I have to confess, I binge watched 步步经心 right after I submitted the last post regarding how pretty the princes were. (This was way back in September, when I spent 3 of my 4 day vacation watching almost all 32 episodes of this addictive tragedy.) I had to post up another rebuttal/update to that last article since a few of my friends were asking me about my distasteful review of the drama when I did not even try to watch it. I want to say, this drama was pretty awesome. It superseded all of my expectations of Mainland dramas, even though the actors were all dubbed over, the scenes got draggy between episodes 20 and 30, and the story could have proceeded in a more fluid fashion. The drama had its flaws, but the story was original and especially tragic. (Remember when I said I had this weird thing for tragic figures?) It was so good, and so much more than just about a bunch of pretty prancing princes. It was about this odd power struggle between an emperor and a woman’s freedom. And it is this struggle, and what many would call love that could not be, that had me glued to my laptop screen. The editing was amazing, which was a surprise, since a lot of times Chinese production companies like to just paste in the most random transitions. The scenes were breathtaking, and the actors were great. Maybe it’s because I had been watching so many mindless, terribly acted, idol dramas over the summer, that the substance of this show just blew my mind, or maybe it’s just because BuBuJingXin is damn good. I don’t know, but I want to say, go watch it. It’s sad, but it’s totally worth it. The costumes, movements, and especially the tragic story are iconic.
Lastly, story telling aside, the drama really had me thinking. It had an element of horror that many may not have picked up, the hints of what it would be like to have your freedom suddenly taken away. I couldn’t sleep the night I finished that last episode. (Obviously this is fiction, but what if it was me that was suddenly transported back to a stifling, devastatingly paternalistic, and blatantly misogynistic society where all of my rights were stripped away, and my most cherished freedom was but a myth? I would have been mortified. No number of pretty princes can remedy that!)