Life Made Simple


Reviewed by: OwarinaiYume

August 30, 2006

Rating: four

Cast

Roger Kwok - Ding Seung Wong
Jessica Hester Hsuan - Catherine Wong Kei Fung (Lo Por Jai)
Bosco Wong - Michael Chung Tze Chung
Leila Tong - Angel On Kei
Raymond Cho - Lok Kui Shing
Paul Chun - Chung Kam Wing
Lo Yuen Yan - Ding Sau Lin
Hui Siu Hung - Tong Fook Shui
Angela Tong - Lee Siu Ho

Synopsis

Ding Seung Wong (Roger Kwok) is a thirty-year-old man with an IQ of a little boy. However, he seems to finds ways to make everyone around him happy. Many people refer to him as silly or stupid, but he persistently calls himself, 'dan suun' which is the Chinese term for a person who takes things simply (fits the title of the series quite well, no?).

When Ah Wong was in school, nobody wanted to play with him because they thought he was stupid, but a girl by the name of Wong Kei Fung (Jessica Hsuan) accepts him. Ah Wong remembers playing "house" with Ah Fung, he would always play the father and she would play the mother. Thus, the name "Lo Por Jai" was born!

Many years passed, Ah Wong and Ah Fung are still very close. But when Ah Fung is accepted to a college in America, she finds that she has to leave for four years. However, Ah Fung's mother likes to spend money a lot. Investing her daughter's college money, the mother who only wanted to help her daughter ended up getting tricked. Therefore, Ah Fung didn't have money to pay for school.

But as if it were meant to be, Ah Fung finds out that Ah Wong's mother had collected valuable golden coins so that Ah Wong can get married. Knowing that he had an IQ of a child and he would be easy to trick, Ah Fung talks Ah Wong into giving her the money. They plan to buy fake coins and paint them gold, placing them back into the piggy bank.

Ah Fung is gone for four years, and comes back with her cousin Angel (Leila Tong), also returning with an English name, Catherine. Working for Chung Kam Wing, she also meets Michael (Bosco Wong) who is her boss' son. Michael begins to develop feelings for Catherine and is very intrigued by her. He doesn't mind that Ah Wong is rather different than others, in fact, he learns to accept him as well.

Ah Wong also ends up getting a job at the same company as his "Lo Por Jai" and is very happy. But what he doesn't know is that Chung Kam Wing is his biological father. When Ah Wong was a little boy, Wing despised him for being so different. He was also planning to find another woman to have a baby, because he couldn't live with the fact that he had a 'special' son. Ah Wong always believes that his father is an astronaut, because his mother (Ding Sau Lin) had told him so.

Angel has feelings for Michael, Michael has feelings for Catherine, but Ah Wong has feelings for Catherine as well. Ah Wong feels like there is nobody in the world other than Catherine that is suitable to be his wife. Catherine at first is willing to leave Ah Wong for Michael, but just in time - she realized how much Ah Wong meant to her and how much he had done for her. She tells Ah Wong that she already wants to spend the rest of her life with him.

Characters

Roger Kwok as Ding Seung Wong
Ah Wong is thirty years old but has the IQ of a seven-year-old boy. Because of his childlike innocence, he treats people and even things in a very simple way. Even if he faces any setbacks, he is able to overcome them with his perseverance. Ah Wong was brought up by his mother Ding Sau Lin. Almost everyone shuns him except for his childhood friend/"sweetheart", Wong Kei Fung. Ah Wong helps Fung to fulfill her wish to study overseas by giving her the money that his mother helps him to save up for his marriage. Then, he waits faithfully for her return.

A lot later, Ah Fung is caught in a dilemma; she is unable to choose between Ah Wong and Lok Kui Shing. After her experience with Michael Chung, she is uncertain about who to choose. Finally, she decides to leave for an overseas assignment for her company. Years later, Ah Wong still cannot forget his "Lo Por Jai". He works very hard and comes up with the recipe of "Lo Por Dumpling" (Wife's Dumpling).

I became an instant fan of Roger after Square Pegs. I was very excited when I heard the modern version was coming out. Roger was able to portray the "Dan Suun" character, and although his voice was a little annoying at times, I loved his different tones when he spoke. For example, he would talk and at the end of the sentence his voice would go pretty high-pitched, it always made me laugh every time I heard it. Roger was great as Ah Wong, and he has brought me many laughs through the series.

Jessica Hsuan as Wong Kei Fung
Ah Fung is kind by nature and she has a happy outlook on life. She is very thrifty and righteous - she is not easily defeated. Fung comes from a low-income family and she is the childhood good friend of Ah Wong. She is a strong believer that knowledge can change one's destiny. She works very hard to save up her money, hoping to go overseas study.

Fung comes back to Hong Kong after she graduates and works in Chung Enterprise. Fung is bullied and oppressed by her cousin Angel who also works in Chung Enterprise. Fung begins to realize that one tends to lose out if he is too straightforward because only the fittest survive. Fung decides to climb up the corporate ladder using shortcuts instead of hard work. She even makes use of Ah Wong to befriend Michael (Ah Wong's half-brother). In the meantime, Lok Kui Shing tries to win Fung's heart. Ah Wong feels sad but he still wishes Fung and Shing happiness. Finally, Fung leaves for overseas when she is unable to make up her mind about whom to choose.

Jessica Hsuan has always been a good actress and she has always been able to give a great performance. Life Made Simple is no different. Although I found her character a bit selfish at the beginning when she took Ah Wong's money, I thought that she made up for it when she always stuck by Ah Wong's side. However, in the series when Jessica was supposed to be a model for a magazine, I found that Jessica is not too photogenic. At times, I find her very pretty - but mostly, she's quite shabby.

Bosco Wong as Chung Tze Chung
Michael is born with a silver spoon, thus he is considered as the ideal bachelor for the single ladies. Michael loves all the attention and enjoys mingling among the ladies. Both Angel and Fung, however, captivate Michael. He has a sudden crush on Fung and proposes to her. Later, he regrets and refuses to marry her, which ends up hurting her in the process. Initially, Michael treats Ah Wong very well to thank him for saving his father. Michael also likes Ah Wong's unique thoughts, which are helpful to him and the company of Chung Enterprise. He also feels that Ah Wong is not a hypocrite and thus treats Ah Wong as his good partner. Later when Michael knows that Ah Wong is his half-brother, he is unable to accept him. he even tries to frame Ah Wong for a car accident. Thus, his relationship with his father is strained.

Bosco intrigued me in this series - but not in a good way. This is quite a different Bosco from what I have seen. When he told Jessica that he had a crush on her, I thought, "Ew, that's like brother and sister love!" And just when I was thinking that, as if on cue, Jessica said, "Sorry, I don't do brother and sister love." It's true, they look more like brother and sister rather than girlfriend and boyfriend. Bosco's character seemed rude to me, as he framed Ah Wong for the car accident. It made me wonder, he could accept Ah Wong as a friend and treat him nicely, but when he learns Ah Wong is his brother, Michael treats him with indecency! However, Bosco's performance was good, but I liked his performance a lot better in Au Revoir Shanghai.

Leila Tong as Angel On Kei
Angel looks sweet and friendly but she is actually a hypocrite. She is proud, vain and full of jealousy. She is also very scheming and goes all the way to get what she wants. Angel graduates from overseas and to ensure that she leads a good life, she wants to marry a rich husband. Thus, Michael is her target. When she returns to Hong Kong, she works for Chung Enterprise to get close to him. She fights with Fung over a post in Chung Enterprise and uses unscrupulous ways to get to the post. She even gets Fung to be her assistant. However, she is very jealous when Fung ends up with Michael. She uses all methods that she can think of to drive them apart. Therefore, Angel and Fung become enemies even though they are cousins.

Leila Tong's usual characters are usually very nice and sweet. I absolutely hated her character in this series. I wanted to scream whenever she came on the screen. I hated how she stole Ah Fung's idea in order to get into Chung Enterprise. I also didn't like how she purposely said or did things to make Fung look bad. I felt bad for Fung because she had such a mean cousin. I learned to like her character slightly better towards the ending. Slightly. Although I didn't like her character much, her performance was well done. I haven't seen her play a role like this one before, but she did a pretty good job. I hope to see more unique characters!

Review

Life Made Simple was one of the best series I've seen. Although I'll always like Square Pegs more, I felt that this series was a good attempt at overcoming it. Funny, I didn't like Leila's character in Square Pegs or in this series. However, I love Ah Wong - meaning that I am a fan of Roger Kwok - and I hope that he has more roles like this. Not exactly like this, but roles that are less serious and sophisticated. Jessica Hsuan has always been able to impress me, I feel she is one of the best actresses involved with TVB! Although Leila Tong has been acting since she was little, I've never been a real fan of hers. I think she is pretty and very photogenic, but her acting never really captured me. I feel Raymond Cho has potential, but since he's a supporting character, I never really have much to say about him.

I felt some parts of the series were kind of boring. Also, I didn't like how there was a short Jessica and Bosco pairing. It just made my stomach churn. However, this series gave me a good laugh, a good cry, and a reason to not judge people before I meet them. After watching this series, I would love to meet a person like Ah Wong, wouldn't you?

This series is definitely worth watching, but you shouldn't compare it with Square Pegs because you'll be quite disappointed. The story isn't nearly as good and it isn't nearly as funny. But Life Made Simple is a good series and if you are a Leila fan, it is a good opportunity to see a different side of her! If you are a Bosco fan, this could possibly be your favourite series of 2005. If you are a Roger and Jessica fan - again - don't think back to Square Pegs. Overall, I give Life Made Simple 4 out of 5 stars.


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