Loved in the Purple / The Purple Hairpin Episodes 1 to 10 thoughts

Part of the appeal of opening your own production company must be the ability to pick your co-stars. Michelle Ye is one of the many actors nowadays who has her own production company. She allegedly paid an eight figure sum to lure Raymond Lam to star in Loved in the Purple / The Purple Hairpin (紫釵奇緣), which quietly broadcasted on Shandong TV in August.

Based on Raymond and Michelle’s popularity alone (or they just don’t want their ‘son’ Raymond appearing on any other channels in Hong Kong), TVB snapped up the rights to this drama very quickly. It started airing on TVB’s HD channel in the beginning of September, but in a pretty bad timeslot (11:45pm?). The Raymond/Michelle pairing (aka RM) was quite popular back in the day and lot of Raymond fans were also part of the RM fandom. It has been over ten years since their last collaboration, the awlful Lofy Waters Verdant Bow (雲海玉弓緣). Even though the RM fandom has shrunk over the years, back in January Michelle was spotted at Raymond’s concert standing up and supporting him like other fangirls, surely reigniting the fire inside the shippers.


I think I should be up front that I have been a pretty serious Raymond fangirl for the last 3-4 years. I’m still a fangirl yes, but I haven’t talked much about him or even followed his news that closely in 2013? Part of the reason is that he has been hiding in Hengdian for most of this year, filming three Mainland dramas back to back. And they’re all ancient dramas, which means my interest level is low already even if he’s in it. First with Loved in the Purple, then the first 3D wuxia Detectives and Doctors (陸小鳳與花滿樓), followed by recently wrapped up The Virtuous Queen of  Han (大汉贤后卫子夫), the first dual language drama in China? (How ‘dual language’ aka English + Chinese it will be I have no idea, will it be released with English subs? Or dubbed? That would be too weird?!)


Now that I’ve declared my bias, Loved in the Purple / The Purple Hairpin / Legend of the Purple Hairpin is set in the Tang Dynasty, loosely based on the traditional Chinese opera The Purple Hairpin (紫釵記). I’m watching the TVB version, which is Cantonese dubbed (Michelle Ye, Raymond Lam and Kingdom Yuen dubbed their own voices) – the reason why I’m watching this version. From what I read on the forums, TVB did their own editing – which is a worry since in the early episodes I can see some weird transitions between episodes already. You expect a particular event would be given more detail but then suddenly, it ends and we move on. There have been times when I thought I might’ve skipped an episode because of this. Apparently TVB will do some more edits of the relationship between the main characters later on, which means their edit might directly affect how the audience feels about which is actually the OTP? I am not looking forward to this!

After about 7-8 episodes I think I’ve finally reached a stage where I’m getting a grip on the relationships between the characters (and you know, all the fighting and revenge of the previous generation). Although because of my lovely fellow Raymond fangirls, I already know the ending. But alas, I’ll finish this one for you Mr Lam, because so far I quite like his character and Tammy Chen’s character.


The quick synopsis (source) – Loved in the Purple takes place in the Tang dynasty, a time when Chinese art, fashion, music, dance, and novel inventions were at their highest peak. Raymond Lam portrays the heroic Na Lan Dong, known as the “Yellow-Clothed One”, who falls in love with beautiful dancer Huo Xiao Yu, played by Michelle Ye. However, Dong’s best friend Li Yi, played by Cheng Cheng (程诚), is also deeply in love with Xiao Yu. Choosing brotherhood over love, Dong decides to step down in his pursuit of love.


I MADE A CHART! (Originally it was to save time and confusion if I were to explain it in words, but then it probably took longer doing this than writing it down?!) It’s a bit rough around the edges and it’s such a dorky thing LOL.

That pretty much sums up the love square, I won’t go too much into the plot but will just talk about my impressions of this drama so far?



Na Lan Dong (Raymond Lam) – After watching / abandoning a few of his horrid TVB dramas, (that will be Sister Fa, Men with no shadows & Three Kingdoms crap <- that’s what my friends and I called it!) Na Lan Dong is quite a tragic character so I can’t help my liking for him. He’s your typical 2nd lead which should be easy for Raymond to portray. I’m not saying I didn’t like Happy Sir (from last year’s Highs & Lows), it’s just that he does have a tendency to overact in emotional scenes? Na Lan Dong’s feelings for Xiao Yu is all bottled up inside. Even though they had a rocky start, Na Lan Dong began to have feelings for Xiao Yu despite knowing the person she likes is his sworn brother Li Yi. Since he didn’t want to ‘steal’ his brother’s love, he chose to stand by the sidelines, just being a good friend to Xiao Yu, listening to her troubles, helping her when she needed.


Weird thing is Raymond is supposed to be the main lead of this drama right? But his character is like the second lead. When Xiao Yu first met Na Lan Dong she despised him, she thinks he’s rude, arrogant and conceited. But slowly she warms up to him and treat him like a good brother.

But not only is Na Lan Dong unlucky in love (at least in the first batch of episodes), even though he’s the princess’ son he’s not recognised as part of the ‘royal family’. Since he likes the freedom to travel around and help others in need, Na Lan Dong doesn’t want any titles. If he wanted to become a government official, he could easily gain a position based on family connections. However, he chooses to live a more carefree life – which presents a lot of problems because on the outside, people think he’s just a rich, entitled guy who can do whatever he wants. In reality, his family has no real power and relies on the charity of the Emperor. Since he has no ‘titles’, he cannot even enter the royal palace (even if the Emperor invited him!). When the Emperor needed to cut costs, he decided his sister (Na Lan Dong’s mother) cannot live in her own extravagant house anymore. She had to fire all her servants and move back to the royal palace. But for Na Lan Dong, since he’s not ‘royal family’ he’s left with no money and no place to live.


Although his family has no real power inside the palaces there is one thing in his favour. The Emperor likes him because he was good friends with his father. The Emperor also trusts Na Lan Dong and tries to convince him (a few times) to become a government official. Despite Na Lan Dong’s refusal, the Emperor still gives him assignments, things he cannot asks others to do which shows how much the Emperor respects Na Lan Dong.


Lu Jing Lan (Tammy Chen) – My love for the ‘second lead’ (at least for the first 10 episodes) extends to Lu Jing Lan, who admires Na Lan Dong but sadly he doesn’t reciprocate her feelings. I am very surprised by how sensible and likeable Lu Jing Lan is. When I first heard Tammy would play a rich girl, who falls in love with Raymond’s character I thought she would be your typical bratty, annoying rich girl who thinks she can get whatever she wants. I was SO SO wrong. Jing Lan is smart, understanding and kind to her friends. Even though her father warned her Xiao Yu is a dancer / entertainer (which in the olden days is probably just *slightly* better than a prostitute), Jing Lan doesn’t care about their class differences and become friends with Xiao Yu very quickly. She likes Na Lan Dong but doesn’t do anything underhanded to try to win his heart. Sure, when he was homeless she helped him by finding a place for him to live but that’s more out of kindness than an ulterior motive.


Needless to say I love Lu Jing Lan and I would much rather see Na Lan Dong pair up with her than Xiao Yu. But one of the major obstacles also comes from her family. She is an only child. Her father wants the future son-in-law to literally ‘marry into the family’. (I think that means Jing Lan’s husband will even have to change his surname?) As Na Lan Dong is the princess’ son, no one thinks he will ‘marry into’ someone else’s family. That’s considered beneath him?


Compared to Xiao Yu’s costumes, I much prefer the yellow outfits of Jing Lan as well! Tammy looks so pretty in yellow with the long hair. Too bad she tends to dress like a man most of the time?

Speaking of costumes I must mention I liked Na Lan Dong’s outfits as well. It feels a bit weird saying that because normally the women in ancient dramas would steal the spotlight but they put some bright colours on him which I don’t mind! I particularly like the Black/Gold (see the pic with Michelle above) and Blue/Yellow costumes!

The Theme & Ending Songs – I approve! Although I prefer the Mandarin version of the theme than the Cantonese version. It just sounds smoother?




Huo Xiao Yu (Michelle Ye) – oh where do I start? So instead of the rich girl Jing Lan being the annoying, bratty one, we actually have Xiao Yu – the dancer, the entertainer being the immature, and sometimes quite spoiled one. Since Xiao Yu (along with two other girls) are known as ‘The three best entertainers in Chang An”, men pay a lot of money just to see them perform and they are very picky in what sort of occasions they will appear in. So I’m told Xiao Yu will eventually grow out of her immature ways but the issue I have extends beyond Xiao Yu the character. Why do I get the feeling Michelle hasn’t improved after so many years? She always have the same expression! Xiao Yu is supposed to be around 18/19 years old and at 33, I think it’s a bit of a stretch for Michelle to portray this character. It’s even worse when she calls her two best friends “Older Sister!” when she’s the one who looks the oldest. WTF.  I find it extremely annoying to see Xiao Yu whine, pout and bicker with Na Lan Dong. Apparently in later episodes she will be less cheerful therefore less of these ‘acting cute’ stuff. Let’s hope so.

I’m also not feeling the chemistry between Xiao Yu and Li Yi (Cheng Cheng), and a lot of the early episodes revolve around them, the obstacles they face to try to get married. Sometimes it feels like they’re the OTP but their relationship is based on such thin grounds no wonder they will have more troubles later on. Li Yi is a scholar and many people admire his poems, including Xiao Yu. She pretty much ‘fell in love’ with him based on his poems and threw herself at him the first time they met. (She hints that if he proposes, she’ll accept, yes in their first meeting.) I guess Li Yi likes her because she’s pretty? For a scholar I don’t find Li Yi to be very smart, even coming across as dopey at times. I have never heard of the actor Cheng Cheng before but he does remind me of Peter Ho? It’s just a weird feeling.

THE EDITING! I’m all for fast paced dramas but the original version is 43 episodes and TVB has condensed it to 35. Some transitions between episodes already feel a bit weird and I have a feeling it will just get worse. How the editors do their ‘magic’ is going to directly affect how the viewers feel about the pairings.


So after 10 episodes I can’t say I’m loving this drama but it’s interesting enough to keep my interest. Even though I know the ending already I still want to find out more about their family history (I put in the chart that Xiao Yu and Na Lan Dong are possibly cousins? But there may be more behind that?) and how Xiao Yu will eventually fall in love with Na Lan Dong. Also curious about what will happen to Lu Jing Lan, her part in this drama is fairly small in first ten episodes, she was missing in two or three of them. I’m hoping Na Lan Dong will see how awesome she is.



28 responses to “Loved in the Purple / The Purple Hairpin Episodes 1 to 10 thoughts”

  1. heisui Avatar

    Ugh I don’t understand why dramas tend to have a really annoying heroine character. T______T And LOL, trying to portray an 18yr old as a 33 yr old just…doesn’t work. From the still you provided, yeah she does look like the oldest out of the bunch. =_=

    I’m happy Tammy’s character is good in this drama. Maybe I will have to just find a few clips of her scenes to watch. 😀

  2. heisui Avatar

    Ok I just started watching a random part of ep8 with Tammy’s character. What, she has fighting skills?!?! O__O And OMG it is so weird hearing her dubbed over in Canto when I’m so used to hearing her speaking in Taiwanese!!!

    1. kat Avatar

      At least Michelle gets less annoying from about episode 11 onwards. She is no longer the naive, happy girl we once knew! (I’m so rejoicing.)

      Funny you mentioned the fighting skills because EVERYONE in this drama has it! I got such a shock when the scholar guy had this awesome skills using a fan to fend off some bad guys…

      Haiz the dubbing is distracting at times, maybe they picked someone a bit too ‘mature’ for Tammy? She just sounds older than she should.

  3. Mary Avatar

    What is wrong with you people. Michelle looks good and her acting as a brat is funny. She is beautiful.

    1. kat Avatar

      I didn’t say Michelle was ugly. I just commented her character is supposed to be 18/19 years old and she doesn’t look that age. Plus, in the drama she is supposed to be the youngest out of her friends and she looks the oldest out of the three girls.

      As for whether acting bratty is funny or not I don’t usually like these type of characters anyway, unless it’s in a rom-com or something. (which this drama is not) But that’s just my personal opinion of course.

  4. Jacintha Avatar

    Chinese ancient dramas are very good quality (not every single show but many of the Chinese shows) and are indeed excellent. Are you saying you like dramas that take place in modern settings better? Most Chinese Asian fans like ancient dramas more than modern shows. These Chinese ancient dramas are the best. You said that he has been in China this past year and when I heard that they’re all ancient dramas, my interest level is high even if he is (Raymond Lam) is not in them. When you indicate that Raymond Lam has been “filming three Mainland dramas back to back. And they’re all ancient dramas, which means my (your) interest level is low already even if he’s in it”, that does not make sense (and you’re wrong) that your interest level is low”. You were talking about dual language dramas and yes, that would be too weird to do that. It would be better to do those Chinese shows in a Chinese language, and that would be very bad to do any dual western languages. Adding subtitles later would be a different story, but they should not add subtitles, (please do NOT any dubbing in English) as part of the original shows.

    Chinese Asian actresses have more beautiful figures and faces than evil and bad ugly caucasian women actresses that have chubby thighs, fat waists, elephant asses, digital enhancement, elephant noses, ugly faces in modern shows.

  5. Jacintha Avatar

    Many Chinese ancient dramas are 300 times more beautiful than modern shows.

    Modern shows are nice to watch too (depending on which Chinese actor and/or actresses are in them).

  6. Jacintha Avatar

    re: second reply (revised) posted on November 11, 2013 at 12:07 p.m.

    Many Chinese ancient dramas are 300 times more beautiful than modern shows.

    Chinese Asian modern dramas are nice to watch too (depending on which Chinese actor and/or actresses are in them).

    1. kat Avatar

      First – thanks for the comment, and to answer your question, yes I prefer to watch dramas in a modern settings better. I occasionally watch ancient dramas.

      Maybe it will make sense now why I said “they’re all ancient dramas, which means my interest level is low already even if he’s in it.” <- I'm not sure whether one's opinion or preference can be 'right' or 'wrong'. For example: you like chocolate icecream and thinks that most people also like chocolate icecream because it's made from the best quality ingredients, it tastes the best etc. But I'm saying I like strawberry icecream because I like the taste of strawberries. Does that mean liking other flavours of icecream is wrong? I respect everyone has their own opinions and preferences, that's what makes the world interesting. About the dual language, it is an great step towards promoting Chinese dramas to a wider audience. (I mean adding subtitles only and not dubbing.) Well, 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' is all I can say about this. I'm not sure labelling all caucasian actresses who play evil characters as fat and ugly etc is a fair assessment.

  7. Jacintha Avatar

    Chinese ancient dramas are the best compared to modern dramas. I do not like to watch modern dramas but it depends on the show, the plot and which Chinese actors and/or actresses are in them. Chinese modern dramas are nice to watch sometimes but very good modern dramas are rare.

    Some women could be young in age and do not look beautiful. On the other hand, many Chinese Asian actresses (who are young people) could be 6 or 7 years older in age than another woman but look more lovely than the younger woman.

    As a Chinese Asian girl (and I am a young person), I have younger looking skin and I look 6 or 7 years younger than my age.

    Chinese Asian women tend to have younger looking skin and look 4 or 5 years younger than their age compared to Caucasian women actresses that look older than their age (that are always trying to cheat and wrongfully compare themselves to Asian Chinese women first).

    1. kat Avatar

      Maybe you misunderstood my original statement re my lower interest towards ancient dramas. I never said that I watch less of them because I think modern dramas are the best. It’s simply a personal preference. Just like I don’t watch Korean dramas not because I think Taiwanese or Chinese dramas are better, I just find that
      if I have to pay a lot of attention reading subtitles I tend to miss out on what’s actually happening with the characters. I’m sure there’re lots of k-dramas out there better than the Chinese ones I’m watching.

      Utlimately whether a drama is good or not doesn’t depend on whether it’s set in ancient times or modern times, a good drama comes from an interesting storyline / characters / production values etc. A lot of times it also helps if an actor/actresses you like
      is also in it. But there’re heaps of Western TV shows which doesn’t have good looking actors but it’s still a great show. Or some people think a certain person is attractive but I don’t.

      Chinese dramas in general already doesn’t get as much attention as dramas from other countries, why is it we’re unable to embrace the variety and must have some sort of hierarchy over whether ancient / wuxia / modern / fantasy etc etc is better than one another?

      1. jnewin Avatar

        I so agree with this. I know fans who thinks all wuxia dramas are better than modern dramas. You’re right it depends on the storyline and if we like the actors and actress.

        1. kat Avatar

          Yeah.. I don’t understand how a complete genre can be ‘better’ than another since whether something is good or not is subjective in the first place? If we all have the same opinion then the world would be boring! It’s quite disrespectful and condescending if people just make blanket statements like that.

  8. Jacintha Avatar

    In case you are wrongfully mixing up apples and oranges which are two different things, please note that it is a good thing that a hierarchy exists over whether Chinese ancient/wuxia is better than modern shows.

    I am busy with my work during this month of November 2013 and I am not going to be reading any more of your messages Kat. ****Please do not respond again to this message with your third response Kat.

    Chinese dramas should be made exclusively to be watched by over 90% Chinese fans who understand and can speak the language. Chinese Asian men and women do not want to garner attention from western fans because caucasian people should have no right to be trying to bother and dominate our Chinese shows and I am right and correct about that. I are am able to embrace the variety and other fans are able to embrace the variety but there are boundary lines for good reasons. I hope you are not crossing the boundary line with the way you are saying that “it’s still a great (Western) show and you Kat, should not be bribed by caucasian people. I do not want to hear you Kat give false compliments to those western shows and there is too much of that on their loud and bad and annoying advertisements that have more than their fair share of advertising space and have nothing to do with great and fantastic Chinese dramas.

    Chinese men and women have a right to maintain their own Chinese cultural values. Asian Chinese dramas (ancient and some modern) are already 600 times better than western shows and Chinese Asian shows do not want more attention from other countries.

    **Other countries have nothing to do with Asian Chinese dramas. Also, I am sure that the Asian Chinese dramas that I have watched and that I like are much better than Korean dramas.

    Historically, many Western people like French and English are very greedy and have wanted to colonize other countries and/or steal other countries that do not belong to them. Many Western shows (with very bad and poor quality) have more attention from other countries because they speak a common language which is English. Caucasian people from the United States are obsessed with trying to “colonize” other countries that do not belong to them.

    Please do not incorrectly mix up Chinese dramas and then talk about western TV shows. I am not interested in watching western shows and the majority of western shows are manipulative and bad quality.Yes, there are “heaps of western TV shows which doesn’t have good looking actors and actresses” but no, those western shows are very aggressive and are full of garbage and are very bad.

  9. Jacintha Avatar

    Many times whether an Asian Chinese drama is good or not does depend on whether it is set in ancient times or modern times.

    You were missing my point when I was talking about how ancient Chinese dramas tend to have more interesting storylines, characters etc. than modern shows etc. The majority of very good shows that I have watched are ancient dramas that have more interesting story lines and that have Chinese actors that I like in them. Some Chinese modern shows are nice to watch but more often than not, they do not have story lines that are as interesting and the Chinese actresses that I like may not be in those shows.

    I am busy with my work during this month of November 2013 and I am not going to be reading any more of your messages Kat on your website ****Please do not respond again to this message with your fourth response Kat.

  10. kat Avatar

    ^ WOW. I’m baffled by why I’m not allowed to comment on my own blog, a place where I have used my own money to pay for the domain and web hosting, to make comments which are legal in my jurisdiction. Hrm. Logic escapes me. But then, the more I read your messages the more I’m unable to find logic in it.

    In any case, our ‘discussion’ is never going to go anywhere. Which reminds me I should put a disclaimer –

    The above comments do not reflect the opinion of the site owner, even though she has made the decision not to delete them. (for the time being) Take it as a case study on just how wide the world wide web is. Your logic and belief system might seem natural to you, but obviously completely foreign to others.

    I’m assuming you’re too busy with your life to make any more comments here, so I won’t need to remind anyone else that racism is not tolerated here. I thought as a race the Chinese have endured quite a lot throughout history and we should’ve learnt the lesson just what negative effects it has. Seems like these lessons are too easily forgotten.

  11. Jacintha Avatar

    I indicated that I am busy with my work during this month of November 2013 and please do not respond again and again (please Kat, do not send any more messages on dramapot). You are the person who was wrongfully not allowing me to comment on how ancient dramas are more interesting.

    Caucasian people that you may favour Kat, are 30 times more racist that I am. Kat, you really need to do your research and find out how much more racist many caucasian actors and actresses or those western people are.

    As a Chinese Asian girl, I am not racist and I have not done anything racist in my previous four responses on My logic and belief system is correct and not foreign to others, only completely foreign to you. Your logic and belief system is incorrect when you indicate you are unable to find logic many things that I have indicated. You are supposed to be a Chinese woman and you (Kat) are racist against your own Chinese Asian people. You, Kat have been acting so “whitewashed” that you are throwing away your Chinese cultural values. I have been nice to you in my previous three messages and you Kat are being mean and wrongfully trying to attack back about racism (although I was not talking about you).

    You (Kat) are not respecting your guests and you are incorrect when you try to wrongfully insult your guests, ” then, the more I read your messages the more I’m unable to find logic in it”.?

    When I indicate that “Chinese men and women have a right to maintain their own Chinese cultural values”, you (“Kat”) are the person who has no logic for disagreeing with that.

    I was indicating that Chinese Asian actresses have more beautiful figures and faces and those ugly caucasian women actresses are not good-looking and that have chubby thighs, fat waists, elephant asses, digital enhancement, elephant noses, gorilla lips, ugly faces in modern shows.

    You do not value my comments about how ancient Chinese dramas and Chinese modern shows are better than western shows and stop threatening me about racism not being tolerated here. I was indicating that Chinese Asian women tend to have younger looking skin and look 4 or 5 years younger than their age compared to Caucasian women actresses that look older than their age (that are always trying to cheat and wrongfully compare themselves to Asian Chinese women first). You Kat were complaining about how Michelle Ye was “supposed to be the youngest out of her friends and she looks the oldest out of the three girls”.

  12. kat. Avatar

    ^Guess I was right. Despite your busy schedule you came back and replied. I just didn’t expect it to be so soon.

    You are the person who was wrongfully not allowing me to comment on how ancient dramas are more interesting.

    -> HOW? I have not deleted or edited any of your previous comments. And yet, you have said numerous times please Kat, do not send any more messages on dramapot. I should be the one complaining YOU are not allowing ME to comment on my own website, on my own post. How does that make sense?

    Actually don’t answer this question because you’re busy with work. You know, I actually went and check whether you acccidentally subscribed to replies on this post, but you didn’t. So in your own free will, you typed the URL of this website in your browser, and came here to read and comment. There is no prize for being the last person to comment on a post, so there’s no need to fight for it and stop others from replying.

    And you’re quite welcomed to dismiss my opinions as ‘whitewashed’. There’s no need to educate me with your ‘correct’ values, you’re wasting your time. I’m sure you have better things to do.

  13. Dee Avatar

    I endured all the way to the end hoping for a final twist in the plot but it was disappointing.. If you have not finished this series, don’t waste any more of your time..

    1. kat Avatar

      Oh that’s a pity, I have about 6 eps to go and did hear previously the ending isn’t all that good. >< Guess I'm too far along to stop now but at least my expectations won't be as high!

  14. jnewin Avatar

    Nice recap. I haven’t watched this drama but nice to read your recap on Purple Hairpin.

    1. kat Avatar

      Thanks for visiting and your comment! 🙂

  15. Jolene Avatar

    Gosh, I’m really, really torn about watching this. I absolutely adored Michelle Ye, Raymond Lam and Joe Ma’s characters from Eternal Happiness, and it’d really hit me hard if I can’t empathize with Michelle Ye’s character here. Bratty and annoying, please no- Sighs… I’ve no idea if I should invest my time and feelings into this, since once I start I won’t be able to stop. Any advice?

    1. kat Avatar

      Actually, she improves a lot from about ep 11 onwards? Her character matured a lot and from then on, there’re lots of crying scenes…. if you like Michelle or Raymond, then you should try it… 🙂 If you like RM as a couple, it might depend how much you ship them LOL.

  16. MayNeo MeiHua Avatar
    MayNeo MeiHua

    Hi, I saw this show on Tv on the weekends. Seems quite nice. But I am not sure where else I can watch this show. Any suggestions ??
    Links / Webpage ? Please !!! 🙂

    Thanks !

    1. kat Avatar

      It was on Youtube before, you can probably still find it there.

  17. Reaksmey Avatar

    Where can I watch this drama with English subtitle?

    1. kat Avatar

      I’m not really sure, sorry!

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