Sunday, October 10, 2010

“OL Supreme” Review

"OL Supreme" started off as one of the better sitcoms in recent years.  While nothing outstanding, it was fun, enjoyable, and relaxing to watch.  Through out the four months it aired, watching the new episode became a part of my daily life.  Each time I watched the sitcom it gave me joy, laughs, and good hearted fun.  Even if I was having a bad day, turning on an episode of the sitcom would instantly make me smile and feel better, with its upbeat and infectiously happy theme song/video.  The ending theme by the talented Denise Ho was also lovely.

"OL Supreme" had an unusually small cast for a sitcom, but the feeling of liveliness was never absent.  The chemistry between the cast members were undeniable.  [A majority of] the cast and characters were superb. 

Liza Wang rounds up this awesome cast well.  The veteran only seems to have gotten younger in this sitcom, and not just because of her unique and colorful wardrobe.  "Queen Jeh" brings out the youthful spirit that never seems to die in Liza.  She's clever, friendly, and always manages to come up with an idea.  Her catchphrase "Sorry, I'm not usually like this..." was just hilarious.  She also had wonderful chemistry with on screen daughter Denise Ho and love interest Cheung Kwok Keung.

Denise was amazing as "Music."  I was surprised that this was only Denise's second TVB series (with her first one being over 9 years ago) because her acting was so incredibly natural.  She was just so fun, endearing, and lovable.    Denise never failed to steal the screen in her scenes.  Watching her performance was so refreshing because she's just so different from your typical TVB actress.  Her acting style is so distinct and she's very tomboyish compared to others.  "Music" was clever and funny, yet caring.  She is easily my favorite character hands down.  She never failed to make me laugh.  I was saddened to see her character placed on the sidelines in the second half of the sitcom.  I'm inferring that she was busy with her music career and couldn't commit to filming full time, forcing the writers to significantly reduce her screen time and develop the secondary characters more.  Unfortunately, Denise's departure from "OL Supreme" as a regular main cast member was easily the main reason why the sitcom went down hill.

Along with Denise, it was the first time I've watched Chapman.  He was also refreshing to watch.  While his humor was often exaggerated, I still found him hilarious.  He tends to be over the top, but in a good hearted way.  The jokes that were targeted at him were funny too.  I always laughed when the characters teased "Leven" about  how he was a "fei jai" with no neck.  His best scenes were with Music.  Anytime the two shared the screen, laughs or at least chuckles were sure to occur.  Chapman is a great comedic actor, but he just wasn't as fun to watch without his other half towards the end of the sitcom.  I would've loved to see the two of them date in the end, but I thought their ending was sweet.  Leven's drawing and the changes he made to it were very symbolic of their relationship.  First it read "Above friendship, below lover."  By the last episode, it read "Above friendship [a lot], almost lover."  I think that fits them perfectly.

Cheung Kwok Keung continues to impress me as a solid supporting actor, and he proves his comedic capability here.  While Music is my overall favorite character, "Susan" was a close second.  It cracked me up how Susan was such a laid back boss who didn't have the nerve to yell at his employees, even when they deserved it.  One of my favorite scenes is when Susan imitates Queen.  Cheung Kwok Keung does such a fantastic job doing an impression of Liza!  I couldn't stop laughing.  Despite having a much lower status in TVB than Liza, she and Cheung Kwok Keung had a lot of chemistry.  Their scenes were so adorable.  Even in the earlier episodes, I could sense that Susan had a crush on Queen, admiring her to the point he could barely get any work done without her.  He was a bit silly and useless early on, but very lovable.  I loved how he was so sweet and caring to Queen.  I was practically squealing when they finally got together.

With his past of various "bad boy" and impulsive characters, Ron Ng impressed me with his portrayal of the nerdy, but adorable bus lover "KK Jai."  Initially, I had expected his performance to be stiff but he was surprisingly very natural and convincing in the role.  Watching Ah K made me think of Ron in a whole new light.  His acting only continues to improve.

Cute and petite, Sire Ma gave a decent debut performance as "Gwun Lui."  While not too natural, she did quite well for her first performance.  She also had chemistry with Ron.  The two made quite a cute couple.

When watching the first half of the sitcom, I was excited to see Joel Chan and Koni Lui's relationship unfold.  Physically, the two looked very compatible.  Unfortunately, when the spotlight finally came around to them, I was tempted to fast forward their scenes.  "Lui Yee" and "Cho Man" were both extremely immature and as a result, annoying.  There was not much wrong with their performances (although Joel exaggerated sometimes), but their characters were simply irritating.

Although occasionally irritating, Lam Lei and Wilson Tsui managed to be sometimes entertaining.  Kwok Fung was hilarious as the thrifty and money loving Tok Suk.  Although his character could've been likable, I just wasn't fond of King Kong.  There was too much focus on him.  Joey Mak was very cute and has above average acting skills for a newcomer.  She's very underrated and I hope she will be promoted more in the future.  Wu Sir (Patrick Dunn) was probably the most annoying and immature boss in TVB history.

During the first half of "OL Supreme", there were a lot of fun and decent storylines.  The one where the whole cast enters the dance competition was my personal favorite as it allowed the couples to develop.  Any plot where they focused on Music and Leven was solid too.  I enjoyed the one where Leven fought for custody of his children by representing himself in court.  In general, I found that the quality of the sitcom for the first half depended on whichever character it was focusing at the time.  My least favorite storylines were anything involving Yan Jai (King Kong) or Lui Yee's parents.  Unfortunately, it lost a lot of steam.  All the storylines after episode 50 or so were very lackluster.  The waning quality of the sitcom became more consistent that it no longer depended on the characters.  The writing became sloppy and uninteresting.  Music was sidelined and as a result, so did Leven.  With two of the most hilarious and vital characters seemingly to have faded into background, "OL Supreme" got worse and worse.  I strongly believe that if it weren't for Denise being unable to commit to filming due to her busy music career, "OL Supreme" would've maintained its wonderful level of entertainment and humor.  Regardless, I wouldn't be surprised if I found myself rewatching random episodes of the sitcom.

Rating for episodes 1-4o: 4 stars
Ratings for episodes 41-80: 2 1/2 stars
Overall Rating: 3 1/4 stars