Self-referential, irreverent, silly, smart, insightful, funny…all those things and more!
- Roger Kwok as Lam Joi Yeh (“Yeh Jai”)
- Wong Cho Lam as Yau Tin
- Joey Meng as Chai Jing Man
- Ivana Wong as Lam Suet
- Louis Cheung as Ma Lei Ah (“Mario”)
- …and so, so many more! Guest stars everywhere!
- Hong Kong (Cantonese)
- 30 episodes
- Original run: Oct 20 – Nov 29, 2014
- Related show: Inbound Troubles (2013)
Dedicated environmentalist, Lam Joi Yeh, and spoiled rotten wealthy heir, Yau Tin, both return to Hong Kong from abroad after being tricked by their respective families to repair the relationship between them and their fathers. In order to support his aging parents, Joi Yeh finds a job at the grocery store that Yau Tin’s father has tasked Yau Tin with managing. Along with a group of loveable misfits, new and old friends, Joi Yeh continuously revolts against Yau Tin and his unethical ways, in hopes of creating a better and “greener” neighborhood and Hong Kong.
To be totally honest, I had completely written off watching this TVB Anniversary series when it was airing because I thought it was going to be too ridiculous and, for lack of a better word, dumb. And that’s coming from someone who typically really enjoys the silly and nonsensical comedies of Hong Kong entertainment. Even though I initially skipped out on this one, I decided to give Come On, Cousin a try when I was out of everything else to watch. Guys, I was SO wrong in my assumption that it’d be bad! The longer and more of it I watched, the more amusing and entertaining it got. Don’t be fooled by its silly exterior like I was; Come On, Cousin is one of the funniest and smartest comedies that have come along in a long time, but at the perfect time.
Before we get into the actual review for Come On, Cousin, I want to quickly explain its Chinese title, 老表, 你好hea!, which translates to: Cousin, you are so hea!
The “hea” in the title is Cantonese slang for “chill…but in a carefree or lazy way.” Chillax might be the closest English slang equivalent to it. Even though the “hea” part may be used to describe the main characters, I found the drama to be so unstressful that it actually felt like a very “hea” experience when I was watching it. Just compare that relaxed feeling to when watching other comedies where you can actually see and feel how forced it is when they are telling a joke or trying to get a laugh from the audience. With Come On, Cousin, every joke and scene flowed naturally so that even the most ridiculous parts came across as quite realistic and normal.
This drama and its indirect prequel, Inbound Troubles, were both created and written by Wong Cho Lam. I really want to give him a well-deserved clap because he managed to include all the beloved components of a Lunar New Year film into a drama, but with more depth and smarts. The self-references, inside jokes, satire, silliness, star cameos were all on full display in Come On, Cousin, but everything felt like it had an actual purpose in enhancing the overall drama. Lunar New Year films often fail because they try to throw out as much at you as possible, with little to no regard to how it actually relates to the storyline. Come On, Cousin didn’t fall into that same trap because it made good use of every cameo, guest star, and reference. Even the physical comedy or gags of the drama, which there were a lot of, felt more substantial.
I think the biggest strength of Come On, Cousin was that it was able to strike a good balance between the silly and serious. Though there were some serious topics and themes in the drama, it was never forced upon its audience. Instead, you go along watching and laughing away, and only realize later that there was a bigger message hidden amongst all the jokes. As for the silly, Come On, Cousin was certainly that too. I was literally laughing so hard that my eyes watered during many of the scenes. My personal favorite scene/plotline was when Mario (Louis Cheung) attends an educational course to learn how to be a “Soft Rice King.” And there are ongoing jokes throughout the drama that reward viewers who watch the episodes in order and continuously. That’s not to say that there aren’t stand alone episodes because there’s enough pure physical comedy and jokes that make any episode you watch a fun one.
I’m not certain if it’s a big coincidence or not, but I’m inclined to think that Wong Cho Lam is smart enough to recognize that the political beliefs and message that Roger Kwok’s character shares in the drama closely mirrors those of the recent Hong Kong protests. I’m not saying that this drama is a mouthpiece for pro-Hong Kong politics, but there is definitely a tangible sense of love and pride for Hong Kong within it. To that end, I also think that’s where Come On, Cousin can alienate some viewers, precisely because it is so very Hong Kong-centric. Many of the jokes and references depend on one’s knowledge of Hong Kong culture, so they may become lost on those who are unfamiliar with it. Still, there’s enough comedy in the drama that can appeal to really everyone!
Besides much of the success for Come On, Cousin, going to its well-written story, the cast was also aces. I love Roger Kwok, and can honestly say that he’s my favorite TVB actor of all time. He just never disappoints, and his acting is so good that he can play every type of role with ease. Lam Joi Yeh is one of those beloved characters that is adorable, silly, and heartwarming; all things that Roger excels at being. And can I just briefly declare my love for Roger’s hair in this drama? One word: LMAO. Wong Cho Lam played a nice antagonist to Roger’s good guy, but he has such a goofy public persona that I couldn’t ever really hate his character because he just seemed like a big, spoiled kid. Big kudos to Wong Cho Lam though for making me learn to appreciate his fake ABC accent.
I may love Roger, but Louis Cheung totally took the cake in this drama. His Mario character was so ridiculous that it probably took a lot of courage to play him, but Louis really played him without abandon. Besides from seeing Roger’s hair draped across his face, most of my laughs came from Mario’s one-liners. It’d take forever to go through everyone on this cast list because it is looonnnggg, so just believe me when I say that everyone was great and hilarious. A lot of the credit has to go to everyone being willing to go for it on scenes and jokes, and not caring how ridiculous they sounded or looked. The guest stars are also plentiful in Come On, Cousin, and make for a nice game of, “Hey, isn’t that…!”
The guest stars are a standout in Come On, Cousin, but even more so are the song choices. Omg, the songs. SO GOOD. Besides the theme song, all the other songs in the drama were references and inside jokes about the actors themselves and their careers. Therefore, a lot of the songs that played throughout the drama were classic, Canto-pop goodness. I recognized one or two songs, but most of them were new to me, and I’m so happy that this drama introduced me to so many good classic songs. Check out this scene of Ivana Wong listening to Ram Chiang sing Jacky Cheung’s “Love is Forever.” Can you blame her for crying?!
I really have to thank the drama gods in helping me realize my wrong in initially skipping out on watching Come On, Cousin. If I had watched this while it was airing, there’s a very good chance that it would have ended up as my favorite drama of 2014. But, better late than never! It’s not unfathomably difficult to write a good romcom or melodrama because they just recycle the same plots over and over again, but to have a creative and original comedy is a totally different thing. Come On, Cousin not only shines brightly as a comedy but also as a smart and thoughtful drama that illuminates the future of Hong Kong and its entertainment.
This & That:
- Come On, Cousin is the indirect sequel to the 2013 drama, Inbound Troubles, with much of the same cast.
- Inbound Troubles was the highest rated TVB drama of 2013 until it was beaten by Triumph in the Skies 2.
- Both dramas were created and written by Wong Cho Lam. He has expressed that he doesn’t plan to write a 3rd drama for the series.
- Inbound Troubles was Joey Meng, Louis Cheung, and Ivana Wong’s first drama with TVB. Joey was previously signed with rival station, ATV, for over 20 years
- The theme song, 世界仔/Worldly Boy, was performed by Louis Yuen and lyrics written by Wong Cho Lam.
- Come On, Cousin was nominated for 7 awards at the 2014 TVB Anniversary Awards, including Best Drama.
- Ram Chiang won the “Best Supporting Actor” Award for his portrayal of Ko Yam.
- Louis Cheung won the “Most Improved Male Artiste” Award for his work in Come On, Cousin, Gilded Chopsticks, and Black Heart, White Soul.
- Roger Kwok won his 3rd “Best Actor” Award at the 2014 TVB Anniversary Awards for his portrayal of “Matt” Ko Chit Hang in Black Heart, White Soul. Louis was his co-star.
- Wong Cho Lam, Joey, and Louis co-starred together in the 2014 drama, Gilded Chopsticks.
- Wong Cho Lam proposed to his girlfriend of 4 years, Leanne Li (Kam Ping Mui in Come On, Cousin), during the live broadcast of the 2014 TVB Anniversary Awards!