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Ossan’s Love (HK): “Sugar-coated marijuana”

Samseng Zhabor
I’ve decided to schedule these issues on Wednesdays, because Wednesday is hump day and we all need fun to get through the work week.

Watching dramas generally provide me with escapism, stress relief, and happiness. But it really sparks extra joy when you know that your contribution to the boosting of a drama would likely really piss off a nasty piece of work.
In July this year, Junius Ho, the conservative, homophobic pro-Beijing legislator in Hong Kong, went off on Ossan’s Love《大叔的愛》, the city’s first BL/gay rom-com series. He accused it of violating both China’s “three-child policy” and the ever-expansive national security law imposed upon the Special Administrative Region. According to him, the drama subverted the “traditional values” of heterosexual love, and described the show as “sugar-coated marijuana”.
K Tse
Prominent homophobic Junius Ho at the book fair: “If you eat a lot of sugar you’ll get diabetes, but this isn’t a candy. TV show ‘Ossan’s Love’ is sugar-coated marijuana. China’s traditional values is love between man-woman. It violates the country’s 3-child policy and the NSL.” https://t.co/Qh9YhtwR42
He meant to portray Ossan’s Love as an insidious danger. To a drama-watcher like me, though, all “sugar-coated marijuana” signals to me is that (1) this show will be super bingeable, and (2) there will be an adorable OTP.
After having watched the entire series in two days, I am happy to report that I was right on both counts. Take that, Junius Ho! 😘🖕🏼
Ossan Love Hongkong [Official Trailer]
Ossan Love Hongkong [Official Trailer]
Ossan’s Love is the Hong Kong remake of a popular Japanese drama of the same name. Edan Lui plays Tin Yat Hung, a real estate agent in his late-20s. He’s got a very kind heart and will go above and beyond for his clients, but that doesn’t mean he’s successful at his job: while he works hard, he has trouble closing deals and is consistently behind on his monthly sales targets. It doesn’t help that he’s a mess away from work too; he’s in a state of perpetual adolescence, still relying on his older sister to cook, clean, and do his laundry. It’s unsurprising that his love life is lacking.
Despite this, Ah Tin must have been born under a lucky star, because he’s surrounded by good people who have his back, and his underachieving doesn’t seem to cause him any problems. His boss, KK (Kenny Wong), is an exceptionally good superior who never loses his temper, encourages all his staff, and likes Ah Tin.
I mean, he really likes Ah Tin.
One night, KK does a big “I LOVE YOU” confession, complete with a ginormous bouquet of roses and a pledge to ask his wife for a divorce. Ah Tin is gobsmacked.
He makes this shocked face a lot.
He makes this shocked face a lot.
But that’s not all! Our boy has gone from romantically challenged to being in high demand; it soon turns out that his colleague and flatmate, Ling Siu Muk (Anson Lo), is in love with him too. For an office with only six people, that real estate branch has a seriously high concentration of gay/bisexual men. (And considering that three of those male employees are played by members of the Cantopop boyband sensation MIRROR, it’s probably also the best-looking real estate office you’ve ever seen. Enough to get one to consider moving house on a regular basis. 🤔)
This love triangle is a real headache for Ah Tin. Firstly, he claims — a little too loudly — that he only likes women with big boobs. Secondly, he has the emotional maturity of a child, and struggles with making decisions. Between this and the fact that he’s a nice boy who never wants to hurt anyone’s feelings, Ah Tin is much more likely to kick the can down the road, in the hopes that problems and dilemmas will somehow magically resolve themselves. Of course, this backfires all the time, putting him in super awkward positions precisely because he can’t seem to make up his mind one way or the other and put his foot down. Sometimes it makes you really want to just slap that boy.
Over the course of 15 episodes, Ah Tin, accompanied by a likeable cast of best friends and colleagues, navigates (or flails) his way through work and life, coming to terms with his own emotions and learning to recognise and acknowledge who he really wants to spend his life with. There is some filler as side characters have their own minor story arcs, but overall it’s cute AF.
At this point, I’m just going to take a moment to add an Ah Muk/Anson Lo appreciation GIF:
Soooooo cute, even though it really makes me feel like a big sister/auntie for thinking, "What a sweet boy!"
Soooooo cute, even though it really makes me feel like a big sister/auntie for thinking, "What a sweet boy!"
It’s a nice sweet drama to spend a weekend escaping into. Nobody is malicious; people have competing desires and get jealous of one another, but no one actively goes out to sabotage things for anyone else. The entire Ossan’s Love universe is populated with good people who, despite their own idiosyncrasies, are ultimately kind and supportive.
Homophobia, too, doesn’t seem to exist. (Not a single Junius Ho in sight!) Ah Tin’s shocked to discover that he’s the object of love for not one, but two men at work, but no one’s fussed about anyone’s sexual orientation. His best friend, Tze Chin, doesn’t bat an eyelid when he tells her that a man has made him a love confession. His sister talks about how their parents are eager for Ah Tin to get married and produce some grandkids, but seems equally open to the idea of him getting together with Ah Muk, who she likes for being caring and reliable. Ah Muk’s father’s immediate reaction to his son coming out of the closet is negative and shouty, but no one in the family seems to take it all that seriously, not even Ah Muk; it seems like that’s just how Dad is, and there’s nothing to worry about. Francesca, KK’s wife of 20 years, goes through a beautiful arc of anger, sadness, acceptance and support. A coming-out in the workplace is only met with congratulations and good-spirited gossiping.
It’s ❤️❤️❤️ all ‘round, and everyone is so sweet. I wish this for all my LGBT friends for real, every day, everywhere.
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Kirsten, the Samseng Zhabor
Kirsten, the Samseng Zhabor @kixes

A random, whimsical newsletter on dramas, cats, and life. Written by a journalist in need of a break from the news.

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