Second impressions of the Gu Family…

Unfortunately, it’s not good. My frowny-face deepened after the second episode of Gu Family Book. murder photo ScreenShot2013-04-11at22128PM_zps37a7caff.pngAnd it’s causing me to nitpick a story that doesn’t stand up to it, and in all fairness shouldn’t stand up to it. (It’s a mini-tragedy for goodness sake! A plot that exists solely to cause the actual plot! It’s not fair to nitpick!) But…

Spoilers below:

The problem is our main lead (for the mini-tale — mother of our future lead), became very unsympathetic for me. She’d kind of teetered that way in the first episode in that everyone around her died to keep her from being raped. Worse, they were younger than her and, in my opinion, her responsibility to keep safe (her little brother and her maid). It made her seem a little too Miss Precious Perfect at times. Though I’d remind myself, she never asked for their sacrifice and made her choices thinking she was protecting them. (She sent her brother off on his own because she thought she was about to get caught, being injured and all. And she certainly didn’t expect Dam’s fate.)

But then came the second episode where she rejects her husband because he outs his beast-side…  to save her life! I can kind of understand her freakout initially (but only kinda’ because seriously he’d been doing a lot of freaky, “this guy can’t be completely natural,” things around her, like catching butterflies in a bag and making ivy grow in super fast forward) — but to actively betray him to the people he’d just saved her from? I began to disconnect from her confusion.

Because seriously, who’d you trust more?

badguy photo ScreenShot2013-04-11at22124PM2_zps55954f12.png

Mr. Rapey McRapes-a-lot?

butterflies photo ScreenShot2013-04-12at60458PM_zps4bc74911.png

Or Mr. “♥I brings you moar butterflies! ♥”?

And then, after he’s killed while reemphasizing his sincere love for her, she realizes she’s pregnant. So of course she tries to kill the baby. Multiple times. While being very screechy and woe’s-me about the whole thing. Which was just one more rejection towards this guy who’d saved her several times and whom she’d claimed to love. Which had me counting up the number of people who’d died to keep her safe and wondering why she was worth it.

I don’t know. I was unhappy. Maybe I’m too weaned on Buffy the Vampire Slayer to fully appreciate the shock of finding out your true love’s a monster, but — the girl did not impress. And I’d honestly be dropping the show at this point except… her story is over. And I feel like I should give the actual main characters a shot at regaining my interest.

I’m going in with crossed arms though — which is probably unfair, but there you are.

beast photo ScreenShot2013-04-12at60724PM1_zpsb99e2eb7.png

Also? Not actually that beast-y… in the grand scheme of things, anyway.


8 thoughts on “Second impressions of the Gu Family…

  1. My thoughts almost exactly. The 1st ep didn’t impress me much and the 2nd one even less. I’ve seen better fantasy sageuk executions where I was onboard even with the baddies from get go. Because everyone made sense within the context. My initial thoughts on this one were that it was rather predictable, often irritating and ‘meh’ overall. I’m going to watch a few more epis with the main cast to see if I’ll like it more then. So, we’ll see….

    • I kept trying to like Seo-hwa.. and would even manage it for several scenes but then she’d do something and my sympathy would shrink up. (And I really didn’t like that the monk’s initial, “Women! Nothing but trouble!” opinion gets validated in the end.)

      But… maybe the actual leads will be better?

      • I didn’t even have any need to like Seo Hwa, though it would have been nice to feel at least a little sympathy. But the actress wasn’t very good at it and I bet that was one reason the chacter came off the way she did. I’ve seen people praising Choi Jin Hyuk’s acting but I don’t think he was any better actually.

        As for the continuation….. well, it probably depends on what’s your take on Seung Gi and Suzy . Fans will probably be happy but mere cute doesn’t cut it with me in the long run so whether I’ll stick with this or not remains to be seen.

        • Maybe a better actor could have worked against the text a little (or added to the text?) — looked more conflicted than self-righteous when they arrived at the caves; brought more self-hating madness to the “must kill baby” scenes. But the text was still the text. A line or two indicating a burbling issue about the lied about dead brother, or even just indicating that she felt her brother died because she was distracted by the monster — something to hang her betrayal on — would have been even more helpful. That’s what I longed for.

          I find Lee Seung-gi to be a serviceable actor who knows what he’s good at and does it (though I did think he stretched himself quite successfully in King 2 Hearts). And Suzy… I enjoyed her in both Dream High and Big, but neither parts were very nuanced (nor did they need to be — which meant they were chosen well). I’ve no idea if her character will be written to be as broad as her previous ones or if she’s grown enough as an actor to handle more nuance. I’m very much in watch-and-see mode with her. (I think she’s adorable — so I’d love it if she did improve.)

          But in either case, I think the show will depend a great deal on its text rather than its acting. Or, in other words, roles won’t be saved by an exceptional actor’s interpretation (like say Lee Je-hoon in Fashion King). So either the story will work for me, or it won’t. The acting won’t be the deciding factor. (Though… there is Sung Joon…)

          Hah! A really long answer to your short question. 😉

      • Yup, if the script sucks, there isn’t much the PD or actors can do. The foundation has to be solid so you can build on it. 🙂

        I’ve nothing against Seung Gi or Suzy, they are both quite passable given the right roles but I think they both need proper directing, which doesn’t seem to be happening here. So, we’ll wait till this weeks episodes have aired to see what’s what, eh? 😉

  2. Thanks for your sharing your First and Second Impressions of the “Gu Family” . This post is the second blog where I read a not so positive initial feedback about this drama. Both feedbacks described the unexpected female lead’s reactions after discovering the true nature of the man (or half-man) who saved her from the real bad guys. I wasn’t planning to watch this drama from the get-go anyway. I couldn’t muster any interest in the legend of “gumihos”.

    I did check out the first episode of “Cruel Palace – War of Flowers” . Despite the raving from 2 other blog sites, I found it so-so. Although, the winter backdrop is nice to look at, I didn’t find anyone to root for. But please feel free to check it out. It may have a better story than the “Gu Family” .

    • I’ve been much happier with Jang Ok Jung: Live in Love — but I’ll definitely keep Cruel Palace in mind. (It’s been floating into my mind as one to marathon down the road.)

      Usually I’m all over the sort of story Gu Family Book is telling… which is why I’m giving it more chances. But I think part of the reason I was unhappy is I’m used to those sorts of stories so I wasn’t feeling the lead’s shock over her man being a little bit monster. We’ll see how the next episodes handle things.

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