You probably won’t believe me, you’ll probably go huh, and you’ll probably condemn my taste.
But yes oh yes, this is so true. So very true.
That I AM insanely addicted to and in love with GFB, way against the better judgement of mine. Way against rational control. I love it even more than Jang Ok Jeong, who is admittedly far more superior in terms of quality of production and acting overall. I’ve been pondering for quite some weeks now. And I came to a silly conclusion that it may very well be the case of my blindsided and biased love for Seung Gi and my inability to NOT love him. In any and every role he plays (regardless of his skill). Whether he’s playing brat silly harsh rude cute, you name it. I just cannot, in any way, control my gushing urge of wanting to touch my screen. I just want to pinch him.
The thing about GFB is that, quality wise, it’s nothing more than a typical and cliched framed Korean drama. You talk about substance and plot, stuff’s pretty much skin deep and superficial. Realism, that’s definitely out of the question. Acting, nobody in the drama is blowing minds or breaking grounds (though Lee Yoo Bi is showing immense potential in sageuk genre). Yet, this drama still manages to hook me, it gets to every nook and corner of my heart, and it makes me feel gushes and gamut of emotions. I cried, laughed and ached. The characters, their interactions, most of which involve Kang Chi, Chung Jo and Yeo Wool, they get to me every single time. It’s like there’s this invisible hook connecting me with the characters in the show. Nothing is superior or stellar in this show, but it’s emotionally engaging and addictive to a point that it makes me feel and care. For the characters, the things that happen to them, and more importantly, their emotional experiences. I’ve even resorted to accepting the drama for what it is on the front, despite its shallowness and lack in subtlety.
Unlike a lot of dramas that I’ve liked and loved from the get go and which love had waned and dwindled along with time, my feelings about GFB had gone from MEH -> OK -> Like -> Love -> Addiction. It took a few eps for everything to sink in, that I’m in this for the long haul, that I cannot pull myself out anymore (assuming that it continues to be just as how it’s been for the past 4 eps). They say that sometimes when the heart takes over, even your brain can’t rationalise it.
What I love about GFB (from my own subjective point of view), is that it gives Kang Chi and the people around him importance to his existence as a human and/or a beast. The drama does not only focus on his journey, but also zeroes in on the people who perceives him to be someone or something that he thinks he isn’t. They may seem relative, but their presence in Kang Chi’s life make him more than what he is. These people, particularly Chung Jo and Yeo Wool, gives him better ground of control and motivates him to make choices. Choices that he never thought he could have from the get go. Chung Jo pushes him to make the right choices grounded on rationale while Yeo Wool motivates him by her offer of friendship and comradeship. I find their relationship with Kang Chi equally beautiful and endearing, in different ways and levels. And more than anything, emotionally gratifying. Their interactions and scenes are so delicately carved out that even the lacking in the actors’ performances can be overlooked.
It’s a commonplace in Korean dramas to have the usual love triangle or rivalry to spice up the plot, but it’s rare to have one root for the guy and 2 different girls. It’s always the main girl/female lead (here Suzy) or none. In some cases, ppl root for the other girl but know they will never be one(because guy will always be in love with main girl). This is my first in a very long time, that I’m actually rooting for Kang Chi with both Chung Jo and Yeo Wool (not that there will be ever be a win-win situation, because I know I’ll feel awful for one girl for sure). Not just because Seung Gi has amazingly palpable chemistry with both girls, but also because of what his character’s been through with both girls, who love him unconditionally and who happen to be awesome individuals in their own ways. Chung Jo is feisty and opinionated, but sensitive and thoughtful given her circumstances. Though she may have been drained by self-loathing, you could still sense her fighting strength and perseverance. Yeo Wool, on the other hand, is righteous and kind, and tries to make and think the best of everyone before jumping to conclusions (yeah Gon you!). And how many times has she saved Kang Chi? Think that. 2 awesome ladies, how lucky a man Kang Chi is?
I’m not gonna debate as to who Kang Chi loves because it’s somehow a moot point. We all know he will end up with Yeo Wool (because Suzy is lead). But I do not believe what he’d been thru with Chung Jo was mere pity and first love crushing. Their scenes have been etched too deeply and memorably in my heart that they cannot just be a passing cloud of affection. What I don’t want from writer, please please do not ruin Chung Jo to make way for the OTP. Please.
To the contrary of many who do not think Seung Gi has what it takes to become an actor, I’ve always had a different opinion. I’ve always taken his side when it comes to acting because for some reason, albeit his tendencies to over-punctuate and his lack of reign on his unbridled emotions, he’s always able to get me into a whirlpool of emotions, no matter what they are. My bias is of course part of the reason, but there’s always a sense of warmth and sincerity in his conveyance of emotions, that deters me from cursing or cringing of my TV screen. Only a few actors are able to do that to me (Shin Ha Kyun, Ha Jung Woo and Kang Dong Won to name a few and they are way better actors than Seung Gi), but Seung Gi, he’s just special, different. I can’t seem to not LOVE him. Tell me it’s an unhealthy obsession.
While Lee Yoo Bi is running away with a lot of scenes in the show (I think she’s really impressive in her first sageuk, has poise and does the speech pretty well), Seung Gi and Suzy manage pretty okay themselves (if you disregard their major fail in sageuk speech). There were scenes in which Seung Gi’d managed to show restraint and make me cry a baby, there were scenes in which Suzy’d managed to do more than required. The point I want to make is that, they may not have packed major punches, but in certain scenes, when everything was set and put into motion, they’d managed to immerse themselves into their characters and sell those scenes with more conviction than usual. In those scenes they made me care and feel for them. Take for instance this scene:-
This scene was my favourite scene from Ep 9, and possibly my favouritest out of the entire 10 eps which have aired. My heartstrings tugged immensely when watching Yeo Wool approach beastly Kang Chi with fear and guard and without a single concern of her own safety. I cannot not acknowledge the level of concern and affection she has for somebody who might not return her love, and who might who knows one day, chow her down. I know it looks cheesy, but I cannot cast away the endearing feeling of love and compassion shown by Yeo Wool, which comforted and tamed Kang Chi to a certain point. I loved that their dynamics changed from that point onwards and that now at least he had one person who could reach out to him in times of need. A person who could understand his position and where he came from. The beauty in their relationship stems from Yeo Wool’s sacrificial gesture and act of support for Kang Chi, and the very fact that she doesn’t expect or want anything from him. She cares for him and tries to bring out the best in him, she goes miles for him. How is it possible not to love such a heroine? Both Seung Gi and Suzy nailed this scene spot on, with the right grip of emotions, no more no less. Scenes like this make up for everything lacking. The right time and moment for the characters to breathe.
I initially thought Kang Chi’s discovery of Yeo Wool’s gender change the course of things for me (like YAY finally Kang Chi and see Yeo Wool as a girl and go court her or something), and while it did for the characters in the drama (as predicted), I found myself even more affected by the possibility that their friendship and comradeship will change for the worst. They’ve forged such a comfortable and lovely friendship that it will be sad to see their growing love for each other change everything. Chung Jo is a factor, Yeo Wool’s dad is a factor, Jo Gwan Woong, arrhhhh… I already smell an overload of melodrama coming our way.
I dunno where drama will go from here, how writer will pave way for Chung Jo to leave the triangle, how drama will deal with the Gu Family Book and so on. I’ve heard rumors of Kang Chi’s parents returning but I’m slightly turned off by that piece because I have a feeling it will take the focus away from Kang Chi’s journey. I can only hope that drama keeps hooking me the way it’s been the past few eps, I am not going to ask for more.
And more Kang-Jo and Kang-Dam please! <33
Credits: owner GFB pictures as tagged / GFB baidu