Full Reviews: Swipe, Tap, Love (愛我請留言) – 2014

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Genres: Romance, Comedy, Family, Friendship, Heart-Warming

Overall Rating: 9/10

When I first started Swipe, Tap, Love (STL), I was a little worried about how slowly it was progressing, but the first episode showed promise. Now that I’ve finished it, I’m immensely glad I did. It has become one of my favorite TVB dramas, with its human feel, character and relationship development, and downright cuteness. STL is thought-provoking, delving into aspects of life that is relatable to so many regardless of situation.

STL doesn’t follow the usual TVB feel or “formula.” Most of the plot points were refreshing and original. It was interesting to see its approach to technology and its impact on relationships as our world becomes increasingly digital. So many of us in the newer generations read articles like “What do the texts mean?,” “Why hasn’t my significant other replied?,” etc., and very few dramas touch on this, but STL does. One thing I’ve found about TVB dramas are that the resolutions and last episodes are much less well thought out that the rest of the drama. However, STL is one of the few that ties up all of the storylines well.

The rest of the review contains spoilers.

However, I would have liked to see Yu Chor Kin and Lok Tin Sung get married. The only thing I will say about the ending is that right after Yu Chor Kin and Lok Tin Sung get together, the change in the dynamic of their interactions was a bit abrupt, and their interactions in the last episode were a bit exaggerated and could have been written better.

Since most of the plot focuses on the characters and the various relationships, I’ll review STL through the characters.

Yu Chor Kin aka Chocolate Jie Jie aka Miss Yu – Priscilla Wong Cheui Yu

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Yu Chor Kin is the main female lead of STL. I liked Yu Chor Kin as a female lead quite a bit. Though she is not the most inspiring character, she is understanding, thoughtful, easy-going, friendly, calm, collected, and, most importantly, very relatable to the audience.

As far as character development goes, she grows mainly in her understanding of what love is, and what she needs in life to pursue true happiness. A lot of the cuteness of the drama stems from how naturally her relationship with Lok Tin Sung  and bond with Yau Yau develop.

Still, in watching the first part of STL, I could not understand how Yu Chor Kin stayed with her ex-boyfriend for 4 years. They did not seem compatible at all, though I suppose she was blinded, ignoring his flaws, and time flies before you know it. Another small problem I had was that STL spent so much time discussing how Sneaker Dad lost his identity and his passion with his career for his family yet Yu Chor Kin completely gave up her career in the chocolate industry to become a housewife even though she loved her job. Some necessary explanation was lacking here.

Priscialla Wong did a great job as Yu Chor Kin, but it bothered me a little how she sounds like she’s crying half the time. Also, the drama started out with Yu Chor Kin narrating a good portion of the story, but then it died away, which did not particularly bother me, but just seemed a bit odd.

Lok Tin Sung aka Sneaker Dad – Raymond Wong Ho Yin

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Lok Tin Sung is the main male lead. He is the embodiment of the caring, courteous, just, loving, albeit a bit dorky at times, father and family man. (The best word to describe this character is adorkable.) His character development is finding himself again after having given up his passions and dedicating his whole life to his daughter and wife.

I’ve always been a fan of Raymond Wong Ho-Yin, so naturally I love him in this role. Just a minor thing, but it’s pretty apparent in this drama that he’s not a great singer, yet he sings to Yau Yau so many times. I think it would have been less obvious in some scenes if they had not played the song instrumental over his singing, or at least played the instrumental in the scene so that he could follow the tune.

Sung Lau Guen aka Natasha – Kaki Leung Ka Ki

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In her first few appearances, Sung Lau Guen came off as a somewhat unpleasant, and mean character, though a very loyal friend to Yu Chor Kin. As the show progressed and she grew through her relationships and difficulties, her mean outer shell peeled back to reveal a more vulnerable, and nicer inner persona. Of all the character developments, hers was the most heart-warming to watch, and though I started off disliking her, I couldn’t help but grow to love her, and cheered for her along the way.

Although Sung Lau Kuen and Roger’s relationship was super cute, it was more due to Sung Lau Guen’s dynamic personality than Roger’s presence. He was one of the weaker characters in the drama, as his personality was inconsistent, going from fun-loving friend with a slight rebellious side, to bland (even after he started dating Sung Lau Kuen).

Jiao Fei aka Diana – Kelly Fu Ka Lei

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To be honest, when Jiao Fei first appeared, I really did not like her. She seemed obnoxious, annoying, a bit of a suck-up, thoughtless, and selfish. But, she underwent huge character development, becoming more comfortable with who she is inside, more reasonable, and confident. Her friendship with Sung Lau Guen and pseudo-father-daughter relationship with Golden Wong, which both started out rocky, became so heart-warming and adorable.

Much of her character’s interactions also represent the conflict and misunderstandings between those from Mainland China and those from Hong Kong. At the beginning, she’s seen as ditzy and unlikable as is the stereotype that Hong Kong people have for young girls from the Mainland, but as the series goes on, we see her vulnerable side, and sad backstory, and we meet the person behind the “stereotype” and like her for who she is.

It was a little awkward watching Golden and Jiao Fei sometimes when I wasn’t sure if the writers were hinting at a romantic relationship or a father-daughter relationship. I suppose in real-life, it is also a blurry line, but I’m glad they ended it with father-daughter.

Wong Kum Kwai aka Golden Wong – Eddie Kwan Lai Kit

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I remember seeing Eddie Kwan in Police Cadet ’84 with Tony Leung when I was a child, so it was such a blast from the past to see him in this drama. He did a great job acting as the optimistic, sometimes too confident, quirky, but good-hearted Golden Wong.

I loved the friendship he had with Sneaker Dad and the lengths he went to in order to look out for Jiao Fei. It’s so moving and sad to see him painstakingly save all his money for his daughter, whom he hasn’t seen since she was small. I’m glad he was able to gain a daughter in the form of Jiao Fei, and it made me tear up when he cared for her when she was sick and repaired all her high heels.

His catch phrase is ridiculously catchy. I found myself saying “Golden water gives you power” so many times. Another great thing about his character is that it is associated with all the golden Hong Kong songs from the ’60s-’90s, which is another trip down memory lane on its own.

Mama Yu – Rebecca Chan Sau Chu

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Chan Sau Chu was such a natural in the role of Mama Yu (right), the caring, practical, albeit a bit airheaded at times mother. Mama Yu is just so lovable, and is the epitome of “mom.” She acts as the voice of reason in a lot of situations and is also the catalyst for Yu Chor Kin and Sneaker Dad’s romance finally blooming.

I don’t have as much to say as I love the character, and she was perfect written and portrayed.

Edward Wong Chi Cheung aka Prince Edward – Vincent Wong Ho Sen

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As a character, Edward Wong was a good catalyst for plot, but doesn’t really do much as far as deep growth. However, it was fun seeing the female employees swoon over him and the friendship he develops with Yu Chor Kin.

TVB tries to keep Edwards sexual orientation ambiguous. It’s most likely to keep conservative viewers happy, but it’s so strongly hinted that he’s gay or at least bi that they really should just go ahead and make it such. One thing I have to say is that if TVB is going to keep it ambiguous, they should have chosen a more gender neutral name for his ex-lover.

Emma Choi Yin – Elaine Yiu Chi Ling (Left)

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Elaine’s Emma Choi Yin was heartbreaking to watch as she struggled with her purpose in life and identity as doctor/mother/wife. Sneaker Dad’s approach to helping his wife through the hard times ended up smothering her more than actually undoing the knot.

Though the emotional conflict and depression that Emma went through was well-written, there were some things about the character that did not seem to be consistent with her personality and profession. One might argue that the problems were too personal and hard for her to be objective, but for some aspects, it was a bit of a stretch. (I can’t remember the specifics; it’s been too long since I finished the drama T.T )

Yau Yau – Celine Yeung 

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Celine Yeung has got to be one of the cutest and most natural child actresses. Every scene with Yau Yau was more than adorable.

Although the last half of the drama was more about the developing relationship between Yu Chor Kin and Sneaker Dad, I wish there had been more of Yau Yau. STL also fails to explain how Yau Yau feels about her mother (Emma) leaving, and Yu Chor Kin suddenly becoming her mother. She just seems to accept it as a random happenstance of life, which is not how a child would likely react, and no one seems to explain what is happening to her…

Extra: Some Awesome Things to Watch Out For

At the end of most of the episodes, there is a cut scene called “Dessert Time (甜一甜),” which are cute and often funny bonuses.

STL is chock full of golden oldies from artists like Teresa Teng, Anita Mui, and Albert Au. There is a bit of overuse of Eason Chan’s songs, but they did a good job picking good ones. So, kudos to the music director for the perfect song choices!

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