This drama is the Most Adorable. I can tell you that it takes quite something to get me to watch a 35 episode drama, but the fan raves about Miss Rose were loud enough that I heeded. Honestly, as soon as I began it I had a strong feeling I would like it, and I wasn’t wrong – and that was before I even realized that my beloved Megan Lai was the lead! Geez, walk away from Taiwanese dramas for just a couple years and come back to find your homegirl Megan Lai from Mars (review), Love Storm, Meteor Garden (review), Silence, Sweet Relationship, and Wish to See You Again (for heavens’ sake, has she been in every ZaiZai drama except Black and White?) has stepped up into full-fledged lead heroine star! I’ve always loved her, she was a shining star of second leads for a long time, and watching this drama, it’s clear she’s gathered a level of dignity and onscreen presence over her years of drama acting that stands her in good stead as a lead.
Also: Roy Chiu. Can we talk about Roy Chui?? Holy moly readers, I had never set eyes on him onscreen before. Where has he been all my live. Those cheekbones, those dark smoky eyes that can flit from amused to intensely brooding in a second, that smile, that absolute warmth and kindness and adoration that can light up his face when looking at a woman…gah. Did I mention the cheekbones? The man is physically perfect. Added to my bucket list: watching Roy Chiu in all the things.
Miss Rose has a fairly standard Taiwanese drama plot, in that a fairly low-ranking office worker falls for the new high-ranking, high-powered company official, but it’s elevated by tons of nuance and excellent, detail-oriented, strong writing as far as the romance development. It also has two of my favorite tropes: the hero actually being a good guy, instead of a cold, issue-laden jerk, and the lead couple being friends before falling for each other. The drama initially presents Gao Cheng Kuan (Roy Chiu) as a ruthless company “fixer” who’s called in to buoy struggling companies. It quickly becomes apparent, however, that in fact he’s a good person, with an immense bedrock of everyday kindness that he quickly begins to extend to our heroine, Luo Si Yi, when he sees her facing any kind of difficulty.
Luo Si Yi is an upbeat, dedicated secretary in her early 30’s, who had her heart broken from an earlier long-term relationship, and hasn’t seriously dated since then. She pours herself into her work such that many of the other employers give her their assignments to do, making her a near-essential part of the company. She’s kind and sweet and cheerful, but not gratingly so, and very intelligent, and Megan Lai imbues her with an incredible natural warmth such that you’re not surprised at all that someone like Cheng Kuan would begin to fall for her so hard.
The drama begins with the traditional drama meet-cute in which the hero/heroine immediately get off on the wrong foot and dislike each other, but because Cheng Kuan is so well-adjusted (and Si Yi is SO AMAZING), he quickly gets over this and the two become partners at work and friends. Cheng Kuan is strongly attracted to her almost immediately, but does have a sort of arranged girlfriend, the daughter of his boss, with whom he has an agreement to show up at events with and take photos with, but never sees otherwise. My favorite thing about this is that’s it’s established immediately they’re not a real couple: they have an open verbal agreement that they don’t care about each other at all and are only doing it for the company’s reputation and publicity. Because of this, it doesn’t feel strange when Cheng Kuan begins falling for someone else, and he handles the fallout, in the later half of the drama, extraordinarily well.
Meanwhile, Si Yi is distracted by her ex-boyfriend returning from the States and pursuing her again, but in the meantime, she’s gone and fallen for Cheng Kuan, who has been steadily ramping up his pursuit of her. The drama is just swooningly romantic, with two lead characters who are both immensely likable and funny, who communicate well with each other, and who are madly in love, and the actors have a dreamy, natural, fantastic chemistry. You believe in them as a couple at once, because the chemistry is just so right. And as the cherry on top, there’s a really really adorable secondary couple, played by Tia Lee, who’s now famous and a leading lady in her own right, and Paul Hsu. The angst of Cheng Kuan’s position/fake girlfriend is felt for a few episodes, but both Cheng Kuan and Si Yi handle things in an actually adult way, and it isn’t milked for the endless, repetitious angst and misunderstandings we’ve seen in other dramas. I mean guys, le gasp, it’s actually admitted that Cheng Kuan, with his background, can easily get another job and doesn’t actually have to stay under the thumb of his current boss and mentor forever and ever! Amazing idea!
This is so, so worth the watch – I watched in a giddy haze of joy. Easily one of the best Taiwanese dramas of the past couple of years.
For more of my drama reviews: Drama Index