Make sure you are clear about the expectations your boss has for you!

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
 Thomas Merton

Title
Boss and Me (2014)
Also known as
 Shan Shan Comes to Eat
Genre
Comedy, Coming-of-Age, Romance, RomCom
Written by
Good Story Workshop
Directed by
Liu Junjie
Starring
  Hans Zhang, Zanilia Zhao, Huang Ming, Li Chengyuan
Country of Origin
 China
Episodes
 33 

oh! … brief

A rich and somewhat cocky heir, Feng Teng, is the president of a large-sized business and extremely protective of his sister, Feng Yue since their parents’ untimely deaths. Feng Yue has a rare blood type (Type Ab Rhesus negative) and so Feng Teng employs Xue Shan Shan into the company to be an employee and potential future blood donor.

Xue Shan Shan donates some of her blood to Feng Yue and as a reward, the family start feeding Xue Shan Shan lunch each work day. Trying to avoid the embarrassment of receiving ‘special’ treatment from the ‘Boss”, Shan Shan eats her lunch on the rooftop of the building not knowing that she is seated outside the Boss’s window.

As Feng Teng gets to know Shan Shan, he is attracted to her innocence and kind heart. He starts to fall in love with her early on but doesn’t confess till much later. But their romance is not without conflict, Feng Teng’s childhood friend, Yuan Lishu, who he treats like a sister, is in love with him and tries to compete with Shan Shan for his affections. The conflicts which cause a number of misunderstandings and conflicts only strengthen and resolve the two lovers.

oh! … talks drama

The 2014 cdrama is based on a novel by Gu Man titled Come and Eat, Shan Shan.

This will be a short and sweet review!

The story is really about self-discovery and coming-of-age for Shan Shan and Feng Teng. Both learn about themselves and mature during the production, but perhaps the character Shan Shan goes through the most maturing – starting as an insecure young lady always second-guessing herself and those around her, she matures into a confident woman, comfortable in her own skin.

The drama is truly enjoyable. It’s nothing amazing or outstanding, just an honest to goodness true romance story. I was hooked and I did do two marathons to complete the 33 episodes. Watching this cdrama was easy, the story was believable and dulcet. The writers of Good Story Workshop pulled together a strong script, the narrative was on par with some of South Korea’s really good kdrama series which shouldn’t be as surprising as it was. I love the character development over time – particularly Shan Shan, but I also felt that the writers paid a fair amount of attention to developing the male lead to mirror developments with Shan Shan. They basically created a modern day version of Walt Disney’s classic, Cinderella, with a few spins and minus the evil sisters. I like how the writers tied the romance back to the blood donation, the food, the shared lunchtimes – crafty! I like how this time around the male lead fell for the female first and well in advance of her even thinking of him romantically. I also liked how the writers made this guy a guy who pushes his girl to develop her own strengths, find her own confidence and better herself with encouragement and practical steps – that was a nice touch to see! She becomes her own boss and owns her own business from being a low paid corporate employee. It’s really uplifting for women and sends positive vibes across the generations. Truly a feel-good production!

The writers also included a really good strong female circle – friends that Shan Shan can turn to when things are tough and she is struggling to understand. Her friends are her cousin Xue Liu Liu and a girlfriend from her home town, Lu Shuang Yi. The three women are very close and while they often have differing opinions and ideas, they remain friends and Shan Shan listens to them both and takes from them the advice that she needs. The writing in of the heart-to-heart conversations the women share was astute on the part of the writers!

The sincerity of the writers is true for this production, instead of creating a cdrama plagued with conflict, tragedy, angst etc., they created a production that relies heavily on a genuine relationship, where the male and female meet together and truly form or develop a relationship based on trust, affection, understanding and friendship. Yes, there is some conflict thrown in, but it’s not the edge-of-your-seat, “What the hell?” kind of conflict. The two leads don’t have to fight and struggle to overcome insurmountable hurdles. Instead, the writers included typical fight types of scenes facing typical situations that couple sometimes does. It’s far more realistic if you like.

Liu Junjie who directed this production did a great job with creating the composition of each scene that was shot. The story unfolded visually as clean and simple as it was written in the script. There was a visual flow created that matched the verbal flow coming from the actors. It felt authentic and a truthful tale from start to finish.

Aesthetically speaking the attention of wardrobes, accessories, props, even the building where the business is located were all very appealing. There is a lot of fluff in this cdrama, but it’s not distracting, in fact, it complements the story. Even the accompanying soundtrack is simple, with just four tracks, but they are pleasant and make for easy listening. The soundtrack features Wind’s Promise by Hans Zhang (opening theme song), Involuntary by He Jie (ending theme song), Roll the Dice by Gao Shan, and By Chance by Dish.

The cast was well chosen for the various roles. I have no complaints.

Hans Zhang plays Feng Teng and carries the aloof almost cold exterior really well. He has such a soothing voice, I sometimes wanted to just close my eyes and listen only to his voice – didn’t matter I if didn’t understand what he was saying, just to listen would have been fine J. For this production I found I really enjoyed watching Feng Teng because his interactions with the people around him were very straightforward. Hans Chang’s interpretation of hiding Fent Teng’s emotions beneath the surface, keeping him calm and collected was played out really well.

Leading lady, Xue Shan Shan was played by Zanilia Zhao and she was absolutely perfect for this role, from her button nose and wide eyes to her tiny feet! I enjoyed watching her perform and thought she did remarkably well playing the lowly employee. This character had, by far, the most development of all the roles and Zanilia Zhao delivered every aspect, from insecurity to super confident, from confused and passive to insightful go getter. It was great to watch. I was smiling at Zanilia Zhao’s facial expression most of the time, she got them so perfect! The furrowed brow, the puzzled or quizzical look. It was entertaining.

The third wheel for this production, Yuan Lishu, was played by Li Chengyuan. I find that I struggle with the women placed in these roles. I don’t like the role or the type of character that they play so I find I’m extra critical of the performances. This time around though I think Li Chengyuan gave a solid performance and her interpretation of her character was not overboard or excessively angsty. Thank god! She carried the cool calculating “behind your back” and friendly to “your face” acts so well, nothing felt forced. Good job!

oh! … sidekicks

Best friend to Feng Teng was Zheng Qi played by adorable Huang Ming! I loved this guy, but, that’s me, I’m a sucker for the second male lead! This production he wasn’t vying for the female lead so all was good and I could just admire his performance. Huang Ming delivered a solid performance as the friendly, upbeat and happy-go-lucky guy!

Feng Teng’s sister Feng Yue was played by Zhang Yang Guo’er and I loved her performance. It’s nice to see a sister genuinely want and support her brother’s love interest and not become overly involved in the relationship or dynamics. I think Chang Yang Guo’er did an amazing job in her role.

There were, of course, other really good performance by the supporting cast members, but I want to keep this review short and sweet so go watch the series and see who else was great! Nobody in this production was bad!

oh! … that’s a wrap

As you can tell I’m not ranting and raving about how amazing this production was, but, nor am I complaining about how awful it was. This cdrama was really good – entertaining, funny, serious in the right places and for the right reasons, and just truly enjoyable to watch. I recommend it if you’re in need of some lighter entertainment or are not a fan of all the conflict and angst in most dramas.

I will definitely watch this again on a rainy day or when I need some cheering up.

oh! … tidbits

The series was a commercial success in China, topping rating charts and trending online with viral catchphrases.

oh! … soundtrack

oh! … gallery

oh! … trailer

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