Use For My Talent: In-Depth Review (2021)

Alas another show I stumbled onto by accident. But honestly it’s the shows that I’m not even looking for that turn out to be an ABSOLUTE GEM. 😍 “Use For My Talent” is a remake of the Korean drama “Clean With a Passion for Now,” which is the main reason I decided to start a new journey with this show. I watched the Korean adaptation and I’ve gotten into the habit of watching remakes so I said “why not?”

The drama tells the story of well-admired CEO with a serious mysophobia condition who falls for a not-so-neat girl of a humble background. Let’s dive in a little bit more and explore the excellence that is this drama. This is an in-depth review so THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

In a Nutshell:

Gu Ren Qi (Jasper Liu) is the owner of his own cleaning company and he is suffering from mysophobia, the irrational fear of bacteria and germs. Shi Shuang Jiao (Shen Yue) is an energetic and bright woman from a humble background who lives life a little on the messy side. When Shi Shuang Jiao becomes an employee of Gu Ren Qi’s, the two meet and begin to find healing from their troubled pasts as they work together. The two become closer through daily interactions and eventually develop a blooming romance.

In-depth synopsis:

Unlucky Encounters

In the beginning, the audience is introduced to Shi Shuang Jiao, a happy-go-lucky girl who is living peacefully with her dad and younger brother. Her mother died a few years ago in an accident so it’s just the three of them. The Shi family doesn’t have a lot of money, so Shuang Jiao works various part-time jobs to support them.

On the other side of the spectrum, we meet the handsome Gu Ren Qi, who is extremely neat and tidy. He’s the CEO of the cleaning company Clean First, a company he founded himself. Although successful, young, and blessed with charming good looks, Ren Qi is struggling with a condition known as mysophobia, which leads him to go to great lengths to avoid germs and bacteria. In addition, he doesn’t have a good relationship with his grandfather, who has been extremely hard on him since he was young.

The relationship between Shuang Jiao and Ren Qi begins when Shung Jiao accepts a position at Clean First with the manual cleaning department. Ren Qi, who encounters Shuang Jiao a few times before her first day, is less than thrilled with the news and is wondering why he keeps bumping into this girl who is constantly making him uncomfortable and just always seems to be around.

In an effort to foster more dependence on cleaning machines, Ren Qi has plans to dismantle the manual cleaning department, but the department leader convinces him to give the team a chance to prove that they are a valuable asset to the company. Ren Qi agrees to give them a few months to increase their performance.

Friendemies?

Every day Shuang Jiao and Ren Qi have some sort of encounter at work, much to Ren Qi’s chagrin (at first). Suspicious of her intentions at the company, Ren Qi begins to make things difficult for Shuang Jiao and tries to catch her making mistakes so he can have a reason to fire her. She quickly catches on to Ren Qi’s plans and starts to play hard ball herself. But as the show progresses, Ren Qi slowly gets used to her presence and sees how much of a hard worker she really is. He even begins to make excuses to try to talk to her each day, but many times his advances backfire and appear cold and inconsiderate.

Work isn’t all bad for Shuang Jiao though. She forms a close friendship with Hu Yu (Xiao Ran) and Wu Yan (Tan Quan), who also work at Clean First in different departments, as well as Li Dong Xian (Charles Lin), Ren Qi’s assistant and close friend.

At home, Shuang Jiao’s forms a friendly relationship with her dependable neighbor Lu Xian (Dai Yun Fan). Lu Xian really likes Shuang Jiao and tries to win her heart. He begins looking after her and doing sweet things for her, hoping that one day she might look his way.

At the same time, the pretty and highly successful program host Wang Qian Qian who likes Ren Qi tries to get close with him even though he has made every desperate attempt to avoid her.

At work, Ren Qi is softening toward Shuang Jiao and even comes to her aide when she’s harassed by Ma Ke Liu (Zhu Xin Zong), her former crush and university senior, but a small incident during the rescue causes Shuang Jiao to accidentally lock lips with Ren Qi. Shocked by the sudden contact, he faints and is rushed to the hospital.

Feeling responsible for Ren Qi’s hospitalization, Shuang Jiao learns how make Bone Broth soup (with the help of Lu Xian) which she delivers to Ren Qi in hopes that he will recover soon. Ren Qi is touched by the gesture and actually enjoys the soup. When Shuang Jiao visits him, he can’t help but stare at her pretty pink lips and reminiscence about his first kiss. He also begins to realize that it doesn’t bother him to be in close contact with Shuang Jiao, making him think that he might be immune to her. He calls his therapist (who unbeknownst to him is Lu Xian) to ask what this new feeling is, but to his surprise, his therapist suggests he limits contact with Shuang Jiao. (I Wonder why? 🤔)

Shortly after being released from the hospital, Shuang Jiao brings Ren Qi over to have dinner with her family. There he runs into Lu Xian, who informs him that he is his therapist. Lu Xian then questions Ren Qi’s growing feelings for Shuang Jiao and asks him to evaluate why he’s really developing feelings for her. Does he truly like her or is he fascinated by the fact that she seems to be the first person he’s immune to? Lu Xian warns Ren Qi to learn the truth because if his feelings aren’t true, he will end up hurting Shuang Jiao.

Despite Lu Xian’s confrontation, Ren Qi starts to look for ways to see Shuang Jiao everyday. He starts going to great lengths to do nice things for her such as buying her favorite strawberry milk and (unsuccessfully) helping her secure public transportation for her commute to work. He even tries to impress her by dressing differently after she mentions that he looks good in blue. The feelings appear to be mutual as Shuang Jiao does thoughtful things for Ren Qi as well, such as sharing her food with him when they both end up stuck in the office late one night.

When an incident involving Shuang Jiao and Ren Qi surfaces online putting Ren Qi in a bad light, she goes to his defense and tries to clear up the situation. As she’s filming a video late one night at the office explaining what happened, Ren Qi sees her and suddenly kisses her without warning – and without explanation.

Confused by this, Shuang Jiao gains the courage to ask him why he kissed her, but he leaves her with a vague answer that doesn’t help ease her feelings. She can tell she’s falling for him, but she has no idea where they stand. It’s a complicated situation for them both as it seems to Shuang Jiao that Ren Qi may have some type of attraction to Qian Qian. Not to mention, Ren Qi believes that Shuang Jiao is in a relationship with Lu Xian.

As the manual cleaning department’s time to prove themselves comes to an end, Clean First’s board decides to dismantle the department. Ren Qi reluctantly lets the team along with Shuang Jiao go. He offers to move Shuang Jiao to a different department so she can keep her job, but she refuses, saying she and her team need to face this storm together. Ren Qi wishes her well and apologizes for being such a difficult boss. Shuang Jiao tells him that he wasn’t a bad boss at all and she likes him-as a boss.

A Love Blossoms

Now without a full-time job, Shuang Jiao is back to doing part-time jobs. While working at a cafe, she meets Gu Mei Hua, Ren Qi’s mother. Madam Gu realizes that her son’s condition is improving and finds out that Shuang Jiao may have something to do with it. She offers to hire Shuang Jiao to be Ren Qi’s live-in housekeeper, and with an offer she can’t refuse, Shuang Jiao takes the job.

Telling her family that she’s taking a business trip to Beijing for a while, Shuang Jiao heads for Ren Qi’s house to start her new job. With his feelings still burning strong, Ren Qi tries to put out a hard exterior by giving Shuang Jiao a long list of rules to abide by, but he still secretly looks for ways to get close to her and to do sweet things for her as she works for him.

Lu Xian discovers that Shuang Jiao is not in Bejing but is working for Ren Qi. Desperate to turn Shuang Jiao’s attention toward him and to block Ren Qi’s advances, Lu Xian coerces Ren Qi into letting him also live with him to treat his mysophobia. The two were already butting heads before this, but now they begin to enter a subtle but tough battle for who will win Shuang Jiao’s heart.

One day Shuang Jiao is reminded of her mother as discovers a flyer advertising chestnut cake, the flavor of cake she used to share with her mother before she passed. Seeing her sadness, Lu Xian buys a chestnut cake for Shuang Jiao. Lu Xian leaves her alone with the cake, hoping that she will see the card he attached confessing his love. She’s touched by the gesture and begins to eat the cake (totally missing the attached card). As she eats, her emotions gets the best of her and she begins to cry in her room. Around this time Ren Qi comes home and hears Shuang Jiao crying. He immediately runs to her, embraces, and comforts her as she cries even harder. Ren Qi asks what’s wrong and Shuang Jiao explains that she misses her mom, but her mom has died.

After she calms down, Shuang Jiao tells Ren Qi about her mom and how much of a kind person she was. She says her mom was like a ray of sunshine for her family and Ren Qi says that Shuang Jiao is just like her because she also lights up everything around her. As they talk, Li Xian comes back and sees them together. In this moment, he realizes that he may never win Shuang Jiao’s heart.

After they’re done talking, Ren Qi confesses his love to Shuang Jiao. Not fully beliving his confession, Shuang Jiao questions it, since Ren Qi did make things difficult for her at the office and sometimes bullied her. Ren Qi explains he has never been in love before and he didn’t know how to act. He then explains the reason he kissed her that day was because he actually really likes her. Seeing that she’s still not convinced, he kisses her and once again tells her that he likes her. He then asks if she likes him back to which she responds “I don’t hate you,” which basically means yes. The two kiss again and start their official relationship as a couple.

Romantic Happenings

Ren Qi and Shung Jiao aren’t the only one’s falling in love in this drama. A connection forms between Li Don Xian and Qian Qian after they have numerous encounters as Qian Qian was in full pursuit of Ren Qi. Qian Qian realizes that the mysterious and tough-exterior Don Xian is actually very sweet while Don Xian falls for Qian Qian’s kind heart and lovely persona. The two have their obstacles along the way due to their social status differences, but they eventually build a strong relationship they proudly share to the world.

Shuang Jiao’s cute, fun, and outgoing younger brother Shi Junjie (Yan An) has eyes for his older sister’s best friend Zhu Yan (Su Meng Di). Shi Junjie is younger and still maturing, but he’s serious about pursing Zhu Yan. Zhu Yan finds Junjie attractive and starts to enjoy his company, but she’s reluctant to express any romantic feelings since she practically watched him grow up and he’s like a brother to her. After a few arguments and moments of jealousy, the two accept their feelings for each other and develop a sweet romance.

Relationship Goals

Shuang Jiao and Ren Qi don’t make their relationship public right away so the two date in secret. As they go on more dates and spend time together, the two fall deeply in love and their romance becomes sweeter.

Shung Jiao helps Ren Qi manage his mysophobia and cares for him tenderly. On the flip side, Ren Qi supports Shuang Jiao’s ambitions at work and sweetly supports her.

Eventually word gets out that the two are dating. While Ren Qi’s mother is supportive of their relationship, his grandfather is not happy with the news. He confronts Ren Qi and demands he breaks up with Shuang Jiao, suggesting that she could be a gold digger after his money and company. Ren Qi doesn’t back down, however. When his grandfather sees that Ren Qi is not giving up, he takes a different approach and confronts Shuang Jiao’s father to inform him that Ren Qi and Shung Jiao are dating behind their backs. He express his anger at the situation and also suggests that Shuang Jiao is only pursuing Ren Qi to get his money. Angered at this assumption about his daughter, Shuang Jiao’s father tells Ren Qi’s grandfather off and then forbids Shuang Jiao from seeing Ren Qi, feeling that the Gu family doesn’t respect her.

The two don’t see each other for a while, but they still try to communicate through thoughtful gestures with the help of Junji and Zhu Yan. Eventually Shuang Jiao’s father sees that Ren Qi truly cares for Shung Jiao and allows the two to meet again.

Their romance continues and Ren Qi makes plans to propose. With the help Don Xian, Zhu Yan and Junjie, he comes up with the perfect proposal plan.

Shuang Jiao agrees to go to what she thinks is a company party with Zhu Yan and is surprised to see that the “party” was all Ren Qi’s doing.

With friends watching on, Ren Qi asks Shuang Jiao to marry him, but before they could make it official, Ren Qi’s arch nemesis (who has been trying to take him down the entire drama) crashes the party and reveals that Ren Qi’s grandfather is the man who killed Shuang Jiao’s mother in a hit-and-run accident a year ago. To make matters worse, he claims that the Gu’s framed the family driver to take the blame and then paid them to keep quiet about what really happened. Shocked to hear this, Shuang Jiao abruptly leaves the party and returns home in disbelieve and in tears. Equally shocked, confused, and desperate to find the truth, Ren Qi confronts his grandfather that same night, but his grandfather refuses to talk to him about the accident.

The next day, Ren Qi goes to Shuang Jiao’s house to talk with her, but Shuang Jiao says she can’t see him anymore. Ren Qi begs Shuang Jiao not to leave him, but she still breaks up with him. Devastated by this break up, Ren Qi spirals out of control and his condition worsens. As his therapist, Lu Xian steps in to help Ren Qi gain control over his condition and to find the truth about what really happened to Shuang Jiao’s mother.

Shuang Jiao and Ren Qi meet one last time and through tears and heartbreak, they say a final goodbye to each other. Ren Qi tells Shuang Jiao to take care of her self, follow her dreams and that he hopes she can always be happy while Shuang Jiao thanks Ren Qi for everything that he’s done for her.

After their last goodbye, Shuang Jiao continues to work at Clean First, but she can’t get her mind off of Ren Qi. Ren Qi is working on taking care of his condition, but he’s now instructed to take a myriad of different medications to cope.

Still desperate to find the truth about the accident that killed Shuang Jiao’s mother, Ren Qi, with the help Lu Xian, tracks down the wife of the former Gu family driver. The only problem is she works and lives at a landfill. Lu Xian and Ren Qi find her and confront her about the accident, but before they can get a conversation going, Ren Qi becomes overwhelmed with the dirty environment and bolts.

He regains his courage and visits her again, this time alone. Pushing through his mysophobia, he speaks with the wife again and she confesses that it was indeed her husband that caused the accident. Knowing the family would struggle once the driver went to jail, the Gu family paid them money to help them take care of expenses. The driver’s wife explains all of this in a video and says that the Gu family is innocent and had nothing to do with the accident. Ren Qi sends this video to Shuang Jiao and once she views it, she immediately goes to find Ren Qi. She finds him at the landfill and the two embrace. Exhausted and on a high dosage of medications, Ren Qi collapses and is taken to the hospital.

At the hospital, Shuang Jiao anxiously waits for Ren Qi to wake up. Once he does, she apologizes for leaving him so suddenly and Ren Qi apologizes for not keeping his promise to always protect her. He asks for another chance and the two share a sweet kiss together.

Even though their romance has been mended and things are better, Ren Qi is still struggling with his mysophobia. Ren Qi’s mother feels that her son’s condition is probably linked to the pressure he endured from his grandfather, and Lu Xian speculates that Ren Qi has always wanted acknowledgement from his grandfather. If he could mend that relationship, that could be the key to his cure.

To help Ren Qi improve his relationship with his grandfather, Shuang Jiao visits his grandfather and tells him that he could help Ren Qi’s condition if he puts aside his pride and show Ren Qi that he is proud of him.

Since Ren Qi’s birthday is coming up, Shuang Jiao suggests that they all have a family lunch at the Gu residence to celebrate. Ren Qi is a little reluctant, but since Shuang Jiao suggested it, he agrees.

While at the Gu residence, Ren Qi’s grandfather tells him that he’s proud of him and his accomplishments and also gives him a box of all his childhood toys that he kept, indicating that he always thought about Ren Qi’s happiness. The pressure he felt from his grandfather is lifted, and Ren Qi feely enjoys lunch with his family and Shuang Jiao.

Later that day, Ren Qi and Shuang Jiao have dinner at the Shi residence and Ren Qi asks Shuang Jiao’s father if he can freely date his daughter. He agrees.

Shuang Jiao continues to climb through the ranks at Clean First and Ren Qi begins to show signs that’s he almost nearly over his misophobia. Lu Xian decides to move back to the United States to continue his work as a therapist, but before he leaves, he wishes Shuang Jiao the best and tells Ren Qi that he better treat Shuang Jiao right or he will come after him. Ren Qi thanks Lu Xian for helping him get over his condition.

A while later, Don Xian tells Ren Qi that he’s retiring from the company and wants move on to other things. Disappointed but supportive, Ren Qi wishes him well.

As the drama comes to a close, Shuang Jiao is given a big task at work and is asked to come clean a hot air ballon. When she arrives, she sees a mysterious person already cleaning and she joins them inside the balloon. To her surprise, the balloon takes off and she discovers the person with her is Ren Qi. The two enjoy the view before Ren Qi proposes once again, promising to love and care for Shuang Jiao for the rest of his life. She says yes and the two share a passionate kiss, solidifying their relationship and hinting at a long life together.

My Thoughts

What I liked:

I absolutely LOVED this drama. First of all the chemistry between Jasper Liu and Shen Yue was electrifying. When they were together, I couldn’t help but swoon and cheer on their relationship. I’ve actually gone back and re-watched some of my favorite episodes, just so I can relive those tender moments once again. I love how Ren Qi loved Shuang Jiao deeply and truly cared for her well being. Shuang Jiao also showed a sweet affection toward Ren Qi, which we don’t always see. Sometimes, it’s the guy doing all the work while the girl accepts all the love, but Shuang Jiao was expressive of her love for Ren Qi. As it should be. ❤️

Normally I have major second-male lead syndrome and while I did feel bad that Lu Xian didn’t get the girl, I found Ren Qi to be a genuine, enduring, loving guy who actually deserved Shuang Jiao. Although he came off as cold and distant in the beginning, he was never a jerk by heart. He was always thoughtful of others, but he wasn’t always able to freely express that.

I’m sucker for super sweet romance stories, and this one is the best I’ve seen all year. The plot was well written and kept me wanting to find out what happens next. The pace was perfectly set too. In some dramas, the couple falls in love to quickly or it takes FOREVER for the leads to realize they love each other. I was concerned that this drama might not move at a good pace since it was only 24 episodes, but everything fit well I had no complaints. As a matter of fact, I was little sad when it was over because I wanted more.

I’m always amazed when a drama can effortlessly tell the story of the supporting characters without unnecessarily dragging out the story or detracting from the leads. The love story of the supporting characters were almost like the bonus levels of video game: a sweet addition to the story that’s full of surprises, fun, and humor. ( Another good example of this is the C-Drama, Sweet Combat.)

The bromance between Ren Qi and Don Xian was hilarious. When those two got together, you could expect some shenanigans to go down. But on serious note, I loved the dynamic between the two. Ren Qi depended on Don Xian’s guidance and advice while Don Xian respected Ren Qi as a leader and was grateful for Ren Qi’s thoughtfulness toward him.

I also enjoyed how Qian Qian wasn’t self-absorbed queen who expected the world to worship the ground she walks on. In a lot of dramas the woman trying to go after the rich and handsome male lead tend to have those quirks. Even though she appears that way at first, we discover that she’s actually very kind and thoughtful. I didn’t expect her to fall for Don Xian but when she did, she loved him wholly and that was so refreshing to see.

Redemption is something I don’t really see a lot in Korean dramas (at least the one’s I’ve watched), but in C-Dramas (in my experience) the evil character that everyone thought was a villain actually comes around in the end. We’re lead to believe that Ren Qi’s grandfather is an overbearing, prideful man who never cared about his grandson or his daughter (Ren Qi’s mom), but we learn that he really does loves Ren Qi and truly wanted the best for him. He may have been harsh and some of his actions were quite harmful to Ren Qi, but he’s not a terrible person. We also see that his grandfather is kind, as he paid his driver’s family money to make ends meet after the accident sent the driver to jail.

Also, the soundtrack for this drama was beautiful! My goodness, the songs were perfect and I have song “Pure Love” on REPEAT.

“Use for My Talent” had me wanting more and it was on my mind for days (even now, as I write this review). I highly recommend!

What I didn’t like

There wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like about this drama. Enough said.

In Conclusion

Apparently there might be a second season?? I really really hope there is because we need more of this sweet couple. With good writing, superb acting, plenty of lovey-dovey scenes and fun humor, I highly recommend this show to anyone who’s looking for a cute drama to binge this summer.

Five out of five stars!

Other Details

Release Date: 2021

Episodes: 24

Episode length: About 45 minutes

Country: China

Platform: Netflix

Have you seen this drama? What are you thoughts? Leave me a comment below!

C-DRAMA: A Love So Beautiful (致我们单纯的小美好) In-Depth Review

So I jumped on the C-Drama train and boy it was a ride. I renewed my Viki subscription a few weeks ago and while exploring the endless titles of Asian dramas, I stumbled upon this rom-com. I saw a few trailers of this show ages ago and made a mental note to watch it, but never did. So with a newly renewed Viki account in hand, I said “hey, why not?” So here are my thoughts ( and since I loved this drama so much, a very, very long retelling of the story). Spoilers ahead so READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

In a nutshell:

A bright and cheerful high school girl chases her male classmate, professing her love for him whenever she gets the chance. The kicker? He’s distant, cold, and indifferent. The story gets interesting when the two form an unexpected friendship with three other classmates.

In-depth synopsis:

In the first half of this drama, the audience is introduced to a bright and slightly ditzy high school girl, Chen Xiaoxi (Shen Yue). Xiaoxi is cheerful and always looks on the bright side, but she lags in school and can be very clumsy at times. Her shortcomings, however, don’t stop her from boldly professing her love for her neighbor and classmate Jiang Chen (Hu Yitian), one of the most popular boys in her class known for his stellar grades and good looks. Xiaoxi and Jiang Chen have known each other since grade school, but despite this connection, Jiang Chen is distant and very indifferent to Xiaoxi. As the two enter their last years of high school together, Xiaoxi makes it her goal to get Jiang Chen to fall in love with her. Her desperate attempts begin early. She waits outside their apartment every morning so they can bike to school together. She buys him breakfast, gives him gifts, and sits close to him in class. All to no avail. No matter how hard Xiaoxi tires, Jiang Chen rejects her advances over and over and over and over again. The story is shaken up when the happy-go-lucky and energetic swimmer WuBosong begins to attend their school.

WuBosong is immediately drawn to Xiaoxi. Not having many friends due to his rigorous swim training schedule, WuBosong is happy to have someone he can talk to and connect with. After Xiaoxi cheers WuBosong on during one of his swim meets, he slowly starts to develop feelings for the lovely leading lady. The kicker is that Jiang Chen actually likes Xiaoxi (as we get to see early on in the drama), so WuBosong’s sudden display of affection begins to make Jiang Chen jealous, sparking a battle between the two over who will win Xiaoxi’s heart.

In the middle of this trio are Xiaoxi’s best friend Lin Jingxiao (Wang Ziwei) and their spunky classmate Lu Yang (Sun Ning), who also has a life-threatening heart disease. These two, along with Chen Xiaoxi, Jiang Chen and WuBosong form an unlikely friendship, sticking together through high school and adulthood.

As the battle for Xiaoxi’s heart rages on, we begin to see Jiang Chen soften, revealing that he actually does care about Xiaoxi. He begins to show his jealously quite openly and begins to secretly do nice things for her. Besides WuBosong’s growing love for Xioaxi, another obstacle stands in the way: their class leader Li Wei. Li Wei also has a huge crush on Jiang Chen and uses every moment she can to try to get close to him. Many times Jiang Chen agrees to her requests to sit by him, help her with school work, etc., making Xiaoxi jealous in the process.

After an exciting attempt to try to share a romantic night under the stars with Jiang Chen blows up in her face, the tables turn, and Xiaoxi begins to avoid Jiang Chen. WuBosong capitalizes on this situation and begins to start spending more time with Xiaoxi, much to Jiang Chen’s horror. Unsure of how to get Xiaoxi to give him attention again, Jiang Chen turns to Lu Yang for help, who gives him small tidbits of advice here and there.

However, Lu Yang has his own love war going on as he tries to gain the affection of Lin Jingxiao. Jingxiao is a tough-skinned, energetic girl, who doesn’t back down from conflict and fearlessly defends her friends. Jingxiao, however, has a crush on the kind-hearted and very handsome school doctor Li Shu (Zhang He Hao Zhen). Lu Yang uses every ounce of his ability to show Jingxiao he loves her. She’s cordial and tolerates him (in a platonic way), but deep down her heart is set on winning the good doctor’s heart. Unaware of her crush, Lu Yang’s world comes crashing in when he finds out she doesn’t care for him like he thought. Furious at his love being rejected, Lu Yang displays his anger quite publicly. When confronted by Jingxiao about his aggressive behavior, he runs from her and she chases after him. Jiang Chen, WuBosong and Xiaoxi are nearby and join the pursuit. Due to his weak heart, Lu Yang goes into cardiac arrest after a few minutes of running. Fortunately, thanks to Li Shu’s quick thinking, Lu Yang survives the ordeal and recovers. After this incident and Lu Yang’s sweet confession of love, Jinxgxiao softens toward him. However, Lu Yang’s mother pulls him from school and hires a tutor for him after his close encounter with death. Fortunately, we see these two love birds become a couple.

The months pass and Jiang Chen and Xiaoxi become closer. WuBosong, realizing that Xiaoxi is still very set on being with Jiang Chen, sweetly confesses his love to her before he transfers out of school and begins training for a spot on the national swim team. Finally becoming a couple, Jiang Chen and Xiaoxi start dating right before graduation and into their college years. While in college, Jiang Chen studies to become a doctor while Xiaoxi studies art.

Their romance blooms, and we learn that Jiang Chen’s feelings for his quirky classmate were stronger than he let on. However, Jiang Chen’s demanding schedule as a practicing doctor keeps him from seeing Xiaoxi, making their relationship a little strained. The two press on with a sweet romance until Jiang Chen is offered a chance to further his study at a prestigious medical program in Beijing. At first he turns it down, but after a constant nudge from his hospital director, he reconsiders it.

Meanwhile, Xiaoxi is working on completing her art degree and begins to look for a job. To add more pressure, she has to move out of her dorm once the year is over. With the clock ticking, Xiaoxi decides to go apartment hunting on her own. She’s met, unfortunately, with a perverted realtor who tries to make a move on her. Frightened, she tries to get a hold of Jiang Chen to no avail. While looking for him at the hospital where he works, she’s told that Jiang Chen will be going to Beijing to study medicine. Shocked by the news, she confronts him, but Jiang Chen tells her he hasn’t decided yet. Xiaoxi is hurt that he never told her, and in a moment of anger and disappointment she breaks up with him.

Later that day, Jiang Chen is working an operation alongside doctors on a severely ill patient when the patient dies during surgery. Devastated by the loss, Jiang Chen goes to find Xiaoxi, who brushes him off, deepening his annoyance at her cold attitude. The next day things haven’t cooled down yet, and the two quarrel again, prompting Jiang Chen to agree to study medicine in Beijing. Before he leaves, he tries to see Xiaoxi one last time, but she refuses. She eventually runs to the airport to see Jiang Chen before he leaves, but she’s too late and ends up a crying mess right there in the middle of the airport. There she runs into WuBosong once again who has come back home after competing in national swimming championships. Jiang Chen studies in Beijing for three years, leaving behind Xiaoxi.

Three years later we see a more mature yet still spunky Xiaoxi navigating through life. Now back home, Jiang Chen runs into Xiaoxi after not seeing her for all that time. Still deeply in love with Xiaoxi, Jiang Chen makes it his mission to get back together with her. He goes to great lengths and even temporarily flaunts a fake girlfriend, but Xiaoxi still keeps her distance. WoBosong still has his hat in the ring for Xiaoxi and continues to try to win her heart, but Jiang Chen doesn’t give up and continues to chase after Xiaoxi as well. In the meantime, LuYang and Jingxiao marry. WoBosong speeds up his pursuit of Xiaoxi and proposes to her, but she turns him down. As the show nears an end, for the first time, Jiang Chen explains why he loves Xiaoxi so much. He confesses that he always loved her and says he can’t live without her. After hearing his confession of love and Jiang Chen asking for forgiveness, Xiaoxi decides to give him a second chance, and the two resume their relationship with a renewed passion. The show climaxes as Jiang Chen proposes to Xiaoxi (which she accepts), and Xiaoxi releases her first comic book novel about her love with Jiang Chen and the friends she met along the way. The show ends full circle as it reflects on the moments the two shared as teenagers all the way into adulthood.

My Thoughts:

What I liked:

The storyline

You will here me say this every time I write a review. A good storyline is paramount. In “A Love So Beautiful,” it was well-written and made sense. You actually got to see a journey of the characters lives and the character development was present in many of the main and side characters.

The Friendship

I have so many feelings about this drama it’s not even real. But let’s start with our the friendship theme. Most dramas that focus on a couple don’t really focus on much more than that. Yeah, there’s a few side stories there, but the story revolves around the lead couple and second male lead. But I what I really liked about this drama is that while Jiang Chen and Chen Xiaoxi were the focus, the friendship theme was strong and written into the story very well. While the four had their disagreements, they actually grew to be quite close and maintained that relationship throughout the entire show. The beauty of it, I think, is that both Jiang Chen and Wu Bosong didn’t really have a strong friend group until they all came together. A quiet kid who kept to himself, Jiang Chen slowly began to show more of a personality when he was with the group. Wu Bosong finally had people who he could connect with and actually helped him live the life of a normal teenager. Even the quirky Lu Yang, who we later find out to have been bullied as a child, finds solace in his unique group of friends. Also, I love how they all defend Xiaoxi.

WuBosong’s sincere pursuit of Xiaoxi

OMG this drama gave me serious second-male lead syndrome. I’m a sucker for that sweet, sappy kind of romance so the fact that WuBosong was the most thoughtful character throughout this entire drama had me melting. From the beginning, he was always thinking of how he could make Xiaoxi’s life a little better. He wanted to make her happy, and he hated it when she was sad. Even when she was desperately chasing after Jiang Chen, WuBosong did what he could to help her in her love schemes. Why? Because he knew it would make her happy. Boy fought for her affection tooth and nail, and I couldn’t really help but root for him. A real keeper. He’s was the sweetest, and all I’m saying is you really want to keep a guy like him around. Oh yeah and when he confessed his love to her, I almost cried.

Jian Chen and Xiaoxi’s relationship

Although it was the slowest blooming relationship of all time, when it did take off, I could help saying “awww” several times. Jiang Chen’s cold attitude virtually disappeared as he showed a sweet affection to Xiaoxi. They had quite a few super cutesy, lovey dovey moments which was a nice surprise. I won’t go into too much detail because I think these moments were the gems in the drama so I’ll let you discover them on your own.

What I disliked

The high school version of Jiang Chen

Jiang Chen’s cold attitude wasn’t forgivable. From the beginning he wasn’t sweet or kind or thoughtful toward the woman he said he loved. Yeah I get that his father passed away and his mother was absent but that doesn’t give him a pass. He needed to just come out and say he like Xiaoxi if that’s how he really felt. The games he played were childish. What person would constantly have you reject them in public and still have feelings? (Apparently Xiaoxi but even she got fed up at some point). And THEN he wants to be jealous when WuBosong joins the picture. Bruh he have no right! I know what the masses might say: “But he really liked her!” “But he was sweet in his own way!” “But he did nice things for her in secret!” Nah toward the end yes, but the earlier version of Jiang Chen was just a mean jerk. This is a drama but in real life don’t pursue a guy like Jiang Chen.

Xiaoxi’s lack of self-respect

This is small but I began to get really annoyed at how Xiaoxi’s life revolved around a guy who had no apparent interest in her. Yeah it’s a drama, but I like to look at dramas through the lense of real life. Like I said before, in real life, Xiaoxi was a naive, teenage girl who couldn’t respect herself enough to let go of a guy who just wasn’t that into her that’s how it appeared) “But she didn’t give up on a the guy she liked!” No, no and no. If you have made it blatantly obvious that you like someone and their response is I don’t, move on. Please. She had a life to live and she just wasn’t living it because she was pining hard core over Jiang Chen.

Lost in translation?

Some of these translations were just wrong, lol but I digress. (I watched this on Viki.)

That’s it loves! Overall the drama was great and well written. A sweet love story between two teenagers as they go into adulthood, “A Love So Beautiful” embodies more than just love. It shares the tale of high school friendships and life, infused with hardship, disappointment, trouble, bad choices, sweet moments and creating unbreakable bonds.

Final Judgement:

Four and half out of five stars.

Other Details:

Release date: 2017

Episodes: 23 (+ one bonus episode)

Episode length: About 45 minutes

*Platform: Netflix, Kiss Asian (English subtitles available)

*For some reason, this drama is no longer available to US audiences on Viki. If you watch with subtitles, just be aware that some of the translations did not come out well, so some things might not make sense.

Have you watched this drama? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment!

Until Next Time!