I know, I know. I still have PART 2 of my Triple intrigue to write about. But I just had to spare some time for another drama that I’m TOTALLY and ABSOLUTELY crazy about these days. Yeap you got it right, it’s none other than City Hall (the official title is The City Hall, but I think it sounds weird..), a drama written by one of my favourite favourite writers, Kim Eon Seok (Lovers, Lovers in Paris, On Air).
I came very late into this drama, despite having listed it as one of my most anticipated K-dramas of the year before it started. I watched like the first 10 minutes of Episode 1, and JUST COULD NOT get into it, and no matter how I tried, nothing in that short 10 mins appealed to me. Kim Sun Ah’s fabulous and all, but I have to admit it was a total bore. I thought, again, she was a wasted talent (remember When Night Comes? Blehhh~~). But then, it’s Kim Eon Seok’s drama. I can’t possibly NOT watch it because I didn’t like the 1st 10 minutes or so right? So, with some assurances and convincing by the City Hallers, the so called fanatics of City Hall (you know who you are), I gave Episode 1 another chance. And then, there was no turning back for me. I was officially hooked, from Ep 3 onwards. Everything after that just turned into gold for me.
Having seen only 6 episodes, I can safely conclude that watching the remaining episodes would definitely be a blast for me (never mind about the countless appraisals I’ve come across in dramabeans, or in the Soompi City Hall thread already). I already know I’m gonna love this drama.
City Hall maintains the same (maybe better) quality that of its predecessors (Lovers and On Air, which I absolutely LOVED to bits), with the use of witty and heart-tugging lines, OTT (not overdone and acceptable) humor, and most of all, the intense and amazing chemistry between its leading couple(s). Some may think Kim Eon Seok’s approach to her dramas may be a bit too glossy (as in too over-touched, and less subtle), or sappy-inclined. But hey, what would K-dramas be without its cliche melodramatic touches? Where would we be able to find the best actors or best actresses out there if not for their intense, nerve-wrecking portrayal of sad, scrying and tear-jearking scenes? Of course, it’s not all conclusive nor exhaustive a factor, but we all know a good crier distinguishes you from the ordinary. (Check out SSH, and tell me if he can cry?)
With a political backdrop as a setting, the drama may appear confusing to an average viewer out there. This includes myself. After 3 episodes, I still couldn’t fully understand and fathom the whole workings of the City Hall in the drama (well or even, a City Hall in general). The issues were too convoluted, and somehow, not very polished (what with the Miss Bandaengi Pageant related to community service and all..etc)… but then, thanx to the wonderful chemistry between Cha Seong Won and Kim Sun Ah, I decided that I’ll forego full appreciation and understanding of the politigal agendas and make do with the basics. My brain will burn if I delve deeper into why and how and what.. politics is definitely not my cup of tea.
Some very few aspects that I really dig about the drama:-
Cha Seong Won as Jo Guk
This guy is a REVELATION. I only saw him in this old drama Bodyguard once, and he didn’t leave me with a good impression. Blame the character, as most of my dislike stemmed from the lack of appeal thereof. But in City Hall, CSW’s spot on as Jo Guk. I love his seriousness, his arrogance, his confidence, his very weird aloofness (I say this because altho he may appear distant, there is this occasional flicker of concern in his eyes that makes him more human than he may appear to be). Not only does the actor pulls off Jo Guk with overflowing charisma, to me, he’s also one of the very few in the drama who manages to downplay his comedic side and yet still appear funny and hilarious at the same time. A lot of actors rely on funny, weird and cute expressions to deliver comical scenes, and we have seen more than enough to know of the better ones (Kang Ji Hwan, Jae Hee, you name them). Cha Seong Won is a lil bit different. Since he’s a serious person, he doesn’t smile all that much in the drama, hence the lack of cute or funny expressions here. But for some weird reason, he manages to make me laugh and giggle in fits whenever he appears on screen (esp when he’s with Mi Rae/KSA), and later on when I think about it, I can’t figure out why. Maybe the funny bug is in him,the actor doesn’t try to act or look funny, but it just flows naturally within him. Apart from that, you also can’t miss his quiet scenes too. I really love it when he stares/looks at something, or whenever he’s in deep thoughts. It’s like his eyes are conveying volumes but yet you don’t know what he’s trying to say.. it’s a weird logic I know, and I don’t know what it means. But what I know of is that watching him is something.
(NB: Kim Sun Ah’s wonderful as Mi-Rae. I love her spunk and endearing personality. She’s cute, funny and fun to be with. But it kinda bugs me how she almost always has to resort to pulling off those childish antics/expressions whenever she reacts or responds to something. It’s not bad nor is it distracting…but maybe I just don’t see how that kind of personality would fit in her becoming mayor. She’s not serious enough? But again, the original mayor’s not any better, and in fact, miles worst than Mi-Rae. Have gotta continue watching to judge…)
Jo Guk and Mi Rae
The picture describes it all.<333
You know, the premise of their relationship is not much or rather, any different from many hate-turn-to-love/bickering couples out there. I’ve seen too many not to notice this typical stereotype being incorporated into almost every K-drama storyline out there. However the difference of GuMi (short for Jo Guk-Mi Rae) from other couples lies in that the degree of intensity and chemistry that they share when they’re both together in a scene. Mi Rae’s bubbly character contrasts that of Jo Guk’s serious character, and when they meet, they click from tip to toe. The intrigue of their relationship is that they do not fight/argue for the sake of arguing only, and more often that not, the heat of their arguments almost always die down very quickly. This minute they’re at loggerheads, the next minute, Jo Guk will be asking Mi Rae if she’s okay, what she’s doing and what not. Now that’s something different… in terms of K-drama norm I say.
Having said that, we can’t possibly leave out Gu-Mi’s intimate and intense interactions right? The scenes which made us edge on our seats, the scenes which raised our adrenaline levels by notches. For example, the tango dance scene, the scene of Jo Guk covering Mi Rae with his coat, the scene of him observing Mi Rae dancing to his coat…etc. All of those were amazingly executed scenes. No words needed, but the message sent across beautifully and effectively.
This reminds me of how much I loved the Lovers couple and the On Air couples. They gave me the exact same feeling, the tummy flutter, the tug of heartstrings, the sudden feeling of being overwhelmed by sadness and pain..etc. City Hall is doing the same thing to me. Kim Eun Seok, you’re definietly one heck of a writer..
The music in City Hall actually borders around mediocre and good IMO. It’s not spectacular or awesome (like Triple’s hehe), but yet it fits perfectly with the mood of the drama. I can’t remember the names of the songs, but I really like the light and funky-cartoonish-voiced song? The one usually played during uplifting, fun and lively scene. It’s really upbeat, and never fails to lighten up the mood whenever it comes on. Kinda resembles Mi-Rae in a sense, because upbeat, lively and fun is her thing. ^^ The other song which I really really like is the very slow song played during the scene of Jo Guk covering Mi Rae with his coat when she was doing the demonstration. (I really need to start remembering the song titles now…a.c.k) The song was kind of out of place I thought, because the song was more romantic and sad, maybe not so suitable for Gu-Mi at that point in time? For because they were not yet in love? But wth, the song is amazing. The person who sang it is amazing, she made me cry. And I still don’t know why… Maybe because I was touched or something.. gahh.. I don’t know.
City Hall’s lines and dialogues are good as those I’ve seen in Lovers and On Air. They’re a good mix of wit and humor. Of course, some of lines are deeper and more meaningful than you think and requires thinking and analysis before we’re able to see the bigger picture. Albeit a bit confusing and convoluted at times (mostly because of the political stuff), the inner message is always meaningful and touching. Again, ppl may lament on Kim Eun Seok’s overuse of sappiness in her lines… but I don’t mind. As long as it fits the drama, the mood, and most importantly, the scene, I’m all for all the sappiness~~
The drama is not perfect of course. It has its flaws and drawbacks. However, I tend to not focus on all of that when I’m watching a drama which I really really like. Cos if I start nitpicking, I’ll end up spoiling the joy and fun. The entertainment value is lost and I would feel as if I’ve wasted my time on crap. It’s better not acknowledging that something’s of zero value when you’re really really divested in it… it makes you feel cheated. And I don’t like that feeling. So sorry guys, nothing constructive to offer. Expect more praises, compliments and good stuff on City Hall next… hehehe…
~~~ CITY HALL RAWKZZZ~~~