Yi Kang & Lei Lei’s Pursuit of Happiness

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THIS SHOW OWNS ME, OWNS ME OWNS ME OWNS ME MY BRAIN CAN’T EVEN FUNCTION! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

It’s a rare case of obsession and love, as I’ve never really been much of a TW series fan. The last I’ve ever watched fully was In Time With You, and though my love was equally immense for that where I rem I had endless to die for squeesqoonworthy moments, I did suffer bits from dragginess and frustration with the narrative motif of certain characters (especially You Qing, when dealing with her relationship with Li Da Ren and the other guy Sunny Wang played). But I adored the execution and the vibe, as well as the amount of thought and consideration put into the dialogues. It was really a one of a kind piece, you don’t get  a lot of those in mainstream Taiwan industry, which is almost always amassed with chic flics and sugary cheesy stuff which give you major whiplashes right from the beginning.

Then The Pursuit of Happiness came along, and literally SLAYED ME. This IS PURE SOLID STUFF, about almost everything anything that you want to know about falling in love and finding the love that you want and need.

Bear with me. <3333

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I think and think, trying to recall and recollect from my years of watching TW series (well not that I have seen a lot), I haven’t seen a drama OTP this mature and functional together in AGES (ITWY doesn’t even have that level of heart IMO), an OTP who really talk and communicate with such frankness and candor, without intentional gauge or guise, 2 people who have heart to heart talks about what makes their relationships work, and what they think makes their relationships work, no more no less. Of course it has the occasional bickering banter and silliness, stereotypes and tropes splashed here and there, but none overdone or overwrought, just the right amount to wring up your emotions, that’s it.  I’m 9 episodes in, and no, Yi Kang and Lei Lei aren’t even a couple yet, I don’t know how long they’d take to be tbh, things are just right it doesn’t move fast, not at all pacy for those who can’t sit for long, and sometimes the story can be plodding depending on the perspective and stance you take, and what you want from drama.

But to me this is GOLD, this is the kind of relationship that I’d want I dream to have with my Mr. Right/soulmate, the openness and genuineness, the maturity that comes with it. It can be seen as ideal or perfect (we know it’s not), but the drama highlights the operative of their relationship really well, in that amidst their honest endeavour to prove their points, there is no force at all. It’s always and has always been about being honest about who you are, and how much you love yourself (first and foremost).  When YK and LL challenge each other with their points of view about life, they really give valid points and they really speak their minds, it’s not all about endless arguments about who is in the right or wrong, not about what should be done or not. Granted Lei Lei was in a more aggressive stance earlier which can be seen as being overly selfish, it didn’t automatically make her the bad person in the relationship. It was just an approach that people didn’t approve of, and why should others or we do so?

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The best thing about this drama, is that these 2 people are not perfect but SO PERFECT each others’ imperfections.  Not so much as an OTP or as a couple, but just as friends, confidantes, partners in crime and companions, they slay me, they slay me SO HARD.  I am not even kidding, like seriously. I don’t need a kiss, I don’t even need a I love you I will die if I don’t have you longing stare, what they have going on, rapport and gradual understanding of each other, the ability to put themselves in each others’ shoes, even if they are unable to feel or get what the other is feeling, they try and be honest about it right off the bat if the point isn’t proven. There is no outright persuasion of the other to accept the logic they each advocate, but mere allowance of acceptance of each other on a more willing and genuine basis.

This drama is far from perfect, but I always say that there is no perfect drama, only dramas which do not try to be and end up just as lovely and effective. TPOH is one of the very few heartfelt gems in recent years, rarely have I seen a TW drama so unconscious and unaware of itself, so unpretentious and straightforward in what it intends to convey – pursuit of happiness. Whoever writes the dialogues and monologues, I give him/her a 10000X thumbs up, for although they might come across cheesy and random sometimes, these are lines which make you ponder and think about life and love in its essence. They might not be the ones that appy to you or everyone, but they are legit thoughts that can make a difference, in my opinion.

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Tony Yang oh Tony Yang, you do get the best BEST dialogues don’t you? This is legit me fangirling over someone fictional other than Oppa this year, Huang Yi Kang, the most ideal hubby/BF/soulmate material EVRRRRRRR!~~ Think in the likes of Song Jie Xiu or Li Da Ren, this other fictional character puts every K-drama guy to shame. He is truly seriously one of the most genuine TW drama male leads I have ever ever seen, who thinks on his head and feet, is kind thoughtful considerate tolerant sweet and more than anything, a smarty who doesn’t think he is, and who gives every respect to any and everyone who deserves it. He’s somewhat a perfected and elevated version of ITWY’s Li Da Ren (who’d melted the hearts of many including mine earlier on and who’d already set the bar so high up). Yi Kang in contrast has better grasp of reality, knows what he wants, and goes for it (albeit a bit slow in action).  Although he may not be as aggressive as Lei Lei, some might consider him passive, I actually think his considerate and positive nature makes so lovable and endearing. I don’t think he suffers from it because that’s just who he is, he sees the best in every picture, situation and in the worse of what can happen. He sees through the guise and guard of everyone and tries to understand, puts himself in their shoes. How sweet, what an angel.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t necessarily think he’s perfect perfect, I mean he’s perfect, but not perfect in the way he’s free from human flaws. It’s only normal for him to not be able to see thru Lei Lei’s actions and ways when dealing with Wei Ting. It’s only normal for him to disagree with her approach when he thinks it makes her suffer more. I love that albeit his constant disagreement of her actions and somewhat busybody nosepoking nature (not that it’s bad but sometimes you gotta give the girl some space), his intention is genuine, and his motivations are pure. He truly wants her to be happy, and for herself, not just because of Wei Ting or even him. He is just that thoughtful.

Tony Yang is a revelation to me, purely because I’ve never seen him act before and I lament the time I’ve been missing out on this dude- for years!!! I read on weibo of people commenting on how ugly he looks when paired to goddess Sonia, and I was like seriously, UGLY? U-G-L-Y?!!!!!!  This is the sexiest of unsexy I’ve seen in a TW drama male lead. Who doesn’t ride on refined hot looks, charisma or charm. It’s the earnestness and endearment in his acting, that glows from within. The genuine intention to just follow the lead of what he thinks a character should be like. Or perhaps the man is just the way Yi Kang is in RL (man if that’s the case, I’m a fan forever MAN!). This actor is on my lookout list.

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But this is Sonia‘s show, it is no doubt her show. The hug scene in Ep 9 has to be my favouritest favouritest moment EVER, out of so many daebak OTP moments, this was the one that hit the nail through the plank I am so freaking done for. I nearly cried, I was in tears of happiness, I wanted the other characters to be rid off AHHHHHH, I say let the OTP have their moment of togetherness. <333333 I highlight and mention this scene because this is perfection from Sonia, the immediate twitch of expression from normal to the unknown and unexpected, uncomfortable but not offensive to the point of wanting to push away, to the point of just succumbing to comfort and consolation. The tenderness of Yi Kang’s touch and embrace, on every inch of her body, you see the delicate change in her expression, that was WOAH. That was downright fantastic, I am already a fan.

Lei Lei is not the easiest character to like right off the bat, but I love her, her individualness and her courage to opine like a boss. Who are the people around her to say she’s not good enough for a man and how her hanging on to a man with a GF/Wei Ting is not the right thing to do? I like that the drama doesn’t sugarcoat her problems and make her move on that easily, because it’s never easy. It spent about 7 episodes bringing us through her turmoil and inner conflicts, and at the same time making us empathize for what she’s had to endure all those years, that’s why we feel for her. We see through her, the pain of losing someone so close, yet so far. Nothing pains more than having to let go of something that has been part of your life for years and years. Love can be lost, but the feeling of attachment is the one that doesn’t fade away so easily.

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Such utter perfection this embrace was, I can go on and on and on and ON FOREVER ❤ this is a perfect example of how I don’t need a kiss or even a make-out scene to satisfy my lust for romance. This is where it begins, where things begin to change for both of them. I don’t really see TPOH as a romance themed series TBH, I see it as more of a story and understanding of 2 starkly different individuals i.e. how they come to comfort each other amidst heartbreak, how they will eventually come to forge something more than just friendship and companionship. I like that the drama actually spent time and put effort into showing YK and LL’s dynamics together as frienemies, their provoking of each others’ thoughts, their acceptance of each other regardless of their individual personalities.

One of the sweetest and greatest lines that came from Lei Lei in here, was when she outrightly complimented Yi Kang for his out of the world and unconventional perceptions about worldly things, and how she professed her gradual acceptance of how different and unique he is. It was one of the sweetest and loveliest statements ever, which I believe made Yi Kang the happiest man on earth at that point in time LOL That’s what I love about Lei Lei, she may be a tad bossy, gets her way, and appears somewhat like a know-it-all, but she doesn’t shy away from giving credit when deserved. And what more, when Yi Kang deserves all the credit in the world, for being there for her, always.

Sonia and Tony have the most endearing and unassuming OTP chemistry ever, they’re not the lovey dovey passionate electrifying kind, nor the lusty kind, and their chemistry isn’t palpable to the level you want them to just eyesex each other all the time. They share an affinity so organic and comfy that you don’t even think elsewhere when you see them together. You just want to see them talk, smile and laugh without gauge, enjoy their presence in each others’ lives. Of course things will change when they fall deeper and deeper for each other, but I don’t think I’m asking too much by wanting drama to maintain that level of comfortableness and ease when they’re together. OTP or not. Pretty please.

Since there aren’t many MVs around (which I have no freaking idea why, it’s such a good drama ARRHHH!), have a peek at Tony, Sonia and Aggie trolling each other in a recent interview: –

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And of course, last but not least WATCH TPOH!

credits: Youtube

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16 thoughts on “Yi Kang & Lei Lei’s Pursuit of Happiness”

  1. This is the best drama I am watching atm. Utter LOVE, flaws and all. I love this show because it really is not punctuating every scene with obvious ‘applause’ sign to wow and woo like…the super pretentious and annoying me and only me ITWY. *Yes, I do wear my very pesky lone ITWYhater sign on my sleeves 24/7* There is some machinations and cliches in the plot but with the tight nuanced ship these two r anchoring with their acting, the characters are constructed as flawlessly realistic, nothing I have seen since the good old days of the best of the best slice of life dorama romances.

    I actually none of the VOs r cheesy to me at all, and VOs r usu big peeves of mine. I do not find them particularly golden as in quotable, but it serves the purpose of their characters really deeply thinking a thought through, like any 30sth with a very clear rational mind and a precision of knowledge of exactly what he/she is feeling and where he/she is standing would ponder one way or the other in the same situations.

    1. Haha we all know your fervent hate of ITWY but I’m glad we’re on the same page with TPOH. <33333 Definitely one of the better constructed TW dramas in years, with characters so relatable and understandable despite the cliched machinations you mentioned. Where is your ravy post when we need one? Surely Sonia alone deserves a mention? heheheh.. *sowwieee if you feel like I'm pestering you because I AM and you're just too good!*

      I’m planning to watch In A Good Way too since Koala and friends have been raving non-stop. Wanna know your thoughts about that one too. hehe..

  2. you’re horrible Ripgal 🙂 I’m finally starting the show because you have been raving about it so MUCH. GAH!! I will blame you and rant till there is no tomorrow when I finish the 9 available episodes before the 10th is available!! i already have a hard enough time waiting for Reply 1994 every week 😛

    hehehehe.

    (PS: i love Sonia Sui. So elegant)

    1. Of course I have to drag all my chinggus into the pits teehee join me join us! Don’t forget to drop a comment after you’re done because TPOH needs more love more LOVE <3333

      ps. Sonia is a GODDESSSSS!

    1. Thanks I read yours too, and what lovely stuff you have going on! Always and always, salute to those who make it a point to recap the stuff they watch, so lazy I am in comparison 😉

  3. can I also mention just how much I love the OST? and how much I have to repeat to myself every minute I watch YiKang that guys like this don’t exist in reality? Q___Q gah… my… heart….

    1. The OST is sublime, I love how they fit into scenes so naturally and effortlessly. Can be intrusive at times, but so far so good. Don’t mind listening to the songs with YK and LL’s monologues on play at the same time.

      And agree so much on YK, it’d take me years of doing good to meet someone like him. Or will I ever sighs.

  4. Finally finished watching Ep8, love this drama. I have never seen any drama that has such great dialogue, I often pause and ponder at what they said. This is one drama for anybody that wants to love, be loved and simply be in love. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ripgal, you write so well that I find myself nodding after reading each line.
    Cant find subbed version of ep 9 yet, Viki is a no no for me.
    What? Tony Yang ugly? Omg, whoever said this must have their eyesight checked, but then handsomeness lies in the eyes of the beholder, to me he looks downright HOT.

    1. Awwww swee you are too sweet 😉 this drama just has so much feels right? LOVE IT SO MUCH!

      I agree about the dialogues and quotes, they are so befitting of what YK, LL and a lot of people are going thru and reflect so much on how relationships can be as easy and complicated at the same time. I really liked a particular quote that Tiffany said about falling in love and how 2 souls of unknown differences can come together to pursue happiness. It’s not blind love that makes a happy relationship, but understanding, tolerance and acceptance. 😉

  5. 🙂 Nice to read your opinion. I like the show, love the leads, but do feel that it’s rather talky and gimmicky at certain parts. Plus Aggie’s accent irritates me (fortunately she stopped appearing almost totally).

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