Shang Yan isn’t actually such a cold person, he just happens to be very serious and on the quieter side. He has a strained relationship with his grandpa and after Team Solo split up, so I can see how it may be difficult for him to let people get close to him. The timeline of what happened back then is still murky, but Xiao Mi makes a great point in episode 10 and I think he’s able to get through to Shang Yan. I really enjoy their friendship.
Also, I saw Hu Yi Tian’s role labeled as a “special appearance” and I now see why. He features prominently in several scenes, but he frequently doesn’t appear in larger K&K team group scenes. I enjoy his scenes with Shang Yan a lot, and although his character is very quiet as well, I find his facial expressions (confusion, amusement) to be on point.
In these episodes: Shang Yan’s grandpa has him bring Tong Nian over for dumplings. A small group of K&K and SP team members travel to Norway together for an individual competition. Ai Qing makes efforts to repair her relationship with Shang Yan.
Today’s book recommendation is not young adult! Last month it was announced that Constance Wu had signed on to play the lead role in the movie adaptation of Goodbye, Vitamin so of course I bumped this book up my to-read list. Constance Wu stars in ABC’s sitcom Fresh Off the Boat and of course, starred in last year’s rom-com Crazy Rich Asians. I’m really excited to see her in more lead roles on the big screen! But, back to the book!
Premise: Ruth Young quits her job and moves in with her parents for a year when her father is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. » Purchase on Amazon
My Spoiler-Free Review
Published back in 2017, Goodbye, Vitamin is written in the format of short diary entries spanning a year, and I found it to be a very relaxing rhythm. I liked Ruth’s direct tone and found her humor very charming. There are little offbeat details and the humor is slightly grim and ultimately, I thought she was both relatable and authentic.
I also felt the seriousness of Ruth’s father’s Alzheimer’s disease in her observations and reflections, the truth of the relationship between her parents, and the way her brother’s relationship with them differs from her own. Goodbye, Vitamin is so captivating and enjoyable without trying too hard. The premise isn’t dramatic but rather, devastating in its ordinariness. I was turning page after page and next thing I knew I was halfway through the book. I definitely recommend this book and I’m so excited for the movie!
I’ve compared this to the Chinese drama All Is Well because that happens to be the only drama that I’ve watched that’s about adulthood and family, and things are more complex than they may seem on the surface.
Jun Hao and Qiu Tian meet again. Lu Qiao continues to do whatever it takes for the acquisition project. Yue Sheng looks into Gary, while Ming Xuan seeks out Feng Ping again.
I’ve actually watched through episode 29 (just waiting for that final episode!) and I’ve decided not to continue with these recaps. I’ll be writing up a recap of the last two episodes and a review. While this drama started out mysterious and promising, I don’t love the direction it took in the latter half and find the villainous characters to be insufferable.
Go Go Squid! is such a charming mix of cringeyness and laugh-out-loud moments, I just can’t stop myself from watching episode after episode. As I mentioned before, I love Shang Yan and the K&K kids, so these quick recaps will focus more on them than on Tong Nian. (These episodes happen to be more Shang Yan focused anyways.)
In these episodes: Shang Yan makes things clear with Tong Nian. Shang Yan’s grandpa arrives and stirs up trouble. Tong Nian finds herself in an unexpected situation. More is revealed about what happened with Team Solo in the past.
I deliberately sought out the 2011 Taiwanese film You Are the Apple of My Eye (那些年，我們一起追的女孩) because of a song from its OST. ‘Those Bygone Years’ (那些年) is a popular karaoke song, and K-pop group SEVENTEEN covered it. I was curious about the film that the song originated from, and lucked out because my library had it on DVD.
You Are the Apple of My Eye is based on a novel by Taiwanese author Giddens Ko, who also directed the film. Michelle Chen (perhaps best known for the TV drama The Romance of the Condor Heroes—plus, she married her costar Chen Xiao) stars as the smart, hardworking high school student that several boys in the class have a crush on, and Ko Chen-tung stars as one of those boys, a mischievous student who doesn’t try in school. The film follows them throughout college and adulthood.
Although I find Tong Nian (Yang Zi) to be cringey at times, I love Shang Yan’s (Li Xian) ice-cold stare and the K&K team members. It’s become clear which of the K&K team members are being focused on, and they bring so many humorous moments to the drama. There also seems to be a substantial storyline centering around Shang Yan’s old team, Team Solo, and what happened to cause their split.
By the way, this isn’t a full recap but a recap of highlights—key moments and favorite scenes. I meant to group episodes 2-5 together but episode 4 turned out to be so eventful. Definitely don’t abandon Go Go Squid! before episode 4!
If you liked... I Hear You; The Liar and His Lover; You're Beautiful
Premise: Roman Holiday meets K-pop set in Hong Kong. If you’ve seen Roman Holiday, that should say it all, but if you haven’t, the story is about a whirlwind day that Jack and K-pop star Lucky spend exploring Hong Kong, falling for each other along the way. » Purchase on Amazon
I’ve suggested a comparison to the dramas listed above because they all have themes of hidden identity, take place in the music industry, and/or feature a main couple that finds themselves spending a lot of time with a stranger.
My Spoiler-Free Review
Somewhere Only We Know is a fun, contemporary YA novel about two teens finding their paths in life and trying not to lose themselves in the process. Lucky’s perspective showed the struggles of a pop star trying to stay true to her dreams. As a big K-pop fan, I love that it sheds some light specifically on what it’s like to be a K-pop star. On the other hand, Jack is a Korean American teenager figuring out what path he wants to take with his life and although his feelings are relatable, some of his actions are questionable. (But hey, teens aren’t perfect and need time to figure things out.)
I loved the Hong Kong setting—I’ve never been but I hope to make a trip in the near future! The food scenes made me so hungry and were one of my favorite parts. I only wish that perhaps the novel had ended differently. I liked the ending of Roman Holiday and thought it felt more realistic. » Purchase on Amazon
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