Romance in the Rain: A Nostalgic Review
Set in the 1930s China, which we fondly dub the ‘Republican era’, this is a Qiong Yao classic love story. Romance in the Rain brought together famous Chinese and Taiwanese stars, Zhao Wei, Ruby Lin, Leo Ku, and Alec Su.
I watched this series many years ago, and I was feeling nostalgic, so I wanted to do an introduction to this Qiong Yao classic romance. Judging by the title, it appears to be a tearjerker right? Granted, you get an ample dose of that, but also of family and of love. Everytime I revisit this series, I am thrown back to 1930s Shanghai, headlong into a tub of roses. Romance in the Rain is just that: beautiful, sentimental, and has its own set of spunk and quirks that engaged so many drama watchers in China back in 2001.
I like Romance in the Rain’s Chinese title 情深深雨蒙蒙 meaning literally ‘deep romance, misty rain’ which evokes a unique, nostalgic tone. Chinese drama productions love their family genres, so of course Romance in the Rain is not just about two lovers. The series is set in Shanghai during the 1930s, chronicling the wealthy Lu family and their tribulations. Within the seemingly plentiful, rich household, our protagonist turns out to be a Lu daughter who has been kicked out of the household. how did this happen? Let us rewind. We are first introduced to the head of the household, Lu Zhenhua (played by Kou Zhenhai). Zhenhua is a former wartime general who has 9 wives. You can say Zhenhua was sort of a player in his days, even if it was normal for wealthy men like him to have many wives. This story will be focused on Zhenhua’s 8th and 9th wives and their daughters. With the background out of the way, let’s introduce our characters.
Lu Yiping and Lu Ruping
This is Yiping (played by Zhao Wei) – Yiping is a very stubborn and fierce heroine. She is the title heroine and outcast daughter of Lu Zhenhua and his 8th wife. Because Yiping was kicked out of the Lu household as a child, the mother and daughter lived by themselves in a run-down house in Shanghai. Zhao Wei’s portrayal makes sure that you are as frustrated with Yiping’s stubborn/ambitiousness as your everlasting adoration for Xiao Yanzi. Half the drama is about Yiping wanting to take revenge on the Lu family whom she refers to as “the other side”. There exist countless misunderstandings between her and her well-intentioned-but-stubborn-and-prideful father. Of course, Yiping’s love story with handsome reporter, He Shuhuan (played by Leo Ku) is the other focus of this series.
Hands down, this girl here is my favorite character in Romance in the Rain. She is Ruping (played by Ruby Lin). Ruping is the filial and good-natured daughter of Lu Zhenhua and his 9th wife. I can’t really pinpoint why I love her, but I guess it’s refreshing that Ruping is just about the closest to the most drama-free character you can get. She only gets a bit out-of-character towards the end of the series, and quite frustrating but overall she has to be my favorite…. can’t spoil the entire series, you’ll have to see for yourselves.
Before I dive into what I think about our couplings, relax and have a cookie and some tea as you enjoy the theme song:
The Argumental Couple, The Sappy Couple, and Various Love Trangles
My alternative OTP! Back when I was watching this series, I wanted the classy, gentle Ruping to go with handsome, righteous Shuhuan. What sealed the deal for me was Ruping’s romantic encounter with Shuhuan on the commuter bus in the first episode, but that hope when to the dumpster after Yiping’s chance encounter with Shuhuan (which is also quite cute and fitting with the ‘rain’ theme). Then, of course, I knew Ruping couldn’t have a chance with Shuhuan when Xue Qin (the antagonist 9th wife), Ruping’s mother, started setting up dates for the pair.
I had to give Zhao Wei credit for having decent chemistry with Leo Ku; admittedly they were exceptionally good kissers. Although like typical Qiong Yao series, Romance in the Rain was a) dramatic and b) there’s a lot of crying and screaming. Thankfully, the melo portion isn’t overbearing. I’m a romcom fan and even I could stomach it. To balance out the melo, Alec Su‘s reporter character, Du Fei, lightens up the series with his adorable simpleton ways of chasing Ruping. Du Fei is Shuhuan’s friend and fellow reporter who becomes immediately attracted to Ruping since their first encounter (when Shuhuan and Du Fei were being chased by a gang).
Overall, How Was Romance in the Rain?
What did I think of the story? It’s a very memorable, good series. My only true gripe is with some angsty plotlines that drag down the series. It embodied a certain nostalgia, had a fabulous OST, and was truly romantic, just like the title suggested. Friendship, love, and family are well-balanced in the series. Er Hao and Ke Yun’s sweet side story really stood out for me. The actor who plays Er Hao should really get recognized more because I think he was wonderful as the conflicted son of the Lu household who had to take responsibility for both his past love and his current love.
To end this post, I thought it appropriate to show the ending theme OST called “Hao Xiang” sung by Zhao Wei, personally I think this pwns even our theme song, so beautifully sung and written: