Beauty Knows No Pain

Reviewed by: Pink_Ink

September 18, 2010

Rating: three-point-five

Michelle, Maggie, Joyce and Elena's characters all work for a skincare company called PDSD. Savio Tsang is the General Manager and Michelle is a senior brand manager in charge of the brand 'Lafa'. Michelle has a seemingly perfect balance between work life and family life with a loving husband in Dominic Lam, but it all falls apart as the series progresses. Joyce is her secretary, who is known for being unattractive but with a great figure. Maggie is a newly hired brand manager who is charge of the sister-brand of Lafa, known as 'Stella Young'. Elena is a brand manager in charge of 'Purple Queen', who tries to scheme her way to becoming a senior brand manager.

Joe Ma and Power Chan both work in the marketing department of PDSD. Joe had previously dated Maggie, but after breaking up with her, he marries JJ Jia. The series chronicles the business in-company fighting between the characters and touches upon issues that women often come across and may be troubled by, such as skincare, pregnancy, menstruation, or plastic surgery. The Chinese title of the series literally translates to 'Women are the most in pain'.

Acting / Characters
Michelle Yim / Noble (Mrs. Cash) – My favourite character. She was thoughtful and kind, yet worldly enough so that she still had moments where she would give some attitude if need be. I don't know why Michelle needed a wig though – I think she could have pulled off successful power-woman even with her naturally longer hair – but I really didn't like how the wig looked so big because it just stuck out and Michelle is such a petite person. Plus, Michelle is a 50-something year old woman playing a 40-something year old woman. Clearly Michelle usually looks young enough to pull that off, yet they've dressed and styled her like a 50-something year old!

Maggie Cheung/Jackie – For a protagonist, Jackie wasn't very likeable at all – and that was right from the start, not just when she went wayward. It was extremely exasperating that for most of the series, she was portrayed as a person you're supposed to support. Not always – they did show moments where she was lectured by Noble, and certainly towards the end you knew she was wrong - but she was mostly shown as a protagonist. She was stubborn, unthinking, extremely selfish and a compulsive liar. At times the things that she did for personal gain were on par with what Angela Auntie did, or worse – and Angela was the token 'evil' character. It was frustrating to see her continuously doing questionable things and having everyone brush it off quickly because she was the 'good' person. Angela was quite right when she said 'And I thought I was ruthless, but it turns out you are even more ruthless than I am'. When Jackie was vying with Noble for a job position, Noble got ahead by knowing Korean – which was down to her existing knowledge and knowing her audience. Jackie, however, tried to get ahead by proposing a day out at sea and then suggested that Noble shouldn't go because of her pregnancy – now that's just mean. She got the job in the end via a series of underhanded tactics too, which makes you wonder about her actual abilities in the role. She did deny stealing Noble's idea: she insisted she had the same idea but decided to announce it first once she found out that they had the same one. But did she? At that stage of the game, she had lied and denied her way through everything, so was she lying or telling the truth then? Who knows. Sure, she expresses regret for most things afterwards, but her initial reaction is always to step onto others to climb the corporate ladder. It was great that she didn't get her man at the end, because she didn't deserve him, but her friends forgave her and she had the promotion which I thought was too happy an ending for her. So what's the lesson we learnt there? Stomp on others and use underhanded tricks – you risk losing your man, but your lovely friends will eventually forgive you and you'll get to the top of the corporate ladder. How comforting. Maggie was natural and believable as the character, although seeing how annoying the character was, I'm not sure that's a positive reflection on her.

Joyce Tang/Bibi – A very cute and naïve character who was really too naïve. Likeable though, and you couldn't help but feel sorry for her when she's let down. I actually found that the pre-makeover Bibi looked far younger and cuter. The post-makeover Bibi, ie. Joyce Tang's natural look, just didn't look sweet enough to be the character. It certainly looked 'hotter', but Joyce has fairly sharp features that can look less than friendly. It just didn't seem to match the character anymore. I can appreciate how they gave the character big breasts to show that it's not always a good thing and can get you unwanted attention, but they could have tried to make them look more real. They looked like two stuffed pillows.

Elena Kong/Angela – Angela is the main 'evil' character, and she always attempts to sabotage the other brand managers. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much, but her character was actually quite funny. I felt sorry for her at times when Jackie/Mrs. Cash got one over her because they had been somewhat deceptive in their ways but the audience was supposed to support them anyway because they were the protagonists. Her final downfall was due to Jackie pulling a stunt on her that was much worse than anything that Angela herself had done, and it ensured that Angela would never work in the industry again. Despite how this was shown as a triumphant moment, I hated Jackie's smugness. Angela ended up as an insurance salesperson, and considering the great ending Jackie got despite being more evil, I felt quite sorry for Angela. Elena was good though - this is the second time I've seen her in a series, I quite like her.

Joe Ma/Nick – Nick is a really nice, somewhat undeveloped character. He's nice, supportive, good looking – but without much depth. His breakup with his wife kind of came and went and didn't really seem to affect him all too much. As the title of the series suggests, the women are the main focus on the series and the men generally take a backseat. The character was almost too nice though, always bending over backwards for Jackie when she blatantly did not deserve it. Joe Ma was OK in the relatively unchallenging role.

Power Chan/Chi Lam – Chi Lam works under Nick in the marketing department, and was surprisingly much more fleshed out as a character than Nick was despite the latter being the 'main' lead and Chi Lam being supporting. He comes off as an awful chauvinist and generally likes to prank and insult people, but he is actually very filial and caring in his own brash way. He was pretty hilarious too, randomly throwing Mandarin phrases around and generally treading the line between witty and offensive. Power Chan was great, as he usually is.

- The friendship between the three main ladies was marred by Jackie's ambition and priority of her job over her friends, but the admiration and respect that Bibi had for Noble and the care that Noble showed Bibi was very sweet.

- Dominic Lam did well as the loving-husband-turned-mean-ex, as did Yoyo Chen in the role of young seductress.

- Savio Tsang was wasted in his small, useless role. He is such a fine actor, not to mention he looks like he hasn't aged in 10 years, yet TVB never gives him any meaty roles.

- I see Gordon Liu doing comedy so often that when I see his face, I just want to laugh. So when it got potentially romantic at the end, I couldn't help but feel a little weird about it.

- JJ Jia has Cantonese that is laughably bad, but she is so pretty and cute.

- Everyone was really heavily made-up and stylish. There were nice pretty clothes to look at, if nothing else. There was also a group of young OL girls who didn't do much but fill in space at the office. Useless, but pretty.

Overall it was mostly a light-hearted series with no killing or dying – merely lying and cheating. It wasn't anything mind-blowing nor did I feel like I had to be glued to my seat, but it was entertaining enough in an irrelevant kind of way.

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