"Virtues of Harmony" is one of the rare series that manages to capture its audience into the program. It started production in the summer of 2001 and ended its production in winter 2002. It is one of TVB's classic series and also TVB's longest ancient series; having a total of 327 episodes (in Chinese) | 218 episodes (in Viet). The title of "Virtues of Harmony" is "Gai Tai Foon Hei" (lit. "Everyone Is Happy"). The title matches the series perfectly because everyone is happy... including the audience! The Viet title of "Virtues of Harmony" is "Tinh Nguoi" (lit. "People Love"); it is a more satirical title for "Virtues of Harmony" and is funny in the way that the series doesn't show that much "people love." Before I get started on this review, I just want to warn you guys that it's very detailed and very long, but it'll leave you feeling satisfied (I hope). I will remain as least bias as possible. So, without further ado, let's begin!
The story starts off in the Ming dynasty during a very happy and prosperous time. The Gam | Kim family own a very popular and successful restaurant in their hometown. Nancy Sit (Mrs. Gam | Mrs. Kim) is the step-mother of 3 children who are triplets: Frankie Lam (Gam Nin | Kim Nien), Michael Tse (Gam Yuet | Kim Nguyet), and Joyce Chen (Gam Yat | Kim Nhat). Nancy used to be a very famous bandit, but no one knows about it. The family do not know that she is their step-mother either. Frankie, after upsetting Bernice Liu (Princess Sam Tin | Tam Dien) is the town's "Mother Official" and has to deal with the town's many problems. Michael is the lazy and stereotypical "rich boy" of the Ming dynasty. He is very sickly and has two wives, Bondy Chiu (Lam Yuk Lou | Lam Ngoc Lo) and Cutie Mui (Sek Mei | Thach My). Bondy is the bossy and bitchy big wife. Cutie is the small wife and married Michael because she had to save her family. Joyce is very picky when it comes to finding a husband, so she still isn't married. Also residing with the family are Louis Yuen (Yau Nim Fu | Du Niem Phu) and his wife Yvonne Lam (Wan Ying Gei | Du Anh Co). Louis is the brother of Nancy and only he knows the secret of her past and how she's not the family's real mother. Louis is the family's uncle and he loves to gamble and he is mean to his wife, who is very slow and sometimes stupid. One day, Lau Dan (the Emperor) arranges a marriage between Bernice and a Persian prince. Bernice, refusing to marry the prince, runs away from the palace with her servant, Hawick Lau (Ah Sau | Nguyen Tho). By chance, she ends up at the Gam | Kim hometown...
Bernice breaks the princess statue (of herself) because she thinks it is ugly and a disgrace to herself. She gets in trouble and has to work for the government. One day while she was eating, all her money is stolen and she is very hungry and doesn't know what to do. She and Hawick decide to go to a temple and reside the night there. By chance, Nancy comes along and finds a paper and mistakens Bernice for "Gung Yan Soh | Cung Han To." Yan Soh | Han To is the daughter of the family's savior that Nancy has been trying to find for a very long time. She takes Bernice into the house. Frankie meets once more with Bernice, who will now live at his house and he is very displeased. A little after Bernice enters the household, Joyce finally marries! She marries Johnny Tang (Gou Yi Hong | Cao Nhi Khang) , who is the poorest guy in the town. She mistakens him for winning the imperial test and become a high official. The day after the wedding, she finds out that she's been mistaken and marries him by accident. Joyce is very mad, but she won't divorce him because she doesn't want to be embarrassed, so she decides to mold him into a successful man...
Cutie's family (the Seks | Thachs) consist of her mom (Helen Ma) and her dad (Johnny Ngan). She is the oldest in three children. Her younger brother is Timmy Hung (Sek Biu | Thach Bieu) and the youngest of the family is Sherming Yiu (Sek Tai | Thach De). Cutie's parents are very greedy and their business is selling pork meat and dumplings. Timmy is in love with Bondy's maid, Olivia Fu (Chun Mui | Xuan Mai) but their love is a secret. Sherming has a crush on Frankie but doesn't tell him. As Bernice works for Frankie, they always argue and are like fire and water. One day, Sherming tells Frankie she likes him and with the help of Bernice, they start dating. However, they realize that they're better as friends and break up. During this, Bondy and Cutie become pregnant! The family is very happy. However, their restaurant starts to have some trouble because they finally met a rival.
Mary Hon (Faw Yim Yim | Qua Diem Diem) opens a restaurant opposite the family's and it is quite successful. The family starts breaking apart when Nancy leaves to do something. The family start to dislike Louis and Yvonne because Louis caused them to lose a big business. Mary seizes upon this opportunity to break up the family. She tells Yvonne how to make the family respect her and she tricks Louis into working for her restaurant! Things start to look bad for the once tight-knit, though bickering family is now fallen apart. Nancy comes back and helps to fix things... However Nancy's past is soon learned about but luckily, the family, after awhile, starts to accepts her again and the family is a family once again. At this time, Bondy and Cutie are almost going to give birth...
In the end, they both have boys and everyone is happy. Only... Nancy accidentally switched the babies!! While they was giving birth, it was very hectic, so Nancy got confused at which baby was whose... She tries to find out, but just can't do it. So she decides to wait and let nature take its course. They name Bondy's baby "Fun Fun | Hoan Hoan" and Cutie's baby "Hei Hei | Hy Hy" because the two words combined means "fun hei | hoan hy" which means happy. Bernice and Frankie start falling in love at this time and they realize that they other are good people. But, Frankie mistakens Bernice for liking Hawick! During all of this, Joyce was trying to mold her husband without any success.
After 2 years, Halina Tam (the real Yan Soh | Han To) shows up. The family finds out that Bernice is fake. Bernice's identity as princess is soon revealed and she's brought back to the capital! Frankie finds out the truth about Bernice and realizes his misunderstanding and rushes to the capital with Nancy to win Bernice back! After much hardship, the two finally get married and the family moves into the palace...
At the palace, the family meets the evil concubine Stephanie Che (Man Guai Fei | Van Quy Phi) and her brother Lee Kwok Lun (Man Kwok Kou | Van Quoc Cuu). When the emperor first sees Nancy's face, he is very surprised. The reason is soon learned that in the palace, hidden in a dark room, is another women that looks exactly like Nancy. Stephanie and Lun check up on her and she is in a big urn; her arms and legs have been chopped off by the two and they torture her and refuse to let her die. The often crazy and hilarious Kingdom Yuen (Sa Sa Gwun Ju | Quan Chua Tao Lao) has a crush on Michael and plots to become his wife. She thinks she is very beautiful and loves handsome guys and wants a husband badly. Stephanie plots all she can to become the queen and her brother wants riches and jewels..
The family start to adjust to the palace life and the men work as government officials. Louis is in the kitchen court, Michael is in the medical court, and Johnny is in the literature/scholary court. All of them do their best but they face enemies in their courts who claim credit for their work. As they work, their wives, who refer to themselves now as "The Four Big Beauties" (Say Tai Mei Yan | Tu Dai My Nhan), run around the palace and capital city spreading gossip and bickering.
Bernice and Frankie, now that they are married, face problems of a married couple. Hawick soon finds out that he's not a eunuch and Sherming is about to get married... However, Hawick cannot tell anyone otherwise he will have to get it cut off for real. Hawick learns that Sherming's fiance is a guy in much debt and Sherming would be hurt if she married him. The guy is about to kill himself when Hawick saves him and persuades him to go way. But, Sherming still only thinks of Hawick as her "sister." On her wedding day, Sherming runs away and hides in a temple because she is disgraced since her fiance had run away. Hawick finds Sherming and Sherming is about to kill herself when Hawick kisses Sherming, telling her that he would marry her. That night they slept together and Sherming finds out that Hawick isn't a eunuch. Hawick says that he will accept responsibilities and marry her one day and the two decide that the abandoned temple will become their place for meet each other. Meanwhile, Stephanie and Lun soon realizes Kingdom's love for Michael. They hate the Gam | Kim family because after they came into the palace, their lives haven't been as ideal and the family ruins a lot of things for them. Not only that but Nancy's face reminds them of their hated enemy, the queen who they locked up in a secret room. So, in order for them to achieve the prosperity that they once had before the family moved to the palace, they plot to split the family up...
Stephanie meets with Kingdom and gives her plans on how she can get Michael to divorce Bondy and Cutie so that Kingdom can come in and become his one and only wife. Meanwhile, Joyce faces problems with Nancy and the two argue. Joyce thinks that Nancy doesn't love her, but she soon finds out that she is wrong. One day, she runs through the forest and meets the queen... Joyce freaks out and goes crazy because the queen looks exactly like her mother! Seizing upon this chance, Kingdom, Stephanie, and Lun frame Bondy and Cutie for trying to kill Joyce while Joyce is in a coma! Bondy and Cutie are very upset as they leave the palace and are divorced from Michael the next day because Kingdom had tricked Michael into the writing the divorce paper while he was drunk...
The once peaceful family is now torn apart. Bondy and Cutie form a sisterly bond after they got divorced and they help each other out. Eventually, the family realizes that Bondy and Cutie are innocent and Michael remarries them. However, Bondy is jealous when Michael seems to love Cutie more than he loves her. So, she lies to Cutie to get her away from the capital so that she can marry Michael alone, instead of having a joint marriage. By luck, Cutie soon finds out the truth and with the help of her family, she rushes to the palace before Bondy and marries Michael first... becoming the big wife! Things have now reversed as Bondy is now big wife... Timmy was feeling lonely and missing Olivia a lot. He meets Chan Hoi-Yee (Mau Don) and the two fall in love... During this time, Sherming gets pregnant and Lun falls in love with her. Her parents, being greedy, offer Sherming to Lun in marriage. Hawick and Sherming are very scared and don't know what to do. Everyone soon finds out that Sherming is pregnant... With the help of Nancy, Hawick and Sherming escapes and hides until things are over and they can come back...
The Four Big Beauties then meet Maggie Siu, who later becomes Bo Fei | Bao Phi. Maggie is the good concubine compared to Stephanie who is evil. Things get more complicated when both Maggie and Stephanie become pregnant. Lau Dan says whoever has a boy will become the queen!
Stephanie, by accident, miscarries and plots to kill Maggie and take her baby and claim it as her own. Stephanie and Lun soon learn to Maggie's old love with Mark Kwok (Bao Dep). They use this to frame Maggie of cheating on the emperor. After succeeding, they hide Maggie and Mark is killed. Kingdom meanwhile still doesn't have a husband and Lun reluctantly marries the ugly maid Celine Ma (Bak Hup | Bach Hop) because she is the only woman who will be able to bear him a child. Things get even more complex when Sherming is about to give birth. Nancy leaves and the queen leaves her place and the family mistakens for her Nancy! It's soon learned that the queen's arms and legs are still there because Liu Kai-Chi (Bo Gong Gong | Bo Cong Cong) was helping her all along and lying to Stephanie and Lun! The queen expresses her grief over the loss of the royal prince and her hate of Stephanie and Lun and how she regrets believing Stephanie's fake act.
The family starts getting suspicious of the fake Nancy and try to find out the truth, but are unsuccessful and believe it is their real mother. Nancy comes back at this time and meets the queen. She's shocked to find another person that looks like her so much. She grants permission to the queen to use her name for a couple more days until she can meet Bernice again. One day, Stephanie overhears the four women talking and think that they're talking about her fake pregnancy. She's scared and plots to kill the family. She tells Lau Dan that they tried to kill her and he sends out people to capture the family! The family start running away and are luckily saved by Nancy. At this time, Sherming is about to give birth but she doesn't have enough energy! Nancy has to go out and get so herbals for her and luckily, she meets Maggie, who was trying to escape. She saves Maggie and they rush back to their hiding space... but...
The evil gang sees them and plot to kill them... Luckily, the family is shielded by a net that the army cannot penetrate unless water is on it or after two hours...Unfortunately, at this time, it starts to rain!!!! Meanwhile, Michael was out getting wood and got caught in a trap. He meets the queen, who had gone crazy. He gives her a note to give to Frankie and Bernice... Luckily, she succeeds in giving it to them and the family is saved! Stephanie and Lun are punished and Maggie is brought back to the palace, who has given birth to a princess! Sherming and Hawick can now come back and Hawick is forbidden from death. He is also given a government official. Sherming is happy because Hawick can finally be a real man again. Her parents agree for Hawick to marry Sherming and they will have a joint-marriage because Timmy will be getting married with Hoi-Yee as well. The queen is now queen once again but the only way to save her from her insanity is to find the royal prince... They search very far for the prince and find out that it is... Johnny Tang!!
Joyce is overwhelmed because she didn't marry the wrong husband after all! The family is further brought happiness as Joyce and Yvonne are now pregnant! The family makes a wish to be together through every lifetime and era...
The Kims | Gams
Nancy Sit - Gam Fu Yan | Kim Phu Nhan
Frankie Lam - Gam Nin | Kim Nien
Michael Tse - Gam Yuet | Kim Nguyet
Joyce Chen - Gam Yat | Kim Nhat
The Seks | Thachs
Johnny Ngan - Sek Tai Chuen | Thach Dai Xuyen
Helen Ma - Chan Gui | Tran Kieu
Cutie Mui - Sek Mei | Thach My
Timmy Hung - Sek Biu | Thach Bieu
Sherming Yiu - Sek Tai | Thach De
The Yaus | Dus
Louis Yuen - Yau Nim Fu | Du Niem Phu
Yvonne Lam - Wan Ying Gei | Du Anh Co
Bondy Chiu - Lam Yuk Lou | Lam Ngoc Lo
Irene Wong - Lam Ngoc Phung
Lau Dan - The Emperor
Bernice Liu - Princess Sam Tin | Princess Tam Dien
Kingdom Yuen - Sa Sa Gwun Ju | Quan Chua Tao Lao
Maggie Siu - Bo Fei | Bao Fei
Stephanie Che - Man Guai Fei | Van Quy Phi
Lee Kwok Lun - Man Kwok Kou | Van Quoc Cuu
Olivia Fu - Chun Mui | Xuan Mai
Karen Lee - Sieu Hong | Tieu Hong
Jessica Chung - Sieu Chui | Tieu Thuy
-At the palace-
Yau Ching - Hai Duong
Celine Ma - Bak Hup | Bach Hop
Jojo Shum - Guai Zhi | Que Chi
Chan Hoi-Yee - Mau Don
Hawick Lau - Ah Sau | Nguyen Tho
Robert Siu - Half-A-Day Fortune Teller
Alberto Lo - Ling Gong Gong | Lang Cong Cong
Mary Hon - Faw Yim Yim | Qua Diem Diem
Liu Kai-Chi - Bo Gong Gong | Bo Cong Cong
Josphine Lam - Olivia's mom
Halina Tam - Gung Yan Soh | Cung Han To
Chan Shan-Chung - Halina's boyfriend
Chau Mi Mi - Black Pearl Bandit
Michal Lai - Nancy's old lover
Mickey Chu -
Ellesmere Choi -
Mark Kwok -
Many more casts! Still working on full list, if you can help, it'll be great!
Nancy Sit & Lau Dan - 4/5; Really good chemistry between this set of lovers! Nancy looks a bit weird in her queen outfit, but the scenes between the two of them are sweet and cute. They represent the ideal old couple. I hope they will pair up in modern VOH!
Bernice Liu & Frankie Lam - 5/5; Definitely really cute and match well together. They look cute and act cute too. The scenes between them aren't a lot in VOH, but when they're together, it's really good! They are the idealistic couple in the series.
Bondy Chiu & Michael Tse & Cutie Mui - 5/5; The second best VOH couple. All 3 of them match well together and they're really funny. Out of all the couples, they probably get the most screen time.
Joyce Chen & Johnny Tang - 5/5; A very good couple with a cute story! It's really nice when we get to see how much they love each other. It's touching when Johnny says that he'll never divorce Joyce even if she becomes ugly. It's touching because Joyce always treats him so badly. Definitely cute. I hear they are dating. If so, great! They really match.
Yvonne Lam & Louis Yuen - 4/5; They're not "cute" but their chemistry is pretty good. They are very funny together and their nicknames are so funny. Their screen time is usually more funny than sweet. But it's nice when Louis tells Yvonne he loves her and she loves him because Louis seems so controlling and all.
Stephanie Che & Lau Dan - 2/5; Really lacking chemistry. First of all, they don't match. Second, when they were together, I just felt that they were more like father and daughter than a husband and wife. Definitely not a good pairing, but what can I say? Lau Dan is a king and he has many wives. In ancient times this pairing was common but Stephanie and Lau Dan just didn't pull it off.
Maggie Siu & Lau Dan - 3/5; A little better than Lau Dan's pairing with Stephanie. Sometimes they are cute together but the chemistry is lacking somehow...
Kingdom Yuen & Robert Siu - 2/5; They're funny separately, that's for sure. But together, they're lacking something and aren't that fun. There's almost no chemistry.. a disappointing pairing. But I heard that Kingdom hates Robert in real life and thinks he's annoying... so maybe that's why. They're ok together.
Kingdom Yuen & Lee Kwok Lun - 5/5; Though not a real pairing in VOH, they are very funny together and very cute!! Great chemistry!! They would have been a much better pairing than Kingdom with Robert or Lun with Celine.
Celine Ma & Lee Kwok Lun - 4/5; Definitely very very funny together!! Good chemistry!!
Sherming Yiu & Hawick Lau - 5/5; Very cute! Their story is touching and sweet! It was so nice when Hawick kissed Sherming and told him that he loved her and would marry her. Very cute couple!
Olivia Fu & Timmy Hung - 4/5; Cute! It was sad when they were pulled apart... It was touching when Timmy said he would wait for her for 3 years, but unfortunately he didn't keep his promise and she never came back. A sad end to this couple with good chemistry!
Chan Hoi-Yee & Timmy Hung - 4/5; Same chemistry as with Olivia. Indeed they are cute also.
The Four Big Beauties - 6/5; This is probably the best pairing in VOH and recent TVB series. The four women look great together and they are so funny! Great chemistry. They all get along so well in the series (chemistry-wise). A great set of 4 women who can all act! They are definitely my favorite to see on screen. I'm very happy they won the TVB 35th Anniversary Award for "Best Group/Couple." They truly deserve it because the screen just lights up when they're together.
Halina Tam & Chan Shan-Shung - 3/5; Though he didn't really love her, they was cute together though. Funny too. It's so sad when he killed Halina...
Sherming Yiu & Frankie Lam - 3/5; I thought they were cute! More so funny though. Hehee
If I left out any couples, please notify me
As much as I love VOH, there are some parts that are flaws. In this section, I will list all the flaws that I saw in the series.
- Ending was too rushed. Since I just finished watching the series, that's the first thing I have to comment on. The ending just finished off way too fast and leaves the viewer feeling overwhelmed. So much happened in so little time. It's amazing almost how it ended so fast. There were parts that I felt in the end could have been given more time and given more focus. If the ending was given more time, everything would have flowed better. The ending was very good indeed, but I felt it could have been even better if it was given more episodes.
- Too much focus on one character at certain times. As much as Kingdom is hilarious, there were times definitely when she got annoying. Especially during the weeks where it was just purely Kingdom scenes. And then there was the time where there was too much Louis. Too much of the women, etc. I wish the producer would distribute the screen time more evenly because it would be more fair and stop certain characters that are usually funny from become annoying.
- Sometimes certain plots dragged on too much. All the stories in VOH are hilarious, but sometimes they come up with these plots that aren't too good. And there were times where I wanted to see a certain part but couldn't see it yet because the current story still didn't end.
- Certain scenes should have been shot rather than just said by the characters. This clears up up and stops confusion. Example, when Bondy left to go to her mother's, that line was said during a dinner conversation and could have been easily not heard. Kingdom & her wedding scene with Robert. Definitely would have been funny to see and I would have liked a proper "goodbye" to Kingdom and Robert's characters.
- Very vague and unclear sometimes. Example, when Joyce saw the queen. What happened we will never know. All we know is that she freaked out and went crazy. There were no details as to whether any conversation happened and it was never brought up again.
- Conflicting stories. Sometimes they say things that don't make sense when you reflect back on an earlier part in VOH. But it can be avoidable because the writers probably forgot what they wrote before.
- Several questions left unanswered at the end. See "Questions" for more of my comments on this.
- Lack of themesong change. I honestly love the VOH themesong very much but sometimes I just wished that VOH would have changed its themesong. Changes after all are refreshing...
- Really loud at certain times, especially when the women argue. So some lines aren't heard that clearly because of the loud volume.
- Some repetitive elements..
- Some parts were just stupid. Because VOH is so long, it's really unavoidable that it can be great in all of its stories. However, VOH makes up for these stupid parts. Still, it's tedious to watch sometimes...
- Slow beginnings. At the beginning of VOH, it wasn't that good, but later it got great. At the beginning of the palace episodes, it wasn't good either, but it got very very good afterwards! These slow beginnings were annoying because you just wished it would be great from the start.
That's pretty much all the criticism I have on VOH. The rest was great!
Nancy Sit - 5/5; Nancy's performance really showed great acting skills in VOH. She's probably the "lead" actress in the series. Nancy is the very funny Mrs. Gam | Kim. She looks cool when she does kung-fu. The only thing bad about her performance was when they had the flashbacks of her when she was younger. Nancy looks weird when she plays a "younger" version of her. Nancy played that part to her best, but it would have been better if another person had played that role. Overall, Nancy deserves a perfect 5 because she gave a thoroughly and convincing performance as the mother of the family and the queen. Very funny and very great acting!
Frankie Lam - 3/5; Frankie is his usual here. Nothing too amazing. He's convincing enough and he matches well with Bernice. He looks more interested in this role than in his other recent series. Like I said, nothing too great to say or comment about. Pretty much a neutral performance.
Michael Tse - 5/5; Definitely one of the best actors in VOH. He's so funny and matches well with both Cutie and Bondy. There really wasn't any flaws in his performance. Indeed he can act and very well too!
Joyce Chen - 4/5; Joyce delivered her sharp and witty lines very well, as they should be said. She's so funny. Her performance was pretty good. Though she tended to overact at certain times, so I gave her a 4.
Johnny Ngan - 5/5; Johnny is so funny as the greedy and gambling-addict pork daddy. He's very convincing in his role! Though his character is annoying sometimes, he gave a great performance nevertheless.
Helen Ma - 5/5; Very great performance in VOH! She's so funny!! I like her a lot in here. Helen is a veteran actress, so it's not suprising that she gave such a great performance. Yes, her character was too greedy and annoying at times, but that's her role and she performed it well!
Cutie Mui - 4/5; Cutie's acting was great. She gave a pretty good performance. Enjoyable character and convincing acting. Cutie looked pretty in her VOH costume!
Timmy Hung - 3/5; His character didn't have too much depth, so there really wasn't much Timmy could do. But, Timmy did all right. Not that bad. He should definitely be promoted by TVB as an actor. I think he can do it.
Sherming Yiu - 4/5; Sherming's acting was good in VOH as well. She really made you feel for her character.
Louis Yuen - 5/5; Very very funny!! He gave a good performance as usual and he just acted so funny!!
Yvonne Lam - 5/5; It must be hard to play a character as slow as Yvonne's in VOH. But Yvonne played it extremely well. She even looks the part. Outside of VOH, Yvonne doesn't look slow at all. But in VOH, she looks very slow and she's just great. I think she's very funny and her acting was good!! You will feel bad for her sometimes because the family is so mean to her sometimes.
Bondy Chiu - 5/5; What would VOH be without her? Bondy is definitely a very important part of VOH. Her performance was great. Bondy looks very pretty in ancient clothes! Her performance was sharp and witty. She played her bitchy role very well!! Without Bondy, VOH definitely would not be as great as it is!
Irene Wong - 3.5/5; Irene has improved a lot. Though only a guest star in VOH as Bondy's lil sis, she gave a good performance in VOH. I just wish she would have remained in VOH longer. She looked cute in VOH and her character was enjoyable.
Lau Dan - 5/5; Being a veteran actor, one could only expect a great performance and that's certainly what happened. Lau Dan is very convincing as the emperor. He fits the image of one perfectly. After his great performance in "Where The Legend Begins," I didn't think he could do comedy so well. But, he definitely changed my mind because Lau Dan acted so well as a funny emperor. He does drama and comedy both well. Great performance!
Bernice Liu - 4/5; Bernice is the rare new actress that does so well for her first time. "Virtues of Harmony" is Bernice's first series and at the beginning of VOH, you will definitely notice that Bernice is a new actress. However, as VOH got better, so did Bernice's acting. She improves so much all throughout VOH that it's amazing. I'm very impressed with her acting!! Her crying scene in VOH is good too. Though it's only a shed of tear and pretty short, it's pretty good. I was surprised that she actually cried. Bernice's acting is very very cute and she plays her character convincingly enough!
Kingdom Yuen - 4/5; Kingdom tends to overact sometimes in VOH. But for the most part, she's extremely hilarious. Definitely a great addition to VOH!! Kingdom is a really good actress! She does drama and comedy equally as well. But I prefer her in comedy. You can even laugh just looking at her (not in a mean way of course). Kingdom is one of the rare actresses that sells her skills rather than her looks. Her voice in VOH (how she made it all high) was very good!
Maggie Siu - 3.5/5; Maggie is a veteran actress, but her performance in VOH was so-so. It was a bit unconvincing at times and she didn't seem too "into" her character. Yet, sometimes she was so funny and her acting was good. Her performance is mixed. But, I gotta say it's nice to have Maggie in VOH though. She fits her character, but her acting is only average... nothing too great. Also, she should have really cried during her crying scenes...
Stephanie Che - 4/5; Stephanie should definitely act in more series!! She's very convincing as the evil concubine and she look really pretty sometimes too! Stephanie's acting is great like her acting is good. Her expressions in VOH are just so funny. Definitely wouldn't mind seeing more Stephanie in the future.
Lee Kwok Lun - 5/5; Probably the best actor in VOH. He is so funny!! His performance is very good!! He's probably the funniest guy in VOH! Definitely happy that he's in modern VOH.
Olivia Fu - 3/5; So-so performance. Nothing too great. Olivia is pretty cute... and her acting is all right.
Karen Lee - 3/5; Karen is definitely very cute!! She's hot at times too. Her acting in VOH is pretty good... I just wish TVB would promote her!
Jessica Chung - 2.5/5; I wasn't too fond of Jessica...maybe because she's not as pretty as Olivia or Karen. Or maybe it's because she seemed expressionless sometimes... Her performance is ok for a small supporting actress.
Yau Ching - 4/5; Yau Ching acted really well in VOH! She's so funny at being slow! I was very impressed and hope that TVB will promote Yau Ching in the future!
Celine Ma - 4/5; Celine is definitely very funny in VOH!! Her performance was good as usual! What she lacks in appearance she makes up for in acting.
Jojo Shum - 3/5; Jojo is very cute but her acting could use improving. Somewhat good performance. Wouldn't mind seeing more Jojo.
Chan Hoi-Yee - 3/5; Hoi-Yee is indeed very cute. I liked her in VOH!! Her acting could use improvements as well..
Hawick Lau - 4/5; Hawick has improved so much. He acted really well in VOH! He played his role really well, especially when he had to be all girly and all. Hawick definitely can live up to being a good actor like his daddy (Lau Dan) is.
Robert Siu - 4/5; Pretty good performance. He's funny but it's a shame that he's annoying in real life though.. still his acting is good and that's all that matters.
Alberto Lo - 5/5; Is this guy gay? If he isn't, then wow... I am very impressed. He acts so girly in VOH and his character is extremely funny!!! He plays the gay roles well. Very good performance!! Very convincing! I personally don't think he's gay. I think he's just a really good actor.
Mary Hon - 4/5; Mary's been in a lot of series recently. Her performance in VOH is her usual. Nothing too great.
Liu Kai-Chi - 4/5; Pretty good performance though he isn't in VOH too often though.
Josphine Lam - 3/5; Josphine wasn't in VOH for too long a time and I was hoping she would come back, but I guess not. But anyway, she did an average performance... not bad not good..
Halina Tam - 4/5; Halina is so cute in VOH!! Very funny!! Halina looks very pretty. I just wish they hadn't killed her character.
Chan Shan-Chung - 3/5; His performance was average... nothing too great to comment about.
Chau Mi Mi - 4.5/5; Mi Mi is her usual funny and cute self in VOH. She acted good as usual. I just wished she was in VOH for longer though..
Michal Lai - 3/5; Average performance. He was funny sometimes.
Mickey Chu - 3/5; Average...
Ellesmere Choi - 3/5; So-so performance.. he wasn't in VOH for too long. But he did ok.
Mark Kwok - 4/5; Mark should be promoted!! His acting in VOH was really good!! It's so sad how his character is killed... He and Maggie match well!
All of VOH is really great and funny, but these scenes really stick out!
- The scene where Michael was trying to give everyone a shot... too funny!!!
- Every time Bernice & Frankie scene were really cute!
- When Hawick kissed Sherming and told her he loved her and would marry her... too sweet!
- When Joyce/Johnny expressed their love for each other
- Every time the family gets along and work together
- The ending... definitely one of the best parts of VOH!
- The "Where The Legend Begins" dream sequence in VOH... so funny!! Nancy acts as Yan Fuk | Han Phuc and they totally spoofed the 7 step scene. Haha. They turned it from something dramatic into something funny! Very impressed with that dream
- Every time the women are together, you know you're going to laugh
- How Stephanie's and her brother's plots always fail. For villains, they are really funny!
- When the family made a wish under the tree to always be together... so sweet!
- When Joyce found out that Johnny was the prince, very touching because she realize she didn't marry the wrong guy after all!
- When Joyce realized how wrong she was for treating Nancy badly
- The part where Albert loved Frankie.. hahaha that part was hilarious!
- Every time the pork parents were so greedy. Very funny
- The various spoofs on certain series that VOH would do in dreams... really clever (like the WTLB one)
- The part where Maggie finally met the emperor... it was great how they did it! And the expression on Stephanie's face when she found out Maggie was now Bo Fei | Bao Phi
- Celine's inability to complete evil tasks that Stephanie tells her to do
- When Lee Kwok Lun realized he had slept with Celine... a classic moment!!
- Celine and how she fought with the pork parents and how nicely she treated them after finding out they were Timmy's parents
- The "age segment" in VOH where the women tried to find out how old Yvonne was and then in the end found out Bondy was the oldest! Haha
- The part were Johnny was learning kung-fu
- The times when Joyce was trying to mold her husband into a perfect husband... too funny!!
- When Michael had to choose between Bondy & Cutie (i.e. to buy certain things)
- Bondy & Cutie working together
- When Kingdom realized that her future "husband" was Lee Kwok Lun (though it didn't come true though)
- The part where Kingdom saw Michael and Louis in drag... hahaha extremely hilarious!!
- During the time when Sherming got pregnant.. really interesting to watch!
- When the queen said "stupid" hahaha so funny!
And of course many, many more great and hilarious moments (that I cannot think of at the moment)
For those who still haven't seen VOH, here's what to expect when you watch it
- A slow start at the beginning but gets much better later
- The palace eps to have a bad start, but gets GREAT later
- Beautiful sets
- Beautiful costumes worn by all the casts and frequent costume changes
- Slow-paced (after all, VOH is a long-running series, not a 20 ep series that has only a certain time to tell its story)
- A lot of scenes with people bickering
- Great chemistry among the cast
- Beautiful filming
- Some sex jokes and very mild situations
- Cute scenes between the couples
- Stomach pains from laughing so much
- To be addicted to VOH (it's very addicting if you love comedy)
- Great performances by mostly all the cast
- Very cute maids
- Many misunderstandings
- Many mix-ups
- Many dream sequences
- Lots of kung-fu scenes by Nancy
- Some (but very little) annoying points where you wished it would move faster
- A rushed but very very happy ending
- Feeling very satisfied after finishing VOH (the series/tapes)
- Many great and classic scenes
- Very witty humor and clever lines
- Overall, a great series worth watching
At the end of VOH, there are still some questions left unanswered and this leaves the viewer unsatisfied because you just wish that VOH could be a little longer to answer those questions that you still have. Here are some things are I picked up that are left unanswered.
- The relationship between Nancy & the queen.. why do they look so much alike?
- Nancy's past... it seems much more complicated
- Olivia... whatever happened to her?
- Kingdom & Robert.. what happened to them?
- Will Yvonne & Joyce have boys or girls? Will Yvonne have both a boy and a girl like they thought?
- What kind of emperor will Johnny become?
- How will the women treat Joyce now that she's the prince's wife?
- How will Joyce treat Johnny now?
- Will the women get along now? (Though it can be interpreted that they probably do, there isn't a clear answer)
- The future of Fun Fun | Hoan Hoan and Hei Hei | Hy Hy
- Whatever happened to Mary Hon? I thought she said she was going to make the family pay because they put her in which her sister? Does she succeed in another plot against them or will Mary turn good?
- The end of Albert Lo... totally unclear but probably he's in jail
- Irene Wong... did she find a new husband?
- Celine's end... we don't know about it at all.
- The end of Stephanie and her brother was just too sudden and their punishment was good but it seem unsafe. Perhaps they might break out and cause more pain?
- The restaurant, yes I know it's successful, but how is business running?
- Will the family ever go back home (to visit)?
- Will Bernice have kids?
Yea, I know some people will say that we can guess what happens, but I really want to know the real answers though.. but oh well. Aside from these questions, VOH leaves everything else answered.
Being a long series, VOH could have been very bad and draggy, but it was not. The cast and production team of "Virtues of Harmony" was very successful in pulling off a classical series. VOH is a series that is very memorable for a comedy. You will always remember it because it's just very very good! VOH is by far one of the most enjoyable series in the past years (from 2001-2003). It's able to captivate its audience and provide much entertainment and laughters. No matter how many times I rewatch VOH, it's always great and hilarious like the first time I watched it. It's a rare and very memorable series. A great cast (that can all act) pulls the great, well written, and witty script into a great series. The writers are geniuses for creating so many stories and always making the audience laugh. Yes, VOH is a long series, but there are many stories that make up the series, so you won't really feel it being "long" that often. Only sometimes when the story isn't that good will you feel that it is "draggy." But most of the time, all the episodes are used to tell a wonderful and delightful story. The story is simple, yet very complicated. It takes the simple concept of a family and weaves it into a very complicating but very interesting story.
The characters are all likeable. VOH is the type of series that you can watch with the family and everyone will like it. But you have to love comedy to really really enjoy VOH because VOH is a pure comedy. Don't watch VOH and expect stories/questions to be answered right away. Watch VOH with patience and enjoy all of its stories because if you watch it and wait for it to answer questions that you have, you obviously won't like it as much because VOH uses a technique of pure comedy woven into an interesting story. Very clever combination. Yes, there are flaws, but it's still a great series nevertheless. Is it worth renting? Definitely! One of the best comedy series ever! It's long but very worth the time and money! Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
If you love pure comedies and want to have a good time and have very very enjoyable laughs, then "Virtues of Harmony" is the series for you! Is it like "Colourful Life"? At the beginning, yes a little bit. When I first started watching VOH, I had like CL so much. And I didn't like VOH too much because I was in love with CL. But after VOH got good, the similarities between it and CL were totally gone. CL was great, a short and sweet series. But VOH is totally different. VOH is longer, funnier, and has a better casting (in my opinion). If you love CL, you will grow to love VOH even more! I know I did. So watch "Virtues of Harmony" with an open mind. It'll leave you feeling very happy and stress-free!! A must rent series!!
Casting: 5/5 stars (great cast!)
Script: 5/5 stars (very witty script)
Comedy: 10/5 stars (EXTREMELY funny)
Story: 4/5 stars (average story, but woven into a lot of details/elements to make it very interesting)
Costumes/sets/filmography: 5/5 stars (beautiful costumes... beautifully filmed)
Overall Ratings: 5/5 stars (a great series despite certain flaws)