I cannot believe that I have not written a drama review since July. Honestly, sometimes dramas become too repetitive or similar, so I usually take a break and then come back when I find something interesting. Currently, I have a good list of dramas that I plan to review.
For today, I will be reviewing Before We Get Married. Also known as Wo Men Bu Neng Shi Peng You (We Cannot Be Friends). It is a 2019 Taiwanese drama that stars Puff Kuo and Jasper Liu as leads. The drama’s plot is adapted from an original novel of the same name, written by Fang-Yun Tsai (pen name – Ayamei).Sypnosis: Zhou WeiWei is about to marry her long term boyfriend, Li Hao Yi. Chu Ke Huan has been dating his girlfriend Gao Zi Yuan for ten years but has no plans of getting married. After a coincidental meeting between WeiWei and Ke Huan, everything changes. They begin to develop romantic feelings towards each other, and although they try to stay friends, fate has other plans for them. This is a romantic drama about love, betrayal, and friendship.
Before We Get Married has a total of thirteen episodes. It is 18+ restricted because of some mature scenes. Although I bet that most people will not follow that rule. Going into this drama, I was definitely expecting infidelity. I also knew that this was a more matured concept compared to the regular romantic comedy storylines. And although I was not pleased with the idea of them cheating on their respective partners, I decided to give the show a chance mainly because of Puff Kuo and Jasper Liu. I also hoped that since the story was focused on such a delicate topic, then the entire team must have put in more effort into creating a standard series.
(Warning – spoilers ahead)
One thing that really threw me off was the forceful actions of Chu Ke Huan in the first two to three episodes. I am glad that he was not portrayed like that throughout the entire show because I dislike watching such scenes. It reminded me of the forceful wrist grabs in Korean dramas. Honestly, there is nothing romantic about those slow motioned wrist grabs, absolutely nothing. That aside, the chemistry between the leads was electrifying. Of course, this is not their first time working together, so that is expected. They previously starred in the 2014 Taiwanese drama – Pleasantly Surprised. And they have also maintained a good friendship outside of their work scene, so I definitely expected their chemistry as a couple to be intense.
Before We Get Married is the first Taiwanese drama to have caught my attention in a long time. It was refreshing to watch, and the actors did an excellent job of bringing their characters to life. I was frustrated at who I was supposed to be frustrated at, and I also came to love the characters that were meant to be appreciated. So kudos to the actors and the entire production crew for a job well done.
This drama’s main plot is settled around two couples and betrayal. But before judging based on the infidelity involved, try to take into consideration that these two couples were already unstable from the start. And although cheating is still in no way justifiable, the drama really does well to show what caused both couples to drift apart.
In Chu Ke Huan and Gao Zi Yan’s case, they were both aware of the lack of love in their relationship, but they left things vague for too long. That made everything harder to untangle when Ke Huan decided to break off the relationship. And in Zhou WeiWei and Li Hao Yi’s case, one partner was always going along with the other’s decisions and plans. In the long run, it caused the opinion of the overcompensating partner to be disregarded entirely. Both couples were already ticking time bombs waiting to go off. I do not condone cheating, but I can clearly see how their situation led them to make mistakes.
Now, although it was a refreshing drama to watch, I must admit that the story got a little bit slow towards the end. I am happy that the episodes were kept short because if the drama had run any longer, it would have lost its quality. Also, there are a few issues that remained unresolved by the end of the series. The first is the sudden disappearance of Chu Ke-Huan’s best friend, Yang Bai Yang. I know that he was transferred, but after that incident, he was utterly erased from the drama. Even his role as Han Ke Fei’s potential boyfriend was written off. So I guess the writer had to boost up Liu Da Wei’s character to fill up the void. I just felt that his disappearance was abrupt and could have been handled better. The second issue is the abortion case of Gao Zi Yuan. So we got to know that the relationship between her and Ke Huan began to deteriorate after she aborted their baby without his permission. But what was never mentioned was her reason behind doing so. Maybe they decided to skip that because they felt it was irrelevant. But in my opinion, they should have included it as a way of giving her a fair judgement.
For a more detailed review, let us talk about the main characters –
#1. Puff Kuo – Zhou WeiWeiRight from the first scene with Zhou WeiWei and Li Hao Yi, I could tell that there was something off about their relationship. But from WeiWei’s perspective, her relationship was perfect. Honestly, when you become accustomed to a pattern, you can hardly tell if it is wrong or right unless you take a time-out and check yourself. So, in this case, the reality check that WeiWei needed came from Chu Ke Huan. Then later on in the drama, her best friend Han Ke Fei also played the same role. Once she realized what was wrong, the need for change became a frustrating battle for her. I love that she tried all she could to save her relationship with her fiancé, but unfortunately, Li Hao Yi was not ready to accept his faults and make the necessary changes. So I support her for breaking off such a toxic relationship. Here is a clip to show how far wrecked the relationship was, and whenever she tried to resolve things, it all landed on deaf ears –
Personally, I wanted WeiWei to be on her own for a while, and I am glad that she actually did so. Going straight into a relationship would be taking past baggage and negative auras into a new phase of life. She needed time to heal and rediscover herself.
#2. Jasper Liu – Chu Ke Huan The major mistake he made was staying in a relationship for ten years when he clearly knew that he no longer loved his girlfriend. I know he stayed to fulfill his promise to her late mother, but by doing so, he enabled Gao Zi Yuan’s obsession over him. He then started using WeiWei as an escape from his reality. So even though he played a significant role in getting WeiWei to see the wrongs in her relationship, he had a hard time dealing with his own issues. Thankfully Zi Yuan’s younger sister helped him realize that to ultimately be free, he needed to cut Zi Yuan off completely. Forget the promise and just leave her alone.
And although his forceful actions at the beginning of the series were unpleasant, he managed to show many redeeming qualities as the story progressed. He became a good friend to WeiWei whenever she needed someone that could understand and comfort her. He also learnt to be patient with her and give her space. He was willing to wait for her to achieve her goal of becoming WeiWei 2.0 before starting a new relationship. I really love Chu Ke Huan’s character because after the final confirmation that he was emotionally invested in another woman, he broke things off with Gao Zi Yuan immediately. Now concerning his relationship with WeiWei. It started out as lust, but it developed into a good friendship, which involved mutual love and respect for each other.
Pardon me because my next statement is a bit off-topic.
JASPER LIU IS HOT🥰. Okay, NEXT!!!🗣…
#3. Steven Sun – Li Hao YiYes, he over plans and puts way too much emphasis on saving up money, but that does not necessarily make him a horrible person. Li Hao Yi’s main flaw was his pride and inability to listen or make changes. A relationship involves two people, so how can one person make all the decisions without consulting the other party. That is simply disrespectful.
Such a flaw can be worked on, but when nothing is done, it becomes toxic and unbearable. After the breakup, Li Hao Yi’s character took an extreme 360 turn, and he lost all his redeeming qualities. He became more stubborn, violent, rude and still did not want to listen before jumping to conclusions. And even though he calmed down at the end, I feel that he still did not learn anything. I say this because of the statement he made to Wei Wei before leaving Taipei. I quote – “You always make me watch you leave, now you should be the one to watch me leave.” To me, that statement proves that he took no lesson away from the breakup but instead felt that it all happened because Wei Wei fell in love with someone else. Maizi really summed up what I wanted to tell Li Hao Yi. She said – “Comparing yourself to others or blaming others for all your problems is never the right way to go about things. First, look within yourself and find out if you also hold some blame.” Hao Yi, unlike Gao Zi Yuan, had a chance to make things right, but he let his pride shoot him in the foot before finishing the race.
#4. Nital Lei – Gao Zi YuanShe was such a one-dimensional character; even till the end of the series, she remained the same without any glimpse of hope. Her character’s issues should have been resolved faster. But I really love the actress because she did an excellent job showing all of Gao Zi Yuan’s flaws.
Zi Yuan is manipulative, selfish, inconsiderate and obsessed. She continuously used the excuse of doing things for Ke Huan’s good to get away with her excessive lifestyle. Also, trying to guilt-trip him with the promise he made to her late mother was terrible. She was fully aware of how bad their relationship had become, but she decided to remain in denial. Watching her actions was like trying to pour water into a broken jar. Even when her younger sister advises her, she shuns her sister’s words and continues on her path of destruction. How does one come back from all these? There was no character development for her at all. That is why I wish they provided the reason for her aborting the baby. Maybe that would have made this character have more depth.
#5. Pheobe Yuan – Han Ke FeiI started out this drama not being the biggest fan of Han Ke Fei, but by the end of the series, I appreciated her presence. She sincerely wanted the best for WeiWei and was always ready to defend her no matter what. She also calls WeiWei out on her actions by asking her the right questions. Some examples include – Are you satisfied? Do you really want to get married? Are you sure you have no feelings for Chu Ke Huan? Questions like these are essential before jumping into marriage.
I know most people did not like how thirsty how her character was, but if you ask me, her behaviour was quite realistic and straightforward. She did need some toning down, but who am I to judge. I also saw comments of people slut-shaming her, which was unfair because where was that same energy when Chu Ke Huan was going after an engaged lady. Double standards😒. I am glad she found the right partner and settled down. Here is my favourite scene from her –
Overall I really enjoyed this drama. Most of all, for its complexity. The final result was not just to arrive at someone being right or wrong but rather to realize that everyone was in some way at fault for the demise of their own relationship. And by acknowledging your mistakes, you can move forward. Like I already mentioned, the acting was great and believable.
The background scores for this drama were always perfectly placed. Here is a good example –
I also loved the original soundtracks that were used. My favourite OST is the ending theme song by Bii. If you do not know about my intense admiration for Bii yet, then you must be a new reader. The song “I Miss You More” is from Bii’s latest album, which was also released this year. It is such a soft and calming piece, so it naturally became one of my favourite things about the show.
Another worthy mention is “I’d Like To Hear The Details” by Fang Wu. I do not know much about the singer, but the chorus on this song really caught my attention. It is also very relaxing.
To end this review, let us discuss the ending. A lot of people had mixed feelings towards the finale. The writers trolled all of us big time. From the previews, I thought it was going to be Ke Huan and WeiWei’s wedding, but it was not. Personally, I think the ending was perfect and realistic. Getting married at the end would have been too predictable.
After the one year skip, we know that they both resolved the issues with their previous partners. They are now free from anyone’s control and can date whoever they please. Also, WeiWei asking Ke Huan if she could buy him a coffee tells all the attentive viewers that they plan to start dating officially. In episode one, Chu Ke Huan asked her the same thing, and he said when someone says that, it is code for wanting to start a relationship. With all this knowledge, I am assured of them ending up together. Therefore, I have no problem with the ending.
Before We Get Married was everything I expected and more. Yes, there were a few unresolved issues, and the story became a bit slow towards the end, but none of these strongly affected my viewing experience. Plus, I would not mind rewatching it, so my rating for this drama is an 8/10.
All thirteen episodes are available on Viki: Full Episodes of Before We Get Married.