A Bigger Role For Chao-Li?

Discussion in 'Falcon Crest' started by Angela Channing, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Hero

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    I love the character Chao-Li but I often wonder why he wasn't given a more significant role in the show.

    He had an important involvement in the show, not least in moving Jason's body after the accident, but in the early seasons he said little more than "Yes, Mrs Channing". His role did expand later, particularly when his daughter arrived at Falcon Crest and when he got sick and Angela took care of him, but overall his role remained important but quite small. Why do you think that was? Was it because he was limited as an actor and that limited how big they could make his role? Was it because he was only a butler and they felt viewers wouldn't be interested in a servant? Was it because they wanted him to be a mysterious character that we shouldn't know anything about?

    I would have loved for him to have been given at least one really meaty storyline such as a blackmail plot in which he was forced to betray Angela or have love affair with a woman who was a rival to the Channings and would force him to choose where his loyalties lay.
     
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  2. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Since they eventually put him in the opening credits, yes, he should have had a bigger role. Same with Joseph in DYNASTY. But writers can't always integrate a servant role into the main narrative very well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
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  3. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Not mysterious for the sake of it, but sometimes these characters come up with something totally unexpected.
    And I don't find "shadow" characters uninteresting.

    But he should have killed Lori, she was a danger to the Falcon Crest dynasty.
     
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  4. Jock Og

    Jock Og Soap Chat Fan

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    Chao-Li should have been in the opening credits earlier than season 7. He was Angela's right hand man and confidant, for god's sake. However just this description would be an understatement; as he was like a genuine father figure for Emma and was like a grandfather to Lance, providing words of wisdom plus training the rum boy, in martial arts. Even when Chao-Li wasn't attending his house duties in the mansion I always imagined him to be keeping an eye on the business aspect too i.e. the bottling plant, winery operations and the activity in the vineyards.

    Compared to the other characters he was certainly underwritten and the same can be said for Jamie Rose's Vickie. Should Chao-Li have thrown a spanner in the works in one of Angela's three other marriages (after Douglas)? Then again he wasn't the jealous type and supported Mrs. Channing, come hell or high water.


    Lance and Chao-Li are doing martial arts training, in the garden of Falcon Crest, (a scene from season 7, 1987 - '88):

    For once it is Lance who has the advantage, over his master.

    Lance: "Chao-Li pay attention!"

    They try another move.

    Lance: "Chao-Li your body is here but your mind is somewhere else."

    Chao-Li is clearly annoyed.

    Chao-Li: "It's a personal matter."

    Lance: "Maybe I can help. Some burdens can only be lifted if they're shared."

    Chao-Li: "I have had news from my daughter."

    Lance: "In China?"

    Chao-Li nods and then continues, "My uncle the head of the family is very ill."

    Lance: "I'm sorry!"

    Chao-Li: "He has summoned me back. It is my duty to go."

    Lance: "Yes, I understand."

    Chao-Li: "It is the country of my ancestors Lance but it is not mine. I've never even be there. I do not wish to leave your grandmother but I have no choice."

    Lance: "I know!"
     
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  5. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    And that made him an intriguing character, but it also limits his personal drama. And did Falcon Crest really need more storylines?
    It's details like this that enchances the character within the limitations of being a servant. I don't need to know why he did it.
     
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  6. Falcon Crest I

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    The writers kept him mainly as a great support to the Channing / Cumson family. They felt that was as far as they could go with him but there was an air of mystery about Chao-Li, which played into the early gothic tone of the series. I couldn't imagine Falcon Crest without him and Angela definitely could not have done without her main man. He was irreplaceable.
     
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  7. Chloe-Fusco

    Chloe-Fusco Soap Chat Active Member

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    Li-Ying should have returned to the valley in season 7, when her father was sick. The purpose of her visit this time is to speak with Angela that one of Chao-Li's two sons is the secret boss of the 13 and runs the show from LA. When Chao-Li recovers he helps in the mission to bring the 13 down and eventually his other son who is still in China comes to live in the valley to be the Vineyard manager, so there be no need for Cesar Ortega. Angela and Chao-Li are delighted about this. Chao-Li gets into the sherry business, as a result.
     
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  8. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Hero

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    I would be delighted about this too!
     
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  9. MarkSinacori

    MarkSinacori Soap Chat Fan

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    He had such a small part in the Pilot and then he was just always there, usually getting the screentime of a co-star or few lines or so. Then he got more and more to do. Yes, he should have been added to the opening much earlier on. But it was nice to see how he started out and then it all got better and better for him as the series went on.
     
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  10. Arlene Halloran

    Arlene Halloran Soap Chat Active Member

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    His past should have been dug into more. What about the mother of his daughter, for example?
     
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  11. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Hero

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    I agree. After so many of the original cast left, Chao-Li could have had a more significant role instead of bringing in many of the dull characters that they did such as the Ortega family.
     
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  12. stevew

    stevew Soap Chat Addict

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    Agreed expect Chao-Li was more than a servant. He was a father figure to Lance and a best friend to Angela. It seemed to me he choose a life of service more like a monk than a servant. I think there was a great room to show an extended family, maybe even a wealthy family who could have interacted with the wealthy Channing’s - some as friends, some as foes. I’d have liked to have got to know more of the history between Angela and Chao-Li. Did they grow up together? Did their families know each other. We don’t even know his family name, do we?
     
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  13. stevew

    stevew Soap Chat Addict

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    As they obviously were forcing feeding us diversity with Pilar and had Choa-Li right there already, I’d they needed different story lines. I don’t need to know why, but I’d like to know more.
     
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