“Ossan’s Love Hong Kong” First Impressions (Ep.1 to 4)

I’m going to review this version of Ossan’s Love pretending not to have watched the original Japanese version, but I will preface it by saying if you loved the original, you will definitely enjoy this one.

Edan Lui plays real estate agent and local human disaster Tin “I like women with big boobs” Yat Hung. Tin is possibly the nicest person in the whole of Hong Kong, well meaning, gullible and completely incapable of saying no. It’s these characteristics that make him likeable not only to us, the viewers, but also the two men competing for his affections – his boss, KK (Kenny Wong) and his new colleague and housemate, Siu Muk (Anson Lo).

When I describe Tin as a human disaster, I am not kidding. Ossan’s Love HK is a comedy, and a lot of that comedy comes from the main character’s over-the-top, ‘how does he even function?’ antics. He comes home from a night of drinking and literally wriggles out of his clothes. He can’t cook for his life, and his house looks like a very messy hurricane has passed through it. He’s a hard worker but far from being the best employee at his real estate firm. It’s possibly a latent sense of self preservation that makes him invite his new colleague, company golden boy Siu Muk to come and live with him.

Simultaneously, Tin also realises that his boss, the delightfully creepy KK and the titular ‘Ossan’ (literally a shortening of ‘Ojisan’, the Japanese word for ‘uncle’) has a crush on him. Also, Siu Muk also has a crush on him! But wait, there’s more! KK can’t be in love with Tin! He’s been married for 20 years and the series even opens on his anniversary! Right? Wrong. An important storyline in the series is KK trying to find a way to tell his wife, Francesca (Rachel Kan), the truth. It’s one of the emotional cores of the story – of a man who has fallen out of love because he has discovered his sexuality very late in life – and it will be worth seeing how it plays out, even in a comedy series.

Ossan’s Love is basically a series of escalating events as Tin tries to balance the complicated situations with his own complete lack of comprehension of what his own thoughts are on the matter. He is too good a person to see anyone’s feelings hurt and that plays a huge role in the whole thing. He screams a lot, inwardly and outwardly, tries to do what’s best for others, and he’s wonderfully endearing – although, yes, he can be so frustrating at times you want to shake him and tell him to stand up and explain things.

But if he did that, there would be no series, would there?

Acting wise, the show is solid. Edan Lui’s Tin is hilarious and he really nails the character’s balance – he’s energetic and fun and a lovable idiot. I also loved Anson Lo as Siu Muk – visually he is absolutely adorable, all dewy eyed and precious – and he does wonderfully to convey muted emotions through his expressions. As mentioned before, KK, the persistent, lovestruck boss, comes off as alternately creepy and funny, and there’s some really good emotional impact in the scenes with him and his soon-to-be ex wife Francesca. The series promises to be a rollercoaster ride of emotions as Tin tries to come to terms with what to do about KK and also about his own confused feelings for Siu Muk. Three episodes in, we have already had a rooftop confrontation between Tin’s two suitors and things can only go up from here.

Special mention to the cast of side characters – Tin’s childhood best friends from the bar and their coworkers from the office. My favourite is possibly the food loving busybody Carmen, who is constantly snacking in the background while collecting all the tea that’s being spilled.

And now a word of comparison to the original – one of the problems I had with the Ossan’s Love was the pacing was really off because of time constraints, and it was hard to believe some of the changes in the way the characters behaved over such a short span of time, especially in the case of the Haruta and Maki relationship. For Tin and Siu Muk, the show is nearly twice as long in terms of episodes, and it’s giving us time to see them hang out at home and be cute and Siu Muk’s feelings are a lot easier to understand. This is also helped by the post-credits ‘boyfriend cam’ scene in every episode which I absolutely recommend you stick around for.

In conclusion, watch Ossan’s Love HK if you: a) are a fan of the original and want to see how it’s been reworked, b) if you want to see wacky workplace shenanigans and a really cute couple or c) you want to see how much weirder Tin can possibly be and still have two men pining after him.

Rating: 4/5

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