Mr. Right Wanted: Eps 1-5
Mr. Right Wanted, also known by its original title Notice from a Bachelorette, is a romance tw-drama that is technically from the 2014 fall season. (Set to complete airing in January 2015) Don’t be put off by the title everyone, this is NOT about a marriage-desperate heroine! Instead it’s about an editor for a publishing company who decides to take on her own book project on the topic of love & marriage. To get content for her book, she goes on blind dates with marriage-seekers to explore the different attitudes towards marriage. Of course, during the process the editor begins to reevaluate her own views in light of her various encounters with marriage-seekers. To me Mr. Right Wanted is a breath of fresh air because it doesn’t fall victim to the typical tw-drama tropes–the predictable plots, fated OTP’s, idealized marriages, etc. In fact, although MRW is of the romance genre, I wouldn’t even call it a rom-com because it doesn’t strike me as one. Instead the drama is grounded and natural, and strikes just the right balance between humor, quirkiness, and serious self-reflection.
The heroine, Hai Ning, is played by Sonia Sui who just so happens to be one of my favorite Taiwanese actresses! It feels so right to see her on screen again, I love her!!! I last saw Sonia in her 2013 drama Pursuit of Happiness. Admittedly I ended up falling out of love with both her character. >_< Thankfully, I like Hai Ning MUCH better than Sonia’s previous character in Pursuit of Happiness. She’s less wishy washy, more rational and most of all she doesn’t make marriage into her life mission. I like Hai Ning because she is unique in terms of drama heroines, and yet is so ordinary.
Job status: As you may have inferred from my introduction, Hai Ning is a successful editor at a publishing company. Rational and level-headed, Hai Ning knows how to make good decisions under pressure. She is a leader and knows how to keep her work life and personal life separate. She could be considered to be a ‘career woman,’ but thankfully the label ‘career woman’ is never used to describe all of Hai Ning’s identity. All too often dramas tend to make female characters’ identities defined by either love (status as a girlfriend, wife, etc.) or work (usually to the extreme of being a workaholic). Hai Ning is defined by neither even though both are a big part of her life.
Personality: Hai Ning’s best virtue is self-control. Whether it be in her work or in her complicated relationships, she maintains a calm and rational temperament. It’s not that she doesn’t have emotions–because she does, she’s actually a sentimental person–it’s just that she is really good at controlling them. There are times when I really want her to just let loose and yell at her boyfriend (you’ll see why later..)…but for the most part, she keeps her cool. One thing I love about Hai Ning is that she’s a bibliophile! How awesome is that!
Relationship status: The drama starts out with Hai Ning in a long-term relationship with Cheng Hao (Jerry Huang). The two of them are a best-selling editor-author duo and thus their passion for writing is a big part of their relationship. Their conversations often consist of them cheesily quoting lines from Cheng Hao’s self-help love books to each other. T_T” Unfortunately even though they seem to complement each other well in their work, there is a downside. Cheng Hao is actually a philanderer who has slept around on multiple occasions. Sadly, Cheng Hao’s love for Hai Ning doesn’t include staying faithful to her. I have no sympathy for him whenever he tries to come up with an excuse for his actions; seriously, he attempts to blame Hai Ning for not marrying him! UMM WHAT? You may wonder why Hai Ning puts up with Cheng Hao’s crap–short answer: she still loves him and she’s reluctant to let go of their relationship after they’ve come so far together. I don’t want to spoil anything about what happens with Cheng Hao so..all I’ll say is that Hai Ning definitely deserves better!
The other interesting thing about Hai Ning’s relationship status is that she has no intention of getting married. In this case, it’s actually the guy, Cheng Hao, who is hankering to get married. Again, I like how the drama doesn’t make out Hai Ning to be an extraordinary example of a woman who doesn’t want to get married. Nor does it make her into a super cold, jaded workaholic who has no faith in anyone whatsoever. Most dramas would make Hai Ning seem like an anomaly for not wanting to get married, but MRW portrays her as normal. Not all women can relate to the desire for marriage, and I really appreciate that MRW acknowledges this.
Long story short, Cheng Hao cancels his contract with the publishing company and so Hai Ning takes on his book project herself. Thus starts her blind dating adventures in which she meets all kinds of strange, charming and funny guys. And no, not all the marriage candidates look like handsome models. There are plenty of ordinary looking marriage seekers in the drama too. 😛 The thing I like about this format of the story is that Hai Ning learns something from each guy and at times, she ends up befriending them. Plus we get to see an extensive supporting cast of actors including Chris Lee, Hans Chung, Sunny Wang, etc!
Some of the men so far:
Mao Zheng Yu, better known by his nickname “Universe”: This is my favorite marriage candidate so far because he’s so funny and off the wall. Universe is actually a sweet guy who is willing to wait until he can find the right partner for him. He has a wry sense of humor and does funny things like talking to a cactus while drunk, LOL. Universe ends up becoming Hai Ning’s friend and continues to appear in subsequent episodes. Love him!
Bao Luo, social activist who feels like he wasted his youth fighting against the system: Bao Luo is another strange yet funny character, quite endearing like Universe. He says that all he did was “break down walls” (going against social injustice) during his youth, only to find that new walls would be built once again. Hai Ning learns that she should have the courage to break down the walls that are in her life. (*hint* CHENG HAO *hint*)
Zhong Wen (Hans Chung), this random good-looking young guy who somehow becomes Hai Ning’s friend: I have no idea where they’re going with this character, so far he is still a minor supporting character who randomly pops into the story. I have no problem if he is here to stay. EHEHEH. His smile is infectious and he seems to be a positive influence on Hai Ning so far.
Of course, no drama is complete without some sisterhood! Hai Ning’s little cousin, Tian Xin (Yao Yao), is her bestie and confidante. Tian Xin is quite spunky and knows what she wants in a man–financial security. She’s no gold-digger though, she’s just being pragmatic about what she wants for her future. My favorite part is in ep5 when Tian Xin goes to get an abortion since she feels she can’t support a child. Hai Ning goes along with her and the two of them instantly start tearing up the moment they see Tian Xin’s baby on the ultrasound. Omg I was tearing up right along with them. This is such a perfect moment to show Tian Xin & Hai Ning’s close bond as well as the beauty of a new life.
MRW is a really fun and a bit of an off the wall watch. I loveee the strange characters that Hai Ning has encountered so far during her blind dates, they always give me a laugh haha. Plus the cinematography is understated yet beautiful, with lots of soft warm tones. 😉 MRW is being subbed on Viki and is being recapped by Drama for Real.
Love Me, Don’t Go by Ah-Yue
This is my favorite song off of the OST so far: