THE GOOD: The characters (all except for one), the relationships, and the general plot and pacing.
The characters are all really likable, realistic, and not annoying, with the exception of one romantic rival who has a long plot arc I could have done without. You Yan is probably one of my favorite female drama protagonists because she's so reasonable. The plotting and pacing of the show is excellent. The drama never gets dragged out (with the exception of the aforementioned plot arc, but even that one kept things interesting) and all the episodes move along quickly. You Yan and Ye Bai have a lot of trust in each other, which is always nice to see in a drama relationship, and though their relationship isn't perfect, the struggles they go through feel very real and they respond in real ways.
One thing I really liked about this show was how meta it was about the drama genre. Sometimes an episode would end with a cliffhanger that in any other drama would spiral down into some cliche mess, but the next episode would show that the cliffhanger is hardly a cliffhanger. Instead of prolonging the drama, the characters would act in a reasonable manner.
There were also a few meta moments in which the characters would say, "this is how things would be if we were in a drama," which was ironic because that's exactly what would happen. At one point, Su Shan tells You Yan that if she were in a drama, she'd totally be a Mary Sue, which I found hilarious because You Yan totally IS a Mary Sue-type character, but she's such a likable one.
THE BAD: The acting, one ridiculous plot arc, and incongruities in the feel of the show.
The acting wasn't terrible, but I thought Chen Ruo Xuan's performance as Ye Bai was particularly stiff and the rest of the cast was just okay. Ye Bai had a cute relationship with You Yan, but as an individual, I didn't find his character convincing. The ridiculous romantic rival plot arc really dragged the show down. The first few episodes were great and then BAM we get hit with this drama. I didn't like it because the show was doing so well with avoiding cliches, and then this character came in and was a romantic rival stereotype.
Another thing that turned me off was how the show hovered between being an idol drama and a school/youth drama. There were moments when it tried to be realistic and meaningful in the way that it treated the characters' realistic struggles with the transition between college life and adulthood, but then sometimes there would be ridiculous and unrealistic gestures that remind you that this is an idol drama. I like both genres in different ways, but I didn't like the way that this show hovered between the two genres. I wish it would have chosen to be grand and idealistic and unrealistic, or stuck with being realistic and true to life.
OVERALL: I don't regret watching this drama, but I probably wouldn't rewatch it. It has a lot of feel-good moments, but overall I didn't feel invested in it. The characters and relationships have a lot of similarities to Love O2O, but The Endless Love has a lot more drama.
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