LESS THAN A B-CLASS DRAMA
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t very into the first one either. Sometimes teen dramas seem so trivial to me now. (So says the person who still loooves The Vampire Diaries.) But I was riding the Kang Sora and Kim Jung Tae wave from liking the work they did in their previous projects (e.g. Sunny and Can’t Lose, respectively) and so I thought about giving this teen drama a chance. I even defended it on the forums in the beginning but it didn’t even live up to the predecessor.
The story of the Kirin Arts High School students continues but the school is no longer considered elite as the school has gone through changes due to financial hardships and is in danger of closing. Enter the president of OZ Entertainment Agency, Lee Kang Chul (Kim Jung Tae), who brings his idol stars over to the school to avoid the law where they are prohibited from performing after 10pm.
Competition lines are drawn between the idols and the students of Kirin.
Uuugh, idols. I think this is a clear example of placing a fresh, new idol in front of a camera without much experience. I wasn’t swayed by JB’s (JB) acting as it seemed stilted. An excellent dancer and the boy can cry a tear or two but his facial expressions either seemed wooden or tried too hard to show pain.
His inexperience shows how he’s unable to find that delicate balance between emotions for the lead and it was more glaring when placed opposite Kang Sora. I think it would have served the drama better to make him a supporting cast member.
And I’m a little curious to see if Jr. would have been better to play the lead. It’s a little hard to tell as Jr.’s Ui Bong was comical so I’m not sure if he’d be able to do the more dramatic moments.
Additionally, I had no sympathy for Rian (Park Ji Yeon) and it wasn’t because she started off as the antagonist.
The drama tried to garner sympathy from viewers by depicting an immature, stage mom that Rian had to endure. That could have been a really interesting storyline but it wasn’t dealt with much of an arc and it ended before it even began.
Jung Yeon Joo is another newcomer. She plays Lee Seul, daughter to Lee Kang Chul, who acts out because of the lack of attention or care from her parents.
I think she was okay and would like to comment more about her acting but I don’t feel that I’ve seen enough to really make an assessment. Plus, her story was one of those arcs that ended before it began which I’ll discuss more about in a moment.
On the other hand, Sora did the best with what was written for her and although Hye Sung’s sweetness was a little too sugary sweet for my taste I still liked her character.
This is also Jung Jin Woon’s first time acting but I think he did a decent job as the scruffy, indie wannabe.
I really liked their rapport more than with JB for several reasons. First, there was the disparity between the acting. Secondly, I liked the opposites attract factor between Yoo Jin and Hye Sung.
Yoo Jin has a natural musical talent while Hye Sung struggled, similar to JB.
Although another way to look at the Hye Sung and JB couple was that one was an idol and the other was just a normal student. So in a way, I guess they are opposites à la West Side Story. But for me, the other pairing seems more deep.
The teachers at the Kirin School were also underwhelming. One of which I found downright annoying. Besides Joo Jung Wan (Kwon Hae Hyo) and Yoo Jin’s relationship there didn’t seem to be as much heart to heart mentoring.
However, in turn, the students do inspire the teachers. It’s kinda funny that Yang Jin Man ends up auditioning in front of Park Jin Young, aka himself.
Actually, I don’t know if this is a positive but the whole drama felt short. It ended before I realized it. Perhaps there were too many characters, too many story angles but there were so many things to follow that I never felt I got a real resolution to anything.
Unlike You’ve Fallen for Me, the drama had some tension elements working for it but the drama was anticlimactic. The tension just faded until their emotions about their problems subsided. And the time jump at the end? Ay, let’s not even talk about that feeble attempt to quickly wrap things up.
The one thing this drama had working for it were the musical performances. They were of high quality and coincided with the themes of the episode. They also didn’t repeat songs until you were sick to death of it. (Ahem, **coughThe Musicalcough**.) The performances seemed fresh and relevant.
I did love the duet competition the best and especially JB and Hye Sung’s performance of Jo Yong Pil’s “단발머리 (Bobbed-haired Girl)”.
It’s such a retro song for the high school crowd.
While not fangirling about the Dream High 1, I did like the OST. I don’t feel that same zeal for the songs here. Even though Kang Sora isn’t a singer, I would have preferred her version of “Hello to Myself” as I liked the humble, unremarkable singer aspect to her voice. Made the lyrics more poignant than Wonder Girl’s Ye Eun’s version. Other than this, the only other song I really liked was “B급 인생 (B-Class Life)”. Cute, relevant and you hear a cast of voices.