3 Reasons To Watch Charmingly Delightful C-Drama “Exclusive Fairytale”

Ling Chao (Jun) and Xiao Tu (Zhang Miao Yi) have been joined at the hip ever since the day they were born. From wailing together as babies and being each other’s playmates as toddlers to bickering teens, they are in it together for better and worse. The two live in and out of each other’s homes and are regarded as siblings by everyone around them. But it becomes apparent that Ling Chao has no brotherly feelings towards Xiao Tu, who remains oblivious. As these two navigate the sensitive terrain of best friends turning into lovers, “Exclusive Fairytale” is a charmingly delightful show that ticks all the boxes. Here are some of the reasons to check this drama out!

A charming main couple

Ling Chao, played by SEVENTEEN’s Jun, and Xiao Tu aka Little Rabbit, played by Zhang Miao Yi, are as different as chalk and cheese. Ling Chao is quiet, self-assured, and is a super brilliant student who is on top of the class as well as popular amongst the girls, who he royally ignores. He tends to internalize his feelings but has a quirky way of voicing his opinions. Xiao Tu, on the other hand, is carefree, careless, and involves herself in everyone’s business. She is at the bottom of her class and grades are not her strong point, but her optimism and positivity are infectious. She is fiercely protective about Ling Chao, who in turn adores her and indulges her even when she tends to get annoying and exasperating at times.

These two are inseparable and somehow have accepted that they will always be in each other’s lives. When Xiao Tu starts crushing on her classmate Zi Han and later on one of their friends’ cousin, Ling Chao’s jealousy is apparent. He is developing feelings while Xiao Tu cannot imagine them as anything other than friends, least of all a romantic alliance. But it gets difficult to resist Ling Chao’s endearingly romantic intensity.

Jun is perfect as Ling Chao. He oozes an aura of self-confidence even though he is deeply conflicted inside. And his straight-faced comebacks are cute, but it’s even cuter to see him as the lovelorn Ling Chao. Zhang Miao Yi as the feisty and scatterbrained Xiao Tu endears, and though her character gets a bit too loud at times, she is funny and makes you laugh at her antics. Her confusion as she sees “brother” Ling Chao acting odd is hilarious and bound to get you cracking up. The chemistry between the two leads is swoonworthy and also relatable. You have the classic “opposites attract” and “friends turning into lovers” tropes as they awkwardly explore the new phases in their relationship. As they come closer and become boyfriend and girlfriend, there are several heart-melting moments and squeal-worthy kisses on offer. And Jun’s Ling Chao scores as the perfect boyfriend on all points.

Themes of expressing and being yourself

What is school life without friends, frenemies, teachers, and the stress of grades? Each of the characters go through their own stuff as teenage years can be tough. But what’s endearing are the friendships and bonds they form as they go along in life. At school, there is Zi Han (Xiong Ao Bo), the super-rich kid who is forever competing with Ling Chao. Zi Han gets close to Xiao Tu to observe Ling Chao at close quarters. There’s also Zhao Lu as Juan Juan, Xiao Tu’s idol-obsessed friend who is also a self-proclaimed love guru of sorts. And Jia Si Wen (Hao Zhu Yu) is another brilliant student, who has a crush on Juan Juan but is unable to articulate his feelings. Plus the double-faced school beauty Xin Lan has a crush on Ling Chao and looks down on Xiao Tu. Despite their different personalities and competitive spirits, there is camaraderie between them. There are petty school politics, friendships, and the complexities of relationships, as each one of them realizes how expressing your feelings is the best solution and can help avoid misunderstandings in the future.

Xiao Tu, who wears her heart on her sleeve, has no qualms about speaking her mind, even though it often lands her in trouble. When she hears Xin Lan mocking her, she politely chides her, proving that she is not a person who carries grudges. And she is the first one to come up to Ling Chao’s defense whenever he gets the rough end of the stick. Ling Chao, on the other hand, who earlier has issues with his father, is unable to express what he feels to his parents or to anyone for that matter. The only person who helps him feel unburdened is Xiao Tu, since she is sensitive and perceptive toward his feelings. But Ling Chao is unruffled by most things around him, and his strength of character is that he does not feel the need to show himself in the right all the time, which is very appealing and empowering. They encourage and root for the other to pursue their dreams and are ready to lend their shoulders and ears when the other is in trouble.

It is not just the children but the grownups as well who are struggling with their own means of communication. Ling Chao’s mother has never tried to understand how her son feels, and his father is ridden by guilt but cannot express his feelings. But what’s delightful is that even the parents make an effort in breaking down the barriers in communication between them and their kids. Whether it is Xiao Tu’s father, who does not like pressurizing his daughter to get the best grades but is unable to articulate his feelings when she finally takes decisions for her future, or Ling Chao’s father, who lets him pursue the career of his choice, or Zi Han, who pursues his dreams of being a singer over academics, the show sends out a very strong and positive message to follow your heart.

The other strong theme in the show is the importance of being comfortable with who you are, whether it’s Ling Chao, who likes Xiao Tu for all her sloppiness and idiosyncrasies, or Juan Juan, who is all mush and gush but falls for the nerdy Si Wen, who struggles to articulate his feelings. It is heartening to see characters who own every aspect of their personalities.

A chill, no fuss rom-com

One of the strengths of “Exclusive Fairytale” is the relaxed tone of the narrative. One is not burdened with intense, melodramatic histrionics and theatrics. The characters are lovable, and there are no toxic bullies, mean girls, or rogues to make you anxious and get your nerves in knots. These are just everyday people dealing with everyday things.

In both families of the main leads, you find the friends like family as they help and support each other. Despite dealing with parenting and its many challenges, Xiao Tu’s lack of grades or Ling Chao’s resentment toward his father are woven in matter of factly. There is no toxic parenting or angst, and for once it is nice not to see any villains amongst family or friends. A cute moment is when the entire family swears to wear the same colored good luck underwear to wish Xiao Tu luck for her exams. Plus, the romance between the lead pair seems so natural, and it’s delightful to see their parents encouraging them, especially Ling Chao’s mother, who loves Xiao Tu more than her son. “Exclusive Fairytale” has a warm and very comforting vibe which makes you feel like you are part of the narrative and are growing with the characters. It is a perfect watch to wind down to in stressful times.

Start watching “Exclusive Fairytale”: 

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Puja Talwar is a Soompi writer with a strong Yoo Tae Oh and Lee Junho bias. A long time K-drama fan, she loves devising alternate scenarios to the narratives. She has interviewed Lee Min HoGong YooCha Eun Woo, and Ji Chang Wook to name a few. You can follow her on @puja_talwar7 on Instagram

Currently watching:Fireworks In My Heart.”

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