“’I love you’ has two meanings — I need you; I am willing to give everything for you.” This line from Mom, Don’t Do That! sums up the tension driving this Chinese-language family dramedy debuting on Netflix on July 15, where a mother and her two daughters battle over clashing definitions of love after the death of their family patriarch.
Is true love about dedicating your life to making the object of your affection happy? Is it about prioritising your own needs by seeking out a partner who can give you that dedication? Or, is romantic love necessary at all when it comes to the modern woman’s pursuit of happiness?
(Left to right) Executive producer Sarso Chou; directors Lee Chun-hong and Chen Wei-ling; cast members Alyssa Chia, Tseng Wan-ting and Austin Lin; and Director of Taipei Film Festival, Li Ya-mei pose with the enthusiastic audience at the sold-out screening of Mom, Don’t Do That! at the Taipei Film Festival.
Ahead of the series premiere online, some members of the cast (Alyssa Chia, Austin Lin, and Tseng Wan-ting) and directors Lee Chun-hong and Chen Wei-ling gathered at the Taipei Film Festival last Friday for a special sold-out screening of the show, which was attended by an audience of 600. Mom, Don’t Do That! came in tops among the audience’s choice picks at the festival, and the cast and creators shared their take on the show’s themes at a pre-screening press conference.
(Left to right) Director Lee Chun-hong and Chen Wei-ling, and cast members Alyssa Chia, Austin Lin, and Tseng Wan-ting at the the Taipei Film Festival, where they shared their take on the show’s themes of love and fulfillment at a post-screening press conference.
Based on a popular novel in Taiwan by Chen Ming-min, Mom, Don’t Do That! sees acclaimed Taiwanese entertainer Billie Wang playing Wang Mei-mei, the 60-something widow who is determined to find love again.
Her adventures in online dating are met with horror by her two daughters — Rong (Chia), in her early 40s, who prefers to write about love instead of looking for it; and Min (Alice Ke), in her late 30s, who can’t move on from her two-timing ex.
Alyssa Chia plays Rong, the daughter who would rather write about love than find it in real life.
Fans of the original novel were drawn to the refreshing depiction of a mother-daughter relationship with conflicting perspectives, no-holds-barred bickering included. This is a far cry from stereotypical self-sacrificing mothers and docile daughters, and viewers will be able to find the same spirited characters in Mom, Don’t Do That! as they challenge conventions about romance and fulfillment.
Jerry Zhang, Manager of Content, Netflix, says:”We hope this show can give courage to everyone out there who is trying to find true love no matter where they are or how old they are. From Light the Night to Mom, Don’t Do That!, we are blessed to be able to partner with top creative talent in Taiwan, where global streamers are welcomed and encouraged to showcase great local stories to global audiences.”
Alice Ke plays Min, who gets involved with a younger man played by Austin Lin.
Chen Wei-ling, the series’ director and executive producer, last worked with Netflix for the anthology On Children. “We got a lot of feedback for On Children from viewers beyond Taiwan, and it became clear that working more closely with global streaming platforms is the only way for Taiwanese content to be viewed by the world,” she says.
As a result, the team behind Mom, Don’t Do That! set much higher standards for the show’s script, cast, and budget, with the goal of aiming for global streaming distribution. “From my prior experience, I understood that universal human themes could transcend cultural and language barriers, and that genre was the packaging that could attract viewers,” says Chen. “So we created this series as a comedy, to tell the stories of three women from different generations trying to find happiness.”
Executive producer Sarso Chou adds: “Bringing content of the highest quality to Netflix’s global audience has been our goal throughout this journey. The TV and film industry in Taiwan is still developing. By working with Netflix, we have been able to learn the way a global platform approaches content, planning, and marketing. That has been invaluable. I’d like to thank Netflix for allowing us to bring this series to audiences all over the world.”
Catch Mom, Don’t Do That! on Netflix from July 15.