I liked it! Which pleases me greatly because I was hoping I’d like it. After the sad stumble that was Faith I’ve wanted to see Lee Min-ho in something good. Plus, there’s all those other actors I enjoy… It would be too depressing if they all ended up wasting their time in a bad drama. (Usual caveats apply, of course. Early days, plenty of time to slip into terrible, etc.)
First things first: Yes, it’s beyond silly that we’re supposed to see any of these people as high school students. Well… some could probably still pass if they’re styled correctly, but on the whole? This is the giant leap of suspended disbelief required for the story. And, as this isn’t the first tv show I’ve ever watched… I can do it! That done, on with the show!
I really enjoyed the story’s structure: the way it cut from one character to a completely unrelated character using a shared theme as the bridge. Like when Eun-sang’s talking about her sister’s marriage and her questions segue into Rachel’s questions regarding her mother’s surprise engagement, and then they cut back and forth. I knew Rachel and Eun-sang were going to be linked in-show later (via Tan), but it was clever to have them linked visually so early on. (And over unwanted marriages, as that.)
And I am intrigued by all of the characters. Which, considering there are so many, is saying something. I’m not sure I like all the characters, but even the ones that earned my severest side-eye are compelling.
Young-do, is one I don’t like at the moment. [Note to Kfangurl: it’s a testament to Kim Woo-bin’s acting ability that I find Young-do so distasteful. It’s a complement, honest!] You don’t torment Arang (Dating Agency: Cyrano) / Hyun-woo (Flower Boy Ramyun Shop) / Jo Yoon-woo like that and not earn my distaste.
(Possible prediction: that look of rage on the character’s face… This is a bit of bullying that may well come back to bite Young-do. Probably right at the moment I’ve come to care for him. *sigh*)
However… Young-do’s father is obviously abusive (his hitting Young-do and also Rachel’s line about the rumors surrounding him). Then there’s Young-do’s interaction with Rachel… I should dislike her, I know. When she dumped Eun-sang’s suitcase I did dislike her. But…
Maybe it’s the hair, I get such a strong Mai-vibe off of her character. Which would make Young-do, Zuko, and I pretty much adored that couple (from Avatar: The Last Airbender) so now I’m wired to like Young-do and Rachel together. (Weird reasoning, I admit.)
And then there’s the adorable Chan-young, who is obviously the bestest of best friends. He and his dad are a breath of fresh, loving family, air in a swamp of dysfunctional families. I should find his girlfriend, Bo-na, annoying, but Chan-young obviously enjoys her. Plus, I liked Krystal’s character in High Kick 3 and this seems like a very similar role, so…
(Related note: We just got a brief scene, but I’m thrilled with how different Park Hyung-shik’s character is from his role in Nine. I love seeing good actors stretch themselves.)
I… should probably say something about the less than stellar American actors, huh? They were pretty bad. Which brought it all the way around to funny for me. But I do wonder why, when filming in a place crawling with trained actors, almost all of them were so bad? I’m leaning towards a sketchy casting agency or bad directing or, more probably, a little bit of both.
Also… when did the “I forgot my pants” look become a respectable fashion choice?
I’m very, very, very intrigued with our main couple, Eun-sang and Tan, and their story. Which is good as that’s the whole point of this thing. I love how they both feel they’re not allowed to dream. And that it’s Eun-sang daring to try and grab her dream…
…that brings her into Tan’s orbit.
And that it’s her being in his orbit…
…that will (probably) cause Tan to reach for his dreams. And then there will be a delicious rippling effect because, drama.
(I’m hoping Tan’s actions unites him with his brother, rather than setting them at each other’s throats as everyone and their mother seems to expect. There’s something… fragile about big brother Won. Like he’s just this side of breaking and he knows it but doesn’t know how to prevent it. And I think Chan-young’s daddy, Secretary Yoon, sees it and is trying to help but Won doesn’t realize it and is pushing him away.)
So we’ve got a good setup going right here! I’m already beyond eager for the next couple of episodes and that’s a good sign.