Sunday, October 12, 2014

TDrama Review: Just You


The Gist: Chen Liang Liang (Puff Kuo) loses total control of her life when the house she is renting is foreclosed and bought by Qi Yi (Aaron Yan), who simultaneously buys out her company - becoming her land lord and boss in one fell swoop. All hope for an alliance is broken when Qi Yi immediately bans office romance, cancelling the engagement of her best friend Kate (Katherine Wang) and coworker Alex (Tan Zhen-Gang) who are afraid of being fired. In an effort to make Qi Yi overturn his decision, Liang Liang plots with Kate and their friend Princess (Ashi Lin) to make Qi Yi fall in love with Liang Liang. This proves difficult at first, when Qi Yi is controlling and cold and Liang Liang can't do anything right. Yet, as they work out their living and working situation, Liang Liang realizes that Qi Yi is just trying to fulfill his dream of reuniting his family in his childhood home - the house in which they both now live. As they both start to develop real feelings, prodded by the friendly rivalry of new work acquaintance Dean (Dean Fujioka), things get topsy turvy when Qi Yi's ex-fiancee, Jia Yu (Lyla Lin) shows up out of nowhere, determined to win him back.

Love:

1. Dat Chemistry

It's a Taiwanese Drama and yes, the physical intimacy is so adorable! I read one review before watching this show off of a random recommendation on Hulu, which basically said it was unoriginal, but the skinship was excellent. Oh boy was that true. While you may not get some of the steamy scenes you get from other shows, the small moments between our leads just had me smiling like an idiot. Qi Yi's hand in her hair, pressing foreheads together, a hug here and there, it was all just plain warm. Their chemistry jumps off of the screen and while it doesn't have that fiery tumultuous feeling to it, there's a beautiful sense of growing together while they are essentially building a life together. When Qi Yi says that Liang Liang is family, you really feel it. It's true, not just empty words. I'd say in this aspect, it's pretty original. I've never seen a show develop a romance quite like this, with the feeling of trust and family in the center of it. This is the show that Personal Taste could have been if it was done well. They handled the cohabitation delicately and perfectly.

2. Problem Solving!

Thank you Good Lord for Qi Yi. Every time the two of the leads fought and Liang Liang sprinted out, I thought for sure the scene would cut ahead and wait for the two to make up later. Every time, I was wrong as Qi Yi chased after her in that instant and brought her home. It blew my mind to have a protagonist who really isn't willing to let things lie. I could count the number of times that Liang Liang and Qi Yi went to bed angry on one hand. Additionally, Liang Liang's control on her jealousy is amazing. I would have clawed Jia Yu's eyes out well before the end of this series and while Liang Liang stands up for herself, she also doesn't forsake a potential friendship. She's a real treat.

3. Dean

Team Dean for life! I am so happy to not have a full blown triangle with Dean. He is the most mature character I've seen in this situation. Think Rui from HYD, but better. Dean immediately thinks of his friend's happiness before his own and doesn't ever put up a real fight for Liang Liang. Which is good, because we have enough crazy time from Jia Yu. Dean is pretty much like Gaze's cupid, who is working tirelessly to fix up his friends. Which, once you get Qi Yi's back story, you can see how much he needs Liang Liang. *SPOILERS* for how matchy matchy this story gets, it's a bit of a bummer we couldn't find Dean an adorable little chick.

4. Family Love!

Usually a strong romance and the power of friendship make a show for me, which Just You definitely has, but the family aspect was definitely new and wonderful for me. When Liang Liang's parents come to visit and you can just see the longing on Qi Yi's face, my heart just ached. I appreciate the time we spent with Qi Yi's dad, which added to the life building between our leads. Qi Yi has complicated family issues and when their two families finally collided, I was just plain excited. I think Qi Yi's mom had some things to work out, we'll touch on that in a minute, but the dynamic was fantastic. LOVE IT.

5. Pacing/Crisp

I will never again say that Taiwanese dramas are lower quality because this drama was beautiful! If the names were changed and I turned off the sound, I could have totally mistaken this for a Korean Drama. It was beautiful. The one review I read said that this drama was 6 episodes too long, which I was somewhat expecting out of a 21 episode show, but I really didn't feel that way. I think the 2nd/3rd episode took a little too long to get Qi Yi to soften up towards Liang Liang, but I powered through the rest of the show and could have watch the whole thing in one sitting. Honestly, if this was any shorter, I would have cried. I need more!

6. The Goldfish.

Just watch it. You'll understand the power of the goldfish. Love it.

7. Ending Marathon

*SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY* So this show ends as if it has something it is trying to prove! The last episode has a double wedding, three engagements, and one pregnancy. Um, wow. It was like one thing after another, over and over again. You have to sort of just let it happen. It can seem cheesy if you're not open to it, but the whole thing just made me smile like an idiot. I found it all to be good fun. Ah, I love ending on a wedding, even if it's not our main duo. Besides, they were family way before the last episode. 

8. Best Confession Ever

*MORE SPOILERS* So it did take a little while for Liang Liang to finally confess, but the show makes the wait enjoyable enough that it's no problem at all. I loved both of her confessions. The first time, they're shouting at each other across the street and it was actually Qi Yi whose words had me moved. When he said "How could you change my life and just leave? How could you make me go home alone to a house meant for two?" I just nearly died. My heart melted. So that when Liang Liang finally breaks down to tell him that she loves him, still shouting across the street, I was literally squealing like a moron. Second, when Jia Yu serves up an ultimatum to Qi Yi and Liang Liang grabs her man, kisses him, and takes over the situation, I was so proud of her. I was cheering out loud (essentially, my husband thought I was a crazy person while I was watching this show). There's a lot of good confessions out there, but these are right at the top.

Meh:

1. Ban on Romance?

I swear the ban on office romance just sparked all sorts of romance. Talk about counterproductive. Gaze if pretty much a match making agency. *SPOILERS* Thank god for Mei Mei. Without her holding out, everyone would have paired up too perfectly. Alex and Kate are a given as our initial couple. Obviously the romantic mess with Liang Liang, Qi Yi, Dean, and Jia Yu take up plenty of worker bees. The things with Shi Cui Xia (Ke Ya Xin) and Brother Bo (Xie Qi Wen) had me very skeptical at first, but honestly really grew on me. You pair that with the romances outside of the office - family things and Princess' storyline - it's a lot. Yes, this show ends up overly neat, but it was all so lovely that I can forgive it.

2. Who are these people?

Um. So how many people exactly work at Gaze? I thought for a while that there were about ten people that worked at Gaze, all of our main peeps. Then I started noticing random people wandering in the back or sitting in cubicles an then I noticed just how many unoccupied cubicles there really were. It just seemed weird that Gaze just like ignored half of their employees. Like when they went on the retreat, they only brought our main people. What were the other people doing? It was weird. But in such a minor way that it won't really detract from the rest of the story.

3. Crazy Town

Minor spoilers ahead. So I appreciate the level of resolution we got with Jia Yu because you do feel a little bad for her, but yeah wow is she totally insane. It's immediately unreasonable to expect that Qi Yi will forgive her when she bailed on him the day after he proposed and didn't say a word for three years! That's not something you ever get over. So when she acts all hurt, it's just totally whacko. Then when she goes all psycho involving Liang Liang and Jerry, I just rolled my eyes. In Qi Yi's defense, he really didn't waver until he was given a good reason to. I really was thrilled with the writer's for not making him wishy washy immediately when she showed up. Props to Qi Yi.

4. Too Many Coincidences

Every time Qi Yi's mom would walk right past him or his dad, I just groaned. Like out load, full blown groaning. I hate the just missed them vibe and when you meet that with the fact that her only friend is her son's ex-fiancee, it's just too much a coincidence. It never mentions how the two of them met and honestly, their relationship really irked me. I'm glad they had some support, but it was really asking a lot of me to believe the entwined messes of their lives. I was able to put my qualms aside, but I think it would have been a stronger show without it.

Hate:

No hate for this show. Not at all.

So:

So... I do not take it lightly when I say this show is IMO pretty much perfect. It's like they wrote this show for me. I could watch this show over and over again. I think - gasp - this might be my new favorite drama. I honestly think it is better than Hana Yori Dango (oh God! Matsujun, forgive me!). The quiet growing in this show just made me feel warm and happy. When I wasn't watching this show, I wanted to be and every episode surprised me in a loveable way. Qi Yi didn't treat Liang Liang like she was made of glass, but like a girl he loved and it was adorable. The family and life building just made smile. This was a real treat and I'm recommending it to everyone, even if it is not flashy or the most inventive drama ever. I really look forward to watching this show again soon. Ah, so warm. Love it. Love it. Love it.

Obviously, I had a lot to say about it. I could just go on and on, the matching sneakers, when Liang Liang almost drowned, when Liang Liang finally stops calling Qi Yi boss... there is no one favorite moment! SO GOOD.

Final Grade: A++

Sorry this was so long!

8 comments:

  1. Nice read :) I share exactly the same sentiments as you on this drama. Love it to bits and I have watched it 3 times I think. Gosh! I will probably watch it again. Everything falls into place just the way I like it. Lovely, sweet and definitely warmed my heart.

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    1. Aw yay! I loved it so much and I was hoping so find some people who felt the same :) I can't wait to watch it again! Ah!

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  2. I had never heard of this drama before I saw your entry, but since you gave it such a good grade, I gave it a chance. And I really thank you for it, because now I just finished it. And I LOVED IT. I have literally been dreaming about it the past two nights - even my brain wanted to know the end. That's part of the reason why I blew my finals - but can I really blame Liang Liang? I don't think so.

    You said it all in your review already, I can just say that I totally agree. Originality is not what I look for in a drama; I am more interested about characters' building, romance, relationships development and interactions. And that's the strenght of this drama: how the relationship between the two leads evolve is just perfectly done, with the right amount of cuteness and sweetness to melt your heart. As you said, the intimacy gives the whole thing a realistic touch, it feels natural and spontaneous; it's delightful to see.

    I loved how the show avoided the traditional schemes of romance in drama:
    -it's not one lead chasing the other - they naturally fall for each other and realize their feelings around the same time (even if left unsaid for a while).
    -they don't make mountains out of molehills: small matters are rapidly dealt with, they don't leave us hanging for two episodes over a missed call at 3am (if you see what I mean).
    -We don't have to wait forever to see some heartwarming moments between the two, and we really understand why they are drawn to each other. We don't have to wait for the last episode to see them acting like a couple, and that's just great. Important thing: we don't have to wait until the last 5 minutes to see them get back together (after the main plot resolution for instance - and there is no "1 year later" frustrating scene- I just loathe these endings); The ending is very good actually (even the last scene in the bedroom- loved it haha)
    -no hard choices in a complicated love triangle. I absolutely loved the fact that there is never any doubt as to who loves who. It's just obvious for everyone - characters on screen and viewers watching (even for the crazy Jia Yu who just doesn't want to give up). So no, Qi Yi never swayed facing his former girlfriend: he was already in love with Liang Liang, he knew it firmly, and so did we. Of course there were obstacles so the couple was separated for a while, but the feelings were clear. That was so refreshing. No love triangle with Dean either (it's great that you mentioned it as well): his character was just perfect - handsome, fun, sweet, caring, awesome. So the tension he brought was only to push Qi Yi forward, always helping the relationship, never threatening. He really was a necessary addition. So we just love him, and we don't feel (too) sorry for him, as he never acts like a pathetic love-foresaken guy. He's happy seeing others happy.

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  3. -One other point I felt good about (and it might seem silly): I like the fact that Liang Liang is not the most beautiful woman in town. She's just a regular girl - not ugly either for sure, but just cute. All the other ladies in the office are prettier than her (as mentioned in the drama once). It's her personality (joyful, kind-hearted, honest, innocent, optimistic) that makes her so lovable, and that draws the others to her. Qi Yi falls for her because she's a good person, not because she's a pretty woman. Don't get me wrong, I also love when the lead actress is beautiful, I have nothing against it - I just think it's important to have both on our screens. The looks (good or bad) should not matter for a heroine.
    -I also like the girlfriendship (especially Kate/Liang Liang). Relationships between women in this show (Jia Yu excepted- but hey, you need a villain, right?) are depicted with a benevolent eye, and it's (unfortunately) rare enough to be noticed.

    I think there are still some minor weaknesses:
    -I admit the first five episodes were a little slow for me, and I was waiting for some action.The story actually became much more interesting when Dean joined the party. I just love him, so I'm glad his character was added early.
    -It's litterally the office of love (a little too matched for sure). Do they even know people outside of work? (except Princess and Buzz - who are, by the way, ALSO a couple). A little over the top, but they are all cute, so we forgive. (except maybe Jerry/ Jia Yu: if the girl doesn't love him, then she doesn't. I have a hard time believing she would just fall for him so easily after he brought some letters from the past - but whatever, let's give them a happy ending too while we're at it!)
    -I agree on the coincidence part: too much as well (and the "oops, they just missed each other by a second" moments are just frustrating - they don't add anything to the story).

    But all in all, I had a wonderful time watching Just You, and I owe it to you for your recommendation. So thank you :)
    [sorry it was so long ^^]

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    1. You never have to apologize for a long comment! I love hearing your thoughts and I'm so glad someone else enjoyed this show as much as I did. I really went into it blind and it was such a treat.

      I also really loved your point about female relationships. They definitely have a strong bond and I even love how Liang Liang tries to befriend Jia Yu when she's depressed. It shows the strength of the female relationship overpowering the fact that they both are rivals for the same guy.

      I sort of forget how slow the beginning of the show was once I got into because I was just too busy squealing through the whole thing. Like you said, I'm glad we didn't have to wait through the whole show to get the cute moments, even if the office is matchmaking factory.

      I like your point about Liang Liang. She's not very sophisticated, but she has such a genuine heart that I just loved her character. She is such a pinky elephant :)

      I hope your finals didn't suffer too seriously >.< It's so hard to study when you're watching a great show. Like you, I literally had this show on my mind all the time until I finished it. So. freaking. cute. If I didn't have a husband to temper the insane amount of time I spend watching dramas, I probably would have just watched this one around the clock. Yet, I was happy to drag out the experience. I watched it again, still great! Though, I found myself jumping some of the Jia Yu/mom scenes. She is totally nuts.

      Ah!! And that ending! What and ending! So cute. I love it. I agree, originality isn't always the most important. We all knew Qi Yi and Liang Liang were going to be in love, we just didn't know how they'd get there.

      Snap. I may need to watch this show again. Haha! Thanks for sharing:)

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  4. Don't worry, my finals didn't suffer that much (and I can only blame myself anyway - I started watching Just You the weekend before my exams with full knowledge of my addictive personality: when I start a drama, I just can't stop - no husband yet to keep me in check! I just really didn't want to study...)

    I just loved the relationship development, that also affected me as a viewer: in the beginning, like Qi Yi, I wasn't very fond of Liang Liang- she's VERY loud (pinky elephant for sure). But she gradually grew on me, and I started to really like her at some point, and root for her. I like how she stays true to herself all along, and is never down for long (even when she's sad). Plus, she firmly fights for her love in the cutest way; there's nothing not to like, romance-wise.

    It's definitely a drama worth of a rewatch - I'll consider it in a few months, just so I can get super excited again!

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  5. this would be my third time rewatching this great drama !!!! besides Aaron yan is my fav taiwanese actor ^^ Watch this drama with Eng sub online at: http://www.kengsub.net/just-you-taiwanese-drama.html

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