Saturday, August 23, 2008

When a Dog Loves a Cat <當狗愛上貓> - Review

*Warning: Spoilers Ahead*
*Credit to AsianFanatics for the character pictures. *

Analysis and Portrayal of Main Characters:
Gallen Lo as Miu Chun (M.C.) - Independent and headstrong, M.C. lives alone with his cat, Cancan. After the death of his girlfriend (played by Tracy Ip), M.C. cuts himself off from everyone and masks his pain with work. The only one who he shows his softer side to is his cat, who was a gift from his girlfriend. His relationship with his parents is not good. He does not get along with his father, and his mother does not acknowledge that he is her son because she is married to a rich man who would mind. Throughout the series, M.C. slowly reveals himself to be caring. When he is saved by Siu Ba, he loses his bias toward dogs. With the help of Chow Chow's friendship, M.C. becomes a nicer person and is no longer regarded as "Mau Si" (Cat poop). Slowly, he falls for Chow Chow, and just when he is about to profess his love, he discovers that his cancer has reoccurred. Dealing with it in the only way he can, M.C. distances himself from everyone. However, Chow Chow eventually breaks through the tough exterior and gets M.C. to accept the fact that he can still spend what time he has left with the ones he loves.
I think Gallen did a good job in this role. He was able to portray the "cold-hearted" boss at the beginning, and also show that this character has more levels. He shows that beneath a hard exterior, there is a person who wants to be loved. The role was interesting, the acting was good.. what else is there to say? haha

Myolie Wu as Chow Chi Yu (Chow Chow) - Raised in a family that runs pet businesses, Chow Chow is a loving person who cares about animals. She does not care if the dog is a stray or a pedigree, she loves them all the same. At first, she doesn't mind not being able to be seen as Carson's girlfriend. But, with M.C.'s help, Chow Chow realizes that she should be more like a cat. With some training, she is able to get Carson to tell everyone their relationship and he becomes more loving and tender to her. However, soon after, she discovers Carson's affair with another woman, and the couple break up. With M.C.'s help, Chow Chow recovers and soon falls for him. She is confused when M.C. suddenly gives her and everyone around him the cold shoulder. But when she finds out the situation, she fully supports him and tries to convince him to let people he loves support him in his final days.
Myolie Wu does a great job with the character. She's isn't new to these types of characters, so she's familiar with how to do it. I thought the character was fun, though a bit naive at times, in particular with her relationship with Carson. The relationship with M.C. was a bitter sweet one, and I thought the ending was appropriate for the two, given the way the writers set it up.

Raymond Wong as Ying Hoi Leung (Carson) - Successful and good looking, Carson is Chow Chow's boyfriend. However, he does not want people to know about the relationship because he does not want to jeopardize any advantages that being single might confer to him in the business world. Until Chow Chow changes herself, Carson really does not treat her as a good boyfriend should. He changes himself when he sees the new Chow Chow; unfortunately, it was too late because he had already had an affair with someone else. After their break up, Carson continues to be a friend of Chow Chow and is willing to help her if she needs it.
This is the second time I've seen Raymond acting in a TVB series. I first saw him in that one ATV series (yes I occasionally watch ATV if I hear it's really, really good haha) with Michelle Ye. I think he's a good actor, and it seems that TVB is getting into the habit of making him the "ladies' man" in their series due to his looks. He was the very flirtatious man in the series Marriage of Inconvenience, with Bobby Au and Angela Tong. I like him as an actor, though he can improve. His character in here doesn't serve much of a purpose other than showing how much Chow Chow evolved as a person from beginning to end, but he did well with what he was given.

Bernice Liu as Man Ji Kei (Kit) - Raised by her step-dad after her mother's death, Kit has been spoiled since she was small due to her step-father's guilt at having split up her mom and dad. She hates her step-father at first, but comes to realize how much he actually cares for her. The only person who has ever intimidated Kit is M.C., who would yell at her if she did something wrong, disregarding the fact that she is the boss's daughter. Though she seems bossy and mean outwardly, Kit is a good person inside, and tried to help Chow Chow when she found out that Carson was cheating.
The character of Kit isn't all too exciting, and I don't think Bernice did particularly well with her. She doesn't have that bossy and selfish aura about her that a character like Kit requires. Not that Bernice isn't a good actress, but, I think, this character would be better played by someone else.

Lui Fong as Chow Chi Jim - Raised by a dog breeder, Jim has grown up to be a great animal trainer himself. He and his wife run a store known as Jim Jim Pet which does well enough to open a new and gigantic emporium which provides all the pet services one could wish for (including weddings). Though he has opinions and beliefs of his own, he is generally overshadowed by his wife, who does not allow him any say in their business or in his personal life. Fed up with this, Jim finally lets his voice be heard and gains the respect of his wife and his in-laws.
I think this is the first series I've seen Lui Fong in, at least recently. He did well, though his character annoyed me sometimes with how passive he could be. I liked how he finally decided to think for himself toward the end and stand up to his wife. He was able to do what he wanted by the end, which was to help stray dogs find owners or to neuter them so that there would be fewer stray dogs running around the streets of Hong Kong. Great acting by Lui Fong, and nice character evolution throughout the series.

Margie Tsang as Shui Tin Lan - The wife of Jim and the CEO of Jim Jim Pet, Ah Lan is a dominating woman who is not used to being told what to do. On the contrary, she tells people what to do, whether or not they want to hear it. With good intentions in her heart, Ah Lan has her way of keeping the family together and fulfilling her wish of making her child successful, but her methods come off too strongly for many. Despite running a pet shop, Ah Lan is afraid of stray dogs and big dogs, but she overcomes this with the help of Siu Ba. By the end of the series, her character has changed to a more passive and less overbearing person. She realizes that to maintain her husband's love for her, she does not need to dominate every aspect of his life. She realizes that she must allow him to do what he wants to do and that they, as a couple, must learn to compromise if their relationship is to be successful.
I think the only other series I've seen Margie Tsang in was in D.I.E. as Roger's sister. I actually didn't even realize that it was the same person until very, very late into the series! The two characters were so different that I didn't even connect that they were the same actresses! lol She is a good actress and does the domineering role well. The character of Ah Lan was annoying and irrational at times, but in the end she was able to find the error of her ways. Well done on Margie's part!

Favorite Scenes:
1. When M.C.'s dad finds out that his son has terminal cancer but cannot do anything about it. He wants to fulfill his son's wish for no one to know, but he also wants to play the father's role and be there to support him. The scene where the two are by the water looking out at the buildings at night was a tear jerker. M.C.'s dad's speech to his son was so touching. Seeing him tell his son that if the cancer comes up again he has to call him was very moving, especially since the audience knew that he was already aware of his son's illness.
2. The final scenes between M.C. and Chow Chow. Christmas is my favorite holiday because of the atmosphere that takes over during that time. So I liked seeing that the couple were able to spend one last Christmas together. And did anyone else just love Siu Ba and Cancan in the Santa suits?! They were soooo cute! Especially Siu Ba!
3. The scene with Siu Ba and Bailey, when we found out that Bailey had a brain tumor. That whole speech, though it was dog to dog, was very touching. There is a lot of truth in what was said. If you know you are going to die, you should spend the time happily with those you love. But, that is way easier said than done. How many of us can honestly say that we could live the last few months of our lives happily, when we know there's a set date in which we will die? I, for one, wouldn't be able to, to be honest. It was touching seeing Bailey play with Kit for the last time. I admit, it was out of the blue that she had a brain tumor, but I understand the purpose of it was to mirror M.C.'s situation.
4. The part where M.C. is trying to teach Chow Chow how to be a cat. That was hilarious! When they were on the bed and Chow Chow's dad sees them and mistakes it for something else! lol

The Ending:
I actually really like the ending of this series. I thought it was done tastefully and that TVB did not sugarcoat the ending as much as they generally do. I was worried throughout the last 6 episodes after M.C. discovers that he has terminal cancer because I wasn't sure if TVB would follow through with killing the main character, especially with all the talk about miracles and M.C.'s first advertisement sign lighting up again... and again... and again... Seriously? I thought it wasn't supposed to work, but it kept lighting up at exactly the right moment! haha.. A miracle, I guess? Anyway, the fake death was unnecessary for me. Plus, I was distracted by the fact that M.C. could actually pull off a fake death in today's modern society. I mean, doesn't he need a death certificate and wouldn't his family want to see him for the last time before they buried him? All that aside though, the writers actually killed him, though they softened the blow with him being able to spend Christmas with Chow Chow, Siu Ba, and Cancan. The ending was nice because there was closure, unlike other series where it's left open to interpretation or where there are different endings. So, that's definitely a plus in my book. Plus, the last few scenes with M.C. and Chow Chow together were very sweet. And let's not forget Siu Ba and Cancan's cute scene at the end!

Overall, I enjoyed watching When a Dog Loves a Cat. Besides the long awaited return of Gallen,
the storyline was decent and the actors were all good. As an animal lover, I enjoyed seeing a show concerning the care and love toward animals. The voices of Siu Ba and Cancan (and the other animals) grew on me after a while, though I still stand by my thought that it would have been less kiddy. This series is nice if you want something fun and entertaining. The ending is bitter sweet, but appropriate for how the writers set it up in the story. So for Gallen fans and people who just want a fun series to watch, definitely give this a try.

Overall Rating: 87/100


admin said...

I was kind of disappointed when I found out that Gallen will die. Can't TVB "give" him a disease that is curable, something that say needs operation or the likes... just so that he doesn't have to die. Sigh...

Inferno said...

True, the ending was sad. But I am glad that TVB went through with it, since they said it was incurable. If they said it was a curable disease, I would be fine if Gallen lived at the end, but they went the other way with it..

Anonymous said...

I watched this show toos & I really don't get the criticism of Myolie exaggerating in this show. I thought she improved in her acting. She cried without having to scrunch up her face.

Inferno said...

Yeah, I didn't understand the criticisms. I think she did a good job here in a more sophisticated but still funny role. Oh well, there will always be criticisms no matter how good the acting, I guess

Mimosa said...

Much thanks for the review, Inferno.
Reportedly, Gallen was the one who suggested that MC should die, since it would be so unrealistic for the character to survive especially after the script had declared so clearly that it was reNPC (Nasopharyngeal carcinoma, recurrent) that he suffered from. How I wish Gallen had insisted on the removal of that oh-so-ridiculous fake funeral as well. :P

kim said...

i havent finish watching the whole series. i've juz finished the 12th episode but then i stopped and read the cover of d disc. it says when 'mao si' -mc wants to confess his love with Ah Yu. then, kit pursues him. so i was worried that kit cud do sumthing wrong. n i oni think tat yu n mc shud be together. n oso at d end they said mc found sum1 tat he loves i was worried that it was kit...

Dee said...

"When a Dog Loves a Cat" is indeed a worthwhile watch and I would like to commend the show producers for highlighting NPC (Nasopharyngeal Cancer). True the ending was sad. But realistic and absolutely necessary. NPC has always been one of the top 5 cancers in HK but yet many remain unaware of it. In my country, NPC is in fact one of the top 3 cancers and ranks as the most common cancer in my home state.
Gallen Lo is indeed a versatile actor and is perfect in his role as MC. I felt that the producers should have done away with the fake funeral scene.
I liked how the show had the right amounts of humour and the way it handled the issue of grief and death. This is the first time I have ever cried while watching a TVB drama. You go, Gallen!