I’ve started watching a Taiwanese drama called Office Girls, all about the drama behind the scenes at a fancy mall.
In order to take over Chairman Qin’s department store, lazy son Qin Zi Qi must give up his spoiled tuhao ways and make a success of an entry level position for one year, without touching his family’s money or revealing his identity. Young Qin walks into a very junior job in the Operations Department, without changing his name, his luxurious clothes or his little emperor complex. Qin must be one of laobaixing, the Old Hundred Names, so it’s not completely obvious that he’s the heir apparent (like it would be if I started working as a peon at Stivison Enterprises), and he starts pretending that his high-fashion clothes are street knockoffs. He reports to hardworking Sheng Xing Ren, an Operations employee who has never been late or absent in four years at the company, and who lives as frugally as she can while saving money to buy an apartment for her mother.
Most of the drama takes place between coworkers and departments in the Chinese department store. There’s a credit-stealing boss, a lazy teammate, and a girl from Leasing who definitely has her own agenda. The mall, with product placement of luxury and international brands, makes a real contract to the scenes with Sheng Xing Ren’s old ma out in the countryside. Sheng Mama is the greatest character, her little happy dance when Zi Qi comes to visit the second time is so charming, and her decision that the two young people must be dating and living together regardless of their denials is hilarious.
The storylines are very Chinese. In one, Operations has to deal with a well-connected supplier selling sub-par mooncakes, and in another, a delivery girl convinces Zi Qi to sign for Xing Ren’s package, which turns out to be a box of empty bottles and not the cosmetics she’s ordered. Both the delivery girl and the online seller have disappeared, of course.
But my favorite arc is about Zi Qi eating broccoli. That guy does so much moody broccoli chewing, and emotional discussion of broccoli, and dramatic announcements about broccoli.
Anyway, I’m about ten episodes in, and I expect to become fluent any day now.