Good analysis - but a relationship can never be so business like with profit and loss. In the ML’s case I do not think it is that cold .  He is an emotional guy even though he does not express well.   The opportunist here is the FL who seems to be using him for her own purpose. 

I actually think that is not the case. I have met some rare people like this. Shi Yan is right when he says she is a nerd. She is so focused on her career and unable to understand interpersonal nuances that she looks like she is using him. But if you look at her actions, she actually is there to support him all the way while still being keen on being a great journalist. 


Great analysis! I too thought all the discussions about business relationships - from everyone - were allegory for the personal relationship issues they’re each facing. Guan Ji’s comments and confusion have been particularly funny - he’s so conflicted in business and love.

I would say, all relationships are contracts - they’re a mix of love (hopefully) and attachment. Subconsciously we all draw the line somewhere with our expectations. I will love you if - and it’s a big IF - if you give me ________. 

well said. So true. Consciously or unconsciously we all do that.

THANK GOD for this sensible THREAD.

Ufff I had it till here with the "woke sermonising" by a video CDrama blog which I bumped into yesterday .

Here is the link :

The 'self righteous' .. judgemental (of viewers who may have liked the show) .. closed minded 'review' raised my hackles .. and I couldn't help leaving my own response to her ..
(Doubt close-minded folks with 'sermon' ailments ever listen to other POVs.)

I am copy pasting  my two-bit response to her "RANT" here :

Although maybe I should make a separate discussion thread for THOSE WHO ENJOYED THE SHOW SO SO SO MUCH (I am a rewatched of the show .. because it had SUCH an interesting NOVEL and DARING premise).


It's ALL given away in the "tongue-in-cheek" title - ONLY FOR LOVE - the operative word being "ONLY". That all the "listed and labeled as ridiculous" stuff happens BECAUSE it's "LOVE".
Who hasn't .. doesn't watch a LOVE story where folks do STUPID - self harming - self respect blowing up stuff .. because those LOVE hormones are wacky!!! It does not OFTEN intersect with LOGIC or engage with INTELLECT.

Even Someset Maughm knew this when he wrote : "Of HUMAN BONDAGE" .. Bring on a platter of 21st century WOKENESS to dem apples my dears who have JUST the ONE tool to analyse a show with.

If one views it through that lens the Drama may not look so absurd, regressive, objectified, old century etcetera.

A lens changes how things would look like to someone without it .. people with clear vision would see things distorted, blurry; and people with unclear vision 'might' see things clearly (or not).

@AvenueX takes her job as a 'Drama Optician" VERY VERY SERIOUSLY and wants to correct everyone's vision whether it really helps them or not, whether they need them or not ..
She use self righteous language to 'correct' vision, whether it actually corrects or not isn't that clear, and of course it's her prerogative to pontificate, it's her channel.

So what do those who LIKED the show see?

~ a beautiful woman is a beautiful woman .. it's NOT difficult to understand (from experience in real life) that men are drawn to "appearance" at first (as are women).
If this FACT sounds like complete B.S. we are living in different worlds.
A classic, standard, pop romance story MORE often than not BEGINS with the 'first look of desire and adoration' of how the opposite sex looks. (And they are in general ALSO beautiful in the eyes of other characters in the Novel / Film).
Be it DAISY in GREAT GATSBY or ANY of the Ladies in Shakespeare's Romances (Juliet??) or Grace Kelly or Ms Golightly in BF at Tiffany's ..
EVEN in Pride and Prejudice .. it's the beauty of the older sister (with ironically a Plain "Jane" for a name) Ms Bennet who captivates Mr Bingley and makes him approach her.

Shi Yan HAS already been HOOKED (the director made no bones about it) as he looks at her through the rained upon glass window of the car .. He had spotted her at the conference with this 'good looking' proff .. but given he wears glasses he may not have had a clear view of her face .. maybe just her pleasing form (it happens .. even a Psychologist / evolutionary anthropologist will agree from their research). When she hurls nasties at his car when he's wondering if he should slow down and give her a ride (?) he quickly recoils, ego and prestige dented (and maybe not quite sure she's attractive any more).

SHE has NOT been hooked at this point .. nor does she notice his looks for a LONG while in the story .. she is single mindedly focused to :
- getting the interview (at first THAT IS ALL she is interested in)
- revenge (which she considers a possibility, solely as a power trip over theTWO scumbags who made her feel like a total reject)

Firstly, she is AMBITIOUS to the hilt and does NOT let even a BF's birthday get in the way of her project. She is NOT ambitious for 'power' BUT for an experimental e-magazine (which might not even get her money or be successful) which has been her longest standing dream, she is sticking it out at her stagnant position (though she could easily bid for it and win) because she isn't aiming to rise in hierarchy but to focus on lobbying for the e-magazine which she feels is more 'socially' relevant as a business news source than the BIGGY mag she is working with now.

Her attitude to her BF tells us that she takes him for granted, a fixture in her busy life (he has supposedly pursued her for ages and she finally decided she'd give it a go to everyone's surprise - he isn't a shiny penny next to her - AND she has so far been loyal .. and took his loyalty for granted. Albeit she is not the best judge of people, this fact also reinforces her character as someone who is MORE FOCUSED on her job- work life goals than a personal relationship oriented life).
Her response to him on his birthday is mechanical .. no warmth .. only good hearted, sincere, verbal apologies, like one would offer a colleague. She looks tired and ready to call it a day, NOT full of vibe and excited to while the night away as expected on one's BF's bday which one has crashed terribly.

There you have it. An immensely interesting character ..
Drop dead beautiful (and she is aware of the impact it has on others); fiercely ambitious and dedicated to her work even at the expense of health and family and relationships; not that great in sussing out people nor given to cultivating rapport and camaderie within her work field; and other than one loyal, 'player', emotionally messed up friend, she has NO ONE, who is with her because she is a 'NICE' person. The people who seem to like her are those who are in awe of her reputation as an award winning journo.
So now the viewer is primed to observe WHAT does someone like her do going forward. How does her character deal with life's challenges, in her job, her dream, her personal relationships (with friends with future potential love interests - will she even have one?).
How does she use what she 'assumes' are her strengths .. by birth, luck and that gained by her own diligence and hard work. How does she deal with mess ups and does she finally 'feel' for something other than her 'job', and her misguided attempts to salve her 'injured ego'.
So YESS!! Her EGO is dented BADLY, that this scum she had taken on in all faith DARED to ditch her for 'wealth and position' - two things she was NOT into, nor expected to get from the person she decided to date (and possibly consider marrying).

THE RAIN!!! So significant in this scene. She has been relentlessly rained on this evening, hungry - approached by weirdos in cars - her stomach is a mess (gastritis for sure from the endless coffees; and trust me it's a journo's ever constant ailment) AND she did not manage to get the interview, after going to great lengths to chase down the interviewee, AND she left her phone behind in her bf's car .. and she sees the betrayal ..  it's like that evening the heavens conspired to hold her head down in the toilet bowl. The anger, hurt, vengefulness, that swept her up and then threw her self esteem into the gutter .. WELL .. I cant think of a more powerful and interesting way to HOOK a viewer into the show. So when she comes up with a mad, impractical, childish scheme to 'seduce' the top honcho to get her 'esteem' back, to power trip over the ex and the 'flaky rich pretty young gal' we know she is courting disaster ... but we also see that she is still sincerely committed to the article she has taken on, and will do anything to get it done to perfection. Disappointments and criticism isn't going to deter her or bog her down. She is almost 'NAIVE' about how her inability to maintain 'propriety' when it comes to when / where / how she achieves her goal, will be perceived in the world (by colleagues and those who don't  know her much - in this case even the drama viewers who are sitting on judgement about the 'aptness of the morals and message" in the show.
Her 'immature' plans of 'revenge' (teen-like) are an interesting contrast to her 'mature' handling of her work, job.

(Aside : Those who have worked with 'gifted' kids have witnessed this sort of behaviour .. a sharp contrast in emotional age and intellectual age.)

What's adds EVEN MORE heft to the story is that Shi Yan is placed as a mirror reflection of her - superbly mature in handling his work and business while a faltering and immature teenager when it comes to relationship. Do we 'denigrate' 'laugh' at his 'chauvinistic' ways of dealing with women and love life? Or do we view it as we would a physically challenged person failing at what others might do naturally .. Will he learn to do better? Will he mature? Will he make mistakes in what he is GREAT at?

Will she make mistakes at what she is GREAT at?

Will they freeze each other out and be hurting? They are terrible at emotional airing and communication, prone to mistakes; and they are both FULLY committed to their jobs and way better at bouncing back from failures in that than they are in relationships.

How will they grow?

NOW I could write ON and ON and analyse this entire DRAMA, episode by episode, praising it for breaking the "woke" mould, taking on the the "role-modelling" shows that @AVENUEx lifts up to high heaven as being THE ONLY shows worth looking at and producing.
But I'll stop for now.

There is ENOUGH interesting tropes and Asian Drama trope examination that is ongoing in this drama that will be completely missed unless you are OPEN MINDED and listening to what others might say .. others might have seen.

Every Drama / film / novel does not need to be 'text books' for life lessons .. Dramas can be viewed for:

~ pure guilty pleasure
~ for documentary / real life explorations of the the human condition (the high faulting folks cant bear the previous category and turn their woke noses skywards until blue in the face with disgust)
~ as a place to discuss 'politics' of image and story (also snooty but at least it's in the service of expanding the repertoire of tools for analysis
~ looking out for how tropes are reinforced or overturned or used for novel purposes.

If I am NOT wrong .. MOST Asian Drama viewers ESPECIALLY those who choose ROMANCE as their favourite genre AREN'T watching C-Drama or K-Drama for LESSONS in LOVE AND LIFE .. but as entertainment as SOLID as : Roman Holiday / Sabrina / Pretty Woman and an entire slew of such popular shows that break the charts and become classics.
Film Students can break their teeth on them while the general audience gets a few flutters and thrills without judgement from the priest's altar.

Good. I am glad you wrote something . People really missed the beauty of this show and how conflicting  the FL’s character was.  That was the most interesting thing about the drama, how the FL was written. I think viewers always want a one dimensional female character who is almost brainless and caters to the ML’s needs and makes decisions that would help her get closer to the ML.  This one was so different- there are many intelligent women in this world who do so well in their careers but are not that great when it comes to relationships. Plus Shi Yan was not a simple guy. You mention Pride and Prejudice and I find that Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy may have been templates for the FL and ML characters given how quirky they both are.  This drama was such a good study in psychology under the disguise of a comedy and I for one thoroughly enjoyed it . And Bai Lu played the character beautifully. 

@Kinara .. thank you.
I LOVED the show. (watched twice)
And exactly how I also viewed these two flawed yet intellectually BRILLIANT, self driven characters who slowly learn to become better at relationships.

Exactly the point of the show. They were all flawed if you think about it.  The confusion of the FL when Shi Yan comes on so strong was so obvious. Her defense was all the running away, hiding and lying.  She did not have any ulterior motives but she just did not know how to handle her feelings or his feelings.  It was actually well done. I have rewatched it saw well. 

YUP agree on the point of hiding and lying etc.
She doesn't even seem to know that she can tell her mom off .. that going on blind dates like that just to save her mom nagging her isn't a done thing. Plus she does it because the proff seems like a 'friend' to her ..
Remember in L&P how FL used her 'artist friend' (even when he was serious about her and let her know his intentions) to keep her mom at bay .. as well as use him to hang with Li Xun.

Yes. In L&P though the FL’s mom was way worse - her controlling nature was pathological.   But here the FL can’t say no to these men in the right way. The prof was definitely her shield .  I don’t think the FL here knew what love actually was till the ML came along.  As you said even with the ex BF - she was loyal to him but I don’t think she expected anything of him and gave the relationship what it needed.  This show was an interesting mix of guilty pleasure and  character analysis.

I love this discussion. Honestly I found the FL completely believable. As koreanbosuji has said, a beautiful story of a really focused FL who is clueless about interpersonal relationships, and a ML who is wondering all through as to what her real motives are. I love that FL is outgoing, and fearless and not afraid to ask for what she wants... and ML is insanely in love with her to the point where he indulges her and she feels safe to be pampered by him. It is lovely - they are both individually strong but like to be vulnerable around each other. 

Awww @Rita ??✨✨??

You brought back SO much of the love and squee and laughs I had from this show.

I watched it twice..

Wouldnt mind watching a 3rd time.

It's an addictive one - like Roman Holiday ?

Yes what Rita said is bringing some great memories about this show. It cracked me up so much. In some ways it is a parody on modern society.  Will have to rewatch sometime!

@koreanbosuji and @kinara 

I am not embarrassed to admit it is my go to drug on romance at the moment watching on repeat often - the romance is just how I like it - it's just so heartwarming. 

@Rita :-D

Not at all surprised. 

Like I said OFL has classic rom-com ingredients that will weather the ages and be appealing for a long long long  time and withstand all the cat-calling by "woke - gender baiting" liberals who want to wish away deep  evolutionary wiring of the human psyche..

Beauty - grace - chivalry - love - jealousy - loyalty - faith are universal concepts and when writers and directors understand this and can create works effectively it's going to bring immense pleasure for a long time.. Many many times.

It's also one od my fave shows. It's pleasurable to even analyse what factors raise it to such levels of enjoyment.

I am full on feminist and I just fail to see what was non feminist about it. the rant on that video made me so irritated. Wish I had the expertise to do a rebuttal frankly

FL was a strong independent woman and the ML was a caring man who gave her space and respect. The fact that they could be vulnerable before each other doesn't make them regressive. Ridiculous over enthusiastic pseudo feminists. 

Exactly Rita-  but when women in this society are just for catering to men’s needs such independent career minded female characters are  not appreciated.  Plus my point is this - how many smart, independent women out there make mistakes in their personal lives?  They are all ready to throw her into the fire for that.  I actually loved how flawed Zheng Shuyi was because she really drove the show.   It was her character that was the most interesting .