Watching these Netflix drama, I stumbled upon a suggested romantic/comedy(?) drama from Taiwan called Love, Now or 真愛趁現在. But as I watched this drama, I inexplicably began to think of the different tropes these characters fall into as well as the contrived situations that parallel real life interactions. Looking at the different character tropes, the writers seemed to have captured almost all the different types of people one could meet while dating. I suppose characters that are relatable is what makes dramas popular.
Here are some thoughts about the different characters…
The 1st male lead Lan Shi-de (aka LSD) initially has a super strict, stoic persona where opinions and thoughts are viewed as black and white with zero tolerance for any gray. He absolutely hates being lied to as well. His personality coupled with the narrow-mindedness doesn’t consider any update in his opinions once he’s made a decision. This transforms him into a destructive, calculating person when exacting revenge on those that did him wrong. After meeting the female lead, the writers show his change into what could be described as “the perfect husband” archetype — great with kids, compassionate, understanding, defends the wife, etc…
The 1st female lead Yang Yi-ru (aka YYR) has a “work is first”, no nonsense persona. Although she also hates being lied to, she has the awareness to look at the bigger picture and to look for solutions to problems. Her personality is described as warm, considerate, and generous. The writers depicted this by having her look beyond the lie that created the first major conflict in the story with the male lead LSD. After meeting and marrying LSD, the writers transform her into more of the nurturing “perfect wife” archetype. Throughout the rest of the show, you see her play a prominent role in grounding LSD in reality.
The 2nd male lead Sun Qi-ming (aka SQM) is initially portrayed as the playboy/womanizer, not taking life or commitments seriously type of character. But he is also fiercely loyal, kind and compassionate as well too. He refers to many of the women he date as “fishes” (an homage plenty of fish dating quote). As a later backstory shows, the writers use his mom to explain away many of the “playboy” commitment issues. After being rejected by YYR, the writers evolve him into a “reformed” playboy with the help of the 3rd female lead. However, he still maintains the charm and thoughtfulness of what could be described as another archetypal “perfect husband” variant.
The 2nd female lead Lan Shi-yun (aka LSY) is portrayed as the hopeless romantic. Her idealized version of what love is makes it difficult for her to truly find love. The irony here is she is a successful author on relationship, love and matters of the heart. I don’t think the writers evolved her too much. I didn’t get the impression that her viewpoints on love really changed. Many of the conflicts surrounding her dealt with the type of suitors that were pursuing her. You’ve got the obsessive stalker, the “don’t believe in marriage” suitor, the almost perfect suitor, and even the “too young” suitor. Her conflicts mainly had to deal with resolving what her idealized notions of love was with the ideas of the suitors.
The 3rd female He Cai-rong (aka HCR) lead was probably just a supporting actor that through her dialog became a favorite and subsequent female lead. I felt she was written as the calm collected friend that gave insight to other people that they previously was unable to do so themselves. You could tell that the moment HCR told LSD there could potentially be a reason why YYR did what she did was the turning point of the 1st major conflict. She did this a few times later in the drama with the final one being able to resolve the issue between SQM and his mom. It feels like she was written in as the perfect girl archetype… a doctor, compassionate, motherly, observant, coy, etc. But at the same time, there’s a hidden wild side as well as mysteriousness to her that we get glimpses of. We rarely got to see the other issues she faced unlike what we saw with YYR/LSY.
The 3rd male lead Zhang Yu-xiang (aka ZYX) was originally portrayed as the obsessive stalker gradually morphing into the too young suitor of LSY. You could view it as a love gone wrong into the obsessive, jealous, spurned boyfriend archetype that gradually transforms into something authentic, unrequited love. However, I find this type of transformation to be implausible. He ends up later with LSY in the last episode because of his earnest reformed behavior.
A dominant female supporting actress Yang Yi-qing (aka YYQ) is YYR’s sister. She is the female equivalent of SQM and also refers to her off-screen suitors as fishes too. She was used mainly as swing characters usually to lighten the mood or give insight like HCR.
So back to the real purpose of this post, you have the LSD type of guys where they have a different faults. You also have the playboy/womanizer SQMs and spurned jealous lovers in ZYX as well as the faithful “unrequited love” ZYX type of guys. You also have the YYR type of girls where they have faults and the LSY girls with their idealized “perfect” love too. HCR “angelic girls” are rare but I feel like the character wasn’t fully explored as YYR or LSY was and hence CHR remained as an “angel/perfect girl” archetype. And then you also see the YYQ type of girls that potentially go around breaking guys hearts.
I actually liked HCR as a character mainly because of the insights she gave. The subtlety/mysteriousness of her character added much more variety to an otherwise pretty standard drama.
If there is one takeaway from this particular drama, it can be found in LSY’s story. Her story is a microcosm of the macrocosm. LSY’s concept of ideal love and despite her setbacks in earnest pursuit, she maintains that earnestness and eventually finds someone who shares the same values. The ideal love is reflected differently in the characters. And each character goes about their own way to find the person who also reflects the same love.