Marry Me or Not? (必娶女人) — a Taiwanese drama I decided to try out because it was the second collaboration between Roy Chiu and Alice Ko after their 2011 hit drama, Office Girl.
The drama also stars Joanne Tseng, whom I first knew from her outstanding supporting role against Bolin Chen in another 2011 hit drama, In Time with You. I later then watched her in Ti Amo Chocolate as the female lead against Van Ness Wu.
And then there is Harry Chang—whom I thought is now fully capable of shouldering a drama as the male lead, but somehow always play the smaller, second lead part in various hit dramas such as My Queen and Autumn’s Concerto, just to name a couple.
Cai Huan Zhen (Alice Ko) and Hao Sheng Nan (Joanne Tseng) play best friends turn arc enemies where they spend great amount of energy and time competing against each other. They compete on almost everything, from academic results to fashion, as well as their job positions in their respective travel agencies. Their misunderstanding stamped from Sheng Nan thinking Huan Zhen went behind her back with Qiang Qian Yao (Harry Chang), whom she has a one sided crush on.
Hao Meng aka. Justin (Roy Chiu) is Sheng Nan’s elder brother, and is a lawyer specialising in divorce. He is cynical when it comes to love or marriage because of his parents’ broken relationship. He doesn’t quite believe the union of marriage equate to happiness for a couple, even though he does not resist falling in love.
One day during a class reunion, Sheng Nan runs into Justin on his work errand, and decided to introduce him as her boyfriend after Huan Zhen announces she is getting married.
Later Sheng Nan finds out Huan Zhen is getting married to her cousin; so Sheng Nan decides to sabotage the wedding. Huan Zhen then decides to seduce Justin and takes everything away from Sheng Nan as an act of revenge, not knowing Justin and Sheng Nan are siblings.
However, whilst carrying out her revenge, she falls for Justin and vice versa.
With these four leading this drama, what could go wrong? Lots, unfortunately. For instance, Marry Me or Not couldn’t deliver the same level of comedic effects that Office Girl did — and these comedic effects are mostly contributed by Patrick Lee and Roy Qiu’s fabulous dynamics. I kind of miss seeing Patrick and Roy on screen because Roy’s new sidekick is extreeeemely boring to watch.
The story also has BUGS: If Huan Zhen and Sheng Nan are supposedly BFF since high school to college, wouldn’t Huan Zhen know Justin is actually Sheng Nan’s brother? Granted Sheng Nan’s mother may not be welcoming of guests into the house, based on her disgusting characterisation, but I still don’t buy that Sheng Nan never introduces Huan Zhen to Justin before, or show Huan Zhen her family photo.
I also don’t buy that being BFF that they were, Sheng Nan can easily break off the friendship without giving Huan Zhen a chance to explain herself. I understand she may be too angry at the time and flips a table on Huan Zhen, but honestly, after cooling down, has she not given her friend a benefit of a doubt and tried to talk things true calmly? I know I would, if I truly care about mending the friendship or clearing the misunderstanding. I wonder if there was more to their past than what it was shown so far.
And then we look at the main story, which sounded much more interesting at first with the premise of a man with marriage phobia eventually is cured and finds true love. However, 5 episodes in, all I am seeing are two near 30s women battling out head-to-head childishly; and a man and woman playing with fire.
At the moment, I am quite disappointed with the characterisation of Huan Zhen and Sheng Nan, and is having difficulties liking both characters, especially Sheng Nan. I see the objective of this drama is aiming at providing light entertainment more than producing a drama with class, depth or meanings. So we see two stubborn women who have nothing better to do, but making each other’s lives miserable.
Sheng Nan has no likeable traits so far in comparison to Huan Zhen, who at least tried very hard to protect the happiness she believes in by getting married in the earlier episodes. We do get to see Huan Zhen’s weakness, her ‘hesistant’ side concerning her revenge, and her wavering heart when it comes to Justin, so it isn’t as bad, but still, the Huan Zhen I see now comes off childish, cunning, manipulative and a scheming bitch. Ugh. Extreme dislike.
The only part I’m looking forward to is of course seeing how the love slowly develops between Huan Zhen and Justin. It is probably the only thing I care, and the only reason I will continue to watch this drama for. For example, I quite like the scene where they were asleep on the sofa, especially after it was established that Justin suffers from sleeping disorder. Without taking his medicine, he fell asleep with Huan Zhen beside him. I thought that was a nice set-up; a corny one, but meaningful for his character, who is cynical about love.
Justin dives into Huan Zhen’s revenge plan fully knowing what she intended to do, and thinks he can make use of her instead. So far, Huan Zhen is having an upper hand over both the siblings; it would be interesting to see if Justin can turn the table around. Don’t screw this up, writer. This drama isn’t going to be a classic or make history like Office Girl or In Time With You, but at least ensure it doesn’t suck too bad, okay?
Roy and Alice do have good on screen chemistry; it may not be the best, but I’m happy enough for their reunion. Alice has mature since Office Girl, and there are times where I thought her acting resembles Ariel Lin. Has she been studying Ariel’s acting? Hmm. Roy has aged a little with the receding hairline, but still beautiful to look at — especially those eye lashes and eyes.
Lastly, will I recommend this drama? Probably not. So far it feels like a drama that can be missed, unless you’re a fan of Office Girl, fan of Roy and/or Alice—or else I really don’t think it’s worthwhile, yet. But I would recommend their old projects which is mentioned above (except Ti Amo Chocolate — started out fun, but drags on too long in the end).