Yan Kuan’s “Love Love” Brings Sadomasochistic Love to New Levels
Idol actors and love stories have long gone hand in hand, but more recent renditions have shifted away from chaste and romanticized love stories, moving instead toward grittier and sadomasochistic emotional battles. One example is the new mainland Chinese drama Love Love <戀了愛了>, which began airing on March 29 on Jiangsu Television. Starring Yan Kuan (嚴寬), Sunny Du (杜若溪), and Shen Tai (沈泰), Love Love combines an intense storyline with compelling characters to offer viewers a fresh spin on the traditional romantic drama.
In Love Love, Sunny Du plays Shen Meixi, an ordinary girl from an ordinary family, who had to forego higher education so she could take on a job and help out with her family’s expenses. In an unexpected turn of events, she meets Jiang Haotian (Yan Kuan), a talented young man who has returned from overseas studies to take over his father’s business duties. In the past, Haotian had once clashed with Meixi’s sister, leading him to think that Meixi wants to get close so she can plot to take away his family property. As a result, he deliberately torments her, not knowing that her patient endurance will be what causes him to fall in love with her.
While the synopsis may seem like that of a typical Cinderella story, Love Love can be seen as an upgrade of other romantic dramas. Shen Meixi’s encounter with her Prince Charming is just the opening, and the rest of the drama follows them through a series of obstacles caused by the “evil forces” in their lives. The resulting sadomasochistic emotions are likely to better accord with current viewer expectations, as well as lend a more intense and gripping storyline.
Another unique aspect of Love Love lies with its male leads, Jiang Haotian and Xiao Chen (Shen Tai), both of whom exude a manly charisma that has become a rare sight in romantic dramas. Perhaps hoping to imitate the popularity of bishounen in Japanese manga, mainland Chinese idol dramas have mostly featured male leads who fall into the categories of cutesy, sissy, or femininely beautiful. However, Love Love is grounded in the idea that men are innately overbearing and will actively pursue love. With his profound facial features and sturdy build, Yan Kuan is sure to stay true to the ideal “tough guy” image. In comparison, Shen Tai’s character is a little gentler, but will still be formidable and valorous.
Love Love’s Shen Meixi also differs from the typical optimistically simple-minded female lead. Although she is down-to-earth and encouraging, she can be unsophisticated and insensitive as well, sometimes leading to embarrassing situations. Actress Sunny Du shared that she quite enjoyed taking on the role and that she hoped to use her “goddess” label to subvert the classic image of a “loser girl.” According to Sunny, “this type of girl can attract boys more easily than a goddess can. In the drama, Yan Kuan is attracted by the fact that [Meixi] doesn’t have a feeling of oppression toward others. Girls like this should be even more deserving of love.”
“Love Love” Extended Trailer
This article is written by Joanna for JayneStars.com.