Film + TV, Inspirations, Rants & Raves

So I went and did an Ariel Lin marathon

I’ve been on a major major major Chinese drama binge lately. It’s literally one of the longest and most intense phases of obsession I have ever gone through, and a gigantic part of that has to do with a certain actress named Ariel Lin.

Yi Chen

I think I’m subconsciously trying to watch through her filmography or something. In any case, I am just so impressed by her talent so I decided to write about her today.

The first time I saw Ariel was on Lan Ling Wang, which is ironically her latest show. I watched the damn thing until the wee hours of the morning simply because I could not stop myself! (I kind of skipped some parts on the second half so I could watch the YuWen Yong/Daniel Chan parts ASAP!)

The whole cast’s performance was outstanding but I homed in on Ariel because I was so impressed by her portrayal of Xue Wu on Lan Ling Wang. She was able to really show her character’s progression from a sheltered and naive child to a selfless young woman, at the same time she was able to draw out the nuances in character of both her leading men just by the way they interacted with her.

And while she was a gigantic Mary Sue for most of the show she was a very smart and resourceful one at that, so there’s much to love about her character still. Ariel is able to make characters I would normally find annoying a little bit more tolerable.

It was the same case with her role on It Started With A Kiss 1 and 2. Xiang Qin is by no means the sharpest girl. In fact I find it a little hard to believe such a knucklehead actually exists, but what I love about her is how she does everything with all her heart and how she loves with all her heart, which is why she gets hurt very easily and resorts to running away.

The ISWAK series isn’t groundbreaking and is meant to be a romantic comedy with a few drama moments, and I thought it was a great watch in that sense. There were a bunch of random unnecessary crazy moments (hello, Ah Jin) but I always find myself laughing heartily whenever I go on an ISWAK marathon, especially with all Jiang Mama scenes! I love how hard that lady shipped the Zhi Shu-Xiang Qin tandem! She captained that ship to its destination!

Jiang family

In a lot of episodes you will see Xiang Qin often getting into trouble for doing things that could only make me scratch my head in wonder, and yet there’s a lovable quality about her that will make you understand why Zhi Shu loves her so much. And this love of his you can very plainly and explicitly see onscreen! The best thing about this show is without a doubt the Ariel Lin-Joe Cheng pairing (lovingly dubbed Arjoe). The chemistry was ridiculous and felt soooo real.

Some of my favourite scenes. The big first image is probably my most favourite because it was soooo sweet! <3

Some of my favourite scenes. The big first image is probably my most favourite because it was soooo sweet! ❤

Joe Cheng played his role perfectly; his very silent/brooding Zhi Shu complementing the dense Xiang Qin perfectly. His normally icy demeanor breaks whenever he is with the girl he loves, and I just love how Xiang Qin brings out this tender and loving side of him. I love it too when he takes time to explain things to Xiang Qin even though he himself was in the process of learning what it meant to love. If you don’t swoon over these two when you watch this then I’m not quite sure you’re human. No wonder they are one of Taiwan’s favourite on-screen couples ever, even sparking fans to wish they would get together in real life. That’s how believable their chemistry as a couple was in this show. Loveeee.

I was first exposed to Ariel in an ancient Chinese role and I have to say her versatility knows no bounds. I also love her in these types of roles, wearing all those extravagant clothes and having her hair styled with those intricate headpieces. They highlight her beauty and her lovely expressive almond-shaped eyes.

The only problem with ancient Chinese shows is how minimal the romance can seem. There aren’t a lot of kissing and super romantic scenes because that would be improper for the time period, but the story as a whole of most ancient Chinese or WuXie shows are a lot more meaty and epic in scope than most modern ones.

Hu Ge and Joe Cheng both have worked with Ariel more than once and I think the two of them are also my favourites among her leading men. The first time Hu Ge collaborated with Ariel was with the light-hearted drama Tian Wai Fei Xian, where Ariel played fairy princess Xiao Qi who ends up falling in love with Hu Ge’s character Di Gua, who is a mortal. I thought Ariel really managed to show her acting range in this show because after seeing her play dumb and naive Xiang Qin, finally we see her do legit comedy as well. She was HI-LAR-IOUS here.

And then my tears fell when Xiao Qi and Di Gua were inevitably separated due to their status as goddess and mortal. Being prepared for that moment did not help one bit when both of them started to cry. It was such a sad bunch of episodes, the ones with the two of them apart. The worst part was Di Gua even lost all his memories of Xiao Qi! It’s heartbreaking especially when you see how adorable the two of them are on their journey to love.

diguaxiaoqi

I swear these dramas will make me heartsick when I’m through.

I decided to try out one of her older dramas called Love Contract, which she starred with the very handsome Mike He. They had some great chemistry too, and I think it was largely because of how Ariel’s character was kind of in command of their relationship and therefore Ariel was in a way in command of the scenes as well. But man they look great together!

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 6.38.02 PM

I started watching around episode 15 and the drama was a bit slow but it concentrated more on internal conflicts among the characters. I wasn’t entirely convinced by Mike He’s acting here but I thought Ariel really outdid herself. She played the damaged girl who struggles to cover up her sorrows and for the most part succeeds. But eventually it becomes too much for her to handle and she breaks down in front of the boy she loves.

Despite the drama being slightly mediocre (thank goodness I watched just the last few episodes!), this scene was proof of how well Ariel can fully adapt into a character.

Those shows aside, my favourite role Ariel has taken on so far has been for Huang Rong in Legend of the Condor Heroes. This is in my opinion the best character she’s ever played because I think it fits her the most. Ariel has these bright intelligent eyes that makes her perfect for playing very smart and wily characters like Huang Rong. I also loved how Huang Rong knew Kung Fu, meaning she isn’t one to be pushed around. Go Girl Power!!!!

I loved the story of this series. I also loved the love story between Huang Rong and Hu Ge’s Guo Jing. This unlikely pair makes me smile and makes my heart swoon just as much as Joe Cheng and all his kisses do! I keep replaying the episode near the end when Huang Rong and Guo Jing are finally reunited after a year apart.

What I really loved about Huang Rong was despite how she likes to make it seem to people like she’s this mischievous rascal, she is actually quite selfless. She does things people may misunderstand but her goal is actually to help the people she cares about, even if it may hurt her or cause her harm. In general, I think Huang Rong is just a great fictional heroine, and Ariel Lin just really gave justice to her.

Across all her roles there was one experience I found common every time I watched her on the screen: whenever she laughed it would be so contagious that I can’t help but also laugh, but whenever she cried my heart would break into a million pieces and I would end up crying alongside her. There’s something about her that feels so genuine that she is able to touch the heart and make it seem as if what she is experiencing is real. She isn’t afraid to look foolish when a scene requires it, and she doesn’t try to look overly cute either. She doesn’t try to look elegant when she cries, and when a scene requires her to let go she literally just does. It makes it so much easier for me to sympathize wholeheartedly with any situation her character is in.

From my personal experience, not many actresses have this ability to make my heart ache to the point of moving me to tears, so I really commend her for that. Right now I’m watching another of her oldies, In Time With You, which I am enjoying a great deal because of its slice of life concept. I really hope she does another great series soon! 🙂

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14 thoughts on “So I went and did an Ariel Lin marathon

  1. angeleyes says:

    Wow! Kudos to you! Doing a marathon of Ariel Lin’s dramas is insane! I love all your insights about her. I’ve been an Ariel fan since I watched her in “It Started with a Kiss”. Like you, I had to find & watch the other dramas she acted in. But that was like 6 years ago, after that, I made sure I’d watch her dramas. I even watched her first drama, “True Love 18′, and she was already good in that one, considering it’s her first drama.
    I totally agree with what you said, there’s really something about her that feels so genuine. Watching her, I always feel like she is taking her audience to the whole experience. If she’s sad or happy, you can really feel her emotions transcending on the screen. And like what you said, she doesn’t really mind what she’ll look like during crying scenes, she just delivers the emotion needed in every scene. You can really feel what she feels and can’t help but cry your heart out during emotional scenes.
    Having watched almost all of her dramas, I must say, she has wonderful chemistry with all her leading men. She has this uncanny ability of transforming into a role & having amazing chemistry with her partner. I will always love her with Joe Cheng, ISWAK 1 & 2 is a classic for me. That series was my gateway to Asian dramas, alongside Meteor Garden. “Xiang Xin” was such a stupid character but Ariel made the character likeable. Her character, “You Ching” in “In Time with You” was the total opposite of Xiang Xin but she totally brought You Ching to life and she had an awesome & natural chemistry with Bolin Chen. You will really believe that their long-time friends. Well, she won her 2 Golden Bell Best Actress awards for ISWAK 2 & In Time with You, proof that she’s such an amazing actress. But more than the awards,what I admire about Ariel Lin is how much heart she puts into every role she portrays. Even after many years have passed, I still remember her as Xiao Feng in Love Contract, Xiang Xin in ISWAK and not to forget, HUANG RONG in Legend of the Condor Heroes 2008. I believe it was her best Chinese-period drama to date. Not to say that I didn’t love her in Lan Ling Wang as Yang Xue Wu, she was also amazing & endearing as Xue Wu & I love her chemistry with Feng Shao Feng, they were wonderful together. But it was her portrayal of Huang Rong that cemented my admiration and respect for her as an actress. I love her with Hu Ge, they seem to have this “easy” and “very genuine” chemistry between them. I’m hoping they do a modern drama for a change. Hu Ge and Ariel seem to have a “natural spark” on-screen and off-screen. But right now, I think I’m still recovering from my Lan Ling Wang addiction, LOL!
    As of the moment, Ariel Lin is in UK to pursue her masters in acting. She’ll be away for a year and I’m hoping she’ll do a drama series as soon as she finish her studies. Ariel Lin is one of the few actresses I respect for both her reel & real life.
    Again, Kudos to you! Love all your insights and comments! Pardon me for the long comment. Hope you’re enjoying watching “In Time with You”, I had an obsession with that series when it came out. I waited for a site to upload that series right after it aired live in Taiwan, watching it through my laptop. Lol! Thanks and God bless… 🙂

    • Hey there! I love your super long comment! Yes I did hear about Ariel being in the UK to study and I can only hope that when she comes back to shoot dramas she’ll be even better, if that’s even still possible given how good she is already!

      I actually finished In Time With You a while back but haven’t had the time to write about it. I think it’s the most realistic role she has portrayed to date and I took away so many life lessons from that series. I can’t even believe it!

      I agree with you that Ariel’s best performance has been Huang Rong. And that she had amazing chemistry with Hu Ge (heard they dated for a bit before?). I think if they are ever going to remake LoCH again she will have to be the benchmark.

      Ariel is made of pure heart (and how she overcame her personal health issues before is proof that she is a fighter). She is an absolute chameleon when it comes to becoming the character in her dramas. You have no other choice but to believe what you see! I love Ariel as a person too. I actually saw her print ad in the Hong Kong MTR earlier today and I just couldn’t help but smile!

      Do you know of any news about her rumored upcoming dramas for when she comes back from the UK?

  2. angeleyes says:

    Hi! 🙂 Thanks for taking time-out to read my long comment. Searching on sites about Lan Ling Wang actually lead me to your blog. What really struck me while reading your insights about Ariel is it’s like reading my exact thoughts about Ariel and if I were to write an article about her, I should just borrow every word you said. Lol!
    Nice to know you also liked “In Time with You”. I agree, that’s the most realistic role Ariel has portrayed to date. I actually related so well with “You Ching” because I am the same age as her. Same as Ariel, she was nearing her 30’s when she filmed that series. She just turned 31 last October 29. Nice career move on Ariel to take on such a project which was close to her real age. I’m not sure if you heard, but Ariel’s boyfriend right now is actually her long-time best friend, she actually has her own Li Da Ren. Talk about her reel life imitating her REAL life. 🙂
    Anyways, Ariel filmed 3 movies after finishing Lan Ling Wang before she left for UK. She actually said before that she wanted to take a break from filming dramas because of her health. Many of her fans in Taiwan was surprised she took on the drama Lan Ling Wang, but I guess filming dramas in China is more “healthier” than filming conditions in Taiwan. It was so cute reading an article about Ariel saying that she accepted the LLW project because Daniel Chan was her ultimate star crush way back in her teenage years. So cute! Good for her because Daniel Chan’s character, Yu Wen Yong, was deeply in love with her character Xue Wu. Love her chemistry with Daniel as well.
    She filmed a detective/action-type movie with Alex Su, “Sweet Alibis”, which I think will be shown this November. She also finished a movie, “My Rival is Superman”, which was written by Giddens Kho, the same writer who did the Taiwan hit movie “You’re the Apple of my Eye”. The third movie is a drama with an older actor but I can’t remember the title. I guess she’s concentrating more on movies. Hopefully when she gets back, like you, I’m hoping she’ll do a drama series again. It doesn’t matter if it’s a modern or period drama, as long as she acts in a drama series again.
    That’s all the info I’ve gathered, as for a drama series, no news yet. I’m sure I’ll keep on reading your blog. Thanks again and God bless… 🙂

  3. Claris says:

    This post inspired me to start an Ariel Lin marathon these holidays! I’ve only watched Condor Heroes and Lan Ling Wang so far. I love your blog so much! My name’s Claris so our names are very similar haha

  4. Hi I totally agree with you wholeheartedly about Ariel Lin. I first saw her from ISWAK and TKA only around 3-4 years ago and became a quiet fan of hers but I didn’t go back to watch any other of her dramas before I was so into Arjoe that I couldn’t watch her with anyone else!

    Until earlier this year I started on Lan Ling Wang and I’m back on the ship, I adored her character from beginning to end, she really matured and had chemistry with both her men, now I’m on a marathon too, in the middle of watching In Time with You and it’s so realistic and is one of her most prettiest role I’ve seen, from period to modern it was so refreshing to see, she has aged beautifully.

  5. Kirsten says:

    OMG totally!!! And I thought I was the only one who loves Ariel Lin coz my friends say she can’t be compared to ppl like Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato, apparently. But I don’t think so!! She’s unrivaled in acting skills, beauty,talent, cuteness overload and EVERYTHING😍😍she is almost purrfect! She’s so real that I would almost believe there was someone called Huang Rong!! And her chemistry with Hu ge, oh, god, is like so natural!!! I just love her and her acting talents. It was as if the role of Rong’er was meant for her!! I am a total fan of LoCH2008 and I have watched it twice, three times counting now. Ariel Lin 4ever😘😉😍

  6. anastassia says:

    What a write-up.

    I didn’t why but I really LOVE her in Love Contract maybe because of her tough and sassy character. I’m still not watching yet of her recent dramas but I found her face really different in recent years.

  7. kathleen says:

    Hello, I came across your blog and absolutely loved what you wrote regarding Ariel Lin! This is so late, but I saw the series back in 2008, and have since then, watched it again and again over the years. But recently because of Hu Ge being in “Nirvana in Fire”, I needed something to brighten up my mood again, and that was “LOCH 2008”.

    Initially, I was extremely unhappy about some of the changes made, but loved the arcs of character development they did in here. I’m more than happy with how they built on Guo Jing’s and Huang Rong’s love story. (I think in terms of the couple, Hu Ge and Ariel really nailed it for me) I was also one of the first to put her down- finding her not fit for the role because of her physique, (though I am a huge fan of hers, and probably even more so after this) However, she won me over completely with her portrayal of Huang Rong, and I have to agree, she’s probably the closest to the novel. I felt like she breathed life into the HR from the novel. She just nailed it! I was blown away, and to me, Ariel may have edged out Barbara as a Huang Rong with all the depth of emotions to it by a bit.

    As for Hu Ge’s portrayal of GJ, I was one to doubt he could pull it off as well- considering he came off really smart looking to me. But I was really pleased with is performance here, and will probably reserve my analysis on it for when I get a chance to write a review.

    So considering my prior thoughts, I had to eat my words after finishing the series.

  8. I'mnotHuangRong says:

    omg! Hi! I love your write up about Ariel I’ve been a fan of hers since 2007. She’s an awesome actress. Also Ariel has amazing chemistry with all of her male costars it’s just so weird. I have yet to come across a drama where in she didn’t have sparks with her leading men. I’m in the minority but I LOOOVE her with Mike He, it was one of my first asian dramas. Their chemistry was fire. And although Ariel’s married now I do believe she had a thing with HU GE for quite sometime. Also you should check her movies out where she’ paired with Vhic Zhou and the movie she did with Rhydian Vaughan. Their chemistry was uhhhhhmazing. *take a shot everytime I mention the word “chemistry”*.

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