“Hi, My Sweetheart” (abbreviated HMS from now on) is a slightly over the top comedy about a mangled heart and its desire for revenge.
The male lead (played by Show Luo) is Xue Hai, heir to one of Taiwan’s most successful companies. His parents die when he is young and so he is raised by his two older sisters, one of whom is very strict and 30 years older, so she is often confused for his mother, and the other who is in her late 20s and has never been lucky in love. Overly nurtured from a young age and pampered by his sister, Xue Hai has grown to be nothing short of a big innocent kid who carries around his only friend as a child: a pink panther doll.
Xue Hai leaves for college in China, much to the dismay of his eldest sister (who chases the car and announces she is coming with him last minute). When he is at the airport he hears a beautiful voice reading a poem, but he does not know to whom the voice belongs. At the college she has enrolled him under a false name: Da Lung (as in the Pink Panthers theme song, think about it). He meets and instantly crushes on Mo Li, the beautiful daughter of the school president who asked her to keep an eye on Da Lung without revealing she knows who he is.
Da Lung settles happily into college life with the help of his two silly roommates. In his first class though he falls afoul of Bao Zhu, the school’s outcast bully classmate from Taiwan. He recognizes her voice as the one he fell in love with at the airport, but cannot believe it belongs to someone like her. In their class project Da Lung and Bao Zhu are paired up, and she cannot believe someone as innocent-minded and dumb as he exists. Sensing that she has no friends, and realizing he has very few as such a strange student, Da Lung decides he HAS to befriend Bao Zhu, no matter how painful it may be.
As time goes on Bao Zhu must constantly save Da Lung, who interferes when she is in trouble and usually gets knocked out. They become close, until Bao Zhu’s former classmate with whom she is very close arrives with his company to sponsor a “Miss Sweetheart” competition. He begs Bao Zhu to enter, and she does to win the heart of Da Lung who is constantly distracted by Mo Li.
Da Lung begins to hear rumors about Bao Zhu. That she is stuck up and rich, and that she once dumped a man for being poor. He refuses to believe this (Bao Zhu does not know who Da Lung really is, he keeps his secret).
Bao Zhu forces Da Lung to dance the Pink Panther dance with him (adding a twist to the end). When he sees her in a beautiful dress without her normal scowl he falls in love with her. Da Lung and Bao Zhu grow closer and closer over the next three years of college, falling deeply in love. Da Lung eventually gives Bao Zhu his pink panther doll, so she can tell it all her worries and it will tell him.
Bao Zhu’s mother hates Da Lung. She married a man she was in love with and he ended up being a loser, forcing her to work to keep their family afloat. She threatens Bao Zhu to leave Da Lung, or else she will ruin his family. believing Da Lung to be poor, she leaves her mother a note saying she will dump Da Lung, because he is poor and is no good for her. Meanwhile she plans to run away with him. Da Lung, on the other hand, has told his sisters of his love and went to buy a $20,000 engagement ring to reveal his wealth and beg her to marry him (he believes she may leave him because of his status as “poor”). On her way to meet him, Bao Zhu is hit by a car and hospitalized.
Da Lung goes to her house to see why she never arrived, and her mother shows him the note. He believes he was dumped by Bao Zhu, who her mother claims has left for England to marry a rich man. He throws the ring in a lake and furiously leaves.
Bao Zhu becomes estranged from her family and returns to Taiwan, desperate to find Da Lung. But he is not real, and so she falls into a deep depression when he is nowhere to be found. Her old classmate returns, helping her to move on so that she can one day forget Da Lung and fall in love with him. He sets her up with a radio program where she is known only as “Sweetheart” and becomes massively popular with her sad story of always searching for Da Lung.
Three more years pass and by chance Xue Hai hears her program on the radio. Immediately recognizing her voice, he is launched back into his depression and rage at being abandoned (he has spent the last 3 years treating women horribly and refusing to believe in love). He buys the station and becomes her boss, planning on making her fall in love with him using his money and then heartlessly dumping her and leaving her with nothing (she stopped looking for Da Lung a day before he heard her program).
Bao Zhu is unnerved by this arrogant man who looks so much like Da Lung, and she grows to hate him with all her heart as he constantly makes fun of the man she claims to have loved. Xue Hai begins to fall in love with her again and realizes that everything Bao Zhu loved about Da Lung he slowly killed, denying himself his true feelings because of the pain he had suffered. He grows to hate himself and the arrogant man he has become. Instead he tries to make Bao Zhu fall in love with him for real, so he can finally tell her the truth.
While it does sound like a complex story, it is worked out over the course of the series. The period where they are in college is the first six or so episodes, and the rest unfolds as it goes on. It is a very light comedy, with Xue Hai constantly being beaten by Bao Zhu. The end is as sweet as the beginning, and it is expertly written and acted.
I highly recommend this show to anyone of any age. It is earnest and sweet and always keeps you entertained or angry at Xue Hai for his ignorance. Show Luo portrays this difficult character flawlessly, a performance I hope earns him an award. His co-star, Rainie Yang, is expert and both bring a strong and dynamic love/hate story to life.
Show Link: Hi, My Sweetheart (English Subtitles)