. Just awful.
2. Poor Ye Sha
Oh my gosh. This poor character. She is spunky and nice and actually a pretty good match for Dao Ming Si (which is a dumb move, half the reason you love this story is because Shan Cai is the only one for him). If this was told from her perspective, it would be an absolute tragedy. A hot young guy falls in your lap, as much as you try to do the right thing and help him remember, you can’t help but fall for him. When she finds out he has a girlfriend, she willingly steps aside. She is awesome. However, the show only gives him his memory back in time to remember that he loves Shan Cai right after Ye Sha confesses. It’s awful. All the moments you want between Dao Ming Si and Shan Cai happen with Ye Sha. They travel, build a home together, have moonlit dinners. This whole show is romance between Si and Ye Sha only to have poor Shan Cai broken in the background the whole time. At the end of it – NOBODY IS HAPPY – everyone is worse off than when they started.
3. Poor Hua Ze Lei
One of the things I liked about season one was Lei wasn’t in such competition for Shan Cai’s affections. He steps aside for his friends’ happiness, but as Si is an idiot through this entire show, Lei is the constant pillar there for her. Like Ye Sha, Si’s memory only returns just in time to crush any chance he had with Shan Cai. Lei is the nicest, best character and he gets totally shafted this season.
4. Poor Shan Cai
I’m just going to keep on feeling bad for everyone. Shan Cai is interesting to watch because she’s hardworking and feisty. She’s like a zombie this season, eaten alive by sadness and there is just no advancement for her except to get beat down harder and further. After spending so much time with her and season one, it was awful to see her go through so much abuse.
5. Who the heck are these people?
Seriously, just when the show tries to make any kind of progress, it throws in a whole mess of ensemble characters we don’t like or care about, and then spends a bunch of time with them. The restaurant workers at Si’s job and the country bumpkins Shan Cai stays with are two prime examples. Their story doesn’t add to the main one, but rather pulls us way off course. I honestly jumped every scene with these characters after getting the gist because this show was already WAY TOO LONG.
6. The Ending
So, after all this ranting, you must be thinking, why did she watch this whole show if it was painful? Hope. I had hope that this tried and true loved story would pull out a redeeming ending that made it all worth it. But did it? NO. *Spoilers* After starting with an almost proposal, I can’t believe they didn’t ever actually get back to him proposing. If I’m going to sit through 30 episodes of garbage, there better at least be a happy marriage montage at the end. But no. It was just like welp, sorry I love someone else too. I thought for sure when he got his memories back he’d run to Shan Cai, apologize, and love her. Instead, he doesn’t tell anyone and just mopes that two girls love him instead of one. BOOHOO YOU SUCK.
So… it finally happened. My first F. This show is not only a complete an utter failure, but a long drawn out betrayal. Hana Yori Dango is my most favorite and I can’t stand to see the show butchered like this (it was actually worse than the Korean version omg). It’s like having your own sister kill your dog. It’s not just sad, it’s personal. Nothing about this show works and I wish I had amnesia so that I could forget all the hours I spent on it. Just. Awful.
Final Grade: F