Living with Lydia

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Living with Lydia
Created by Jennifer Tan
Starring Lydia Sum
Joel Chan
Ng Hui
Samuel Chong
Terrence Tay
Koh Chieng Mun
Suhaimi Yusof
Country of origin Singapore
No. of episodes 52
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel MediaCorp Channel 5
Original run November 8, 2001 – February 8, 2005

Living With Lydia (Chinese: 肥肥一家親 in Hong Kong, 肥姐駕到 in Singapore) is a Singaporean TV sitcom that was produced by MediaCorp and aired on Channel 5 from 2001 to 2005.

Overview[edit]

Starring the Chinese-born Hong Kong actress/comedienne Lydia Shum as Lydia Lum, a popular Hong Kong restaurateur/caterer and widowed mother to two children - 13 year-old son Jordan and 18 year-old daughter Apple - are forced to find a new locale when her Dim Sum establishment is hit with a case of food poisoning after she hosted an event and is ordered by the authorities to close her business (she is labeled "Dim Sum killer" by her former patrons, even though she is unaware that someone falsely accused her so they can force her out of business).

This new locale happens to be Singapore. This is because her late grandfather's best friend (referred to as Ah Kong) had written a will giving her half ownership of a house he had built thanks in part to his success in the seafood business - as well as the fact Ah Kong's life was saved decades before by Lydia's late grandfather.

However, when she arrives at the house, it is already occupied by Ah Kong's grandson, Billy B. Ong, who Lydia calls "Billy Bong". Billy prides his rise to the top of the ladder on promoting the company's specialty: fish balls. The presence of Lydia does not sit well with Billy at first but he does give in because it might be the only way to get Lydia to give up her part of the house. Additionally, her dim sum business brings in customers and clients for him.

Other characters include:

- Billy's son Max, an aspiring anime artist
- Rhonda Cheing, Billy's secretary who is trying to pursue Billy and sees Lydia's untimely arrival as a threat to her plans at winning Billy's heart, despite the fact that his wife, who ran out on him, would show up in the third season (Rhonda would later lose interest in Billy in the final season)
- Sulaiman Yusof, a former stuntman who now works as the maintenance man in Billy's company.

Episode broadcasts[edit]

Episodes of Living with Lydia also aired the United States on The International Channel (later renamed AZN Television) from 2003 to 2004 as part of the "Asia Street" lineup. In April 2006, up until the network left the air in 2008, AZN bought the show back and was rerunning them three times a week due to popular demand, starting with the series' fourth and final season. It was also broadcast on TVB Pearl in Hong Kong and Jak TV in Indonesia.

The 4th season of the series was rebroadcast on Singapore's Channel 5 in 2008 as a tribute to Shum, after her death.

Episodes[edit]

Season Ep # First Airdate Last Airdate
Season 1 13 November 8, 2001 February 10, 2002
Season 2 13 November 12, 2002 February 18, 2003
Season 3 13 September 30, 2003 December 9, 2003
Season 4 13 November 16, 2004 February 8, 2005

DVD release[edit]

On April 29, 2008 PMP Entertainment in Malaysia released a DVD collection containing all 52 episodes, which includes subtitles in Chinese, in Region 3-formatted countries. Although the DVDs are out of print, PMP is expected to re-issue the DVDs when it becomes available.[1]

Running Gags[edit]

This is an incomplete list of running gags used in the show.

Billy Bong The most noticeable and common gag during the show's run, Lydia always calls Billy B. Ong Billy Bong.

Ah Kong Picture Gag Billy B. Ong often talks to a picture of his grandfather on the wall, referring to him as "Ah Kong" usually blaming him for some reason. This is seen in many episodes but most noticeably the first episode of the show.

Fishball Gag Billy B. Ong likes to shorten the word "fishballs" to "balls" occasionally when talking. Since balls is also slang for testicles, the characters of the show often say the word in a comical context, such as, "Billy Bong, can I taste one of your balls?"

Shut Up Gag Lydia repeatedly yells "Shut up!" or "Stop!" to stop the three children in the house from doing something. However, the children always carry on after she has left.

Opening Sequence[edit]

The entire opening sequence is animated. It starts in black and white with Billy B. Ong playing a song on the piano ("Those Endearing Young Charms", the series' theme song), followed by another clip of him eating a fishball. Billy then tries to push a fishball into his son Max's son, followed by a clip of Ronda brushing her hair and then moving closer to Billy. The song then stops, and a loud sound clip of Lydia shouting "Hi, Billy Bong" is heard. Lydia and her family then appear and fill the screen with color. Apple and Jordan then appear, and then some final shots with the entire cast of the show, before an animated Lydia appears again beside the show's title on an orange screen and laughs.

Accolades[edit]

The series was nominated in two categories at the 2003 Asian Television Awards, in which "Living With Lydia" was up for "Best Comedy Programme" and "Best Comedy Performance by an Actress" for Sum for her hilarious portrayal of the series' feisty title character. Sum won in the latter category and it was the show's only win at the event [1].

Controversy[edit]

During the series run, there were rumors that Shum and Chong were dating off camera, but given that Shum was 11 years older than Chong, both denied this, saying that they were friends.[2]

Syndication[edit]

In 2009, Galloping Films, an Australian-based television and film distribution company, acquired the international rights to MediaCorp-produced programs, including Living with Lydia, for syndication outside of Singapore.[3]

Cast[edit]

Broadcasters[edit]

Country Alternate title/Translation Year debuted TV Network(s) Weekly Schedule
United States United States 2004 AZN Television Tuesday & Wednesday 2:30am EST
Singapore Singapore 2001 MediaCorp TV Channel 5 Tuesday 8:30pm SST
Hong Kong Hong Kong 2002 TVB Pearl TBA
Malaysia Malaysia 2002 TV3 Saturday 7:30pm MST

References[edit]

External links[edit]