It’s a post long overdue due to the mayhem of real life, but it’s finally here! The Way We Were was drama that I would have never thought to have contained so much in it but it did and it turned out to be a drama so much more than what it is worth on first impressions. It was not of something that I had expected and it turned out much better in that way because it just hits at all of the right places. It’s a story of bonds, bonds between five best friends who despite their ups and downs are still the bestest of friends at the end of the day. Their friendship started off in their uni days and stretched through 16 summers where they are no longer students are uni but people out in the real world and working their way to living their life. TWWW is a heartfelt drama that really goes deep down in telling such a story. It really works your emotion, or at least it did mines and I love it when a drama can get me this invested to it because this is sign that a drama has really gotten me to fall in love with it.
I really enjoy watching nostalgic dramas and movies. They always exert that lingering, past regrets feeling and that really gets to me. It’s one thing to have a nostalgic theme but it is another to be able to be able to execute that well. To be a convincing nostalgic story, it must throughly link the past together with the present otherwise there would be point in having the nostalgic component, which TWWW did quite well. There were aspects in which it could have been better but I think overall it gave a pretty good effort in creating that link between the past and the present. There was a number of time skips here but despite that there was still a link in between those time skips which allowed for the story to progress to the present day. It flows seamlessly from their uni days to their lives out of uni. Within the drama, there were individual themes that were tied in as well and the drama had a really nice pacing to allow these various themes to develop.
The writing here is really something that is really well done. I love it, especially with how it explores individual themes such as lost friendship, regrets, distrust, hope, etc. It’s something that you wouldn’t really notice on the whole as on the surface it seems like a natural progression of the storyline but once you look deeper into it, you can see how thought out this was. It also works really nicely alongside time and their friendship growth. I also found it really interesting how there was a quote before each ep. The writing just worked really well for the drama as a whole and was equally well-executed. The muted colours worked wonders for the drama and it was paired with some really stripped-down music which really helped to accentuate the tone of the drama. The people behind the drama have done a great job at doing so.
TWWW really stems deep down to the question of friendship and what that means as a whole while intertwining in the romance aspect. The foundation of this drama, unlike so many other TW-idol dramas out there, is not the romance but the friendship. It’s a very nicely written friendship and one that that was solidly developed right from the beginning. What I loved a lot about their friendship is how their position in the group was very clear from the beginning, there was no time wasted to establish that and this really help to give the drama a huge boost in furthering their friendship. Initially, the friendship was between Tang Jia Ni (Ruby Lin), Zheng Rui Rui (Tiffany Hsu) and Wang Jun Jie (Melvin Sia) and then Fang Wei De (Leroy Young) and Ding Guo Qing (Jason Tsou) joined them expanding their crew to five people. Then things started to change. It amped up their unspoken romantic feelings and those unspoken feelings soon became spoken. It was no longer pure friendship involved but romantic feelings on the line. That really put a strain on their relationship and tested their friendship and despite the ups and downs in their friendship, at the end of the day they are bestest of friends who will always be there for one another. The friendship was very beautifully written and I loved watching them grow and change as their lives progresses.
The heart of TWWW is the friendship between the five best friends but their friendship does not come easy. It is one that comes with happiness but also one that comes with pain and ache. Time changes everything and for them it tore their friendship apart before they were able to regather once again as the best friends they were. However, for them spending them apart allowed them to become better friends. All types of relationships go through times of change and for them it was a huge one but in the end they came out as better friends than they ever were.
Maturity is also another very important aspect of the drama. Uni days were when they were in their youth and in that position to live a carefree lifestyle without worries all in the while of decipher their heart and mind. It was the time for them to take that risk, that step forward and that opportunity. They no longer had their parents lingering behind their backs dictating what they should and should not do. They were truly free and in that position to leap forward towards their ambitions which is just what they did. Time flew by and their ambitions and goals in life also changed. Another thing that I really love about this drama is being able to see how the five friends all grow as individuals through time and better understanding of their heart.
Jia Ni is my favourite character here. She is a very strong person and even at her weakest points in life she still manages to keep herself standing upright and I love her mental headspace. No matter what situation she is in, she can always put on a brave face, rain or sunshine, she will always have her smiling face. Jia Ni went through a lot to find her happiness and we got to watch her mature as person. She learnt to hold on and she learnt to let go, but more importantly she learnt the true meaning of love. Love is not something that can be easily defined, one has to go on a journey to discover the meaning of it, and it was a journey that took Jia Ni to various places before she was able to reach the conclusion that what she has for Wei De is love. It taught her that love doesn’t come easy and there are sacrifices to be made which only helped her to grow stronger as a person and with the friends surrounding her, she was able to pick herself up even when she was at her lowest.
I’m actually not sure where to start with Wei De! Let’s start from the start shall we? Wei De has a very exotic personality. He has always been floating around in love until he met Jia Ni who changed his rules in regards to love. In fact, in many ways, she bought out the other side to him. She showed him what being in love meant. She is nothing like his previous girlfriends; she is quite the opposite, always sparking up arguments with him. I think Wei De likes her because of that, because she is places herself as an equal to him and not as someone who just fancies him for his flirtatious ways. Meeting Jia Ni, he looked at love with a different view-point and even does little things to surprise her! He slowly grows to understand her and doesn’t try to enforce his feelings for her. Speaking in terms of maturity, Wei De has matured a lot even back in his uni days after meeting Jia Ni. Jia Ni just touched him in so many ways that I’m sure he can’t even describe in words. They were both in love with one another but before they were able to let one another know, fate played its part and pulled them apart. Despite how much Wei De tried to move on, he couldn’t. They were given a second chance to be together but this time he pushed her away because he didn’t want to burden her. He did so because he loves her and that was his way of showing her that he loves her. Through Jia Ni’s persistence, they were able to embark on that second chance, not letting even a second slip away from them and creating lots of happy memories together.
I got so frustrated with Jun Jie for just the way he chose to handle his relationship with Jia Ni and his friendship with Wei De. His relationship with Jia Ni greatly impacted his friendship with Wei De, because while the gang consisted of Jia Ni, Rui Rui, Jun Jie, Wei De and Guo Qing as the best friends, Jun Jie never saw Wei De as that, he always saw Wei De as his rival, a rival who he could never be on par with. Despite marrying Jia Ni and all, he was never able to get past Jia Ni and Wei De’s past flame even though they never moved beyond that. He was always suspicious and uneasy of Jia Ni and Wei De because he didn’t have trust in his relationship with Jia Ni and subsequently, he took that out on Wei De, blaming him for even retaining a friendship with Jia Ni. Jun Jie definitely loves Jia Ni but the biggest problem hindering their relationship was that he didn’t trust himself or their relationship enough and I guess that really ate into his likeability. Also, he tied himself down by not letting go of the past and instead having that eating into his relationship with Jia Ni.
Oh Rui Rui! Poor Rui Rui! She, despite her optimistic persona, actually is quite a sad person. She loves but it’s unrequited and she knows herself that her love will never be reciprocated because the one who she has her heart for is in love with someone else. This tore apart her friendship with Jia Ni and tore her apart. I just wanted to give her a hug and tell her that all will be alright. She loved but for all these years she chose to keep it a secret . Her friends unleashed their love conundrums to her and she gave them genuine advice and never did she once allow her unrequited love affect her friendship with her friends. She didn’t do anything wrong but love but she punished herself for loving. I’m glad she found her happiness at the end.
I really like that the drama included a character such as Ah Qing who was the peacemaker of the group and remained optimistic even when things were looking bleak. The group was falling apart with everyone heading in different directions but he tried his earnest to keep them together. He provided the humour when there was none to be found and he was the link to one another.
What makes Jia Ni and Wei De so right for one another is how strong of a person they are. They are both equally strong in their own unique way or they try to pretend they are even though on the inside they are in deep pain. More than that though they have clashing personalities which just so happens to work when they are together with one another. She gets him as he gets her and they are truly at their happiest when they are in each other’s company, even meeting again for the very first time after not seeing each other for five so years. They were so close to being together during uni but their confessions did not reach each other at the right moment or time so they missed out that opportunity. Only after many years were they able to realise that they can no longer miss each other again so they took it to admit that they have feelings for one another. Their relationship is a truly beautiful one. They are so comfortable with one another and they both just glow with happiness when they are together. After many hurdles they were finally able to find another. Time didn’t favour them but being together with each other was the happiest that either of them ever was.
I love Ruby and Leroy’s chemistry! It’s not a fiery, steamy or explosive chemistry that just heats up the screen but rather it is quite a subtle one with the chemistry coming through the more they interacted with one another. This worked out nicely for them, especially given the amount of time their romance required before it was able to take off. It also works well in telling their story and how their hearts still linger for one another after all these years because the fire is still there after despite the years that they were left out of contact with one another. Ruby and Leroy’s chemistry really helped to bring Jia Ni and Wei De’s romance pop.
For me, what this drama really excelled at was the writing of the characters. The group of friends was perfect with everyone exerting a type of personality that all complements one another in the group. I also really liked how the characters developed through the different events they had to face. This is not to say that they were perfectly written because they weren’t but what the overall, they were presented to be so and I loved that from the drama. The writing of the plot was also quite solid, though it did falter towards the end.
TWWW is a beautiful story about friendship. It’s not a perfect drama but as a whole it was a beautiful one. It exerted a number of emotions from me. Overall, this drama worked out beautiful keeping me around and got me emotionally invested into it. I love the friendship and the amazing acting by each of the actors and this coupled with the writing and directing created a drama that I really enjoyed watching.
Click here to watch The Way We Were.