I had a quick look at Episode 1 of Love Around, the new weekend drama starring George Hu and Annie Chen. I loved their chemistry in Love Me Now, but that was a weekday drama and I just couldn’t stand the slow pace and horribly boring script. I’m sure that drama was a hit with the Taiwanese audience anyway, seeing that they’ve reunited George and Annie almost straight away with Love Around. Possibly to ride on the goodwill from Love Me Now and the attention from sponsors. (The amount of product placement in Love Around is insane.)
George Hu’s character is Zhou Zhen, whose father is a former mobster. His girlfriend breaks up with him for this very reason, even though his family now runs a clean business. She tells him that his family’s mobster past affects what her co-workers and friends say and think of her, and quick coldly proclaims that they are over. Poor Zhou Zhen takes to the batting cages to let out some steam. That’s where he meets Annie’s character Xiao Shu.
Xiao Shu is a radio DJ who has a feisty personality. She’s not afraid to tell off a perverted caller, much to the dismay of her colleagues. Her colleagues seem like an interesting bunch, which I’ll touch more on later. Xiao Shu goes out to get a birthday present for her boyfriend Jason. She sets her eyes on an autographed baseball bat, which is not for sale, but it’s the prize in a batting contest.
After her hopeless attempt at the contest, she tries to persuade Zhou Zhen to join on her behalf. He relents when he learns that it’s for her boyfriend’s birthday. He wins it for her in the end. They end up in the same taxi and after dropping him off at his hotel, Xiao Shu heads back to pay him back for the taxi fare. She runs into Jason there, who we find out is a cheating douchebag. He lies to her about having to work overtime, but she catches him red-handed.
He breaks up with her, and she basically crumples into a heap of tears outside him hotel room. Zhou Zhen intervenes and throws a punch at Jason. I would have liked it if Xiao Shu had a go at Jason with the baseball bat she got him. Zhou Zhen goes after her and they both share their pain from their respective break ups. She takes him to the restaurant she booked for Jason and herself, and celebrates his birthday for him instead. Silly girl gets drunk from one glass of red wine (seriously?!) and Zhou Zhen tries to take her home.
She leads him to Jason’s house instead, where they let out the air from one of his tyres to get back at him. Xiao Shu then passes out and Zhou Zhen takes her back to his hotel. Unfortunately for him, the police turn up for an inspection as there was a tip off about drug use. Their suspicions are piqued when Zhou Zhen doesn’t know Xiao Shu’s name and he’s asked to go to the station with them.
The storyline for the first episode is quite simple and introduces us to the leads and their backstory. I rather liked Xiao Shu’s colleagues at the station, who seem like they could be rather colourful characters. There’s some cute banter going on there between them, too.
There’s James, another DJ who is a bit metro and sharp-tongued.
Jessica, who seems to be the showrunner.
Fei Fei, a fellow DJ who does the astrology segment.
We haven’t seen much of Zhou Zhen’s family yet apart from his sister, Ying Ying, who I would rather not see again. I don’t know why little sisters always have to be such brats, and she’s not even cute.
There’s also Zhou Zhen’s ex, Pin Ying. I don’t know if she’ll reappear in the next episode (she wasn’t in the previews), but based on their story I doubt she’ll be running back to him anytime soon.
It’s still early to pass on this, but I did like most of what I watched so far. Hopefully they capitalise on Annie and George’s amazing chemistry and play it out believably for this to work out. I’m staying tuned for next week’s episode.
Images credit: SETTV