Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Skate Into Love (Ep. 1)

While looking for some more recent dramas to watch, Skate Into Love (冰糖炖雪梨) caught my eye with its ice sport premise. It’s shaping up to be a cheesy but cute college/sports rom-com!

Recap

Tang Xue (Janice Wu) competes at a youth short track speed skating competition and wins. The national skating commissioner praises her performance. She’s on track to be a national team member one day.

But suddenly, he starts patting her face and calling her “Master Tang.”

Tang Xue’s best friend, Liao Zhen Yu (Qin Tian Yu), tries to wake her up. She’s napping on the bus to their first day at Lincheng Union University, aka Lin Da.

On the TV, a news report announces Olympic speed skater Wu Da Jing’s second world gold medal. Zhen Yu asks Tang Xue if she used to train with Wu Da Jing. She doesn’t respond and looks back out the window with her headphones in.

The TV broadcast switches to a college hockey game. Lin Da’s star hockey player, Li Yu Bing (Steven Zhang) nicknamed “Ice God,” leads the team to a 5-4 victory despite being down 3-5 at the start of the broadcast. After the win, he gets into a brawl with a player from the opposing team.

Zhen Yu and Tang Xue stroll through various extracurricular activities booths as they enter campus. One booth handing out flyers for the school’s hockey club catches Tang Xue’s eye, especially with the “free ice skating” benefit. The hockey team manager, Ma Xiao Bin (Eman Zang), at first dismisses the two because of their first year status, but his interest is piqued when Zhen Yu mentions that Tang Xue not only knows how to skate, but used to be a speed skating champion.

Manager Ma asks Tang Xue why she doesn’t compete anymore. “I decided to study instead,” she responds with a rueful smile.

Zhen Yu drops Tang Xue off at her dorm, which must be the nicest college dorms I have ever seen. She already knows one of her roommates, Xia Meng Huan (He Xuan Lin) or Huan Huan, who also calls her “Master Tang” and greets her with a hug. Huan Huan is a bit odd with her collection of rodents, reptiles, and bugs and male anatomy hobby reading.

Yu Bing meets his idol, China’s star hockey player Xu Feng (Allen Deng), who is the real Ice God, in the halls of the university sports center after his game. Xu Feng gives him some words of encouragement. Afterward, Yu Bing finds his friend and teammate, Jiang Shi Jia (Cao Bo) aka Da Jiang, who is in the infirmary after being involved in the same brawl as Yu Bing at the game, and raves about meeting Xu Feng.

Tang Xue hangs up her speed skates on her bed and pets them lovingly, then goes to take a shower. The shower in her dorm is broken, so she goes to the sports center, only to find that the lights are out there. She feels her way into the shower room, not realizing that she accidentally ended up on the men’s side.

Li Yu Bing also decides to take a shower and ends up in the stall next to her. He realizes he forgot his shampoo and asks to borrow his neighbor’s.

Upon hearing the male voice, Tang Xue realizes she’s in the wrong shower room. She passes over the shampoo. Yu Bing tries to make conversation as he showers, commenting on how nice the shampoo smells and asking what major his neighbor is in. Tang Xue doesn’t respond and instead scurries out, leaving the shower running.

Realizing that something is weird, Yu Bing goes to check on his neighbor, only to find an empty stall with the shower still running. On his way out of the shower room, he notices a dropped ID card on the ground. It’s a girl’s, and his eyes widen in recognition.

When Tang Xue wakes up the next morning, she’s alarmed to see a face looking back at her. It’s Ye Liu Ying (Lu Jun Yao), her third roommate, who awkwardly introduces herself without making eye contact. But when she hears that Tang Xue is studying veterinary medicine, she suddenly starts quoting Democritus with overwhelming excitement. It’s not quite what Tang Xue expected or needed first thing in the morning. Liu Ying suddenly catches herself and then shrinks back into herself again, ducking her head and turning away.

Huan Huan shows up with an armful of packages. Tang Xue is surprised she carried them all upstairs herself. Huan Huan responds that she got a nice guy to help her. Liu Ying asks how one attracts nice guys. Huan Huan gives her some advice — all you have to do is call a guy handsome, no matter what he looks like, and he will immediately become a nice guy to you.

Tang Xue calls Zhen Yu and decides to try out Huan Huan’s advice, calling him “handsome.” Zhen Yu immediately stops in his tracks, scared, and preemptively starts apologizing, thinking Tang Xue is mad at him for something. She tells him to buy an extra breakfast and meet her outside her department building.

Zhen Yu immediately tries out a pick-up line on Huan Huan, but it kind of backfires because he’s the one who suddenly freezes, heart thumping, as he watches her laugh. He tells Tang Xue that he’s fallen in love at first sight. Tang Xue warns Zhen Yu that Huan Huan was just reading about male sterilization yesterday.

He says to himself that it sounds dangerous, but she’s pretty and he likes her anyway.

Manager Ma calls Yu Bing into his office to help choose who his assistant will be. Yu Bing isn’t interested, but Ma convinces him to just take a look. Ma starts summarizing the applicants — all women, with various useful skills or beautiful appearances — but Yu Bing only half-listens. There’s one application that Ma immediately dismisses without bothering to say anything, but the name on the application catches Yu Bing’s eye: Tang Xue.

He instantly turns into a six-year-old again. College age Yu Bing says he doesn’t want anything to do with her again in his life, but child Yu Bing says that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Yu Bing tells Ma to hire her, Tang Xue. Ma is confused; she doesn’t study anything useful. What can she do for Yu Bing? All he says in response is, “Arouse my…” and then he walks out the door.

Tang Xue and Huan Huan attend their first lecture with Professor Zhuo Guo Qiang, whose nickname on campus is Hawkeye because he’s notoriously difficult and has a keen sense and low tolerance for catching cheaters. Hawkeye asks the class why they want to study veterinary science, and calls on Tang Xue to answer.

Tang Xue responds that she was transferred into this major. The professor asks what her dream was before the transfer. Her thoughts flash to skating, but instead she says that she wanted to graduate without going to class, doing homework, or taking any tests. Huan Huan rolls her eyes and cringes, trying to hide. Hawkeye tells Tang Xue that he’ll remember who she is and expect to see her at every class and make sure to ask her a question at every lecture.

He then turns his attention to Huan Huan, who says that her dream is to be a vet for whales and polar bears. That gets a chuckle out of Hawkeye.

Before he begins his lecture, he sets out his expectations for the students and for the semester. He expects his students to have passion and professionalism. Passion is important for finding meaning in life. He doesn’t care how difficult the studies are, the one thing he hopes his students will sustain is a passion for caring for animals. But also, he has some pretty strict professional expectations for his class.

Tang Xue is already distracted the first lecture and browsing her phone. One social media post in particular catches her eye: she had commented “Congratulations” to Wu Da Jing on his recent gold medal win. He responded, saying that she should have been there too.

Tang Xue swallows hard and thinks sadly to herself that for Wu Da Jing, speed skating is a profession, but for her, it can only be a hobby now.

After class, Zhen Yu scurries up to Tang Xue and Huan Huan with the latest campus gossip. Last night, there was a female pervert spying on the school’s Ice God in the shower. There’s even some blurry security footage of the perp. Tang Xue grabs his phone and recognizes herself. Zhen Yu comments that the way the person runs seems familiar…

A girl, Zhou Ran (Chu Yue), spots Tang Xue from a distance and recognizes her. She says to herself that it looks like she can’t avoid her enemies.

Tang Xue tries to walk differently so that Zhen Yu won’t recognize her on the video, but it ends up only looking awkward and Huan Huan asks if she’s okay. Zhou Ran thinks that Tang Xue is trying to copy the way she walks and smirks, thinking to herself that Tang Xue will never be able to pull it off.

Tang Xue gets a text from Manager Ma saying that she’s been accepted into the hockey club. She starts spinning Huan Huan around in her excitement.

Tang Xue meets Manager Ma and finds out she’s been hired to be the Ice God’s assistant. She starts reading over the contract, but he tries to distract her so she can’t read it too carefully, anxious for her to just sign.

Yu Bing works out in the hockey team locker room (which is the nicest hockey locker room I have ever seen), waiting for Manager Ma’s text that Tang Xue has signed the contract. He gets it, and in walks Tang Xue, who introduces herself hesitantly.

Yu Bing stands up to face her. She looks at his face and finds it familiar… and finally places it, recognizing him as Li Yu Bing. Flash to a scene from their childhood: a young Tang Xue chases Yu Bing with a bug in hand. Yu Bing trips and cuts his face near his eye, and starts crying.

LOL.

Oh man, this rom-com is shaping up to be so cheesy but exactly the kind of cheesy I love. As a former figure skater, I am also a sucker for any shows that deal with skating and ice sports.

One of my biggest pet peeves about C-dramas is when they do poor voice-dubbing. It’s a weird nitpick of mine, and also quite unfortunate because I’m pretty sure 95% of C-dramas are dubbed, but it can really make or break a drama for me! Good voice dubbing makes it not obvious that the voices are dubbed, but poor dubbing makes it really obvious because the tone and audio do not line up with what’s on screen.

At first I was pretty turned off by the dubbing in the bus scene, but I’m getting reeled in by the rest of this cheesy rom-com so I can probably tolerate it for now…

I’m really liking the protagonist, Tang Xue. She’s my favorite type of female lead: strong, independent, slightly jaded, 100% no-nonsense. The set up of her being the childhood bully of Li Yu Bing is sure to be plenty of fun.

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