Hello! We are going to talk a bit about our thoughts on Tiger Mom Blues! We apologize for the very late review; we have been very slow with dramas lately, due to other work.
Initially, I told myself that I would be skipping this drama since it looked bland and the cast wasn't all too appealing. The theme of children and how hard school is in HK has been done with Daddy Dearest and such so I felt like this was a skip for sure. I was wrong. I ended up really enjoying this drama because it was so real, relatable, and the storyline was simple. I've had issues with the inconsistent plots that TVB has been churning out because they're always trying to overcomplicate things and have like 8 storylines at once. This time, there is a central focus on the Yim Family (Elena Kong, Ben Wong) and the drama talks about events that revolve around them and their friends.
One thing that I enjoyed about this drama was the casting of the children. Usually TVB tends to go for 6 year olds that look at the camera and recite the lines with no emotion or they have 30 year olds playing high school kids. Matthew Ho was a bit of a stretch in this one but his face looks young and therefore, it was still acceptable. He played Hayden well and his acting was very natural here. I liked how he acted as the bad boy with bad grades and a bad attitude to begin with but when the story with his friend who has a kid gets introduced, it showed his desire to be responsible. This drama ends with a happy ending and of course, he ends up putting work into school and finishes off well however he decides to pursue his culinary career in France with Sing Gut See. I too feel as though his high grades could have opened up many other doors for him, but I guess if culinary school isn't his thing, he can come back to HK and still get into some post-secondary studies.
I especially enjoyed the two actresses that played Venus and Echo. They had a wonderful bond on screen and maybe instead of talking so much about the PTA (Parent Teacher Association??), they could have had more sister time. I am curious as to why there wasn't a sister fighting scene since we all know that sisters don't get along all the time and it would've showed another side of the family and how the parents would deal with siblings fighting. First for Kaman Kong playing Venus, she definitely has potential to act and its a shame that she doesn't have anything lined up at TVB. Hopefully she is filming movies or something else to progress her career. People often say that working for TVB is tough (long hours, low pay) but this drama further shows that TVB is a platform for publicity. I never even knew Kaman before but now she is this new 女神 in HK. The highlight of her performance was of course the fight with Elena Kong, her step-mother who raised her, more on this later. The highlight for Echo was when she threw a tantrum about the piano teacher Ms. Chan for not teaching her anymore because she valued money above anything else. It was very natural and the tears that trickled down her face were of hurt. Usually child actors just wail but no tears come out. Oscar the little brat was also very despicable and well played.
*side rant* I allowed myself to look past some inconsistencies in the books, how there are 2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix books on the same bookshelf at Ms. Man's (Sharon Chan's) house. The rest of the series isn't there either. When Venus was studying in the library she was flipping pages in a book about the periodic table of elements and it was talking about Einsteinium. I highly doubt someone would be looking into each element and memorizing characteristics of something as rare as Einsteinium... They probably got her a random scholarly looking book haha. I am just being nit-picky here (the nerd in me comes out as you can see).
My favourite scene is the fight scene between Venus and her mom, Natalie. It was so real and everything that Venus said was relatable with strict asian parents haha. The immediate change in emotion after Natalie finds out that Venus already knew that she wasn't her real mom was very well acted. I felt scared for Natalie and how there might be a possibility for Venus to return to her real mom. The things that Natalie as a tiger mom control are quite typical and nothing too out of the ordinary but I really liked how she changed her outlook as a parent in the end. Sometimes, I think it is important for strict parents to realize that the restrictions will only lead their child to want to try things more (alcohol, dating...). At least under your knowledge, they can try these things safely but if they feel the need to lie to you, then there is absolutely no trust in the relationship, what's the point of telling them not to do it in the first place? I liked how this drama ended on a positive note for that matter.
Overall this was a simple drama but it really connected with me. There weren't crazy plot twists and the acting was overall great from everyone as well. Definitely underestimated this one!
Jay: My thoughts are quite similar to Cee’s, so I’ll try to keep this short. Overall, TMB was a really good, simple drama that was applicable to pretty much anyone with a family (especially Asian families haha). The plot was very basic with a main focus on the lives of the kids and parents, but it was well-executed, proving that TVB does not have to add twenty different plot situations (like in Burning Hands, Recipes to Live By) to make a drama more appealing. In fact, TMB surprisingly is the drama with the most viewership ratings so far this year. I was very doubtful of TMB before starting it because I was almost certain it would be one of those average family dramas (Daddy Dearest), but the simplicity of it was actually a refreshing break from exhausting myself with catching up with numerous plot twists TVB dramas are known for nowadays. The focus of the plot was actually very different than what we usually see in a standard family drama and I really enjoyed the emphasis of looking at a child’s life (and their parents’) through realistic lenses. It is true that students face tremendous struggles being bombarded with homework from school, while trying to balance out extracurriculars and maintain straight A’s. I felt that TMB placed the right amount of emphasis on this, whereas other previous family dramas have really failed to capture the issue or they make school look too easy. It was great to see that there were scenes of what happens inside school because normally, we just see the students outside of the school, waiting for their parents to pick them up and that would be the end of it. The only aspect of the plot that was not great was using the plot where the biological parent leaves their child behind and comes back years later to destroy happiness and peace and take back their kid. This type of situation is overused and we already knew what would happen, so it was a bit annoying to watch.
For acting, I do not have a lot of complaints. The characters should have been already quite easy to portray. I was pleasantly surprised with all of the kids’ acting. Oscar’s brattiness was a highlight for me and it was hilarious seeing him throughout the drama. Venus and Hayden also had great chemistry together and even though they are both older than their teenage years in real life, Kaman and Matthew managed to pull it off as highschoolers. I thought that Sharon Chan’s character as Ms. Man was just a tad too plain. She was the good, kind-hearted teacher that cared about her students. That’s it. As for Elena Kong, her acting was convincing as a tiger mom and the character was realistic as you really could see the struggle of trying to do what’s best for her kids, even though she uses her stubborn ways. I have to add that Michelle Yim being her mother was a bit of a stretch. She even looked younger than Elena, so when they were onscreen together, it didn’t come across as a mother-daughter chemistry and they looked more like sisters to me.
That sums up my thoughts on Tiger Mom Blues. All in all, an unexpected, but charming drama with a simple family theme that was executed with little issues. We both give this an 8/10 rating.
We really hope we will get time for a Destination Nowhere review post, but unfortunately, we are not even finished watching it! See you next time!