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Maiden Holmes (2020) Early Impressions
While it gets chuckles and laughs out of me, the show doesn't live up to the hype. As far as I'm concerned, it's a rom com masquerading as a whodunit. Which is ironic considering the cross-dressing titular character. It almost seems as if someone took every single leaf out of the cross-dressing rom com playbook and raided the cupboard for every romance cliche ever devised bar the kitchen sink... and that's just in the first 5 episodes. Nothing is meant to tax the brain. The sleuthing is lightweight especially for a hard core fanatic of the genre like myself. It's highly derivative and no wonder comparisons are being made with the likes of Under the Power, Moonlight Drawn by Clouds and Dr Cutie. It breaks no new ground, plays it safe and entertains by playing up every romance trope with glee. In other words, it's pure unadulterated fluff. And I'm in it largely for the laughs as I count the cliches.
Of course there's nothing wrong with a nice bit of light escapism. Even I indulge from time to time. And this one seems to be decently executed. Thankfully the titular female character is at least decently written, lives up to the template from which she gets her street creds and has me grinning every time she recites from the rule book whenever Pei Zhao sends her heart racing.
I would never deny that the male lead is swoony eye candy and he hasn't done too badly as a newcomer. He can certainly pass off as the younger brother of Merxat. He has an elegance which befits the role and seems rather adept at romancing his lady love. Not to mention too that he smirks prettily. In just these first 10 episodes, the two of them have bickered, chained themselves together, almost drowned kissed, drunk confessed, kissed under the influence, nursed her back to health, discovered her secret during an undercover op, fallen asleep together, saved her from a third-rate lecher etc etc. We know the drill. However, he's not really called to do a great deal of heavy lifting here.
Also good for laughs is the other male lead, Xie Beiming whose half-hearted braggadocio and "asides" add to the good-natured cheesiness. That said, he's not completely brawn or comic relief.
The actors do their best with the material and for the most part they succeed. I imagine I'm not part of the demographic that they're aiming for so I'm happy to keep my expectations low and just go along for the ride. At least I don't feel routinely insulted like I do with other ones I've seen this year.