Taiwanese Drama Review: Summer’s Desire (2010)

It’s been a while since the last Taiwanese drama I enjoyed. Because of the presence of Barbie Hsu, as well as some positive reviews, I was convinced to give this a try.

Based on based on the novel and manhua of the same name by Ming Xiao Xi, it features the struggles and triumphs of the ever ubiquitous love triangle: Yin Xia Mo (Barbie Hsu), proudly independent and seemingly heartless, whose only concern is her half brother and adoptive family; Luo Xi (Huang Xiao Ming) as her gorgeous newly adopted brother/nemesis,  his seeming perfection hiding a deeply troubled soul; and Ou Chen (Peter Ho), as her obligatory autocratic boyfriend who is wealthy beyond belief. As a consequence of Ou Chen’s intense jealousy of Luo Xi, events were put into motion that would eventually lead to the three separating ways, only to reunite again some five years later.

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I really liked several aspects of this drama. First, the non-linear way that bits and pieces of pivotal events were introduced along the way would keep you guessing as to what actually happened in the past. Second, the lead female role is different from the commonly encountered characters today. Although inevitably poor and in dire straits, she is no eternally cheerful innocent /pure-hearted girl who bumbles charmingly into the male leads’ hearts. She’s tough, selfish, rational to the point of appearing coldly aloof in the face of most of the tribulations the drama throws her way. Balancing these traits with simple decency and sincere caring, she became a memorable character for me. Third, unlike other shows where you know who ends up who at the outset, you will be kept guessing almost until the end. And the two male leads each hold their own. Luo Xi is devilishly charming with his sculptured face, thrillingly passionate declarations (and embraces) and deep-seated insecurity, while Ou Chen is like a slightly more mature and perpetually serious Dao Ming Si (of Meteor Garden fame), obssessively devoted yet insanely possessive.  I didn’t know who to cheer for with each passing episode. Fourth, there weren’t as much unnecessary misunderstandings in the plot. You know, the ones which only serve to prolong the protagonists’ agony, and consequently the drama length, uselessly. Fifth,a lot of the characters actually mature to some degree in a believable manner during the course of its 14 episode run. Lastly, the lead actors all performed more than satisfactorily.

Of course, this drama is not without its faults. We have the requisite terminal illness, the annoying side kick, the unbelievably ridiculous yet necessary (?) conspiracy, the elaborate resolution to a particular scenario, the tepid conclusion and lackluster epilogue. But if you’re in the mood for an angst-ridden romance with two gorgeous men sans the sugary rush, I have a feeling this won’t let you down😀

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