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Stay With Me Kdrama Review & Plot Analysis

Stay With Me (放弃我 抓紧我) is a Chinese Television Series that aired in 2016. The drama had been directed by Billy Tang, Ruan Weixin, and Chen Guohua. There are 39 episodes of “Stay With Me” and each of them is around 45 minutes in duration. The drama’s original language is Mandarin, but various subtitles are available for viewers around the world. “Stay with Me” is also known by the names “Abandon Me” and “Hold Me Tight”.

Stay With Me had streamed from Dec 2, 2016, to Jan 2, 2019. The episodes streamed throughout the week, every day without any break. The original network which streamed the show was Hunan TV. The streaming rights outside mainland China are owned by Zhong Ju Du Bo.

Synopsis of the Plot of “Stay With Me”

Stay With Me is a story of a renowned fashion designer who is very successful. However while climbing up the ladder of money, fame, and success she lost people she loved. Li Wei Wei is a 30-year old fashion designer who has achieved more than what people achieve at such a young age. Something unfortunate happens to her life and her world tumbles. She faced an accident in which she almost drowned thus she ended up losing her memory. When she wakes up, she has no memory of 7 years of her journey and she perceives herself as 23 years old Li Wei Wei.

Her personality has also changed. 30- years-old Li Wei Wei was a workaholic and she used to her work and professional success before everyone and everything in her life. After her memory loss, she turned into a sweet, passionate, and idealistic woman which surprised everyone around her.

Her ex-boyfriend Chen Yi Du is nothing but her rival. Both Li Wei Wei and Chen Yi Du are competitors in the same wedding dress industry. When the female lead perceives herself to be 23 years old, she is immensely heartbroken to know the truth that she had broken up with Chen Yi Du because of professional rivalry. Her heart wanted to go back to him and be with him. She wanted to re-do everything.

However, 30 years old Li Wei Wei has a very nice and sweet boyfriend called Huo Xiao.  Huo Xiao loved her very much and did not want to lose her. He tried to stop Li from getting back to her ex-boyfriend. He tried to protect her out of love and possessiveness. Li, however, realized that Chen Yi and her, both of them, pursued a dream of getting successful together but that dream itself separated them. Thus Li Wei with the heart of her 23- years old self wanted to go back to her past lover and undo all the mistakes that she committed while being successful.

The Cast of “Stay With Me”

Chen Yi Du and Huo Xiao played by Wang Kai and Qiao Renliang

A still from Stay with Me with Li Wei, Chen Yi Du and Huo Xiao (Credit : Dream Stardom Film )

The drama was produced by Dream Stardom Film and TV Culture Co., Ltd and it cast the following actors. The main lead role of Li Wei Wei is played by Joe Chen. Li Wei Wei is the founder of a wedding dress company and after a near-drowning experience, her memory returns to her 23-years-old self with no memory of what happened in the seven years in between. Chen Yi Du is played by Wang Kai who is also a designer of the Wedding Dresses company called Du and he is the ex-boyfriend and also the rival of Li Wei Wei.

Qiao Renliang played the role of Huo Xiao, Li Wei Wei’s childhood friend as well as her fiance, to whom she is supposed to get married. The role of Tiffany is played by Chen Ran. Tiffany is a very rational character who works for Chen Yi Du’s company and ends up having feelings for him. Later she is paired up with Leo and they have nice chemistry. Derek Chang is cast for the role of Leo. He is an international model and an orphan brother of Li Wei Wei. Zhang Duo is starred in the role of Mo Fan. Mo Fan is the former best friend of Chen Yi Du who plots revenge on him because of his parent’s death. He is also a Wall Street Investor.

The television series “Stay With Me” has been written by Tong Hua. Tong Hua is the main writer alongside Qian Jingjing, Xu Ziyuan, and Jiang Guangyu. The series was directed by Billy Tang, Ruan Weixin, and Chen Guohu.

Where to watch Stay With Me?

Stay With Me is available on original networks such WeTV, Viki Rakuten, and CN Drama. The drama is available for free streaming on all the networks. The episodes are also available on the official Youtube channel of CN Drama. The drama aired on Hunan TV for all the days of the week. But now it is only available on online streaming sites.

There are 39 episodes with the original language being Mandarin. However, subtitles are available in various languages.

Review of “Stay With Me”

Before starting out I would like to mention that there are going to be a lot of spoilers, so if you have not watched it yet and want to watch the drama, then go and watch it now and come back here later. Also, opinions may vary from person to person so feel free to leave your opinions in the comments.

“Stay With Me” has a lot of attractive and glamorous visuals which increases the expectations. The story has two rival companies Ling Long (Founded by Li Wei Wei) and Du (Founded by Chen Yi Du). However, the rivalry is personally more than professional in nature.

Li Wei Wei is portrayed as a woman who has become ruthless while chasing money and success. She is shown to be a very stone-hearted woman who would do anything to make sure she is the most successful. Li Wei Wei proposed marriage to Huo Xiao, her childhood friend just to make sure that she wins the competition. She did not love Huo Xiao by any chance. The problematic portrayal here is portraying successful women as stern, rude and ruthless. Though this is the basic storyline still picturizing women like this may be a cause of hindrance for women in general. Women face more hurdles becoming successful throughout the world and especially in Asian countries, be it the wage gap, asking for maternity leave, and so on.

This type of portrayal in dramas may further add to the stereotype and make it difficult for women to be seen as nurturing as well as successful. Chen Yi Du is also portrayed as a stern and rough CEO, adding to the pool of media stereotypes. The stereotype of a grave and stern CEO is present in too many Asian Dramas. The question here is why do CEOs have to be serious and ruthless when they become successful. This defies the logic of the real world where we see CEOs such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs smiling and often having humorous conversations with audiences.

However, one must mention that the cast Joe Chen and also all other members did a really good job when it comes to acting. Joe Chen while being cast as Li Wei Wei had to portray two versions of the same person, one being cruel and ruthless and the other being childish and sassy. She did a remarkable job at playing both roles. The male leads also did a very good job. Hu Xiao, played by, got jealous and tried to protect his girlfriend at all costs. The emotions here were shown so well that the audience even felt the uncertainty and sadness here. Many viewers fell for Hu Xiao though he is not the main lead.

Another point that has to be noted that there is a lot of unnecessary drama with a lack of logic. The continuous breakup patch-up going on in cycles might be sometimes really monotonous to watch. The plot becomes more and more predictable with such cycles. The number of times the characters broke up that the story was becoming senseless. The story could be ended much earlier if this was not repeated. It felt like the story was extended with drama just to increase episodes.

Joe Chen as Li Wei Wei

Li Wei Wei is succesful in her career but it cost her, her love life (Credit: Dream Stardom Film )

There was also a lot of blame game going on between Li Wei Wei and Chen Yi Du. She kept on blaming him for his father’s death though it was an accident. In the flashback, we see that Li Wei tries very he=ard to make Chen Yi Du to stay with her even though his father is dead by that time. Unable to accept the rejection, Li Wei Wei kept on blaming Chen Yi but again she had forgiven him. If she could forgive him once, why would not she forgive him again if their love was so deep?

The chemistry between Li Wei Wei and Chen Yi Du is what kept the audience kept coming back for more. Joe Chen faced negativity for being a 37 years old woman being starred in Idol dramas. But she is a great actor and she looks so much younger, that she is perfect for the role of Li Wei Wei. Some of the cliches served the show well such as “bi dong” Bi Dong is basically pushing and pinning someone against the wall. Though this can be seen almost in all drams, even in 2021. The Bi Dongs made the drama more attractive for fans. There were a lot of moments between Li Wei and Chen Yi which helped to build the on-screen chemistry.

There is another cliche aspect, that is revenge. The revenge aspect was completely unnecessary. Chen Ti Du’s best friend Mo Fan blamed him for his parent’s death which was caused by the same car crash. Later Mo Fan finds out about his father’s death and that his father was responsible for the accident almost after 20 years whereas Chen Yi Du knew it from the beginning. This makes very little sense.

The characters that were most logical were Hu Xiao and Tiffany. Hu Xiao tried to keep his love and protect her, but later he realized that she will never be happy without Chen Yi Du. Thus she ends up moving away from Li Wei Wei’s life. Tiffany also had feelings for  Chen Yi Du ( she is Chen’s designer) but she has a tit-for-tat approach. She is nice to people who are nice to her and bitter to those who were not very nice to her. Tiffany decided to stay with Leo and they were an adorable as well as a mature couple.

The takeaway for dramas like “Stay With Me”

Stay with Me is a Chinese Drama from 2016

Stay With Me Poster featuring Joe Chen and Wang Kai (Credit: Dream Stardom Film )

There are a lot of media stereotypes and a lack of logic. People keep coming back for the romance, visuals, and chemistry. However, there was a lot of portrayal of toxic traits within the characters. The audience of such dramas is young people in the majority. Thus they do not have a picture of a healthy relationship. They grow up with the misunderstanding that these toxic traits in relationships are normal and thus they tolerate such characteristics.

However, we must remember that this drama was created in 2016. It was the time when Asian dramas started flourishing worldwide. Hollywood or any western media do not have such dramatic aspects to their media content so the audience came to Asian dramas for cheesy drama and romance. The drama “Stay With Me” was created o fit the media need. Nowadays in 2021, the audience wants much more real and authentic stories so dramas today usually different from dramas in 2016.

Though the review was very critical in nature but however if you want some light entertainment and something to binge on this might be the perfect show for you. The series has the perfect elements of tension ad romance which add up to the dramatic aspect making the audience come back for more. The romance between the characters and the several plot twists and the childish happy version of Li Wei Wei makes the story more enjoyable. Also, the stunning visuals might make one want to work in the fashion industry itself.

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The posts here are submitted by OtakuKart Contributor.

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