An Otaku and Two Robots, but not quite what it says on the tin… I kept on saying and saying all the time I was watching, it’s not what I was expecting. What was I expecting? I’m not so sure anymore… Before I started it, some sort of average rom-com? When I was halfway into the first season, just an unusually funny comedy… So first of all, I decided to watch it because I like the love robot trope, and “social” robot stories in general. I like them because I empathise greatly with those robot characters. They’re programmed to fulfil a specific role, but conflict arises when they try to fulfil that role whilst existing in an ever-changing social world. They either have to adapt or face being sent back to manufacturer. It resonates with me. And this is indeed one theme of My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. Adam and Eve are super-advanced love robots. They do everything perfectly according to their programming, but they can’t fulfil their purpose: their bonded one cannot love them. And this lack of fulfilment, for all three leads, is the drama’s main cause of conflict. They must learn to live with it, and accept it, because only from that point can they move beyond it. It involves a lot of give-and-take (A Zhai is mostly take :P), and also a recognition that people are capable of feeling many shades of love, like and care. At the start we meet an A Zhai who has surrounded himself with nothing but anime, manga and dramas, who obsesses over a girl from a distance and only has one person in the whole world he can call a friend. Pretty pathetic for a male lead. :P Enter robots. A Zhai buys Adam and Eve out of self-absorbed loneliness, but rather than becoming bricks in the walls of his fortress, they become the bridge to the outside world. And through many conflicts and comical escapades, they become the catalyst for his change. Probably the most charming thing about this drama is being able to pinpoint all the moments, big or small, that contribute to that change. This drama is No.1 for character growth, and I don’t think any of it would have been as convincing without Bai Shu in the main role. He has a million expressions for every different moment, his timing is flawless, he can be infuriating, heartbreaking and loveable. He made me laugh through tears in the saddest possible scenes! Now that’s the ~ emotions~ bit out of the way… Fundamentally, it’s just funny! It’s sitcom-esque. Nothing ever goes right for A Zhai; problems continually occur in his household and he inevitably ends up in some sticky situation. Though actually… it somehow flips through many genres and never seems to lose its way. We get some sci-fi thriller for a few episodes, then all of a sudden it’s a raunchy comedy, then a melo romance and so on… It’s refreshing. Also, this little world is populated by an adorable bunch of genre-savvy characters who break the fourth wall, whine about their lowly status and even manipulate the plot to their own ends. And the effect is not at all patronising or obnoxious, which to me takes a lot of skill on the part of the writer. This sort of thing can easily go wrong, which is why I’m so delighted that it’s so right! All in all, it’s a screenplay with a genuine affection for TV drama tropes and conventions. (It’s also filled with references to anime, C-dramas, K-dramas etc. I didn’t even get half of them, but it was funny when I did.) A little about those supporting characters… They’re all lovely in their own right, they don’t get in the way of the main plot, and through them we get a little extra exploration of the major themes. They live without shame in their otaku world, they build walls, they break walls (and not just the fourth one :P), they dream, they fall in love... They add an extra dimension. Basically, watch with an open mind, not expecting one thing or another from the synopsis, and I’m sure this silly, ridiculous, full of warmth little drama will creep its way into your heart. Enjoy! (Review for both seasons.)
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