The Pursuit of Happiness: Ep 1
I was really excited to watch the first episode of The Pursuit of Happiness because I have been hyped up over the cast for weeks. But I was also a bit apprehensive because I was trying not to get my hopes up too much. I didn’t want to go into it expecting a lot and then end up having my hopes CRUSHED. (*cough* Happy 300 Days, Dragon Gate *cough*) But OMGAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWD. EPISODE 1 IS SO GOOD!! REJOICE!!!!!!!!!!!! EVERYONE REJOICE!!!!!!!!!
“I constantly think how everyone works so hard to survive in this world, most of the time, there will be a hidden strength that supports you, motivates you, and protects you. As for mine…what is it?”
Perhaps the first name you may recognize from the cast is Sonia Sui’s. Yep, Sonia is back and kicking after her amazing performance in the human tw-drama “The Fierce Wife” and her most recent mainland c-drama, “Woman on the Breadfruit Tree”. Sonia plays the role of An Lei, also known as Lei Lei. Right off the bat we see that Lei Lei is still questioning what her future holds for her and is not completely satisfied with who she is. We find out later that part of this is because she is 34-years old, successful in her work, but is also lonely since she is not in a relationship.
“But no matter what, in every person’s heart, there should be a force that pushes you forward, to bring you forward to the happy place you want to be.”
The big source of Lei Lei’s unhappiness is that she is single and also that she is separated from her ex-boyfriend whom she’s still dwelling on. In the beginning of the episode there are already hints at how Lei Lei is pressured by her family to get a husband and also indirectly by her younger niece who is getting married before her. But don’t worry, this drama is not another Kekkon Shinai or Kekkon Dekinai Riyuu where every other word that comes out of each character’s mouth is “MARRIAGE blah blah blah MARRIAGE blah blah MARRIAGE”. It’s not the drama where all the heroine does is mope around crying “forever alone”. (Thank goodness!)
^Get used to this big yellow bird being everywhere, I think it’s gonna be a common occurrence in this drama. O___O
Actually we see Lei Lei for who she really is, not just as the label of the “single successful career woman who wants to get married”. Her character is very well fleshed out so that we can see past the stereotype straight through to the person. We see that she is confident in who she is, especially as a leader (read: manager) at her work and as an older sister figure to her subordinates/younger friends, but she’s also burdened by her worries and insecurities. She’s hopeful for her success in her job and possibly getting back together with her ex but her hope is also dampened by her more realistic worldview and the knowledge of her limitations.
As you can see in the screenshot above, there is this random YELLOW BIRD that just follows Lei Lei around at random moments. O___________O NO CLUE why they thought of putting in this random yellow bird but I think the bird is meant to represent her worries and insecurities. She can’t get rid of it, it’s always there and reminding her of the very things she wishes she could forget. I think of the bird as a little rain cloud that is floating above Lei Lei’s head, LOL. Except..a yellow bird form……
^No idea why they had Tony have such a bad looking beard…….until I got to the shaving scene. 😛
Of course I can’t forget the male lead–TONY YANG!!!!! In case you didn’t know, Tony Yang is one of my favorite Taiwanese actors ever since I saw him in Love Forward. Tony plays the role of Yi Kang, a guy who used to work overseas but has now returned to Taiwan to chase the girl he loves. We haven’t seen much of Yi Kang yet but from what I’ve seen so far, he is a funny guy, a bit awkward and also very idealistic and persistent in love. Like Lei Lei, Yi Kang still can’t forget the person he loves and is willing to go great lengths just to be with her.
Can’t really say much about Sonia & Tony’s chemistry yet since they haven’t had many scenes together so far. However their exchanges are pretty funny and I can’t help but laugh whenever they’re talking together. Hopefully we will get to see more of them together in ep2 when they have to become housemates!
Interestingly enough the second male lead, He Ting (Zhuang Kai Xun), is actually more well developed than Yi Kang’s character since he has way more screentime! Of course most of his screentime is made up of flashbacks, but still!! At this point I don’t really care about He Ting yet…his backstory with Lei Lei is sweet and all but I’m not sure what exactly Lei Lei sees in him yet. Also Lei Lei is has already been totally friendzoned by He Ting because he is already going out with a different person!
Sonia really shines in this episode. My favorite moments though, are probably the scenes in which she hits the lowest parts of her life. She loses her promotion to General Manager that she worked so hard for all because her boss decides to let his daughter, Hai Lun (the second female lead who is going out with He Ting & being pursued by Yi Kang) take the position instead. Note that the daughter hasn’t even had any experience in the company and therefore has not been promoted based on merit. Ouch!!!!!! I felt so bad for Lei Lei when she was expectedly waiting to hear her name being called only to realize that she had been short-changed!!! I probably would’ve burst into tears right then and there but instead Lei Lei holds strong.
The other sad moment is when she realizes that the very girl who took away her position as General Manager is also the one who’s taken He Ting’s heart!!!!!!! ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHH SO SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND THAT IS WHERE THE EPISODE ENDS, SUCH A CLIFFHANGER!!!!!!!! I think that Lei Lei might break down after experiencing one blow after another. Losing her promotion is one thing but seeing her ex-bf whom she still loves being all lovey dovey with another woman? :((((
First of all I’m really glad that The Pursuit of Happiness is not just another spazzy shippy rom-com. The synopsis sounds like the perfect cliched rom-com set-up but instead it is more of a slice-of-life drama. Sure, the Pursuit of Happiness is about romance but so far it seems to be a human/slice-of-life drama first and foremost. It is not just about romance but also about family, one’s purpose in life, and how one can really know oneself. I really enjoyed the first episode because it made me laugh, tear up, and root for the main characters all in the first viewing.
This drama has been compared to the popular drama In Time With You because it has one of the same producers. I do think it gives a more serious and mature vibe similar to ITWY but actually I’m already enjoying PoH much more than ITWY. I think it’s probably because I like the casting more (sorry Ariel & Bolin fans… 😛 ) and I also like Lei Lei’s character more than You Qing’s character. Also I enjoy the set-up more in that it is not about a woman who can’t see that her BFF loves her and the amazing guy who has been friend-zoned for life. Instead the PoH is about two people who meet by chance because of their acquaintances and end up becoming friends/eventual lovers.
Really looking forward to the rest of the drama after such a solid first episode!!! *crosses fingers* Can’t wait for Friday to come for ep2!! 😀 Oh, and by the way, this drama is also really gorgeous to watch in HD! HEHEHEHEHE!