19 September 2016

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ToGetHer 愛就宅一起 - Episode 1 (A Contest SqueeCap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on September 19, 2016
kakashi: Hello everyone! This is our new recapping project in honor of Sparks of Ember, who won our "alternative endings"-contest. I am sure that this will be fun, because this is the synopsis of this 2009 drama: "Mars is a superstar whose popularity went downhill after a series of negative publicity. His finances went into red alert and he had to find a new place to live. He ended up renting a place from Mo Mo, his homebody landlord. He befriended her and her childhood friend Jia Sen, a swimming captain with the intelligence of an 8-year-old." I can't wait.
Sparks: Hi, all! I'm excited to be here - thanks for the invite! I'm looking forward to sharing my favorite Twdrama with everyone! 
Trotwood; I remember loving this show. I watched it in my early years of watching dramas before i had access to much of anything. Poor quality. Half subbed. Sporadic episode continuity. But I remember really enjoying it. I think I was going through the "I must see everything with Raine Yang" phase.
Jaehyus: It's really good!  And I love Jiro Wang, so I'm happy.
Shuk: This was my second Rainie Yang after Devil Beside You. I saw it after YAB, which gave me a certain immunity for crazy hair and guyliner (thanks JKS!). I loved it! I thought it was cute fluff.
JoAnne:  Funny you should mention YAB, because while I was watching this I kept thinking about my utter bewilderment at the styling in that show - one of my earlier drama watches - and Mars certainly reminded me of Anjell. Like Jaehyus, I like Jiro - so I'm willing to overlook the hair and the clothes.

Episode 1

Chen Momo (Rainie Yang) is a nerd close to my heart: She has a massive crush on Prince Kasaba - he is royalty from another planet and some might say a manhua character. He seems to have left earth though... but Momo is sure he'll come back. In the meantime, she carries a large cardboard figure of him through the city - saved from a horrible fate! A garbage truck!! Getting him home unscathed isn't easy... and when she finally gets to her house, she accidentally decapitates him. Oh dear.
All that hard work lugging home a cutout twice her size only to injure him in her front yard. *sigh*
I loved her on that bus. Full dedication despite the hatred of the other passengers.
I laughed so much at this.
I remember begging the local video store for a movie poster of Blade Runner...wait...did I just date myself? Anyway, that was a rolled tube of paper. I can't imagine lugging something like this around.
I fell for her. It was like watching a tiny ant struggle to drag a huge crumb across the picnic table.  You just have to admire the persistence!
On the next day, she is still very much preoccupied with Prince Kasaba (it's his 22nd birthday after all) or she would have heard her shrill older sister (Chen Chuchu) squee over the fact that MARS (Jiro Wang) - a super popular rockstar - is going to be a student at her university! (Get it? Mars? Extraterrestrial?) (Yes.)
I...can't believe I never quite made that connection before. And did you notice the band-aids holding Giant-Kasaba's head together? But is it sad I almost prefer the pink wig to the mop they forced Rainie to wear in this drama?
Nope, because I prefer the pink wig. I remember thinking at the time that I hoped she was just going to wear that for the rest of show. What was with all the stuff they did to her hair in these early shows?
Everytime I see her hair from the back, I want to cut it.
It wasn't until the pink wig that I was even able to see how adorable she is - yes, this is my first Rainie Yang drama, although I've been aware of her name in a general way for years. Also, I think there's a casaba melon, isn't there?  So I just kept thinking 'melon head, melon head' through out.
That's him on the left. (Do you mean the right? Or are you joking?) ((what do you think? :)) LOL

I don't know what their relationship is, but he is in bed with him the next morning.
Who wouldn't be, given the chance? ;)
He looks like Prince Kasuba to me.
As long as he still respects it in the morning.
Can I trade places with the blue thing? Damn, boy.
 
And we get a shot of his abs. And his black undies. Thank you.
Yes. Yes, yes.
And they are really small. Such a tease.
Is it the angle? Because his nipples look set really low making me wonder if he had some enhancements done to his chest.
Sometimes it's the way the muscle is developed. But anyway, let's just look. I would definitely touch if I could.
And his manager's face on the abs. Thank you?
lol. Though, again - who wouldn't jump at the opportunity? 
This guy is the BEST. It didn't take more than a couple seconds for me to fall for him. It helps that he reminds me of that skinny skinny skinny older guy who shows up in Aaron Yan dramas.
Well, the thing is, Mars is not waking up even though he should, so Manager (his name is Ke Yi Zhi and he is played by Jin Qin) has to take rather extreme measures! He rolls in an amp and pretends he is announcing Mars before a live show. It works. Mars is up!
I cracked up here and thought, "I know I'm not going to like him but he clearly takes his profession seriously" or at least it means a lot to him.
He takes being idolized seriously.
Not like him? Not like who? The PA should be on your list from the start and I have full faith that Jiro's Mars will be a complete muffin in a very short period of time.
Mars may have said he is going to university, but he really does not want to go. But he got tons of negative press for being an arrogant, superficial, perverted and violent prick and his popularity (and sales figures) are on a steep decline. Going to university seems the best option to turn this around, because otherwise, he'd have to join the army and would most likely be forgotten by everyone while in there (all men serve a compulsory 12 months of active duty in Taiwan). The thing that finally convinces Mars to go is not reason - but the fact that his manager tells him there will be tons of media at the school entrance, waiting for him.
Some of that was really misconstrued and I felt bad for him. 
So does this mean that if he goes to uni he doesn't have to go into the army ever or is it just postponed? I'd think that he would want to go to army and have everyone forget all the bad stuff and come back a whole new person.
Especially if he did well in the army, he'd come back to kudos.
I agree that MS might have been the better choice. Plus, cheese-grating abs.
On the university plus side, we get a drama. If he opted to do his MS we wouldn't be here, folks.
There is indeed a crowd gathering at the entrance of the university, one that Momo quickly bypasses. Well, these hordes of girls certainly don't care about Mars' negative press! Oh wait ... Manager had to pay for the car, there is absolutely no press and all but four of the very excited girls disappear immediately.
Big pointy man shoes = arrogant hot stuff. Anyone ever notice that about dramas? 
Yup. And we know that though they are ugly, they probably cost a lot.
I've notice men in real life wear these shoes and think they are hot stuff.
I'm just getting Village People vibes.
I think the clothes and shoes are to help force us to just imagine him naked.
Those four super-groupies are in Mars' class. Not at all excited though: Momo. Who has not the slightest clue who this guy is and who gets picked by ballot as the one having to show him around school.
Of course the one person is class who does not want to win gets stuck with the job.
Isn't this always the case?
Isn't it like the person who most dislikes cats is the biggest feline magnet in the room?
There's a reason for that with cats, though.  Here it's Fate.  Destiny. Stars aligning. Planets, turning slowly on their axis (axes?) finally grinding into place.
We learn that her teacher has no clue who she is, even though she's never skipped class. As we see in a number of flashbacks, all her life, poor Momo has always been overlooked and forgotten. 
This sequence was so sad!
And apparently she's been reading that exact Prince Kasaba manga since she was 10. Just how many 22nd birthdays has he had?
One every year.
It seems far far far past the word "obsession". And yet, for her, it's adorable. Is it the mop hair?
That hair. How can she hold her head up, even? (I liked the pink hair too.)
Well, Momo bites the bullet and starts her tour... basically whispering to herself. It doesn't matter, because Mars is a bit preoccupied with the girls that squee at him. And the ones that think he's a joke, but he doesn't get it. Momo knows from her Prince that people like Mars who are self-absorbed "are like those who step on dog poo and shout 'why is it so smelly?' and won't admit it". I am honestly not sure what that has to do with being self-absorbed, but she adds that these people "have no clue about how much other people hate them" Spot-on. Also, Mars steps on dog poo that very second and shouts "why is it so smelly".
I'm guessing self-absorbed people think they are so perfect that it never occurs to them they could have stepped in dog poo? Prince Kasaba is apparently full of wise idioms and Momo lives by them as you shall see.
At least Prince Kasuba was useful to Momo.
I'm sure at some point she'll think of some way for Mars to be useful. I can send her several suggestions.
He is such a poser. I hate him! >.< Haha.
I cringe constantly all during this - he is so completely, obliviously arrogant.
And let us not forget the pretentious outfit. No one attends classes with a freakin' boutonniere.
But he's MARSSS! Of course he must have a boutonniere.
That final, sibilant 'S'.  It kills me every time.
At lunch, she is happy to have gotten rid of "that weird student", when he sees her sitting at one of the cafeteria tables by herself. Happily by herself, we should add.
If I hadn't liked her before, I would have fallen for her here. I like eating alone. It makes other people uncomfortable thinking I must be lonely.
I think the same way. And I usually have my electronics with me, so as soon as a child starts crying in the restaurant, out comes the trusty earbuds and the tablet. Lakorns and linguine, anyone?
As long as I have something to read I don't mind eating alone, but if I'm out, I prefer to eat with people.

He goes over to thank her for showing him around school ... and then, he gets a pen from a student who thinks "wtf" and puts his autograph on Momo's Prince Kasaba book ... and a heart on his face for "more feel". OMG, I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.
Speaking as a bibliophile, he's lucky he didn't get his hair ripped out over this.
There would have been blood and none of it mine and none on my book.
If anyone does that to one of my Jaehyo pictures, I will hunt them down and Chen Pi them.
I'm surprised she didn't deck him right there. But I now assume that his come back will involve playing Prince Kasaba, and that future Momo and future Mars have a lot of fun role-playing.
Momo has had enough. She calls him a narcissist jerkfaced dirt bag, who is nothing without the people around him. Ouch. It actually hurts him.
I love how he looks around the room and it actually takes a minute for it to sink in that she's talking to him.
What's interesting is that the only people upset are the four fan girls. No one else. It's like he doesn't realize that he only has four fans left and they aren't the girls that anyone really likes.
They're just the sort to latch onto anyone vaguely famous and handsome for potential benefits later.
Poor guy prolly hasn't been given the truth since he was in short pants.
I just keep thinking about the pressure of maintaining that presence and the un-moored feeling that losing it could bring.  He's had my sympathy from early on, despite his outward arrogance.
The truth hurts and the truth is, Mars' star is sinking - or rather, has stopped shining. Manager picks him up in a small black car (people laugh) and takes him to get a (seemingly painful) foot massage. (If they're anything like the ones I had in Thailand, yes, very painful.) But Mars cannot relax. He cannot forget that girl and what she said about him. That girl is currently trying to get the black pen off her love's face, (with every cleaner and solvent known to man) but alas... she also gets into a fight with her sister, who wants to rent out their dead parents' room downstairs to pay off some of her luxury item related debts. She gets Momo to agree to her plan when she threatens to work as a hostess in a bar.
They are so different. I have a feeling Momo basically raised herself. And Sis totally manipulated her with the hostess threat.
Prince Kasuba raised Momo.
Even with the Prince's help, it's clear that her sister is a useless twit and she has nore or less had to take care of herself.
How long have the parents been dead, then?  I assumed it was fairly recent, a couple of years.
Mars is working out, still talking about how popular he is and how the company will come running soon, but his manager has actually been told by "Tony" (Mr. Agency) that Mars has to clear the company house. He is too much of a coward to tell Mars though. Ladies, by now, I feel very, very sorry for our bragging fool. 
He's dangling from a cliff and has absolutely no clue.
Yeah. I feel sorry, too. He is arrogant and self centered but not really mean to anyone. This is going to hurt really badly.
Poor incredibly handsome kid.
He just needs to endorse and model for an underwear company.
I will buy stock in that company. But yeah, I'm with Kakashi.  I feel sorry for him.  He seems like a pretty simple guy (as in not complex, not as in stupid) who's been built up for years and had no clue it could end, or that he'd be discarded by people who probably professed to care for him on a personal level.  He just trusted in the universe, if you will, and now it's all about to come crashing down, but at his heart he's a decent human being.

At university, the four Mars-groupies start bullying Momo by moving her desk onto the roof. Of all people, it's Mars who sees her laboring and offers his help. Angrily, she refuses it.
Can't blame her there - it's essentially his fault they're bullying her in the first place. Though he doesn't even know why she'll dragging her desk down the steps.
I love how she laboriously drags that desk back without any comment (although I also thought it sad--it fits with her resignation to always being forgotten). She goes back to class (she's never cut in her life) and even the teacher is shocked at her persistence. I can't remember if he ever finds out what's behind this whole desk incident, but I hope so.
I thought that was a very sad sequence and I gave major side-eye to the teacher, honestly, for not stepping in.  I don't blame Mars at all.  He didn't instruct them to do it nor did he encourage or suggest it. We all know already he wouldn't have approved.
When he gets home that day, he finds another artist signed with the same company in his house (his name is Ben and he got a nose-job in Korea). This is now Ben's house, because he is the "company's top celebrity". (I don't completely get this - you'd think the top celebrities could afford their own homes.) Over dinner with his manager, Mars has to find out that he's pretty much broke (plus we learn that he pays off his father's debts and sends money to his grandparents) and has to stop living an extravagant life. And the worse news probably is that Mars' manager will be Ben's manager from now on.
It makes sense, though - what's he need a manager for when he's just supposed to lay low and be a student for a while?
But he's used to having him by his side, and they like each other.  It's very sad.  I don't even think Mars thinks about having to do things for himself now - I think his first thought would be missing the guy.
When he moves out the next day (does he call his house "mumu"??), (No - Mumu is the blue, alien, stuffed-animal thing that he sleeps with) (I thought it was a dolphin) Mars stands up for Manager in front of Ben, who seems to be a real asshole (Mars only thinks he needs to act like one). By now, I like this kid. He nearly blows a fuse though when he hears he has to share a house with other people, females at that! Yeah. Those females, of course. Momo on the other hand thinks men are all ax murderers, but her sister says it was good money.
Big Sis really didn't consider her extremely introverted sister at all when she cooked up this scheme, did she? 
Does she ever?
Extroverted people don't understand introverted people at all.  I don't really blame big sis here, though I totally understand, as an introvert, how frustrating it is to deal with extroverts.
I'm an extrovert! Woo-hoo! [wildly waves] Have said that, Big Sis never ever puts Momo in her thoughts at all, in my opinion. She just assumes Little Sis will agree to everything.
In Sis's defense, she had no idea they were getting Mars for a lodger.  She probably figured it'd be some quiet guy who wouldn't be much of a bother at all, but her admissions about her plans for the money and her attitude toward the sanctity of that particular bedroom did show her to be built very, very differently than Momo.  I don't think she's evil, though, and she probably loves Momo even if she doesn't understand her.  We can't give free rein to Momo's personal eccentricities and style without doing the same for her sister, in other words.
To Mars, Momo's house looks "like where the cavemen lived", but what choice does he have? He moves his stuff in. Momo left a note at the door, welcoming him - she's at uni, of course. Since Manager used Mars' real name when he arranged for the contract, she and her sister have no clue who just moved in. (I can just picture the aneurysm when Sis finds out.) When Manager gets there as well, Mars goes upstairs and bitches about the fridge (too small) and everything else (useless). I am just about to reconsider my tender feelings for Mr. Ex-Rockstar, when Manager says he was able to prevent Mars' Mom from finding out about her son's predicament.
You have to admit, it's a far cry from his previous digs. And he's never had to do without.
And he's still wrapping his head around the new reality.  I doubt the details have sunk in.  We rapidly become accustomed to what we consider essential or basic, and he's going to have to rewire everything.
Apparently, she can't find out he had to move. And apparently, she's about to arrive in Taipei to see her son. Mars panics! And his car has been towed off!! Manager's too. He almost faints when she actually calls him, but it's only to say she isn't coming after all. Wow, I wonder what she's like :D
Right? Nothing has shaken him up like the mention of his mother! 
Nope, but I love how we all soften a bit towards him because of his reaction to mom. Are we trained by dramas to do this?
I think he just doesn't want to disappoint her. Also, I want him to sell his car and get a motorbike.
Anyone who loves his mom can't be bad. It's a drama trope.
Yeah, I am hoping it's just that he doesn't want her to be worried or disappointed, and not that she's horrible. That 'loves Mom' thing, though - it's not just related to dramas.

Since there are no cars, Mars needs to take public transport to school. In the underground, a group of breakdancers make fun of him - well, actually, they insult him. They call him a loser who does not know how to dance and he almost gets into a fist fight with them. Managers manages to calm things down by ... dancing! OMG.
I die every time I see that. And they are so impressed by his dance! Manager's a cutie-patootie. 
I agree.I'm glad that if Mars has to only have one friend, it's him.
I laughed and cheered Manager through this whole sequence.
I squeed.  He's adorable.
Back at school, Mars has some sort of mental break-down. He now thinks everybody looks at him weird and hates him because he is no longer popular ... and he knows who the worst among them is! It's that girl, who called him names. They run into each other and he drags her to some remote area of the school. He demands to know why she hates him so much (she is just trying to get away) and she finally says: "If you act like this, who would like you?"
I feel so bad for him here - everything is finally sinking in all at once and he's drowning in it. Then he bumps into the person that, to him, triggered it all. But he's still his arrogant self so he does everything wrong.
That outfit is soooooo wrong. Taiwan is supposed to be hot!
At which point he pushes her to the wall ... and kisses her. Thinking to himself that he has to get them all to like him. You IDIOT!
I just - don't even know what he thought kissing her would do? Make her instantly swoon at his feet and, voila, everyone will like him again? (Not that I'd mind trading places with her...)
This makes me wonder about his training days and what crap people were telling him about the world. He seems so out of it--not being aware at all what regular people do or how they feel.
This definitely came out of left field, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me excited for what will come later with them.
She clocks him. I cheer.
So did I. Should've kicked him in the nuts for good measure.
Her tiny raised fist at the end, there.  She's so cute.
He works off his frustration with basetball (and then gets horribly drunk) while she tries to cleanse herself with all the toothpaste she can possibly find (she has a Prince Kasaba cup to rinse, by the way).
As with the solvents earlier, she has bought every brand of toothpaste in existence. This girl doesn't do anything halfway. 
I appreciate her dedication and focus.
Kasuba taught her to Be Determined.
Methinks she doth protest too much.
She is getting ready for bed when Mars comes home ... still very drunk and desperate to pee. She probably never had to lock her door before ... in any case, he comes in, sees her half-naked, approves, she screams ... and hits him again. What a lovely day you've had, Mars!  
Hahaha - the up/down look he takes just before she knocks him out!
They do so love bathroom humor in all its facets, don't they.
I've decided that in cultures with such an emphasis on food, a certain focus on the bathroom is a natural output.  If you will.

Comments

This was surprisingly good (for a rom-com with a very well-known set-up)! Our heroine may be an extreme wallflower and introvert, but she is no push-over. She does not care what other people think about her and she has strong principles that she is ready to fight for. It's hard not to like her.
I agree - she's got a core of steel underneath all that timidity. 
I really admire her. She has been this forgotten person for forever and yet she knows what she likes and sticks with that. it would understandable if she spent all her time trying to change to make people notice her. She's just resigned to it and has found ways to make her own world full of contentment. It;s not like she isn't aware of others like Mars; it's that she has made a conscious decision to do things her own way despite knowing other people might not like it or may forget about her entirely.
I feel, in a way, that's she's very impressionable.  Kasuba made an impression and all the things he says are now gospel.
Momo had an excellent self-value, but I feel bad for the events in her life that have molded her that way.
What really got me was that montage of her being forgotten everywhere.

And him ... wow, what a stupid, stupid man! So embarrassing. And yet so pitiful. This episode did a great good job in establishing step by step just how low he has fallen. That scene at the very beginning, when he's in a concert? That's a flashback to his golden days. There are no crowds waiting for him anymore. He is basically dismantled in front of our eyes. His behavior is so cringeworthy at the beginning, but the longer we see him, the more pitiful it becomes, because he goes on hyperdrive to maintain this sad illusion of a rockstar.
Yes. It's a common trope but I enjoy watching characters grow and change. And he's got a lot of growing and changing to do.
Not stupid, just not self-aware.
And good to his family as well, which shows he's not quite the egocentric bore he seems at first light.
I think it's hard verging on impossible to keep egocentrism out of your personality when you hit that level of stardom.  It changes you on a fundamental level.  Every mechanism for living that we have must be discarded and replaced by new behavior and new attitudes.  As long as the person isn't mean just because they can be, I can forgive much.

As episode 1 progresses, more and more things are taken away from him. His big van, his house, his flashy car, his fame, his dignity, his pride. And just like that, he has to acknowledge to himself that he is no longer popular. It must be very traumatizing.
It's a good thing he's pretty tough with his own intense boundaries and self-image.

We also learn that he is not a bad guy. He cares about people. He genuinely wanted to help Momo with the desk. He really got angry at Nose Ben for talking rudely to Manager. And he is afraid of his momma.
Manager seems more like a best friend than just a business relationship. Mars is lucky to have him by his side in all this.
Is Trot gonna make another PA glitter sign?
If she doesn't, I will.

Anyway, this episode was long, but now that we're all set-up for cohabitation hi-jinks, I'm actually quite excited to continue watching this.
Yay! Let the cohabiting begin! 
Can't wait. I'm going to rewatch ep 2 right now.
Ever onward and upward!
More shots of Mars in various states of undress, please.

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