Posts tagged kdrama
Story: It’s hard being a celebrity. Especially if you are hated by all of South Korea. Ae Jung may have once been the most popular member of the beloved singing sensation The National Treasure Girls, but now, 10 years later, she is at the bottom rung of the celebrity ladder. Her career consists of a series of humiliating ventures in variety shows (where she has to eat noodles on a roller coaster, for example). People blame her for breaking up the band 10 years ago, and it seems that they still enjoy seeing her humliated.
Despite that, Ae Jung chugs on happily, content to make do with what scraps she has left. Then she meets A-list star Dokko Jin, who is both repulsed and fascinated by her. When she is cast in a dating reality show, she meets Yoon Pil Joo, an oriental medicine doctor. Yes, can we say love triangle?
Here to complicate matters for Ae Jung is her former bandmate Kang Se Ri, who has survived the break up and has emerged an A-list star, and who is also dating Dokko Jin. May the best lover win!
This may not be for you if … you can’t stand Dokko Jin. The success of this drama really hinged on Cha Seung Won’s performance as the over-the-top self-absorbed diva that the man is. For the most part, I bought it and enjoyed it. Some parts, I can only squint and wonder if he has somehow escaped from the loony bin.
Fortunately, Cha Seung Won is superb as Dokko Jin. I’ve only seen him in City Hall, so seeing him all crazy like this was a revelation. Dokko Jin is probably the most eccentric character of the 2011 kdrama year. You may not get him, but he is certainly not someone you can forget.
What I love: Okay, I may not understand the weirdness that is Dokko Jin sometimes, but I do love him. There’s something about him that makes you wanna hang around and ogle him. (Cha Seung Won’s super-chiseled abs not withstanding.) From his oh-I’m-so-aware-it’s-fashionable hairstyle, to his booming laughter, to his obsession with potatoes and heartbeats … Dokko Jin is simply endearing.
The calm and perky Ae Jung is a great complement for him, and their romance is one peculiar ride, which is why you want to stay on till the end. It’s sweet, unusual and like Dokko Jin, over-the-top weird.
What didn’t work: It’s actually pretty seamless; nothing much to complain about! However, there are times, especially towards the climatic last few episodes where the writers (the ever-productive and reliable Hong sisters) totally did not capitalise on the tension, and as a result the suspense fell flat in the last two episodes. But that’s probably not the show Greatest Love is. Makjang, it is not.
Watch-o-meter: Very watchable. Sweet, endearing and funny. Fluffy happy viewing. What’s not to like?
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Story: Eun Soo (Eugene) runs a small inn with her father. One day, she finds a man (Ji Sung) who has completely lost his memory. She takes him in and calls him Baek Chang Ho. Together, they form a new family of sorts, running the inn together. They fall in love, and marry, but tragedy strikes immediately: Eun Soo’s father passes away on the night of her wedding, and soon after Chang Ho disappears.
Eun Soo, desperate for some clue about her husband, leaves for Seoul, and finds him, but Chang Ho doesn’t remember her at all. He’s now Kang Hyun Woo, heir to a large company … and now her boss.
They both do not realise that Hyun Woo is in danger. Someone wants him dead – that is why he was attacked and left for dead in the first place.
LOL Plot: Ah. Amnesia. How I love you. Especially if you come in twos. Despite the ridiculousness of the double amnesia, Save the Last Dance for Me is still insanely addictive. (See reasons below.)
What I love: The whole anticipation of “Will he remember her?” Ji Sung and Eugene have sizzling chemistry, and I heart the two of them. And when the moment happens it is heart-meltingly good. Plus, Hyun Woo has some major (and understandable) daddy issues. His too-strict father who insisted that he give up his dreams to be his company heir certainly learnt his lesson quickly when he lost his son. Seeing the two patch up is rather gratifying.
Also, the conspiracy against Hyun Woo kept things interesting, though the villain’s infatuation with Eun Soo was totally weird and unnecessary. (But it’s a kdrama! We have to have a love triangle! Someone shoot me now…)
What drove me nuts: I get that the journey between our two lovers isn’t going to be easy, but it frustrated me to no end that Eun Soo kept their relationship a secret till the very end. Her martyr-ish tendencies drove me bat-shit crazy, and the last few episodes was totally unnecessary to me – just episodes to demonstrate what a selfless, devoted, martyr-ish woman Eun Soo is. Bleah!
Still, I do adore this show because of Ji Sung … he just melts my heart, y’know?
Watch-o-meter: A must if you’re a romantic. Still a must if you’re not. (Self-confessed unromantic speaking here.)
Story: Kim Joo Won (Hyun Bin) is an arrogant chaebol who is the CEO of a department store. He works his people hard, and is brilliant at what he does though he’s barely at work. Ah, you’re probably thinking, yet another aloof but drop-dead-gorgeous chaebol kdrama hero. Almost, but not quite! Well, he is aloof and hugely rude as chaebol hot-guy stereotypes go, he is also incredibly eccentric: He is a fussy metrosexual who loves wearing a sparkly tracksuit so painful to look at it hurts my brain. However, underneath the weirdness and cold exterior is a man who has to hide his dependence on pills to control his claustrophobia. The mix of eccentricity, vulnerability and arrogance makes Joo Won a most fascinating and unique character, one I’ve not seen in Kdrama land for … well, ever.
After a chance encounter with stuntwoman Gil Ra Im (Ha Ji Won), he begins to get fascinated with her, which puzzles both to no end. Then something weird happens – after a cold and stormy night, they awaken the next day as each other – literally!
Now the two have to find a “cure” for their condition while trying to live as each other. Needless to say it leads to quite a few hilarious situations…
Why you should watch this. Like, now:
It’s damn funny
This is a drama I never thought I’d be interested in — I don’t really like body/genre swap flicks, but hearing the raves about this 20-episode show, I decided to find out what the hullabaloo is all about.
I was hooked — as in addicted, hopelessly in love and made a fangirl overnight. It’s one of the few dramas in my seen-it-all life as a movie and TV reviewer that could make me laugh out loud. The script is smart and witty, even if it has plot contrivances that made me roll my eyes sometimes.
It has a brillaint cast
Hyun Bin is a revelation. Is this really the same dude from Worlds Within? He not only has pitch-perfect comedic timing but has great chemistry with Ha Ji Won as well. And he conveyed Joo Won’s contradictory facets perfectly.
The supporting cast is just as wonderful. Yoon Sang Hyun is simply brilliant as Oska (pic, right), Joon Won’s mega-self-absorbed “Hallyu star” cousin. Really, Secret Garden is worth watching just for Oska, and his interaction with Joo Won is pure comedy gold.
Then there’s Secretary Kim (Kim Seong-oh), Joo Won’s overworked and always-frazzled PA who actually makes hysteria cute.
It also has a gorgeous soundtrack: Yoon Sang Hyun sings in this one, and what a voice! I’ve never crushed so hard for kpop before.
What I don’t quite like: I see this in manga all the time – the forceful, semi-abusive boyfriend who disrespects a girl’s boundaries because he’s so in love. Somehow, that’s considered romantic and it boggles my Malaysian mind how this is so. Joo Woon, unfortunately, has that trait in the first few episodes which culminated in a tres uncomfortable bed scene.
Dude, if a girl says No, she isn’t saying, ‘yes please’!
Another thing: Oska’s relationship with Joo Won goes deeper than the rivalry that you initially see in the first few episodes. There are hints of a deep, brotherly love between the two that I just wished they explored more.
Final say: So funny, yet tragic and heart-rending at some parts. A comedy that manages these two well gets a gold star in my books.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars