With Rainie Yang as the leading lady, it is a wonder that this mini-drama has pretty much gone unnoticed. Also considering that she’s paired together with TONY YANG, I thought there would be way more hype. But before all of you get ready to rabidly ship these two together, think again. This is not your traditional rom-com, nor is it your usual melodrama. Surprisingly Wishing for Happiness covers an incredibly sensitive subject in a very raw and poignant way.
Note: This is more of a mature drama.
“If happiness could really be as pure as a love song, how beautiful that would be.”
Wishing for Happiness is by no means subtle when it refers to its title, but oh my gosh is it good. The drama opens with a very foreboding scene: Xiao Lan (Rainie Yang!) walks alone in a park, crying quietly to herself while thinking about happiness.
Rewind, presumably to a happier time before this…Xiao Lan & her boyfriend Yu Xiang (TONY YANG) have a drinking party with all their friends. We are literally thrown right into the middle of Xiao Lan & Yu Xiang’s lives, with no narration/backstory/character introductions. I love it because everything feels so much more candid and intimate in this scene.
Yu Xiang takes the opportunity to cheesily and sort of romantically propose to Xiao Lan. Awkwardly enough, a random woman who has been observing the party for a while walks up to Xiao Lan and congratulates her before KISSING HER. LITERALLY. ON THE MOUTH. Talk about a twist. I really was not expecting this AT ALL.
Everyone, including me, is very confused after the random mouth-to-mouth kiss between Xiao Lan and the stranger. Yu Xiang tries to make sense of what just happened, so he calls out Xiao Lan on it. I really thought the woman was just drunk and really was a stranger, but it turns out she wasn’t–the woman’s name is Min Yi, and she’s Xiao Lan’s ex-girlfriend. WHAAAAAAAAT?
“I’m just a person who’s simply wishing for happiness. Can’t I?”
This scene REALLY gets me right in the gut because of the tension and the awesome lines and EVERYTHING. Yu Xiang is outraged and hurt, and now the feelings he was so sure he had for Xiao Lan aren’t so certain anymore. He lashes out at Xiao Lan (mistake #1), who in turn puts him right back in his place. She’s also hurt when she realizes that Yu Xiang cannot accept her for who she is and was. She questions whether her sexual orientation really matters–whether Yu Xiang will feel any better even if she changes her answer. All she wants is happiness..
“He can’t even accept your past. How can he be the happiness you want?”
The relationship between Min Yi (the ex-girlfriend) and Xiao Lan is also quite intriguing. There are hints all over that the two of them split up over unfaithfulness and differences in what they wanted in a relationship. But I also wonder if their past feelings for each other are really over, or whether Xiao Lan still can’t forget Min Yi.
Wow. The first two episodes are short but incredibly powerful. You would think that the drama would be more limited by its short running time, but on the contrary, I think it only adds to it. The drama manages to accomplish so much in so little time, which is a major achievement especially when you consider how much tw-dramas drag ON AND ON. I love how raw and direct this drama is..it really feels like we’re seeing real people, not cookie cutter characters that are larger than life.
I think the biggest surprise in Wishing for Happiness is Rainie. I was not expecting her to tackle such a sensitive role, so I’m glad Rainie has stepped out of her comfort zone. I admit that her short haircut + collared shirt reminded me of freaking Jing Jing..but of course, leave it to Rainie, she pulls it off so much better. Moreover her chemistry with Tony is great; the two of them play off each other really well and they are capable of elevating the scene’s intensity to the next level.
That being said, Wishing for Happiness could do so much with this subject matter, as long as it doesn’t try to please everyone. There is no way you can not step on anyone’s toes when handling such an emotional and personal issue. I’m interested in seeing how it will handle Xiao Lan’s sexual orientation and whether Yu Xiang will be able to accept her.
Note: This is a mini-drama, meaning that each episode is very short.