I literally have a love-hate relationship with this drama.
Banking on the inevitable romance between an overbearing Director scarred by love and the rebellious employee determined to discover his boss’s weaknesses, Beloved In House: I Do certainly had the potential to become a trendsetter. So, where did it go wrong?
☆ An abysmal script which relegates more screen time to the second lead couple, instead of the main
☆ the undeniable yet unexplored chemistry between the lead actors Aaron Lai and Hank Wang
☆ the dreaded, unwanted twist of the “Ex-boyfriend’s Return” which offers no consolation to the already dragging storyline.
Despite having a phenomenal cast and intriguing premise, Beloved In House: I Do suffers from lack of proper execution. There were certain elements that I thoroughly enjoyed, which became the sole reason to watch this show. Without further ado, let’s review this drama as we take a walk down the memory lane!
The Forever Agonized Main Couple
When I say “Agonized”, I totally mean it. Jin Yu Zhen and Shi Lei’s romance heavily leaned on the “Enemies to Lover’s” trope. It seemed promising in the onset; since the slow, simmering chemistry between Aaron Lai and Hank Wang set a steady pace. The first few episodes concentrated on developing their antagonistic relationship and we were led to believe that Jin Yu Zhen’s “Singlehood Rule” is totally unreasonable (because it is). But then the script slowly starts peeling the layers off the mystique that is Jin Yu Zhen. Despite his arrogant attitude, Yu Zhen suffers from insecurities and hidden fears. He has suffered an irreparable loss in the past and as such, he guards his heart with his steely demeanor. Obviously, that doesn’t stop our grumpy Director from falling in love with his rebellious Team Leader.
Jin Yu Zhen and Shi Lie make an interesting pair; despite their contrasting personalities and variant nature, our main couple are totally in sync. They empathize and understand each other like no one else does. It could be in those moments where Shi Lie falls sick and Yu Zhen tends to him; or when Shi Lie learns about Yu Zhen’s nickel allergy and cooks food that doesn’t aggravate his situation. They are attuned to each other’s emotions, which is certainly a blessing in disguise. But like most couples, they suffer from major communication issues. While Jin Yu Zhen finds it difficult to voice his opinions honestly; Shi Lie withdraws into his inner shell whenever he is hurt or agitated. I guess the ex-boyfriend twist was solely added due to our main couple’s inability to accept their feelings. It was meant to play on their emotions, evoke jealousy and bring them together. The ploy worked, although I have major issues with the slow paced script that kept dragging in the penultimate episodes. I would have preferred if the scriptwriters had afforded more screen time to properly develop their relationship and showcase their budding romance; rather than feeding us a hasty “Declaration of Love” in the finale. Aaron and Hank make a compatible couple onscreen and I’m solely disappointed that this chemistry was left unexplored!
The “Forever In Love” Second Lead Couple
I’m actually astounded with the amount of screen time afforded to the second lead couple. They are certainly adorable and are intriguing in their own ways. Yan Zhao Gang (Liao Wei Po) and Wu Si Qi (JN Yu) have a well-developed romance and amazing storyline, so much so that their apparent age difference seems inconsequential. Liao Wei Po certainly portrays his character well; Zhao Gang is the kind of person you come to seek advice. So the fact that such a mature individual ended up falling ostensibly for a college going teenager was a little surprising. Most of the time, their love story sidelined the main couple’s relationship and that was a major deterrent for me. Liao Wei Po and JN Yu have a believable chemistry; but there is a marked difference from the main lead couple.
For the first few episodes, we watch them co-habit Zhao Gang’s apartment as Si Qi gets kicked out of the official residence by Yu Zhen. So it was shocking when they suddenly start flaunting their relationship in the middle of a workshop. I was left pleasantly surprised by this sudden twist and wondered if I missed out on something substantial. When did they start dating, how did we reach this point, who made the first move? These are some of the questions that will always be left unanswered. I was also left gobsmacked by Si Qi’s sudden and hasty proposal in the finale episode. Although Zhao Gang readily accepts his feelings for Si Qi, it’s clear that he is hesitant about long time commitment. The fact that he quickly reverted from his stance was a little difficult to digest. These two have the makings of a compatible couple, but sadly I wasn’t invested in their storyline.
Side Characters That Made More Sense Than The Mains
There are parents who wholeheartedly accept their children’s choices and there are those who force their opinion on their kids. Fortunately, Shi Lie’s Mother Lan Juan (Lotus Wang) belongs to the first category. She is pretty intuitive and picks on the subtle hints very easily. While Shi Lie and Yu Zhen dance around the emotions, Juan obviously understands their inhibitions. She not only accepts Yu Zhen, but also acts as a catalyst to their blossoming relationship. While Shi Lie feels confused and ashamed, Juan consoles him and helps him accept his sexuality. Such a positive portrayal is definitely praiseworthy. Truly, Shi Lie’s “Coming Out” scene was beautifully scripted and executed. Major kudos to the scriptwriters and the actors for breaking the stereotype of angsty parental units, who discourage their children from getting involved in homosexual relationships!
Yi Zi Tong’s (Deyn Li) entry in the penultimate episodes might be counted as one of the most dreaded moments in the history of Taiwanese BL. Like most fans, I hated his sudden arrival and cursed the invisible divide it caused between our main couple. Despite that, you can’t deny the fact that Yi Zi Tong is certainly charismatic and smart. Zi Tong evokes a certifiable amount of mystique because of his actions; which might seem detrimental to our main couple’s interests. The revelation in the finale episode was a welcome change and I was surprised that he felt repentant of his past actions. At times, some people unexpectedly become a part of the narrative and seemingly drive the story forward. Yi Zi Tong inevitably ended up becoming the icebreaker!
Last but not the least, I was majorly disappointed with Bai Xiao Qian and Wang Jing’s storyline. Since their separation becomes the stepping stone for the ensuing romance between Yu Zhen and Shi Lie; Xiao Qian and Wang Jing’s love story is left incomplete. Did they get back together? Did Xiao Qian forgive Wang Jing? We are left in the dark about their troubled relationship and they should have tied up the loose ends in the finale.
Like I have already mentioned, this show has its own strengths and weaknesses. While the script is slow paced and random at times, the actors have done their level best to embody the subtle nuances of their characters. You empathize with Jin Yu Zhen’s pain and sufferings, understand Shi Lie’s confusion and fears, revel watching Zhao Gang fall in love with the adorable Si Qi. The storyline is ridden with major potholes, but don’t let that color your perception about this drama. It’s definitely worth watching, simply because of the refreshing chemistry between the actors and their overall dynamics!
Rating- 3 out of 5