Can't Buy Me Love


Reviewed by: sukting

January 01, 2013

Rating: three-point-five

Foreword
It is a grand production by TVB to celebrate its anniversary. Will you be fascinated by it?

Story/Introduction on characters
1. Mrs Kam – Lee Heung Kam
She is the matriarch of the family. The young respect her and she doesn't throw her weight around. In fact, she reminds Chiu Yeung of her late grandmother and she is the only one in the family whom she treats well. Mrs Kam suffers from Alzheimer's disease but she remembers happenings in the past.

2. Ding Loi Hei – Kwan Kot Ying
The Kam family is the largest gold manufacturer in the grand capital Chang'an. She is the second wife but is the most capable to manage the shop after the death of the first wife and her husband.

3. Kam Duo Fok – Yuen Siu Cheung
He is the eldest son of Kam family. He and Duo Luk treat Loi Hei like their own mother. He doesn't have a head for business but he tries hard later after getting into trouble repeatedly. He protects his younger brothers well and isn't jealous of Duo Sao who is more capable than him. But Siu Yuk is the one who often starts disagreements.

4. Yuen Siu Yuk – Li See Wan
She is Duo Fok's wife who often steals from the home in order to finance her home family members. She is often wary of the brothers for outshining Duo Fok and often tries ‘seizing' their ‘rightful' position. Still, she is part of the family and looks after the family well.

5. Kam Duo Luk – Chan Hou
He is the second son of Kam family who is very weak to faint often. The brothers are deceived to buy the mandarin orange orchard when they think it is a golden mine at a high price. Thus, the business runs into trouble. Duo Luk has to marry the Third Princess to save the family business, because then they will have the right to manufacture gold pieces for the Tang Palace. He initially detests Chiu Yeung but later likes her and refuses to divorce her when she is nearly beheaded.

6. Princess Chiu Yeung – Sheh See Mun
She is the third Princess of Tang Palace. She is beautiful but very unreasonable, and, as such, no one wants to marry her. In order to escape the fate of marrying a Tibetan king Songtsän Gampo, as schemed by the evil Concubine Wei, she reluctantly becomes Duo Luk's wife.

The Princess brings lots of servants to the Kam family after marrying Duo Luk, and stays separately from them. She constantly comes into conflict with the members of the Kam family. She wants them to greet her every day. It is so bad to the extent that they even offer to help Duo Luk to divorce her – but without success. She later becomes close to the family and stands by them from all troubles.

7. Kam Duo Sao – Wong Ho Yin
He is the third son of Kam family. He is also Loi Hei's son They pin very high hopes on him, wanting him to be a general so Loi Hei sends him to Shaolin at a young age. However, he lets them down when he can't complete his martial arts skills practice and has to leave the temple. He then draws the green dragon and white tiger prints on both arms to pretend that he has ‘graduated'.
A fight with Ngan Ping causes him to injure his arm and he pretends to lose his skills from this. However, the truth is uncovered and he has to admit it. He later works in the family shop. See Tak is accidentally drugged and starts removing her outer layer of clothes. While trying to curb his temptation, he starts to discover how attractive she is. They get married in the end despite of difference in status.

8. Ng See Tak – Chung Ka Yan
She is cheated of her money to sell her cow to help a greedy man who doesn't appreciate her efforts to pretend to forget about it. Duo Sao feels sorry for her and gets her to work as a maid in Kam family. She is considerate and loves food. She promotes to housekeeper and later as 3rd Princess when she is said to be exchanged with Chiu Yeung at birth. Later she becomes the 6th Princess after Tai Zong adopts her and be Kam Duo Sao's wife.

9. Emperor Tai Zong – Kwok Fung
Being away from home for long, he spoils his daughters rotten so Duo Luk speaks his mind. He helps to tame the princesses. Even though Chiu Yeung isn't his daughter as stated by Concubine Wai, he saves her life.

10. Concubine Dowager Tsui – Tse Suet Sam
All the princesses are left to her care and she is wise. Seeing how Wing Ho goes mad, she stays with her in the temple.

11. Concubine Wai – Hui Ying Hung
She is jealous that Tai Zong's heart is stolen by Chiu Yeung's mother who is a laundry woman. She takes over Concubine Dowager Tsui's position when she is not in the palace. She feigns her identity to kick her out of the palace after she fails to assassinate her. She later committed suicide by stabbing a sharp headpiece into her chest when her plot is uncovered. Terrific acting by her! Never discover that she can become so evil!

12. Concubine Suen – Yeung Chek Na
She is also Tai Zong's concubine who is wary of Wai. She often alerts Chiu Yeung of trouble.

13. Princess Wing Ho – Chan Mun Chi
She is the First Princess born to the queen so she is very arrogant. She is depreciated to a commoner and expelled from the palace when she tries getting someone to kill Kiu. She goes mentally unstable and she has to rest for a long time.

14. Chiu Wan – Siu Cheng Nam
He is Princess Wing Ho's husband who is often bullied and beaten by her. He leaves the Palace to live with Princess Wing Ho as he knows that she truly loves him to get his favourite white jade.

15. Princess Ching Wan – Ip Chui Chui
She is the second princess and later becomes Chiu Yeung's ally.

16. Hung Chi Gong – Ko Kwan Hin
He is Princess Ching Wan's husband. Also very timid to be frightened of her. He isn't good in archery and he has to work very hard.

17. Princess Chun Ping – Chan Chi Yiu
She is the Fourth Princess and also friends Chiu Yeung later.

18. Cheng Po – Li Tien Cheung
He is Princess Chun Ping's husband. He is often busy with studies.

19. Princess Chun Huai – Li See Yan
She is the Fifth Princess but is divorced as her husband can't stand her bad temper anymore. She later becomes friends with Chiu Yeung.

20. Tai Dak Leung – Cheung Wing Hong
He is Princess Chun Huai's husband, but divorces her as she throws her hairpin at him and she keeps scolding him in public. He finally can't take it anymore.

21. Szeto Ngan Ping – Chan Fala
She is Third Princess's servant. Concubine Dowager Tsui awards her "No. 1 Servant". She is an orphan who is highly skilled and tries to look for a husband. She later becomes Ding Yau Wai's wife after going to him for matchmaking.

22. Ding Choi Wong – Lee Kwok Lun
He is the boss of Ding Fung Ho Gold Shop. He buys Yau Wai from Chan to lie to his wife that he is their son. He is Loi Hei's younger cousin and enemy but they make up when she tries saving his wife from the kidnappers.

23. Mai Yan Ci – Hon Ma Lee
She is Choi Wong's wife who likes jewels. She is loud and wonders why Choi Wong lets the toad, Chan stay over at their house. She never knows that she is Yau Wai's adopted mother.

24. Ding Yau Wai – Ma Kok Ming
He is an official matchmaker and doesn't know that he is adopted to be filial to his parents. He becomes Ngan Ping's husband as she doesn't mind his parentage.

25. Lo Tou yun – Chiang Chi Kong
He is a Tu Jue and is Yau-wai's biological father. He hates the Dings for being with Yau-wai so he finds means to harm them. Although he works for the gold ministry, he is actually Yu-Man Kit's subordinate. He is determined to overthrow Tang Dynasty with Yu-Man Kit. He is killed when fighting with Wong Mang.

26. Cho Kiu – Yiu Chi Ling
She is a prostitute who is also a gambler and is also Tuo Luk's dream woman. He thinks that she is the one who writes the encouraging phrases that he often picks at the forest, not knowing that Chiu Yeung is the one. She is bribed by Princess Wing Ho to seduce Tuo Luk but Tuo Luk is faithful to his wife. Wing Ho tries to kill her but Ngan Ping saves her on time to expose her scheme in front of Tai Zong.

27. Wong Mang – Doi Chi Wai
He is a Tu Jue general and Yu-Man Kit's subordinate. He is also greedy for power.

28. Yu Man Kit – Wong Ho Shun
He is a philanthropist but is actually a Tu Jue prince. See Tak likes him when she is young. He commits suicide when caught by Tang army.

29. Wong Ka Tung – Au Sui Wai
He is an assassin ordered by Concubine Wei to determine to kill Princess Chiu Yeung. Luckily Ngan Ping saves her and is determined to find him. He is killed by poisoning by Concubine Wai.

30. Chui Sim – Lui San
She is a crook who kidnaps Yau-wai from his dying mother to sell to Choi Wong. She then comes to extort Choi Wong and forces Yau-wai to marry her daughter. Tou yun gets mad upon knowing the truth and kills her.

Interesting facts by Wikipedia
After the huge success of Beyond the Realm of Conscience, the filming of a similarly set costume drama comedy started. They were also compared to as "Can't Buy Me Love" also had links with the Tang imperial palace, though it had far more scenes out of the palace. It has also been widely and popularly named the indirect sequel. The two series share the same producer, Mui Siu Ching.

In order to capture the grandeur of the Tang Dynasty, custom-made elaborate costumes and sets were created for the series. Especially grand was Charmaine Sheh's wedding ceremony headgear. A blessing ceremony was held for "Can't Buy Me Love" on 26 February 2010. The heavy headwear proved to be difficult for the cast; it resulted in injuries and discomforts for the members of the cast during filming. Ratings went from 33 to 45 points.

Awards and nominations
42nd Ming Pao Anniversary Awards 2010
Won: My Most Supportive Performance (Sheh See Mun)
Won: Outstanding Actor in Television (Chan Hou)
Won: Outstanding Actress in Television (Sheh See Mun)
Nominated: Outstanding Programme, Outstanding Actress in Television (Fala Chen)
TVB Anniversary Awards (2010) :
Won: Best Drama
Nominated: Best Actor (Chan Hou), Best Actress (Sheh See Mun)
Nominated: Best Supporting Actor (Yuen Siu Cheung), Best Supporting Actress (Kwan Gok Ying), My Favourite Male Character (Chan Hou, Yuen Siu Cheung)
Won: My Favourite Female Character (Sheh See Mun)
Nominated: My Favourite Female Character (Fala Chen,Chung Kar Yan, Kwan Gok Ying, Lee Heung Kam) Won: Most Improved Actor (Wong Ho Yin) Nominated: Most Improved Actress (Li See Wan)
16th Asian Television Awards 2011
Won: Best Actress in a Leading Role (Sheh See Mun)
Nominated: Best Drama Series

Most favourite character
Tuo Luk, he is an intelligent man who doesn't shrink his responsibilities.

Most hated character
Chan, she is a toad indeed, squeezing Choi Wong dry. She even sets eyes on Yan Chi's jewels before leaving.

Song
A very nice song with touching lyrics by Kwan. No one can doubt her singing ability.

Conclusion
I feel like I am watching a period Moonlight Resonance. Seeing how the Kam family clap their hands repeatedly for a chime remind me of how Jo Bao leads his family to sing ‘The moon represents my heart'. Luckily, they stop at here, the changes in plot is quite interesting to watch.
Another lucky thing is the westernized younger artistes do not look modern here. They manage to walk and talk like ancient folks. It must be challenging for them to memorize the script in ancient meanings. Credits must be given to them. See Mun has shown how she transforms to a credible actress in winning the most awards. So is Chan Hou in presenting his talent in comedy.

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


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