In the world of arts, movies have unparalleled ability in portraying cultures, customs and traditions outside one’s own so convincingly that one enjoys the experience of having been informed and entertained at the same time. The TV industry in Taiwan and how it has influenced the life of a generation are explored in this case.

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Show” is screening at New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) 2019

Crazy TV station’s owner Mr Lo conspires with a gangster who is trying to buy the station at a bargain. In order to reduce the ratings of the channel, he promotes a young employee Zhe (played by O.D) as the program managing director and fires all senior staff. He expects young Zhe to fail and thus bring down the ratings which in turn will reduce the value of the station. Meanwhile, a wannabe actress diva played by Lim Min Chen, comes to the TV station for a paid training program in acting. Zhe struggles to create new TV programs and in the meantime, love blossoms between Zhe and Diva. Along with their associate Abi played by Liu Kuan Ting, the three work on creating unique programs for crazy TV. Rest of the movie is about whether Zhe is able to save the TV station and express his love for Diva while doing so.

This movie easily and lifelessly falls into the Romcom category. A lot of humour is intended throughout, but in places fails to engage and thus the end product brings grins but not laughs. O.D and Lim Min Chen have decent chemistry and have their moments, but the romance is superficial at best. I thought the tepid beginning was intentional and waited for the exciting turn of events, though the script had other plans. There is a hostage situation in the climax, which again tries to be comical, but fails in intensity to be neither a comedy nor one with funny errors.

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The writer’s knowledge of TV shows from the past are used extensively. There are no surprises in the script. although the nostalgic past of the characters are warm bits. With props, elaborate sets and animated acting, writer/director Hsieh Nien Tsu has made this movie as close to a TV program as possible and there may be a specific set of audience who would appreciate this better.

Lack of creativity and sincerity is causing viewers to move away from TV stations. As an important part of people’s lives, TV is expected to take the responsibility seriously. It is a shout out to the TV industry to look at what is going wrong and make themselves relevant for the next generation. The video streaming industry which poses a threat to the TV stations also have some lessons in here.

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