Unraveling the Enhancements in Joy of Life Season 2

"Joy of Life Season 2" has proven two things since its premiere: first, it can inherit many of the essence of the first season; second, it can elevate itself. The former ensures its initial high popularity, while the latter ensures its sustained popularity. The multiple reversals in crucial scenes, Fan Xian's shift from defense to offense, and the thought-provoking social commentary all contribute to the unique experience of this drama, which is both thrilling and profound.

Unraveling the Enhancements in Joy of Life Season 2


Accumulating Momentum and Concentrated Reversals

One particularly satisfying upgrade in "Joy of Life Season 2" is the arrangement of crucial scenes, which not only emphasizes the layers of setup before these scenes but also focuses on the multiple reversals within them, captivating the audience with each turn of events. Typically, film and television productions avoid lingering in a single scene for too long to prevent viewer fatigue. When forced to remain in a single scene, various flashy camera techniques or martial arts scenes are often employed to add variety.

"Joy of Life Season 2" is one of the few productions that can keep the audience engaged in a single scene without the need for elaborate camera techniques or martial arts scenes. This is mainly due to the skillful writing of the screenwriter Wang Juan and the adept direction of the director Sun Hao. Whether it's the Baoyue Tower, the imperial family banquet, or the grand court scenes, each crucial scene lasts for several minutes without feeling dull. This is because each scene is not isolated; rather, it is preceded by multi-character and multi-threaded setups to build up anticipation.

Unraveling the Enhancements in Joy of Life Season 2

For example, before Fan Xian's first appearance at court, there is a long segment introducing several "important figures" in the court. Indeed, although these characters do not directly participate in the debate between Fan Xian and the imperial censor Lai Mingcheng, they are all factors that can influence the outcome.

By building up tension, the drama captivates the audience. In these segments, although the characters do not resort to physical violence, every word carries a hidden meaning, and the exchanges are intense. For example, the conversation between the Crown Prince and the Second Prince at the Baoyue Tower appears to be foolish and petulant on the surface, but behind the scenes, they are testing each other's cards.

These scenes often feature intense reversals. The initial situations are usually predictable based on the setup, but as the story progresses, unexpected events occur that surpass the audience's expectations. For example, Lai Mingcheng's four consecutive appearances at court. The first two appearances, targeting Fan Xian and the Second Prince respectively, were within Fan Xian's expectations. The audience's focus is on how Fan Xian executes his pre-planned strategies.

Unraveling the Enhancements in Joy of Life Season 2

However, the chain reaction triggered by these two appearances, to a greater or lesser extent, exceeded Fan Xian's expectations. The Second Prince's counterattack did not allow Fan Xian's plan to unfold perfectly. This segment was already quite exciting. However, Lai Mingcheng's subsequent appearance before the entire Judicial Academy scene suddenly exceeded Fan Xian's expectations and the audience's expectations generated by the earlier setups. Finally, Wang Juan broke the rule of "things happening in threes" and allowed Lai Mingcheng to present a jaw-dropping fourth volume, which was a crazy kill.

This unprecedented scene of losing control even turned into a full martial arts scene on the stage of literary play. The transitions between reversals are seamless, and the audience remains unaware that by this point, the progress bar for this episode is already over halfway. It is because the screenwriter provided an excellent text with buildup and reversals, and the director Sun Hao was able to remain calm while filming these crucial scenes without the need for flashy techniques. The scene where Lai Mingcheng makes four consecutive appearances alone involves over a dozen camera positions. As the dialogue shifts between different characters, the camera swiftly shifts to different individuals. Although characters continue to deliver lines, the camera keeps moving rapidly. On average, each individual shot lasts only two to three seconds.

Unraveling the Enhancements in Joy of Life Season 2

What's even more clever is that as Lai Mingcheng addresses different people, more camera positions are used to frame individuals with more dramatic tension. In the earlier part of the scene, both the Crown Prince and the Second Prince are in separate close-up shots, but in the later part, new medium shots appear, framing both of them together. When the two make eye contact, it demonstrates the power of Lai Mingcheng's final appearance, which is truly remarkable.

Of course, not all scenes are tense and suspenseful. For example, in a scene at the Imperial villa, the drama cleverly brings together three couples: Fan Xian and Lin Wan'er, the Second Prince and Ye Ling'er, and the Crown Prince and the Princess of Northern Qi. Each couple had a strong setup beforehand, and when the six characters come together, the scene is full of unexpected twists and turns, but the atmosphere is much lighter and more cheerful, providing moments of both laughter and tears for the audience.


Fan Xian's Initiative

"Joy of Life Season 2" has accomplished two particularly satisfying upgrades: first, Fan Xian's growth, Fan Xian's growth in "Joy of Life Season 2" is driven by deeply tragic events. Five years ago, in Season 1, a guard died, leaving countless viewers with unresolved emotions. Five years later, in Season 2, a farmer died, once again eliciting endless mourning from viewers.

Transitioning from personal growth in the first season to group portrayal in the second season, "Joy of Life Season 2" has become a series where characters are not easily killed off. Because these minor characters always manage to open new chapters in the fate of the main characters while taking their final bows.

Unraveling the Enhancements in Joy of Life Season 2

As writer Wang Juan once said, the core of character growth in the second season is Fan Xian's transition from a "pawn" to a "player." However, when we see more and more manipulative actions from the major characters like Emperor Qing (Chen Daoming), we may feel that Fan Xian may still be one step below being a "pawn."

Fan Xian is more like the catfish thrown into the pond in the "catfish effect." While pawns are placed on the chessboard with at least the overall considerations of the player, the catfish is given the freedom to play. One of the earliest differences we notice in "Joy of Life Season 2" is that Fan Xian's "fathers" seem to be ignoring him. Fan Xian finally realizes that he can only be a lonely minister.

The deaths of Lao Jintou and his daughter go unnoticed, while Lai Mingcheng's anti-corruption efforts lead to his demise. Witnessing these events, Fan Xian undergoes a significant change in mindset. Thus, the catfish, originally only expected to stir up trouble, begins to take the initiative.

Unraveling the Enhancements in Joy of Life Season 2

In the second season, although Fan Xian still appears to be investigating cases, he has undergone upgrades in terms of nature, purpose, and methods. Fan Xian risks his life to expose the crimes of the Second Prince and the Eldest Princess to Emperor Qing, only to be brushed off by Emperor Qing due to "lack of evidence." This makes Fan Xian realize two things: he cannot act recklessly alone, and he cannot limit his opponent to just the Second Prince.

From then on, Fan Xian no longer relies solely on passion and improvisation but adopts a more long-term strategy. Although he has to act as a "lonely minister," it does not mean he cannot have helpers. The Baoyue Tower incident proved that Wang Qiniang is useful and reliable. As long as there is consensus on "everything for the prosperity of Qing," Fan Xian can get full assistance from Yan Bingyun. By wiping away the layer of dust that covers his passion, Fan Xian turns Deng Ziyue into his follower.

Unraveling the Enhancements in Joy of Life Season 2

From passive agitation to active reorganization, Fan Xian inherits his mother's ideals and embarks on his own path. "I am not my mother, I cannot live to change the world. But in this lifetime, I want to at least be a good person in my own eyes, so that my conscience can be at peace. I don't want to see things like Teng Zijing's unjust death again, and I don't want to see people like Lao Jintou suffering injustice. I want to speak for them, I want to seek justice for the wrongfully deceased."

With the courage to always question and the determination to break norms, "Joy of Life Season 2" presents Fan Xian and his companions' courage to fight injustice and petition for the people after growing up. When the protagonists band together, viewers have long-term expectations for the series, rather than just enjoying it for the day. With the upcoming Spring Examination chapter, just Fan Xian's phrase "waiting for Li Chengze's move" fills viewers with confidence and excitement for the week ahead.


A Glimpse of Reality from the Drama

The third particularly satisfying upgrade in "Joy of Life Season 2" is its closer adherence to the idealism of the original work, which gives rise to more significant real-world implications.

The sight of the knife wound on Lao Jintou's back is heart-wrenching, and the proficient erasure of evidence by the guards at Baoyue Tower after his death is chilling. However, Lao Jintou's presence in the series does not disappear. Because Fan Xian remembers him and, with the clues he provides, catches on to the opportunity to investigate corrupt officials in the capital through the Chamber of Investigation.

Fan Xian's growth not only occurs in his struggle against theJian Shu Si and other forces but also in the moment he realizes that official Dai Gonggong doesn't remember Lao Jintou. The connection to modern concepts was initially introduced in a comedic element in Season 1 of "The Long Night of Youth." Viewers enjoyed this connection, so it naturally continues in Season 2. However, in Season 2, the connection to modern contexts is no longer just comedic.

Unraveling the Enhancements in Joy of Life Season 2

Viewers find that "Joy of Life Season 2" is smiling with a knife hidden behind its back - laughing innocently until suddenly struck unexpectedly. The dialogue between characters is mostly light-hearted, but within the banter, there are moments of seriousness and restraint. These moments are the most intense, and the words spoken at these times are the most impactful.

When Deng Ziyue first appears, it's full of humor - the exaggerated flattery and reflexive official etiquette are entertaining. But as soon as Fan Xian touches upon his past, it's like a sharp knife piercing the audience's hearts. Isn't this the kind of situation we encounter and compromises we make in real life?

"Being a official is all about human feelings," this phrase has been said three times by different people. Wang Qiniang said it once and was rebutted by Fan Xian. The audience treated it as a joke. Deng Ziyue said it again, and the audience couldn't laugh anymore. When the Third Prince's mother says it for the third time, the audience feels a chill down their spine. Because when an ordinary concubine says it spontaneously, it becomes the mainstream values of Qing. Because she will teach this to her children, instilling it as the norm from an early age.

Unraveling the Enhancements in Joy of Life Season 2

Is the practice of the Jian Su Si sending out Yunmeng fish and then buying them back at a high price unique to Qing? Not at all. Similar methods are common, only the commodities vary. A fair, just, and open atmosphere of examination is also what modern education has always pursued and maintained, isn't it?

Fan Xian's ideals and struggles do not lack reflections of reality. However, in the real world, we do not need to be as brave as him. Fan Xian thus reconstructs the heroic figures in film and television works - those with strong personal abilities are heroes, and those who treat everyone around them equally are heroes on another level. We empathize with them and are inspired by them.

When the innocence of small characters clashes with the smoothness of big characters, emotional fluctuations capture the essence of growth. When viewers, with their modern freedom of thought, reflect on the flaws in the Qing system, "Joy of Life Season 2" breaks out of the category of simply being an enjoyable drama. It uses the medium of costume drama to explore life questions for modern people, elevating its conceptual level.

Unraveling the Enhancements in Joy of Life Season 2

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