Meet Yourself (2023) 去有风的地方 

Summary:  Luxury hotel manager Xu Hong Dou 许红豆 ft Liu Yi Fei 刘亦菲 worked nonstop over the last 10+yrs in Beijing to climb the corporate ladder. But when her best friend suddenly dies of cancer, she realizes that there is more to life than just work. She resigns her position and heads to a beautiful village in Yunnan, a place her best friend always wanted to visit, for an extended stay.

There, the pace of life slows down as she meets handsome local Xie Zhi Yao 谢之遥 ft Li Xian 李现 and many other adorable inhabitants and visitors of the village. 

 

 

Total Episode Count: 40

Initial Airing Date: January 3, 2023

Platform: MangoTV

 

Initial Score: 7/10 – A calming modern day drama that could double as a Yunnan province tourism ad. Meet Yourself is sure to bring a smile to your face as you relax with Hong Dou during her stay while also learn some of the challenges of living in these villages.

Final Score: 7/10 – A drama that will help cure depression, it’s an interesting show that is both grounded in reality but also almost too idealistic. I enjoyed joining Xu Hong Dou on this journey of self discovery and meeting the many adorable people in Yun Miao Village.

Initial Thoughts:

In Liu Yi Fei’s first modern day drama, Meet Yourself is the perfect drama to stave off the winter blues as we join Hong Dou in the lush green and colorful Yunnan province.

This drama will likely resonate more with millennials and older rather than younger viewers; those who have worked hard in their careers for several years but struggled to achieve work life balance. Xu Hong Dou is never “off” work due to the nature of her role nor does she take vacation or have time to cook. Her fridge is filled with expired foods she never cleared out.  (Is she me?) This brings a realism to her character and it makes sense why her best friend’s death hit her so hard. Many of the plans her friend made with her never came to fruition because Xu Hong Dou was always working.

When she ultimately decides to leave, she comes to a charming little Miao minority ethnic group village in Yunnan province to stay for 3 months. It is an absolutely lovely place and we are brought along for the ride as Xu Hong Dou sees what life is like once she stops hustling.  She meets Xie Zhi Yao, a local entrepreneur, raised in the village. As Hong Dou explores the village, we see the kindness of both the villagers and visitors on full display.  And there’s plenty of adorable animals around too!

Xu Hong Dou

许红豆 ft Liu Yi Fei 刘亦菲. A former front desk manager at a high-end hotel, she quits her job to travel and enjoy life following the death of her best friend

 

 

Xie Zhi Yao

谢之遥 ft Li Xian 李现. Born and raised in Yun Miao Village, he gave up his high paying investment job in Beijing to help build up his hometown.

 

Grandma Xie

谢阿奶 ft Wu Yan Shu 吴彦姝. The adorable grandma to Xie Zhi Yao. She dotes on her grandchildren (and Hong Dou) with a firm but loving hand.

Na Na

A visiting resident in Yun Miao Village, Na Na helps run the local cafe and becomes fast friends with Hong Dou. She harbors a secret but has enmeshed herself for now in the village

Xie Xiao Chun

谢晓春 ft Dong Qing 董晴. Distant relative to Xie Zhi Yao, she runs the residence that Hong Dou stays in. Short tempered but capable, she works with A Yao to build up the village

 

 

Hu You Yu

胡有鱼 ft Niu Jun Feng 牛俊峰. Aspiring musician and another resident of the complex, he makes his living singing his songs at local bars. 

 

Da Mai

大麦 ft Ma Meng Wei 马梦唯 An introvert and night owl, she lives in You Feng complex where she spends her evenings trying to combat writers block as a detective writer

Ma Qiu Shan

马丘山 ft Tu Song Yan 涂松岩. At first mysterious and subdued, he spent much of his time meditating in the complex only to reveal he has more ambition than meets the eye

Liu Yi Fei is once again captivating in this drama. I’m guessing Liu Yi Fei chose to film this role just so that she could enjoy Yunnan as well and it shows on screen. She gets to eat interesting foods, visit beautiful villages and learn Miao crafts! I guarantee that there will be an explosion of tourists hoping to visit such locales in Yunnan after this drama airs. Her chemistry with Li Xian is also quite sweet as well. Similar to A Dream of Splendor, you’re watching two adults build a strong foundation for a relationship and it is such an easy watch. 

What IS notable is that the drama does highlight the challenges of living in this type of village. Money can be tight for the locals and healthcare access a challenge. This causes many villagers to leave to the big cities for a better life.  The exact juxtaposition of Xu Hong Dou who left the big city. I’ll be interested to see how these storylines intertwine because they are social commentaries that are extremely relevant.

However, some of these side stories due to a diverse cast are not as intriguing as the main couple. The leisurely pace of the drama, thus far, also means it will not be one of the most gripping dramas out there. It’s a great drama to have on in the background but perhaps its not necessary to be fully immersed.

 

 

 

What I liked:

  • No villains: There is no bad guy that our main characters need to face. Instead, each person in Yun Miao Village comes from different backgrounds and they have different inner demons they must face to grow as a person. I loved that each person who goes to Yun Miao Village’s short term stay is at their core a kind person who is happy to help others. There’s no “bad” person. Sure, there might be someone you empathize with more than others but on the whole, the cast of characters are all helpful in their own way which creates a show that’s full of life.
  • Adorable cast: I adored almost everyone in the show. From our main couple Xie Zhi Yao and Xu Hong Dou, to Grandma Xie, to the little children, to the other tenants in Yun Miao village. This cast is diverse and you do get a little lost remembering who is related to whom but I appreciate that there was plenty of screen time given to older actors/actresses rather than just the young beautiful ones. You could better related to the challenges, and wins of each person and that made me really appreciate the show.
  • Miao Culture/Scenery: Yunnan is home to many different ethnic minorities and in this drama we see that on full display. But what I most appreciated about this drama is that this show didn’t try to sell the Miao culture to you. Instead, you feel like you’re immersed in its world as villagers showcase their traditional skills while also trying to immerse in the modern world. Grandmas, aunties, uncles, children, just living their lives in the Miao culture. This brings up the question of how to modernize while also maintaining a culture’s unique identity. Regardless of the answer, I thoroughly enjoyed the immersion. So many fans of the show are now flocking over to yunnan to experience the lovely scenery and culture.
  • Adult relationship/Boundaries: A theme I’m finding in Liu Yi Fei’s dramas is that her relationships are very mature both in this drama and in A Dream of Splendor. She made it very clear from the beginning that she does not do long-distance relationships and Xie Zhi Yao is extremely respectful of that. Despite their obvious attraction to each other, they understood that Xu Hong Dou was here on a specified timeline. He could not ask her to stay, WHICH WAS HUGE, and she didn’t ask him to leave. It was only after careful thought from Xu Hong Dou’s side that ultimately moved their relationship further along. This is how people SHOULD think about relationships especially when in a crunched timeline.

 

What could have been better:

  • Trim the fat on some side characters: For the most part, the different characters in the show were fun and engaging. There were a few, e.g., Hu You Yu’s romantic plot, I found rather dull and dragged the show on. 
  • Idealism: Maybe I’m just a cynic but I think the drama had challenges with juxtaposing the realistic challenges villages like Yun Miao village faces and then the idealistic outcomes of change. I don’t want to spoil too much for the show but it ultimately left an uneven feeling for me at the show’s closing. It just seemed unbalanced and almost too idealistic. Which, in this world, is probably necessary.