Ji Xiao Bing, Mainland China Entertainment

The Fox’s Summer

image credit: as marked

I actually finished this sometime last year but totally put off on the review after some initial notes. So, how was it? It was surprisingly enjoyable although it was a typical office drama. I think I could give it a 70% success chance. The reason why it didn’t go higher was because of several factors I will discuss later. 

Main Cast

  • Jiang Chao (姜潮) as Gu Cheng Ze (顧承澤) / Michael. I didn’t like him at all at first. Yes, that bad. Mostly because of his high and mighty principles and how he seemed to not care about anyone at all. It was like he disregarded them because only he mattered. The condescension made me despise him and only the people surrounding him made the plot interesting to me. However, as the series progressed and I was able to see what was going on and how he was influenced by his adopted mother mostly, it made me pity him. I still didn’t like some of the stuff about him, but it made me hated him less. That was all. He was in some neutral zone. I didn’t start to like him until he finally thought for other people. I was fine with him being honest to some people though since they were pulling cheap tricks and he was calling out their BS. It was almost fun to watch other people’s expressions when he did that. However, what was annoying was the other matters. He assumed regarding the plagiarism situation and all. It wasn’t when he finally thought to investigate more carefully and realized he wasn’t always right that I started to give him a chance as well. Yes, he wasn’t giving anyone chances, so I didn’t care for him either. Then when he thought more about the other people’s perspectives, I cut him some slacks. He wasn’t exactly an interesting character but he did have some growth in him. I thought the actor brought out his character well though, from being so uptight and also fighting his psychological battles to learning to be considerate toward others and also thought of things in a more complex way.
  • Tan Song Yun (譚松韻) as Li Yan Shu (黎晏書). My first drama of hers was actually The Master of The House and I had to drop it temporarily because of some events happening in the series. (I might go back later, I don’t know.) I found that she had great potential just watching some scenes of hers thus far in there. I was glad that she’d become one of the rising stars since then. One of the reasons was that she shined without trying so hard or by exaggerating. Sure, her character seemed so exaggerated at times in here but I felt her portrayal was solid. It didn’t give me the “too trying” feeling like some when they act in comedies. So, yes, her performance eased me right into liking her character from the start. Her liveliness brightened the series up and lived up to her character’s title. I was intrigued by her past and how it had affected her since then. She was obnoxious at times and I didn’t like it that she destroyed Gu Cheng Ze’s machine at the beginning. It was because it was his and just because she wasn’t tech-savvy didn’t mean she could do that. So yeah, slightly annoyed, but of course, things moved on, so I let it go. I liked it that she was so feisty and was able to defend herself for the majority of the time. She totally tossed it back at the old lady for the condescension acts.
  • Daniel Zhang (張鑫) as Gu Jin Yun (顧瑾昀). I hated his spoiled brat nature from the start and didn’t care for his excuses. Sure, it seemed fun at times to piss off his grandma because I didn’t like her either. But the way he treated things at times made him so annoying and hard to relate to. I thought one of his redeeming traits for me was his relationship with Michael, especially when he learned of how his grandma regarded Michael as another disposable within all her hybrid of employees.
  • Wang Yan Zhi (王妍之) as Han Jun Yao (韓君瑤). She was ambitious and wanted to prove to her father she was capable. However, her arrogance was what made her unrelatable at first. I didn’t blame her for targeting Xia Meng because that woman seriously deserved it. But I was more annoyed with her constant attack on Yan Shu. Sure, she hated the arrangement because of how their parents got married. But she was taking it out on the wrong person. Then we learned it was because of her jealousy and had more to do with Jin Yun than their new relation. It was so typical but explained a lot. It still didn’t excuse her behavior toward Yan Shu, but it made more sense. I didn’t like her cowardly tatter-teller nature either. It seemed to never change over the years. Because each time she found something to be jealous about, she went and inform the old lady about it. Or at least subtly even. It wasn’t like she was getting anything in return except a few laughs on Yan Shu’s suffering. If she was so brave, she should have gone and pursued Jin Yun herself. So yeah, totally not liking that vibe. It wasn’t until later that she seemed to knock it off with the tatter-teller thing that I sort of cut her some slacks regarding matters. Like when she wasn’t hiding behind the older lady anymore. And how she somewhat went out of her way to console Yan Shu that one time.

Supporting

  • Ji Xiao Bing (季肖冰) as Gao Yang (高陽). Gu Cheng Ze’s secretary. He was hilarious. I loved him so much in here. If that was even possible. He was really witty and intelligent regardless of his status at the company. He was Cheng Ze’s right-hand man as far as I’m concerned. He was my sole reason for watching this in the first place, so I was glad his character didn’t disappoint. I think he was one of the main reasons why I stuck around, especially through all the frustrating scenes that the main plot carried. His charm knew no end even if his character was a tad too dramatic at times. His outfits cracked me up so much yet it contributed greatly to telling us who he was. His performance? No complaint here since I thought he was a natural and was very talented. His ever-changing methods convinced me each time he appeared. I followed him since SCI Mystery so I was able to see some differences in characters and how he chose to approach the roles each time. It was really fascinating to watch.
  • Pu Tao (蒲萄) as Qiao Na (喬娜). A wealthy heiress yet posed as a regular person to pursue Gao Yang and later became his girlfriend. She was cute and somewhat insane at times. It was a mixture but I liked how she became a comedic character for parts of the series as well.
  • Dong Luo Fu (董洛甫) as Da Wei (大衛) / David. Cheng Ze and Yan Shu’s neighbor. My third favorite character in here aside from Gao Yang and Yan Shu. He was so sensible and supportive of Yan Shu. He wasn’t a doormat either though. He helped and gave her advice but wasn’t blinded by what was going on. I would think he ended up liking her thus complicating the plot even more. Yet he was a genuine friend and neighbor, nothing more. He was what restored faith in humanity in general for me–as far as the drama was going. Because he showed up when it mattered, and most importantly because he truly cared, not that he had alternative motives.
  • Feng Bo (馮波) as Xia Meng (夏夢). Yan Shu’s mother, Hao Jun’s stepmother. I didn’t like her throughout–regardless of how the plot tried to explain it away for her and excuse everything she did from the start till near the end. It just didn’t make sense. Not to mention how her arrogance at times had caused more trouble than help. Like how she destroyed their company’s chance of collaboration that one time, which caused another rift between her and Jun Yao.
  • Bai Fan (白凡) as Han Zhi Peng (韓志鵬). Jun Hao’s father, Yan Shu’s stepfather. Mixed feelings. He probably didn’t see a lot of things going on around the house since he worked. But his excuses for Xia Meng weren’t sliding with me either. It didn’t matter if Jun Yao was outright rude and overboard at times, but her actions were justified after the things that Xia Meng did. So I didn’t like it that he sort of ignore some stuff just because. Sure, I was glad he didn’t just side with his daughter blindly and ended up causing difficulty for Yan Shu but regarding his wife and his daughter, it was a mess.
  • Dong Hui (董慧) as Zhou Yue Ming (周悅明). Gu Jin Yun’s grandmother, Gu Cheng Ze’s adopted mother. She was annoying from the start with her condescension and her unreasonableness. I didn’t like it that the plot had cut her some slacks because they wanted to end the drama already. It was like making her the monster to hype up the drama and then totally dialed down and outright acted like she actually cared for Cheng Ze hence scolding Yan Shu (just gently or as a joke) about how Yan Shu shouldn’t abandon Cheng Ze during one of their talks in her car near the end. It was ridiculous. Like the writers wanted to lure us in and string us along for the dramatic effects and then decided that they were giving up at the end. It didn’t make sense, especially her rants previously about how Cheng Ze was disposable. NOT in those exact words but still quite hurtful.

Relationships / Friendships / Romances, etc

  • Jiang Chao/ Gu Cheng Ze and Tan Song Yun/ Li Yan Shu. I wasn’t completely sold on the pairing from the start, mostly because of him as mentioned above. However, the turnaround was convincing enough and I found them addicting to watch as a pairing in general. Seeing how he grew and tried the hardest for her to get past his traumas. She also learned to trust again and relied on him at times. Because she always had to depend on herself so it was different to having a companion who loved her for who she was and who understood her beyond that protective shield she put up in front of others. I liked that they got to live together for the majority of the series. It was hilarious at first but paved the way for their cute scenes later.
  • Daniel Zhang/ Gu Jin Yun and Tan Song Yun/ Li Yan Shu. I liked some of their stories in the past when both were still very innocent yet didn’t care for the present story because it seemed like he took a step back even, not evolving at all. I was glad he finally let go because some of his childish moves were unbearable and way beyond frustrating to watch.
  • Daniel Zhang/ Gu Jin Yun and Wang Yan Zhi/ Han Jun Yao. Mixed feelings. I didn’t care if they got together or not. I wasn’t really interested in their story. But I guess the story needed another couple. I was just glad that they learned through one another to grow. Because Jin Yun didn’t really grow much when he was with Yan Shu. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. But it seemed like he was able to see Jun Yao’s struggles at times and she was able to see some of his point of view also. It helped them see more of the outside world than their own bubbles at home or at work.
  • Ji Xiao Bing/ Gao Yang and Pu Tao/ Qiao Na. They were so crazy and cute at the same time. Some of their scenes were outrageous but lovable. I found it hard to believe he didn’t catch on sooner with how she could afford all those items for the high-tech over-the-top remodeling project she did at his apartment to repay for causing trouble previously. But I guess he just wanted to believe it was just a coincidence. Yet I was glad it worked out all right between the two of them. It would be a shame if they broke up over that. Not to mention, it was a comedy. So didn’t want to get too serious or complex with their story either. One of my favorite parts of them was when Gao Yang came home late, bragging about the part he played in the whole confession plans for Yan Shu toward Cheng Ze. Qiao Na was wondering why he didn’t do that for, lol. He managed to dodge out of it, but still funny. The part where he caught her going shopping and purchasing all these famous brand name items and she said she was purchasing them for her friends overseas, lol. He was like they were in the center of fashion and stuff but needed her to buy it from China? LOL!
  • Tan Song Yun/ Li Yan Shu and Ji Xiao Bing/ Gao Yang. I would watch if there was a future collaboration between them and they paired up. Seriously, they made me laughed so hard, especially with their interactions at times. Their friendship was a different type of friendship among the ones in here, but I also enjoyed it as much. They hung out at lunch sometimes and were considered to be good friends. Or according to Gao Yang’s bragging, lol. But loved them regardless.
  • Tan Song Yun/ Li Yan Shu and Dong Luo Fu/ David. They were a great pair of friends all right. Although he had more advice and possibly a roof to help her hide (lol) than she did, I felt their friendship hilarious to watch. I felt bad for David at times for having to be the between-person for the other two whenever they fight or just a hiding spot so they wouldn’t get caught living together, etc. He was willing. Or he felt entertained, lol.
  • Ji Xiao Bing/ Gao Yang and Dong Luo Fu/ David. I was wondering throughout the drama if Gao Yang and David would ever meet. And I finally got my wish because those two were my favorite characters throughout. It was hilarious and delightful to see them engage in a conversation—or tried to. That talk when they were having that late-night meal was hilarious and lovable.
  • Ji Xiao Bing/ Gao Yang and Jiang Chao/ Gu Cheng Ze. I laughed so hard each time they were in each other’s presence. I think Gao Yang took full advantage of how Cheng Ze couldn’t tolerate liars to say the most outrageous things to his boss. Hey, he wanted honesty? He got it. One of the funniest gigs with them was how each time Cheng Ze went to do a routine inspection, Gao Yang would always help him prep at each step and everyone would be staring. It was hilarious that there were rumors about them. Then what topped it was when they went ring shopping because Cheng Ze needed help with picking one for Yan Shu and Gao Yang even tried it on or gave advice as to which one was more suitable. They made it so that the lady who helped them thought they were a couple going ring shopping together, LOL! The fact that Gao Yang reacted so strong and pulled Cheng Ze out of there wasn’t the funniest part. The funniest part was how Cheng Ze asked, “Why are you offended that you got misunderstood as my partner? Are you ashamed of me?” Not exactly like that but in a similar context. I could go on forever with their interactions at times. There was another time when Cheng Ze wanted to ask Gao Yang for advice but didn’t know how so he pretended to say it was about his friend. It was the time after he accidentally kissed Yan Shu and they were both drunk and didn’t know how to deal with it. Or if Yan Shu still remembered or not. But Gao Yang stopped him and said, “What friend? You don’t have any friends aside from me.” LOL! Talking about splashing his face with cold water. Then that time when Gao Yang wanted to help by getting a gift basket for Yan Shu, which he bragged that he knew her the best and that Cheng Ze should be reassured. Instead of buying durian crackers or cake or something similar, he bought two full durians and caused the whole building to evacuate. Well, several stories, but they might as well evacuate the whole building. Yan Shu scolded Cheng Ze and hung up on him when he called. He had to call Gao Yang back and asked what Gao Yang did. Gao Yang went on and on, bragging about what he did. Cheng Ze told Gao Yao to take himself to HR and tell them to take away his bonus, lol. Like I said before, I could go on forever regarding their interactions.
  • Tan Song Yun/ Li Yan Shu and Wang Yan Zhi/ Han Jun Yao. The story and how they finally resolved their conflict near the end were more believable. Although I didn’t like Jun Hao’s spoiled nature at all, I could understand her cruelty a little more. She was forced to accept something so she was pissed and lashed out. I always thought if they weren’t forced to get along, they could actually become good friends. And I was right because, in some sense, they did find common grounds and sympathize with one another. Their shopping trip proved funny and somewhat ridiculous but in a light-hearted way. 

Dislikes

  • Flashbacks. Once again, the same pattern with the majority of recent series. It was the never-ending flashbacks to promote the songs. I loved the songs. I do. But seriously, it was stretching my patience thin. Of course, I do not mean the flashbacks that were essential to telling the background stories of some of the major characters in here. I meant the events that happened in the present timeline and then it was shown time and time again when the main leads thought of each other. IF they had picked different scenes, I would be fine with it. They just kept using some of the same flashbacks that were driving me insane.
  • The inconsistency of Xia Meng’s personality and actions throughout. It pissed me off to no end. They tried to do the perspective thing and finally revealed the reason why she left her first family didn’t cut it for me. Even if I could understand her sacrifice and how scared she was at that time, it didn’t make sense how she treated her daughter later on. The feeling of wanting to be accepted by her stepdaughter was one thing but to ignore her daughter completely? It didn’t explain her money obsession either. Yes, we all need money to live (because of bills, etc). But seriously her level of caring about status and wealth made me sick several times. She wasn’t satisfied with Cheng Ze’s status or his capabilities. Yet she was soooo into hooking the rich heir for her daughter. So I felt it was weak on letting her off easily. It was ridiculous. It was like the writers gave up. They just wanted to wrap everything in a bow since it was nearing the end already.
  • How Mrs. Gu just changed her mind like that near the end. Yes, I discussed it above already, but just to get the point across again since it was sticking out like a sore thumb. She acted like Cheng Ze was some disposable yet ended up rooting for him and Yan Shu at the end? I guess she didn’t want to die alone in that grand mansion of hers. Yet that didn’t cut it or make up for her past cruelty. Once again, the writers just gave up with spinning whatever tale that was they wanted initially and said okay, it’s done.

Recommended? I thought that it was a decent fun comedy. I wanted to say it was good, but for the reasons that I mentioned above sort of ruined it.