Gah, I should have known, should have learned this lesson earlier on. Aim high, you fall painfully. Aim low, you reach higher. I shouldn’t have written that QIHM writer appreciation post in such an elaborate manner, wherein I’d praised Writer Song to the highest of heavens, for her exquisite writing and approach in the drama. Shouldn’t have done so before drama ends. I’m not going to negate whatever I’d said then, I still stand firmly by my words about the drama, it’d been a lovely haven of awesomeness at least up until Ep 10. But as the old adage goes, the more you expect, the more disappointed you will be. True in every sense of the word, as I feel the slump of disappointment mount on after watching recent eps of QIHM. I feel as if drama has lost its throttling steam, it’s not the same as before. I hope the last 4 eps will do better plot-wise, but there’s an increasingly annoying and nudging notion inside me which suggests otherwise. I hope Writer Song will and can prove me wrong.
A lovely picture, a lovely OTP, a lovely atmosphere. What’s not to love? Our ever ideal hubby/BF-material Boong Do is back for good. And is planning to spend the rest of his life with Hee Jin, disregarding the mounting burden surrounding his past off his back for good. It’s great, it’s romantic, it’s what we die-hard romantics have been wishing for to happen. Our fairytale love story is coming to fruition for reals. What more can I want?
That’s exactly my point, I wanted something more. I had expected something more. More than just the fairytale romance between 2 individuals separated by time and space. Something more down to earth genuine and honest. Something real between 2 people. Ep 1-10 had all that, everything was imperfectly perfect and natural. The relationship between BD and HJ, the way they interacted, the way they communicated. Watching them bounce words of each other was gratifying and pleasant to watch. They were plain awesome perfection. But Ep 11 and Ep 12, hmmm.. both episodes left me unusually cold. And surprisingly quite unaffected. When I thought I’d giggle and smile with the handful of BD-HJ scenes, I found myself feeling just well, OK. My heart lacked the heart-thumping beat as before, my tummy didn’t flutter at all, and my mind floated in and out of the drama. I couldn’t believe myself either, I thought I was the only one, and I’m going to say it here, I felt bored?
A lot of things changed when BD returned to the modern world, the people around him, the characters, and even some of the dynamics between himself and Hee Jin. I appreciate that the writer/production team took time to develop BD-HJ scenes more, after all, fan service was exactly what they have been doing up until now (the incessant release of OTP BTS pictures are welcoming, but the more I see of them, the more I smell of well-planned promotion here). However, it’s apparent that the writer has somehow been sacrificing parts of the bigger picture and story (BD’s past included) to cater to us squealing-for-OTPlove fans. It’s not that I’m against that, but I can’t say that I’m loving how it’s done, at the expense of our characters.
I mentioned earlier that I love the writer’s take on her drama characters, in that they’re not entirely 100% caricatures of sorts, they’re unique in their own special way. But 11 and 12 showed exactly that (you cannot run away from being typical in Kdrama huh)? BD lost part of his genuine BD-ness, and HDM, became a total immature wreck, what happened to my lovely characters? I’m not feeling BD as much right now because I feel that his characterisation has weakened, in a way that he’s losing a dignified sense of righteousness in him. Some episodes back, I loved him for his righteousness and assertion of confidence on things he believed, but now, it seems as love has shadowed his eyes. He’s becoming a tad too smooth i.e. adapting a lil bit too well into modern BD. So well that I’m slowly losing touch. I know very well that HJ’s important to him, but shouldn’t he have displayed concerns for what’s happening in his past as well? Jasu’s still on the run trying to help his master escape, and he might well harm his servant and the gisaeng his loyal friend (too easily in fact), where’s BD? Hee Jin is still awesome and winning as ever, but BD ah BD, I want your old you back.
Yeah, I’m probably on my nit-picking mode over-analysing trivial details. But it doesn’t change my opinion that 2 eps have been wasted on excessive BD-HJ-ness when issues regarding BD’s past and present could have been dealt with. A chinggu I know mentioned that she’d squealed and swooned so much in the earlier episodes, even when BD and HJ’d failed to share a single scene together. But so much OTP-ness have been given in the last 2 episodes, and she literally felt NOTHING. How ironic. But I totally understand her, do you?
A Gentleman’s Dignity 01
There’s a reason why AGD’s poster’s smack right on top of my post. As you might well have guessed, the first episode was so disappointing it’s not even funny. I don’t think it’s as awful as some of my fellow drama chinggus have suggested, but they’re well ahead of me in terms of K-drama so I won’t judge. But yes, AGD’s pilot episode let me down so so so bad.T_T
I’m saying this with a heavy heart because I have quite a soft spot for Kim Eun Seok. She’s not exactly the most subtle and nuanced writer out there, and most of the time she banks on snazz and style to sail her boat. But she does hit some right buttons for me occasionally, when I care of course. Unfortunately, not even her so called witty dialogues in AGD1, coupled with her star-studded cast (Jang Dong Gun and Kim Ha Neul?), could get me to like her characters and her story. Everything about pilot just felt so washed out, manufactured and forced.
First off the characters, the only people I find a hard time liking – the main leads! Yeah, Do Jin and Yi Soo, the characters which I should be loving right now, well just because they’re the main OTP. I don’t have any problems with the bromance because they are quite adorable (and the ajusshis are doing a spot on job). But I have major major problems with Do Jin and Yi Soo, in a way that, OK, I get why they’re acting the way they are, but I do NOT in any way like them as individual characters. He’s a40 year old self-assured narcissist with a temper problem while lady’s your typical nicey nicey lady. Hello, Kim Eun Seok, some originality please? But that’s not the major gripe, it’s actually the acting which isn’t doing anything for me so far. JDG you look perfect, so statuesque and handsome I’m envious of Go So Young, but sadly you are not doing anything for me. I dislike his course voice (can’t change anything about that), the way he talks (it’s too evident he’s trying hard to come across aloof and recalcitrant), and how he tries to look good/pretty when he’s saying or doing something. Vanity issues? I dunno. And KHN, I think her acting years are already behind her (I really do like her, and have adored her in On Air). But I just cannot buy her as a 30 something unattractive woman who isn’t capable of getting the man she wants. It’s so obviously the other way round.. writer just wants to push it too far.
That said, it’s just the 1st episode. And I certainly did get some laughs out of the funny bromance antics. Just that my expectations have lowered to the lowest of levels after 1, and I don’t think I will expect anything from Kim Eun Seok anymore. I’ll just watch for the sake of eye-candy and the bromance.
Dr. Jin 01
Mr. Hand Towel oh Mr. Hand Towel, how much more awful can you get? I’m not going to sugarcoat or anything, it’s the clearest truth of all – SSH is really blowing everything out of the water in this drama, in a bad way. And Jae Joong? I have never EVER seen sageuk speech or expression done any worse. I did mention that he looked really good in the garb earlier in a tweet, but his acting? It’s ruining everything.
Okay, here’s come the irony. Dr. Jin’s first episode was not a good start. The writing, acting (save for Lee Bum Soo, who’s awesome as always and expected), directing and music SUCKED. I’ve never laughed so much over such an abundance of flaws in a drama it’s just downright hilarious. I know the story’s following the Jap. version very closely, but I’m gonna disregard that for a while now. Just based on what I’ve seen, I wasn’t impressed AT ALL. BUT, the big but hehe…it’s a tad more interesting and intriguing that AGD for me! How’s that? Everything single element in AGD pawns Dr. Jin, but strangely, I’m more drawn to the latter!
There’s the saying that nothing can get worse when you’ve already expected the worse. That’s Dr. Jin for me. I think if writing or editing can be polished or done better, I’d be able to sit thru the drama in spite of the horrendous cringeworthy acting from our lead guys. Having had no prior exposure to the original, it’s true that my interest is piqued from the happenings in Ep 1 alone. Time traveling is a non-issue right now (how many have we had already?), it’s the execution of how over-confident Jin Hyuk grows to become a better doctor in his Joseon ventures which makes me a tad more intrigued, more than anything. I have zero expectations that SSH and JJ will improve, nor do I think they can. Let’s just say that something about Dr. Jin’s keeping me in the loop.
I promised I would come to this soon, and here it is! But it’s gonna be short, because I believe I have raved and rambled enough about the drama (and Seung Gi!) here.
K2H ended a week ago, some people left with disappointment, some in content, some happy. I understood all because I could relate in all ways. K2H wasn’t a perfect drama, it had major writing loopholes, elements which stretched reality to the extreme, and execution which failed to deliver towards the mid and ending part of the drama. It also tackled an extremely sensitive political issue, and had treaded on a thin line whilst in a not so well defined relationship with their counterpart NK in RL. Overall, it wasn’t an easy drama to make, let alone to deliver or to satisfy. People either liked it, or hated it.
K2H’s extremely special to me (not just because I adore Seung Gi OK?). I wasn’t oblivious to its shortcomings, but the brilliance amongst its imperfection – it was still able to come through and move me, even at the very end. I’ve read a lot of comments lambasting the writer for over-emphasising on the political rift between the 2 countries, and ultimately sacrificing Shi Kyung to heighten the tension and dramatics in the drama. But I somehow felt indifferent to and not so bothered by all of that. Not that I disagreed, but I just felt that somehow those plot devices made a whole lot sense in Jae Ha and Hang Ah’s venture to get together. Some things didn’t have to happen (I know many wailed over SK’s death, I did too), but IMO they weren’t unreasonable and illogical. I actually appreciated that the writers had taken a bold step forward in their attempts to bring to us a forbidden love story set in a modern world, but filled with hindrances of all kinds, and to stretch it even further, stumbling blocks of a political nature. It’s somehow too long a stretch, but somehow it felt possible and believable to me. Direction was mostly good thruout the drama, music lovely (tho a tad too overplayed at times) and pacing, pitch perfect without any signs of dragginess at all.
But amongst all, ultimately, it’s the discovery of a new Seung Gi and Jo Jung Seok which had ended up being the biggest gratification of all. Seung Gi, I’ve said enough, look back at my posts. He’s not quite there yet, in his venture to become a legitimate actor, but he’s slowly marching there, with tremendous improvement with every drama he takes. His performance of Jae Ha will remain a memorable one for me. It’s not perfect or flawless, but I was moved in every single way. He was the epitome of insecure and vulnerable in this drama, and his growth touched me like no other. Jo Jung Seok, he’s perfect, he’s the best actor in here. Stat. And the rest, from the badasss Ha Ji Won and Lee Yoon Ji, to the gritty menace that was of Yoon Je Moon’s Bong Gu (he will always be the most amusing psychopathic villain to me) to the ever so endearing Lee Soon Jae.. to every single supporting character in the drama, kudos for without them, it wouldn’t have been such a brilliant ride of enjoyment and tears for me.
All in all, I had a wonderful time watching K2H. All the joy and tears combined, everything will remain a good memory in my year of 2012 dramas. It isn’t in my top 3 of dramas watched this year, but it will definitely remain one of the most enjoyable and moving. Like I said earlier in my posts, sometimes you don’t need to be dumbfounded or blown away by a drama, all you need is just to be moved.
And K2Hearts, you moved me pretty damn good!
Credits: Photos as tagged