In Time with You is a 2011 Taiwanese romance drama written by Xu Yu Ting (徐譽庭) and directed by Winnie Chu (瞿友寧).
Cheng You Qing (程又青)
Li Da Ren (李大仁)
Chen Kuang Yi (陳匡怡)
Wang Yang Ming (王陽明)
Ding Li Wei (丁立威)
Lin Mei Xiu
Luo Bei An
Ying Wei Min (應蔚民)
Cheng Guan Qing (程冠青)
Ma Nan (馬囡)
Guan Qing's wife (大嫂)
Yin Qi (殷琦)
Cheng Mei Qing (程美青)
Xie Yu Wei (謝宇威)
Mei Qing's husband (姊夫)
Zhou Dan Wei (周丹薇)
Li's mother (李媽)
Meng Geng Ru
Li Tao Tao (李淘淘)
Jin Shi Jye (金士傑)
Bai Shu (白叔)
David Hsu (许豪恩)
Ma Shi Li (馬世莉)
Yu Han Mi (余函彌)
Ya Zi (丫子)
Lu Xing Di 盧辛蒂
Tsai Chang Hsien (蔡昌憲)
Di Shu 地鼠
Zeng Wei Hao (曾威豪)
Da Cong 大叢
Li Wei Wie (李維維)
Zi Lin 子琳
Liu Yi Hao (劉以豪)
Mei Nan 美男
An Wei Ling (安唯綾)
Mei Mei 美美
The Chinese name of this drama我可能不會愛你 is very interesting as it corresponds literally with the main premise of the drama.
我可能不會愛你 = I MIGHT NOT KNOW HOW TO LOVE YOU
我不可能會愛你 = IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO LOVE YOU
You know it’s intentional because of the way the Chinese characters shuffles around during the opening credit. It’s cute and spot on! In that aspect, the English title loses out on creativity with a much more boring sounding title.
This is a difficult drama to recap because it’s more words than action. The pace feels slower, mostly because this drama is more introspective than the average idol drama. Gone are the silly jokes and slapstick humor so predominant in most Taiwanese idol dramas. In its place, we have quick-fire dialogues which are witty and insightful. In episode 1, nothing much dramatic happens and we are introduced slowly to our main characters, Cheng You Qing (Ariel Lin) and Li Da Ren (Bolin Chen), weaving in and out between the present and their past.
In a seemingly empty shopping mall, YQ is running after a little hairy kid initially but the situation reverses as the kid turns into a grown hairy man and goes after her instead. Even though the hairy guys look like some sort of Chewbacca reincarnation, it is actually more metaphorical than it sounds, for they represent “time”. When you are young, you embrace the future with relish but as you get older, there will be moments when you wish you can just reverse or stop time from ticking away.
The hairy man fades away, and people start reappearing. YQ strolls to the shoes department reminiscing about how at 17 years old, she wanted so much to own a pair of heels but now that she’s 29 years old, she misses the good old white canvas shoes. She spots a pair canvas shoes and puts them on until a uniform-clad girl claims them and addresses her as “aunty”.
The shock wakes her up from her dream. Annoyed, she forces herself back to her dream just so she could teach the girl a lesson. This is really funny…it’s what I do sometimes, when I had a particularly good dream!
Anyway, she catches up with the girl – only that she turns out to be her 17 year old self. She tears up lightly, feeling a little despondent for her lost youth.
Sticky notes appear onscreen reading:
“Signs of premature aging: The more recent the events, the easier to forget. The older the events, the clearer the memories.”
End of dream.
Still very much affected by her dream, YQ’s mood takes a dive when she encounters a young girl who’s gossiping loudly on the hand phone in the lift on her way to work. Everything about the girl screams youth – her dressing, accessories, conversation and in particular her bitching about an older woman – which ticks her off!
So far, I think she works in the sales department for a shoes company. During a meeting, she nonchalantly criticizes a colleague in the design department, La La who proposes ballet-styled shoes for the teenage girls-themed shoes series. She thinks to herself – a 17 year old’s first dream shoes should be a pair of high-heels. Unfortunately, the whole world, her personal assistant included assumes her criticism was more personal than professional.
YQ checks her email and is reminded of her own birthday when she finds her inbox flooded by impersonal birthday wishes from various companies and sites. She immediately calls up her mum, affectionately grumbling that she did not wish her happy birthday. Her mum, who is in a cake shop at the moment, reminded her how it was her own idea not to celebrate birthdays anymore after she’s 27 years old. Her mum duly wishes her -- much to her exasperation.
YQ scrolls down her email and finds Li Da Ren’s email – who wishes her happy birthday, as class vice president to class president with an attached photograph of their class during their school days. The people in the photographs moves and talks à la Harry Porter style – wishing her happy birthday and we flash back to their high school class.
An election for class president is taking place and YQ wins over DR with a vote of 16 to 15. It’s basically girls against boys and since there are 16 girls as opposed to 15 boys, YQ gets elected every semester.
The email ends with DR teasing her about being 30 year old – the gateway to premature aging. She’s understandably pissed until she opens up the attachment file which lists 50 signs of premature aging – she fits most of the criteria. LOL.
1. The more recent the events, the easier you forget. The older the events, the clearer your memories.
2. Beside your bed or computer, there will always be a deluge of “essentials” like mint inhaler, tiger balms, essential oils or other medications to increase your alertness.
3. “Spare tire” around your waist whenever you sit down.
4. Wakes up for no reason early in the mornings.
5. Falling asleep within 30 minutes of watching tv.
YQ has had enough and storms away for a coffee break where she overhears the ladies from Designer Team bitching about her – they think she criticized their idea because La La is dating her ex-boyfriend Henry. Another girl comes up to her offering support and introducing herself as Henry’s ex-ex girlfriend. Lol. YQ feels like the entire world is conspiring against her on her 30th birthday – by continuously reminding her she’s still on the shelf.
Even as she buys anti-aging cosmetics, she cannot shake loose the uncomfortable feeling that time is catching up on her…and fast! She stops by at the shoes department where her pregnant subordinate is entertaining a particularly difficult lady client. The lady is simultaneously throwing a fit on the phone because her daughter is being deterred from boarding a flight due to overweight luggage. And DR is the supervisor of the airline’s ground staff in charge with dealing with her. We can see from the way DR and YQ deals with her how very different their personalities are. While DR is polite, patient but firm YQ is more sarcastic and unyielding.
Henry, who’s the manager of the sales department shows up and manages to bundle off the lady without further fuss. He warns YQ about her bad temper and about antagonizing LaLa unnecessarily, going as far as to commenting that no one would dare love her if she doesn’t change her ways.
At the airport, DR notices the depressed-looking little girl who apparently got scolded by her dad and missed her flight. He considerately arranges for her to change flight and explains gently about the dangers of excess baggage.
During his lunch break, he laughs while reading YQ’s reply to his email. She indignantly admonishes him for being childish and insists she’s at the prime of her life, signing off with a P.S. that reads – “I don’t need your blessing for I am a blessing to this world from God”. LOL. Touché.
DR calls YQ up and they continue their bickering – him joking and her taking it more personally. In fact she added another sign to his list of premature aging: “The older you get, the less is your sense of humor”. Bickering aside, he asks her out for dinner and she agrees readily. She spots Henry in the distance and asks DR contemplatively, “Do you remember why you said it’s impossible for you to love me?” He deflects her question and pisses her off, she retaliates by shouting back, “Thank god you will never love me!” and cuts him off.
DR’s face falls and we soon learn why. In another long flash back of their high school days, the boys are facing another losing fight against the girls – this time revolving the selection of a class mascot/logo for the sports festival. The girls want a white-faced cat in a low cut dress while the boys are in favor of a bulldog. The boys shudder at the thought of wearing such a feminine design – we are treated to a montage of the boys in various sports, donning very pink and feminine sportswear. LOL – and decides that drastic measures are required to avoid this catastrophe.
They decide to make use of the fact that the handsome Mei Nan (the name literally means pretty boy, so much for creativity :P) is the subject of a love letter from a girl in their class. They compose an encouraging reply to the love letter and point out his displeasure at the mascot chosen by the girls. DR refuses to participate in their underhanded strategy to sabotage the voting.
On the official voting day, DR and YQ both present their arguments for their proposed mascots but the boys slyly suggests that they have a proper anonymous voting process. Unexpectedly, the boys win! YQ is upset and wonders who among the girls betrayed her. Later, she finds a love letter which Lu Xing Di (her good friend) left in her haste and confronts her.
The girls have a big fight. Xing Di does not understand why YQ is so bent on winning every single time and chides her for being arrogant and overbearing just because she’s popular among the guys. YQ admits to being arrogant and overbearing but reminds her that she’s doing this because of what happened in year 1. A certain girl was bullied by all the boys in the class – the girl in question is XingDi – which led her to resolve to unite all the girls so as to avoid ever being bullied by the boys again. She’s disappointed with XingDi and ends her friendship with her, leaving behind a sobbing XingDi.
DR overhears their conversation and follows her all the way home; only daring to approach her once she’s at her door which scares her a little. She’s like this prickly porcupine and thinks he’s here to brag about their victory. He quietly tells her he thinks she’s a great girl. When she looks at him questioningly, he quickly follows it up by asking her not to misunderstand for it’s impossible for him to love a girl like her. Dude, that’s like totally the wrong thing to say to the girl you like! She takes it the wrong way, which in a way lays the blueprint for their current status quo.
DR is brought back to the present by problems at work – overbooked flights and delayed flights. His professionalism and friendliness does not go unnoticed by a new intern, Maggie. The girl is smitten, badly.
Meanwhile, YQ is in a taxi still busy trying to solve her problems at work. The taxi driver, overwhelmed by his own emotions, tells her how he has contracted cancer of the large intestine and reminds her that life is short, so she should take a break and reflect on her life – do things you should, live with no regrets. YQ strides right up to Lala and launches into a speech.
“I’m afraid that if I am to leave this world suddenly, I will have regrets. So I must clear the air about some things. Your design is very pretty. But a pretty design does not equal to a good design. True, I’m far from being 17 years old…but I have premature aging. That is why the more recent the events, I may forget easily but the older the events, I can remember very clearly. I can recall clearly, my dream as a 17 year old – it’s really not to be a ballerina but to transform quickly from a little girl to a young lady. That’s why I wished so much to own a pair of high heels. However, after spending my hard-earned savings to buy my first ever high heels, I’m aghast to find myself walking like a grandpa. Of course, I’m much better now but my point is I believe you must have had the same feelings I did as a 17 year old. So I believe you’ll be able to utilize your talent to design a pair of heels that is at once lady-like and comfortable for a teenage girl to walk in. Lastly, I definitely did not find trouble with you because of Henry. He’s not worth my time and effort. That’s all. I’ve said my piece. I feel darn good! Because if there’s one thing I hate, it’s to be misunderstood!”
How cool is that! I feel like giving her a standing ovation. LOL. The girls at the Design Department must have felt the same, because they all look at her approvingly.
YQ’s subordinate presents her with a birthday cake with VERY conspicuous candles shaped like a big 30. YQ unenthusiastically thanks her which disappoints her no end, grumbling that it’s just as LDR predicted – she’s really difficult to please. YQ smiles to herself and we are transported back into the past again, this time to her university days.
YQ meets DR in her university on the first day and is surprised to learn that she’s to be his classmates for another 4 years. That’s fate girl LOL. DR does not hide the fact that they are acquainted and they introduce each other before the class. It’s so cute that while DR only has nice things to say about her, she could not resist taking him down a notch in her introduction.
YQ: He’s not bad at everything but…… excel in nothing.
DR: She wants to be the best in everything and…..she usually is.
I like how they actually do know each other very well, despite YQ refusing to acknowledge that. Turns out it’s another election and she wins again with 16-15 votes. LOL.
At the airport, DR is cornered by his previous lecturer, Cao Ying Jun (ying jun literally means handsome….puke! LOL) who tries to curry a favor from him – he’s late for boarding and insists he lets him board the plane regardless. DR enlists Maggie’s help to find another flight for him instead, remarking that he is a teacher unworthy of respect. His mind wanders back to the past again.
In a situation uncannily similar to their high school days, she’s betrayed by a classmate for whom she stood up for – this time because Cao is a teacher who sexually harasses his students. Her friend backed out when Cao threatens to retain her grades. He overhears her confrontation with Cao and follows her as she storms home angrily. Like a puppy tailing his master. In his sweet earnest way, he tries to let her know he supports her but she’s cold and indifferent. Watching as she walks away, he mutters to himself, “I might not know how to love you…”
Back to the present, Maggie expertly deals with Cao who is annoyed he did not get his way while DR arranges his dinner date with YQ. However, YQ receives a call from Xiao Mei, the pregnant salesgirl who is having a premature delivery and begs that she accompanies her into the labor room. So while DR waits alone at the restaurant YQ shoots a video of the birth for her friend. Despite her reluctance, YQ could not help but feels moved by the baby who shares her birthday.
DR waits until the restaurant closes and packs up the leftover food and continues to wait for her in front of the restaurant. Our birthday girl finally arrives, apologetic. They relocated to a place with bleachers and how much do I like that the girl gets to be her real self – she takes off her stilettos, puts up her feet and eats with gusto. DR asks her why she doesn’t feel curious about him treating her so nice. It’s obvious that she takes him for granted and thinks it’s because they are friends.
When she laments about the lack of a present, he gifts her with two miniature square head lions. I kid you not. But apparently there’s a backstory – there’s this square head lion that always gets stuck; stuck in his own principle, stuck trying to figure out whether it should compromise, stuck thinking that maybe the world is right, and its persistence is unwarranted. It’s so obvious that he means the lion is so much like YQ but at the moment I can’t really tell if YQ realizes it. Probably not. YQ is not exactly impressed but declares she will TRY to like the present on account of his earnestness.
He asks her about her peculiar question that afternoon, about why he will never love her. She explains about Henry’s warning. He tries to lift her spirits by explaining how she’s different and special. He appears to be succeeding until he comments that her differentness may be the reason others deem her imperfect. She harps on that statement, demanding to know what her imperfection is. DR is frustrated that she’s totally ignoring the point and being so fussy and persistent. LOL. She really is very very overbearing and proud, our heroine. She finally does concede that she is happy to have him in her life, mollifying him somewhat and they revert to their familiar, comfortable camaraderie. They make a bet – whoever manages to get married before the age of 35 gets to receive NT$10,000.
YQ gets home and cuddles up to her sleeping mum. She eats her cake and asks about her birth – disappointed to learn that it was so… normal. LOL. Her mum reflects that while her birth was easy, she was definitely a handful to bring up. Mum recalls that her first word was “Don’t want!” ….she was opinionated by 3 and runs away from home for the first time at 5.
Alone in her room, she looks at the lions again and understands that they represent her. She tells the lions that it’s not that she hates them, but because it is the first time she truly looks at herself…that she’s a little frightened.
In another dream sequence, she encounters the despicable Cao who is again taking advantage of some girl on a bus. She whacks him real good but awakens to find that she’s only dreaming. The dream reflects what she’s learned. Charms of a mature lady – No.1 : Master the art of striking a fist at injustice, as confident as you are walking in a pair of high heels.
Meanwhile, Maggie takes the initiative to demand a meal as payment for her favor. DR watches her walking away, blurring her image and seeing her as YQ. He laments to himself that while she feels he’s not ambitious enough, there are people who thinks he’s great. She is most likely the only girl in the world who cannot see that…
I do think this is a probably a good drama. Tender, sweet and very real. It feels like a novel in moving pictures…not necessarily addictive but like a good book you wanna read all cuddled up on a rainy day. I don’t think it’s everyone’s cup of tea but I think it’s a nice show to watch on the side. I read the ratings are up for the later episodes, so I hope to be pleasantly surprised by this drama.