Rants and Weekly Raves (RAWR) #425

Anne: Happy Thanksgiving week to those who are in the US. I am officially off work this week! (Mostly because I have like 100 hours of vacation that I'll lose at the end of the year. They are over the limit that gets rolled over.) I'm not going anywhere really, just a quick trip to take the 6 year old to visit his aunt and uncle. (He informs me that I'm his "second" favorite person when his Auntie is around, but I'm his favorite person at home.) In terms of every day life...not a whole lot is happening, except for work and work and then even more work. And me trying to figure out what in the world am I going to give people for gifts this year?

Don't you find that as you get older, there really isn't a whole lot that you want as presents? The things I really need, I can't ask other people to get me. And what they can give me...I feel like it'll just add to the piles of other stuff that I will just end up throwing away. But if you ask the 6 year old, he has a list that is a mile long of things they he absolutely NEEDS. I wish that I was still that easily satisfied. 

So, in an effort to take advantage of my "vacation", this post will be slightly different, hopefully, with a bit more substance than my previously hurried ones. With setting everyone's expectations high...let's get on with what I managed to watch these last two weeks.

Life Begins

I started this drama a little after SOSsy, who suggested it in the comments two weeks ago. And 17 episodes later... I really, really LOVE this drama! While this drama had similar back drop plots of arrange marriages, fight for the throne, competition between brothers, national politics, and the harem, I think the main story for this focuses entirely on female relationships and their lives in this fictional time period in this fictional nation of 9 kingdoms. The main story is focused on the 6th prince and Li Wei, whom he choose to marry just because it is expected (and I swear it's also because he did it to mess with her for her stealing his dinner). 

Episode 1 -- While the boys up for marriage are discussing the candidates and which one is the most beautiful, the girls are also doing something similar, discussing which one would make the best husband. The former has the official portrait's of the candidates, the latter has an unofficial "book".

And poor Li Wei, who tried her best to demonstrate her lack of everything needed to be a concubine or a wife, is the first to get married.

Episode 2 -- Li Wei, through a series of misunderstandings, thinks Yin Zheng's stomach issues are life threatening and thinks that the day of the princes' imperial exam is the day of his death. In order to mark the day when she can finally go home again, Li Wei marks it on the calendar, 

and starts sending letters to her parents when they should expect her home, so to be sure to prepare some yummy stuff for her eat.

In the meantime, Hao Jia marries the second prince, as she planned, despite knowing that his wife will find ways to make her life difficult. But despite her being soft spoken, she is quite keen on how to manipulate the husband's favor towards her, when she got him to offer the tea that his wife just poured for him.

And Shangguan Jing, who came from the city run by women, is married to Yin Qi, the fifth prince, who had to be tied up and delivered to the wedding chamber, where the bride was waiting. Yin Qi wanted to marry Hao Jia.

During dinner, Le Wei is trying her best to follow rules. So she immediately jumps to take from a dish as soon as Yin Zheng touches it with his chopsticks. And in order to make sure she doesn't "take" from any dish more than 3 times...she decides to use a bigger bowl. And right before he leaves, he touches the fish so she can eat from it!

It wasn't until the end, that Yin Zheng realized that she thought he was dying.

Episode 3 -- When the servants tell her to get ready for Yin Zheng's BIG DAY, she does...

...complete with a cut onion to help her cry. After getting that straighten out and Yin Zheng gets better, her consummation night is scheduled. But then her maids tell her that she needs to make sure she succeeds otherwise, or she will be "divorced" if she can't bare children. She agrees that would be "terrible"...

And when Song Wu, Yin Zheng's adopted sister, decides to "fight" for the room that is now Li Wei's, she gets a shock when Li Wei invites her to share her room... 

(all in an effort to delay the consummation night...of course). And boy did Song Wu regrets her decision when Li Wei mistaken her arms for food in her sleep and bites down...

In the middle of all this... Yin Zheng is tasked to convince his 3rd brother (Yin An, who is wealthy due to the inheritance from his mother) to return to the palace to avoid an imperial summons. If Li Wei saw this look on Yin Zheng's face when she was going on and on about how handsome Yin An is...

...she would be better prepared...

...and not be SO disappointed.

Episode 4 -- Where Li Wei meets the "Solar Ladies", aka Yin An's harem...

Yin An doesn't remember who is who... 

Not even when they point to the "names" floating above their heads. 

Episode 5 -- And when Shangguan Jing's state is devastated by flooding, and needs a lot of funds to rebuild, all her friends chip in, including Sisi, who wanted to donate a little something...

...and wonders if this was enough. As part of the never ending schemes of Song Wu to get Yin Zheng to divorce Li Wei, she decided to "torture" the dog, to prove to Yin Zheng that Li Wei can't take care of the dog.

(I think the dog looks really cute.)

Episode 6 -- This started with the Mid-Autumn banquet which was organized by Li Wei, a whole buffet featuring the specialties of the nine kingdoms. 

I really like a buffet when there is a personal servant to carry your food. And there is a little snippet of how each dish is prepared, or rather the "drama" that went into how each dish was prepared. Her award for a job well done was immediately revoked, and also got Yin Zheng into trouble, when she set fire inside the palace walls because of a BBQ. 

So...what Yin Zheng originally planned had to be "revised", and in order for Li Wei to see her family, he sneaked them with the vegetable delivery.

Normally, the tearful goodbye at the end of the visit would probably be at the "door"...but this show takes it one step further and the entire goodbye sequence is with them getting out exactly how they came in.

And it is these unexpected moments of comedy mixed with emotional content that partly makes this drama unique. 

While Yin Zheng is doing his best to make his wife happy and fulfilled, Yin Qi angers his wife to returning home when he asked her if he can take a concubine. So now Yin Zheng, Li Wei, and Yin Qi all travel to Dan State to get Shangguan Jing back.

Episode 7 -- After getting slightly tortured during dinner, Yin Qi is in no condition to enjoy the night market stroll with Yin Zheng and Li Wei. Where upon Yin Zheng was "lectured" by the husbands of the Dan State on how to properly serve your wife.

The fruit plate was VERY impressive. And Yin Qi has to passed the husband's appraisal test. Of which the ability to play mahjong was one of them. 

And whe Yin Zheng started to help him win, THAT drew the attention of the Lady of Dan (who is Shangguan Jing's older sister). The second appraisal was cleaning your wife's ear. And the third was making chili oil. And when Yin Zheng demonstrated his superior archery skills, the Lady of Dan decided that if a marriage alliance is needed, then she will marry Yin Zheng and leave her younger sister free of her idiot of a husband.

Episode 8 -- Well...Yin Zheng made his refusal quite clear, and Shangguan Jing, partly to please her sister and partly to prevent her sister from separating her friend from her husband, agreed to go back with Yin Qi. And in the farewell banquet, Yin Zheng gets completely drunk ...

...and kisses her...and face plants into the bed. In the morning, he completely forgets...which causes Li Wei to asks herself if she imagined it all?

Episode 8 -- The Xin State is in debt and needs to find some money quick. First thing they try is to reduce spending. And even though 3rd Young lord, Yin An, has a lot of "outside" money, he decides that he needs to do the same thing to save face and show how he is as good as his brothers. So when he announced that all his wife's and concubines' allowance are frozen and they can only spend 50 taels a month, the women all wonder why the lightening hasn't struck him dead yet.

When Shangguan Jing found out that Yin Qi pawned all his stationery to buy the food she loves, she was touched for 2 seconds...until she found out that he also pawned her weapons. In Yin Zheng's manor, Li Wei makes a vegetable garden. 

So Yin Zheng decides to go collect on "old" debts to the state, but he needed someone without any shame, such as Yin An. And in order to "convince" his 3rd brother to help, Yin Zheng had Li Wei get all of the 3rd brother's women to all come into the palace and "use up" all his food ration in one day.

Yin Zheng and Yin An head out to collect on the debt repayment, using any means possible.

By making a public scene....

By beating people up....

By taking their woman as payment....

After the debt collection, Yin Zheng finds out that Li Wei's status as a concubine when they divorce will cause her reputation to be harmed, so he makes it a mission to get his father to allow him to promote her to a wife. In order to do that, he needs Li Wei to become the valedictorian of the wifey school.

Now that they have enough money to make a first payment to negotiate repayment terms, Yin An is tasked with Yin Zheng to travel to Jin state. In his last meal at home, he was so touched that all his women didn't take any of the meal.

That's because they were all full from having ate the dishes supplied by Li Wei's vegetable garden.

Episode 10 -- While Yin Zheng and Yin An went to Jin State to deliver the funds, Li Wei tries her best to score well on her studies. On the road to Jin...the boys ran into bandits. Where upon, Yin An realized that his little brother knows how to fight.

After the boys return from their mission, and Li Wei gets first place, Yin Zheng's father agreed to let him promote Li Wei to wife. In addition, he is given a house outside the palace. 

It was during the touring of this new manor, that Yin Zheng's man servant CANNOT take it anymore. And yells at Li Wei that "He likes you!" (you idiot).

And that is the first 10 episodes of this drama. Of course there are a lot of other stuff that went on... While that trip to Jin State brought more headaches and heartaches for both Yin Zheng and Li Wei, the plot gives this entire thing a twist that I wasn't expecting. You will notice that even those women who seem to be fighting over the men end up not going the direction you normally would expect. It really is a drama about female relationships, not just to their men, but most importantly to their other female friends.


While waiting for more episodes of Life Begins to drop, I was looking through Netflix and came across this, what seemed like a crime drama that involved a dating app. Episode 2 is when I started to think that Sum was a bit nutty. (And BTW, this isn't Asperger's, when did this become associated with psychopathic behavior?) Around like episode 3, it got a bit gritty. Episode 4 took it to a whole other level. And things just kept getting worse. If you are interested in this just know that you will be incredibly frustrated at Sum, Gi-Eun, and Yun-O. The only normal one is Mok-Won, the shaman. This is a tragic love story. And Samantha might be the devil. Be warned, this is quite disturbing.

Hm... there were more shows I've watched, but I will have to save them until next week. Have a wonderful week. And I will be sleeping late every day!