Review: Smooth Talker (TVB, 2015)

Smooth Talker (以和為貴)SmoothTalker2015TVB

Genre: Modern Drama/ Comedy
Length: 20 episodes
Producer: Lam Chi Wah

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The Cast

Joe Ma as Hau Tak-sze aka Toast
Kate Tsui as Mo Sui-yee
Johnson Lee as Au-Yeung Kai
Elena Kong as Lam Ah-lui
Tracy Chu as Mo Sui-ka
Tommy Wong as Au-Yeung Bin
Jacqueline Wong as Angie Wu
Caret Cheung as Betty So

and Stefan Huynh, Eileen Yeow, William Chak, Rebecca Zhu, Raymond Chiu, Lee Yee Man, etc.

The Review

SmoothTalker_header

As I’m beginning to write this review, I’m once again struggling as to what I should really write about the plot. After all, despite its mediation-themed drama, my memorable aspects of the series is a naive housewife (Kate Tsui) being betrayed by her husband who had an affair with a third party, a calm and laid-back mediator (Joe Ma) turning rash and impulsive upon discovering that there was more to his father’s death, and two strong-willed beings (Johnson Lee and Elena Kong) falling in love with one another after two decades of knowing each other. Oh right, there is also Kate’s baby sister (Tracy Chu) with Asperger syndrome, whom she protects literally like a baby. It turns out Tracy is more adaptive than Kate after all despite being slightly autistic.

Kate who plays Mo Sui-yee is Stefan’s wife. Being the naive, but loving wife she is, she becomes the victim after her husband engages in a love affair with Caret. Kate who is unable to bear his husband a child, with no money saved up after the years, and truly believed that she was a happy housewife, has to re-start her life again solo. She becomes Johnson’s secretary, who is also one of the top lawyers in Hong Kong, and eventually becomes a mediator herself. On many occasions, she runs in Joe, who is a seasoned mediator and while his mediation techniques are as effective as a lawyer’s, he charges much less compared to his competitive, but good friend, Johnson. While Joe and Kate constantly bickers and she misunderstands him for being the cause of her divorce, the two eventually becomes love birds.

SmoothTalker_JoeMa_KateTsui

I was quite surprised that despite Joe and Kate’s age gap and Joe being part of an older generation of artists that they would be an odd pair. That is definitely not the case here and they were a doable couple, but not outstanding. The fact that they were a bickering couple definitely helped with their chemistry. Also, when I realized that this will be Kate’s last drama with TVB, I decided to go back and watch it.

Kate who is also over-protective of her little sister and treats her like she was born yesterday has no choice, but to loosen her reigns a bit as Tracy begins to work at a mechanic shop with four sloppy men. She is even more bewildered when she wants to compete in a motorcycle race with these men in Taiwan. As it turns out, Tracy proves that she’s more adaptive than her sister when she has prepared her Mandarin for Taiwan, but Kate is still struggling.

Tracy, once again, demonstrates that she has potential. However, while she definitely had the cuteness in her to play Kate’s little sister, I’m a bit tired of how they try to make her younger than she really is. The actress being 27 dresses like she’s still 16. Drowning her age by an entire decade is taking it a little too far even though speculations claim that Asians age well. In the past, when TVB gave these “little sister” roles to Katy Kung or Cilla Kung, it made sense as their petite frame can pass, but the same can’t say for Tracy. If TVB wants to promote her, she can’t fall into the same hole as the others did.

SmoothTalker_JohnsonLee_ElenaKong

On a different note, Johnson and Elena have been best enemies since their school days and this form of bickering and making life difficult for each other has been brought into the real world and their work lives. When one is a cop and the other is a competitive lawyer, their lives intertwine on many occasions. As strong-willed as Elena is, she has a fun side when she’s dealing with Johnson. Meanwhile, being the competitive person he is, everything revolving around Johnson’s life is about winning, even when dating girls. He pursues Jacqueline briefly who comes from a wealthy background. However, as competitive as he is, being a filial son he is, he saw the angel in Elena when she was the first and only person to come to his father’s rescue when his life was in danger. Seeing from how they had zero chance of being together to Johnson’s attempts to pursue and joining speed dating just to have a chance to explain to Elena his feelings was simply hilarious.

If anything, Johnson and Elena’s characterization and storyline would’ve made a much interesting, stronger, and memorable main plot. Not to mention that TVB nominated Elena for Best Actress when I was wondering why she didn’t win Best Supporting Actress again this year. Too bad I watched this series after the anniversary awards otherwise TVB can expect another complaint coming their way. Elena is always great at playing independent and outspoken characters.

Overall Evaluation

Being the lighthearted comedy it claims to be, it has its comedic moments and lives up to that for the most part. Also, it’s either more of an idol drama or something you’ll watch over dinner and have no problem brushing it aside after the time is over. Finally, it also gave newbies like Tracy, Jacqueline, and Caret a good amount of screen time for viewers to notice them whereas they wouldn’t get the same amount of exposure if they were in a bigger production.

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