I’ll start with this drama because it hasn’t been too long since it ended. I love this drama and I don’t know how many ways to express it. Okay, let’s start with this, a ‘lil project that took over part of my life last month…
DING DONG! WE GOT A GREAT DRAMA!
This is the 7th drama for the Hong sister writing duo. Including this, I’ve seen 4 of their dramas and I think this is the best one to date. You’ve got the acting, the writing, the directing and the music all working in perfect harmony together. It is definitely a trendy and lest your eyes roll, this is one trendy that really can get you rolling on the floor with laughter in one minute and tearing up from the core message of this drama.
The drama stars Cha Seung Won and Gong Hyo Jin with Yoon Kye Sang and Yoo In Ah. Cha Seung Won is a fairly new actor for me. I know that’s he’s been in tons of movies but bringing him to the smaller screen definitely widened his fanbase. He’s quite masterful at approaching his character, Dokko Jin, with the right amount of insanity, childishness and heart that you end up accepting all of him. So while some may have criticized that he was being too wacky in the early episodes, he is definitely a character worth sticking with just to witness Cha Seung Won’s range as an actor. Gong Hyo Jin (aka Gongverly) often plays the sweet, girl-next-door. I’ve been a fan of her since Thank You and I think in the hands of a lesser actress the audience might view Ae Jung as a pathetic character rather than a misunderstood scapegoat. It’s a fine line that she’s walking and there is a certain gentleness and practicality in which Gong Hyo Jin plays this role that makes you want to root for her.
Yoon Kye Sang has been around for awhile and most recently in the disappointing Road No. 1. He’s actually still a pretty new actor for me as well since I’ve only seen him in two other dramas. I think most notably his work in Who Are You? was fantastic due to playing his own cantankerous character as well as imitating Kang Nam Gil’s mannerisms seamlessly. I was excited to see what he could do as the loving Yoon Pil Joo because frankly his character description was rather boring. Yoo In Na is fresh off her success playing the plucky best friend/roommate to the heroine in Secret Garden. She took on the second lead in this drama as the bratty, scheming, jealous type.
The story is about a has-been k-pop singer, Gu Ae Jung (Gong Hyo Jin) and a A-list top star, Dokko Jin (Cha Seung Won), who meet and get involved in each other’s careers. Gu Ae Jung makes a living from doing various variety shows which often makes her look foolish due to her extreme unpopularity.
She gets invited to do one such variety show called Couple Making which is hosted by her former girl group member, Kang Seri. Couple Making is a Bachelor type of program that pairs the bachelor with eligible female candidates in the entertainment industry. Despite a misunderstanding from their first meeting, Yoon Pil Joo, a kindly Oriental Medicine Doctor is drawn to Gu Ae Jung and keeps her on the program despite protests from the producers and Kang Seri. At the same time, through their many encounters Dokko Jin begins to fall in love with Gu Ae Jung and jealous over the fact that she is on Couple Making with Yoon Pil Joo.
I briefly mentioned Dokko Jin but you can’t talk about this drama without talking about his character. It has been criticized that Cha Seung Won’s acting makes him look insane but I think he takes some calculated choices when approaching this character. A heart condition required him to have surgery 10 years ago during which he heard Gu Ae Jung’s National Treasure Girl’s song “Pitter Patter”. As a result of being a young, sick child, he is reluctant to show any physical weakness which explains why he can be cold, distant, even a little robotic. Dokko-bot doesn’t know how to act around other people so he often offends and insults them. Sounds like every other k-drama hero, right? The difference with him is his childishness extends to the fact that he doesn’t know anything about love and confronts it with a refreshing honesty. He doesn’t beat around the bush but instead gets straight to the point which makes the angsty scenes watchable because it isn’t bogged down by a bunch of misunderstandings that could be cleared up with a simple explanation. While Dokko Jin is childish, I also think that the fact that he’s a big action star as a reason why Cha Seung Won chooses to overact in scenes like the Sebakwi Quiz scene in Episode 1 and running Gu Ae Jung off the road after his confession scene in Episode 5. For all of these reasons, Dokko Jin is an awesome character.
Yoon Pil Joo and Gu Ae Jung are a different breed of character. As a viewer, I’m glad to see that these two characters don’t get together at the end. They are too similar and I like that Dokko Jin and Gu Ae Jung change each other for the better. As for a second lead, Pil Joo does his best in winning over viewer’s hearts. He’s just that sweet that whenever he does something it is not coming from a place of malice. In this world, Pil Joo is the underdog and who doesn’t want to root for the underdog? (Dokko Jin is only emotionally the underdog.) On paper, Pil Joo’s quite boring but Yoon Kye Sang also makes poignant choices for this role. Yoon Kye Sang uses a soft-spoken tone even when he’s angry. Like Dokko Jin he is straight forward and honest. When his mother opposes Gu Ae Jung, he remains firm but gentle. These decisions (kinda) make the choice harder on the audience as well as Gu Ae Jung for the OTP and you feel like you’re going through the same emotional rollercoaster as Gu Ae Jung.
Finally, the measure of a great trendy with the audience was that this drama was realistic enough to show us a glimpse of the inner-workings of the entertainment industry but kept it fun and fresh by being punny, making poignant culture references and introducing the fans to a whole new set of catchphrases to use. We have to attribute that to the great writing of the Hong sisters and the great delivery by the actors.
So here we are at the end of my first review for this site. Feel free to linger around as I give my thoughts on the best and worst stuff that the tube has to offer us. And if you think about talking back in the comments, I’m gonna sue! So think of it as an honor that I’m even writing this for you! 😉