The Tale of Rose (2024) 玫瑰的故事

Summary: The story begins in 2001 when Huang Yi Mei 黄亦玫 featuring Liu Yi Fei is 22.  From a young age, she showed artistic talents and when she entered the work force, quickly was given prominent projects. She fell in love with her work partner 庄国栋 Zhuang Guo Dong featuring Peng Guan Ying but they ultimately missed each other.  This experience at work pushed Huang Yi Mei to change her life plan to return to school. After graduating, she marries fellow student 方协文 Fang Xie Wen featuring Lin Geng Xin but their life paths diverged and they divorce. Huang Yi Mei decides to be an entrepreneur in the art field and it is here she meets her soulmate Pu Jia Ming 溥家明 featuring Huo Jian Hua. 

 

Total Episode Count: 40

Initial Airing Date: June 8, 2024

Platform: CCTV 8, Tencent

*Note – English translations may not match official translations.

Initial Rating [first 13 episodes]: 7/10 – A more mature drama on relationships as we span 2 decades of Huang Yi Mei’s life, this show is essentially what happens after the fairy tale ending of a rom com and sadly, it is not happily ever after. There are themes of female empowerment but this drama touches on real challenges regarding women in the workplace and their relationships. It will trigger introspection but may deter viewers for its heavier/realistic portrayal.

Liu Yi Fei is once again stunning in this show and pairs well with the other handsome and beautiful women in the cast. 

huang yi mei 黄亦玫

liu yi fei 刘亦菲

Young woman from Beijing

huang zhen hua 黄振华

tong da wei 佟大为

Brother to Huang Yi Mei. Architect.

zhuang guo dong 庄国栋

peng guan ying

Huang Yi Mei’s first boyfriend. Fluent in French

fang xie wen 方协文

lin geng xin 林更新

Huang Yi Mei’s (ex) husband. They met in grad school

su geng sheng 苏更生

wan qian 万茜

Colleague of Huang Yi Mei

fu jia ming 傅家明

huo jian hua 霍建华

Soulmate of Huang Yi Mei

he xi 何西

lin yi 林一

Pilot 

jiang xue qiong 姜雪琼

zhu zhu 朱珠

Huang Yi Mei’s first boss at Cyan

 

Initial Thoughts

Another year, another Liu Yi Fei drama. I am consistently in awe at just how beautiful Liu Yi Fei is on screen and even when she wears outfits that would definitely not fly in corporate America, I can’t help but oggle at how gorgeous she is. A key premise for the beginning of the drama is that men continuously profess their love to Huang Yi Mei because she’s beautiful and is full of life. Given that it’s Liu Yi Fei, I can completely understand the sentiment.

This drama has breached 31000 on Tencent’s popularity index, and has breached 2% on CCTV8 in terms of television ratings which means it has a decent run. I think TV ratings wise it is doing even better than Joy of Life season 2. I had no idea how this drama would do given its more mature themes but these numbers show there’s draw for Liu Yi Fei plus the supporting cast of men like Lin Geng Xin and Huo Jian Hua and this type of drama plays well with general Chinese audiences who have access to CCTV8. 

However, personally, of the three dramas she’s starred in the last 3 years, I would say this is my least favorite not necessarily because the quality is lacking. On the contrary, I think her acting has improved quite a bit and the supporting cast is also strong, with unique characters. Instead, it’s because this drama is “too real”. This drama has triggered decent online discussion because the relationships Huang Yi Mei enters are reflections of various relationships people enter into real life. 

Therefore, if you are looking for a drama that will be an “escape”, this sadly will not be that drama. There’s more emphasis on how relationships fall apart which will lead to anger and potentially tears on the viewer’s part.

 

Thoughts on Key Characters

Rather than likes and dislikes of this drama, I just have…Thoughts on key characters. Here they are:

  • Huang Yi Mei: I do admire Huang Yi Mei. She’s intelligent, smart, brave and has a high EQ. She is proficient at her job and is willing to work hard. However, she is quite a conflicting for me because she’s shared some important female empowerment lines but then other times, she throws those out the window. For example, she is indignant why she is punished for a man professing love to her and breaking up his engagement. However, she said that in a choice between love and work, she will choose love because a work is something she can switch and just find somewhere else. But love? That’s more important. Ummm….
  • Zhuang Guo Dong – Huang Yi Mei’s first boyfriend. Both Zhuang Guo Dong and Huang Yi Mei were drawn to each other from their first meeting. This could have been a rom com on its own. They ended up working together as business partners on a project and after some cat and mouse, finally made clear each other’s interest. Their connection was instant, fiery and passionate. This is exactly the plot of a steamy romance book or movie. Except, reality hit and real life happens. Zhuang Guo Dong, while clearly in love with Huang Yi Mei, also has to focus on his career which he put above Huang Yi Mei while for Huang Yi Mei, she put “love” above work. His problem is that he thinks he knows what’s best for both he and Huang YI Mei but he never asked her. He thought she would just drop everything and follow him to France, or be ok with a long distance relationship. Years later, he still cannot understand why she broke up with him which speaks to his over confidence. Everything she did after they broke up must have been about him. He over inflated his importance and cannot understand/accept why she would want a life without him
  • Fang Xie Wen – Huang Yi Mei’s second boyfriend and eventual husband. Initially he showed himself as kind, caring and thoughtful. Another textbook romance of two people meeting at school.  Rather than the passionate romance, this one is more reflective of the cute everyday and slow paced relationship.  But Fang Xie Wen’s biggest fault is his inferiority complex. He became attracted to Huang Yi Mei for her beauty and did everything he could to be in her orbit so she could fall in love with him, but then he became overly protective and jealous because he wasn’t confident in Huang Yi Mei’s love for him. He became controlling and isolated Huang Yi Mei so that she became a shell of herself. This was even after they became married which doomed their relationship. This relationship is so scary because you don’t see the signs until its too late. Fang Xie Wen was so kind and caring at the beginning but it took quite some time for his true character to reveal itself. 

To be continued!

Karen

 

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