Published: Wednesday January 1, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday January 1, 2014 MYT 9:04:40 AM

Right blend in 'Love Compulsory'

The three main male leads of Love Compulsory (from left): Jack Yap, Leslie Chai and Alvin Wong will crack you up with their lines.

The three main male leads of Love Compulsory (from left): Jack Yap, Leslie Chai and Alvin Wong will crack you up with their lines.

Local Chinese sitcom revolves around couple and family relationships.

IT takes a combination of elements to make a television series work, and the producers of local Chinese sitcom Love Compulsory must be thanking their stars to have gotten their “blend of ingredients” right.

The Ntv7 series, which revolves around the nature of relationships between three different couples and their immediate families, is back for a third season, a testament to its popularity among viewers.

The unexpectedly overwhelming response has also caught Ntv7’s brand management group manager Lai Cheah Yee by surprise – the show’s impressive ratings was enough to convince the station to plan a fourth season.

“I think there’s a lot of chemistry between the six main actors that viewers can immediately sense on screen, though I must say the cast members weren’t that close during the first season’s filming. Their bond grew a lot stronger as they got to know and understand each other better,” says Lai.

“We knew we wanted to do a sitcom to attract a younger audience base, since the channel has always been very family-oriented with its dramas. The sitcom genre was something fresh we chose to explore and this turned out really well for us.”

In the first trial season, Lai reveals that it had already garnered 300,000 viewers on average each week which is equivalent to 35% of the audience share, during non-primetime television at 11pm. In the second installment, it was moved to 9.30pm which yielded an improved result of 400,000 viewers on average each week.

“It has become one of our top performing dramas and is talked a lot on social media. We are proud of the social engagement we have created with the younger viewers through updates on Facebook, for example, which they are also using to post their feedback,” she adds.

A press conference with the main cast members was held recently to promote the series, each of them reprising their own roles from the first two seasons.

They are Leslie Chai and Jan Chin (who play newlyweds Tai Hao Jie and Gao Zi Man, respectively), Jack Yap and Karena Teo (Da Xiong and Xiao Ling) and finally Alvin Wong and Shuben Low (Fu Tian Yu and Pauline).

A new cast member is Ai Leng, who plays the role of nerdy love “consultant” JC to the three couples who had earlier gone through the Love Compulsory match-making agency to seek help in finding love.

The story picks up where it left off in Season Two, which shows a dilemma-ridden Tai Hao Jie torn between keeping his mother happy and pleasing his pregnant wife at the same time.

They begin to realise that marriage is not only about accepting each other’s flaws but also embracing and sustaining relationships with the family members of your other half.

Meanwhile, Da Xiong and Xiao Ling, who are dating and living together, face the ultimate test when the latter’s parents object to their romance. Strains to the already fragile relationship intensify after the ambitious Da Xiong harbours thought of pursuing his own dreams and Xiao Ling gets introduced to a man whom she unexpectedly takes a serious interest in.

They say opposites attract – Fu Tian Yu and Pauline cannot be more dissimilar than they already are in their contrasting attitude towards life and problems. The wife is a negative pessimist while the husband is a confident achiever who believes he can take on the world. Their differences, habits and outlook only serve to create matrimonial woes. Lai says a relationship-driven storyline like this means that the script could be continuously developed into a long-running series. She also expresses faith that this season will once again be well-received for its hilarious lines and realistic stories that viewers can relate to.

Love Compulsory, a 16-episode series, will air every Friday from Jan 3 at 9.30pm on Ntv7 (Astro Ch 107/HyppTV Ch 107).

Tags / Keywords: Entertainment, Love Compulsory, ntv7, Chinese sitcom, third season, relationships, couples, Lai Cheah Yee, marriage


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