I’m calling this a “first impressions” post but I’ve actually watched all 20 episodes of Rebirth of Shopping Addict that have aired so far, which is exactly half. I’ve been watching on YouTube without subtitles but it looks like it’s being subtitled on this channel. This is the first 2020 drama I’m watching because I’m always on the lookout for a fun rom-com.
Note: there are no spoilers in this post! Anything mentioned is in the trailer, or is a minor detail.
First of all, the first two episodes are fairly cringey. The premise of this drama is that Gao Yang is a spoiled and privileged young woman with a shopping addiction who suddenly finds herself alone and penniless when her father’s company goes bankrupt and he flees the country. Gao Yang is played by Meng Ziyi, who you may recognize from last year’s extremely-popular drama The Untamed, and I credit her with being a major reason I kept watching despite the initial cringeyness.
Meng Ziyi is charming and likable, but her character Gao Yang sometimes drives me crazy. On one hand, I love the storylines where Gao Yang comes up with creative ideas, shows how diligently she can work, and enthusiastically faces any challenges that are thrown at her. Once she loses her wealth, she realizes that her entire life has centered around it and must find her independence, confidence, and talents. But on the other hand, this isn’t a true riches-to-rags story because things quickly work out for Gao Yang and she continues to make questionable financial decisions.
Gao Yang’s mother passed away early and she’s been raised by another woman, who is the male lead Yan Li’s estranged aunt. After the bankruptcy, Gao Yang isn’t able to find her so she searches out Yan Li (played by Wang Ying Ming/Sunny Wang) in the hopes that he knows where she is. Despite his cold, serious exterior, Yan Li has a heart and lets her move into his spare bedroom, and his apartment is HUGE. Gao Yang’s room is nicer than mine, alright? AND, it’s not until episode 17ish that she finally sells the luxury goods that she’s kept! This should have been one of the first things she’d have to do if she were truly struggling.
Anyways, the financial situation aside, I’m also not loving the romantic storyline. See this cute photo of Gao Yang and Yan Li above? That is not what you’re getting in the first 20 episodes. I might never get tired of the cold & serious guy/bubbly girl romance storylines in Chinese dramas. And since a lot of those dramas have been set in high school or college, I expected that with older characters in Rebirth of Shopping Addict there’d be more maturity… but that’s not what I got because Yan Li is so condescending. Despite Gao Yang proving over and over again that she has creative ideas and works hard, he still insists on calling her stupid and never takes her work seriously. Gao Yang has her faults, but she’s not disrespectful and even faced her former friends with grace and politeness. There are moments where it’s clear that Yan Li cares about Gao Yang, but he doesn’t show her that. The attitude that he treats her with matters!
On the other hand, Gao Yang’s boss Li Ming Che is understanding and kind, and appreciates her creativity. He’s portrayed perfectly by Li Shen, who I previously saw in his supporting roles in The Love Knot/Moonshine and Valentine (2018) and Joy of Life (2019). I’m happy to see him move up to a second male lead role, and hope he gets to be the leading man soon! Anyhow, I am 10000% on Team Li Ming Che because of the way he treats Gao Yang with respect. I do admit though, it’s in poor taste for Gao Yang to work for Yan Li’s major competitor and still ask him for advice with her work projects. Doesn’t she feel awkward about this situation at all?! It seems inconsiderate of her.
Among the supporting characters, there’s Gao Yang’s colleague Xiao Zai, who I love! He’s really the only pleasant supporting character. (Yan Li has an assistant who is very insightful but unfortunately Yan Li disregards his suggestions and he doesn’t get a lot of screentime.) Otherwise, both Yan Li and Li Ming Che have a woman by their side who has been in love with them for years. *sigh* Why must this always be the case?!?! So far Ming Lang is more annoying because it causes her to be unfairly biased against Gao Yang.
In the remaining 20 episodes, I hope to see:
- An explanation of what happened with Gao Yang’s father’s company and where Yan Li’s aunt has been all this time.
- Gao Yang pursue her interest in fashion design. She clearly has the instincts and eye for it!
- Gao Yang move out of Yan Li’s apartment. I feel like this needs to happen so that Gao Yang isn’t dependent on him, and so that Yan Li understands how much Gao Yang has impacted him.
Although I haven’t completely loved Rebirth of Shopping Addict so far, there’s still potential.