TW Dramas

Constellation Women Series: Aries Eps 1 to 4 – The Good, The Bad (and worse)

I posted about this drama some months ago and it finally aired last month! Constellation Women Series: Aries stars Janet Hsieh, Xiu Jie Kai, Chloe Wang and Patrick Lee and the idea is obvious – it aims to bring astrology into the storyline. Apparently, FTV already did a similar thing back in the 90s, there were 12 stories following the lives of people with the different star signs.

 

This seems like an unoriginal, but decent idea. I’m not super excited about it but hey, Xiu Jie Kai is in this so why not? (That’s how my decision making process goes for most dramas HA.) Instead of writing/recapping in detail, I’m just going to jot down some brief thoughts on episodes 1 to 4 and despite what is happening to the first instalment, apparently they’re going make more of these. Maybe things might improve?

Here’s the official synopsis from Viki:

Should love help or hinder what you want to achieve in life? Xiao Jing (Chloe Wang) is a rising actress who is dating Wang Shao Qiang (Xiu Jie Kai), an architect. Although Shao Qiang wants to marry Xiao Jing, her parents aren’t impressed with him and think she can do better. Zhang Jia Ming (Patrick Lee), the owner of a luxury resort, may be exactly what Xiao Jing needs to take her celebrity to the next level, and she risks her relationship with Shao Qiang by becoming physical with Jia Ming. The heartbroken Shao Qiang is comforted by Chen Yin Xiu (Janet Hsieh), a young magazine editor who slowly starts to develop feelings for him. “Constellation Women Series – Aries Woman” is a 2015 Taiwanese drama series. It is a spin-off of the 1998 series “Constellation Women Series – Taurus Woman.”

Thoughts on Episodes 1 to 4

 

The Good

Although I’m not a huge believer of astrology / horoscopes etc, I think it’s a bit of a novelty incorporating personality traits from each horoscope into the storyline. If I was an Aries I’d probably enjoy it a lot more. Of course not everything will fit into the stereotype, but it’s fun when it does (or does not!). Maybe that’s why the ratings for the first episode was quite high, 1.05 which was second behind SETTV’s Someone Like You. I haven’t been able to find reliable ratings figures for episodes 2 to 4 but now I’m curious whether this novelty could sustain the audience’s interest.

 

I guess the other ‘good’ aspect of this drama is probably – Xiu Jie Kai. Sure, his character Wang Shao Qiang is borderline boring but you can’t really go wrong with the ‘good guy’ type role. Shao Qiang has an actress girlfriend, Xiao Jing (Chloe Wang) whom he can’t wait to marry. However, Xiao Jing isn’t as enthusiastic. On the one hand, I think she’s just stringing him along since she is rather flirtatious with resort owner Zhang Jia Ming (Patrick Lee). On the other hand, she seems to care about Shao Qiang, and does want to marry him… when she’s ready, or when it’s convenient for her. In episode 4, he discovers his girlfriend is cheating on him so… poor Shao Qiang!

Since we know the pairings from the filming news and the opening theme video, we know Xiu Jie Kai will pair up with Janet Hsieh – who plays magazine editor aka Aries woman Chen Yin Xiu. Yin Xiu has the nickname Ying Xiong aka Hero (because they sound similar) which describes her helpful, outgoing personality quite well. She used to be a neighbour of Shao Qiang’s and there is a hint that Yin Xiu has a crush on Shao Qiang, but he’s completely oblivious to it. He has pretty much ‘friendzoned’ her and even worse, treats her like a guy, since he calls her by her nickname Hero.

 

Chemistry wise, I can’t say Xiu Jie Kai and Janet are sizzling but I’m a sucker for these types of friends to lovers relationships. So I guess that’s a positive. However, this just brings me to some serious issues I’m having with this drama. So here we go…

 

 

The Bad

Where do I even start? I’d like to think I’m pretty forgiving of clichéd plots and bad acting as long as one of my favourites is in the drama. However, I’m finding this recurring theme rather disturbing. There are several scenes of women being assaulted in this drama and the writers are not taking it seriously.

 

Now let me put this into context. On some Taiwanese public channels, when a drama shows a scene of someone smoking or drinking, you’ll see a message on the side which says something like – Smoking/Drinking is bad for you… don’t overdo it. Some channels (maybe during earlier timeslots) would even blur out guns or (fake) blood and also have a message on the side which says something like – Don’t do this at home! It’s dangerous! Weird but ok. Better to be safe than sorry? But here are four incidents from this drama that are rather serious but yet, noone is reacting to it in a ‘normal’ way?

 

1. Yin Xiu is having a shower in her hotel / resort room. A guy just decides to break in and tries to rape her.

I’m serious. To demonstrate what a “hero” Yin Xiu is, she fights him off and that’s it. I don’t really care that he’s the resort owner’s assistant or whatever, the fact here is, this is a crime and she should’ve gone to the police. WTF is this? And what’s with the guy who just saw her once and decided he wanted to have her? Is he expecting her to give in to him just because he has ‘power’ over her? Who writes this crap?

 

2. Our second female lead Xiao Jing goes drinking with a group of men. One of them slipped some drugs into her drink making her feel sick. Our second male lead Jia Ming decides to take advantage and rapes her.

I honestly don’t care that Jia Ming’s assistant (same guy as No.1 HA!) was the one who drugged Xiao Jing. Jia Ming took advantage of the situation and Xiao Jing was UNCONSCIOUS. I don’t see consent here, so I’m calling it rape.

 

3. As if no. 2 wasn’t bad enough, while in bed, Jia Ming takes photos of them together and uses them to blackmail Xiao Jing.

Yes I call this blackmail. Even when he’s not asking for money. He uses the photos to threaten her to stay with him. I’m sorry, how is anyone expected to feel any sympathy for this guy? CREEP CREEP CREEP. Put him in jail and throw away the key please.

 

4. Arguably the least serious charge out of the 4, Yin Xiu bumps into the guy from No.1 in an elevator and he sexually harassed her.

Of course our heroine kicked his ass but that’s not the point. Point is, Guy No.1 is an important client of Yin Xiu’s workplace. When Yin Xiu tells her boss about it, he acknowledges Guy No.1 was acting inappropriately but because he doesn’t want to lose money, he completely ignores that Yin Xiu was ASSAULTED and demands her to apologise to Guy No.1. Yeah, whatever. I hope this is actually an educational video on what NOT to do in such a situation.

 

It’s not that I care about whether there should be ‘warning’ messages on the side for these scenes. But this appears to be a pattern of the writers not taking these issues seriously. Even worse is that I’m supposed to sympathise with that Jia Ming creep because his parents are forcing him to marry a rich girl he doesn’t like. Boohoo. He keeps telling Xiao Jing she should be with him because he loves her the most, he can give her happiness etc… but he conveniently forgets he has a fiancée, however fake she might be. I’m sorry, I just can’t find any part of him that I like. I look at Jia MIng and I associate it with pervert and creep, oh and criminal. (Liv, please arrest him!!) I have no idea how Xiao Jing can change her mind and be with him later on. This guy has issues. I’ll be lenient on Xiao Jing since she’s the victim here. But if (or when) she forgives him later, that’s just… like wrong.

 

The other stuff that seems minor in comparison

 

Janet’s acting

I’ve seen Janet in a couple of hosting gigs and she always seem so bubbly and easy going. Sadly, that is lost in her acting. Since this drama is her debut, I’m not going to pile on her but she definitely has lots of room for improvement. A lot of it probably has to do with the language barrier. She was born in the US and even though there’s no mention of her character ever living abroad (actually, her character Yin Xiu’s family is quite poor?), she mixes some English phrases in which seem odd. I think her Chinese is worse than Sunny Wang’s when he did In Time with You. The editing doesn’t help either. Maybe it’s because she has to film her lines separately, some camera angles are awkward while she’s still struggling to say the words. She might improve as she gets more comfortable in her character, but I’m not betting on it.

 

The background music

This drama’s opening and ending theme songs are actually quite nice. However, the background music is just terrible. It’s like I have been transported back to the 90s. It is way too melodramatic and more suited to 8pm dramas than an ‘idol’ drama on Sunday night. I don’t usually notice these things but this is so glaringly in your face (or ears!) I just can’t ignore it. It toned down a little in episode 4 so let’s hope it’s a good sign, or maybe I just learnt to deal with it.

 

 

If you hate it so much why are you still watching?

The age old argument – hate is a strong word and I can’t say I hate this drama. I just feel weird about this storyline and thought I’d put this out there. Am I overreacting? Even then, the overall low budget ‘feel’ of this drama and the bad music (especially) makes me want to laugh sometimes. So there’s some entertainment value? Xiu is rather cute here though… but I probably like him more in Dear Mom. Given that I’ll probably follow one or both currently airing HK dramas (Eye in the Sky and Young Charioteers) plus try to catch up on Dear Mom, I might not even have time to keep up with this anyway…

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    DBChen
    March 5, 2015 at 2:12 am

    Thanks for calling out the abuse. We need to keep putting it out there that’s not acceptable, in real life and in our entertainment.

    • Reply
      kat
      March 6, 2015 at 12:23 am

      Thanks for the comment! 🙂

  • Reply
    rowanmdm
    March 5, 2015 at 3:47 am

    I had a lot of the same issues with he show, plus I just don’t find any of the characters compelling, so this has gotten dumped into my “watch highlights only” category.

    • Reply
      kat
      March 6, 2015 at 12:38 am

      Haha yes I’m only really watching for XJK but that’s becoming less of an incentive.

  • Reply
    tiffany
    March 6, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Nice review! I watched this for a few minutes lol and have got to say that Janet’s English was worse than what I was expecting. I’ve seen her host before and I don’t remember her pronunciation being so bad. I agree with you that there’s a lot to be improved with her acting, and unfortunately unlike hosting, her bubbly personality can’t shine through here.

    The sexual harassment in this drama was a good thing to point out – I’ve noticed how in less serious/more comedic dramas, sexual harassment is just played off casually.

    • Reply
      kat
      March 8, 2015 at 3:08 am

      Thanks! You watched a few minutes only? Haha, I understand though. Maybe Janet was too nervous and concentrated too much on learning/saying the lines. She needs to relax!

      Yeah the sexual harrassment really annoyed me, especially when the abuser will end up with the girl later?!?!? (I assume.)

  • Reply
    heisui
    March 14, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I so agree with you and I’m glad you pointed this out. The 2nd male lead is basically an antagonist, not a possible love interest. I wouldn’t want the 2nd female lead to end up with him at all. And how the drama tries to justify his behavior..just..NO.

    Not impressed with the acting but like you said, it doesn’t bother me tooo much because I know the lead actress is still new at acting.

    • Reply
      kat
      March 15, 2015 at 2:10 am

      I KNOWWWW… I just can’t imagine that guy ending up anywhere other than JAIL. But I doubt it’s going to happen.

      At least Janet’s storyline is a lot less frustrating!! LOL.

  • Reply
    carolies541
    March 16, 2015 at 3:15 am

    Haven’t had the interest to check this out and I think your review just solidified my decision. I’m more baffled the fact that Chloe Wang is the second lead and Janet the newbie is the heroine. Chloe Wang is a pretty decent actress, she showed her complex acting skills in Lovestore at the corner and also proves that she can be cute in IUUI. She’s pretty versatile. I’m not too familiar with Janet but I did see her in a few of her hosting gigs and find her accent pretty westernized and that can be distracting. Anyways, the cast and the main couple doesn’t attract me that much so I’m gonna pass on this one.

    • Reply
      kat
      March 16, 2015 at 10:02 pm

      Yeah I think I watched it because I was bored and wasn’t motivated to watch anything else LOL. I guess if we only have 2 actresses to choose from, Chloe can do well in both roles but Janet would only be suited as the main lead, despite her lack of experience! I’m pretty close to dropping this, since there’re other more interesting dramas to watch now!!!

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