Recently, Zhang Yishan’s new drama “Once Young” has started airing.
Although it has only aired up to the 11th episode, the production team has already experienced a roller coaster ride.
Before the premiere, many viewers were looking forward to it, especially considering the large fan bases of Zhang Yishan and Guan Xiaotong.
Furthermore, their fans were eager to see the two of them as a couple on screen, so the ratings soared to 1 right after the premiere.
Perhaps due to high expectations, negative reviews started pouring in after a few episodes. Some criticized the unrealistic and melodramatic storyline, while others felt that the details were not carefully handled. However, the most common criticism was directed towards Zhang Yishan’s acting skills.
Once considered one of the representative young actors in the hearts of many viewers, Zhang Yishan was believed to have the talent and acting skills to become a prominent actor of the new generation. Unfortunately, the high hopes placed on him seemed overwhelming as he often portrayed characters in an exaggerated manner.
His performance even drew comparisons to Yang Ying, for example, his portrayal of Wei Xiaobao in “Royal Tramp” where his eyes bulged like copper bells.
As a result, Zhang Yishan’s acting skills have been labeled as “poor.” Even in this new drama, some viewers still felt that he showed little improvement in the first few episodes.
For instance, in a restaurant scene, his acting still relied heavily on shouting, giving the impression that he couldn’t perform well when the emotions needed to be calm.
Considering both the storyline and the actors’ performances, negative reviews continued to pour in. However, when everyone was about to give up on the drama, a significant reversal occurred – Zhang Yishan “changed.”
There is a crucial character in the drama portrayed by Sun Guitian, called “Grandma Qin.”
Seeing Sun Guitian and Zhang Yishan acting together again was a nostalgic experience, especially for Sun Guitian, as this “grandson” had already called her “grandma” more than a decade ago.
In the ninth episode, Xie Qiao arranged the room to create an atmosphere for Qin Chuan and his sister to have a video call with Grandma Qin. Since it was Grandma Qin’s birthday and they couldn’t be there to accompany her, they wanted to make her feel their heartfelt intentions through this setup.
However, Grandma Qin suddenly collapsed, leaving Qin Chuan, who had always been close to her, unable to accept it. Crying scenes are often considered a basic skill for actors, but truly performing a crying scene well is quite rare. When Qin Chuan leaned on Xie Qiao’s shoulder, the audience was deeply immersed in the emotions.
Holding the memento left by Grandma Qin, Qin Chuan reminisced about the time spent with her, saying, “I sold so many pancakes, but my grandma never got to taste a single one.” As he reached this point, Zhang Yishan’s eyes became teary, and his voice started trembling.
Xie Qiao comforted Qin Chuan beside him, but at the moment of losing a loved one, consoling only intensified the emotional breakdown. At that moment, Qin Chuan couldn’t hold back, and Zhang Yishan couldn’t “hold back” either. He started sobbing but couldn’t cry loudly.
Knowing that Qin Chuan needed a shoulder at this moment, Xie Qiao slowly turned around and let Qin Chuan lean his head against her back. It’s likely that many viewers were moved to tears at this point.
In fact, this particular scene was handled quite well. Previously, when Xie Qiao was sad, Qin Chuan silently offered her his shoulder. This mutual support demonstrates to the audience that they can rely on each other when needed.
This scene has been hailed by viewers as the most memorable moment of the drama, and many netizens have given Zhang Yishan a thumbs-up for his acting skills, thinking that if he had acted like this earlier, he might have already won the Best Actor award.
In retrospect, Zhang Yishan’s previous roles were somewhat misaligned.
Perhaps in people’s eyes, since he started with comedy at a young age, it was natural for him to continue developing in that direction. As a result, in many of the TV dramas he appeared in, comedy elements dominated. However, when he truly embraced comedy, it became evident that his acting was overly exaggerated to the point where it became unbearable.
Now, it seems that Zhang Yishan doesn’t necessarily have to pursue a comedic path. He can fully unleash his talents and take on different types of roles.
After the passing of Grandma Qin, the overall plot of the drama began to gradually stabilize. Especially when seeing Zhang Yishan’s acting scenes, he no longer appeared as exaggerated. Perhaps it’s a psychological effect or maybe Zhang Yishan’s better grasp of the character, as Qin Chuan has to mature and grow up after losing a loved one.
Overall, “Once Young” is heading in a positive direction. As long as the subsequent storyline avoids the confusion seen in the first few episodes, the final rating should reach at least 7.0 or above.
If Zhang Yishan continues to surprise the audience, a rating of 7.5 is not out of reach.