Looking Back on ‘Meteor Garden’

Meteor Garden came out back in 2001. 19 years ago! While 19 years is a long time, add the fact that we’re in an era where we can have access to 10+ new series titles on any given day, it seems like Dao Ming Si entered our lives a millennia ago. Shan Cai, Dao Ming Si, Hua Ze Lei, Xi Men, and Mei Zuo were the darlings of Asia during its run and definitely brought Chinese dramas and culture into the spotlight. Whether you watched it on TV, VCD or DVD, or in the original Chinese, or dubbed in Tagalog, seeing any episode now is sure to trigger nostalgia.

It’s true that the hit show will have a permanent place in our hearts, so let’s wax nostalgic about the series that had us risking an exploded bladder until the end of each episode.

For those that haven’t seen it, here’s a quick summary. Rich boy, Dao Ming Si, falls in love with Shan Cai, the spirited poor girl he bullied. While they find their way to love, we see the boys of the F4, Hua Ze Lei, Xi Men, and Mei Zuo face challenges against other people and each other. Their friendship changes throughout the series because of the fights and disagreements, and we see how old friends deal with new situations. We also see how a love triangle among Dao Ming Si, Shan Cai, and Hua Ze Lei puts the boys’ friendship to the test.

Nowadays, this storyline isn’t new or fresh. In all honesty, it’s been run to the ground and done better in recent years. However, we have to give credit where credit is due. Although it was based on a Japanese manga Boys Over Flowers, it was the first live-action television adaptation. It was well done and extremely enjoyable which is proven by its success in the Asian market.

The Meteor Garden theme song — I am currently listening to it in the background as I write this article. Harlem Yu’s Qing Fei De Yi. It was so popular, the second you play the first chord, the whole room erupts into song. It even has a Tagalog version of it. If you’re watching this for the first time in 2020, it probably won’t tickle your fancy as much as it did ours back in 2001, it’s a fun watch if only to try to figure out why your Atsis, Ahyas, and maybe even your Ahma likes it so much.

Can we talk about their style for a second, though. Those feathery hairstyles? It wasn’t even Shan Cai who rocked the dreamy, feathery head of hair. It was the boys who looked like they came straight out of a salon each episode. Farrah Fawcett can leave, we’ve got the boys of F4. It was a feat that their hair still moved in the wind while keeping its shape.

Also, the bandana strip wrapped on their forehead. Why? But also, why not?

While I would not be caught using a bandana in that way today, I can still see why it was a convenient sweat catcher on the hot sets. (I know it wasn’t actually used as a sweat catcher, but do we ACTUALLY know that.)

I can’t remember much about Shan Cai’s wardrobe aside from her extremely long hair that was sometimes done into braids or pigtails, but really. Were we really watching her style when the boys were so much more flamboyant?

It’s fun, but at the same time kind of cringe-inducing to watch it back seeing how far we’ve all come, style-wise. If you’re up for a kick of nostalgia though, this is definitely the show to watch for any Chinoy.


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