To refresh means to reinvigorate but I’m not so sure that this isn’t the case for Refresh Man. It has more aspects of being a copy than it is being a refresher, appearing oh-so identical to a previous drama that I have seen from SETTV. To be fair though, most SETTV dramas follow the same plot and structure so it’s not like it’s something that I haven’t encountered before. It’s just that this drama is oddly familiar to one that I have seen before, so much so that I’m not receiving any vibes that what I’m watching is a new drama.
Refresh Man stars Aaron Yan, frequent SETTV male lead, as Ji Wen Kai (Kelvin) and reunites him with former co-star Joanne Tseng as Zhong Yu Tang. SETTV dramas tend to all be really similar with one another but I find that this drama bears waaaaaay too much resemblance to Aaron’s previous drama, Fall in Love with Me. Predictability is one thing but RM is almost exactly the same drama as FILWM save for a few plot changes here and there. Having been through the storyline already once, I don’t want to have to go through it again. However, given the atrocious second half that FILWM was, I’m sure RM will have learnt better than to follow that route. It’s the typical smart, CEO guy-clueless, underling relationship base plot here. I’ve seen this plotline way too many times for me to count but it can be done right and each can have their own uniqueness. So far though, uniqueness is not what I’m getting from RM.
At the core of this problem is not actually the plot itself per se, but Aaron. He is just being typecasted into the same CEO role and that itself sets the atmosphere for the entire drama, which is a reason why most of his dramas have the same set-up and feel. He always holds a dominant position, never is it a position of equality between him and his female co-star and it is a position where he dictates and controls how things proceed on. His actions is for the benefit of the female to learn and further develop herself and that is by all means perfectly fine but I have seen Aaron play that role one too many times and this isn’t really helping to showcase his other side as an actor. This role is no longer a challenge for him, he has got this all down-pat and that is not fun to watch as his entire role overshadows the drama, creating the essence of this drama being an almost identical one to his previous dramas, and that is not fun to watch because I’ve witnessed it already.
Moving on, Wen Kai’s demotion of Yu Tang is harsh but is definitely a move that will challenge her as a person and to help her move up and grow into a woman she did not know was even possible. She got her first professional job as a secretary but her career has been stagnant there ever since. However, now as part of Sales Team 3, it really sets her a challenge as she has go outside of her comfort zone and do things that pushes her internal boundaries. She has to be out there and she will be the one who resurrects this dying division and bring it to glory.
Wen Kai likes Yu Tang and always has liked her and I guess time will give them the opportunity to fall for each other. He likes her which and really cares for her. Despite giving her unobtainable goals to pursue after, he has got her back in all that she does. He is always there watching out for her and flashback to what Yu Tang did to Wen Kai is now what is he doing her. In their high school days, Yu Tang excelled at her studies but now the tables have turned with Yu Tang suddenly finding out that her new superior is none other than her former b-class classmate Wen Kai. He’s got the upper hand and is showing her what he is capable of.
After having seen Marry Me, or Not?, it feels like such a waste to see Joanne situate herself to playing this role. Yu Tang is a step down from her role as Hao Sheng Nan in MMON, a huge step down. Sheng Nan was a smart, capable and very well-rounded woman but RM makes Yu Tang seem very incompetent as a person when really she has so much potential in her to aim for highs even outside of her range. She is stuck in this representation as a dependent woman who needs help to succeed. What she does makes her appear either really incapable of achieving greater things or just plain stupid of even considering to pursue these dreams.
What RM is, is predictability. Being predictable is one thing but not being different to other dramas out there is another thing. Given that I’m only basing this on the first three episodes, everything can and will change and we can only watch and see what will happen. Hopefully what happens will be good.