TW Dramas

[Review] Ring Ring Bell (TW-2011)

There’re a number of directions this review can go. I can either:

  • rant about the crazy, nonsensical plot which dragged down the second half of this series
  • rant about how much potential RRB had and all the ways it failed to deliver
  • just post screencaps of all the times Peter was topless and be all pervy about it
  • mush over how cute Peter is in general
  • mush over how cute Peter & Janine are as a couple

I guess the above sums up how schizophrenic I feel over this series.

peter

 The Good

Peter. Janine. Peter and Janine.

Prior to RRB I haven’t watched any Peter Ho dramas before so I was pleasantly surprised. He is actually a good actor plus he offered lots of eye candy! Everytime I was beginning to lose interest in an episode, he would show up topless. OKAYYYYY, you got my attention now! Ren Jia Kai suits Peter to a T – the good looking, confident guy with a soft heart inside. Plus I just love his occasional English outbursts. (This is completely random, but I loved the way he said “Kelly” LOL.)  As Duo Duo says, he is really a prince in this series. But that doesn’t mean he is flawless.  Unfortunately I don’t think that aspect was fully developed in this series, will expand on this in the next section.

janine

Janine  – she is definitely one of my favourite actresses because of her natural beauty and aura. Portraying Xiao Xiang is a change for her. Although in the beginning she was hidden in bad hair and distasteful clothes, it’s hard to convince the audience that Xiao Xiang is not beautiful (or Pickled Vegetable Girl as Jia Kai describes her) because she is Janine Chang! If she is considered ‘pickled vegetable’ what hope is there for the rest of the population? OK, this is idol drama land so we can let that slide. But overall, Janine did a great job here, she had a lot of crying scenes and they were done well. My problem is with Xiao Xiang the character, rather than Janine the actress.

pj

As for Peter and Janine, from the very beginning I loved every one of their scenes. They just have a lot of natural chemistry together. Love love love this couple, definitely OTP right from the get go.  It was hilarious how in the beginning Jia Kai teased Xiao Xiang a lot, and their bickering is just so sweet. Then as their relationship evolved, you can’t help but smile at their cuteness. Even as the plot self destructs towards the end it was rather enjoyable to see Jia Kai got all jealous over Xiao Xiang’s ex boyfriend. I hope they will collaborate again in a better series. Their chemistry is almost wasted here with the not-so-great plot.

rrb 

 The Bad

The plot?

In my mid point review, I mentioned how Xiao Xiang was getting on my nerves. That now seems pale in comparison to the rest of the series. I think the turning point was the first kidnapping with crazy Senator’s wife.  Everything from that point onwards seems either rushed, unresolved or unnecessary.  


Rushed
First of all, just after half way through the series Jia Kai and Xiao Xiang had a major confession moment which resulted in them getting together too quickly. Their earlier flirting, teasing and bickering were really enjoyable to watch so it was rather unfortunate their whole relationship dynamic changed so quickly. Plus, it seems all the issues that come up for the couple are resolved in the next episode, which left giant question marks over my head. One area which I thought they could’ve explored more was Jia Kai’s approach to his work. Despite his love for Xiao Xiang, he can be quite ruthless in the workplace. This was evidenced by how he used the Tug a war team as a selling tool for one of his clients. There was some initial conflict between him and Xiao Xiang but again, these problems resolved very quickly.

 

As the series went on, (where Jia Kai and Xiao Jie fights over Xiao Xiang) Xiao Xiang seems way too wishy washy – one minute she’s so determined to leave Jia Kai (getting the cheque from the Hospital Chief) and then the next minute she’s wants to be with him again.

 

I think the writers tried to give the Jia Kai & his dad storyline some resolution but I still don’t understand why his dad was so hell bent on destroying his son’s marriage / girlfriend before. Then the whole Jia Kai disgracing his dad in front of the public was just… wow. But the repercussions were hardly felt and just as quickly they reconcile.

rrb2
Unresolved / Wasted Potential
Another problem I have with the series is how the supporting leads (Xiao Xiang’s ex boyfriend Xiao Jie, Jia Kai’s ex wife Kelly) never had a chance. LIKE EVER. The writers tried to make them sympathetic but really, no one can question how this story is going to end. It could’ve been different but this potential was never explored. I’m quite surprised to write this but I actually wanted more about Xiao Jie / Ming Xin and Kelly / Ou Wei. We’re supposed to believe Xiao Jie wants to be with Ming Xin now just from two flashback scenes? As for Kelly, I didn’t even realize she’s turned ‘good’. I don’t remember her telling the truth to Jia Kai’s sister? Did I fall asleep during that part? How come she ended up helping Jia Kai? Plus I would’ve loved to see her end up with Ou Wei. His character was quite hilarious in the beginning then sort of disappeared after the mid way point which was a shame.

Oh… and it would’ve been nice to see if the Tug-a-war actually won. PLUS – was I dreaming or did they try to introduce some sort of a romantic storyline for Pheonix (one of the tug a war girls?) In the episode where Jia Kai’s father was kidnapped, wasn’t Jang Xian talking to Xiao Zhao (one of Jia Kai’s staff) and he was mentioning something about Pheonix???? WTH?

rrb3
Unnecessary
Most of the second last episode, and some of the final episode was just… HUH? The ‘fight’ over Xiao Xiang just ended up to be really stupid. And that last flashback scene to Jia Kai and Xiao Xiang’s childhood – OMG… what the hell was that and where did that come from? I think the writers are trying too hard to make the couple seem like they’re ‘destined’ for each other. But really, if they had any faith in their script it was really unnecessary. Looking back, the set up in the beginning was actually done quite well. Whether it’s the scenes in the elevator, when Jia Kai visits Xiao Xiang during quarantine and finally, when she visits him at the photographic exhibition – you really felt *something* was there between them already. That part about the childhood at the end just felt out of place and completely WTH.

 

Verdict

I really wanted to like this series. I really did. There were some parts I really enjoyed (and I can watch those scenes over and over again) but a lot of it towards the end were not so enjoyable. If it wasn’t for Peter and Janine, this series would’ve been a complete waste of time.

 

You Might Also Like

5 Comments

  • Reply
    nwt
    April 30, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    I pretty agree with what you said here, especially the unnecessary childhood plot and wasted potentials. I guess the childhood encounter is very much to do with Asian audience’s fascination with virgin love.

    This was the first drama staring P & J that I have watched and was immediately charmed by the chemistry between them. I was so addicted to the series (in fact just to the couple) that I continued to review the series for several times and follow their news almost for another year afterwards. Then I thought I had forgot about it but I had this sudden urge to watch them again yesterday, so I did. Ah… such a beautiful couple, aren’t they? And there is this new short TV drama to look forward to. 🙂

    There are indeed many flaws and underdeveloped and therefore disappointing stories in the series. In fact I also abhorred the animation and narration in the concluding episode. It was difficult for me to believe that a good/experienced director or producer would resort to that means to end a story, even though it was only an idol drama or popular romantic comedy. A good drama would ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ its central message. I do not know what happened to the shooting of the second half of the series, wether it was because the script itself was not good enough in the first place or they simply did not have time to polish it up. It was a shame that a very strong cast (both in terms of their charisma and acting) would be maimed in this way. When I started watching it, I was hoping that it would boost their fame and popularity in Asia, as some of life philosophies are thoughtfully crafted and expressed. However, sadly it did not go as it should have gone as the second half had gone wrong.

    But, I still love it no matter what.:)

    • Reply
      kat
      May 1, 2013 at 12:54 am

      Interesting observation about the childhood/virgin love, never thought of it that way. See I would’ve been ok with it had it been introduced earlier, rather than just slapped on at the end, it just seemed weird? Suddenly the writer woke up and decided to put it in?

      Yes I think this drama was saved by P & J, if it wasn’t for them the second half would be unwatchable. A lot of actors have chemistry on screen, but P & J have that OTP vibe on screen and off screen. I loved watching them even in the ‘behind the scenes’ parts because just the way they look at each other after they film a kissing scene, or the expression on J’s face as P stands in front of her with his shirt off, just so cute! I’m not sure if I can rewatch the whole series again, but selected parts I can watch again and again. Like the ones early on after P meets with his ex-wife, and J kisses him… or after the press conference… I hope the new short drama will be good!

      I could easily believe if they aired this while they were still shooting. But Wikipedia says otherwise. Oh well, I say it because as this drama was airing it was up against such strong competition (Office Girls and In Time with You) that in terms of ratings, RRB was always going to be in 3rd spot. I tried to find any variety show promotions P & J might have done but there were so few? (like one?) It’s like they have given up promoting it because RRB was never going to rate well. Even J’s mother in the series had disappeared in the last couple of episodes and crossovered to In Time With You instead lol. Real pity because P’s character was much more likeable than Li Da Ren from ITWY haha.

  • Reply
    Carol
    July 11, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    I did not like the ending at all! I felt like it left me hanging! I loved their chemistry and tolerated the episodes after the kidnapping just bc I wanted to see them together. How lame is that!

    • Reply
      kat
      July 11, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      Nah that’s not lame, that happened for me too LOL. After the mid point it feels the drama started to go downhill and the only thing holding it together was Peter & Janine…

  • Reply
    mini
    December 15, 2013 at 4:27 am

    my friend the childhood scene was an explaination for earlier episode u rem when janie told the fully drunk peter ho abt the bird and he told the same thing to her in the hospital when she was crying for her adopted child did she wondered how come he rem what i told him

  • Leave a Reply

    %d bloggers like this: