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Episodic Thoughts: “Silver Spoon, Sterling Shackles” (Episode 1)

By on October 23, 2012

Episodic Thoughts: “Silver Spoon, Sterling Shackles” (Episode 1) thumbnail

Silver Spoon, Sterling Shackles <名媛望族>
TVB Series 2012

Cast: Damien Lau, Kenneth Ma, Tavia Yeung, Idy Chan, Ron Ng, Rebecca Zhu, JJ Jia, Elena Kong, Mary Hon, Sire Ma, and Vincent Wong.

Disclaimer

This is a watch as I write episodic thoughts and some information may not be accurate since this is memory based. Certain dialogue is reproduced with some creative license adopted. I apologise if there is any mistake. All opinion remains my own.

EPISODE 1

*SPOILERS ALERT*

Note

“The story is ok, will appeal to those who likes this sort of “rich people with rich people’s problem” sort of series.”

I can never remember the English title even when it is staring at my face. So I suppose I should start all my episodic thoughts with how many variations of S.S.S.S I can think of.

Silver Sickle Shackle Shingle

Debut of this series starts with 2 episodes back to back. Kinda a lot to take in since TVB is famous for cramming everything into first 2 episodes, and you can’t decide whether you love it or hate it until perhaps 4th or 5th episode when it settles down from being so overly dramatic to actually developing the storyline.

So far episodes 1 and 2 does not indicate where this series is heading, what is the agenda. Anyway 1st episode and I am having quite a difficult time in identifying who is whose child in the Chung family but that is because I did not read Wiki. If you did not, here goes;

Patriarch of the family is HK’s very first barrister called Arthur Chung Cheuk Man who has NEVER lost a case before. He is also very rich, respectable and gets along with Chinese traders and Westerners. He is also a business owner. He is also a very strict father but a loving husband to all his 3 wives.

Matriach of the family is the first of his 3 wives, Koo Sum Lan who runs the household with an iron fist. She represents the traditional woman, always in dark qi paos. She has 2 children, eldest son Charles and 2nd child is the 3rd child in the family, a girl Ho Yee.

2nd wife was a former gege/Manchurian princess who lived in the forbidden palace, highly respected by outsiders, has great connections, that is Aisin-Goro Yee Yin or Yee Yin Gege. The fact that as a Gege who is so connected, whose father is connected to Emperor Guangxu himself and to have married Cheuk Man as 2nd wife means;

a. Cheuk Man is very rich
b. she loves him very much
c. he must have pursued her intently.

From the get go we see Cheuk Man professing to her that he loved her the most. She has no children. she represents the elegant stylish high class woman and from her looks, wears light make up and light coloured dresses.

The third wife is Yik Yi Fong represents the modern woman, wearing modern western clothing but with very heavy make up, as if she is trying to disguise herself to be higher class than she really is.She is the one between 1st wife and 2nd wife whenever they argue and is smart enough to get along well with everyone but deep down she is a very calculative jealous woman. Will soon be a trouble maker I tell you. She has 2 young children, one boy Kai Hei and girl (played by cutest little girl in TVB now), Ho Ching.

Then there’s another son that confused me since he did not call all 3 moms as his mother and he is the joker of the family who provides the laughter played by Vincent Wong whose name I did not get. You will know who he is in 2nd episode only and not to spoil your fun, I won’t reveal it here.

They siblings get along well with one another. Charles is also a barrister who works for his father. All wives seem to get along well with Arthur being the stern patriarch who makes an effort to be nice to all 3 wives, and I suspect why they all love him so is because secretly he must have told each one that he loved that one the most. That sort of man who knows what to say at the right place at the right time. Charles is not married and is more inexperienced or rather more eager to right the wrongs whilst daddy is more of a man with connection. They’re westernised in thinking. All children respects the father and is somewhat terrified of him because he is a disciplinarian. And he scolds them in English which counts for something.

And before I began recap proper, let me just say Damian Lau speaks proper English. You can see he is good already, with HK accent but he makes an effort to minimise that HK effort and you hear a lot of English being spoken, because that is to emphasise his education. And you know right away he is ok when he said Charles like as it should be said. And so Charles also speaks English and let;’s just say Kenneth Ma’s English is not the worst but for me it is not the accent but the pronunciation is off, however he makes an effort and so I applaud him. Obviously Damian speaks better English than Kenneth. The only other one speaking some English is Vincent but so far just one short sentence so no comment. I can understand why Kenneth got the role; can you imagine Ron as Charles speaking English?

Ok recap!

It is 1920 in HK. Everything I said above is about half of episode 1. So let’s zoom to contents proper, where we see Charles dissing a man named Tung Ting Hang, a traditional Chinese man who happens to be the chairman of the HK Chamber of Commerce and this Tung has a reputation; he is a greedy merchant, he is an abusive master to his maids and Charles is gathering support to oppose Tung’s maltreatment of his servants, but Arthur does not approve of his son meddling into this as he says to his son (some in English) that Charles is too meddlesome in other people’s problems. So basically we see Arthur as someone who self perseveres for his own interest whilst Charles is more genuine in helping others. So Charles kept quiet.

Meanwhile HK is having rice crisis. The greedy merchants led by Tung wants to raise prices but the Governor or someone of high ranking wants Arthur to help to persuade the Chamber of Commerce not to do so. So he went to their meeting and lo and behold Tung hates him and refuses and insults him as the lackey for the westerners whilst Arthur warns everyone the consequences; not only do Chinese merchants look bad for not helping own people, there will be chaos and ultimately riot and theft and whatnots. He lets them think about it but Tung merely sneers. So the problem with rice shortage and prices remains.

Pause.

Here is one of the worst scene of this episode because of the huge room, huge table and how Damian had to walk left, right, left, right, pacing up and down as if he is very menacing and yet all I can hear is the sounds of his heels which is distracting and the way he paced the room was to me counter productive. The entire scene just in the end looked silly. It would have been better if he sat down and smoked a cigar as he delivered his monologue which is supposed to strike fear into their hearts and he did sit down, and I do hope you counted because 1…2…3 and he stood up and left. What a bothersome scene if you know what I mean.

Anyway, Arthur wants to organise a huge birthday party for 2nd wife, Yee Yin and he is using this opportunity to invite some majorly big gun people, like former ministers under the Qing empire and now some big guns politicians who will attend for the sake of Yee Yin. Yee Yin understands Arthur’s reasons and she doesn’t mind. 3rd wife minds it very much, becomes rather jealous until the nameless son whose name I shall try to catch in episode 3 and so for now just call him Vincent (as he is played by Vincent Wong) sorta giave his theory on what is happening and 3rd wife laughs and says “Imagine your own birthday party made into some huge show, if I were her, I’d rather not have such a birthday party” and happily she walks away.

Charles goes to Shanghai and met with the most famous (Wiki says) Daomadan of Peking Opera of the time, Choi Fung Wong. And here very first scene we see Tavia in full opera make up.

Pause.

I don’t care if you call me anti Tavia because I am not. Very first scene in full make up and the first thing the person next to me said was “WOW! HER NOSE IS HUGE!!”. Come to think of it, it was huge, more so the make up emphasizes her nose. It is again becoming distracting. And the 2nd thing this person said was “She does look like a male opera singer” which again is true. I can never understand why Tavia chooses to downgrade herself that way. So let’s make several facts clear; her nose is huge, her nose tip is round and huge, her nose side profile is long, high and huge, it is like half the length of her face and her nose is distracting. In every episodic thought of mine I shall silently repeat these few facts, but for the sake of enjoying her performance whilst ignoring her Gerard Depardieu nose, except way way sharper, I shall say this; let’s just move on from her nose. It will always be there, forever and ever.

Continue.

Charles wants to invite her to perform in HK, she hesitates until he asks “How much?” and she says “$3000″ which is a huge sum. He looks ok with that and she adds “With conditions. You will bear all costs of my entourage, I will no accept any interview, there will be no publicity, if not I will leave immediately” and he smiles and seems ok with the conditions and she says “Fine, I will think about it”.

Turns out she may be no. 1 daomadan whatever, her troupe is not rich. I am very curious about this fact though. Seem rather poor in fact. Her master (and his missus) seem desperate for the money and they left an injured female (again did not catch her name but I suppose her si-mui) to advise her as she says “I know you do not like going back to HK, for whatever reason you have been avoiding going back to HK all these years but with this sum, it helps us a lot” and indeed will help for the next 6 months and Taukeh Choi (as Charles calls her by her professional name) hesitates as si-mui continues “Moreover you can pay respect to your parents’ at their graves”

Pause.

But why? Why not HK? We shall know… soon enough.

Continue.

Charles at the hotel looking over the birthday preparations and then Taukeh Choi appears, wearing extravagant clothes looking like a woman of modern times back in those days and Charles looks stunned to see her. She smiles and coyly asks “Do I look so different when I am not wearing my full make up?” and he gathers his wit and says “No, no, just that… never mind..I mean.. you look very familiar, like someone I once knew” (and here I groan oh no, not that sort of plot again!!) as Choi says “Then you must have remembered wrongly since I have never been to HK before” and Taukeh Choi looks at him curiously as he continues to stare at her, a bit too intently.

Pause.

Why is every woman in this series wearing so much make up?! Choi’s so called less make up or modern make up is like 3 inches of powder. Tavia looks somewhat awful. I know Idy Chan wears a lot of make up as the 2nd wife but hers is more understated make up and even Tavia’s make up looks 1 inch thicker than Idy Chan! Why?!

Continue.

Charles recovers and takes Choi to see the ballroom and the stage and it is huge. He leaves her alone and she takes off her coat and starts practicing, which to me at first feels more like ballet but seriously she was doing some Peking Opera moves, badly. That is not Tavia’s strong point, her strong point comes in episode 2.

Anyway in the room Choi is happy to see char siew pau which she hasn’t had any since leaving HK. Then her maid says something and Choi then is upset her opera costume’s has a small hole through the embroidery when they heard a fiasco at the corridor.

We see a man bullying a young girl in the hotel, shouting “YOU STOLE THE WATCH DIDN’T YOU? I WILL REPORT THIS THEFT TO THE POLICE, LET THEM ARREST YOU!” and poor girl was dragged along the corridor as she cried and pleaded “Please believe me, I didn’t! I didn’t! Please!!” as she cried very hard, dragged roughly and Choi sees everything and shouts for him to stop and says “Is this how a gentleman treats a lady?” and the bully, a hotel manager stutters “Madam, she is a thief! She stole a customer’s watch!” and the girls cries “No no I didn’t! I swear!!” and Choi says “Do you have any proof? No? On what basis you said she is the thief? Look at her arms, look at her skinny frame. She looks hungry and she will sooner steal a char siew pau than to steal a watch” and someone runs up and says “Manager, the customer found the watch, in his own pocket” and manager stutters “Oh if that is the case errmmmm ok, let this end here” and rushes off. Girl cries and thanks Choi gratefully and we know her as Kwai Siu Yau.

Pause.

Kwai Siu Yau is Rebecca Zhu, first time acting from what I read and she really really looks like a younger version of Fala Chen! Seriously! So Fala was sick eh? Or as rumours said, she didn’t want to be second fiddle to Tavia. BUT I asked the person next to me “Then she is willing to be 2nd fiddle to Liu Shi Shi in Da Mo Yao?” and the person next to me wisely says “Mainland China production, money talks ma!”. I am humbled by this amazing all consuming revelation. A pity though. The role does suit Fala very much. Reminds me of No Regrets sort of character, hopefully less annoying, not dying of some heart disease that running 10 blocks did not kill her.

Continue.

Siu Yau is grateful to Choi who gave her the paus and then she finds out Choi has been looking for someone to fix the hole in the costume. Later when Choi comes back into her room she finds her hotel room ajar and there is Siu Yau, having fixed the hole and does it well. If Siu Yau expects thanks, she is in for a shock as Choi sternly says;

“I know you are that type of want to repay kindness, and you’re a grateful person, a kind person. But the world does not work that way. When I helped you, I was just merely voicing an opinion, I did not expect any gratefulness in return, all I did was just saying something to assist another in distress. Being helpful is a good thing, but being too helpful is not. By doing what you did, you have revealed to others your good heart which can be detrimental to you because bad people knows now how to make use of that good heart of yours. Don’t be so naive, wise up, protect yourself and next time, you don’t need to go to such lengths to repay any kindness when no one expects it. Understand?” and Siu Yau somewhat surprised by this says “Yes” and goes away.

Pause.
When we see Choi when Charles first met her, she looks stern, cold, and I suppose she is protecting herself. At her house with her fellow si-muis, she seems mellowed down, more gentle in the way she speaks, a totally different person. She has to be strong in public, but her real self is someone who is gentle and helpful. Deep down she is a good person, if not she wouldn’t have helped Siu Yau. Siu Yau may be more like Choi deep down but on the surface, Choi is Taukeh Choi, the tough girl. She also gave Siu Yau good advice since Siu Yau seems vulnerable by being too helpful.

Continue.

Small scene of Siu Yau going to a shop looking for a guy named Kam Muk Sui but he is nowhere to be found.

Arthur is having a small private celebration with 2nd wife, Yee Yin and he certainly favours her since he finds some royal imperial chef that Yee Yin recognises to cook for her. She is very happy, unfortunately in comes the drunkard Tung who pushe and bullies his own wife that Yee Yin couldn’t help but said “Mr Tung, you will do well to treat your wife with a bit more respect”. Imagine he treats his wife that way, more so his servants. Anyway Tung sneers “I see you are having celebration with that gege from the past! Come on! We haven’t been under Qing imperial rule since decades ago! Move on, rather than sticking to that glorified past of yours with that former gege!!” and mind you no English can translate the sneer effect of the Chinese words used. Basically he insulted Yee Yin and Arthur angrily says “I expect you to apologise to my wife now!” and Tung sneers even more “You, working for those westerners! You’re like a banana, yellow skin on the outside, all white on the inside! Are you ever been one of us? Rather than selling your soul to the westerners, be Chinese!! Your betrayal of your own people in that rice issue! Disgusting!” and Arthur angrily said “It is because of greedy merchants such as yourself monopolising, speculating on the prices that our people suffers! Have you ever spared a thought for the hungry ordinary folks?!” and Tung says “Well I AM CHAIRMAN of the Chamber of Commerce! I can make any decision I want!” and Arthur raising his voice said “You think you’re the only one who can be Chairman? I will contest that seat!!” and Tung says “We shall see if you can ever win!!” and his wife drags her husband away and Arthur looks at Yee Yin and says gently “I am sorry if he ruins your appetite” and Yee Yin smiles with understanding.

Birthday party, other merchants are invited when they are shocked to see some huge guns at the party, especially a Lord Kwan who is very powerful and who can help with the rice crisis I think. I didn’t get that part. Anyway he is godfather to Yee Yin and some former ministers of the Qing Dynasty and still has huge influence on current government so to speak. Basically Yee Yin is the ultimate socialite.

Opera time, and we see Choi performing, and before I can pinpoint any weaknesses, Tung marches in with the police I think, and shouted to Choi “Stop the show! Stop the show!” and Arthur sits there just smiling as Charles walks forward and asks “Master Tung, this is my 2nd mother’s birthday party. To what do we own the pleasure of your presence?” and Tung says “I am here to have someone arrested…” and Charles says “Who will that be?” and he looks at Choi who looks shocked at Tung as he sneers with a vengeance “I am here to arrest her, Hong Chi Kwan, my runaway maid!” and Choi shouts “I am not Hong Chi Kwan! I am Choi Fung Wong!” as Charles looks at her, with some recognition on his face as he asks Tung “And your evidence?” and Tung waves a paper and says “This is the service contract which Hong Chi Kwan signed. Hong Chi Kwan, do you think I can’t recognise you?” as Choi says “I am Choi Fung Wong!!” as Tung says “Arrest her and take her to Man Mo temple and see if she dares to deny her true identity!!” as Charles looks at Choi who whispers but loud enough for him to hear “Mr Potato Sir, please help me!” and Charles finally recognised her as they stared at each other intently.

What happens next? Next episode!!

So far, 1st episode’s story is interesting in so far as dramatic but I don’t the direction of this series, just yet. I just hope Damian doesn’t die too soon or the series will crash. I have no problem with the acting, everyone is between decent to very good.

For example, Damian Lau the centrepiece of this series. He gives a wonderful performance except for the silly pacing he did in that meeting room scene. What a long cumbersome scene. He speaks a lot of English and he speaks very very convincingly although he falters sometimes, you know this man either knows his English or understand the meaning of practising so as to give a good performance in that regard. He is also quite flirtatious with his 3 wives, careful with the 1st, gentle with the 2nd, probably rather passionate with the 3rd. We see all these aspects in Damian’s performance and so I have no complaints whatsoever. He looks good also for his age.

Idy Chan’s return out of retirement? She actually looks better now than she did many years ago! Of course she is older, but there is a certain elegance to her that fits the role. However the acting part is not so good. The person next to me says “She has never been that good anyway” which may be true I suppose. Let’s just say her performance thus far requires her to smile and be understanding, hardly a stretch. BUT the ability to portray a gege aura so to speak, someone of nobility takes a lot more inborn effort and again the person sitting next to me has the answer; “Come on! She was Siu Lung Lui!” which again is very true.

Elena Kong did fantastic in her role as the sneering arrogant woman pretending to be nice to all but deep down is a jealous wife. Her make up is scary but fits her part, like the makeup is compensating for her lack of class as opposed to Yee Yin, the one with the inborn classiness.

Mary Hon is Mary Hon.

Sire Ma very little role, hardly noticed her, and amazing she is being pushed back to secondary role.

Vincent Wong to me is sort of miscast. I don’t see him as the playful funny younger brother, I kept seeing Him Law in L’escargot. In a way I feel perhaps Vincent would be better off as Charles.

Tavia Yeung… I may complain about her nose, her make up, her looks, her age, her skinny frame, everything but if the focus is not on her she does very very well. She is after all a competent actress and if given the right role she shines. In here she is not convincing as some daomadan or Peking Opera expert but she is convincing as a woman having to be tough in front of others when deep down she is vulnerable.

Kenneth Ma speaks bad English in so far as pronunciation. One scene wrong English because he had to speak fast, not sure this or 2nd episode. He converses a lot of English since Arthur speaks English to his son which is believable considering their background. He looks handsome, tall, well built but the hair, can’t they just gel his hair back instead of creating some twirl? He looks silly with that. His skin is terrible, must be the pressure but I like the fact that he is one those few TVB actors who looks like he had a good lunch. We all know Vincent Wong has a killer body and he is probably an inch or 2 taller than Kenneth, from my perspective but somehow next to Kenneth he looks tiny. Kenneth has the matinee idol built but yes, his age is a hindrance. But again why won’t TVB cast him in some modern day chaebol drama?! He has the looks, he wears suit well!! Performance wise, not much I can comment on. I think he has toned down his pouty lips, that puppy dog looks, which to me is great news. So far, so good.

And now the new girl on the block, the Fala Chen lookalike, Rebecca Zhu. She does not have the toned down elegance of Fala Chen but what she has is youth. She looks pretty, not amazingly beautiful but with a face good enough for TV. Not so beautiful to hinder her progress as an actress and not so ugly. Shehas a moldable face and I do think with a moldable face, the danger is no one can recognise a moldable face, most of the time. But not in some cases where there is charisma, a bit of talent and a whole lot of a moldable face that is never the same face but not a forgettable face. That is Rebecca Zhu to me. I have issues with her performance but no in episode 1. She seems eager, she plays the naive kind Siu Yau well, she looks tiny next to the guys so that helps a lot in a lot more ways than anyone care to mention, and she looks girly which is good. She is also fresh which is also very good. She does her crying and begging scene well but so far the drama in her performance is some dramatic scene. We have yet to come to a truly dramatic moment so it is hard to say if my feeling of somewhat liking her will remain. But so far, so good. However she will do well to speak her lines louder and clearer. She was mumbling in some scenes (probably episode 2), her Cantonese is ok but sometimes a bit off but seriously, she speaks too softly, that is the major issue. When she cries, again she tends to speak not very clearly. This of course takes practice.

Like I said, performance wise, ok no problem.

Set wise, beautiful. Where they filmed this? Streets look amazing! Costume ok, negligible because I think the suits and ties are a bit too modern for 1920. Fur looks fake but at least looks new. A lot of attention to the sets actually.

The story is ok, will appeal to those who likes this sort of “rich people with rich people’s problem” sort of series. I suspect the perfection we see now will unravel later on. All these is a facade, an illusion.

However the worst part is the editing.

This episode feels like it jumps from one scene to the other. The editing nearly spoilt my viewing pleasure, like how one scene 1st wife, Mary Hon walking down the stairs about to twist her ankle, suddenly skip to next scene, her outer coat I believe is missing and she is already sitting on the stairs and Damian walking towards her to hold her. It was like 0.1 second skipped but still feel disjointed. Many scene felt like that. One of the worst editing ever this year.

The soundtrack is terrible. The themesong is terrible, but the background music is worst. Again feels disjointed, stops suddenly, changes tune suddenly, too loud, too distracting.

Overall a good 1st episode but let down by the music, the editing and the feeling that this series does not have a direction planned out, yet.

However I do not feel the amount of English spoken and spoken well is snobbery. Again I applaud Damian Lau’s effort and if he had something to do with the rewriting of the script, I suppose the 1st episode must have sucked big time.

Episode 2 is of course more dramatic and fans of Ron Ng, he appears in Episode 2.

P/S I know the title is Silver Spoon (very rich people), Sterling Shackles (extra strong bond, not family bond but cuff?).

This Episodic Thoughts was written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at http://silverspoonsterlingschackles.blogspot.com

JayneStars Media LLC reserves all copyrights. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. By using the JayneStars website, you accept and agree to our Terms and Conditions of Use.

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  • Readers' Comments (119)

    1. KenMa says:

      Completely agree with everything you said.

      I expected Kenneth to speak much better English because he was educated in Canada. It’s a pretty big disappointment!

      Damien Lau is an amazing actor!

      • Bobbie says:

        Didn’t know Kenneth was educated in canada but agree his english is poor. The bad pronouciation kind of ruin’s his acting here.

        • Gar says:

          His English pronounciation is still better than Ron’s hands down.

        • Fox says:

          Well Ron’s “my favourite” is epic. But Ron hasn’t finished his high school time so can understand that he isn’t familiar with English. But MM did a BA in Vancouver so ppl have higher expectation on him.

        • skinnymocha says:

          Just out of interest, some of the older generation seem to have better English (i.e. vocabulary and accent), despite having been born and bred in HK/China. Take Chow Yun Fat or Tony Leung, for example; their English sounds far better than some of those who have studied overseas. Does anyone know why that is?

        • Nicole says:

          Both Ron and Ma Ming are equally bad. Shame on Ma Ming.
          As for Ron, we can excuse his English because he’s a dunce.

        • HeTieShou says:

          @Skinnymocha,
          I have studied language acquisition and it really depends on each individual as far as how good their English or any language for that matter. You can be in the environment like Kenneth for example and not learn much, but you can be like Tony leung who was not in an English speaking environment but still manage to learn it better… It depends on each person’s motivation level, their efforts and many other factors that would get too complicated to explain here. Some are just naturally better than others when it comes to pronunciation. That’s when it comes back to when they were first exposed to the language too… That is also complicated as well… But if you want to learn more, you can always look up info about Second language acquisition and you will have plenty to read about…

        • Bobbie says:

          i just thought as Kenneth’s character is meant to be educated in UK then the producers should have taken the actor’s abilities when casting. In this case I think Kenneth Ma is the wrong actor, he may have the acting down but when he open his mouth and it don’t match…
          I remember ron also had bad pronouciation in TITS1 which is probably why he don’t need to speak english in this role? :P

      • bells says:

        Kenneth’s engrish lol

    2. Jo says:

      Good write up Funn. But I have a strong dislike for the background music. It is the same one as Bottled Passion. I keep expecting Tung Pun Sin to turn up!! For an anniversary show at least invest in some new background music. But I guess this is TVB for you. Btw, agree on Tavia’s nose. It is distracting but thought she is doing ok acting wise ( so far).

      • Veejay says:

        I’m okay with that nose so far atleast.. but if the angle shows her side nose..then I will say something! lol.

        When TY and Rebecca were standing together, it makes Reb very huge lol..

        and of coz, very well write up again from Funn :) very captivating write up, make me wanna read more still. And I really like Damien’s acting there, he has potential to become a good casanova and KM looks good too.

    3. sure-lee says:

      One thing I have to add. The Shanghainese in this drama is absolutely horrible. They should just not speak it, or learn it properly (or slightly better). I couldn’t even tell it was Shanghainese, and it seems like they never bothered trying to pronounce it in the first place :P Compared to the rest, Tavia has the most accurate Shanghainese in the series.

    4. Jo says:

      This is our real Funn!!

    5. Funn Lim says:

      Does anyone know if the HK streets is superimposed, or real? And if real where was it filmed? Don’t tell me Hengdian again?

      • sure-lee says:

        They filmed the HK streets in TVB city, the same place they filmed No Regrets, etc. They have those special filming streets for different eras. The scenes in Shanghai were actually filmed in Shanghai at a filming location as well.

        • Funn Lim says:

          Some scenes in Ep 3 for example with those tall old buildings I kinda suspect it is Shanghai at some studio. Because I never seen them in any TVB series before. They do look authentic but more Shanghai than HK. Thanks for the info.

      • sure-lee says:

        Btw, I admire how you manage to write these super long episodic reviews. I would never find the motivaion or time for thatt ;)

        • Funn Lim says:

          And thank you. My motivation is for me to say what I wanna say and for readers to have an insight into any episodes they may have watched, or haven’t or will not. It is not as long as those k-dramas recap though, and certainly not as faithful. I did leave out quite a few stuff.

    6. Trung says:

      I watched Catch Me Now in 2008. Fairly, Idy Chan acting was OK. I am sure that her acting in SSSS will be very good.

    7. hello says:

      wow not sure if i should even bother to read this yet since i haven’t started watching the show yet n u got a whole paragraph for TYs nose…

      i like how this is now named ‘episodic thoughts’ and not ‘review OR summary of eps 1 SSSS’ can easily skip this page..

      • Funn Lim says:

        Her nose is a problem. Deal with it. Her nose is here to stay. Deal with it. You can basically skip every article in this site or most reviews in any other site. They will talk about her nose. A pity because I do have nice thing to say about her, despite her nose.

      • gold4canada says:

        Funn isn’t the only one to talk about her nose. There’s a news article saying how audience neglect watching the series because they’re too distracted by her nose.

        “忽略《名媛望族》劇情 觀眾掛住睇楊怡「木偶鼻」”

        • Josie says:

          Every time they show a side view of her nose, I get creeped out.

        • Gar says:

          The front view of her nose isn’t that bad but when there’s a side view of it….that’s when it clearly shows how unnatural it is.

      • Bridget says:

        The fact that reporters even ask her co-stars about her nose demonstrates how ridiculous and distracting it is. The media asked Alex Fong (her co-star in A Great Way to Care II) whether “Tavia’s Pinocchio nose scared him” during filming. It’s a problem and until it goes away or the PS is “reversed”, or unless she manages to act without her face.

        • Liset says:

          Can’t tell if serious. These Hong Kong reporters ask all kinds of things, including nonsense like whether Eliza Sam is a virgin. Doesn’t mean it’s actually relevant to her acting or that “it’s a problem”.

    8. lol says:

      people i know that ma ming english is bad in the series but maybe this is the way hes english is meant to be in the series we dont know

      • HeTieShou says:

        I am shocked that Kenneth’s English is bad because didn’t he study in Canada for several years?? Or did he do that on purpose since it is the character that has bad English and not him??

        • Nicole says:

          Why would the character have bad english? He is a lawyer after all.

        • Nicole says:

          wait.. another “lol” magically appeared. LOL

        • lol says:

          i dont know maybe to make damien role stand out more who knows and its just acting

        • fez says:

          kenneth’s engrish is bad. i think he only attended college in Canada so isn’t technically ‘brought up’ in Canada. there’s many international students attending school overseas but still speak and act like a fob.

          and he could be hanging around other fobby honkie asians in college and speak chinese so that’s why his english is poor.

        • fez says:

          excuses. its not on purpose. his engrish is bad so its bad. no need to make up excuses to make urself feel better.

        • Veejay says:

          but Fez, KM’s ‘engrishh” is worse than a F.O.B. Even a fob can speak better engrish than KM, he didnt seem to practice or use english that often in Hk.

        • Fox says:

          Maybe we should blame the director to choose MM to this role and let him speak English while his English is terrible. Guess they should cast Jason Chan in it to have brilliant English

      • Funn Lim says:

        Can’t be for that reason. I suppose he came back from England, probably even studied there and stayed there since they’re so westernised so technically they should even speak with an English accent.

        I haven’t heard Kenneth speak long sentences like Kate Tsui in her interviews but I must admit whatever American accent Kate tries to put on (with her Rs) she is able to converse fluently. Wait till kenneth is tested that way, even if he has a HK accent it doesn’t matter. In this series,it does matter.

    9. lol says:

      but ive never been much of a fan of ron acting but hes acting has been great so far

    10. Clementine says:

      I cannot stand Tavia’s crying..gasping for air..

    11. Lolly says:

      Funn, well written. Glad to read that I am not alone re Damien, MM, and Rebecca. I must say MM’s poor English is the most disappointing. Having said that I should have guess that his English pronunciation is poor based on Hippocratic crush.

      I am, however, ok Tavia’s nose and was not distracted. Each to it’s own, I will not deal with it if I have no problem.

      • Lolly says:

        Sorry accidentally posted. I think Funn is right, Tavia gave a good convincing performance for this role. One criticism is she is not entirely convincing as a daomatan when she performs the big scene on stage, despite her training before the shoot.

        • Funn Lim says:

          She did trained? How long?

        • Lolly says:

          Funn, I think it was a short training, a week. TVB no so generous with pre-production preparation!

        • Puff says:

          @lolly, TY really trained? When? She did well with no background in Peking opera!!!

        • fez says:

          no not even a week. on the spot training and all the peking opera scenes were filmed in ONE DAY. so yes i think she did well seeing she has no experience or background in peking opera. + she was sickened with flu and fever, but still did her part.

          and as for her daomatan makeup. have a look at myolie’s daomatan makeup recently (link below). totally can’t recognise her and she looked like a fat man. maybe her features aint that nice. so sometimes having a pinnochio nose is quite useful. stands out. better than having a flat nose esp with all that white makeup aye. http://imgbbs.ph.126.net/gY8qPFT5engMD56TVmxI6g==/6598224253865287678.jpg

        • Funn Lim says:

          Can’t see the image

        • Kidd says:

          “so sometimes having a pinnochio nose is quite useful. stands out. better than having a flat nose esp with all that white makeup aye.”

          She didn’t have a flat nose before either. Her original nose is already high enough and need no enhancement. No need to have pinnochio nose in this make up to stand out.

        • Nicole says:

          Isn’t it funny how some tavia fans keep complaining about tavia being dragged into topics to be bashed, but they themselves do the same to others. Eg. Myolie above, to bash her and say she looks like a fat man?
          Pleaseeeeeeeeee tavia fans, don’t be so hypocrite.

        • HeTieShou says:

          I liked Tavia’s original nose too. She should have just kept it as is instead of do all of these things to it and now it ends up like this….

        • fez says:

          @Nicole: don’t be a hypocrite either. lol if some ppl do it, why can’t other ppl do it? what goes around, comes around. so you call me a hypocrite, i call you a hypocrite. so what?

          IMO – which stands for IN MY OPINION (because everyone here is entitled to their opinion) – Myolie does look crappy and like a fat man when dressed as a daomatan. Whether you accept that or not, that’s not my problem. And FYI, unlike some ppl, i don’t go posting this same OPINION of mine in every single article, repeating myself over and over again. So who’s the one who’s bashing…. so close ur eyes and don’t read this if you don’t want to read it. HYPOCRITE.

        • Nicole says:

          Did I say you can’t drag Myolie in? Nope. I actually don’t mind at all. I’m talking about how it’s funny some say they can’t drag tavia in, but they continue to do so for other actress? How about treating everyone equally? If tavia fans enjoy dragging others into unrelated topics to bash them, then don’t say other commenters are always bashing tavia in unrelated topics? Because EVERYONE DOES THAT, including tavia fans. It’s something unavoidable. We do it to ALL actresses. Stop acting like tavia is untouchable.

        • Nicole says:

          Do note that SOME tavia fans are the ones who say others can’t drag tavia into unrelated topics, AND those are the ones i’m calling hypocrite because EVERYONE DOES THAT, including tavia fans. If you are one of those, then yes, you are hypocrite, but if you aren’t then why are you naming yourself as one?

        • exoidus says:

          Is that even Myolie? If so she does look like a fat man.

          The untouchables: TY & LF

          Say something bad abt LF and you gets drown accused of being in love with him, while his sane fans drags innocent artists in.

        • Nicole says:

          @Exoidus
          OMG you hater!!!!!!!

        • Gar says:

          Okay, no need to drag LF into this…..lol.

        • Nicole says:

          Exoidus: Stop laughing! If I have to call you a hater whenever you say something bad, you will end up being a myolie-tavia-raymond-kate-a long list of people here except ruco and linda-HATER!
          This is what will happen if everyone behave the way TY fans do, and call people who criticise their idol “haters”.

        • Fox says:

          LMAO~ @exoidus. Unless you are truly in love with him secretly, you won’t drag my sarcasm last time to all the topic like this. Your little secret is revealed and you feel unsecured? Haha. I expected more from you. You disappointed me a bit.

          Alrite, if you like, I’ll call you a hater for your good sake.

        • Fox says:

          @Nicole: In fact, Exoidus is the No.1 hater of Linda and Ruco =)) because s/he only wants ppl to point Linda and Ruco.

        • Nicole says:

          If exoidus is ruco and linda hater then fox must be tavia fan :P

        • exoidus says:

          @Nicole, nah I don’t mind being called a hater. It depends on what ppl are criticising abt. Sure I will defend the artists I like if the criticism is unreasonable. But it comes to subjective issues I won’t bother.

          Fox, yeah right if im in love with LF, then you must be in love with Linda, LOL

        • Fox says:

          @Exoidus: Can’t blv that we rarely have the same actions/mind like this :P, I’m referring to the defense to unreasonable criticism.

          And yup, I like Linda :D. I have never hated her :D. You are absolutely right about this. So you admit that you are LF fan, ok well.

          @Nicole: We are all haters :D. I think Exoidus loves to be called hater so I call him/her to make him/her happy. I’m nice :D.

        • Nicole says:

          but some people have funny idea of what’s unreasonable criticism :P

          i’m no hater! hating takes too much energy :P I only mock.

        • Fox says:

          Mocking is also one of my favourite hobbies.

    12. exoidus says:

      TVB bought a large quantity of cosmetics abt to expire at a discount, that’s why every artists have to wear 3 inch make-up, LOL.

      For a newbie Rebecca is not bad, but her voice is very annoying and sounds fake. Fala is much much prettier no comparison.

      • Veejay says:

        Maybe its just me, Rebecca’s hairstyle in there make her face even roundier and chubby. When she was talking to TY there, her body size was like double of TY’s..

        I thought only Elena’s makeup looks thick there? LOL TY’s makeup look same to me, thick like usual..lol

      • Funn Lim says:

        Even Damien (or damian??) wears thick makeup to hide his age. But rebecca is young looking and next to her, except for Sire Ma, everyone looks like auntie. Kenneth Ma I am not sure what age he is playing but to me he is a bit too old to be naive and all that. Maybe a younger actor would be better.

        • clamine says:

          Just saw MM’s face in HD screencaps. Woah, his thick, clayey make-up couldn’t cover up his bad skin. HD is truly a curse for actors.

        • HeTieShou says:

          I guess those with really thick make up and bad skin miss the old days when HD did not exist yet.

      • HeTieShou says:

        As always, you always have to crack me up Exiodus!! I think TVB did buy lots of make up at a discount and they are about to expire so they must use them all up or else it would be a big waste. Aren’t things in HK really expensive?? I bet the brand name make up is extremely expensive.

        • exoidus says:

          Nah, it wouldn’t be wasted since TVB will use any means necessary to use up all the expired cosmetics even though it will be bad for the artists skin. Perhaps mix water into it, LOL.

          Depends which country(ies) you compare it to. R&D cost alot of money still the price they charge for their products are outrageous. Easy to make money from women :)

    13. EL says:

      Put aside the makeup, this drama so far doesnt disappoint. Clearly, a well-written and produced drama.

      • Lolly says:

        Yes, apparently Damien/ Damian, helped with the script. Pretty good so far. Just watched Ep3, Elena’s sexy dance scene is laughable! Tavia’s crying or gasping scene was a bit over the top. Otherwise, it’s good.

      • gold4canada says:

        really? it doesn’t seem all that different from previous family feud dramas. right now we’re in the all is good stage. someone will come in and then chaos breaks out. how is this gonna be any different?

    14. yxm says:

      I expected Kenneth to speak better english, considering he did spend at least a few years studying in Canada… unless, he hung around with other international students with just as poor english lol. But i commend him on speaking his english lines loudly, just as loud as his chinese lines. Compared to Damian who spoke english very softly & slurred (could hardly hear what he was saying). AND omg Damian’s face! I don’t know if it was required for the role, but his smirk makes him look like such a pervert! Whereas, Kenneth actually looks proper and not perverty at all in this series.

      • Funn Lim says:

        I think that was the intention; in a way Arthur is a lusty old man. Disagree on the English though. I think he speaks loud enough.

      • clamine says:

        I thought Damian speaks his English lines loudly and fluently. I’ve no problem listening to him.

        But yeah, I had expected Kenneth’s English to be better, at least better than Damian’s but that wasn’t the case.

        It is not uncommon for foreign students to breeze through US uni without much contact with the locals (they tend to stick with their own kind) or speak much English, especially if they were commuter students so did not even live in the on-campus dormitory for the 1st year.

      • Gar says:

        I had no problems with Damian’s English as I totally understood each word without even reading the subtitles. I think he did a really good job with his acting and delivery of his lines.

        • Daisy says:

          Does Damien have like some background with English? Whether he studied in Canada or America or something? Cause his English is pretty good!

        • clamine says:

          Daisy: Read that both Damian and Shek Sau attended high school at the prestigious, top-notch St. Joseph’s College HK, which is an English medium high school. That’s why their English is good. And both have attended university overseas. Just hearsay from HKD.

          And from baidu wiki: Damian so loved movies that he went to the US to study movie filming. 促使他到美国留学修读电影

          That’s why Damian is such a great actor.

      • EL says:

        Going back then in the 30′s, even if you’re studying overseas doesnt mean you’re going to have terrific english. As long as it is understandable, it’s alright.

    15. Gar says:

      Once again a very well written piece on the first episode and although I have only watched half of it, I was able to catch up on the rest of the episode simply by reading this. A very good job Funn!

      I totally agree with you on the editing as I totally noticed the part where Mary Hon was about to slip on the stairs and there was a pause and immediately thereafter she had already fallen and was on the stairs assisted by Damian. It totally did not flow and I found it disruptive and unusual that the editing department would allow for such a flaw to go undetected unless it was intentional, say for a commercial break?

      As for the theme song, I actually liked it . The girl’s voice sounds familiar, does anyone know who sings it?

    16. bee7 says:

      Are you watching it on Astro? I believe some scenes are cut and that’s why they are jumping from one to the next. I have watched the HK version online. Even during the part where TY visited Damian’s office, a part of their conservation (which is my favourite scene) is not shown on AOD.

      • Tegan says:

        Wait wait, Astro cuts scenes? Do they do this because of running time or because of objectionable content?

        • bee7 says:

          I have no idea why they do that but there is nothing provocative about that scene. It’s just that Damian’s face was really close to TY’s face and, if my memory serves me right, he said she looked much beautiful with the light make up that she was wearing, and he asked could she not be THAT beautiful for his sake. It was really funny..

      • Funn Lim says:

        bee7, which part of the dialogue? The editing is jumpy but I don’t believe any scene was cut because the conversation was flowing. And that scene I believe is in that scene.

        • bee7 says:

          Hmm..Before he was seen sitting on his sofa he went near to her saying he doesn’t want her to repay him with money. This is the screencap: http://www.imagebam.com/image/c75bce216803328

          Maybe I missed it on AOD but I honestly don’t remember seeing though

        • Funn Lim says:

          This part is there but there was a slight 0.01 second jump where you hear him speaking but Damian was in the act of bending down and his mouth wasn’t moving and then he walked to the sofa and sat down. That was the bad editing I was talking about. He did mention that because it ties up with his request to her to do 1 more show.

        • Funn Lim says:

          It is illogical for AOD to delete that part and yet let the Elena lap dance go all the way. The jump may have affected that scene. So there wasn’t such jump? It was perhaps AOD technical glitch perhaps.

          But what about ep 1 I think Mary Hon falling and jump to sitting on stairs? Was there such a jump?

        • bee7 says:

          Having watching the rerun for second time, I’m sure a part of the conversation is cut. Mine is not AOD HD though, maybe that’s the problem?

          This is that scene(sorry for no sound but there’s chinese subtitle ): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-NWB-VrxYg

          As for the part where Mary Hon was falling down, it was due to commercial break.

    17. smurf120 says:

      Better than expected. I usually hate large family dramas but Damian Lau really provided nice charm and twinkle as patriarch. Kenneth’s English was pretty bad.

      Vincent Wong overplayed the carefree character. He is much better suited to serious, gentle, put together gentlemen (his character’s dress does not suit his style – which I find to exude classiness in other dramas).

    18. Little fishy says:

      Uhm, base on my experience, you do not have good English by simply study oversea for a few years. A lot of the Oversea students like to hang out together, and they usually come from the same country, and because of this, they usually speak their mother tounge, rather than English. Also, it’s a study thing, if you force yourself to use English every minute of the day, you will be good at it. But if you only use it to socialize in buying grocery, asking direction, your English will not be good at.
      Moreover, if you go oversea when you are quite young, you learn English from native speaker, and hence you don’t have what I called bad habit in pronunciation. So if MM go oversea to study when he’s like 20? He probably already been embedded with bad pronunciation, plus lack of talking in English every minutes could make you feel quite uncomfortable speaking the language. Also, if you don’t practice English overtime, and not use it for a while, you will not feel confident speaking it at all, and the lack of confidence will cause him to sound worse

      • Fox says:

        According to his fans, he started his study in Canada when he was 16 and stayed there until he was 24 years old, so he studied in Canada 8 years.

        • Linnh says:

          Then his english should be pretty good. Now im even more excited to listen to his english.

        • Funn Lim says:

          His grammar may be good, never heard him speak a sentence out of acting. But his pronunciation is poor but if he can string a sentence together I am sure you can say his english is good. I can’t imagine how he can graduate if he can write or speak.

        • star says:

          I believe he can write, having studied there for 8 years. I can’t speak English fluently after more than 10 years of English education but writing is still okay, with basic words.

      • HeTieShou says:

        True and it depends on each individual and how
        motivated they are to learn any language. Also, I wonder how you define “native speaker” at times, especially for English speakers.

    19. E says:

      um, @Funn Suggestion: it would help to put bold heads, so it’s easier to see who you’re talking about, sometime I get confuse, but I love the review, so thorough. In addition, can I fix some few grammar I see in the review?

      SSSS: All need to ask Shanghai people how to speak or else do not tried it! Also, I think the foundation which was put on is due to the time period. During that time period, people believe in make-up including male, but I do agree that they over did it.

      Damien is such a good actor, and this is like my first time seeing him speak so much English. Amazing! My only complaint is that he need to fix his tone, foundation, hair, and treatment of his wife. It need to be more nice on the outside, but stern in the inside. I feel mellow with it. But it’s only episode 1-3.
      *side note: <3 Love how his birthday is exactly like mine ^^*

      At Kenneth's English, I think he is trying to sound Hong Kongese with English, if not then what the heck…

      As for Rebecca, she surprises me with her acting. I thought as a novice, she would be like Christino Kuo in her acting, but so far so good *thumbs up*

      Tavia is scene with the opera costume was O_O Dude, opera people does not always look like that. She need to go watch more opera.

      –Continue: Ron–

    20. HeTieShou says:

      Good job Funn! I knew you had to mention Tavia’s nose. That is hard to ignore.. I think the nose is one of the features that stand out most on anyone’s face.

    21. H says:

      I agree that the themesong is TERRIBLE. Time to hire more composers!!!

    22. khanh says:

      i have to agree with you that kenneth ma’s english isnt that great but i think he does suit the role. and as for ron i cant see him taking on a ron like a lawyer or doctor etc.i can only see ron in dramas like playing a gangster or cop. nothing else really

    23. sesame says:

      kenneth graduated from ubc me engineering

    24. sesame says:

      i have to admit damian lau speaks better english

    25. Charlie Lin says:

      DirecTV has cancelled Jade World and TVB on 11-18. These are arguably the most popular Cantonese stations. Dish Network is carrying TVB and Jade World so call 877-342-2104 to get signed up today!

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