Devil Beside You
Another "classic" lets me down. Lured on the promise of extra lovey-doveyness and that always sought after 'chemistry' between leads, I got to cracking on this 20 episode monster.
Verdict: It's 18 episodes too long.
Now, before I'm murdered in my blogger-sleep, I could try to explain some of my reasoning. It might even be as simple as, I was never in the mood for what this story was trying to tell. Or, the old drama bad quality meant nothing ever looked good on screen. However, after dropping it several times, and then redetermining to finish, nearly 4 months passed between when I started and when I stopped. And I was never in the mood for it.
Here's the Story in a NutshellQi Yue (Rainie Yang) loves Yuan Yi. He kind of likes her back. But devil boy Jiang Meng (Mike He) takes an interest in her as well. They fall in love. However, their parents have already fallen in love. They're about to become step-siblings. Kissing happens.
Drama, if you want to get my attention - you need something better than caricatures. I'll take the devil concept any day. It's hot, and it usually works in a lead drama male. I don't even mind him teasing the girl in devilish fashion. I also have a relatively high tolerance to whiny spineless females. Bbbut...
Read on if you dare. I look at what's wrong with the lead couple, why I usually love this kind of concept, and confess at least one thing I thought was good. After all, I did finish it..
The romance between the soon-to-be-step-siblings in this drama frankly disgusts me. I'm no prude. It may sound a bit contradictory, but I've nothing against a good fauxcest or possible incest drama angle. When those angles explore at least a hint of angst or consequence. My problem with Devil Beside You is that it feels like the main leads are part of two separate storylines, where there should be one.
Story 1: Two lovers - featuring the standard good girl/bad boy relationship - meet up and go through many difficulties involving stalker-ish love rivals, and genuinely creepy perverts. They have to overcome this as a couple.
Story 2: Two lovers are actually sort of incestuous, they know it, and there are the obvious difficulties to overcome.
What's wrong with this layout? The plot points never mesh. They are treated as totally separate issues, the consequences of living together underneath their engaged parents' noses only explored every 5 to 10 episodes (where they stress for half a second, and then resume kissing). So while the drama wants me to get all giddy watching scene after scene of cuddly lovers, I'm sitting back rather bored of the nonchalance of these characters.
|Bratty kids - Never even considering their parents' feelings.|
Why Fauxcest Is Usually FunBecause this is a drama, and drama lovers love it when 'drama' is created for our entertainment. Look at any good old fashioned Kdrama. The only obstacle to love greater than artificial rivals and overbearing parents, is the possibility that you might actually be related, by blood or marriage, to the person who makes your blood boil. It's license to let all that angst hang wide open. It's license to feel doom and depression, to agonize over how you're going to get out of this. That clinching sense of despair, or the mystery of whether what you know is really true. Are you related, or aren't you? I dislike That Winter the Wind Blows, but here's a classic example of the tension such an unknown-relationship-status makes. For even more "are we, aren't we?" and "regardless of blood, is this morally right?" shenanigans, there is Winter Sonata and Autumn in My Heart respectively.
Okay, those are super dramatic examples. My point is that Devil Beside You steals such excitement away from the viewers by telling us right away that these two are destined through their parents. And then, nothing for over a dozen episodes. When they do start to freak out, it's far too late to feel like a genuine transition. I'll leave you to decide whether you think it resolved well enough. By then, I was watching about 15 minutes of every 45 min episode.
Okay - I'll be honest. They're cute. Super cute together. And they create a lot of shippy moments. In another drama, I might have loved them.