CROSSING THE OCEAN TO SEE YOU (2017) Review – Meant to be

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Titles: 漂洋过海来看你 (Piao Yang Guo Hai Lai Kan Ni) / Crossing the ocean to see you


Cast:

  • Zhu Ya Wen as Zheng Chu
  • Wang Li Kun as Su Mang
  • Ye Qing as Tang Guo Guo
  • Denny Huang as Tang Ming
  • Wang Yan Lin as Su Chang
  • Gao Yang as Yan Xiao Qiu
  • Ma Qiu Zi as Chen Shan Shan
  • Irene Wan as Zheng Mei Ling
  • Andrew Lien as Fei Yi
  • Xie Shuai as Tony
  • Yang Gongru as Cai Ling
  • He Bin as Chen Jia Ming
  • Du Shiwu as Ella
  • Zhao Zichong as Xiao Dai
  • Li Zixi as Dong Jia Jia
  • Wang Ge as Gu Yuan
  • Zhang Guozhu as Tang Tai (Father Tang)
  • Wu Yufang as Mother Tang
  • Zhang Wei as Father Yan
  • Jie Bing as Father Zheng
  • Xu Yulan as Mother Zheng
  • Fan Chuxia as Mother Chen
  • Yuan Wenkang as Krief
  • Huang Jing as Ye Li Sha

Directed by: Chen Ming Zhang

Written by: Yao Yao


Plot (from Wiki):

Romantic hijinks ensue between a warm subordinate and his prickly boss when they become neighbours.

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Review:

Crossing The Ocean To See You (CTOTSY) is a modern life drama that surprised me in many ways. I decided to watch the series later, when I unintentionally came across with its trailer. I was attracted by how sweet and lighthearted it seemed.

Is CTOTSY worth your time? Here’s my opinion.

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Zhu Ya Wen and Wang Li Kun are marvelous on-screen

(SPOILERS) The story starts with the romantic “failure” of our main characters: Zheng Chu’s marriage proposal being rejected by his girlfriend, Chen Shan Shan, after five years of relationship, provoking their break up (in China); and Su Mang getting divorced from Chen Jia Ming, a stupid cheater who was infertile (in England).

The whole plot is based on the decision that Su Mang (portrayed by beautiful Wang Li Kun) took days before the divorce. Her mother-in-law put pressure on her to get pregnant by assisted reproduction, and Su Mang accepted in order to perpetuate his husband’s family lineage. However, her sacrifice is totally despised and Chen Jia Ming demands divorce claiming that she was unfaithful to him. A heartbroken Su Mang signs the divorce contract and decides to leave England, searching for a new start. At first, she just hoped that she wouldn’t get pregnant, since the probability of getting pregnant at the first time through assisted reproduction was negligible. Luckily and unfortunately, she gets pregnant and is faced to the problem of carrying a child all alone. It’s harsh but Su Mang decides to keep the child and return to China.

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Su Mang is determined to restart her life all alone with her baby

Su Mang is an intelligent and confident woman, adroit at work but useless in daily life (cooking, eating properly, taking care of herself…). Her subordinates nickname her as the “black spider”, due to her fierceness when working and giving orders. Su Mang can seem insensible but most of the time she’s just being really responsible. Her principle is simple: people must pay the consequences for their actions. There’s no use in taking unncessary revenges or tricking others, because sooner or later everyone has to face their own truth. Still, Su Mang gives second chances to the ones she considers worthy. An example is how she forgave Ella but was adamant towards Chen Jia Ming. And even ‘though, she didn’t try to harm him and brought him home that night when he got drunk and unconscious.

She also has a kinda childish side: acting like a spoiled child with Zheng Chu, worried when he got “angry” with her, playful and sassy. I laughed a lot when Zheng Chu brought her to the shopping addict center, and felt sad because she didn’t have the chance to expose her gratitude letter aloud. Su Mang is strong-willed, fair and lovable; it’s no wonder that Zheng Chu and Fei Yi fell for her.

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I like strong female figures and Su Mang truly is one to be admired

However, I quite dislike her initial prejudices towards Zheng Chu. After twenty episodes, in which Zheng Chu had already proved himself as a good guy, she still had a terrible impression of him, even thinking that he would pay to woman to have an abortion. Of course, I understand her mistrust after such a failed relantionship, but her prejudices were simply too unfounded. It was contradictory to me that a woman as intelligent as Su Mang couldn’t fight those prejudices. It’s possible that back then she already started feeling something for Zheng Chu, or maybe she just couldn’t believe that someone would be as gentle and noble as him.

One of Wang Li Kun’s best scenes was that one in which she burst into tears, after all the pressure she suffered due to the opposition of Zheng Chu’s family. I was torn by Zheng Chu’s sweetness, embracing her while she tried fighting back and ended up crying  dishearteningly. That was one of the moments when we realized how fragile Su Mang really is.

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Zhu Ya Wen portrays his role so well that it’s difficult to believe he isn’t Zheng Chu himself

Zhu Ya Wen plays the role of our male lead, Zheng Chu. He’s possibly one of the best male characters I have seen on any chinese drama. I admire how talented, caring and patient he is. His philosophy is based on sincerity (even when it’s not socially appropriate) and nobleness. He is extremely professional at work but values love the most. I was moved by his tenderness towards Su Mang, how he foresaw and planned every detail, always concerned. Not only a good boyfriend (and father), he’s also a marvelous friend and colleague. He is that kind of person that can’t bear to see anyone injured or treated unfairly. Still, he’s stubborn and fussy, often too impulsive and hot-headed, but CTOTSY presents his flaws amusingly, like they weren’t flaws at all.

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The perfect gentleman

He’s a man whose marriage proposal was rejected three times: one time by Chen Shan Shan and two times by Su Mang. I like how he managed everything regarding Chen Shan Shan: he appreciated their relationship but respected her decision to break up with him, because he knew things were already over. He kept the distance with Chen Shan Shan after their breakup, but just as he promised Yan Xiao Qiu, he wouldn’t doubt to help her if needed.

He didn’t mind to be called “house maid” by Su Mang, because in that way he could watch over her. He’s firm at his convictions, but he’s totally easy-going and understanding when it comes to his beloved ones. He keeps his dignity without being vain or arrogant. I loved how determined he was in some scenes (like when he teamed up with Su Chang to beat Chen Jia Ming), protecting and taking care of Su Mang at any cost. I couldn’t believe how patient he was, even when Su Mang kept misunderstanding him. Facing his family rejection, Su Mang tried to put him aside, hiding her real feelings, but Zheng Chu never gave up on her (one awesome scene is how he chased Su Mang’s car by only riding his bike).

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I really thank CTOTSY for introducing me into such a amazing actor as Zhu Ya Wen

Although we know it since the very first episode, our main characters don’t know the truth until the end. In the past, Zheng Chu donated his semen to the clinic where Su Mang got pregnant. I loved Zheng Chu’s expression when he discovered everything, how his eyes showed pure joy. After everything, it turned out that Zheng Chu is actually Su Mang’s child father. It seems like an implausible and miraculous plot line, but it didn’t feel forced or out of place. On the contrary, I perceived everything as something that was meant to be. Zheng Chu and Su Mang were meant to know each other, meant to fall in love, meant to overtake every problem… They were simply meant to be.

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Ye Qing stars as Tang Guo Guo, a spoiled teen idol too hot-headed but good-hearted

Tang Guo Guo (Ye Qing) is the little sister of Zheng Chu’s best friend, Tang Ming. She was raised and spoiled under the shelter of Tang’s family and as a result, she can be quite capricious and whiner. However, Tang Guo Guo is kind-hearted and won’t really hurt anyone on purpose. Initially, she was annoying, too noisy and bothersome. I didn’t hate her but dislike her constant pursuit over Zheng Chu. I disapprove her attitude towards Su Mang, mistreating her just because Zheng Chu was interested in her. It took me a while to change my view and get attached to Tang Guo Guo, but at the end I see her as a sincere and too straightforward girl who would crazily fight for her dreams and the ones she loves.

She was obsessed over Zheng Chu at first but little by little, Su Chang began earning a place at her heart. Seeing their progress as a couple was extremely sweet (the animal shelter scene was adorable). My favourite moment was that night in which Su Chang openned his heart, explaining how important Su Mang is for him and clarifying why he would not let anyone harm her, even if that person is the woman he loves.

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She might be childish, but her heart is pure towards the ones she loves and her aspirations as a singer

I also like how she adores singing, not really caring about fame or people’s criticism. She had a hard time when she lost media and fans’ support, but that obstacle helped her mature and see everything clearly: Tony, his manager, and Su Chang are the ones who stayed by her side. They are the people who deserve her love, and even ‘though she still cared a lot about Zheng Chu, she finally understood that loving someone who doesn’t love you back leads to nothing. Besides, I think she certainly fell in love with Su Chang. Unconsciously, she became more and more attached to him, going mad and worrying when he didn’t call back or meesage her, and not allowing anyone (even his father) picking on Su Chang.

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Su Chang’s perseverance gave fruits at the end

As for Su Chang (Wang Yan Lin), he is Su Mang’s little brother and works as a young magician. I thought he was simple-minded and only interested in Tang Guo Guo as a fling, but  he soon proved to be different. He may be Tang Guo Guo’s biggest fan, along with Tony. It’s was extremely tender to see his reverence while watching Tang Guo Guo singing clips. However, the moment when I started really caring about his character was, as I said, that night in which he explained how important Su Mang was for him. One thing I loved about Su Chang was how he didn’t care about showing his emotions, and it wasn’t unfounded crying or display of affection. Wang Yan Lin achieved to show how his character sincerely loves her sister and Tang Guo Guo.

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Denny Huang as Tang Ming

Denny Huang plays the role of our second male, doctor Tang Ming. He’s Tang Guo Guo’s big brother and the unique heir of Tang’s family. His father wants him to take charge of family business but he keeps his aspirations as a doctor, and (mainly) due to this, they don’t have a good relationship. Tang Ming is Zheng Chu’s best friend and likes to practice combat together.

When Tang Ming was young, he was in love with Zheng Chu’s ex-girlfriend, Chen Shan Shan. Later, she meets Yan Xiao Qiu (without knowing she is Chen Shan Shan’s big sister). He started developing feeling towards her when father Yan is hospitalized and Tang Ming turned up to be his doctor. Still, he accepted helping Chen Shan Shan when she suggested him to pretend being his boyfriend, in order to keep a depraved workmate at bay. Like this, Tang Ming got involved with both sisters.

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(I remember that the dress was dark green, why is it black in the photo…?)

Tang Ming is supposed to be a good guy, but I ended up really disliking his character. He stayed indecisive until it was too late. His behavior in some situations made me loathe his character even more: when Tang Ming found Yan Xiao Qiu in his home, he determined without even asking that she was there to suck up to his parents. He didn’t give her any chance to explain herself or make a try to reason beyond his prejudices. He should have known (better than anyone) that Tang Guo Guo could be really persistent, but he hurried to an irrational answer, blaming Yan Xiao Qiu. He neither asked Zheng Chu what happened when he heard that he slapped his sister. He chose to “resolve” the problem in a “manly” way ◔_◔ (a.k.a. beating Zheng Chu in the ring even when he didn’t defend). I’m not justifying Zheng Chu for slapping Tang Guo Guo, but I think I would have done something similar even if I wasn’t in love with Su Mang. After all, Tang Guo Guo was behaving rudely, not caring about Su Mang’s pregnancy. There are limits that shouldn’t be surpassed, and shaking or shouting to a pregnant woman surely is one. What’s more, he said to Zheng Chu that if someone had to teach manners to his sister, that person should be him; but all he does is spoil her.

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Tang Ming, tricked by Chen Shan Shan and thinking he slept with her, even got to the point of accepting to marry her (fortunately, he learnt the truth before the marriage took place)

As for the “love triangle”, someone could say that everything is Chen Shan Shan’s fault, but the decisions made in the end are only Tang Ming’s. Chen Shan Shan’s intentions are obvious since the beginning: she is clearly flirting with him, inviting him to her home, asking him to pretend to be her boyfriend, talking about his parents and their impression of her… Everything is evident but Tang Ming keeps giving her hope. When Chen Shan Shan knew that Tang Ming finally chose her sister, she threatened to suicide. Yan Xiao Qiu gave up on Tang Ming in order to protect her sister’s life, and Tang Ming, even in a situation as delicate as that, still went with the flow (something that can be translated into giving more hope to Chen Shan Shan).

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Yan Xiao Qiu is basically sunshine

Just as Zheng Chu and Su Mang, Yan Xiao Qiu (Gao Yang) absolutely won my heart. She comes from a dysfunctional family that eventually tore apart: her mother, unable to bear father Yan’s addiction to gambling and substances as alcohol and drugs, left their home with Chen Shan Shan. Before leaving, she asked Yan Xiao Qiu to go with them, but she decided to stay, stating that she believed he could change. Those word were actually what made father Yan change. Some years later, her mother died, leaving Chen Shan Shan on her own. Since then, father Yan is deeply sorry and craves to recover his relationship with her little daughter.

Yan Xiao Qiu is a very talented jewel designer, but due to her “despotic” boss, she can only work as an assistant. As a consequence, many of her works are shown to the public under the name of her boss’. By chance, Tang Guo Guo is hired as the model to wear her jewels and they became friends. Additionally, Tang Guo Guo wants to pair off his brother with her. Yan Xiao Qiu also became friends with Su Mang and grew into a precious support and wise counselor.

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Yan Xiao Qiu deserved so much more

I was incredibly sad when Yan Xiao Qiu’s father asked her to give up on Tang Ming (after Chen Shan Shan lied saying that Tang Ming was her boyfriend), but admired her even more when she dealed with the heartbreak so maturely. She cares genuinely about people surrounding her, but she also defends her values and convictions. Therefore, Chen Shan Shan and her father’s pressure wouldn’t make her give up on Tang Ming because he isn’t anyone’s trophy or property. I would also describe her as an optimistic person who loves and respects life. Her smile felt like it could pass on the screen.

(MAJOR SPOILER) When the accident occured, I thought the writers were making her slip into coma (anything that would encourage Tang Ming), but I was truly impressed when they announced her death (and that it wasn’t any dream or some kind of mistake). It caught me by surprise and I both loved and hated that twist. Even dead, Yan Xiao Qiu left the best to her loved ones. In other words, her legacy remained after death. Her path through the world accomplish to make everyone’s life better.

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Ma Qiu Zi plays the role of Chen Shan Shan, our main “antagonistic”

Chen Shan Shan (Ma Qiu Zi) is the typical antagonistic of every love triangle. She induces dissension and creates conflicts between Tang Ming and Yan Xiao Qiu, all while she pretends to be sweet and innocent. Besides this, I think her character doesn’t really make sense. She was inflexible about forgiving her father or having any kind of relationship with Yan Xiao Qiu, but when her sister died, she changed radically, crying and lamenting her death. Maybe it was in that moment when she realized how much Yan Xiao Qiu meant for her, but it was such a drastic and self-centred change that it just made me dislike her even more. Also, I’m neither accepting all her final regrets, I could be happy for her but everything felt too forced.

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I think Zheng Mei Ling’s voiceover actress sounded strange

Regarding to Zheng Chu’s auntie, Zheng Mei Ling (Irene Wan), I was a little annoyed by how she constantly changed her mind about Su Mang and Zheng Chu’s relationship. It was contradictory how she was presented as a strong female figure but couldn’t really accept Su Mang if her child wasn’t Zheng Chu’s.

I’m adding a final note referring to Fei Yi (Andrew Lien), another Su Mang’s suitor. I was sorry by his past (a beloved wife who died while giving birth) and really think he deserved to have his own happy ending. Sometimes he was quite bothersome, like out of place (but mainly because we all knew that Su Mang was meant to be with Zheng Chu).

Note: Also, right before CTOTSY, I watched Remembering Lichuan, series in which Andrew Lien played a wonderful role. It was strange to see him in CTOTSY with a different dubber.


Conclusion:

Although it has some questionable scenes involving quite annoying characters (*cough* Tang Ming *cough*), the main leads and characters as Yan Xiao Qiu make CTOTSY absolutely worth it. I also believe that people can learn a lot from every character’s story and the way they face obstacles.

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The writers made the clever decision of revealing the truth (Su Mang’s child is Zheng Chu’s) for the public since the very first episode. If they haven’t done that and revealed everything in the end like a plot twist, it would have felt too forced (like a hurried solution to pair our leads together).  Besides, the cast did a wonderful job, the actors achieved to make the story vivid and credible (especially in the case of Zhu Ya Wen and Wang Li Kun).

CTOTSY is a sweet ode to love: how love inspires people to even cross oceans.  I highly recommend it if you are searching for something lighthearted, with the fair amount of drama and comedy.

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  • Plot: 19/20
  • Cast: 19/20
  • OST: 7/10
  • Scenography: 10/10
  • Costume: 10/10
  • Overall: 9.3/10
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