Side dish: When the libido needs a boost, make every meal one with oysters! There are recipes to enjoy oyster ever way from Saveur.
Plumber/undercover cop, Tai Shu (Edwin Siu) is caught taking photos with his phone in the bedroom of housewife, Lin Heung (Rachel Kan). Tai Shu quickly claims that he is testing his phone to make sure it is not broken. Lin Heung not only believes him, but gives Tai Shu her dinner after he complains about his wife, Apple’s (Priscilla Wong) lack of culinary skills.
Apple and Tai Shu have their meeting with their boss, Wu Sir, while pedaling cycle rickshaws, for the sake of their health. Apple asks for police funds to fuel her plan to lose money in a convincing fashion so that housewife, Dan Dan (Mandy Wong) can lead her to the loan sharks. Wu Sir and Tai Shu gleefully outline the bureaucracy that will take Apple a year and a half to navigate.
Apple is stuffing herself at dinner with her parents, and trying to explain why she looks so shabby. She baits her mother with the possibility of quitting the police force, so that her parents readily lend her $100,000 to play the stock market.
Dan Dan is having afternoon tea courtesy of an acquaintance who profited off her stock market advice. The acquaintance’s husband is the boss of Dan Dan’s husband, so she is shocked to learn that Dan Dan’s husband did not receive a raise in spite of getting a promotion.
Dan Dan’s husband appears to be popular with the employees he manages. Behind his back, they wonder why he suddenly got a raise, and one of them reveals Dan Dan’s intervention via the stingy boss’s wife. This is news to Dan Dan’s husband who is eavesdropping around the corner.
Back home, Dan Dan and her husband both feign ignorance about her part in her husband’s raise. They give each other credit, and with love all around, a saxophone starts playing as the couple gives in to the mood. Moments later, they reemerge frustrated by the husband’s performance issues.
Apple is whining as she watches the business news, because rather than lose money as planned, her stocks have shot up in value. After getting taunted by Tai Shu, Apple checks in with undercover cop, Ga Lun on what he has learned about housewife, Fung Nei (Kaki Leung). He has learned nothing of use, claiming to be jinxed, which gives Apple an idea.
Meanwhile, Tai Shu is executing his plan by tailing Lin Heung, hoping she will lead him to loan sharks. He witnesses Lin Heung making a transaction with a man in a minivan, before her purse is snatched along with the mystery item inside of it. Lin Heung has a surprising amount of stamina, eventually running down the incredulous purse snatcher. Just as he manages to break free of Lin Heung, Tai Shu intervenes and returns her bag to her.
It turns out that Lin Heung had acquired a superstitious trinket to help her son achieve academic success in Australia. Apple and Tai Shu try desperately to fish out an illegal source of Lin Heung’s funds, but fail. In fact, it turns out that the damning record book that Tai Shu found was for her sales of Dzi beads to the neighbourhood housewives.
Lin Heung cooks dinner for Tai Shu and Apple in gratitude, and her teenage son, Chit comes home unexpectedly. Chit has a tantrum over having to go abroad for schooling, and Tai Shu feels compelled to defend his mother. Chit runs out of the apartment, breaking Lin Heung’s pricey trinket in the process.
Tai Shu follows Chit, and has a brotherly talk with him about their parents. They then have a bonding moment playing football with the other men of the apartment complex including the husbands of Dan Dan and Fung Nei. They all commiserate about the women in their lives.
Apple gets wind of Tai Shu’s complaints about her, and has her own bonding moment with the women of the apartment complex in the local eatery. They complain about their men, while the male diners melt away in the face of this resentful female mob.
In the aftermath of Apple’s tale of woe, the women of the apartment complex are colder towards Tai Shu. Much to Tai Shu’s chagrin, he must suffer a barrage of advice on how to be a better husband to Apple as he works on their homes.
Meanwhile, Dan Dan learns of a medicinal concoction to enhance male libido, and excitedly feeds the soup to her husband, along with a dinner made up of male enhancing ingredients. Dan Dan takes her husband’s burping and sweating as positive signs, and prepares for a romantic night in the bedroom. Unfortunately, Dan Dan loses out to her husband’s laptop, which he is cooing sweet nothings to in English. With the assistance of an electronic translator, Dan Dan begins to suspect that her husband is having an affair.
I wonder if the writers are trying to indicate that Lin Heung’s son, Chit is gay. As is typical of Hong Kong TV and film depictions, the stereotypical signs are all there: Chit wears a pink t-shirt, he is whiny, he is inept at sports, and the camera zoomed in on Tai Shu patting Chit’s thigh. I hope I am wrong, but if the writers are going to go there, I hope the depiction of Chit as a gay man doesn’t devolve any further into cringe inducing cliché.
I am also not thrilled at Apple’s ludicrous plan to lose real money in order to convince Dan Dan to lead her to the loan sharks. Even after Wu Sir suggests simply pretending to be in desperate financial strait, Apple insists on playing the stock market with her parents’ money. Her smear campaign about Tai Shu was mildly amusing.
Finally, I found Dan Dan’s attempt at seduction completely unpalatable. I would have preferred that the writers had decided to either play it for laughs, or really commit to making the scene sexy. As it was, the scene of Dan Dan lazing about in lingerie was jarring, because it was neither here nor there.
My list of complaints is lengthy, but I am still enjoying “Madam Cutie on Duty”. The balancing of the different story lines has been quite good. I just really hope they do not make Chit a flaming gay stereotype.