Drama

Currently Watching: Legally Romance

Would you redo your schooling if you were given a chance?

WARNING: Light spoilers on story and characters from Ep 1 to 8.

I had waited six months for Legally Romance to air when I wrote about Z. Tao and his upcoming dramas in my article here. I read the novel and fell in love with the story, so this is a drama I have expected. Surprisingly, it did not take long to wait for the release after it wrapped filming last October. Having watched the actor in The Brightest Star in the Sky (2019), I would love to see him again. Z. Tao was paired with Song Zu Er, whose acting I enjoyed in To Fly With You (2021). I knew they would make a fun and endearing drama couple and I was right!

Legally Romance (2022)

Country: China
Native title: 才不要和老板谈恋爱
Alternative titles:   
Don’t Fall In Love With The Boss,  Time Sends Your Love to Me,  Begin Again
Genres: Comedy,  Romance,  Fantasy  
Episodes: 33
Schedule: Mar 10, 2022 – Apr  8, 2022 every Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Duration: 45 min.
Watch trailer: Viki
Watch drama: 
WeTV, Viki, YOUHUG MEDIA

Adapted from the web novel “Don’t Fall in Love With the Boss” (才不要和老板谈恋爱) by Ye Fei Ran (叶斐然). 

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STORY

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First of all, since the synopsis is based on the novel and the drama slightly differs from it, let me summarize the story based on what I have seen in episode 1 and 2:

At 28, Qian Wei lives a miserable life. After graduating from law school, for some reason I cannot spoil you, she did not pass the National Judicial Review that permits her to practice law. Therefore, she can only work as a paralegal at a law firm, as an assistant to her former classmate Lu Xun who is the junior partner of the firm founder. Lu Xun is a tough boss, who always makes her work overtime and sends her running errands. Qian Wei believes he harbors a grudge that dates back to their college days, that he has made sure her life is nothing short of a living hell.

After a 10-year college reunion event, having seen her former classmates are now successful, Qian Wei goes to a temple lamenting on her unfortunate life. While complaining to the gods about her past written wishes that none came true (there are 109 of them!), something mysterious happens.  Since it’s different from the novel, I don’t know what it actually is. But I’m sure it will be revealed later in the drama. She ends up waking up back in 2011, exactly at the law school entrance exam day. With the body of an 18-year-old teen, but the mind of a 28 mature woman, Qian Wei is ready to embrace her youth once again, and is determined to be successful this time. Since I’m also happy that she gets to redo her life, I made a GIF of her above, and am excited to watch her adventure navigating her second chance.


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CAST AND CREW

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Let me introduce you to the cast and crew of this drama. There are light spoilers in the characters’ descriptions. If you prefer no character spoilers, skip this part. From the main protagonist Qian Wei in clockwise direction:

⚖️ Qian Wei (Song Zu Er) you already have an idea who she is from the description above.

⚖️ Lu Xun (Z. Tao) – present: Qian Wei’s boss; past: law student (Qian Wei’s classmate).

⚖️ Li Chong Wen (Garvey Jin) – present: Qian Wei’s ex boyfriend; past: law student, Qian Wei’s senior and boyfriend.

⚖️ Liu Shi Yun (Li Bai Hui) – present: Qian Wei’s bestie; past: law student and Qian Wei’s roommate.

⚖️ Xue Ling – DIRECTOR. He also directed the time travel C-drama Waiting For You In The Future (2019).

⚖️ Alina Zhang – PRODUCER and a veteran actress.

⚖️ Qian Chuan (Yan An) – Qian Wei’s twin younger brother; past: sports education student.

⚖️ Mo Zi Xin (Zhong Li Li) – present: lives overseas (not seen present on screen, yet); past: law student, Qian Wei’s roommate, and Lu Xun’s childhood friend.


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THINGS THAT I LIKE

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Theme: Second Chance

Picking up from Qian Wei rejoicing after being given a second chance, right away she works hard to undo things she regrets and redo things for the best to change her future life. Since she has astounding memories of what happened in the past, when unfortunate events happen again, she tries to change them. Having worked in a detail-oriented job for many years, Qian Wei makes meticulous plans for everything. I love her good aspirations. She is not only concerned with her own success, but also with the well-being of her family, friends, and even strangers.

Of course, her foreknowledge confuses people, and she has to say that she is a prophet, lol! She wishes that back in 2011 there were smart phones to record live-stream videos and she will make a fortune!


Acting: Qian Wei’s Quirks

Knowing the future events and how she can make plans to tackle them makes Qian Wei ecstatic, but she cannot share the knowledge with anyone, including the ones close to her. Many times Qian Wei steps away from the crowd, faces the screen, and whispers to us the secrets of what she knows or why she does something. In some scenes, her quirky behavior and funny faces are so hilarious to watch, and I applauded the actress Song Zu Er in creating such a comical Qian Wei.


Romance: Healthy Relationship

As this drama is a romantic comedy, now we are talking about the love story. Since we know Qian Wei and Lu Xun are the Female Lead and the Male Lead, it is a given that the assumption is they will get together, right? At the beginning of the present time story, Lu Xun acts as if he is her villainous boss. In the modified past, her ambition is to take over his future success. They may be tough competitors at school, but despite that, they become fast friends. They support each other and create an incredible teamwork.

How does the love story develop, though, when in the past Qian Wei has a boyfriend? And in the second chance, her only ambition is to focus on her school and future career? You will just have to watch the drama of how things turn out with Qian Wei and Lu Xun.


Subplots: No fillers

Besides the main plot of Qian Wei trying to change her past, there are also side stories about her family members and friends. In fact, each friend of hers has his or her own life and love stories. I particularly love the friendship between Qian Wei’s brother Qian Chuan and her bestie Liu Shi Yun, who make a secret pact to help each other to succeed with their respective love interests. There are also touching stories of Qian Wei’s parents and their love for Qian Wei and Qian Chuan, and other stories of strangers who get legal help from the students during their social service activities.


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WHAT SURPRISES ME

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Legal drama has never been my favorite, and I usually skip court battles or legal proceeding scenes in any type of drama. When I first heard about the drama, I was a skeptical that I would like it. So, it’s a surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed the legal stuff in this drama, without skipping any scenes. So far, the only legal case is in the beginning, when Lu Xun and Qian Wei were working on a plagiarism or patent infringement case. After Qian Wei is mysteriously transported to the past, as students there are a lot of debate projects and they are all fun to watch. Especially watching Qian Wei’s snobbish yet amusing attitude to the other debate opponent, mainly towards Lu Xun, as seen in the GIF below.

The public cases they take as school assignments, although under guidance of China regulations, are informative for us who are unfamiliar with the country’s law. The free legal counsel the law students provide for the public covers a lot of common cases from simply making living wills to serious domestic abuse. I assume the drama’s side goal is public education on legal awareness so that the drama was able to pass the National Radio and TV Administration (NRTA) review in a timely manner.


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MY FORETHOUGHT

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To close this article is my thought and concern on how the drama will explain about Qian Wei’s transmigration in the end. If you are a Chinese drama watcher, you must have known about Chinese entertainment authority’s ban on time travel in films and television. Some dramas have to sacrifice the audiences’ full satisfaction with unclear or rushed endings to pass the censorship. Other dramas have changed the time travel issue from the original works they’re adapted from. In the novel and drama synopsis, Qian Wei has an accident, goes into a coma, and is transported back to her university days in a dream. What actually happened to Qian Wei prior to the transmigration in the drama is unclear. Does she actually have an accident? Does a mysterious item have a significant role in the reincarnation? Or does she merely fall asleep at the temple? And what will happen to all corrections and modifications she has made when given the second chance?

Despite the apprehension of the time travel revelation in the end, Legally Romance is an endearing romantic comedy full of laughter, touching moments, and the heroine’s antics in her attempts to redo her life. A must-see if you haven’t watched it yet!

⚖️ Thank you for reading and happy watching!❤️


AcknowledgementsThank you to the editors who edited this article. Credits: Feature image, self-made GIFs, and images are taken from the official posters provided on MDL or screenshots from the drama scenes.
Edited by: devitto (1st editor)


z. tao
romcom
chinese drama
time travel
huang zi tao
legally romance
song zu er
lareina song
second chance

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