You’re Hired 絕代商驕December 17, 2009
*note: i watched this drama in Cantonese with English subtitles :)
as mine is an overseas release, i watched 22 episodes. i’m wondering what the differences are from the 20 episode version released in HK?
this series is TVB’s 1st modern comedy for 2009! before i started watching this, i’d already read many positive reviews and everyone had been telling me how good this series was!
i previewed a bit of the 1st episode before i started seriously watching, and i kept talking about this series from just that one episode! that is one debut episode that i’ll never forget! although the two main characters, Mak Tai-song (Dayo Wong) and Lam Miu-miu (Charmaine Sheh), were introduced in what is definitely not a ‘grand’ entrance, it’s one which made lasting impressions on me :)
i’ve only seen one other Dayo Wong series, “Men Don’t Cry”, which i enjoyed so much! it was so funny, and Dayo’s a great actor and comedian! therefore, i had high hopes for this drama!
this series is unlike any TVB series i’ve seen before. they actually adopt the case-by-case approach used in crime series, like “Forensic Heroes”. except this isn’t a crime series, but concentrates on business strategies, which is a fresh concept for TVB!
the script is so cleverly crafted, and the characters are so smoothly introduced! the transition from case to case is so flawless, and this drama is enjoyable throughout, with Dayo’s numerous expressions and crazy ideas like the ‘tree-hole therapy’ :D
Dayo Wong and Charmaine Sheh appeared in all the cases, and each case had ‘guest-stars’. the 5 main cases include:
1. saving Chai-Kee (Charmaine’s father’s noodle shop) –
Jason Pai, Teresa Lee, Oscar Leung, Chun Wong, Power Chan, Mandy Cho, Benz Hui, Chow Chung
this ‘case’ involved reinventing Chai-Kee, and preventing it from closing down. in the process, they had to fend off real-estate developers, Chow Chung and Benz Hui, whom Dayo was working for. it was really funny ‘cos on the surface, Dayo was working in the interests of Chow Chung and Benz Hui, but he was secretly hinting to help Charmaine and the noodle shop. all the shop-owners ended up going to Chow Chung and Benz Hui’s office to protest, and they even made Teresa the CEO of Chai-Kee! in the end, Dayo convinced Chow Chung and Benz Hui to keep the district as a heritage district instead of buying out the district for redevelopment. to Power Chan and Mandy Cho’s chagrin, Chai-Kee was not sold, and instead, with Dayo’s idea of making Chai-Kee specialize in ‘sai-yung’, business at Chai-Kee flourished like never before :)
i enjoyed this case! all the employees of the noodle shop were really great to watch, ‘cos they had great chemistry! it was really nice to see how Dayo could turn things around just like that, and save the whole district, including the noodle shop :) i especially loved the part where Teresa, as Chai-Kee’s CEO, with Charmaine, led all the shop-owners to protest at the negotiation meeting!
2. the recycling business –
Joel Chan, Jason Chan
this case involved Charmaine’s ex-boyfriend, Yat Bun (Joel Chan). a save-the-environment fanatic, he was the reason the thrifty Charmaine became a shopaholic when they broke up. Dayo meets a miserable Joel, who is living under an overhead bridge, and proceeds to help him set up this recycling business, as he finds out that it was him who rejected his viable proposal years ago as he was facing problems in the company. this recycling business’ employees are all the homeless people in all Hong Kong’s districts. Dayo gives all the major employees a makeover, and this recycling business becomes very successful. Joel manages to pay Charmaine whatever he’d taken from her years ago. this chapter ends with Charmaine rejecting Joel, and persuading him to fly off to the US, as his proposal had been accepted by another major company – Joel was prepared to give up that golden opportunity for Charmaine, but she didn’t feel for him the way she did years ago anymore.
this case was OK. i still can’t get over how Yat-bun’s proposal from over 5 years ago was suddenly accepted. i liked how they all were so cool and walking on the streets with their new make-overs! Jason Chan was the coolest! XD this case also paved the way for Dayo and Charmaine, ‘cos she was able to rid herself of the pain and the burden Yat-bun left her…
3. the union of the old folks home and kindergarten –
Koni Lui, JJ Jia, Benz Hui, Teresa Lee, Ha Ping
Benz Hui came into the picture again; this time round, he wanted Dayo to help him revive 2 businesses in the same area. the old folks home belonged to Koni Lui, and the kindergarten belonged to JJ Jia, both are Benz Hui’s girlfriends. this case also focused on the relationship between Teresa Lee, and her mother-in-law, Ha Ping, whom they thought had senile dementia. to ease her daughter-in-law’s burden, Ha Ping opted to stay in the old folks home, even though she was faking senile dementia. Charmaine tried her hand at reviving both businesses, and they all backfired. Dayo even checked himself into the old folks’ home as he was interested in Koni. in the end, Dayo suggested that the best solution would be to break down the wall between the kindergarten and old folks home, so the old folks and the children could interact and the elderly won’t be lonely, and the children could learn new things from them. both women dumped Benz Hui when they found out he was two-timing, but both didn’t mind being Dayo’s girlfriends. it was here that Teresa voiced what she thought of Dayo, and that scared the two women off…
haha, this case was really quite amusing! i loved how Charmaine tried her hand at reviving both businesses and failed terribly! her coupon incentive for children to visit their parents at the old folks home angered the old folks so much, and that totally backfired! her intense exam conditions for the kindergarten students also failed terribly with kids fainting and all… the greatest part was how sweet the old folks and the kids looked when the wall was broken! kids were learning about nature, football etc. from the old folks. i think that was a really heart-warming scene :)
4. reinventing the rice business –
Michael Tse, Queenie Chu, Power Chan, Wu Fung, Suet Nei
Michael Tse finally appears! i had thought he was the 2nd male lead, but it turns out he’s just a guest-star! this case was more personal ‘cos it involved Dayo’s family. Suet Nei is Dayo’s Mum, and Michael and Queenie, his half-siblings. this case also involved Charmaine ‘cos her brother, who is the CEO (Michael Tse)’s assistant, got her a job in his company. this case was the most complicating, as it was unclear who was in control at which point. there was even a point where there were 3 CEO’s assistants! in the end, Dayo managed to help the company get back on track, and turn his half-brother, Michael, into a useful guy who could steer the company to greater heights. Dayo left the case without anyone but Suet Nei knowing that he was related to them.
this was the case which lasted the longest! what amused me a lot was how the power in the company was passed through so many hands, until it came to the point where there were 3 CEO’s assistants! Power was super funny, trying to be the good guy and bad guy, being chief CEO assistant to Queenie, and trying to be nice to his previous boss, Michael, who’d been demoted to be his assistant! i liked how Michael’s character matured and developed, from a spoilt rich kid with only dreams of being a superstar, to a hardworking guy who worked his way up to the top.
5. Martin’s return –
Cheung Kwok Keung, Benz Hui, Chow Chung, Teresa Lee, Power Chan, Mandy Cho
this was the most exciting case! it had a very dark side to it, as Martin (Cheung Kwok Keung) came back! he was seemingly dead, but he was back with a vengeance. he was out to get back whatever he lost, after Dayo betrayed him years ago. appearing with a limp, he sought sympathy, and wrangled his way to gain Chow Chung and Benz Hui’s trust. Dayo faced his worst enemy, yet Martin was his mentor, but Dayo had to reveal the truth about Martin’s plan…
it was really sad how Teresa was so mean to Dayo after she found out the truth! the worst part had to be Martin’s wickedness! he was so ruthless, and really unscrupulous – i mean, Martin even pretended to be a cripple! i was so worried for Dayo, and that he might fall into Martin’s trap. POETIC JUSTICE! Martin got knocked down by a car and he really became a cripple!
characters & acting:
Dayo Wong as Mak Tai-song 麥提爽
Mak Tai-song was amazing! his ‘tree-hole therapy’ and ‘limnimnimlim’ fish theory really kept me amused and laughing for a long time! :D i was equally amused that he had numerous of the same outfits! and his jacket was like a garbage bag! his ‘coughing’ introduction was really funny – how he scared the whole cabin so much, and how he managed to get himself upgraded to first class! he also had a sad side to him – he had a miserable and poor childhood. his mysterious past on Wall Street was also very dark, as he had many burdens, and nightmares that pricked his conscience…
Dayo was great! the way he delivered his lines were flawless and so funny! his expressions are priceless :) he looked really sad and miserable in those sad parts where he was reflecting on his past, or having nightmares about them… a brilliant actor!
Charmaine Sheh as Lam Miu-miu 林淼淼
Miu-miu’s entrance was the best! i won’t forget how she got the debtor to pay up speaking fully in code about charity and paying in instalments! i loved Miu-miu’s wardrobe! she was always so stylish! her obsession about bags was really funny :D i also loved how she was the brains behind her whole team of debt-collectors; she was really efficient! when she was trying to learn business strategies from Dayo, and made a mess of things, she was so surprised that things could actually go wrong with her at the helm! her turn as an estate agent put her glib tongue to use, and although she was quite rough, she was really cute nevertheless! :)
this is definitely a different role from previous ones i’ve seen Charmaine attempt. Charmaine always plays those really sweet and innocent girls, but this time round, she was a bimbo, and her character’s pretty much revolved around branded bags and clothes; she was materialistic, and was not selfless, but cared a lot for her family. Charmaine did a great job as Miu-miu! she made Miu-miu into a really believable character, who was loveable, but also had her flaws.
Teresa Lee as Sheh Mo-lin 佘慕蓮;
Ha Ping as Betty 周小俏;
Mo-lin is a doting mother and dutiful daughter-in-law. she worked really hard to get the family out of their debt, which was incurred by Betty 媽, when she was cheated of her money. Mo-lin is very grateful to Mak Tai-song, as he gave them all his savings to clear Martin’s debts after his disappearance; she later falls for Song, but with Miu-miu and Johnny’s help, she realises that the one she loves the most is Martin. she leaves the story for a few episodes as she believes Martin is still alive and in New York, looking for them.
i’ve never seen Teresa before, but i really liked her in this role! she was really sweet, and her chemistry with Ha Ping and KK仔 was really heart-warming :) even though Teresa’s Cantonese was highly-accented, i liked the tone of her voice; it was pleasing to the ears.
Betty’s character was nothing really special. she made the greatest impression in the old folks home case, where she was seen to have such a close bond with her grandson, KK. it was also revealed that she was pretending to have senile dementia to ease Mo-lin’s burden. that was really touching… :)
KK仔 is so cute! i really enjoyed him in all his scenes with Teresa, Ha Ping, Song and Miu-miu! he’s definitely a joy to watch! :)
Benz Hui as Tong Kat 唐吉;
Chow Chung as Tong Pak Tak 唐伯德
Tong Kat is a typical spoilt rich kid. already 40 years old, he still has nothing to his name, and is incapable of taking over his father’s business, as he is only interested in wine and women. however, he meets Mak Tai-song, and admires his abilities, and tries to make his father hire him. although Tai-song is later no longer under his employment, he sees his as a good buddy, and gets him to help him out with numerous problems he encounters.
as always, Benz Hui delivers a superb performance! his expressions are humorous, and he managed to make me laugh at his character’s stupid actions and ideas many times over!
Tong Pak Tak is a big tycoon. he is disappointed at his son’s incompetence, and sees Mak Tai-song as a good influence for his son. He trusts Tai-song more than his own son, but because of this trust, he almost fell prey to Martin’s evil plan.
Chow Chung’s performance is rather limited, due to his role. he is just meant to be a background character, who holds all the power and money, and tries means and ways to get his son to mature and take over his business; that is not successful, and most of the time, you see him looking really disappointed.
Power Chan as Lam Mok Sum 林木森 (Sam);
Mandy Cho as Wah Kiu 華翹
Sam is Miu-miu’s brother. he is the CEO’s assistant, and a basically a suck-up. he is capable, but in order to try to climb the corporate ladder, he tries hard to please his boss, and this goes into full swing when the company he works for undergoes management issues, and there is one point where he becomes a bit schizophrenic, as he wants to please his current boss Sum-bo, by being the bad guy to Johnny in front of her, but when she is gone, he treats him like gold, not wanting to offend him as he is the big boss’ son.
Power was so super funny as Sam! i loved the part which i mentioned above about being schizophrenic! LOL :D despite being a totally selfish character who was greedy, i enjoyed Sam’s presence a lot, as he always had something new to offer – whether his expressions, or silly money-grubbing plans. Power’s a joy to watch :)
Wah Kiu is Sam’s wife, an equally selfish and greedy character. she made the most impression in the 5th case, as she was trying to rake in a fortune by investing in old flats, which she thought would be sold to big developers for a hefty price. the project was called off in the end, and both husband and wife lost a lot of money, and chalked up a huge debt.
Mandy was OK as Wah Kiu. her chemistry with Power was surprisingly good. they really seemed like great partners… in money-grubbing! they had the same goals to improve their lives and all, but most of all, i enjoyed watching Mandy’s scenes with Charmaine – the both of them were equally well-dressed, and so similar when shopping and branded goods were concerned.
Michael Tse as Johnny Ngon Jo Lin 安祖連;
Queenie Chu as Sum Bo 安芯葆
like Tong Kat, Johnny is another typical rich kid, who only dreams about becoming a superstar, and is intent on being a singer or actor. when all his plans fail, he is demoted to the logistics department, and from there, he works his way up and matures. he treats Tai-song as his good buddy, and doesn’t know the truth about Tai-song being his older half-brother. i really liked Johnny’s character development, from being so idealistic and unrealistic, then he becomes down-to-earth, and from never eating rice, he finally learns to appreciate rice, his family’s stable business.
i thought Michael Tse was the 2nd male lead, but it turns out that he only appears for 1 case. his role as Johnny was really great; i enjoyed watching it a lot. Johnny was especially funny when he was having his superstar dreams, and he thought he was so great; he was oblivious to everything around him – i mean, he even stole a singer’s stage and got chased off by fans!
Sum Bo is Johnny’s elder twin sister. she and Johnny are so different in character. while Johnny is a showman, Sum Bo is the down-to-earth. to her, time is money, and she wastes no time with unimportant things. she is very business-oriented, and takes no nonsense.
i was surprised Queenie Chu is playing Michael Tse’s older sister! she’s so much younger than him; but she does look mature, and Michael looks young too. i think Queenie was really convincing as this cold and straight-to-the-point businesswoman. i didn’t like her character though; she was too serious and only thought about work. i mean, it was so obvious that her Mum admitted that Tai-song was her son, but Queenie didn’t hear her, and proceeded to comment on how smooth her mother’s hands were – her mind was all on business.
Koni Lui as Vivien;
JJ Jia as Gigi
there’s really nothing much to say about Vivien and Gigi. both of them were similar characters, i guess. they both loved Tong Kat, they both cared for the elderly and young, they both wanted to be with Tai-song in the end.
i wasn’t too impressed by Koni Lui and JJ Jia. their roles were bland, and therefore, that did not make their performances worth talking about. what i want to comment about is that Koni is so tall! she towered over everyone in the 3rd case! :)
Jason Pai as Lam Chung Chai 林忠齊;
Oscar Leung as Choi 才
in the beginning, Choi was just Chai’s employee. although he treated him like family, as he was always having meals in his house, their relationship later changed as Miu-miu encouraged her father to take Choi as his disciple, as she was not at all interested in making noodles. Chai later handed his shop and his skills over to Choi, and Choi was so grateful. Choi later punched Tai-song in the 5th case, as Chai-Kee was in danger of being sold again.
i enjoyed Jason Pai and Oscar Leung’s performances! Oscar was pretty funny in the beginning, when he was after Mo-lin, only to be scared off by Tai-song. he later managed to learn Chai’s skills and made ‘sai-yung’ which tasted like his mentor’s. although both their scenes were pretty scarce compared to the rest of the cast, they were great background characters who were delightful to watch!
Cheung Kwok Keung as Martin 何問天
Martin is the only evil character in this series. he was only mentioned in the beginning, but you never saw him, except in flashbacks. he was Tai-song’s mentor, the one who taught him all he knew. Tai-song betrayed Martin, and his betrayal caused Martin to have a car-crash and thus, he disappeared. he left behind a mountain of debt, and Tai-song cleared out his life savings to help Martin’s wife, Mo-lin, clear them. Martin returns in the 5th case, full of vengeance, looking to regain everything he lost…
i don’t think i’ve seen Cheung Kwok Keung before. even if i have, i can’t remember. after his role as Martin, i’ll definitely remember him, ‘cos this character was so evil, and Cheung Kwok Keung did a brilliant job! it was creepy how he always had this evil smirk lurking somewhere on his face. his character undoubtedly brought suspense and danger to complete the plot and make it such a brilliant story!
i really really really enjoyed this series! Dayo Wong is brilliant! :)
the series was funny, the characters were really colourful and interesting – you never knew what to expect, ‘cos there were all kinds of twists and turns in the plot and in characters’ development. this series has everything – sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness.
couples like Tai-song and Miu-miu were sweet, and so were family scenes involving Mo-lin, Betty and KK :) the taste of success for Chai-Kee was also sweet!
the sourness came in jealousy – this was most apparent in the 3rd and 4th cases, where the women fought over Tong Kat, and Sum-Bo’s feelings towards her family;
bitterness was Tai-song’s feelings when meeting his mother, and when Martin returned with vengeance on his mind.
the saltiness is Sam and Wah Kiu’s money grubbing ways, how it all came back to haunt them in the end…
not to mention that… Mak Tai-song and Lam Miu-miu were also a really unlikely but cute couple! their constant bickering was very funny :D it was also so interesting how they were total opposites clothes-wise – Tai-song only had 1 design in numerous pieces, and Miu-miu’s outfits were different in every episode!
overall, this series was very engaging, and i really enjoyed it so much!
it’s a MUST WATCH!! :D
i’m finally done!
i think this review is too long! i’m sorry, i got carried away!
in my next review, i’ll try to put less photos and write less summaries; don’t want to spoil it for those who’ve not watched it! :)
**all photos are property of TVB**