A CLOUDY SILVER LINING
Hong Ra On (Kim Yoo Jung) disguises herself as a man and counsels men on dating. After writing a love letter for a certain client, her path crosses with Lee Young, the future Crown Prince Hyomyung (Park Bo Gum). Lee Young is unaware that Ra On is a woman and Ra On is unaware that Young is the Crown Prince. The two start off on the wrong foot but when Ra On is forced to become an eunuch at the palace, their lives become more entwined and their relationship gets more complicated as they begin to develop feelings for one another.
In large part, the ratings success of this drama has to be attributed to Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung for their cute personas and general likability factor. Probably more for the former than the latter. (Sorry, Kim Yoo Jung.) However, there’s no doubt that there’s been a Park Bo Gum fever from the younger fans to the elderly for the fact that Park Bo Gum is not only adorably cute to look at but he’s generally known for having an incredibly sweet personality. I completely get it his popularity and even I can’t help but swoon.
What works about this drama is that the two leads who are both young, cute and effervescent. As love blossoms with their characters, you can’t help feel for them because they depict young love that is not tainted by cynicism of adults. It’s pure and damn charming.
Gummy – 구르미 그린 달빛 (Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds)
To add to the chemistry of the leads, the supporting cast brought their own charm. Jin Young as Kim Yoon Sung seemed to be casted well as Lee Young’s rival for Ra On’s affections. He’s just as charismatic as Park Bo Gum and viewers can sympathize with Ra On’s dilemma about choosing between the two suitors. As for Lee Young’s trusty Royal Guard, Kim Byung Yun (Kwak Dong Yun) was the support when Young and Ra On had no one else to rely on. Even though Byung Yun initially comes across as cold and stoic, viewers never doubted Byung Yun’s loyalty to Young and that speaks volumes as to Kwak Dong Yun strength as an actor.
Also, I didn’t doubt that Jung Hye Sung and Ahn Se Ha could make us laugh as Princess Myung Eun and her suitor Jung Duk Ho, respectively. Their romantic comedy served as a supplementary story that really didn’t have any bearing on the main plot but it was a nice reprieve.
However, I have to admit despite all the cute, loveliness, my main problem with this drama is the lack of substance. Based on the webtoon series, the drama veers vastly off history. I have no problem if a drama that features historical figures chooses to tell a fictional tale. Rather, I care more about whether the story is compelling even if the story is fictional.
There were some key moments early on in the drama which initially captivated me. I was affected by Lee Young’s complicated relationship with his father and King Sunjo’s (Kim Seung Soo) inability to rule effectively as well as the fear of Hong Kyung Rae (Jung Hae Kyun), Ra On’s father, that paralyzed him. Unfortunately, I am disappointed that the drama didn’t dig deeper into these character developments as King Sunjo’s ineffectiveness to rule as a king is really the central dilemma that keeps our main OTP apart.
What we’re left with is yet another drama about corrupt people who are in power at the royal court and royals who are worried about who is next in line for the throne. In fact, Queen Kim (Han Soo Yun) was so over-the-top with her villainous role that at times it was amusing and other times it felt like I was watching a morning makjang drama. It’s a story that we hear over and over again every time a sageuk drama takes place in a palace and what I particularly look for is variation on that story through different kinds of character development such as rooting for an antihero or cheering on a strong female character who doesn’t have to be constantly be rescued by men.
Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds is an enjoyable drama and Park Bo Gum’s is irresistible. The soundtrack is catchy and the period costumes are beautiful. However, it lacks the depth of character development and story that will make this drama last beyond being just the current, trendy hit for the moment.