What happens when you go to a country without knowledge of their language?
Episode 2 highlights the importance of language. I think it’s pretty funny how Chen Bolin is doing fine with his English in the middle of nowhere (Africa) while the team of 7 is struggling with language barriers in the more well-known Brazil.
I must say though, I am quite impressed with the standard of English of this cast. Especially Zhang Ruoyun. I didn’t thought that he spoke English so well. From the previous season, we know that Yang Yang simply can’t do English while Zheng Shuang’s English was very broken. During the first episode, it was also implied that Jing Boran’s English wasn’t fantastic (enough to be exiled) so I had assumed the standard of English of the team would be pretty low.
It is much better than I thought. Chen Bolin and Tony Yang both speak charming English. Maggie commands English well enough to be the person in charge of communicating with external people. Surprisingly, Zhang Ruoyun’s English is also very pleasant. I could listen to him all day. Song Zu’er also came back from the US so her English shouldn’t be too bad either. Even Jing Boran, whom I thought was bad at English, seems to be adequate at it.
Even with all those English capabilities, the team is still suffering in Brazil because in Brazil, people pretty much do not speak English, much less Mandarin. This issue of language barrier came up a couple of times over the episode.
In my last episode highlights, I mentioned that putting Maggie Jiang as the accountant might not be the wisest choice since her math is pretty bad…. which is true. But it was ultimately a good decision because Maggie Jiang takes her job really seriously. How so? Even though her math might be lacking and she had to continuously recount the expenses to get a correct figure, she does the controlling of budget very well. Bless her! She is actually aware and concerned about the budget.
It is too familiar a sight to see the celebrities spend recklessly during Diva Hits The Road. Sometimes they don’t care and other times, they simply do not have the sense. I get it, they are stars and they expect A star treatment but as a normal person, I do feel that they are quite silly sometimes. They do not know how to survive.
This season was a pleasant surprise though. The cast seems to be pretty capable! I’ll touch more on that later, we’ll go back to Maggie Jiang and her accountant role first.
So, beside controlling expenses at the supermarket by restricting the things the “kids” want to buy (choose between potato chips or cookies, not both!), refusing temptations (no, do not open that bottle of wine, we can’t afford 80$! No, not even the cheapest 35$ one!), Maggie even restricted the number of dishes for their first dinner….
She ordered a grand total of 2 dishes for 7 people. To put it in perspective, the neighbouring table ordered 3 dishes for 2 person. While this was happening, Jing Boran was busy dealing with the booking of transportation for the next day so he had no knowledge. The rest, although hungry and probably not very happy, didn’t say much. Probably out of respect. And that’s why I like this cast, they don’t use authority/age to make demands on the rest and they prevent tension or conflicts before it escalates.
I’m quite pleased with everyone, especially the two young girls, Song Zu’er and Lai Yumeng. They seem to be pretty sensible and didn’t make huge fuss. Tony Yang was awfully cute though. Because there were only two dishes, it seems like everyone didn’t dare to take much. Tony went ahead and fed the two younger girls with meat because “they are still growing”. It was a sweet moment.
Eventually, Jing Boran came back to his senses and realised that Maggie only ordered 2 dishes. He decided that it wasn’t enough and pulled Maggie aside to discuss and order more dishes and she agreed. She probably saw that she was really mistreating the team haha.
The real funny moment though, was when the team was making their way back home. They came across the table of food meant for the filming cast along the road and they started stealing their food! And they were so proud about it too. Haha!
I must say though, those with assigned roles are indeed stressful. At the very end of the episode, there was a short “bonus” scene of Maggie Jiang fretting over the calculation of money while worrying that the rest of the team mates might blame her for being to strict and no fun.
Whereas, Jing Bao was just very tensed up. Especially over the booking of transportation. I understand that he wants the best for the team and he feels responsible because he is the tour guide. I would too, but it feels like he’s depriving the fun for himself at these moments. And the worse thing is, he might pass on these negative vibes to his companions… such as Zhang Ruoyun who have repeatedly expressed his thoughts (to the audience) that he doesn’t mind an adventure without detailed planning cause that’s where the real fun is in.
I really understand how Jing Bao feels because I am often the over-controlling person in the group during travels. I like everything planned out and neat. But over time, I learnt that you really have to accommodate to the rest of the group. If they are all fine, it’s good. But if not, they will think you are a burden while you are upset that they are not appreciating your effort. Thus far, there isn’t this problem yet (which is once again, why I like this cast! Tolerant and understanding people.)
While the situation might not escalate to the extent which I described above but only time will tell. Constantly sticking together over a long period of time is the best catalyst to make a person lose patience and erupt. And since this is Diva Hits the Road, I don’t believe the production team can resist the temptation of trashy catfights for the entire season. Ha. (A small part of me do hold hope and believe that everything might be peaceful and smooth sailing with this cast though.)
Meanwhile, Chen Bolin is in Africa and surviving well with his charming English. He sounds so sexy! While packing his luggage, Bolin shows the many pairs of new socks he brought along. He gives a cute grumble about how he had planned to share the socks with the rest but they chose to exile him. Awwwh.
It’s only episode 2 but I am starting to find Bolin’s part slightly dry. I guess loneliness can travel past the screen. I hope he reunites with the team soon so I have more to look forward. Kudos to Chen Bolin though, despite all these events, he have been showing a very positive and good attitude.
Generally, I like the dynamics of the group. Even though the production team tried to stir trouble by forcefully restricting one of the female cast members from performing, it was solved without much drama. They didn’t tear each other’s hair out.
I love the interaction of the team, especially the banter between Guli Nazha and Maggie. They diss each other a lot but its more in a friendly kind of way. This couldn’t happen in the past seasons because of the ‘seniority’ issue. With the all young cast, we get a breath of fresh air!
I do see a potential issue though — Maggie Jiang is the one that gets dissed the most, mainly because she is more outgoing, cheerful, older (and hence, more mature) and seems to be able to take jokes. She did jokingly comment that nobody takes her seriously or attempt to care for her when she does the exact same things that the other girls do. For instance, attention was paid to Guli Nazha after she claimed she has low blood sugar but nobody took Maggie seriously. The team also tried to persuade Song Zu’er to reconsider giving up her spot for the performance but did not do so when Maggie said the same thing first. For now, I’m going to take it as a joke but I feel there are definitely hints of truth in that. It might be a point of explosion in the future.
In this episode, Tony is warm and loving. He took great care of the girls, and basically, everyone. Super reliable while talented. He can cook, he can surf… it seems like there is nothing he can’t do! He’s like a warm little sun for the team.
On the other hand, Zhang Ruoyun is a nice contrast. He is not overly warm but is still a joy to have. If Tony is a bright and shining sun, Ruoyun is the cool and refreshing water. Perfect on a hot summer day. It was an especially cute moment when he dished out spaghetti meat sauce for Tony because the avocado sauce Tony prepared was simply too raw and bitter.
In contrast, Jing Boran, who was the go-to guy for last season, seems to dim under the spotlight of Tony and Ruoyun. After witnessing the cooking skills of Tony and Ruoyun as well as the waveboarding skills of Tony which must have smite so many ladies out there, one might start to wonder about the worth of Jing Boran and even Yang Yang. Even though I loved watching the two guys last season and they were my absolute loves, it does seem a bit childish when you compare these two against Tony and Ruoyun. (Still, even if Yang Yang is useless and his only concern seems to be whether he is looking good or not, I forgive him! He is too gorgeous to hate on hehe. Proof here and here.)
What a digression, back to Jing Boran! To make things worse, he is also a wastrel! Maggie Jiang is a very responsible accountant, limiting the budget and everything, as though a strict mother. Whereas, Jing Boran is the father who spoils his kids, saying yes to everything the kids want to buy. I was quite surprise at how relaxed he is with the money considering how he put in so much effort to deal with every other single little thing. Perhaps, season 2 didn’t really had a money crisis so he is not too worried about scrimping and saving.
In conclusion, I enjoyed this episode a lot. It was satisfying watching them have fun together at the beach. I felt that Tony Yang stood out the most and was especially charming this episode. Because I took longer than expected on this post, I don’t have to anticipate for episode 3 — it’s already out and I’ve watched half of it because I couldn’t resist it. I’ll try to do up episode 3 highlights by the end of this week so that I can match the airing schedule and do episode 4 next week. No promises though, my schedule seem to be pretty packed next week but I’ll try to squeeze time out.