“Story of Ming Lan” — Ep. 1

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A promising start! Not sure what it is about or where we are going, but so far a lot of it is going right for me!

The theme song is so pretty, it immediately put me in the frame of mind of Bu Bu Jing Xin, for some reason. And in fact the whole opening scene of the drama gave me a BBC Jane Austin-type miniseries vibe, except in a completely different culture! Maybe it was the big emphasis on setting and society and period costumes.

Which brings me to the next thing I liked immediately about this drama. Every scene so far looks like a gorgeous painting — the aesthetics are so pleasing to my eye! The colors, the framing, the actors just GLOW.

And the characters so far have also piqued my interest. The first thing I noticed about this drama is that it doesn’t take place in a royal palace or among nobles like so many dramas. So far the society we’re looking at seems solidly merchant class. In fact the household is all atwitter that their firstborn young mistress has been matched with the fourth son of some family distantly related to nobility… what a great match!!

Except that this “noble” family immediately starts out by disrespecting the bride’s family by not showing up to request the bride and deliver the bride price in person, but sent their oldest son in their stead. Then this asshole further shames the family by getting their “heir,” who is like 12 or something, drunk and getting him to wager the bride price they’d just brought on a game of toss against an older much-more-skilled boy. Pretty much trying to pay the bride price and then take it back home with them on the same day (seriously, the family should be calling off this wedding, it already sounds like bad news, imo!!)

No one can figure out how to stop this wager without losing face. Enter Ming Lan, our intrepid heroine who looks to be all of 8 years old and cute as a button. Seriously, look at the babies in this drama, I just want to gather them up and eat them, they’re so cute!!


She steps in with all sorts of pluck and astonishes all by winning against this older boy (who I think will grow up to be someone, maybe the hero? I can’t tell. I don’t know his name or who he is, but I’m suspicious because the camera followed him around for a bit so he must be important. Maybe.), thus saving the bridal gifts!

Ming Lan is the daughter of the magistrate’s concubine. When we first meet them, the household commissary is trying to cheat them out of their allotment of coal, then after their very smart maidservant kicks up a stink for her pregnant mistress, they give her a bucket of stove coal, which is so dirty and smoky they can’t use it to heat the house. The concubine wants to sell her last silver bracelet to just buy some coal because her little girls are freezing. Ming Lan again steps in to direct the maid to sell the crap coal at the market and use the $$ to buy some of the right coal instead.

So she’s a smart and skilled lil cookie, and hasn’t even grown up yet!! I am looking forward to see her shine as an adult!! This drama is 73 episodes and I’m looking forward to it!

#feng-shao-feng, #story-of-ming-lan, #zhao-yi-ling, #zhu-yi-long