Midnight Diner 深夜食堂 premiered to poor ratings and bad reviews. Of course, I tuned in for Mark Chao anyway, and it could be my infinite bias for him talking but I enjoyed the entire segment of Mark’s Daughter which also starred Qi Wei, Ma Qianyi and Huang Lei. If a drama’s success depends on how well it resonates with an audience, then this one definitely struck a chord with me who cried along with the characters and empathized with their story.
Episode 6 begins five years ago when a seaman first walks into the Midnight Diner. He’s a handsome guy who constantly gets hit on by the ladies, but then he opens his mouth, barely able to speak as he says, “Hi, I’m Mark, I can’t hear.” It’s enough to turn away some girls while there are also those who stay for a drink, all in good fun.
However, in the quiet of the night, Mark actually leads a lonely life and finds more comfort at sea than in the big city. One day, he comes running back to the diner to ask the Chef for help. He’s found a baby!
Fast forward to the present and the baby is now an adorable five-year-old girl named Lele (Happy). She’s extremely sensible for her age – cue the scene where she’s buying groceries on her own. She’s realizing that her dad is not like other dads, and the Chef jokes that Mark isn’t like other dads because he’s an alien. It puts a smile on her face as she declares that she likes his (her dad’s) way of communicating.
The ensuing scenes highlight the affectionate relationship between father and daughter. Fridays nights are reserved for a special veggie-infused burger meal courtesy of the Chef to combat Lele’s extreme aversion to vegetables. Mark and Lele are happy campers, and yes, those are faces of delight at being served two bottles of Pepsi (this show is entirely unabashed when it comes to product placements).
The customers at the diner have grown to become Lele’s extended family. There’s a gangster wearing dark shades and his sidekick, a flamboyant grandpa and a spirited dancer lady who has a huge crush on Mark.
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