Yes yes I know you are judging me because of two things right now:
1. Why do you watch that long winded show?
Hey it is actually quite nice okay!
2. What!? Why do you like You Hui?
I shall tell you why exactly.
I think out of all the characters in Ye Shi Ren Sheng (YSRS for short), she is the most realistically crafted, most real character unlike the other characters that seem to be more of caricatures than someone who actually walks on the planet. To prove my point, let me explain why I don’t like the other characterization of the other lead roles as much.
Ye Ru Yi
Sweet, kind, patient, tolerant and exceedingly gentle and beautiful, Ru Yi’s character encompasses every good trait that a man can ever want in a wife. She is kind and tolerant to even those who has hurt her, she forgives those who have hurt her so much (like Chun Chun) and sometimes she stands up for herself. Furthermore, she seems to be capable in managing business and talented in marketing and true and loyal to her husband, what more can you want?
All these traits are exactly what makes her so unbelievable as a character. Unrealistic and surreal.
I mean look at her treatment of Chun Chun and her father-in-law who had given her so much hard times and made things so difficult for her. She is constantly and supposedly genuinely caring and tolerant to even her father-in-law who rudely chases her out on countless times unceremoniously. She offers Chun Chun advice and comfort and is a true and dependable friend and family to her when 1. Chun Chun stole her ex-boyfriend Laifa, 2. made things hell for her 3. scheme and plotted against her and gave her so much trouble.
It seems exceeding unrealistic to me that a person’s tolerance, while laudable, can be that far-reaching and that a person has such a great capacity for forgiveness.
It seems even odder that when she developed ovarian cancer, she is still worried about You Hui when I expected a normal and real person to go like, “Holy turtles and crayfishes! Save me someone!”
My opinion is that Ru Yi is not crafted in order to be a real character of sufficient depths and “roundness” for exploration, but a flat, one-dimensional character, the embodiment of the “damsel-in-distress” archetype.
Remember that time when Amy was using her fake “leg-paralysis” stunt to hold onto Zhi Qiang? Ru Yi is always portrayed to be the one falling in the schemes of others like Laifa and Amy, and she is seen to be always forgiving the ruthless machination of these villians.
Even odder is the fact that she does exactly what we expect a damsel-in-distress (DID for short) to do, and that is to always appear to be strong in front of the others, and cry to herself when she is alone, making all the audience feel sorry for her because this is exactly what DID does.
In order to complete and complement her DID archetype, she is also constantly pulled out of sticky situations and brought into happiness by her various knights-in-shining-armors.
Look at Zhi Qiang for example.
He is always standing up for Ru Yi who never really stands up for herself, and it seems like it is his job to defend her against the tirade of Chun Chun and Laifa when they were still married.
Then look at Ru Yi’s father-in-law.
He is another person who was constantly defending her when she is accused of something, and so far I have not seen Ru Yi defending herself with evidences and argument like You Hui always does. Instead, most of the time she just looks helpless, hurt and wronged whenever someone maligns her again.
Then we have the list of Ru Yi’s Dad (Ye Han Liang), You Hui, You Zhi, Yue Xia, Bing Ding and his wife… who are always jumping to Ru Yi’s defence.
Ru Yi is more or less cast as this unbelievably saintly girl who has the love of all her family and friends and is extremely kind and sweet because she is simply incapable of malice.
Her position as a tragic heroine is reinforced through the setting up of her tragic back-story: her mother passed away while she was a young child; she worked herself to bones sending that ingrate of a boyfriend to university, fulfilling his dream of becoming a doctor only for him to ditch her for a loaded girl.
To top it all off, she gets terminal ovarian cancer just when she manages to attain her happiness.
Her entire life is made to be such a painful and heart-breaking tragedy (partly stemming from her own rather spineless character and a dose of ill-luck) that we cannot help but weep for her when she sobs by herself over her limited time left.
I, for one, cried my heart out.
This is exactly why Ru Yi’s role is not meant to be a round character, but she serves to be a representation of the “kind, tolerant and everything positive” in the world to give the drama the much needed balance whenever we see too much of Laifa, Dafeng and Amy.
More so, her character serves to influence the people who are watching the show to hopefully become as kind and as forgiving as she is, although it is rather unappealing that someone this perfect should be penned to death with a terminal illness. Maybe that goes to bring in the reality factor into the show to bring across the point that not every kind princess has her happily-ever-after?
Yep, that is pretty much why I don’t really like her much because I find her too unreal and too perfect and unselfish to be a realistic being.
Lee You Hui
In stark contrast, You Hui is a much more real and well-written character for she depicts the common trait that is common in human beings: selfishness.
Indeed, You Hui can definitely be a pain in the ass at times with her endless plotting and scheming against the other asses in the show, and I am sure many of us are itching to whack her whenever she does not display gratitude towards her brother and mother’s unconditional love and care.
Her whining get on my nerves at times too.
But overall, she is portrayed as a very realistic and imaginable character: she has the “every man for himself” streak that often shows whenever she desires something or someone, be it money, Haotian or Dafeng.
She is cunning and machinating, and she will devise devious plans to get what she wants, and her two-facedness is also not uncommon in the real world. While it could be unpleasant to watch her smile at one moment to smirking at the other moment, I question, doesn’t that happen in real life too?
Haven’t you ever bowed down to authority just to get out of trouble, then mutter and curse once you are out of harm’s way?
Haven’t you faked sickness just to ditch one day of school perhaps?
This is exactly what You Hui is doing, just that hers is the adult version of the real world “out there”.
Beneath her cold, heartless and seemingly overly utilitarian exterior, You Hui has the kind side that I believe that is present in everyone.
Fiercely loyal to her close friends and family, You Hui is one friend that one can turn to for help or confide in when in trouble and rest assured that she would help you (sometimes by breaking a law or two). She is also one who will go to extreme ends to defend her family members, and is also one who is very protective of her family and will do anything to hold her family together.
Look at how she helped Ru Yi to get back with Zhi Qiang for instance. Without her taser and merciless daunting of Amy, Amy probably will be married to Zhi Qiang now, still faking that her legs are paralyzed.
When her brother, You Zhi’s company needed funds, she gave him the sum of money that she managed to get from Hao Tian without a word to tide him over.
This duality in her character is what makes her much more real compared to Ru Yi who seems to live by the motto of “Love your friends and love your enemies more”. I find it hard to believe that someone can be kind to even those who harmed oneself countless times, and while I agree that it is unnecessary to seek revenge at every instance, I find You Hui’s selective loyalty and love much more compelling in contrast with Ru Yi’s unconditional kindness towards all.
Strangely, I find that You Hui’s frequent bursts of anger that is coupled with screaming yelling and basically going crazy and wrecking havoc everywhere accentuates the solidness of her character.
She is a perfect depiction of what it is like to be so furious and frustrated with everyone that one simply loses control with the amount of pent-up rage and hurt. More importantly, the show has given her enough reasons to be angry and frustrated:
- Her father left her and the family for a richer woman, abandoning her.
- Her first boyfriend slept with the step-sister she loathes.
- Her second boyfriend and husband was so mercurial that he indirectly caused her miscarriage.
- She loses the child which she staked everything on, literally.
- She divorces her husband because she was cheated by her first boyfriend.
- Her first boyfriend heals her through deceit and cruelly dumps her.
- Her husband’s family took over her brother’s business so that her 1st boyfriend is made the CEO.
- She gets insulted too often.
Yes, I mean some of us may think that she deserves all these, but personally while I feel that she did bring some of these bad consequences upon herself, I still feel really bad and sorry for her.
It is as though her father’s leaving served as a catalyst for her to be over-competitive and possessive, which resulted in her stubborn character that made many of the bad things happen.
Whenever she screams and yells at her mom (which I will frown and cringe at), I can still tell that she is sincerely upset with the loss of her father. Even more believable is her never failing to show extreme signs of remorse after she has lost her temper with her mom.
It is like sometimes my mom yell at me for almost nothing and she will feel bad too.
I can totally empathize with the lost of control of one’s emotions and taking it out on someone you love, only to have that person crying for you and comforting you. The guilt and remorse can sometimes be even stronger an emotion than the original anger.
I think Daisy Fong (actress) portrayed this role super well.
Okay I am too tired to type further, so let’s end it here, haha.