It’s been two days since I finished Les Interprètes (親愛的翻譯官) and my heart still aches when it crosses my mind. I’ve had some time to collect my thoughts, and I’ve come to the conclusion that what bothers me the most is that the leads are two very smart people who get caught up in very stupid problems and as a result make very stupid decisions. Yes, my frustration has little to do with how the second half of the show went off into delululand, and everything to do with how the lead characters didn’t live up to their potential. Not even my expectations. Their own damn potential. Cheng Jiayang (Huang Xuan) and Qiao Fei (Yang Mi) are sharp. Really, really sharp. There’s nothing more fulfilling than watching two incredibly talented and intelligent people hurl verbal knives at each other and proceed to fall in love with each other’s wit and spunk. They could’ve been the quintessential power couple, if not for all that good stuff in the way: evil mother, scheming second leads, illness, you name it. We are all familiar with the way the cookie crumbles—indeed, everything goes downhill from here.
Les Interprètes was, at the outset, very much reminiscent of my favorite 2015 C-drama Grow Up (長大), except instead of the medical field it is set in the world of professional interpretation. Jiayang is to Zhou Ming (Lu Yi) as Qiao Fei is to Ye Chunmeng (Bai Baihe)—I-take-none-of-your-sh*t mentor meets I-take-none-of-yours-either mentee, arguments arise, sparks fly, love happens, tragedy strikes.