Just Bananas About: Week of 9/25/15

I think I found my new favorite drama for the Fall.  It’s still veeery early in the game for She Was Pretty but I like that it’s from the same producer as Kill Me, Heal Me and even brought back together Hwang Jung Eum and Park Seo Joon.

While I thought her chemistry with Ji Sung was great in that drama, especially with Cha Do Hyun and the Shin Se Gi personalities, I also thought she had great chemistry with Park Seo Joon.  Although their characters were of no blood relation, the fact that they grew up as brother and sister was always a squicky, sticking point for me.

Here they play Kim Hye Jin (Hwang Jung Eum) and Ji Sung Joon (Park Seo Joon), two elementary school friends who are each other’s first loves.  She was the class beauty while he was the fat kid.  Circumstances separated them while they were young but they never forgot each other.  Fast forward to the present, Hye Jin’s family has experienced some hard times and she’s got frizzy hair and rosacea, a trait she’s inherited from her dad.  On other hand, he’s grown up to be quite the hottie… with perfectly coifed hair.

Park Jin Young – 그녀는 예뻤다

박진영 – 그녀는 예뻤다

He gets in contact with her again and asks to meet up but they are each expecting that the other will just be an older version of their former selves.  Sung Joon walks right by Hye Jin, spotting a pretty girl in the distance, and Hye Jin lacks the courage to face Sung Joon.  Instead, she asks her best friend and roommate, Min Ha Ri (Go Joon Hee), to pose as her and end the night be saying that she’s leaving the country to study abroad in England.

However, there’s a hitch in Hye Jin’s plan as she ends up being hired at the same company where Sung Joon works form.  Hye Jin agonizes over whether Sung Joon will recognize her (he does not), it causes her to be so nervous around him that she ends up causing a lot of havoc at the fashion magazine they work for.  Not to mention that she doesn’t know anything about fashion, makeup and the like.

The first 2 episodes made me tear up a lot, especially every time they would play the Carpenter’s “Close to You”.  It was a totally unexpected reaction for a romcom but it was great that the drama quickly got to the heart of these characters.

Renoir’s painting, Dance in the Country, is referenced a lot in the drama because our two main characters point out the Peering Girl (빼꼬미 소녀 (Ppae Kko Mi So Nyeo)), a girl tucked in the shadows who seems to be staring at the couple dancing.  The term sounds a lot better and less leery in Korean than it does in English.  I guess I would call her the Unnoticed Girl.  Now, as an adult, Hye Jin has become that girl as she watches her best friend with the guy that she likes.

Kim Min Seung – 쿵쿵쿵 (Throb, throb, throb)*

*쿵쿵쿵 (Kkoong, kkoong, kkoong) is an onomatopoeia typically used to describe a loudly, beating heart like when you’re in love.  I don’t feel as if pitter-patter would accurately describe that sound.

The other great thing about the drama is the supporting cast and the characters that they are playing.  Ha Ri and Hye Jin call each other Husband and Wife, respectively, and Ha Ri never thinks less of Hye Jin.  I love that scene when Ha Ri is at her glitzy birthday party and is not embarrassed when Hye Jin shows up in her t-shirt and jeans.  In fact, when one of her beaus makes a condescending comment, she sticks it to him.  She’s cool in my book.

As for Kim Shin Hyuk (Choi Si Won), he’s an oddball.  But a hilariously funny oddball who nicknames Hye Jin as Jackson (as in Michael Jackson) for the high-waisted pants, white socks and black shoes that she wears.  I can already see the drama hinting at his past basically telling us not to judge him by the cover.  However, other than as the comic relief, I’d like to get to know his character more and see what sets him apart from Sung Joon.

In episodes 3 and 4, the drama is becoming more like your traditional K-Drama romcom.  I expect that Hye Jin is going to have a makeover and it’s already looking like Ha Ri is really falling for Sung Joon.  This week’s episodes weren’t great as the first week but I’m still hopeful.

The thing that grated on my nerves was seeing Sung Joon be a jerk to Hye Jin over and over again.  His barking and patronizing tone was getting on my last nerve and I was relieved when Hye Jin finally gave him a piece of her mind.

However, the drama had been hinting all along that something was off with Sung Joon with his inability to hear other people or constantly bumping into doors.  At first, I thought it was there for comic relief but now that it’s happened a few times, I’m seeing that there may be a reason for that.  I was intrigued to learn that in order to become the hottie Sung Joon of today, the drama hints at a possible eating disorder?  It may account for a number of things including his inability to concentrate, his lack of tolerance for alcohol and his mood swings.  It’s such a taboo subject for women but even more so for men.  At least, that’s what I would assume.

Perhaps the reason why Sung Joon detests Hye Jin is because she reminds him of his former self, except she dons the name of someone he deemed as a perfect beauty.  You think that would garner sympathy but if he detested his old self, maybe not.  And yet, there are moments of familiarity that registers with Sung Joon when he sees her.

He did make me swoon a bit at the end of episode 4.  With the help of Shin Hyuk, Hye Jin helps to bring the drunk Sung Joon home.  She notices the framed puzzle of Dance in the Country and sees the missing piece where the Peering Girl would have been.  He gave that to Hye Jin before they parted as children.  He wakes up and startles her from behind and she inadvertently knocks over the framed puzzle.

Frightened, she takes a step back and is about to step on some broken glass when he pulls her towards him.  Aaah that lingering look gets me every time but I know that come next week he’ll just resume being a jerk and push her away.  Maybe he’ll do that literally too.  Still, I can’t help but be nervous about when he’ll find out the truth and how he’ll react.  And will she become a more confident person?

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