Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Chip Off the Old Block Review

Who would've thought that A Chip Off the Old Block, a series I at first thought nothing of and would simply watch to see how it'd turn out, would turn out to be one of the series I enjoyed the most of the rotten year of 2009!

Characterization & Performances

Sunny Chan - "Chor Fan"
"One for all and all for one" is the quote in which Chor Fan lives by. No matter how many times people manipulate, trick, or betray him, Chor Fan still believes there's good in everyone and refuses to give up anyone as a result. It was surprising that Chor Fan would fall into the same fate (initially at least) as his 'father.'

Perhaps it's Sunny's great acting abilities, but like Liling of TVB Sensations, I agree that he was enjoyable to watch as the male version of Lau Sam Ho. Great performance as always. He brought his character alive, as unrealistically good as Chor Fan was.

Ron Ng - "Chor Chi"

Ah Chi is arrogant, full of himself, and thinks he's clever. After going back in time to the 1960's though, Ah Chi slowly changes into a much more mature and lovable man. Although I was initially irritated and annoyed by Ah Chi, I grew to love him as he changed. It was satisfying and sweet to see Ah Chi reflect back on his actions (or in this case, his 'double' in 2008).

Ron continues to make a positive impression on me and his acting has truly improved. While his portrayal of Chung Lap Man in E.U. remains my favorite from Ron, it further proves his slowly increasing versatility as the two characters are totally different.

Myolie Wu - "So Fung Nei"

A classy con-artist who is willing to do anything (including risk her life) for money. Her eyes widen at even the mention of money. She is willing to do anything for it, but it is out of the goodness in her heart which longs to help her ill mother.

As an actress who I believe has the most potential out of all the youngsters running around TVB, I was saddened to see how netizens have been bashing Myolie for the past few years because of the countless weak roles she received. I've been longing to see her in another breakthrough role, and I got my wish. So Fung Nei is such a unique character and Myolie portrays her flawlessly! Since finishing this series, my love for Myolie has been revived.

Mandy Wong - "So Fung Lin"

The complete opposite of So Fung Nei, So Fung Lin is naive and innocent. Despite that, she refuses to become a swindler like her older sister. She has a very big and caring heart and does what she can to help others. Fung Lin also has very bad vision that she aids with very thick glasses. Unfortunately, they're thrown away by her older sister several times, forcing her to 'walk blind,' resulting in many cute scenes.

Even though this is only her debut performance, I already think Mandy is a better actress than Shirley will ever be though the latter has much more experience. It's already rather clear that Mandy out performed Shirley. Perhaps it's the character? Mandy gave one of the best performances I've seen for a debut. She was natural in her role, as well as naturally adorable.

John Chiang - "Ko San Chuen"

Having picked off Chor Fan from the streets and taking him home to raise him, women have always been scared away from Ko San Chuen. He has failed to ever find a wife despite his elderly age. As a result, he can be stingy and negative. He sees women as something that are here just to give birth to children. To me, he was cheap, irritating, and annoying. It was not until the last episode when Chor Chi was back to the present that I finally started to like him. It was touching and sweet to see that there was no secret recipe for his soup, meaning he treated Chor Fan as his own son.

My like for John just decreases more and more with each series I see him in. His characters and his acting are now no longer anything special. Although Ko San Chuen was able to redeem himself by the last episode, it was still too late. Why John accepted this role in the first place is yet another mystery of TVB.

Gigi Wong - Tam Lan Ching

The landlady of many of our wonderful characters and later wife of Uncle Chuen. For over 20 years she believed that her daughter Fun Lui was switched with rich woman's daughter Pin Pin at the hospital. She however eventually learns to love Ah Fun as she is and realizes her how much she treasures her, whether Fun is her biological daughter or not.

Although the partner of John/Chuen, I liked watching Gigi/Landlady a lot more. Gigi portrays the role very well. While she irritated me a lot at one point for constantly telling Fun Lui she should be more like Pin Pin, her character was very enjoyable to watch.

Shirley Yeung - Ching Lan Fun

Nicknamed 'Tomboy' by basically everyone in Feng Shui Lane, that is exactly what Fun Lui is. That, and loud of course. Carrying her 12 tael ladle everywhere she goes and not having the ability to read or write, she is nothing like a lady at all.

Though the lack of love and appreciation she received from her mother in the latter episodes made me pity Fun Lui, it's hard to pity one wholeheartedly when the actress couldn't be any more unnatural. Shirley shouted and yelled way too many lines and she's yet to learn how to shed real tears. However, she's compatible with Ron though their love story was undeveloped and rushed.

Nancy Wu - "Leung Pin Pin"

Innocent, delicate, elegant, and cute as a button, Pin Pin is banned from ever eating anything from food stalls as much as she loves them. With a talent for music, she is quickly sent over to Vienna to continue her musical education just as she befriends many people.

Leung Pin Pin was not a necessary character and the series could've done without her, especially with the lack of screen time she had. I'm glad she was included anyway however because Nancy was naturally adorable in the role. With the look of a Barbie, the screen brightened whenever Nancy appeared on screen.

Louis Yuen - "Ngau Ching Wing"

Like his nickname suggests, Wing is definitely 'furious.' With an extremely bad temper, Furious Wing has a tendency to take out his pistol and threaten to shoot anyone who makes him mad. Although he loves his daughter, his methods of taking care of her and keeping her from seeing her mom are ridiculous. If anything, this character is known for all the things he 'hates.'

Yet another actor who over exaggerates to be funny, I was not impressed with Louis' humor. I was however amused at the scenes in which an elderly Furious Wing would chase robbers during modern times.

Carlo Ng - "Sing Sap Yee"

Born with a silver spoon in his mouth and originally having ten wives, Master Sap Yee has it all in the beginning only to loose everything later on. As a character that drove me nuts with his gambling addiction in the latter episodes, I wasn't too fond of Master Sap Yee. I'm confused as to why they never showed him working in Dor Dor as I'm sure it would've been amusing and/or hilarious to watch a rich gone broke man working in the department store he used to buy the most expensive things at.

Since I was irritated by this character for a majority of the second half of the series, I didn't pay much attention to Carlo's actual performance. Disregarding his character, Carlo delivers. The fact that the actor is 37 years old though still blows my mind as his face makes him look rather young like a little kid.

Time Period. Since a TVB series set in the 1960's has become endangered, Chip was refreshing to watch for it's time period. Not only did it give off a fresh feeling, Mandy and Nancy looked adorable in their 60's wardrobe.

Humor. As the only other series from 2009 other than You're Hired that made me laugh endlessly, I loved Chip for it's humor. While the comedy comes off a bit too strong with the exaggeration in the beginning, it feels toned down to a better level in the second half. Of course, this series' humor can be rather 'silly' and 'crazy' but it is nevertheless cute. Myolie's So Fung Nei is the one who generates the most laughter hands down.

Relationships. TVB love relationships these days are getting worse and worse. It's not the characters or the artistes themselves. For this particular series, chemistry was never an issue as both couples were sweet. It's just that their love plots are undeveloped and rushed, which gives off a similar feeling to You're Hired. The most enjoyable were the scenes where So Fung Nei started to fall for Chor Fan, making her seem like she caught amnesia as she forgot what she was doing as soon as she saw him.

Script. Definitely not flawless. In fact, it has many flaws. The time machine theme feels incredibly confusing and even after watching the finale twice I'm still puzzled about it. How does Chor Fan know about the time machine? Wouldn't Chor Chi's being in the 1960's interfere with the events in the future just a bit? As Chor Chi was Chor Fan's good friend in the 60's whom all our characters knew, was it the events of the time machine that were supposed to happen? There are so many questions left unanswered. Ignoring the time machine aspect altogether, Chip was episodes of good fun.

Ending. I enjoyed the last two episodes up until the last minute. I loved how everything was being resolved and everyone was getting their happy ending. Indeed happy endings are cliched, but it felt right for such a happy and lighthearted series. All the cheesiness and reuniting made me shed tears several times. It was too bad that the series decided to end on a cliffhanger/open ending as a way to advertise for the sequel.

Overall Thoughts
This series brought me so many laughs. It is a great stress reliever and extremely enjoyable. It's silly, but a good silly. It's over the top, but a good over the top. In short, though the series has many points you would consider bad, the series carries a certain charm that turns those points good. TVB managed to fit in another series from 2009 that was actually worth watching just before the year was over. Although it has many flaws, especially in script, that doesn't keep Chip from being an unexpected gem. This is a series that can't be missed.

Rating: 3 3/4 stars


  1. i'm just a couple of episodes short of finishing this series now. like you, i'm surprised that this series is so enjoyable! i have the same opinion as you with regards to most things except -
    1) i've never liked myolie and don't think i ever will. ;)
    2) i thought ko san chuen was very well portrayed. so much so that the benign-looking john chiang looks really like a disgusting and detestable looking middle-age ah suk. haha

    like you, i find it so tiring to see shirley act. and i'll also give this series a 4.5! in fact, i actually like this series more than you're hired! :D

  2. queen_owl, it seems our tastes are rather similar then! It really is such an enjoyable series even though I never expected it to be. Aw, do you not enjoy watching Myolie as So Fung Nei? Haha. Yeah, I have to hand it to John that he does portray the character well. He actually seems disgusting and cheap, lol. Glad you're liking the series!

  3. haha yes i enjoyed myolie's performance and i have no doubt about her acting abilities. however, somehow, i just don't like her face.... i don't know how to explain, just no positive vibe when i see her. she and i have no 'fate'. hahaha....