SOP Queen


Reviewed by: sukting

March 10, 2013

Rating: two-point-five

Foreword
After a failed relationship with her former boss and ex-boyfriend Gao Zi Qi, Lin Xiao Jie decides to start afresh with the support of her internet pal, Tom. When she finds out that one of her employees, Tang Jun, is actually Tom, and that he's the son of a wealthy business tycoon, she begins to doubt his intentions.
This results in a series of misunderstandings before she accepts him in the end.

Story/Introduction on characters
1. Zhang Han as Tang Jun / Tom Jun is the Huang Hai’s successor but evades responsibility to escape to London to stay with Adam. He spends the money owed from Lan to buy a grape yard but incurs lots of losses due to poor weather. Jun can’t get loans from the bank and has to agree to Lan’s condition to work in Huang Hai for 3 months.

Xiao Jie is sent to England to work on an assignment. Jun helps her to get her handbag back when it is snatched by a thief. Both of them like Peter rabbits so she gets one for him to thank him for his help. He gives her tips on decoration. He has not wanted to return to Huang Hai but flies to Taipei upon knowing that Xiao Jie is there.

Still, he hides his identity from her to tail her secretly when she is alone. Lan brings Jun to attend meetings with Guo Cheng and the brothers but he doesn’t pay attention to only think of Xiao Jie. When seeing Zi Qi kissing Xiao Jie on screen, he quickly accepts the appointment to be Lan’s assistant. Xiao Jie brings Jun around Gao Xiong for business. He is attracted to crystal making and gets her to do it with him.

Zi Qi comes at this time to have dinner with them. Seeing that he has no appetite, she gets him soup. Jun gets very jealous. When she is catching a cold, both men place their suit jackets on her at the same time. When both men are sleeping in a room, Jun deliberately snores to chase him out.

Zi Qi walks out to give Xiao Jie a valentine’s day gift. She has nothing for him and kisses him on his forehead. Jun is mad to create this chance for them. He has to overcome his fear of heights to go on the ferris wheel with her on Valentine’s day with Zi Qi isn’t with her. Upon knowing that Xiao Jie is hurt by Zi Qi’s infidelity, he nearly wants to dump his work aside to fly to Taipei to look for her.

Luckily, she comes to Shanghai instead. Seeing her so upset, he doesn’t dare to reveal his Tom identity. Upon knowing that Jun is Lan’s son, she feels cheated by the two men and goes to London to look for Tom. Worried, he comes along too without telling his family. It is here then she realizes that Tom is also Jun and she feels touched. Jun buys the peter rabbit museum as a gift for her.

I don’t like his acting as he makes Jun comes along as a terrible spoilt brat who is too impulsive and easily jealous. It makes matters worse when he looks like Chan Koon Hei with his crooked smirks. I find him having little chemistry with Qiao En although they have many scenes together.

2. Chen Qiao En as Lin Xiao Jie She is a salesgirl in Hai Yue who dreams of promotion. She wants to further her studies in England and thus wants to find a room to rent. This is how she gets to know Tom online. However, Guo Cheng keeps her back to work in the planning unit to Jun’s disappointment. She finds out that her new colleagues aren’t as helpful as her previous ones so she seek to work her way up.

Due to her outstanding performance, she is promoted to case supervisor. She moves into a smaller unit due to Jun’s help but feels lost after Jia Yi moves out to get married. Because of the money she owes for VIP night, she has to work for Huang Hai but learns a lot from Min. Min later cancels her debt due to her saving the company and sends her overseas for further studies, knowing that this is her wish.

The sticky part is she becomes Jun’s superior now and has to be very strict with him. She is forced to retrench staff and Jun resigns to support them. She realizes that she likes Jun now but is disturbed to see him with Chu Chu. Seeing that Min runs into difficulties when the company goes into trouble, she stays to help as the spy to check on Chu Chu’s plans. She helps in his work and is pleased when the company sends her overseas to improve herself as a reward.

I don’t think she acts very convincingly as a career woman. She still comes across weak to me with her many crying scenes. Maybe her tone can be sterner as a supervisor.

3. Gao Yi Xiang as Gao Zi Qi He is the Hai Yue supermarket CEO and is Ji Qing’s lover. He doesn’t like her to keep it under wraps and he feels like a criminal when they have to hide even in London during an assignment.

He test drives the prize car for a contest into the venue and makes a loud entrance into the mall, attracting attention. Zi Hao grumbles over it as the event is to celebrate New Year. After the event, he ends up building the beer can tower with Xiao Jie after knocking it down. She commands him to help. He is amused when she falls asleep midway.

He sees her working alone at the window display again for Valentine’s day design and stops to help her again. It is worse this time as she sleeps again and he carries her to the bed. He gets so tired that he sleeps on the other side of the bed. When passersby start snapping photos, she finally learns his identity but both are locked in the room. Zi Qi gets her to be sleeping beauty while he becomes the prince for publicity’s sake. Jun sulks upon seeing the report. Zi Qi feels hurt when Ji Qing regards work more important than him. Zi Qi decides to embrace a new romance and invites Xiao Jie home.

He frowns upon seeing her buying cheap food but can’t help praising her after eating. She even keeps some leftovers in the fridge so that he can heat up. It gives her a homely feel and he replies that the food has the motherly taste. He kisses her in front of reporters to make Ji Qing jealous. He later accepts her again and sees how clumsy she is in the kitchen cooking to please him. Ji Qing is really scared that Xiao Jie will snatch him away.

Zi Qi prepares to propose to Ji Qing but reporters charge in so he has no choice but to change the person to Xiao Jie instead. Xiao Jie notices that the ring is a little loose while Ji Qing cries as she hides under the table. Jun protests as he has seen how Ji Qing is for Hai Yue event but gives in when Zi Qi promises to treat her well.

Zi Qi is disturbed by Ji Qing’s persistence but still brings Xiao Jie to try out the bridal gown. When seeing her pretty look, his eyes sparkle to get attracted but Xiao Jie notices that his lips are pale and he is coughing. He has developed a fever so Tian Tian sends him home. He is unwell and yet has to face Ji Qing when back. He doesn’t want to feel tormented anymore.

He demands her to return his home keys to him while she mixes a sleeping pill with red wine, lying that she wants to end their relationship in romance. He drinks it and falls into a deep sleep. Ji Qing then appears in front of Xiao Jie, only wearing a shirt and wears the engagement ring that Xiao Jie has dropped to fit perfectly.
Xiao Jie then decides to work in Shanghai and leaves abruptly. Zi Qi wakes up to find the medicine that Xiao Jie leaves for him and is worried when she doesn’t pick up his calls. He comes to Shanghi too and senses that she is cold towards him. Zi Qi notices that Xiao Jie’s engagement ring is missing and she lies that it is too loose and valuable so she keeps it in a box.
Jun donates 100million to invite Ji Qing for a dance on VIP night. Zi Qi is about to donate the same amount when Xiao Jie rejects him, wanting to donate the amount on her own. Ji Qing wants to donate 50 million to get Zi Qi to dance with her. He rejects her, citing that he has a girlfriend now and has to give in when Xiao Jie cites that she will not mind.

Ji Qing has to increase the amount when Xiao Jie also increases. Zi Qi is stunned when Xiao Jie runs out, rejecting his wedding proposal. He tries to make amends but she maintains that they can’t be together again.

He misses her whenever he sees the beer can tower. He comes to Shanghai after accepting Chu Chu’s father’s invitation. He longs to celebrate his birthday with her but ends up being with Ji Qing. He discovers the ring is with her and she has to reveal the truth. He decides that both of them can’t even be friends anymore and leaves. The war between the two men starts.

Zi Qi forces Xiao Jie to work overtime with him by threatening to retrench her colleagues. She gives in and he uses his suit jacket to cover her when she is asleep. He sighs – it is only now that both of them get to watch the sunrise together but it is too late. He comes to Shanghai due to her and not to help Chu Chu’s father. He doesn’t want to miss any chances with her again. The AGM comes and Zeng Dong has 41% while Lan has 37%.
Zi Qi gives his vote to Lan to help them win so that Xiao Jie need not work so hard. Jun is peeved that Zi Qi is the one who buys their family house when they need money to buy their shares to sell it away and not the Zengs. He has to meet him to buy back their house.
Zi Qi sees that a car is going to knock Xiao Jie down and pushes her again to get injured instead. She is in tears but still wants to be with Jun. He can only be friends with her now. Jun is like a reckless child when compared to him. He improves slightly in his acting and is not as wooden as before. He is now convincing and romantic as the rich gentleman.

4. Zhang Meng as Zeng Chu Chu She is Huang Hai’s PR department manager. She has fallen in love with Jun for more than ten years. She works here in order to get close to him. She is alert when Xiao Jie suddenly works for VIP night. She is at first helpful to her.

After knowing about his affections for Xiao Jie, she kicks up a fuss and tries breaking them up – even by attempting suicide. Seeing that Zi Qi wipes Xiao Jie’s hair dry when she splashes water on her, she takes their photo secretly and sends to Jun.

However, Jun trusts her but tells Xiao Jie not to let him see such photos again as he has a weak heart. He is already very jealous to see Zi Qi working with Xiao Jie. She wants to give them a hard time but Zi Qi advises her not to end up hurting herself instead. After her father’s misdeed is uncovered, she stays with her aunt in Hang Zhou. Her acting can be over the top with her sharp voice. I certainly can’t take it.

5. Jiang Yi as Bai Ji Qing She is a famous model who often shoots commercials for Hai Yue and is in love with Zi Qi. But she prefers to keep their relationship under wraps, fearing that her career will be affected. She is torn when Hai Yue mall requests her to be the spokesperson and Zi Qi asks her to do the same for the supermarket on the same day. She chooses the former and angers him. He then decides to use Xiao Jie to forget her and both break up.

She regrets her choice and turns up for his event after finishing her duty. She prepares food on the spot for him to taste. Zi Qi starts to change his mind. Xiao Jie doesn’t know their connection and is happy over the good sales. Ji Qing starts to envy Xiao Jie for going out openly with Zi Qi. Zi Qi thinks of how to get Xiao Jie to back out. But circumstances end up that he proposes to Xiao Jie.

She cries when watching the proposal scene on television. So she wants him back but he refuses to continue to be her secret lover. Thus, she lets Xiao Jie know the truth. To make her feel worse, she accepts the VIP night assignment to further humiliate her by seizing the party dress that she is supposed to wear to hint that what is not meant to be hers isn’t hers.

She wants to reconcile with Zi Qi but he only wants to be friends with her. In order to get her to be the spokesperson, Zi Qi cooks up rumours to make her believe it. Still, he is very cold to her and she has to give up. I find her better as a TV host than an actress. Her acting is very stiff. The only attractive part is her lengthy legs.

6. Hsia Yu Qiao as Li Jia Yi She is Xiao Jie’s colleague in Hai Yue and both are so close to rent an apartment to stay together. Xiao Jie feels lonely when she moves out to get married. Her son is Xiao Jie’s godson. She has to disclose to Zi Qi Xiao Jie’s whereabouts when he keeps asking her. Xiao Jie will pour her woes to her when she is troubled.

7. Du Ruo Xi as Tang Min She is Tang Jun's elder half-sister. It is quite weird that the siblings take after the mother’s surname. She is the love-child of Jun’s father and his secretary. After her biological mother’s death, she is brought home to be brought up by Lan. Although she isn’t that close to Lan, she is close to Jun. She is in charge of Huang Hai’s VIP event after Jun pushes the job to her. She trains Jun the hard way to make him more responsible and Jun becomes appreciative towards her.

She is about to marry a rich snobbish man in order to save the company from crisis when Xiao Jie ruins her chance. Lan wakes up and says that she will not sacrifice her daughter. She finally realizes that Lan dotes on her all along.

8. Bai Xue as Tang Lan She is Tang Jun's mother. She is perturbed when Jun is very defiant and is glad when he matures after she goes into a coma. She is glad that the siblings can work together.

9. Gino(Cai Shang Pu) as Gao Zi Hao He is Gao Zi Qi's elder half brother and is Hai Yue’s GM. He is in charge of Hai Yue shopping mall. He is always bullying Zi Qi. Seeing that Zi Qi gets more recognition, he beats him up. Both brothers are injured in the process but he doesn’t feel that he is wrong.

10. Nie Ya Liang as Zeng Dong He is Chu Chu's father who is the managing director of Huang Hai. He is powerhungry and seeks to seize Lan’s position. He only gets to be the chairman for a while before forcing out of position due to poor business. Mad that Chu Chu doesn’t get Jun, he gets someone to try killing Xiao Jie but luckily Zi Qi shields her from the attack.

11. Xue Zhi Qian as Xue Shao Qian He is the Huang Hai sales department staff and is Xiao Jie’s helper. However, Xiao Jie doesn’t know that he steals the ideas from Jun’s team for their proposal to win over them. He gets a transfer into another department.

12. Zhou Zi Yin as Zhou Su Su She is a Huang Hai sales department staff. She often worries that she will lose her job and she is unable to send her son for operation. She is relieved when Xiao Jie recommends a doctor.

13. Zheng Fan as Zheng Fan She is also from the sales department. She is a spendthrift and her cheques often bounce back due to insufficient funds. She finally finds someone to marry her.

14. Tang Yi Xin as Su Li She is also part of the team. Shao Qian likes her to often buy low price clothes for her to match. It takes her some time to forgive him over the betrayal of the project to marry him.

15. Ming Dao as Adam Bell (guest star) He is a playboy and is Jun’s friend. Jun wants him to pretend to be Tom but Xiao Jie can detect the difference so he has to tell the truth.

16. Deng Jiu Yun as Ai Mi She is Ji Qing’s manager and wants her to keep her relationship with Zi Qi under wraps.

17. Carmelo Anthony as Tian Tian He is Zi Qi’s assistant to arrange his schedule for him. He knows Zi Qi’s secret with Ji Qing and keeps it from Xiao Jie. Poor him has to juggle with two women when they come together at the same time at the restaurant to hide Ji Qing under the table and lead Xiao Jie into the room to let reporters snap photos of them .

18.Zhou Xiao Hai as Zhou Wen He is the housekeeper who looks into everyone’s needs. When Lan gets into a coma, he braces himself up to give the siblings encouragement. He also tells Jun that Min is very concerned over him to brew soup for him and giving him coffee when he has a nose bleed.

19. Lu Wen Xue as Gao Guo Cheng He is the brothers’ father and is aware of the rivalry between them. He admires Zi Qi’s efforts and gives him chances to develop or prove himself. He admires Xiao Jie’s professionalism and ideas when she recommends clothes to match in the sales department. He transfers her to sales PR department. He has wished that Xiao Jie will return to work for him but she rejects his offer.

Interesting facts
Qiao En shed her usual next-door image to be a career woman. She tried hard to show Xiao Jie’s working ability to lead a team. She had not accepted idol dramas for 3 years as she did not want to be stereotyped as a weakling. She wanted a change to be a psycho or a wicked woman. Although this drama was still an idol drama, the story was different. She had not tried this kind of role before.

The title ‘sheng nu’ was similar to her – she had reached the marriageable age but was still unattached. She talked to the director – the term referred to the remaining woman but they could change to ‘the winning woman’ as they were independent and confident.

Yi Xiang and Qiao En tried hard to promote the drama in Taipei but the viewership was only satisfactory at 2.2 points. They were a bit disappointed as the crew had shot scenes in Shanghai, London before ending in Taipei. They also took pains to get first hand costume outfits.

The ratings in Taiwan was low but it was high when in HuNan. I saw Yi Xiang in person before when he came for Mediacorp star awards in 2010. He was indeed “高富帅” – tall, rich and handsome. Normally men will not look nice with a goatee but it suited him surprisingly. Qiao En stated that this would be her last idol drama. She left everything to natural to act on the spot while Han did lots of homework. They needed time to adjust to each other.

Most favourite character
Zi Qi, he is willing to make sacrifices and learn from his mistakes. Although he sees Jun behaving intimately in front of him with Xiao Jie, he still keeps his cool and woos her openly and gentlemanly.

Most hated character
Zeng Dong, he only wants things to work his way although no one will doubt his love for Chu Chu. A close second will be Chu Chu and Ji Qing. Both know that they lose their chances in love but stubbornly refuse to give up.

Song The opening theme song is Enjoy Being Lonely by Chen Qiao En. It is a fast-pased song but gets cheesy at times. The ending theme song is Being the Friend who Loves You Most by Zhang Han. This is so strange – how can this be possible between a man and a woman? Both are not professional singers so we can’t be too harsh on them. Insert song: How Many of You is by Xue Zhi Qian is the best of all.

Conclusion
At first, I misread the English title - what is S O A P – does it stand for not enough soap or tears? I then realized that it was S.O.P. – standard operating procedure in work. There are 8 elements of success – dare to dream, not fearing hardship, know when to give up, try to forgive and forget, accepting challenges, be flexible, be strong to face setbacks and must go for constant upgrading.

The professional codes are not to have conflicts with the upper management, maintain good relationship with the staff, think of the boss’s viewpoint, be a faithful employee and keep secrets well. Does Xiao Jie meet all the criteria? Is she able to cope with love life and work with the presence of two love rivals?

I find that the title doesn’t fit Xiao Jie this much as she can be wimpy at times. When she is emotionally challenged, she runs away. The real queen is Min – she is not bothered by love relationships to be fully concentrated in her career. The other queen is Lan – she is a career woman but she can balance work with family. Both have to pick up the broken pieces left by Jun.

The love relationships also come across cheesy at times too. Even with pretty or handsome faces, it doesn’t help much in the development. I keep wondering why Ming Dao chooses to be a guest star although his company produces this drama. He could have switched his role with Han. Han and Qiao En look uncomfortable although they do not come across as a mismatch. As much as he tries to be an accomodating lover, he only comes across more like a friend sharing her secrets.

Yi and Yi Xiang look matching as a modeling pair than in the acting department when both can’t handle depressing scenes that well. I find the scenes of Qiao En and Yi Xiang together more touching. Zi Qi knows that he is in the wrong and sets to fix things right.

Unfortunately, he can’t turn back the clock despite what he tries to do. It is sad that Xiao Jie and him can’t be a couple again anymore. This is sad as I actually root for this couple.
Sadly, this drama has no king of S.O.P.s. Zi Qi uses his own wits and guts to get into work. However, he mellows down when Zi Hao picks on him. Jun is more like being pushed for the job. He will not grow if Lan hasn’t been sick. The story is predictable and the company crisis scenes can be very boring. It drags over 10 episodes and that involves many artistes that many of us are not familiar with. It is a very typical power struggle between the directors and the two families. So please do not have too high hopes on many romance scenes.

Sukting’s ratings :
On acting : **1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story : **1/2 (Scale of 5)
On song : **1/2 (Scale of 5)


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