After “Princess Agents”, I was in serious need of some fluffy, light-hearted content. Thankfully I’d just happened to see a trailer for “Let’s Shake It, ET”《颤抖吧！阿部》and because it reminded me a lot of “Go, Princess, Go” and was different from any of the C-dramas I’d watched before, I wanted to check it out. While it may not be getting as much attention as “The King’s Woman” or “Xuan Yuan Sword: Han Cloud”, this is my favorite show right now. I know most people are waiting for it to be subtitled before watching so I wanted to give an overview of the series and what happened in the first few episodes as it’s a comedy well worth watching.
This is a short 24 episode series, twelve of which have aired so far (they air four episodes a week on Monday and Tuesday). I’ve been watching this series on Youku’s app. Except for An Yue Xi, I didn’t recognize any of the other actors, and, looking them up online, it seems like most of them are pretty new. Despite knowing very little Mandarin, I actually could follow the story pretty well (and Google translating the Baidu episodes synopses helps fill in the blanks).
Most of the comedy is visual and I’ve watched enough C-dramas by now that it’s pretty easy to figure out the storyline. Just take your standard palace intrigue drama and add goofy space aliens. It’s a cute story, with some cute couples and a lot of laughs.
Abu Cha Cha is an alien who was arrested for trafficking in primitive species by Captain Duo Miao. Unfortunately, as she was being locked away, Duo Miao’s ship was attacked and she, the Captain and another prisoner, a black, gassy cloud in a robe, crash landed on earth.
In the meantime on Earth in ancient China we are introduced to the Tang family:
Tang Qing Feng (Zheng Ye Cheng) is the (adopted) eldest son of General Tang and also a young general in his own right. While he and his buddy, Xiao Zhi He, are interrogating a man, they hear the ship crash and go to investigate.
They fight with the mysterious cloudy figure from the ship and we find out that Qing Feng has a necklace that can repel alien attack. (Hmmm…)
General Tang’s second daughter, Tang Qing Ye (played by An Yue Xi, who is also starring in another Youku series, Rakshasa Street), is quiet and demure. (According to one synopsis I found online, she may be an illegitimate daughter.) She and the Crown Prince, Li Yi (Zhao Dong Ze), are secret sweethearts.
The General’s first daughter, Tang Qing Yun (Chen Chen), is shown receiving a royal decree announcing that she is to marry Prince Li Yi. Much celebration ensues in the Tang household. (The Prince, however, is not happy with this turn of events. I’m guessing Qing Ye’s illegitimacy is the reason for this betrothal.)
Qing Yun’s mother finds out about Qing Ye’s secret affair and decides to send Qing Ye away. But Qing Ye is poisoned just as she is preparing to leave and then two assassins attack her as her maid tries to help her escape.
Abu Cha Cha is wandering about the woods after the crash, trying to figure out how to survive in the Earth atmosphere, and witnesses Qing Ye being killed by the assassins whom she scares away.
Qing Feng, who has come to save his sister, thinks Abu Cha Cha is a demon who has murdered Qing Ye and stabs her, seemingly killing her. But instead Abu Cha Cha’s spirit joins with Qing Ye’s body and the dead girl comes back to life much to everyone’s surprise.
As Abu Cha Cha gets used to being in a human body and interacting with her new family, who aren’t quite sure if she’s now possessed by a demon due to her sudden change in personality, she discovers Duo Miao has also survived the crash and taken on the body of a cat. Later he discovers he can switch to human form (played by Wang Yan Yang) while still retaining his cat tendencies to jump on furniture, paw at table centerpieces and lick people. (And now I want a cat…)
Abu Cha Cha’s quirks include hitting people with bricks when they get in her way, an insatiable craving for meat and pretending to be a houseplant as a method of disguise. She also finds that if she touches someone Qing Ye knew, she gets flooded with all of Qing Ye’s memories and feelings about that person though she doesn’t quite understand them.
Qing Feng is a clean freak who keeps a plethora of weapons (and a feather) in his robes at all times. He is worried about his sister, whom he also seems a bit fond of as well. (Remember, he’s adopted so it’s okay.) He decides to keep a close eye on her as he figures out who tried to kill her and why.
As Abu Cha Cha and Duo Miao try to find a way to get back to their home planet, their search intersects with Qing Feng’s past (an evil twin and where did that necklace come from?) and the palace intrigue that has affected the Tang family, as well as discovering other aliens who have been secretly living on the planet already.
Also Abu starts finding herself falling in love with Qing Feng and worrying about how he will react when he finds out who/what she really is.
Helping them along the way:
Xiao Zhi He (Wu Hao) – Commander of a group of Keystone Cop-like guards who like to spend their free time hitting themselves in the head with bricks. He also apparently has a very impressive…manhood…
Xiao Ru Yi (Xu Hao) – Zhi He’s older sister who is also a bad ass fighter and appears to be secretly working with Prince Li Yi’s brother (though not very happy about it). She is quite fond of Duo Miao as a cat though I have a feeling she’s going to become even fonder of his human form. (And either she’s into some light bondage or just enjoys having Duo Miao chained up in her room.)
Plotting against them:
Li Yi’s brother, Li Fu (Gao Hai), who wants the throne for himself.
And these brother/sister servants of General Tang’s wife who keep track of Qing Ye/Abu Cha Cha’s every move.
So far I’ve really enjoyed the story and the production value. I think this is the first time I’ve been watching the costumes so closely as I love how they dressed An Yue Xi for this role with a slightly more modern version of the traditional costumes.
But mostly I love how well they do the visual comedy without being too over the top about it. Sometimes it’s a small thing like the characters seriously discussing a plan to save their friend while Duo Miao, in human form, periodically paws at a houseplant. Or funny moments like Abu Cha Cha making a space gun which Qing Feng doesn’t even notice because the mess she makes is triggering his OCD. Or even just the random, silly vignettes that appear in some episodes.
I was really needing a laugh and I enjoy silly, slapstick humor when it’s done well which is why I love this show so much. If you like cute, silly, goofy humor and need something short and sweet between those heavier dramas, I highly recommend checking this one out.