The Pursuit of Happiness Episodes 1-7

I caught up to the Taiwanese drama, The Pursuit of Happiness this weekend. We are only 7 episodes in, and it’s showing a lot of promise so far. *touch wood* It’s directed by the same man who did In Time With You and It Started With A Kiss, so it can be a bit of a hit and miss really. I loved ISWAK which had loads of heart, but In Time With You really bored me to tears that I dropped it.

A rough guide to the story so far: Lei Lei is our heroine who is still pining for her ex, Wei Ting. They met while at university, and has since split up and reconciled 3 times. They are still on good terms with each other and are constantly in touch. Lei Lei holds on to a promise Wei Ting made to her at their last breakup, that if they are both single at 35, they will get married.

Wei Ting makes a return to Taipei and gets in touch with Lei Lei again, this time showing signs of wanting to settle down and put an end to his travels. He’s a bit of a free spirit who goes wherever he wants to, and finds that having a stable job is burdensome. That was a sore point in their relationship, which led to many arguments (and breakups, obviously). Lei Lei gains hope that he’s finally ready to start over with her, until Wei Ting introduces her to Helen, his girlfriend.

This deals a huge blow to Lei Lei personally and professionally, as Helen happens to be the daughter of Lei Lei’s boss, and Helen had just been appointed general manager. It was a position that Lei Lei had expected to be promoted to, having worked her ass off for the past 10 years in that company.

Enter Yi Kang, who rents Lei Lei’s niece’s room in the apartment. Yay for the cohabitation trope! There was a bit of hijinks and hilarity to it, but none too overdone, which is great. Yi Kang turns out to have known Helen back when they were both in New Zealand, and harbours a massive crush on Helen. Yi Kang helps Lei Lei deal with her heartbreak over Wei Ting while his own heart gets crushed when he sees Helen so in love with that same guy.

Lei Lei comes up with a massive plot to break them up and tries to rope Yi Kang in, because it will be a win-win situation for them. Initially Yi Kang objects on moral grounds, but when he sees Helen upset over Wei Ting, he decides to join in the battle. So far, it’s not going that well, that’s all I can say.

My thoughts

The pacing of the drama is good, because the director seems to know what he’s doing. I’m glad that Lei Lei and Yi Kang are taking time to realise that their past relationships/crush should be left behind in the past and move on. Together. I prefer delayed gratification when it comes to the OTP if it means that the drama isn’t going to crash and burn like Love Around (where instant gratification was what it was all about).  Most things in the drama are dealt with quite realistically, as it’s more slice-of-life than OTT slapstick. That might be why I don’t hate any of the characters, as they are quite down-to-earth.

My only minor gripe is that Helen is very poorly acted and her line delivery does grate on me a little sometimes. The actress is still quite green and her accent is written into her character, so I put up with it, but she does pale in comparison to Tony Yang and Sonia Sui. I love Sonia Sui, and I think she’s hitting all the right notes with Lei Lei. Lei Lei is such a tough girl, she doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her, she just wants her love back. I love that she isn’t afraid to fight for her love, despite it being a bit morally questionable.

Yi Kang’s character reminds me a bit of Li Da Ren, and I hope that he doesn’t go down that same path. As much as Li Da Ren is loved by the masses, I didn’t. I like that he is frank with Lei Lei about practically everything, as much as she is with him. I think he will be the first to fall for her, from the little signs we got in Episode 7. Tony Yang is amazing as always, and he has a believable chemistry with Sonia. Not electrifying as yet, but I’m hoping that will change.

Wei Ting is quite believable as a character, as I do know people who are exactly like that. He lives in his own orbit, and everything is about him. You can argue that he’s a man of principles for refusing to accept help from Helen’s father, but he’s a bit of a wuss for backing down when Helen needed him at the event. Just because bad ‘ol Daddy undermined him a little.

My feelings for Helen are a lot like Lei Lei’s. First I didn’t like her that much, nepotism and her almost childlike innocence. But it’s almost impossible to hate on her, because she’s nice. Her sincere attempts at doing well at work reminded Lei Lei of a younger version of herself, all enthusiastic and ready to take on the world. If anything, I feel sorry for her for having to deal with Wei Ting and her father’s objections. Girl just wants to date her man in peace, age difference and social status are irrelevant.

I’ll be following this with great interest, and hopefully it won’t disappoint.

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