VIP Only – Series Review & Episode Guide

VIP Only is a Taiwanese BL series about a restaurant owner and a customer.

VIP Only is a Taiwanese BL series about a restauranteur and a loyal customer. The main character is an author working on his next novel. He uses his favourite beef noodle shop as a workspace. After multiple return visits, he begins a friendly relationship with the owner. As they grow closer, the protagonist finds inspiration for his book. Their soothing romance helps him overcome his writer's block and past heartbreak.

Unfortunately, VIP Only is pretty boring. This formulaic BL series has a slow, predictable plot, while the cheesy romance relies on overused cliches. It tries to be culinary therapy by emphasizing profound life philosophies. I sometimes enjoy the sentimental messages, like the equivalent of a self-help book. Yet, a bunch of inspirational quotes don't translate into entertainment. Not even the handsome lead can add excitement to this bland love story.

VIP Only Summary

Title:

保留席位

Series Info:

Taiwan (2023)

Length:

4 hours

Total Episodes:

10 episodes

Genre:

Romance

About:

VIP Only is a nice & heartwarming BL drama.

Plot

Liu Li and Gu Jin almost kiss.

Liu Li is an author who goes by the pseudonym Morris. He has published two bestselling romance novels based on his real-life experiences in the past. The first book is about Liu Li secretly pining over a teaching assistant at the university. The second story is about him getting rejected and coping with the heartbreak. While Liu Li is commissioned to write a third installment, he has no more inspiration. Currently single, he can't draw experiences from his uneventful love life.

The deadline for Liu Li's book is fast approaching. Although his editor expects to see a manuscript, he has almost nothing prepared. Liu Li doesn't feel inspired in his apartment. He goes to Old House, his favourite beef noodle shop in the neighbourhood. This restaurant is in his apartment building, so it's within close walking distance. Liu Li is a regular customer who visits all the time. He'd sit at the table for hours, trying to find the motivation to write. Yet, Liu Li faces writer's block. Instead of typing, he spends most of his time folding origami birds, a therapeutic hobby.

The owner of Old House is Gu Jin. Most people, including his employee Ren, call him Boss Gu. This handsome restauranteur recognizes Liu Li as a regular customer. Ren complains that Liu Li occupies an entire table by himself, treating it like his workspace. However, Gu Jin doesn't mind. Despite multiple return visits, Liu Li and Gu Jin barely talk. They don't know each other well. One day, Liu Li's friend Lai Tsai sets him up on a blind date with a guy. They meet at the restaurant, where Gu Jin observes them. Yet, the date doesn't go well. Liu Li feels insulted by his partner.

After the unsuccessful date, Liu Li gets drunk at the restaurant. He starts acting erratically in his intoxicated state, which includes kissing Gu Jin on the lips. Lai Tsai arrives to take care of his misbehaving friend and brings him home. However, Lai Tsai tricks the kind-hearted Gu Jin into staying with Liu Li. Gu Jin spends the entire night attending to his drunken customer. Liu Li starts rambling about the hardships in his life, including his writer's block and his past heartbreak. Gu Jin seems sympathetic and listens to his companion attentively.

Liu Li regains consciousness the next day. However, he barely remembers what happened. Ren reminds him of the drunken ruckus caused at the restaurant. Liu Li feels embarrassed and apologizes for the inconvenience, but Gu Jin doesn't mind. After this icebreaker, they start chatting more intimately. Gu Jin wants to learn about the progress of the third novel. Liu Li explains he can't find inspiration from his love life. Gu Jin comes up with the idea of going on dates to stimulate his imagination. The two men hang out regularly and develop a close bond.

VIP Only Cast

Characters

Liu Li

Xuan Chen (陳玹宇)

Liu Li is portrayed by Taiwanese actor Xuan Chen (陳玹宇).

Liu Li is the author of two bestselling romance novels, using the alias "Morris". He based these stories on his past heartbreaks. Although Liu Li is supposed to do a third installment, he has severe writer's block. He's single and can't draw experiences from his uneventful love life. Liu Li likes visiting a nearby beef noodle shop to find inspiration.

Xuan Chen

Xuan Chen (陳玹宇) is a Taiwanese actor. He is born on April 21, 1995.

Xuan Chen (陳玹宇) is a Taiwanese actor. He is born on April 21, 1995. His first BL project is the 2023 drama, VIP Only.

Gu Jin

Stan Huang (黃丞邦)

Gu Jin is portrayed by Taiwanese actor Stan Huang (黃丞邦).

Gu Jin, also known as Boss Gu, is a restauranteur. He runs Old House, which is located in the same apartment building as Liu Li's home. Due to the proximity, Liu Li becomes one of his regular customers. Gu Jin has one full-time employee, Ren, who works at the restaurant full-time. Before his culinary career, Gu Jin used to be a successful advertising executive. Yet, an ugly scandal involving his mother caused him to quit.

Stan Huang

Stan Huang (黃丞邦) is a Taiwanese actor. He is born on April 4, 1997.

Stan Huang (黃丞邦) is a Taiwanese actor. He is born on April 4, 1997. His first BL leading role is the 2023 drama, VIP Only. He also has guest roles in Fighting Mr. 2nd (2021) and You Are Mine (2023).

Supporting Cast

Ren is portrayed by Taiwanese actor Tim Cheng (鄭湋曄).

Ren

Tim Cheng (鄭湋曄)

Lai Tsai is portrayed by Taiwanese actor Kurt Huang (黃宏軒).

Lai Tsai

Kurt Huang (黃宏軒)

Wu Xin is portrayed by Taiwanese actor Kevin Chang (張哲偉).

Wu Xin

Kevin Chang (張哲偉)

Gu Jin's mom is portrayed by Taiwanese actress Tsui Pei Yi (崔佩儀).

Gu Jin's mom

Tsui Pei Yi (崔佩儀)

Shun Yu is portrayed by Taiwanese actor Tiger Hsiao (蕭鴻).

Shun Yu

Tiger Hsiao (蕭鴻)

Shang Zhou is portrayed by Taiwanese actor Parker Mao (毛祁生).

Shang Zhou

Parker Mao (毛祁生)

Liu Li's editor is portrayed by Taiwanese actress Ye Hui Zhi (葉惠芝).

Liu Li's Editor

Ye Hui Zhi (葉惠芝)

Ke is portrayed by Taiwanese actor Kerry Wang (王新凱).

Ke

Kerry Wang (王新凱)

Bluebird is a blue bird doll.

Bluebird

Cast Highlights

  • The leads of You Are Mine (Parker Mao and Hsiao Hung) made a guest appearance in Episode 6 and Episode 10 of VIP Only.
  • Gu Jin's actor (Stan Huang) has made guest appearances in Fighting Mr. 2nd (2021) and You Are Mine (2023).
  • Ren's actor (Tim Cheng) has a supporting role in the 2022 Taiwanese BL series My Tooth Your Love.
  • The actor who portrays Lai Dai Yi (Kurt Huang) is the lead of the Taiwanese BL drama Unknown.

VIP Only Review

Review

Drama Review Score: 6.9

C+
Liu Li and Gu Jin face each other.

VIP Only is like culinary therapy. It tells a gentle, soothing love story in a cozy restaurant setting. This series is a firm believer in motivational messages. Each episode resembles a chapter from a self-help book, emphasizing inspirational quotes, emotional healing, and profound life philosophies. My favourite line is how it describes rejection: "You haven't been abandoned. You're just waiting to be cherished." Some will snicker at the corniness, but I have a soft spot for the sentimentality in VIP Only.

Despite its positivity, VIP Only is a boring BL drama. From the uneventful plot to the mundane exchanges, many scenes are too bland to leave a significant impression. The narrative lacks adrenaline and excitement, not building up to intriguing moments. Due to its abundance of cheesy cliches, the story feels predictable from start to finish. Besides being formulaic, it also copies the wrong formula. The series leans into annoying drama like miscommunication or love triangles. If you are going to repeat tropes, give us the enjoyable ones. We want cute romantic fluff, not tedious conflicts!

The romance in VIP Only progresses too slowly. Despite developing a mutual attraction, the leads won't define their relationship. They pretend to be confused and need clarification on their partner's feelings. These guys flirt, go on dates, and even share a kiss. Duh, it's obvious you like each other! Even if you don't know, why not confess and get a quick confirmation? The longer this ambiguity drags on, the more they test our patience. This delay also denies us precious BL content. Some fans may have lost interest before seeing the couple's most lovey-dovey moments.

My next statement isn't an exaggeration. VIP Only should be on the shortlist for the most cliched BL drama ever. The couple's generic relationship scenes are undistinguishable from the overused tropes in every other series. You may recognize the drunken encounter, the accidental kiss, the aquarium date, the pottery making, and countless recycled scenarios. Love stories borrow ideas from each other, but VIP Only does it excessively. Most of Liu Li and Gu Jin's romantic interactions don't feel unique, diminishing their impact. Their flirting is like a blur of worn-out plot devices.

Before starting VIP Only, I saw photos of Gu Jin's actor (Stan Huang) and developed a crush. I crossed both fingers while wishing upon a shooting star. Please don't waste this handsome leading man on a bad BL drama! From his smouldering gaze to his dreamy smile, Stan's attractiveness makes every romantic encounter more enticing. His performance is slightly forceful during a few scenes, but I forgive him because he still looks hot when overacting. He shares a mild chemistry with his costar (Xuan Chen). This pairing grew on me over time, especially in the finale.

VIP Only has a happy ending with a feel-good conclusion. The series plays to its strengths in the finale, promoting harmony and positivity. I like seeing the couple support each other, overcome hardships, and experience personal growth. They also have sweet romantic exchanges. My discontent from past episodes fades away with every therapeutic scene. I would rather appreciate a heartwarming BL drama than hate on its flaws. Overall, VIP Only is bland but pleasant. Although the story is dull, its schmaltzy messages of peace and love still resonate with me. 

Summary

Casual story

VIP Only has a gentle, soothing story that emphasizes positive messages. It contains many inspirational quotes. However, the plot is slow, uneventful, and predictable. I'm often bored.

Cliched romance

Too many romantic encounters feel like generic cliches of overused tropes, diminishing their impact. Still, this couple grew on me over time. I like how much they support each other emotionally.

Okay acting

Gu Jin's actor (Stan Huang) is slightly forceful in several scenes. However, he's a handsome leading man with a dreamy smile and a smouldering gaze. He makes each romantic encounter enticing.

Happy ending

VIP Only has a happy ending with a sweet, feel-good conclusion. The finale plays to its strengths, emphasizing harmony & positivity. The couple settles into their relationship with cute moments.

Soothing artistry

This series is like culinary therapy. It promotes healing through a peaceful and serene atmosphere. Although the motivational quotes sound cheesy, I respond well to the sentimental messages.

69%

VIP Only is a cozy love story with positive messages, inspirational quotes, and mushy sentimentality. Yet, the uneventful story often feels slow and dull. The romance is too generic and cliched.

VIP Only Episodes

Episode Guide

Liu Li and Gu Jin bring their faces closely together.

VIP Only has a total of 10 episodes. Each episode is around 20 to 25 minutes long. It is a long BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in around 4 hours. VIP Only started on November 24, 2023 and finished its last episode on January 19, 2024.

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10

Episode Reviews

Episode 1

The first episode has a dull introduction. So far, I don't feel excited about the story or the characters' interactions. Liu Li has an irresponsible friend who leaves him drunk with a stranger.

Episode 2

I wanna enjoy the series, but this episode is still boring. I understand Liu Li is drunk and in a bad mood, but his antics seem rude. At least Gu Jin is a nice guy who behaves well and takes care of him.

Episode 3

Aww, I like the moment with the camera~ The flirting is cheesy but cute. I have a massive crush on Gu Jin. He's hot, knows how to cook, and recites sensitive New Age advice about life.

Episode 4

The series should reduce the excessive quotes. "Guys don't show their teeth while smiling." WTF is this analysis!? Gu Jin is so fine. I'd fold in one second if he gazed at me with those bedroom eyes.

Episode 5

"You have not been abandoned. You are waiting to be cherished." Okay, I'm sucker for these cheesy inspirational quotes. This series is going for a world record for the most cliches in a BL episode.

Episode 6

Gu Jin's handmade plant in a jar looks nice! Unfortunately, I'm bored. This romance develops too slowly. Just confess! Liu Li & Gu Jin should be a couple already. Ugh, don't introduce a love triangle…

Episode 7

If your heart doesn't beat for him, say it and end this storyline! "I'm a biscuit." LMAO. These quotes are getting absurd. When Gu Jin sat on the bench, I wanted to be that beer can SO badly. 😳

Episode 8

The comedic scene at the start is jarring and comes out of nowhere. At least the dull love triangle is finally over. "Thanks to you, I have two bestselling books." Wow, this rejection is hilariously brutal.

Episode 9

I like how Liu Li is supportive of Gu Jin. Both leads help each other overcome their hardships. After Liu Li says, "I won't let you handle it alone", we see a hammer in the next shot. OMG, that's ominous!

Episode 10

It's a sweet, feel-good finale. I liked the romantic exchange in the bathroom and laughed at the clapping during the confrontation. "His love is like occupying a toilet." The quotes are becoming self-parody.

VIP Only Information

Vidol

Vidol is a Taiwanese streaming platform that made the BL series Stay by My Side (2023).

Vidol is a Taiwanese streaming platform that made these series: Stay by My Side (2023), You Are Mine (2023), VIP Only (2023), and Anti-Reset (2024). It has also produced other non-BL dramas in the past.

Director

Lian Yu Zhe (連玉喆) is a Taiwanese director whose portfolio of work includes the 2023 BL drama VIP Only.

  1. I respectfully object! I mean, if you were bored, you were bored and there's no disputing it. But I was really charmed by this show. I found it poignant. Sure, there were familiar tropes (is it even a BL if there aren't?) but I liked the budding romance between LL and Boss Gu and I liked the wingman employee. I loved the thoughtfulness (and sick burn!) with which LL rejected his former crush, and his new self love/understanding. I loved LL protecting Boss Gu from his predatory mother. I loved the cameos from the leads of You are Mine (although I think you panned that show too, which I liked). Agree to disagree. For me this show was a B+.

  2. You do need some patience to watch this series. You might like it more.
    It is hilarious when LL talked to himself as a sandwich biscuit.
    The music is very nice.

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