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.




"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
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.