"After Marriage": Marriage is not a fun drama

    TVB's recently completed love sketch "After Marriage" received good reviews. This is another work by producer Lincoln focusing on the topic of marriage and love after "Hong Kong Love Story". The play co-stars Luo Ziyi, Chen Ziyao, Wang Minyi and Li Nuoyi. It is the first time that Chen Ziyao has played a leading heroine in more than 20 years since her debut. The series uses the first-person perspectives of different protagonists to unfold the narrative around four major chapters: "divorce", "infidelity", "wrong love" and "repair".

    "Aftermarriage" poster

    Fairy tales always say, "Prince Charming and Cinderella lived happily ever after", as if married life only has the word "happiness". This is not the case. Fairy tales point to an idealized and ultimate beautiful vision. A real marriage is not a fairy tale of smooth sailing, but is full of differences in outlook, personality compatibility, financial pressure, daily trivialities, children's education, distribution of family responsibilities, etc. various practical issues. These problems may cause conflicts, conflicts and distress at any time, causing ups and downs in the marriage.

    Producer Lincoln said that in the past, when people got married, everyone wanted to use all the beautiful words in the world in their blessings, such as "A happy marriage for a hundred years, and we will be together forever" without mentioning the practical difficulties that married life has to face. Simplifying marriage will not make people happier. On the contrary, it will give people the illusion that "marriage should not have any problems." But such a bubble will burst with one blow.

    Therefore, the title of the play "After Marriage" is concise and concise: What happens after marriage is the beginning of the challenge.

    The story begins in 2015. The conflict between Hong Kong middle-class couple Zhang Mingxin (played by Chen Ziyao) and her husband Pan Shanren (played by Luo Ziyi) erupted after Pan Shanren's mental infidelity. Different from the full perspective of ordinary TV series, different episodes of "After Marriage" are unfolded from the perspectives of different protagonists, allowing the audience to intuitively see the Rashomon-style narration of the same incident by different parties.

    The same story, six perspectives, "each has its own version"

    From Pan Shanren's point of view, he works as a part-time lecturer in different tertiary colleges. Although his salary is average, he devotes himself wholeheartedly to the family, especially the company of his daughter Pan Yue. Pan Shanren's father was irresponsible and seriously ill, which put Pan Shanren under great financial pressure, but he gritted his teeth and persisted.

    What really makes him unbearable is his wife Zhang Mingxin's terrible control and violent temper. Although he had had an extramarital affair (perhaps he did not consider it an extramarital affair), Zhang Mingxin was aggressive and unrelenting, which exhausted him.

    From the perspective of Pan Shanren (played by Luo Ziyi), he endured the humiliation and endured the heavy burden, while Zhang Mingxin (played by Chen Ziyao) was unreasonable

    From Zhang Mingxin's perspective, there is a completely different version. Her husband's salary is very low, so she bears the main expenses of the family and has to clean up the mess left by her gambler father-in-law again and again. She worked hard and worked hard to contribute to the family, but her husband cheated on her. She also wrote the cheating experience into a novel. She became the "strong wife, tiger mother, and workaholic" in the novel... Zhang Mingxin made up her mind to divorce. In order to fight for the custody of her daughter, Zhang Mingxin falsely accused Pan Shanren of domestic violence in court, and asked her best friend to create public opinion online and put Pan Shanren on trial...

    From Zhang Mingxin’s perspective, her husband betrayed her

    Pan Shanren, who was mentally derailed, is certainly at a moral disadvantage, but which version is closer to the truth?

    Any marriage that breaks up together is a "Rashomon". No party's narrative can be unconditionally accepted as "facts." The parties involved more or less rationalize their actions in their own way, and some even distort some of the facts for the purpose of self-protection or image building.

    "After Marriage" presents Pan Shanren and Zhang Mingxin's respective voices, allowing the audience to understand their grievances, helplessness, anger and other emotions; the audience is also forced to jump out of a single perspective to compare, analyze and even question different narratives; due to the different narratives of both parties, The audience needs to piece together a complete story, get closer to the truth, and add a sense of suspense when following the drama.

    In the subsequent "Infidelity" chapter, the Rashomon narrative from different positions and perspectives is more clearly reflected. From Pan Shanren's point of view, he is calm, and Lu Jinghai (played by Wang Minyi) is a proactive, "voluptuous" and dangerous temptress; but from Lu Jinghai's point of view, she and Pan Shanren have common interests, Soulmates who resonate deep in their souls, there is pure love between them that cannot stop...

    From Pan Shanren’s perspective, Lu Jinghai (played by Wang Minyi) “seduces” him

    From Lu Jinghai’s perspective, she and Pan Shanren are literary lovers

    In straightforward and refreshing dramas, one side of the different versions of the narrative must be the truth, one side is all lies, one side is the victimized "little white rabbit", and one side is a complete "scumbag"... But "After the Marriage" ” is not a fun drama. This drama started with a score of 8.8, but dropped to 8.1 after it ended. This is somewhat related to the fact that it is not a good drama - even if the audience watched it until the end, it would be difficult to tell. Pan Shanren, who held the script of "Scumbag", said everything. It's a lie. After all, Zhang Mingxin's desire for control is real, and so is Lu Jinghai's active pursuit.

    The "Rashomon" that the husband and wife talk to each other does not point to the lack of truth after marriage, but it reminds us that it is more important to seek a consensus recognized by each other than to insist on their own version of the "truth." Husband and wife will have different interpretations and understandings of an event or situation based on their own perspectives, feelings, experiences and values. This subjectivity makes "truth" not absolutely objective and fixed, but rather relative. Rather than looking for an absolute and only truth, it is better for both parties to focus on the common goal of protecting the family and protecting children through effective communication and in-depth understanding, put aside temporary disputes on certain non-principled issues, and narrow the cognitive gap as much as possible. Get some kind of consensus. This requires both husband and wife to have high emotional management skills, empathy, and an acceptance of differences, but few people can do it.

    "After Marriage" does not follow the route of a cool drama, but it challenges those issues in marriage that can easily cause controversy and are "anti-sleep dramas". The second half of the plot revolves around the "repair" of a broken marriage.

    Zhang Mingxin successfully divorced and obtained custody of her daughter. According to the logic in Shuangju, she should follow the "flower path" in her subsequent life, achieve great success in her career, build a warm and harmonious family with her new partner and daughter, and enjoy a happy and fulfilling life, and so on.

    But in "After Marriage", after the divorce, Zhang Mingxin had trouble sleeping and eating, and always dreamed of Pan Shanren appearing at home. Even from Pan Shanren's perspective, when Zhang Mingxin invited him back to his old home to retrieve his old things, she took the initiative to express her inner attachment to him and fell in love with him overnight... This may be Pan Shanren's narcissistic imagination, but Zhang Mingxin's love for Pan It is a fact that Shanren’s love is never forgotten.

    Zhang Mingxin can't forget Pan Shanren

    Some viewers will be "angry" with Zhang Mingxin. What is there to miss about this mentally cheating man? However, in a real marriage, when a couple separates, their emotional separation is not necessarily a quick and easy way to cut off the knot. Many people will still be disconnected and entangled for a long time, and there are also many people who choose to remarry.

    The reason why emotional separation is difficult is because of the complexity of love. It is based on romance or passion, and may also originate from shared emotional memories and inertial dependence. For example, the love before divorce, the life moments we experienced together, the difficulties we overcame together, and the beautiful memories we created together may leave a deep imprint in our hearts and inspire the feeling of love. Or, during the long-term marriage, the two parties have developed a strong emotional dependence and mutual embeddedness in their living habits. After divorce, the parties may need some time to adapt to this change.

    For Zhang Mingxin, she had many good memories with Pan Shanren; Pan Shanren had paid more in family life, especially in her daughter's education, and Zhang Mingxin felt uncomfortable with his absence.

    Thinking of the loving past with Pan Shanren, Zhang Mingxin still sheds tears

    In particular, they have a common concern - their daughter. Previously, her daughter had strongly opposed the divorce of Pan Shanren and Zhang Mingxin. After the divorce, her daughter always showed hostility to her parents' new relationship and expressed her protest with various rebellious behaviors. Although in general, we all know that parents do not have to give up the freedom and right to pursue happiness because of their children, but in the face of children's pain and self-harming rebellion, most parents are still willing to sacrifice their personal emotional needs and give priority to their children's demands and wishes. .

    Although Zhang Mingxin has always had a rich, handsome and affectionate suitor Gan Chengjun (played by Li Nuoyi), she finally decided to let go of her relationship with him. When they broke up, she said to Gan Chengjun: "Mother's love has always been the most domineering love, the most absolute and the most supreme. This is nature. In the face of maternal love, no matter how heavy the love is, it will become weak and weak."

    Between self-needs and "good mother", Zhang Mingxin chooses the latter

    This is obviously not a line acceptable to independent women, but from Zhang Mingxin's standpoint, it is "natural" for her to do so. She made the decision to divorce during a period when her conflicts with Pan Shanren were intensifying and her emotions were running high. As time went by, the emotions of both parties gradually calmed down, they realized their respective responsibilities in the failed marriage, and found that they still needed each other. They were originally angry, Love masked by disappointment resurfaces.

    This is a valuable quality of "The Aftermath": full sympathy for human frailties. The protagonist's "repair" of marriage certainly returns to the old tradition of TVB family dramas: emphasizing mutual understanding, tolerance and support among family members, and advocating the maintenance and inheritance of family ties; but "After Marriage" is not about "harmony", but It is hoped that even those viewers who are not so decisive and determined will "always have the energy to overturn the boring, trapped and dead ends of intimate relationships; always have the creativity to re-revise and define your own love model."

    After the 17th episode, the story suddenly advanced to 2025. All kinds of outrageous accidents happened one after another. They made the relationship between the three groups of couples even more "love than gold". The protagonist also began to come up with all kinds of golden sayings, how many twists and turns. It ruined the previous plot's exquisite and delicate portrayal of the relationship between the sexes, and it felt like it was just for the sake of a happy ending.

    But overall, "After Marriage" has flaws that outweigh its flaws. Obviously it can take the route of a pleasant drama that caters to the emotions, but "After Marriage" is willing to face the inconveniences in real marriage life, with some real observations and real thinking. It is not flattering, but it has some kind and gentle inspiration for people in marriage, or those who are planning to enter marriage.


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