Smiling Pasta

Country/Air Date: Taiwanese/2006

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Episodes: 17

Opening theme song: Cai Hong De Wei Xiao by Cyndi Wang

Ending theme song: Bei Ji Xing De Yan Lei by Nicholas Teo

Dramaworld rating: 3/4

Synopsis:

“Xiao Shi is a girl who has gone through many short relationships, 17 to be exact, not one lasting more than 3 months hence, she was cursed with a three-month curse. After being dumped by her 17th boyfriend, the world looks grimmer than ever. At that time, a famous idol, He Qun runs past, bumps into Xiao Shi, and they end up “kissing” on the street. Paparazzi swarmed by and to avoid a bad reputation, He Qun’s manager declared Xiao Shi as He Qun’s girlfriend of one year and fiancée. Thus, a love contract is made. This story is about how the couple learns to like each other after having disagreements in the beginning, as well as fighting the injustices the media throw at them. Will Xiao Shi finally break her 3 month curse?”

Two adjectives, and two only, spring to mind to describe Smiling Pasta: “adorable” and “flawed”.  It’s partly delightful, and partly cute, but overall I would say the best definition of it is adorable. For the most part, it’s refreshingly non-angsty, particularly because the central female character has a delightfully optimistic tendency to bounce back smiling after misfortune as well as a highly supportive and equally optimistic family.  It’s not brilliant, and around the halfway point starts sinking into the usual repetition/pointless angst/illogic melodrama most dramas indulge in at that point, but it’s well worth watching, and certainly one of, if not the least, emotionally exhausitng drama I’ve ever seen.

It stars Cyndi Wang, who is…not beautiful, but more often than not endearing(really don’t understand, however, why so many dramas seem to pair or choose only decently-pretty actresses to star opposite super good-looking actors. Asia’s a big country. Surely they can find better-looking women more often?) and Nicholas Teo, who, I am pleased and not one whit surprised to discover, is a Chinese-Malaysian singer as well as a newly-minted actor – he plays a musician in the drama and well, when he sings, it’s clear that it’s not subbed. His voice is lovely – very mellow and warm, and whether they’re his actual songs or not I don’t know, but the ones he sings on the drama combine well-written lyrics with addicting/haunting melodies. Will definitely be researching him farther as a musician.
Things I like about Smiling Pasta:

-Lots and LOTS of OTP time – nine-tenths of the drama, particularly in the second half, is simply the main couple interacting. And that is always delicious. Most dramas spend a great deal of time on minor/tangential themes or characters or themes involving the secondary couple and their romance, which can get very boring/annoying, especially if it drags on FOREVER as if often does to the cost and at the expense of the main couple. The secondary couple’s screen time is almost just right in this drama – just enough but not too much.

-The secondary couple. While I didn’t like them overall as much as certain other secondary couples(the Devil Beside You one, Mars one) they’re very endearing because both are very strong, very confident, ultimately very decent people who are just trying to love each other and are mostly hurting each other in the process. I also love the support they give to the main couple.

Quotes:

“Just smile and there’s nothing you can’t overcome”

“Yet they say it’s a woman’s heart that’s hard to grasp? I think it’s a man’s heart that never speaks directly! It always bends here and there, and twists and turns. Inexplicable!”

To fast-foward or not to fast-forward?

Definitely to fast-forward.

Music:

Download the OST, including the songs “Tears from Polaris” and “Little Turtle”, here

Download an adorable MV by Jennyproductions here

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