Taiwan has always given me the impression that it’s a rather conservative country. I’m not from Taiwan so this impression is just formed by watching their TV shows and a few visits. However, despite the talks of tradition, Confucius teachings and whatnot, like other parts of Asia there’s also plenty of scantily claded females on the covers of magazines, billboards, TV etc because for better or for worse, it generates publicity. Sex is still a fairly taboo topic. We all know everyone is doing it, thinking about it but just not talking about it.
This is not a post on whether this repression is healthy or not (or whether it’s truly taboo or not), but since the majority of idol dramas are fairly innocent (yes I know the premise of shows like Fated to Love You start off with the leads well, having a one night stand) I find it a refreshing change to watch PMAM – the second season (?) of PM10-AM03 which was a mini drama focusing on the lives of young party goers. PMAM was first released on Letv.com last year and later broadcasted on TV as well. However, it had the late timeslot of 11:30pm probably because of its subject matter and its audience – we’re talking about people who spend the night partying and the day sleeping.
Confession time – of course I became interested in this drama because of Xiu Jie Kai, he is supposed to be the lead in this. More on that later. I didn’t watch PM10-AM03 but I’m guessing it doesn’t matter because PMAM introduces a lot of new characters. The TV version has 20 episodes (1 hour each) while the web version has 40 episodes (20 minutes each). Apparently PM10-AM03 was popular enough not only did they make a second season, they also got a lot of people to guest star. Initially I was quite skeptical of this drama, I’ve watched TWO of those Lan Kwai Fong movies (from Hong Kong) to know how pointless these types of storylines can be. Those movies were just an excuse to show some soft porn and after I finished them I had no idea what I just watched. Actually, I’m not sure why I started PMAM in the first place. I was on this site looking for something else when the link to PMAM came up. Out of curiosity / boredom I clicked on it.
The main problem with PMAM is the short episodes and how many characters they’re trying to fit into this drama. There are probably six main characters, although I can think of another two or three people who also have decent screentime. So it’s easy to watch three or four episodes at a time (I’m watching the 40 ep version) because each episode is like a baby step forward.
The three main guys – Ni Ke (Xiu Jie Kai), Dou Zi (George Zhang Zhao Zhi) and Pi Ka Qiu (Da Fei aka Wu Zhi Qing)
I’ve put Ni Ke at the start because the story outlines have Xiu Jie Kai as the lead. But in the first 10 episodes, his story had the least development, if any. Ni Ke has three rules – Never refuse a girl’s advances, never take the initiative and never take responsibility. He’s rich and has a tendency to open lots of businesses if something interests him. His businesses include a nightclub where a lot of the drama takes place. His carefree life is envied by many and everyday is like winning a lottery to him. Of course a guy like him can only be tamed by the sweet and innocent Jiao En En who will never throw herself at him. We haven’t got to that in the story but I know that’s where we’re heading.
Dou Zi was once a famous singer whose popularity had declined over the years, to the point where he’s struggling to make a living. He tries to get anyone to listen to his music but no one is interested. (Probably because he’s a terrible singer!) But he’s persistent I give him that! When his old friend / manager suggest him to go on a ‘celebrity death match’ type show, he agreed. In the first match he was about to lose but the moment he head the prize will be an appearance on Kang Xi Lai Le (a famous talk show), Dou Zi immediately jumped up and continued to fight.
On the relationship front at a Bachelor party for his friend Andrew in Kenting, he got so drunk he slept with Nai Nai – a girl all the guys think has a hot body but not so good looking face. Of course he freaked out and ran the other way the next morning (and the next time they saw each other). To be honest I’m a little repulsed by how superficial these guys are. I mean, Dou Zi is not a good looking guy either and for him to run away screaming after seeing he slept with Nai Nai? Gees, look at the mirror yourself before you judge others! Probably the reason why I enjoyed the storyline focusing on his career rather than his relationships.
The third guy who also gets a lot of screentime is Pi Ka Qiu (sounds like Pikachu?!). His girlfriend of one year Xiao Jing (Zhang Jing Lan) doesn’t believe in sex before marriage so Pi Ka Qiu is becoming increasing frustrated and unable to satisfy his needs. On the same drunken bachelor party, he slept with Xiao Lan. Although initially they both agreed it was just a one night stand, no strings attached, their paths cross when it was revealed Xiao Lan was a old friend of Xiao Jing’s. As Xiao Lan’s feelings grow for him, he doesn’t reject her advances and began two timing his girlfriend.
Da Fei really reminds me of TVB’s Jazz Lam. They look very much alike and I can totally see Jazz Lam playing this type of character. Maybe I can understand why he had the one night stand but to continue on the relationship knowing the other girl is your girlfriend’s good friend, that’s just playing with fire. I don’t have any sympathy for him of course so I will enjoy it when his girlfriend finds out!
The three main girls – Jiao En En (Beatrice Fang), Lisa (Amber Chen Ai Xi) and Zhang Nai Nai (Evonne Xie Yi Lin aka Hold住姐).
Jiao En En is the 18 year old country girl who moves to Taipei to study. She dreams of being a news reporter one day. When she arrived in Taipei, she met up with an old friend who said she had a place En En could rent. Of course the ‘friend’ took the money and the place was already rented by two others – Lisa and Nai Nai, who tells En En she is the third person cheated the ‘friend’ already. With very little money left, Lisa agreed En En could stay for a little longer but she must find a way to earn money if she wants to stay there. Lisa suggests En En can do some modelling work, since she has a cute face and a good figure. But being the sweet and innocent girl En En is, she hesitates but as Lisa introduces her to castings and some promotional work, En En knows it’s the quickest and easiest way to pay her way through university.
I originally thought this type of nooby character will be annoying. It’s hard to believe in the modern day En En can be so clueless and innocent! There was one scene when Lisa took her top off with just a bra left and En En was almost screaming seeing another GIRL (almost) naked. LOL. But she’s growing on me. I’m interested to see the moral conflicts she will face as she goes deeper into this world.
Lisa is the queen bee of the group. She knows her strengths and knows how to flaunt them. Lisa might seem quite open minded – I think we’ve seen Lisa in her bra/bikini a few times already but actually, she does have a line she doesn’t cross and that line is more conservative than you might think. She meets Wang Shen Yan (Judy Chou Ding Wei – don’t ask me why his name is Judy) a rich guy who starts to pursue her and although Lisa is also interested, she does play the ‘hard to get’ card. One night as Lisa and Nai Nai were going out, Shen Yan arrives at her door with a new Masarati. He claims he was bored and bought a new car. (WTF.) They drove up a mountain somewhere and start making out. However, just when he started to take things further, Lisa stopped him.
“When a girl spread her legs that’s when a guy leaves.”
That’s when she instantly became my favourite character. I just love how spunky this girl is. With her popularity one would imagine she would be bitchy but she’s also very protective of her friends. Even though she also wonders how En En can be so innocent and clueless, when En En is in trouble Lisa is the first one there to help. At a car wash shop opening, Lisa and Nai Nai were hired as bikini models whose job was to show off their bodies washing cars. Knowing En En is too timid for this type of work, Lisa suggests En En can be a waitress for the day so she could at least earn some money.
Too bad Lisa has to be paired up with that guy. He just annoys me! Lisa can do better than him!
Zhang Nai Nai is Lisa’s flatmate / best friend. The guys know her as the girl who would be perfect from head downwards. OUCH. She’s not the hottest looking girl so she finds herself being Lisa’s sidekick while desperately seeking a boyfriend of her own. Not a lot is revealed about Nai Nai so far except her one night stand with Dou Zi early on. Nai Nai didn’t warm to En En instantly and finds her cluelessness rather irritating. But she’s not mean to En En so I guess it will be a slow process for them to become friends.
The Guest Stars – there were a lot of them.
Now these are just the ones I recognized and know the name of, there’re some others who I remember seeing on variety shows, but don’t actually know their names. One of the surprising ones was Happy Camp host Xie Na, Power Station (band), Lin Mei Xiu (best TV mum lol), Chen Han Dian (Kang Xi Lai Le co-host), Ao Quan / Owodog (Lollipop F), Hannah Quinlivan (actress / Jay Chou’s girlfriend), Jeff Huang (singer/actor/director), Ou Di / Ou Han Sheng (singer/host/actor). Cameos can be fun but most of these guest appearances don’t add a lot to the story itself.
Overall, the acting in PMAM so far is quite uneven. The guys are fairly natural but the girls – Amber Chen (Lisa) is a pretty new actress and I find her hard to understand at times because she slurs her words. Beatrice Fang (En En) is ok as the sweet and innocent country girl although she has a tendency to overact. There’re comedic elements to the show so I guess when used carefully, the overacting is necessary. I just hope the story won’t go down the melodrama path. If you’re going to make a modern drama about the lives of night owl party goers, at least make the story consistent with this theme. I mention this because I read a spoilery description on Wikipedia. ARGH.
Oh and not to mention if you’re going to advertise this with Xiu Jie Kai as the LEAD, give him a storyline! One topless scene can’t go very far! I’m growing impatient…