Year End Drama Review 2020 Day 5: Only Kiss Without Love

2018 Chinese drama Only Kiss Without Love

I talked about an absurd drama yesterday, but the absurdity of this one takes the cake and its ending left me wondering WHY I watched this drama. Do I recommend it…not entirely. The whole of the plot left me confused as heck at times, but the English subtitles were NOT 100% the best. Not as bad as some subtitles on the iQiyi platform, but not as good as some of the others either. I was debating whether I wanted to includes this in my year-end wrap-up or I’ve Fallen For You which had its drawbacks, but which I enjoyed a lot more, but I decided to include this one because it didn’t make it on the top list of dramas I watched and finished this year. I have been working from home since March and I am a homebody anyways, so this whole situation we are in did NOT see me watching more dramas than ever since I was working during the day and watching dramas at night like always.

So…where to even start. This drama is just 24 30-minute episodes. It stars Xu Li as our leading lady and Shi Ming Ze as our leading male. You may recognize Ming Ze as one of the trainees during the second season of the Chinese version of Produce 101. He didn’t make the final lineup. Anyways. The basis of the plot is that Tong Tong is a young reporter with a big secret – she will turn into a man when kissed by a mammal within three minutes. She inherited this condition from her father and her little brother (Lu Shao Cong as Tong Yan) likewise has the same condition. When in male form, Tong Tong goes by the name of He He. When her little brother is in female form (played by Her Nan), he goes by Tong Yin. The only way to break this family curse is to kiss your true love.

Tong Tong managed to score an interview with Xiao Bai Yu who is the heir to the Xiao family and acting CEO. He took over this role from his older brother after an accident. On her way to interview Bai Yu, Tong Tong accidentally gets kissed and turns into a male. She can’t do the interview as a male and she is panicking and thinking of how to change back into a female. She runs across Bai Yu in the elevator. Due to a past trauma, he has issues surrounding an elevator which are aggravated when the elevator they are riding in has a hiccup. Tong Tong uses this opportunity and takes advantage of Bai Yu to steal a kiss and turn back into a girl. This was caught on camera and rumors began to circulate that the overbearing CEO just may be gay.

Xu Li as He He, Tong Tong's male version in Chinese Drama Only Kiss Without Love

As a side story, we get to follow Tong Tong’s little brother. He’s struggling to realize his dream of being a singer. When in male form he just cannot perform as well as he can in his female form. This aggravates him to know end. He wants to be a rock star in his male form, but the company’s manager (who obviously doesn’t know Tong Yan’s secret) is in love with his female alter ego and her voice. He attracts the attention of Tong Tong’s best friend who becomes his first fan and tries to help him with his career. Until she knew the truth, she was even jealous of Tong Yin and Tong Yan’s relationship.

Due to the rumors among other things, Bai Yu decides to form a contract relationship with Tong Tong. During this time she ends up meeting Bai Yu’s little sister. She is blind and living in her own world. She was trapped in an elevator with her boyfriend. This elevator ended up falling leaving her blind and her boyfriend dead. The trauma was too much for her. Family friend and doctor (psychologist) Yin Hao Xi (played by Ye Leif) does everything he can to help reach the young girl. Bai Yu’s sister manages to start getting better once she meets He He. This sees Bai Yu forming a contract with He He to help take care of his baby sister. Of course this really complicates Tong Tong’s life even more. How to be both Tong Tong and He He, especially when they need to be in the same place at the same time?

Zhang Jun Ran stars as Xiao Jun Jiang. He’s the oldest brother of the Xiao family and he should be the legitimate heir. Too bad he’s hung up on destroying his little brother. Throughout this entire drama he’s plotting against Bai Yu. We even learn he’s the cause of his little sister’s accident as he was trying to harm Bai Yu. We, of course, also have a daughter of a wealthy family. She was originally engaged to Jun Jiang, but since he was removed as the heir, that makes her chase after Bai Yu instead. She makes things difficult for both He He and Tong Tong.

Throughout this entire drama we see Tong Tong and Bai Yu go through thick and thin and their work relationship begins to turn into something more. The only problem is that Tong Tong is terrified to kiss Bai Yu once she realizes her feelings. What if she still turns into a man? That means he doesn’t love her, right? She can’t bear that thought. Hao Xi is her long-time internet friend who she met for online counseling. Her mother even wanted to introduce them to each other as possible partners because she liked him so much when she met him. Because of the long conversations he’s had online, he recognizes his internet client and friend is Tong Tong and he knows her big secret. He likes her, but of course doesn’t stand a chance against the male lead.

Honestly, I think a lot of this drama was so fragmented that it didn’t make sense. It also felt like the writers tried to throw every plot twist they could think of in. Instead of disguising herself as a man, Tong Tong literally turns into man which is new, granted. But the fight over the business inheritance, scheming against family members, a vicious rich female who believes she’s entitled to things, a tragic past, a best friend with feelings for his bestie’s girl, contract relationship, work politics…it’s all there.

Bai Yu and Tong Tong

There were some interesting moments. I liked when Tong Tong and Bai Yu were in Switzerland together for a conference. It was during this time Jun Jiang did try to kill them both, but you know…it wasn’t too bad seeing them together and Tong Tong actually ends up being the rescuer of Bai Yu. But…I think the giant mess the plot was in definitely detracted from the better moments. The acting actually wasn’t bad at all, so it’s sad their acting was wasted on a poorly written drama. The worst part that made me feel like this was a waste of time was the ending.

Of course Bai Yu at the end discovers Tong Tong’s secret (she’s been wanting to tell him) when evil rich girl catches a video of her kissing Bai Yu’s little sister to turn back into a girl at a party. Bai Yu does come to terms with this. He catches up with Tong Tong they share a kiss and she walks away counting down in her head. Once the time has passed and she remains female, she’s happy…only to be creamed by a car. We literally end this series with Bai Yu clutching the dying Tong Tong in his arms. WTH. Oh, sure, there are more dramas with disappointing endings. I think everyone dies in What Happened in Bali, but that’s not the point.

We do get a little bit of a happy ending with Tong Yan having a successful performance in male form to confess that he really has fallen for Tong Tong’s best friend and they have a happy ending. Bai Yu’s sister does recover and is going away for further treatment. Without even trying to win Tong Tong over, Hao Xi confesses he liked her and is leaving for America. I didn’t like that plot point either.

I guess a ridiculous plot deserves a ridiculous ending. I don’t recommend wasting the six hours of your life it would take to watch this.

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