Peach Girl


Reviewed by: sukting

June 22, 2004

Rating: one-point-five

Year produced
2002

How long
20 episodes

Foreword
After the manga 'Meteor Garden' was adapted into a television serial, Chai Zhi Ping decided to produce more works. 'Peach Girl' is one example. Did it work as well as 'Meteor Garden'? I will only make a brief description below.

Story

Sha Hui is the school belle. She is pretty and cute looking but she is also scheming. A transfer student, Xiao Tao, is sexy looking and attracts attention when she attends school on the first day. You can never believe it -- she attends the school ball and tears her dress when coming out of the cab. She has no choice but to tear away the remainder. This attracts attention and she becomes the ball belle for the night. That arouses Sha Hui's anger and jealousy. So she comes up with different ways to frame her.

Sha Hui knows that Xiao Tao likes Dong Si secretly. So she decides to break them up. One example is placing condoms in his bag to let Xiao Tao discover them to make her believe that he is very open. Next is pretending to be hit by her broom. Another is to take initiative to kiss him before her eyes so that Xiao Tao will feel disgusted and avoid him when he tries to kiss her on the same place later. Lastly, is to avoiding telling her that Dong Si is hospitalised because of an appendix problem so that he will think that she is not concerned about him. All these make Xiao Tao think that Dong Si is a two-timer.

Her classmates isolate her, her friends cheat on her and also her boyfriend misunderstands her. This hurts her so much that she decides to give up. Dong Si is selfish and hurts her repeatedly and cover up her wounds later. Is this really love? Only when she gets away from him, she realises that she has gone round in cirlces. Dong Si still loves her but is unable to leave Sha Hui. Why? I shall explain later.

On the other hand, the school cassanova, Ah Li, is nearly drowned and saved by Xiao Tao, who is a good swimmer. He likes her but knows that it is hard to win her heart. Be amused when he learns how to swim later and feigns drowning in the swimming pool to cause her to save him again.

Xiao Tao is forced to join all swimming events in the school swimming competition. She is exhausted but she is framed again. The straps to the swim suit breaks into two and she hurries in shame to swim to the side. Sha Hui groups all classmates to sneer at her. Dong Si and Ah Li observe from the side and are anxious but helpless. Ah Li is determined to expose Sha Hui's ugly nature to Dong Si.

He lets Dong Si hide behind a wall. Then he pretends to combine forces with Sha Hui to ruin Xiao Tao. He successfully lures her to speak her true words and Dong Si finally sees through her. Ah Li helps the couple but he is unable to forget Xiao Tao. When he sees Dong Si feeling remorseful, he rushes into the changing room to give Xiao Tao a tight hug. The challenge between Xiao Tao and Sha Hui becomes open. Ah Li brings Dong Si into the changing room. If Dong Si loves Xiao Tao, he must save her to prove it.

Xiao Tao and Dong Si are finally together. She designs a signage between them - 'l' means love but Dong Si is a guy. So he refuses to state his stand when Xiao Tao gives him the hint in class. Xiao Tao sulks after class despite Dong Si's explanation. Sha Hui waits for them to argue and tricks Dong Si to meet her under a tree. She wants to be the third party but Dong Si refuses her flatly and doesn't give her face.

After a night's consideration, Dong Si decides to reveal his feelings in front of the whole class. He shows the 'l' sign. Although he is reprimanded by their teacher, Xiao Tao is still happy over it. The sunshine school garden is filled with their happiness when they walk around. Xiao Tao's birthday is approaching and Dong Si plans to celebrate with her. Sha Hui manages to trick Xiao Tao into leaving Dong Si and go out with her.

Sha Hui lets her boyfriend molest Xiao Tao. Then she wears the same dress and the wig as Xiao Tao to seduce Dong Si. Her scheme is exposed by him but she declares that there is nowhere he can find Xiao Tao. With Ah Li's and sister Ah Chao's help, Dong Si finds Xiao Tao indecently dressed in a hotel room. The couple is speechless on the way back.

Sister Ah Cao brings Xiao Tao to rest in her home. Xiao Tao locks herself in her room and refuses to come out. Dong Si regrets not accompaning her. He knocks his head on her door to beg for her forgiveness. Sha Hui's scheme is exposed but Xiao Tao's nude photos land in her hands. She uses these to threaten Dong Si to part with Xiao Tao. Seeing Xiao Tao in despair after the breakup, Ah Li comes to her side.

He lets her spend lavishly. He even brings her to the best hair salon to set her hair. This is to help her forget her sadness and he is willing to do anything to make her happy. The observant Ah Li also registers in her name to join a gardening course. He wants the fresh air in the countryside with the beautiful plants to cure her wound. Xiao Tao is grateful to him. Ah Li hugs her - does she know what the peach flower tells her - he is her slave!

The school suddenly exposes Ah Li's and sister Ah Cao's relationship. Many say that they have sexual relations in the past. Xiao Tao goes to Ah Li angrily but gets no explanation from him. She nearly wants to break up with him.

Because of the scandal, Sister Ah Cao has to quit her studies. Before leaving, she tells Xiao tao that Ah Li is taking care of her because of his elder brother. She was ditched by him and she was pregnant. He was willing to look after the baby but unfortunately, she had a miscarriage. He did not want to tell the truth to prevent sister Ah Cao from being upset by the past.

Ah Li doesn't wish to hurt anyone but is also unwilling to give Xiao Tao up. So he dashes to the school recording studio. He starts to sing a love song. It has the line: everywhere has your smiles and if you cry, my sky will turn dark. Xiao Tao hears the message. She can suppress herself no longer so she runs there to kiss him.

Introduction on characters

1. An Da Tao - Wu Chen Jun
Xiao Tao is a girl who is sexy and has a dark tan. Many have thought that she isn't a good person. She used to swim in high school so she becomes very dark. Since high school, she has liked Dong Si secretly. She learns that he dislikes girls who have a dark tan so she intends to reveal her feelings to him when her tan is lighter. But when she finally gets into the same university with him, she is often framed by the evil angelic looking Sha Hui and their romance ends quickly.

I feel that she is too mature for the role although her cheerful personality and healthy physique fits the manga version. The others look young and innocent but she looks at least 3 years older than all of them! Moreover, her acting is still raw and it is unbelievable that she is bullied by a girl who is thinner and smaller in size. Shei s a total mismatch with Jian Hao as they don't look compatible together.

2. Gang An Li - Wu Jian Hao (F4 member)
He is the most popular guy in school. He may not behave seriously but he is kind. He loves Xiao Tao at first sight. No matter how she treats him, he guards beside her and never asks for anything in return. When she gets bullied or her relationship with Dong Si is threatened, he tries to be their mediator.

Although Jian Hao proves to be suitable for the role in being active and sociable, I feel that he is reprising his role as Mei Zhuo in 'Meteor Garden'. His fans claim that he gives all a refreshing feeling but I don't feel it.

3. Dong Si Sen Yi Shi - Wu Ke Qun
He knows Xiao Tao from high school and actually they love each other. But being hesitate to tell each other and being an introvert, he misses many chances. He incidentally hears her confession and is overjoyed. But being deceived by Sha Hui, he has many misunderstandings with her and makes her suffer in silence. Because his final choice is Sha Hui, many don't know whether to hate or like him.

If this role is given to Yan Cheng Xu, the effect might be better. Even though many may feel that F4 don't know how to act, they are still able to bring out the spirit of the manga characters. But I wonder if they can accept him as a wishy washy person in here, though. I am surprised to know that Ke Qun has stage performance experience before this serial as he seems very raw and unnatural here. This character is so different from the manga so many are unhappy over it.

4. Bo Lin Sha Hui - Gu An Ru
She is a double-headed snake. when she is in front of others, she is like an angel. In reality, she has strong possessiveness. When she sees that Xiao Tao is slowly becoming the centre of attraction, she is very unhappy over it. She pretends to get close to her but tries to create discord between her and others. When she knows that her beloved Dong Si likes Xiao Tao, she frames Xiao Tao but Ah Li reveals her evil nature in the end.

It is not easy to play an evil person successfully. An Ru is a newcomer but her acting is quite okay. She definitely steals Chen Jun's glamour. She shows how a stubborn girl can become so horrifying. But I find it hard to believe that her role bullies Chen Jun. Why? She looks as demure as Mun Chung Han. Doesn't she look harmless??

Songs
The starting theme is 'The Loved Person is You' by Wang Li Hong. I like it more than the ending theme 'I Still Believe That You Still Love Me' than Liu Hong Hua. Wang sings with more feel.

Interesting facts - which I find more interesting than the storyline itself

The Dong Si role was initially given to Cheng Xu as Chai believed that only Yan can present the cool Dong Si. However, Yan was sick and rejected the role. The company decided in two days to use Ke Qun. Ke Qun joined an MTV contest and was formerly a student from the national arts school. This was the first time he acted in a serial. Because he was used to act on stage and they would not yell 'cut' in the midst of a scene, the producer was satisfied with his performance. They felt his shy and scholarly nature fit the role.

The second obstacle came from An Ru. Many like Jian Hao's role and also gave credit to An Ru. It became a hot topic but also caused disturbance to her. She suddenly went missing for a few days and they had to stop filming. The company nearly went mad and she only appeared two days later. She talked with Chai and decided to continue with the work. She was so upset that she was afraid to step out of home and wanted Chai to 'kill' Sha Hui.

Chai had to pacify her. Others scolded her because she acted too well. Many were taken aback. Normally An Ru was cheerful and her sudden disappearance made all shocked. Because it was impossible to change her to be a nice person all of a sudden, they had to make her acts justifiable.

The scene where Xiao Tao saved Ah Li was filmed when there was a typhoon. The beach was full of rubbish and the sea had floating logs. Because Chen Jun and others had to walk barefooted, the crew had to clean the spot. Jian Hao was also a good swimmer. But when it came to the saving scene, both NG'ed for more than 10 times. They nearly froze when their clothes got wet, dry and wet again! Jian Hao felt nothing in the kissing scene because his lips turned purple due to the cold.

When it came to the pool saving scene, it was raining. Many laughed at Chen Jun. She didn't look like saving someone - she looked like harming someone! She was also unsatisfied when she watched the clips. Jian Hao was grateful that the crew treated him to hot soup after filming so that he would not catch a cold.

The first episode had the ball scene. The crew spent NT$200,000 to find 50 over extras to dance in the pub. Jian Hao and Chen Jun practised Latin dancing for 2 days. The scene when he spins her 360 degrees terrified her. She kept asking him if he could carry her. He consoled her continuously that it would be fine. But the actual filming made all saw how he threw her on the dance floor for several times. He sweated profusely as his limbs and arms went numb. For over 10 times, he swayed her body. The last nearly gave her a brain concussion.

The whole studio was filled with her screams. After the filming, she had blisters so Jian Hao finally took a good look at her. He was attracted by her sexy appearance in the dance dress instead! Chen Jun was very nervous to take up the role. Many had to give her lots of assurance to continue filming.

The manga's author is Shang Tian Mei He. She wasn't that famous but the creation of this manga created popularity. Her mangas are mostly on romances with happy endings and encouragement. Most of the female characters have big eyes and love crying. This manga is different from the rest. Xiao Tao is different from them as she is wild and healthy - different from the other gentle girls. Sha Hui must be her most evil character and it helped her to win the 23rd annual girl comic awards. Even 'Friend' magazine also chose it as No. 1.

The serial version created a new ending for Ah Li and Xiao Tao to be together. Looks like all dislike the supporting actor to wish his lover well in the end to give her away to someone else. It didn't get good viewership as many dislike the storyline and the lack of famous artistes in the serial. Many picked on Chen Jun and Ke Qun's acting, saying that they still need a lot of guidance to do better.

Conclusion

It is a blessing in disguise that Yan doesn't take up the role. I doubt he will help to salvage this horrible drama. This serial isn't worth your time. The acting is stiff and the scheming scenes are so deliberate plus childish that I can hardly stomach. I also wonder how the producers are so easily satisfied by the cast's performance. They really have low demands on them! All sure need more rehearsals to present themselves better. No wonder, many idol dramas are considered as 'trash' - they simply lack the lure, attractive storyline and acceptable acting.

There is no exception to this one. So only watch it if you are a faithful F4 fan or you wish to see Jian Hao to act as the lead for the first time.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : **1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : ** (Scale of 5)


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