I’m not so sure what is so fresh about Refresh Man when there was nothing that was either fresh nor invigorating about it. It’s a drama that fell into its own trap despite the initial premise and nothing about it was even remotely fresh. The initial premise was fresh but one episode in and the drama had already fallen into its own trap of being a drama that I know all too well. I feel the same every time I finish an Aaron Yan drama – and that is disappointed, disappointed in myself for expecting this drama to be any better even though deep down I know what I am in for with this drama. Refresh it definitely was not, recycled was what it was.
There are dramas where there are too much makjang going on and then there are dramas where there is no drama. Neither is great; a great drama sits in between the two with just enough drama to keep viewers interest but not too much that make viewers confused and neither too little to make viewers searching for something interesting in what was supposed to be a drama. Refresh Man falls into the latter category with the storyline reflecting this very much. There was just not much life to the storyline at all. It was very bland and dry and there was really nothing to keep the drama flowing. The premise could have been a very promising one but it went down the typical path, one that I have seen way too much. It left itself no room for development because it was very closed off from letting any drama happen. As such, when the drama finally realised that it needed to incorporate in some drama, it a) came way too late, b) was very forced and c) was resolved way too easily and quickly. In fact, I think the drama that occurred can be summed up in the last two eps.
I don’t feel the chemistry from our OTP. They don’t share that fire between them that allows them to be the star of the drama. The drama is already bland as it but they weren’t able to bring any warmth to the drama. Aaron and Joanne Tseng just don’t click as well as what I would have liked to see. It’s not that Aaron as Ji Wen Kai “Kelvin” and Joanne as Zhong Yu Tang were uncomfortable with each other or anything like that but rather as OTP they were unable to convey that type of relationship through on-screen. They didn’t really connect on that level; rather what I felt with their relationship was something very forced. Feelings cannot be forced and as such, that chemistry was not there. The drama tried to keep it altogether but throwing in some kisses but sorry, that doesn’t cut it!
I also don’t like how their relationship was developed. It was romantic but was not and tried to be fiery but was not. Their relationship was kept on a very professional, friendly basis and bam, I turn my head around and they’re suddenly in a relationship; suddenly they are in love with each other and suddenly they are holding hands and kissing one another. I guess from their high school flashbacks we can see that they had feelings for each other but that was it; it was not reflected into their current relationship and so does not capture their romance story to the extent that it needed to be. There were no signs of either of them falling for each other and that is such a shame because rather than being on the forefront of the drama, it instead became hidden behind everything else. As the drama itself is supposed to be one that is driven by the romance, this weakened the drama structure making the drama fall weak and struggling to continue to flow through its 17 eps.
Awwww Joanne! She had a good run of dramas before this one but then this drama happened. I absolutely adored Joanne in her last drama, Marry Me, or Not? but not so much here. I’m not so fond of her character. Yu Tang is very one dimensional and there was not really much growth to her character with her character not much different compared to the start, except she now has a boyfriend and her boyfriend is the CEO of a major company. Yu Tang is supposed to be this strong, independent woman who strives achieve her very best at everything that she does and growing herself through these learning experiences. While as the lead she is supposed to possess these framing qualities, but the drama completely degraded her colleagues. Not only this but there has been no growth to her. Right from the very beginning, Yu Tang entered the sales team and was their angel and has been an angel ever since with not troubles that she was not able to overcome. Due to the way Yu Tang is written out to be, I find that Joanne overacts at times and underacts at other. The emotions don’t come across as well as what her character is supposed to be like.
Likewise, I feel the same for Aaron. But that is maybe because I have seen enough of him in these typecast roles that I feel like his characters are all the same – the same type of CEO, the same type of demanding-but-actually-soft-hearted guy and the same type of cold-romantic boyfriend-to-be. Aaron literally plays the same character just opposite a different co-star in each drama. Kelvin always plans ahead and always has the solutions to whatever his competitors may throw at him. There is nothing that he cannot not achieve because the challenges presented to him are not really any challenge for him. This character description is oddly similar to something that I have written before. This is because the role that Aaron assumes, which is almost identical to his drama before this one and the one before that. I feel like I see Aaron play the same persona again and again that is not interesting because we don’t get to see surprises from him and we don’t get to see him challenge himself. Please Aaron, pick a better drama the next time you come back into dramaland!
The second leads were just there to be second leads; nothing more and nothing less. Lene Lai played Miao Ai Sha “Elsa”, Kelvin’s secretary, and Jack Lee played Wang Zi Yu, Kelvin’s rival. They were just there as characters but there was not much development to them. We weren’t able to see them grow as they were pretty much the same character to episode 1.
This drama was indeed a very dull one and managed to drag out with repeated scenes for 17 eps. I guess the biggest letdown for the drama was the lack of development in both the plot and the characters. The writing was dull and did not live up to the premise of being refreshed. It’s such a shame because each of the four leads had so much potential within them that they were unable to unveil. Refresh? I say not.