Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Till the World Ends" Episode 3

"Ray, sweetie!  Your first few outfits for your concert are ready!" Raymond's wardrobe stylist Hannah said.

Raymond's short break after his series of concerts in the US was over, and it was back to work for him.  Today was his first costume fitting for his upcoming concert at the HK Colesium, and he wasn't sure what to expect.

Bosco's words from the other night echoed in his head.  "Hey...HK Coliseum concerts usually have some bold and outrageous costumes", he had said.

How bad could it be? he thought.  His stylists knew him and his style, simple and classy.  Surely the outfits couldn't be too bad.

"Here you go!" Hannah came back with a rack of costumes.  Raymond looked up and felt a pang of panic.  One was a bright yellow colored jumpsuit with rhinestones embedded on it, another was made of transparent fabric, and the last one looked decent at first sight, but then he realized there was something that looked like a tail hanging off the back of it.  Outrageous didn't begin to describe the costumes.

"Uh...Hannah, don't these costumes look a bit over the top?" Raymond asked as he bit his lip.

"Of course not, you need to stand out on stage!  You can't just wear your normal boring clothes," Hannah said as she looked Raymond up and down in his button down shirt and dark jeans.  "It's the Coliseum for crying out loud, you need to look like a star!" the enthusiastic stylist said as she waved her hands in emphasis.

"Now go try them on!" Hannah urged.

Raymond went into the dressing room and hesitatingly tried on the jumpsuit.  He closed his eyes to keep himself from seeing how he looked until the jumpsuit was all on.  He opened his eyes slowly and shuddered.  A star?  I look more like a lemon, he thought.  How could he even walk out like this, never mind perform in front of millions of people?  This wasn't him.  This wasn't even him at a drunken Halloween party.  He looked fake.  He felt like a phony.  He...

"What's taking so long!  Let me see you!" Hannah yelled, interrupting him from thought.

Raymond slowly opened the door.

"Well come out here, I can't see you from here!" Hannah complained, then caught a glimpse of him and gasped.  "Raymond, darling, you look fabulous!"

"I do?" Raymond asked shocked.

"Yes, now try on the second costume!" she said, pointing to the transparent one.

Raymond obeyed his stylist and drudgingly went back into the dressing room to try it on.  It exposed his whole bare chest and back for everyone to see, and he didn't even have that much muscle to show!

"I feel objectified," he muttered as he walked out for Hannah to see.

Hannah turned him around and gave a nod of approval, completely ignoring what he just said.  "The girls are going to love it!" she said.

"Now just try on that last one for me please," she added.

Raymond looked at the costume with the tail with dread.  He did not want to try that thing on.

All of a sudden, his phone rang.  Yes, a distraction! he thought.  "Excuse me," he said to Hannah, and answered the call.

"Hey Ray, it's Ella!" she said.

"Hey!" Raymond replied, breaking into a smile.

"Are you busy?  I cooked some soup and thought I'd bring some to you when you're free," Ella said.

Raymond's ears suddenly perked up.  He smelled opportunity.  "Oh, mom, you fell?  Well, are you okay?  It could be serious, let me come visit you!" he faked.

"Wait, what?" Ella asked, confused.

Raymond cupped his ear over the phone and turned to Hannah.  "My mom got hurt!  I need to go see her right away, I'll try the last one on tomorrow, same time!" he told her as he started to dash off.

"Wait, get back here!" Hannah cried.

It was too late, Raymond was already off.  "I'll explain later, you can come over now", he whispered into the phone and took the first taxi back to his place.  He'd have to try on that animal costume eventually, but chatting with a good friend and getting his mind off it for now sounded more promising.

He arrived back home before Ella came had just kicked his shoes off and made himself comfortable on the couch when he heard a knock at the door.

He opened the door to see Ella and his face instantly lit up.  The bright and sweet aura around Ella always made him a little happier.

"Hey!  I made you some soup.  You need the nutrition, it's good for you," she said, holding up a thermos.

Raymond moved his face closer to hers and stared at her intensely.

Ella made a nervous face.  "...What?" she said.

Raymond blinked and said "Oh, I was just checking to see you weren't my mother in disguise," he joked.  "You know, bringing me soup and telling me how I need more nutrition."

Ella blushed.  "Well, I was cooking at home and made a big pot of soup.  I brought some to Fala too," she replied, then proceeded to make herself at home on the couch.

"So what was that about your mom falling?  Is she okay?" she asked with a genuinely concerned expression.

Raymond laughed.  "I was using you as an excuse to get away," he answered.

Ella raised her eyebrows.  "Why...?"

"My wardrobe stylist gave me all these costumes to try on for my Coliseum concert, and they all looked ridiculous", he told her.  "I was just about to be put into a get up with a tail when you called and saved me," he said.

"Oh come on, how bad can they be," Ella replied.

"It had a tail!" he repeated with emphasis.  "This other one made me look like a bedazzled neon lemon, and then this other one was all see through so you could see my whole torso," he described.

"Oh...that sounds bad," Ella said, wrinkling her nose.

Raymond stared at the floor pondering.  "It's not just the appearance of the clothes.  I feel like I'm becoming more of a machine made idol than a musical artist," he said.  "I definitely don't mind having so many girls fawning over me," he said as Ella rolled her eyes.  "I want to be known as an artist though, not some glorified blow up doll, but I can't just refuse to do what I'm asked."

She listened with understanding.  "I get what you mean.  You're just going to have to find a way to satisfy both.  Own what's been given to you, no matter how much you think it resembles a lemon, but also show everyone who you really are," she said.  She looked down at her watch.  "I have to go!" she said, getting up from the couch, causing Raymond to look slightly disappointed.  "Don't forget to drink the soup!  Bye!"

She opened the door and started to walk out.  "Oh, and one more thing Raymond," she said, stopping and turning around.  He looked up.  "Remember that you love music, and that's the reason you decided to enter this industry in the first place," she said with a smile, and then closed the door behind her.

**********

"No, this just doesn't give me the right feeling," Myolie said, stressing the word "feeling".

Kate gave her a puzzled look.  "What do you mean it doesn't give you the right feeling?" she asked.

Bosco, Myolie, and Kate had spent the afternoon checking out sites up for rent to place their cafe in.  They had looked at five different locations that all showed promise, but Myolie had found something wrong with all of them.  "This one's too small!"  "This one's too big!"  "Do you think we're opening a cafe or operating a drug factory?  This place looks so shady!" were just a few of the things that had come out of her mouth that day.  

"It doesn't make me feel anything, doesn't exert anything special," Myolie explained.  

"It's just an empty room right now, of course it doesn't feel overly special.  We still have to renovate and decorate the place!" Kate said, rolling her eyes.

Bosco inspected the place.  "This is a pretty good place," he said, and began poking fun at his girlfriend.  "Not too small, not too big, doesn't look like drugs are being made here," he said into Myolie's ear from behind, making her jump.

Kate looked out the windows.  "It's a good location too," she said.  "It's near the local university so we'll attract a lot of students, and a moderately busy street," she added.

"I don't know," Myolie said.  "I feel like it's missing something."

Kate sat down at a seat by the window and signaled Myolie to sit down next to her.  "I don't think so.  Just imagine what it'd look like once we renovate the place," she said.

Bosco joined the two girls in their vision.  "Yeah, come up with a nice color scheme, decorate the walls, a large display of cakes could go there, the sitting area there," he said.

"Ooo, we could decorate the cafe by theme!  Do something different as the seasons change," Myolie proposed.

"That sounds like a great idea!" Kate replied.  "See, don't you think we could do a lot with this place?"

Myolie looked around thoughtfully.  "Yes we could," she said.

"So is this going to be the site of Myolie and Kate's to be named cafe?" Bosco asked.

Kate and Myolie looked around again, putting together a vision in their minds, and smiled.  "Yes," they both said at the same time and laughed.

"Ok, I'll call the landlord," Bosco said with a smile, and walked to the other side of the room to make the call.

"So what are we going to name the cafe?" Myolie asked Kate.   And that was the next big question.

**********

Now in a good mood, Myolie was back to cooking and making her delicious but healthy dinners.  Bosco and Edwin came over to join Myolie and Kate as usual.  It was just the four of them tonight, and they were throwing around possible names for the cafe.

"We should combine our names!  What about Myate's?" Myolie said while placing the plates onto the table.

"No," Kate said, slightly cringing at the idea.

"Kayolie's?"

"No."

"Mate's?"

"You're not going to say yes to anything I suggest now are you?" Myolie asked.

"Probably not," she said back playfully.

Edwin browsed a list of the things they planned to offer including different hot chocolates, smoothies, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and other sweets.

"Gosh, everything on this list makes me want to give into my sweet tooth," he joked.  "Hey, how about  Little Sweet Things?" he asked.

"Oh, that's cute and catchy!" Myolie said excitedly.

"I like it!" Kate replied.  "It's short and sweet."

"No pun intended right?" Bosco teased, and the other three rolled their eyes at the joke.

Edwin put his glass of water up.  "Cheers to Little Sweet Things, the next cafe to hit Hong Kong and take it by storm!" he said, cheerfully.

"Cheers!" Four glasses clinked together in joy.

===============================================

Comments: It was nice writing again!  Having already come up with the outline for two episodes, the writing process of this went a lot more smoothly.  I like how once I know what I want to write, I'm able to go with the flow more and let the dialog just come to me, which makes it more enjoyable.  There's focus on Raymond and Ella for the first time, and continued development of Myolie and Kate's cafe!  I hope this sitcom of mine is still enjoyable and fun to read!  Comments appreciated.  Next episode's focus will be on Fala and Edwin.  One relationship will be explored, and a new character will make their entrance!

Friday, December 28, 2012

TVB 45th Anniversary Awards Results + Comments

Another year has flown by, the anniversary awards season is finally over, and it's time for the TVB machine to (literally) churn out more productions for the upcoming new year.  After months of speculation, we finally have the year's award winners, and they're actually all quite deserving!


Best Actor: Wayne Lai, "The Confidant"
Top 5: Wayne Lai, Kenneth Ma, Moses Chan, Raymond Lam, and Damien Lau

Comments: Although the press had made speculations that Wayne would win "Best Actor" a third time, I was still surprised when he did.  I knew it was unlikely, but at the last minute I started cheering for Kenneth even though I didn't watch "The Hippocratic Crush".  Nevertheless, you can't deny Wayne is definitely "Best Actor".  However, I also feel slight pity for Raymond because with his loss this year, he probably won't ever win it now with his announced focus on his movie and music career.

Best Actress: Tavia Yeung, "Silver Spoons, Sterling Shackles"
Top 5: Tavia Yeung, Charmaine Sheh, Kate Tsui, Linda Chung, and Michelle Yim

Comments:  We all knew that in the end, Tavia would win.  I think even TVB knew giving Best Actress to Kate now would just be too premature.  Tavia's lost her spark to me since becoming a leading actress, but that doesn't keep me from truly believing this award belonged to her.  It was such a touching moment hearing Fiona Sit's powerful theme song for "Silver Spoons, Sterling Shackles" play as Tavia was hugged (and got french kissed by Fala!) by her colleagues, including co-stars first wife and third wife Mary Hon, Elena Kong, as well as Kenneth Ma and Kevin Cheng.  The most memorable thing for me was seeing real life boyfriend Him Law shedding tears of happiness for Tavia.  While I'm neutral against the couple, it felt like I was seeing such a genuine and special moment.  However, it annoyed me that Tavia did not go to hug, or even mention Him in her acceptance speech.  Surely she could have at least given an indirect thanks?


Best Supporting Actor: Koo Ming Wah, "Divas in Distress"
Top 2: Koo Ming Wah, Power Chan

Comments: TVB made an interesting twist in the presenting of the Best Supporting categories this year!  Instead of just announcing the top 5 nominees, the top 2 announced the winner themselves (how nerve wracking for them!).  Both are fantastic actors, but Koo Ming Wah was victorious!  This was the perfect way to complete this actor's unexpected and extraordinary success story.


Best Supporting Actress: Nancy Wu, "Gloves Come Off"
Top 2: Nancy Wu, Mandy Wong

After winning Best Supporting Actress categories from various other awards shows, Nancy finished off the year by sweeping up the one at the TVB Anniversary Awards too!  She has been a strong contender for this category for a while, and the mute and deaf boxer role finally gave her the breakthrough she needed.  With the physical limitations of her character, Nancy really needed to rely on her acting skills to portray it.  Next stop: leading actress!  On another note, it's a shame to see that after getting so much buzz, Elena did not even make it into the top 2.  It was still nice to see that despite winning Most Improved, Mandy was also "runner up" to Best Supporting!  It proves that despite being relatively young and new, her acting is already at such a high level.


My Favorite Male Character: Kenneth Ma, "The Hippocratic Crush" as "Dr. Cheung Yat-Kin"

A deserved win!  Kenneth's acceptance speech was very sweet.  I loved how he was genuinely happy for winning the award, especially when he said how it's a dreaded award as it has become to be known as consolation for the Best Actor/Actress award, but he wouldn't mind winning it every year.  Yay Kenneth!  The Best Actor award is still in his future.



My Favorite Female Character: Kate Tsui, "Highs and Lows" as "Chan Ka-Pik/Pat Chan"

Kate could have shown a "black face" in response to winning this award, but she was genuinely happy as well.  Her acceptance speech was so touching, especially when she talked about how she is not very well liked, and said she never thought she would be "favorite" anything in tears.  This may be dubbed the "pork chop" award for Best Actor/Actress, but after working so hard, this was the boost Kate needed.  She may have been the target of much criticism in the past, but by winning this award, she has risen above it all.



Most Improved Actor: Oscar Leung
Him Law may have been pegged to be the hot (black horse) winner early on, but after much delay, it finally landed into Oscar's hands!  Oscar has always made the best of even the smallest characters, and is another great success story this year.  I'm happy for all the recognition and accolades he's received this year.

Most Improved Actress: Mandy Wong
Mandy was at a slight disadvantage as her critically acclaimed performance in "L'Escargot" had aired so long ago, but still took the award home.  And honestly, after getting robbed last year, her name was written on it all this year.  Who could picture anyone else so rightfully winning it?


Best Drama: When Heaven Burns
This win was either the result of 100% online voting, or 100% executive decision.  "When Heaven Burns" may have not been well received overall, but the small cult fan base has proved to be very loyal and very avid. If TVB really allowed the results to rely fully on online voting, who said this fan base couldn't have made their favorite series win?  On the other hand, this could have also been a lame move on TVB's side to get Charmaine's attention and potentially get her back to film with them.  No one expected WHB to win, which was shown through Moses' stunned reaction to when its name was announced as Best Drama.  The biggest "what the heck?" moment of the night.



Outstanding Artist Award:
Chin Kar-lok
Benz Hui
Sunny Chan
Henry Lee
Carol Cheng

This year's "pork chop" awards did not go to the younger actors who lost out on Best Actor/Actress, but five of the many great veteran actors at TVB.  This was surprising, but a very pleasant surprise!  All five of these artists are so deserving.  In particular, Carol's face when she found out she was one of the winners while at her podium was priceless!  I bet she never would've guessed that the host would win an award.


Lifetime Achievement Award: Liza Wang
We all knew that Liza would eventually get this award, and this was her year!  She is truly the "#1 sister" of TVB!  There is no one quite as loyal to TVB as Liza is.

Overall, it has been an enjoyable and exciting awards season and I'm quite satisfied with all the results!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

TVB 45th Anniversary Awards: My Predictions and Picks

Despite the continuing pattern of artists leaving TVB and mediocre series after mediocre series, it has been an interesting anniversary season full of twists and turns.  The favorites to win have changed over the course of just a few months, with people having been pegged to win since early on in the year and unexpected last minute top contender emerges.  There's also the implementing of the online voting system, but knowing TVB, executive input for the results would not be surprising.  Following TVB Interaction tradition, I will be voicing my predictions as well as personal picks for the winners and top 5 nominees.




Best Actor



Predicted Winner: Raymond Lam
Predicted Top 5:
Raymond Lam, Wayne Lai, Damian Lau, Kenneth Ma, Bosco Wong
Most Deserving:
Damien Lau
P
ersonal Winner: Raymond Wong (for "Bottled Passion")

There has been back and forth on who will win Best Actor, Raymond Lam or Wayne?  If given to Wayne, he will film for TVB more often, while Raymond has already announced he will continue only filming one series per year.  Regardless, I choose Raymond as my predicted winner.  The characterization of "Happy Sir" and his performance left much to be desired, but it feels like the time has come for Raymond to finally take the award home.  Kenneth is the black horse candidate that TVB will hopefully not choose to exclude from the top 5, especially since he won Best Actor at the Astro Awards. On the other hand, Raymond Wong is my personal choice for Best Actor, even though he is not a top contender and nominated for the wrong series.  How can he be nominated for "Gloves Come Off" instead of "Bottled Passion"?!


Best Actress

Predicted Winner: Tavia Yeung

Predicted Top 5: Tavia Yeung, Kate Tsui, Michelle Yim, Fala Chen, Linda Chung
Most Deserving: Tavia
Personal Winner: N/A

It's been a tough and close competition between Tavia and Kate, but my prediction and vote goes to Tavia. While her last few roles have been nothing to yell excitedly about, she has the most "Best Actress" material with the best acting chops after Myolie, and like Raymond, it just feels like the right time now. While Kate's character has undoubtedly received the most noise and she continues to grow as an actress, she is not at TV Queen status yet and for her to win now would be premature. She has shown considerable improvements, particularly in her commanding of the screen, so I won't deny a deserved win in another year in the near future. Having only watched a couple episodes of "Silver Spoons", passed on most of the series this year, and the lack of strong female lead performances, I don't have a personal winner.




Best Supporting Actor


Predicted Winner: Power Chan

Predicted Top 5: Power Chan, Koo Ming Wah, Oscar Leung, Him Law, Edwin Siu
Most Deserving: Power and Ming Wah
Personal Winner: Ming Wah and Edwin Siu

It's a hard choice between Koo Ming Wan and Power Chan. Both are so talented, underrated, and deserve it so much. It's a toss up between the two, with a slight leaning towards Power. I have not watched "The Confidant", but am thrilled Power is finally getting the attention he deserves and don't mind seeing either winning. Edwin also delivered a spectacularly comedic, lovable, quirky, and adorable performance as "Ah Yap" in "Daddy Good Deeds" and takes the cake for the best supporting performance by a young actor. As much as I love Edwin, this is still a race between two previously unappreciated veterans.




Best Supporting Actress


Predicted Winner: Elena Kong

Predicted Top 5: Elena Kong, Mandy Wong, Nancy Wu, Aimee Chan, Helena Law
Most Deserving: Elena
Personal Winner: Elena or Mandy

I'll be ecstatic if either Elena or Mandy win. I've always enjoyed watching the captivating Elena, and Mandy shined as "Kwan Yi So". Both always deliver such consistent and strong performances. Mandy may either win this or Most Improved Actress. Nancy has been getting Best Supporting Actress awards this year though, most recently at the Astro awards, so maybe this black horse candidate could also finally go home victorious?




My Favorite Male Character


Predicted Winner: Kenneth Ma

Predicted Top 5: Kenneth Ma, Raymond Lam, Wayne Lai, Bosco Wong, and Moses Chan
Most Deserving: Kenneth
Personal Winner: N/A

I honestly did not watch many TVB series this year, which is probably why I don't have many favorite characters this time around. However, Kenneth is definitely deserving of some much needed recognition, and his character in "The Hippocratic Crush" was highly beloved by audiences during its airing and still is. My Favorite Male Character? I think yes. Raymond could also have a double win, but it'd be unnecessary, especially with how Wai Sir went from attractive and playful to incredibly irritating and underdeveloped. Bosco is also another black horse candidate as "Hui Sir" was also very loved.




My Favorite Female Character


Predicted Winner: Kate Tsui

Predicted Top 5: Kate Tsui, Tavia Yeung (for "Silver Spoons, Sterling Shackles"), Fala Chen, Myolie Wu, Eliza Sam
Most Deserving: Kate
Personal Winner: N/A

While the depressing and tragic life of Kate's "Chan Ka Pik/Pat" may not categorize as a person's favorite character, no other character made such an impact on the press and general public. "Pat" was hands down the most talked about character in all of Hong Kong and the online world, and it's hard to see anyone else winning (unless TVB switches it up and gives Kate Best Actress instead and gives this to Tavia as consolation).


Best Series


Predicted Winner: The Confidant

Predicted Top 5: The Confidant, The Hippocratic Crush, Silver Spoons, Sterling Shackles, Highs and Lows, Tiger Cubs
Most Deserving: Tiger Cubs
Personal Winner: Tiger Cubs

Two words: "Tiger Cubs"! If it was purely fan voting anyway. Full of great performances, captivating action, and a fast moving story, "Tiger Cubs" was the most fresh and entertaining thing to be churned out by TVB in a long time. However, I can see "The Confidant" winning this award as it's been quite a hit.




Most Improved Actor


Predicted Winner: Oscar Leung

Most Deserving: Edwin Siu
Personal Winner: Edwin Siu

Most Improved Actor is probably the category with the most competition! Everyone here has justifications for their nomination. Him Law originally had the lead, but the fact he is not a TVB managed artist pegs him as a black horse candidate. Edwin is the true "Most Improved", having portrayed very different characters in different series taking place in different periods. Sadly, he was unable to ever make as much "noise" as Him and Oscar to make him a top contender. Oscar on the other hand, has been a consistent, reliable, and strong supporting actor for years. He is a great actor, but this was not a year of improvement for him as much as it was for delayed recognition and opportunities. At the last minute, he has emerged as the predicted winner and as much as I want to see Edwin win, I will also be very happy to see Oscar take the award home.




Most Improved Actress


Predicted Winner: Mandy Wong or Eliza Sam (if the former grabs Best Supporting Actress)

Most Deserving: Mandy
Personal Winner: Mandy

If Mandy wins Best Supporting Actress, Eliza will win Most Improved. If Elena or someone else wins Best Supporting, Mandy will win Most Improved. It would be too ridiculous for her to not win anything at all though. While it's odd that Eliza is nominated for and likely to win the Most Improved award when this is only her first year in the industry, I have an easier time accepting her winning than Christine.


It's been an interesting anniversary awards season with its competition and unexpected twists and turns, and tomorrow, we'll see how accurate the press' and our personal predictions were. Any last minute predictions? Do share! A lot of these categories seem to be a toss up between two contenders, and after months of consideration and guessing, we will finally get our answer tomorrow.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

"Ghetto Justice 2" Review


"Ghetto Justice" unexpectedly became the sleeper hit of the year when it was released in 2011, becoming a critical and fan favorite.  Since then, many people had anticipated the sequel, including myself.

"Ghetto Justice 2" was set up very nicely.  It was one of the few sequels that truly felt like a continuation from the original.  All the principle cast members had returned, the ones who did not were heard from and had explained absences (Eddie Kwan and Joyce Tang), and the new characters (Raymond Cho, JJ Jia, and Crystal Li) were introduced well.

It all goes downhill from there though. The cases were weak, forgetful, and overall just uninteresting.  They failed to command attention, and with the excessive family related cases settled out of court, it strayed from the fact "Ghetto Justice" is a law series.  There were no captivating court scenes here.  Even the cases that had potential, such as the building collapse, were written poorly and ended abruptly. 


The heart and soul of "Ghetto Justice", embodied in the character of Law Ba made infamous by Kevin Cheng, lost his touch.  His ego seems to have inflated since the original, making him go from lovably cocky to just plain obnoxious at times.  His laziness and playfulness has elevated, and the brilliant lawyer failed to be exhibited much.  All of the subtle characteristics and flaws that made him special and likable in the first one were unnecessarily magnified.  He's still a likable enough character, but just not the same Law Ba that the audience came to love.

Myolie Wu delivers a repeat performance.  She reprises the role and shows small improvements, but doesn't present anything too new or impressive.  She and Kevin still have a great amount of chemistry together, and appear very natural.

"Ghetto Justice 2" wins the award for bringing in the most unnecessary plot device for its story ever: the love triangle.  The sequel saw challenges for Law Ba and Wong Sze Fu through Law Ba's ex-wife Lynette, played by Christine Kuo, who somehow managed to remain unknown to any of the other characters for so long.  The idea already seemed bad in theory, and its execution was no better.  Lynette was irritating, and almost singlehandedly makes the series a long draggy, mess.  There were some redeeming traits in the character, such as her wish to truly help people as a doctor, but her foolish love for Law Ba masks her potential likability.  Christine gives a mediocre performance with jumbled Cantonese and unnatural crying scenes, but the scene where she challenges Myolie to fight for Kevin showed she can be pretty fierce. 

Between the weak cases and overall storyline, the decline in Law Ba's level of likability, and the addition of Lynette, it was the supporting cast that kept me watching (that, and I didn't want to just drop the series since I enjoyed the original so much).

"Ah Dan" (Sam Lee) was already likable in the original, and continues to be.  In fact, I held a higher appreciation of the character of Ah Dan and Sam's subtle yet real portrayal of him this time around.  He is kindhearted and concerned of the well being of society to a fault, but has a tendency to neglect family.  Regardless of how small the appearance, it was also great that Sharon Chan was able to make a cameo as Ching Ching through the form of Ah Dan's memory and mind. 

I had major doubts of the pairing of Sam Lee and JJ Jia, but they turned out to be the pair I enjoyed watching most, from their initial dislike and misconceptions of each other, to their friendship and mutual understanding, to their eventual realization of their love of each other.  At first, JJ Jia's character Ah Sum seemed like she'd be very annoying, but she turned out to be a sweet, kind, caring, but smart girl.  JJ performed quite well, bringing out the heart and wisdom in Ah Sum.  She knew to remember the memories forever, but not let the past keep her from being happy in the present and future.  Her unwavering care of Ah Dan and willingness to help him through thick and thin was touching, particularly when she steered him to learn to accept his mother's death and mend his relationship with his father.  It was a plot line that could have been draggy to watch, but one of few things that were executed well in the series. 

Jazz Lam reprises his endearing performance as the adorable and gentlemanly MJ with ease, and it continues to shock me how he emerged into the character so naturally with his record of playing more rough and immature, younger characters.  Raymond Cho as "Leung Bao" was an appropriate replacement for Eddie Kwan, and had no trouble filling the void left in Law Ba's gang of friends.  Crystal Li did not have much development or screen time to work with as "Grace", but was very likable and shows potential as well as a certain aura of sweetness and intelligence to her.  However, the oddest character and casting decision was Elena Kong, who is pictured on the poster and initially appears to be a main cast member.  Her character had potential for development and another storyline.  Yet, she disappears after her divorce case and is never heard from again.

"Ghetto Justice 2" is deceiving.  It looks the same and as good as the original the outside with the return of its original cast and smooth entrance of new characters, but it's not.  The overall vision and point of the series did not mirror up to the first one.  It tried to expand on what made the original so beloved, but along the way ruined itself.  The sequel holds little novelty and things to praise about, but is full of weak and sloppy writing.  Perhaps it would have been better if the original producer Tong Kei Ming had returned, as he was replaced by newly promoted producer Joe Chan after announcing retirement.

Overall

"Ghetto Justice 2" feels more like a chore to watch than a pleasure, and definitely does not live up to the hype or the original.  With the exception of Christine Kuo, the series does boost solid acting.  However, the point that good acting can not save a bad script has been made and beaten to death by TVB a thousand times over, and "Ghetto Justice 2" is just another example.  The story is not engaging and sloppily written and should not be linked to the original.  There were some entertaining moments and I enjoyed watching the cast (mostly Sam and JJ), but the bad and weak outweighs the good.  Now that this review is written and done, I can now pretend there was never a sequel made for "Ghetto Justice".

Rating: 2 stars

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Till the World Ends": Episode 2

"Wait...so what exactly happened?" Bosco asked Kate the next, who had just found out the two girls were now unemployed after coming home from work early.  Kate had called Bosco and Edwin after she and Myolie arrived home. Edwin, who was working at home, immediately came up from he and Bosco's apartment downstairs, which was located directly below the two girls.
Kate opened her mouth to reiterate, but Edwin repeated for her instead. "Basically, Kate stood up to the wicked Rachel for Myolie. Myolie got overexcited, as if some supernatural force got into her, and decided to stand up to her as well. Rachel bursts, and fires the two on the spot", Edwin said, making hand motions as he said it to make it sound even more lively and exciting.

Kate nudged Edwin. "Don't forget, as we walked out, she turned back and yelled 'See you suckers!'" she said, with her fist in the air.

"You two sure had an interesting day", Bosco said. Of course he felt bad about what had happened...but the way it happened was rather amusing. His girlfriend would do such a thing. He turned to Kate.

"Getting fired may not be the worst thing in the world though. Now you don't have to work for that Rachel", he said.

"I know, but what if we end up working for a boss that's even worse? And now it'll follow us to any companies that we apply to", Kate replied.

"Also, if I'm worried about this, I can only imagine how hard Myolie's going to take this when it all sinks in", she said as she bit her lip.

"Speaking of which...where is she? I haven't seen her since we came up", he said. He and Kate looked around the apartment for her.

Edwin, who had gone to the kitchen for a glass of water, popped his head out from the other room. "No need to keep looking, I already found her", he told them.

Bosco and Kate came over, but didn't see her. "Wait, where?" they asked.

"Wait, she's about to come up", he said as he playfully shushed them.

Myolie popped up from under the kitchen counter with a large batch of cupcakes. "Has anyone seen my frosting utensils?" she cried.

Bosco and Kate looked around with widened eyes. Trays of cookies, cupcakes, and muffins lied on every surface in the kitchen. There was enough to feed a whole classroom of hungry kids with sweet tooth's. Myolie had cracked.

"What did I do? What did I DO?" Myolie wailed.

Bosco came over beside her and started to massage her shoulders.  "You let out something that you've been keeping bottled up for a long time", he replied.

Myolie budged from Bosco's grasp and went to pull a kitchen knife from out of the drawer.

Edwin's eyes bulged.  "Ahh!" he screamed when realized what Myolie had taken out.  "Myolie Jeh, we know you're feeling frazzled right now but don't need to resort to this!"  he said.

"I want to cut the brownies!" Myolie pointed at the fresh batch of brownies on the counter with the knife.  She looked like she was more prone to passing out from the stress she was feeling at the moment than actually inflicting harm on herself.

Kate reached over and cautiously removed the knife from her friend's hand.  "Let me do that for you...", she said.

Myolie failed to react to Kate taking the knife from her, and instead sank her face into her hands.  "What am I going to do!  How am I going to find a job in this economic state?  And why did I have to pull you into this?" she said as she turned to Kate.  She leaned down and buried her face in Kate's shoulder and started to sob.

Kate, Edwin, and Bosco all looked at each other.  What were they going to do?

**********

Ron exited the elevator to enter the floor of Fala's work place with a bag in hand.  He could see Fala diligently working at her computer through the glass door and smiled.

Opening the door, he tip toed across the room and put up a finger to his lips to shush the puzzled co-workers who caught sight of him from their desks.

Once at Fala's desk, he reached over from behind to cover her eyes.

In response, Fala started to scream.  "Who's this?!" she yelled.

Ron burst out laughing, and Fala immediately recognized the sound of his laugh.  

"Ugh, it's you!" she playfully scoffed.  "What brings you here?" she asked in her normal voice.

"You've been so busy working on your story lately, I thought I'd visit you during your lunch hour and bring you food or you would totally forgot us humans need to eat", Ron replied, handing her the take out bag.  

Fala peered into the bag and took out a hot sandwich and cup of soup from her favorite cafe.  "My favorite!" she said happily.  She reached up and cheerfully pat Ron on the head, who was leaning on her desk.  "Thank you!"

Cindy, one of her co-workers and fellow reporters nudged Fala.  "Your boyfriend?" she pointed at Ron.  "Very handsome", she whispered to her, but not quietly enough so that Ron could still hear.

Ron started to break into a big smile at the compliment on his looks.  "Why thank you", he said.

"Him?  Yeah right", Fala laughed.  Ron rolled his eyes.

He put his arm around her and said "This thing here is just my good, good, very good friend".  He paused, and added "However, she is quite a handful".

Fala elbowed him in the chest lightly for that last remark, and Ron responded by mocking great pain.  "Ow!" he mouthed.

"Could've fooled me", Vincent (Vincent Wong), another co-worker of Fala said with a laugh.  "Bringing you your favorite lunch during your lunch hour, that's not something I ever did for even my own girlfriend, he said.  "And did you notice her eyes perked right up when she saw it", he poked Fala's cheek.

"No wonder she dumped you", Fala joked and pushed his finger away.

Vincent pretended to take offense at the playful assault.  "Aww..." he said, and went back to work.

"Yeah, and she can't go more than a few hours without food.  Try starving her, it's like purposely inflicting pain on yourself because she becomes so irritated and irritating to the people around her", Ron said about Fala.

"That's not true!" Fala said.

"Aw, you two are like an old married couple", Cindy teased.

"Shouldn't you guys be taking your lunch break now?" Fala asked, in an effort to shoo them away.

"We still need to finish our stories too, no lunch for me today", Cindy replied.

"Then get working!", Fala said, and everyone turned back to their computer screens.

Ron turned to Fala again.  "Are you going to the gym after work today?  My last session ends at 5 but I still have to squeeze in a workout for myself too", he said, then poked her arm.  "Looks like you should too, your muscle's going away!"

"It is?" Fala said and looked down and poked at her arms.  "Aw man!  Yeah, I'll be there, I should have this story done by the end of today", she said.

"Ok, see you then.  Don't work too hard", Ron said.  He patted her head then started to leave to go meet his first client of the day at the gym.  As he left the office, from the corner of his eye he could see Vincent sneaking looks at Fala from his work station, then quickly looked back at his computer screen.  Fala, of course, was oblivious.

As Fala finally started to turn her attention back to her story, a new distraction appeared.

"Ahh, he's so handsome!" "He makes me melt!"  "He looks so good in that suit!" a group of girls huddled together in the office flipping through a magazine.  Raymond was on the cover.

Fala raised her eyebrows as the girls fan girled over Raymond.  She heard a lot of remarks on his looks and how "cool" and "hot" he is, but nothing about his talent.  The fan girling continued, but no productive praise seemed to come out of it.  She had a high appreciation of music as well as Raymond's.  She saw him go through vocal training and work hard for so many years before getting where he was today.  Did they not realize her friend Raymond was more than just a pretty face?  He's an artist, not a glorified idol.  Fala sighed.  None of these girls seemed to really appreciate and like Raymond.

**********

Later that day, Fala and Ron ran on treadmills side by side at the gym.  Fala was ranting to Ron about the girls at the office who were cooing over Raymond.

"There are so many more things to praise Raymond about!  His voice and range, stage presence, work ethic, why do the girls only comment on his looks?" she pondered, annoyed.  

"Well, not every girl is as thoughtful and observant as you", Ron replied.

"They're not teenage girls anymore, surely they can show more deep thinking than that", she said.

Ron shrugged and said "You'd be surprised. Not every adult is as bright as they should be."

"But you do have a point. Raymond spent years studying music, training his voice, and searching for opportunities to become a musician, not just the subject of ogling girls", he said seriously. Then, he thoughtfully added "Not that I would mind if girls wanted to fawn over me."

Fala stared at the suddenly daydreaming Ron. "You were doing so well being serious for once until that last part", she said.

He snapped out of his daydream and turned his face to look at her. "Hey, of I was serious all the time you wouldn't find me so fun to hang out with, would you?" he asked in his typical silly and playful tone.

Fala rolled her eyes. "I guess not, she said with a smile.

"And she finally smiles again!" Ron said, pumping his arms in the air as if he had achieved victory.

Fala laughed wholeheartedly at her silly friend. Life would be so less entertaining and fun without him.

**********

"So what are you going to do?" Ella asked Kate later that evening.

"Well, I got fired, I didn't resign. It's not like I can just go back and ask for my job back", Kate said.

It was dinner time of the same day, and the whole group sat in the living room eating instant noodles. While Myolie had downgraded from hysterical to just super worried and unsure of what to do next, she was still in no mood to cook. When everybody showed up ready for dinner, she handed each one of them a noodle cup.

"We'll probably be blacklisted by ever PR firm in the area once word gets out about how we were fired", Myolie said sadly.

"You have a decent amount of money saved up, you can just take a break then start applying to jobs again and go from there", Bosco said.

"I'd barely call that a plan", Myolie mumbled. She couldn't go with the flow the way Bosco did so well.  She needed a structured plan she could carefully follow to feel at ease.

Edwin returned from the kitchen with a small plate piled with various baked goods from Myolie's baking spree earlier.  "Myolie, these are delicious!" he said while chewing a brownie.  "You should open your own bakery!"

Ella's eyes lit up.  "Hey, that's actually not a bad idea!" she said.

Edwin looked up from his plate.  "Wait, we were being serious?" he asked.

Bosco stood up straighter.  "That actually is a good idea!  Maybe not just a bakery, but a cafe too!" he replied.  He turned to Myolie and Kate.  "You two studied business in college and have experience", he said.  He pointed at Myolie.  "You're a great baker and love to bake and you're the most organized person I know", he stated.

Then, he pointed at Kate.  "You work great with Myolie and you know how to deal with all types of people and customers well", he said.

"If nobody wants to hire you, become your own boss.  You won't need to deal with unreasonable superiors anymore and you have all of us to help you out too.  People love sweets and it could be a great place for all kinds of people to come relax at", he proposed.

Myolie's ears began to perk up and she started to get excited.  "I can bake and decorate different pastries and create a serene atmosphere that will make people want to come and wind down", she said.

Kate nodded thoughtfully.  "That does sound very nice", she replied.

"And I can help you with the money to start it up and go visit potential locations with you", Bosco said.

"I can help you design the look of the cafe!" Ella exclaimed.

"Oooh, and I can write the first review of the place!" Fala said.

"I can advertise it on the web and create a website for it", Edwin added.

"I can come to the grand opening of the place and attract more people to come", Raymond offered.

"I can..." Ron started.  Unable to think of anything he could do for the cafe related to his job as a personal trainer, he said "I can try all the baked goods and give feedback!"  Everyone laughed.

"I think Edwin has that job covered", Kate said as Edwin continued to indulge.

Myolie and Kate grew more excited and at ease with the idea that had just been born and their friend's support.

Bosco put his arm around Myolie.  "Do we have a plan now?" he asked sweetly.

Myolie paused to think, and everyone waited intently for what she'd say.

"I guess we do!" she said, and kissed him on the cheek.

Everyone started to cheer happily for the great cafe that was about to be born.  Ron picked up his cup of noodles.  "A toast to new beginnings and the unnamed cafe of Myolie and Kate!", he said, goofily.  The friends chuckled at the silliness of the action, but all obliged and touched their cups together.  "Cheers!" they all said in unison.

======================================

Comments: After four months, I finally got the second episode done.  Yay!!!  I suddenly had the urge to start writing it again.  I already had part of it done a while back and finally got a chance and the inspiration to finish it.  I hope everyone enjoys it, that is if there are still people reading.  While I feel like I probably created too many main characters, I love writing their interactions together and have plans for all of them (some more detailed than others).  Fala and Ron's friendship was mainly set up here, and Fala is revealed to have a potential admirer.  And of course, Myolie and Kate quickly found new opportunity.  Next to come, Raymond will be going to the first costume fitting for his upcoming concert!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

"Tiger Cubs" Review


"Tiger Cubs", with its high budget and quality of production as well as its cast ensemble, is easily the best series of the year hands down.

The series seemingly flies by with its straightforward plot and quick pace.  It has viewers hooked from beginning to end, without ever wavering in quality or consistency too much like typical TVB series do. From the first episode, it is clear the effort that was put into the series.   From the cinematic-like filming style, to the thrilling and well shot action sequences, to the wonderful ensemble of characters, "Tiger Cubs" is the most quality production of the year.

Cast and Characters

"Tiger Cubs" is easily most beloved for its young SDU boys, which consist of Oscar Leung, Him Law, Vincent Wong, William Chak, and Benjamin Yuen.


Oscar Leung receives the best character of his career with "Chong Chuk Yuen", as the role allowed him to shine and show his charisma and potential as a future leading actor.  Unlike his usual more rough and comic relief-type roles, Oscar is a gentlemanly, calm, mature, and sweet young man with a romantic side here, something we've never been able to see much of before.  Despite the age difference, he realistically portrays the brotherly friendship between him and Joe with ease as well as the sibling chemistry with Jessica.  And of course, his signature wink was adorable.

The fabulous acting by the young cast does not stop at Oscar though.  Him Law portrays the confident, cocky, rash, and impulsive "Yu Hok Lai" naturally and without a problem.  He matures and develops a close friendship with the team's technician So Man Keung (portrayed by Mandy Wong) as he helps her get over her fear of heights and achieve her goal of becoming the first female SDU member.  I can not deny he is one of the best actors of his generation and has what it takes to be a lead actor.

Vincent Wong delivers his most natural performance to date as "Yau Chun Hin".  In contrast to his best buddy Ah Lai, Hin Jai is humble and patient, but is insecure and lacks self esteem due to the pressure he feels from his family, which is full of heroic and accomplished cops.  Ah Hin was the character with the most potential, and I had looked forward to seeing him mature and become more confident as the series progressed.  Unfortunately, the script did not seem to have any intentions of focusing in on Vincent (notice he's the only one of the main SDU guys to not have any love interest), as he had the least screen time.  His character development was executed in a disappointingly abrupt and brief fashion.  Regardless, Vincent did wonderfully with what he was given.  In the early episodes, you could see the hesitation in his eyes as he started SDU training.    He also finally shed his habit of adding in English words and phrases to his lines.

No one had expected Hin Jai to be the one to die.  (Thanks to a prank by Jessica, who had "confessed" her character died early on during its airing.  This turned out to be a stunt by Jessica and Vincent to keep the actual ending under wraps.  Very clever, Jess...)  Hin died in such a tragic, graphic, and gruesome way.  Huge props to him for giving such a memorable performance in his last scene.  His death already had me in tears, and seeing the character try to utter one last smile to the world before he passed made my heart break.  Fantastic acting touch.  Previously, I already loved Vincent for his real life down to earth personality but thought his acting left much to be desired.  He shows he has what it takes to be a solid actor here, and I will be cheering for him all the way.  If a sequel does happen, I will greatly miss his presence.

Mandy Wong, like usual, delivers solidly and is perhaps the only female of the male dominated cast that is likable and interesting.  Christine Kuo gives what was hands down the weakest performance with her scattered Cantonese and English and bimbo-like character.  William Chak did well in the one episode he had the spotlight (the tour bus storyline), and I look forward to seeing more of him.


Although our lead actors perform adequately, they fail to shine and instead are overshadowed by the bright group of youngsters I mentioned above (excluding Christine).  Joe Ma, as our leading man, anchors the SDU team as their leader, but fails to leave an impression like the others.  He is likable as the hardworking "Chin Sir" who cared deeply for his subordinates.  As a character with not much of a dynamic though, he was easily outshined.


Jessica Hsuan portrays a different type of police officer here as the depressed and suicidal "Madam Chong".  While she delivers, it is hard to make this type of character likable as the depressed and suicidal state (understandably) of Madam Chong rid her of her personality and livelihood.  When she recovered though, she lost the only major dynamic she had.  However, as Joe and Jessica's relationship finally started to fall for each other, they did get some smiles out of me.  The scene where they are both sitting at the dining table stealing glances at each other was awkwardly adorable.


Other Notable Performances

This review would not be complete without mentioning the series' resident ultimate villains Kenneth Ma and JJ Jia, who made their debut in the first episode and returned in the last for a nail biting finale. Kenneth is chilling, frightening, and convincing as "To Tin Yau".  JJ Jia gives a decent performance as well.  However, they have already received endless praise for their roles, and I would like to mention others too.

Kenny Wong appeared in what was an underrated guest star role.  While I'm not usually fond of the actor, he gives a heartbreaking performance as the loving father forced into committing crime to get money for his sick son's surgery.  You could see the guilt in his eyes and that he genuinely did not wish to hurt anyone, especially in his last confrontational scene with Mandy.  Despite doing a bad thing, he sparked sympathy through the portrayal of all the emotions the character felt while doing it.  Jazz Lam was adorable, pitiful, and convincing as (autistic?) young boy whose life long dream is to be a cop and take care of his mom.  He is such a valuable and rare actor.

Lastly, a shout out to my favorite "underdog" artist, Patrick Tang.  He appeared in the series as a regular under Jessica's team.  Though "Ben" is Patrick's smallest role yet (I smell demotion), he makes the most out of the very minor but likable character.  It was nice to see Patrick in a more professional and mature role.  I loved the character's loyalty to Jessica as well as his subtle touches of humor.


The Series in General

The plot isn't one that sparks thinking or deep meaning, but the writing is above average for TVB's shoddy scripts these days.  The change in format was refreshing and proved to work well.  Since it clocked in with slightly longer episodes, but a shorter overall episode count at just 13, this made "Tiger Cubs" more consistent and less prone to cliches and filler material.  In fact, by the series' end, there is still a lot of potential for further development.  A majority of the scenes served a purpose, and unlike most TVB series today, doesn't stray from the point.  Additionally, the cinematic like filming style and high budget makes it look much more presentable, professional, and more attractive to look at.  It is the rare instance that they try something new and different and succeeded.  Quality isn't compensated, it's even better.  I appreciate how it still has the familiar feel of a TVB series, but attempts new things and actually executes it well.

Highlights

  • The brotherhood, friendship, and chemistry between the characters.  The SDU team truly felt like a team, and I'll miss them!
  • The action sequences/climaxes.  The cases themselves were fine, but not overly intriguing.  However, the climaxes always had me sitting at the edge of my seat!
  • The finale.  Never has the finale of a TVB series had me so nervous, stressed, and thrilled!  My heart was probably pounding by the second half of the finale. 
Overall

You don't break what's not broken.  However, recent TVB series have indeed been broken - in other words they've mostly sucked.  "Tiger Cubs" takes a familiar formula but improves upon it with outstanding acting, cinematography, style, and action.  The script is no masterpiece, but it is through its execution that "Tiger Cubs" shines like a diamond.  

Rating: 4.5 stars

Friday, June 29, 2012

Vacation time! (Hiatus Notice)

Hello everyone!  Hope everyone's having a great summer and been enjoying the updates on TVB Interaction and AE Experience.

I don't post that frequently anyway, but wanted to just leave a notice so it doesn't look like I disappeared.

I'll be on vacation on/off for the month of July.   I'm leaving tomorrow to go on a cruise to Bermuda for five days.  It should be lots of fun, because besides for going my parents, a close childhood friend of mine and her family is going too!  I'll get back Thursday afternoon.  Expect chapter 2 to be posted sometime after that though, as I've already started it and will have plenty of time on the bus to my port in New Jersey and back, and intend on using some of the time to write.

I'll be back for about a week before going on ANOTHER trip (Woo, busy summer this year! :D).  I'll be visiting my relatives in Montreal, Canada for 8-10 days.  Once again, I'll have plenty of time to write on the train ride there and back (14 hours...).  I tend to have lots of down time there (You gotta learn to be patient and find something to kill time with when you have to wait for almost 10 people to get ready to go to dinner...), so you may see me on to reply to messages and write a bit.  :)  Also, great news.  If you guys read AE Experience (and you SHOULD ;D), you know my partner Niki.  Turns out, she may be going to Montreal too, and at the same time as me!  Cross your fingers we'll get to spend time there together!  Hehe.

I'll be updating through out the month of July on and off, as I'll know I'll have time in between, will get bored, and have the urge to be productive.  Definitely don't expect to hear from me for the next week though, as I'll be too busy chilling down in Bermuda.  :P  You'll definitely still hear from me after though, whether on Twitter or replying to tagboard messages or comments.

Just a very casual (from all the side notes and emoticons) post to let everybody know what I'll be up this month (as if anybody cares?).  Sorry, I ended up rambling a bit.  Oh, and after that, I get to sink myself in summer reading.  Joy.  Anyway, hope you guys are enjoying your summer!

See you soon!
Love,
Iris

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Till the World Ends": Episode 1

Myolie was scampering around the apartment trying to make everything perfect for the special day as her friends Kate, Fala, Ella, and Ron watched in amusement from the couch.  She came over and started yelling at them.  "Why are you just sitting there!  Get up and help prepare!" she cried.

Her roommate and best friend Kate looked at her and replied, "There's nothing left to do.  Just sit down and relax until Raymond gets here".  Myolie, a perfectionist that didn't know how to sit still, did not look satisfied with that answer.

"Go clean!" she told her.

Kate glanced around the apartment and wrinkled her eyebrows.  "Myo, are you kidding me?  You cleaned this whole place spotless before I could even find the broom!" she joked.

Myolie faked a laugh.  "Hahaha, when'd you get so funny?" she asked, sarcastically. Kate shrugged and gave her a taunting smile.

Bosco, Myolie's boyfriend of seven years, walked into the room and started massaging her shoulders.  "Sweetie, Kate's right.  It's time for you to sit down and take a breather", he said gently with a smile.  Myolie could act so antsy sometimes.

"But Raymond's finally back from his tour in the US!  It'll be the first time us friends will all be together in almost two months!" Myolie said, anxiously.

"Yes, and if I didn't know any better, the way you're acting would make me think Raymond is your boyfriend", Bosco playfully replied as he finally got her to sit down.

"There you go. Breathe in, breathe out", Ron teased her from the recliner chair. Myolie made a face at him.

The door bell rang, and Myolie shot back up from the couch and ran over to the door.  "Raymond!" she cried, happily.  Edwin stood at the door, surprised.

"It's just you!  What were you doing?" Myolie interrogated him.  He held up a bag.  "You told me to go buy hot sauce..." he answered.

"Oh, I forgot...thanks, just put it on the counter", she replied.

"Hello to you too", Edwin laughed as he obeyed her. These large dinners with the whole gang never occurred without a Myolie scurrying around.


Edwin came to join everyone else, and plopped down next to his "big sister" Kate on the couch. "She overexcited again?" he asked.

"Mhm", she replied.

Ron leaned down in his chair to get right next to Fala, who was sitting on the ground near him typing away on her laptop and working on an article, completely oblivious.  "Hi", he simply said into her ear, which was enough to make her jump.

Fala whacked him on the head, and he made a funny face exaggerating the pain.  "You ruined my concentration!" she said.

"Ray's about to come, stop working!" he replied.  With an annoyed face, she shut off her laptop.

He looked over at Ella, who was also busy drawing a sketch in her notebook.  "You too, pretty girl.  Time to put away all work", he said in a mock tone of authority.

Ella looked up, smiled shyly, and obliged the request.  Fala rolled her eyes in amusement.  "You know when to stop working, but not when to stop playing", she smirked.  To her displeasure, Ron ruffled her hair in response.

The door bell rang again, and this time everybody ran over to the door.  Bosco peered through the peep hole to make sure it was Raymond.  Sure enough, their old friend was standing there.  Bosco opened the door and everyone erupted into greetings like "Welcome back!" and "We missed you!" as each person gave Raymond a big hug.

"Good to see you guys again", he said, smiling widely.  He was ecstatic to be reunited with his favorite people in the world.

"How was your first US tour?" Ella asked as she gave him a hug.  Raymond could feel himself blushing a bit at seeing his pretty and sweet friend again.

"It was great, a lot of fun" he replied.

"Hey, did you get me the phone numbers of any pretty fan girls?" Ron asked, playfully.

"You rascal!  Why would I do that, the girls would be so disappointed to see who called them!" Raymond teased him as he whacked him on the head.  Fala burst out laughing.

Bosco tapped Raymond on the shoulder.  "By the way, I think you and I were unknowingly sharing a girlfriend just now", he whispered jokingly, and Raymond gave him a confused look.  Myolie punched her real boyfriend, and shoo-ed everybody over to the dining table for the big hot pot dinner she prepared.

The eight friends sat down and dug into the hot pot feast as everyone broke into chatter.  "Everybody, I have great news", Raymond announced as they settled down.  Everybody quieted down and stared at him intently.

"Did you get a 'gwai mui' girlfriend?" Ron, who was sitting next to Fala, asked.  He quickly put up his hands in self defense before Fala could take another whack at him.

"No, I...", Raymond trailed off.  He turned to Fala and asked "I thought you're supposed to keep him under control?"

"This is Ron under control, my friend", Fala said to him.

"Anyway...my manager gave me a call this morning, and she told me...I'm going to be performing at the HK Colesium!" he announced, excitedly.  Everybody started cheering and congratulating him.

"That's amazing news, we're so happy for you!" Ella exclaimed.

"You've made it, Ray!" Edwin said.  Everybody started applauding.  Raymond felt flattered.  His friends, no matter how dysfunctional at times, never failed to support him in his music career.

After all the congratulations were over, they started bombarding Raymond with questions.  "Will we get tickets?" Fala asked.

"I will try my best to get you all tickets", Raymond answered.  Fala pumped her first into the air.  "Yes, tickets to see Hong Kong's rising superstar!  I'll get to exclusively cover it!" the journalist said eagerly.

 "Hey...HK Colesium concerts usually have some bold and outrageous costumes.  Are you worried what they're going to give you to wear?" Bosco asked with curiosity.

"I haven't thought about that", he answered.

"They're going to make you wear something that will make girls go crazy over you", Ron teased.

Everybody continued happily chatting and catching up until way past dinner, and it wasn't until after midnight that everyone went home.

***************
It was Monday again, and that meant the start of another work week.  Myolie and Kate went to work at their PR firm like always.  Myolie was still feeling bubbly and content from the weekend get together.  Whoever tried to upset her good mood ways going to pay.

"Wu!  What are you smiling about?" her boss, Rachel, demanded.  Unless of course, that person was her boss.  Cold, stubborn, uptight, and unreasonable, Rachel was irritating and unpleasant to have as a boss.  Oh, and she seemed to hate smiling, laughter, and anything to do with happiness, much to Myolie and Kate's dismay.

"What, I can't smile, boss?" Myolie replied, cheekily.

Rachel glared at her.  "No, but the problem is you look like an idiot, like a stupid and naive little teenage girl in love", she replied.

Kate looked up from her desk after hearing Rachel's last remark.  The two were engaged in a dead lock stare with each other.  She froze.  This was not going to slide with Myo very well.

"Hey, what's going on here?" she asked casually as she came over and put her arms around the two women.  The two didn't seem to acknowledge her.

"You're calling me a stupid, naive little girl in love, eh?" Myolie answered, clearly ticked off, but trying to retain her composure.

Kate, still calm, tried to play the mediator.  "No, I'm sure she didn't mean that.  She just didn't want us to get distracted from our work", she stated.

Without even glancing at Kate, Rachel sneered at Myolie.  "Yes, that's what I'm calling you!" Rachel replied.

Kate looked up in annoyance.  Who was she to call her best friend a stupid little girl?  A little out if it at times, sure, but not stupid!  Kate was the more level headed girl of the group, but she wasn't going to let someone call Myolie stupid.  And from someone who's supposed to be a superior and professional figure no less, how immature!

"Oh, you're resorting to name calling now?" Kate asked Rachel, cooly.  "Well, I think that you're just someone who's lacking happiness in her own life, so she takes it out on her subordinates.  Is that really necessary though?  You could be so much more professional than that.  It's quite disappointing actually", she said in an aloof tone.

Rachel looked horrified at what her subordinate just said.  "Excuse me?" she asked.

Myolie looked at Kate in admiration.  She had managed to stand up to someone the whole firm had wanted to for the longest time, and without losing her composure for one second.  It was time for her to take a jab at her pinhead of a boss.  What was the perfect jab?  Next thing she knew, something very foolish slipped out of her mouth.

"You heard what she said, you pinhead of a boss!" she said.  As soon as the words came out, she froze.  What did she just do?!  At the same time, something about it felt very sweet.  Evilly sweet.

The office became dead silent.  Even Kate looked shocked at what Myolie said.  Rachel was furious.  "Pinhead?!" she raised her voice.  "That's it, you two are fired!" she screamed.

Myolie wasn't going to stop now, she was just getting started.  She felt an odd sense of satisfaction and relief.  "You want to fire us, fine!  You take pleasure out of people's misery and can't stand to see people enjoying life just the tiniest bit.  I'm tired of working for such a witch!  And you know what, I'm not going to anymore!  We quit!"

Rachel's eyes looked like they were about to bulge out of her head.  Kate stood there motionless, unable to comprehend what just happened.   Did she just lose her job?  Because her friend called their boss a pinhead?

Myolie, not quite realizing what she had just did, took Kate's hand and started pulling her away.  "See you suckers!" she yelled to everyone with a feeling of triumph.

"You know you can't quit after you've been fired right..", is all Kate managed to mutter to Myolie as they left the work building.  Oh well.  What just happened would sink into Myolie's head.  And when it did...it was going to be a disaster.

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Comments: First episode!  Rather long, since I wanted to introduce everybody and at least have them each say a couple lines.  As opposed to jumping straight into one individual's story, I wanted to have all the friends together and mix.  I hope Myolie doesn't seem crazy!  She's just supposed to be eccentric and slightly obsessive compulsive.  I can imagine her playing this character very well and being funny, as opposed to annoying.  Second episode coming soon!  Feedback please!  :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

"Till the World Ends": Forewords + Character Descriptions


Synopsis: In the prime of their life, 8 young adults in their mid 20s are all leading different career and life paths. However, this large group of individuals all are bound by a strong friendship: one full of trust, understanding, laughs, and quirks. No matter where life takes them, they'll always be there for each other, until the world ends. "Till the World Ends" follows the lives, adventures, and situations these young adults face in what should be a fun and humorous sitcom.

Genre: Sitcom, Comedy, Drama, Friendship, Romance

Cast: Raymond Lam, Ella Koon, Myolie Wu, Bosco Wong, Ron Ng, Fala Chen, Kate Tsui, Edwin Siu

Character Descriptions

Raymond Lam
Career: Singer
He started off as a talented and acclaimed rising musician, whose popularity made him become Hong Kong's #1 idol. He loses control of his career and starts to feel like a joke. His friends constantly poke fun and make jokes of what he has become. He is charming and laid back but humble and easily feels awkward, particularly with his idol image. (Parody of himself)

Ella Koon
Career: Interior designer
A shy yet sweet, thoughtful, but intelligent and creative girl whose hidden talent is music. Through their mutual interest in music, she sparks Raymond's passion for it again.

Bosco Wong
Career: Businessman.
An easy going and calm guy. He leads a less structured life and goes with the flow, often winging things as he goes along. He and Myolie are the stable and long term couple of the group.

Myolie Wu
Career: Works at PR firm before opening a pastry shop with Kate.  Smart, organized, bold, and eccentric individual but can be rather anxious and antsy. In contrast to Bosco, she is a very structured person.

Ron Ng
Career: Personal Trainer.
A playful, flirty, silly, and oddball guy who is very loyal and caring when it comes down to it. He is always there for his friends, particularly Fala.

Fala Chen
Career: Journalist, writes for a lifestyle and entertainment magazine.
A straightforward, blunt, sarcastic, and ambitious writer. She can be rather moody, but means well. She often has to put a rein on Ron's behavior.

Edwin Siu
Career: Web designer.
The youngest and "little brother" of the group. He is bright, quirky, shy, and quite a romantic. He and Kate have a brother and sister-like friendship, and are always looking out for another like real siblings.

Kate Tsui
Career: Works at PR firm before opening a pastry shop with Myolie.
An independent, level headed, but fierce and confident individual. Men are attracted to her, but are also often intimidated by her. She treats Edwin like her little brother.


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Comments: Time for another go at writing a fiction! I hope to do a lot of writing this summer. My previous fiction "Finding Life's Sweetness" is on hold as I'm a bit stuck on that. My favorite part about writing fiction is writing the dialogue and character interactions, so I thought I'd try a sitcom like format. It will have an episodic format, with some stand alone episodes and some story arcs. I'm also going to include lots of pop culture references and satirical commentary, particularly with Raymond's character. Hope everyone will read, support, and give feedback!

Happy (Belated) 3rd Anniversary to TVB Interaction!

Happy belated anniversary to TVB Interaction!  I can't believe I've been running this blog/site for 3 years (about 2 years actively, haha).  The actual anniversary is June 13th, but I didn't get a chance to write a post until now.  I hope everyone likes the anniversary layout, which features some of my favorite artists.

I'll keep this short and sweet.  I'm happy that after several attempts, I finally made a successful comeback as the web mistress of this blog.  I may not be updating as often as I did before, but I will not abandon it, no matter how hard I try to actually have a social life (har har) and also run AE Experience.

What to Expect Next...

  • REVIEWS.  I rarely get through finishing a whole TVB series nowadays.  However, whenever I manage to finish a series though, I will write a review.  Drama reviews are an integral part of this site that are not going anywhere.
  • SATIRE.  This is something I particularly enjoy writing, but don't often do because it requires a lot of inspiration.  However, I have a new satire feature in mind.  ;)
  • FICTION.  With all the free time I have this summer, I want to develop my weakest writing skill: fiction writing.  "Finding Life's Sweetness" is on hold for now, but I will revisit it.  I have come up with a new fiction though, and this will take on a more sitcom-like format.  I'm very excited to start writing it.  Stay tuned!
For the hundredth time, once again, thanks everyone for continuing to read and support!  Here's to another 3 years on the web!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Sergeant Tabloid" Review


In a nutshell, "Sergeant Tabloid" is a decent and entertaining drama, but lacks one specific theme.  There are bits of sisterhood, rushed romance, cops running around, and even the journey of a surprisingly heroic character.  Yet, it doesn't seem to have a point or purpose besides offering some decent entertainment.

The Premiere

First off, "Sergeant Tabloid" wins the award for cheesiest first episode ever.  Niki and Vincent's relationship felt lame and even cringe worthy, making it seem like an idol drama.  While the rest of the series was by no means excellent, the premiere episode was not an accurate representation of the series itself.

Characters and Performances

Niki Chow has that X-Factor that makes her liked by audiences, but her acting leaves much to be desired.  I can't deny she has something very endearing about her, but her performance did not offer anything new. 
 
Going into this series, I was prepared to dislike Michael Tse once again.  Ever since the success of Laughing Gor, he seems to have trouble not injecting a little of the character's "chokness" into his performances.  However, Michael's "A1" turned out to be the highlight as well as the anchor of the drama.  The character is fleshed out with strengths as well as weaknesses.  He is a slimy yet smart and ambitious reporter, but has so much humanity in him.  His journalistic integrity and conscience was tested with the tragic suicide of a tormented teen he indirectly caused.  He learned to confront and forgive everything that happened in the past.  As a result, he was a very dynamic character.

The first half of the series saw a Michael Tse that still couldn't shake off the chokness, but he successfully sheds it after.  The whole plot with him and his family, as well as the grief he went through after the teen's suicide, could've easily been cliched and cringeworthy. However, Michael portrayed the character very well.  A1 went through many stages of emotions, and Michael nailed them all.  He unexpectedly became my favorite character, and was what kept my interest.  This is hands down my favorite performance of his in years.  I hope that he will continue to deliver, and show that he is more than just Laughing Gor.


Press coverage and hype of Mandy Wong's character, nicknamed "Madam Kill", led me to believe that she was going to be a tough and ruthless madam with no emotion at all.  Szeto Kiu was simply a lonely girl who didn't know how to communicate with people or express her emotions properly.  Mandy continues to prove her potential by being a convincing tomboyish inspector despite her young age.   

Matthew Ko was lucky enough to get a second chance at being second lead, and the opportunity wasn't wasted.  This is Matthew's best performance to date.  Although he still has a lot more improvements he could make, he was quite natural here.  He is lovable, cute, and funny as the playful and sweet "Wong Tze", or "Prince".  I enjoyed his scenes with Mandy.  Perhaps it's because the character is more like his real personality, but Matthew appeared very comfortable onscreen unlike in the past, where he was awkward and wooden.    I'm looking forward to seeing more of him.  With his improving acting and refreshing honest and straightforward personality, I might finally have another actor to name for promising rising siu sangs.

Oceanne Zhu  continues to prove to me how much potential she has.  She was adorable and sweet as "Lam Oi-Oi", and her Cantonese has improved vastly in a short amount of time.  William Chak also did decently, and his initially lazy character sparked a few laughs. Becky Lee is usually likable, but proved to be very irritating here with her foolish and annoying character.

The Plot


The problem with "Sergeant Tabloid" is its lack of direction and true purpose.  There is no concrete plot or theme.  A little of everything is thrown in, which would be great if there was one main story.  The series was more focused on the characters, which served as a problem as Michael's "A1" was the only character that came close to being compelling.  Other than that, everyone and everything felt flat.  As a result, I finished the series feeling unsatisfied.

The ending was poorly written, and heavily contributed to my feeling of dissatisfaction towards the series.  The sudden appearance of Elaine Yiu was very random and unnecessary.  Niki and Michael's and Matthew and Mandy's relationships were arguably the main focus of the series, yet were sloppily resolved.  Everything was all a rush.

Overall

"Sergeant Tabloid" is nothing spectacular, and yet another example of lack of direction in a TVB series.  It is still enjoyable at several points, but forgettable.  Michael Tse gives a notable performance of a surprisingly decently written character, and anchors what is otherwise a mediocre drama.

Rating: 3 stars

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Comments: Sorry if this review was not as well written and seemed a little all over the place.  I put off starting and writing this review for the longest time because I was busy, and by the time I started, I had already forgotten many of the series' details.