Heirs: it begins…

tan1 photo tan1_zpsfbf4a699.jpgI 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. rachael photo rachael_zps56f605db.jpgI 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.

youngdo photo youngdo_zps54c6b6a9.jpgYoung-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.

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It’s like kicking a puppy…

(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*)

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That’s a face of foreshadowing right there.

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.)

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I’m sure it’s the bangs…
…and the strong scent of teenage condescension.

And then there’s the adorable Chan-young, who is obviously the bestest of best friends. happyfam photo happyfam_zps66843d7c.jpgHe 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?

nopants photo nopants_zpseddb38eb.jpg

Does… anyone think this looks good?

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…

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…that brings her into Tan’s orbit.

tansees photo tansees_zpse43b7c50.jpg

And that it’s her being in his orbit…

eunsang photo eunsang_zps59afe044.jpg

…that will (probably) cause Tan to reach for his dreams. And then there will be a delicious rippling effect because, drama.

dreamcatcher photo dreamcatcher_zps47970ff5.jpg

Did you spot the dreamcatcher of meaningfulness?

(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… wonandyoon photo wonandsec_zps1a1e8797.jpgfragile 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.


44 thoughts on “Heirs: it begins…

  1. Loved all your observations, Betsy – especially about the hint of fragility about Won.. I do think you’ve hit the nail on the head. He always looks like he’s trying so hard to keep it together, and at the same time he doesn’t look like he’s convinced that he’s succeeding either.

    And, it’s ok that you don’t like Young-do.. I think we’re *supposed* to find him distasteful.. It’s just that I couldn’t help being.. transfixed by KWB tho, the moment he appeared on my screen. Somehow, I don’t think that’s the effect the show was gunning for, heh. 😛

    • I’d really like a happy ending for Won… and yes, it’s slightly ridiculous that I’m this invested in a side-character this early in. But also kind of awesome. 😉

      I’m betting we’re supposed to be fascinated by Young-do — you don’t cast Kim Woo-bin lightly. 😉 But, since we’re supposed to also see him as dangerous and cruel, they did their best to have him kick a puppy without having him kick an actual puppy.

      I’m so excited you’re live-watching this one! I really hope it proves worthy. 😀 (Though, I feel like there’s enough here to at least be entertaining even if it goes off the rails.)

      • This is true.. I love that KWB’s shot up to is-not-cast-lightly this fast in his career. [cue fangirl squee]

        I decided to live-watch this one as part of my new experiment of messing with the way I consume my drama.. Heirs seemed like the perfect pick, since I’d watch this for KWB no matter how awful it might be! ;D Story-wise, I feel like we’re still in pretty elaborate set-up, since there are so many characters we haven’t quite gotten to know. I’m just impatient for them to go back to Korea. So that the story can start proper with everyone in place. And so that we can be relieved of sitting through that awful, awful Engrish. And those awful, awful American non-actors >.<

        • Definitely setup stage and I’m so, so excited about the possibilities that… I need to calm down so I don’t have inevitable let down when a path does get chosen. 😉 I do like that the various characters are all so solidly drawn and so well tangled together. A good foundation is a good start. 😀

          And those awful, awful American non-actors >.<

          And see, that’s just… wrong. They’re filming in LA. The place is filled to the brim with actors, some of them quite good. This isn’t the same limited playground as S.Korea where 99.9% of the foreign “actors” are in-country for some other professional reason and are doing a drama for a lark. How did they find such bad actors?

          At first I wondered if they went non-union, but from the closing credits (which I’m not used to seeing in k-dramas and did have Western names included) I’m assuming unions were used. (I figure credits is a requirement. But this is pure guesswork on my part.) So now I’m wondering if they gave the barest of directing (language barriers?) and/or asked the actors to go that big and silly. For the comedy/stereotype laughs?

          And… I’ll stop ranting now. 😛

          • I’m guessing it’s a bit of big and silly, and a lot of language barrier – in not just the directing, but the writing. Coz some of the Americans’ English lines were really poorly written too. I kinda wish writers of kdramas in general would either get better with working the English language, or just stop with the English lines altogether.. The Engrish messes with my fantasy.. I don’t want to know that Oppa (whichever Oppa he happens to be) really is not as cool or suave as he appears when he’s speaking Korean XD

          • It’s a quandary. Because the brilliant, multinational business man should be able to speak many languages with suave ease. But an actor…? And yes, sometimes I just don’t want to know. 😉 (Though… because I’m so bad with languages myself I’m very willing to give a pass here. Still wince, of course. Can’t stop myself from wincing.) It would be nice if there was some original way that we can infer that English (or whatever language) was spoken without sitting through it.

            And yes! The incorrect English! Especially egregious when spoken by an English teacher. And with such care you know that actor was told to say it verbatim even though he knew it was wrong. (Part of the reason I’m leaning towards a directing issue. I can only imagine how a language barrier would have added to the difficulties.)

  2. Lovely post Betsy!! And I didn’t realise until I read here that Arang was the student who was bullied…
    Loved your observations….and hahahaha @ that pic of both moms….didn’t notice that either… 😀

    I love our main couple ♥ I’m also getting some vibes that maybe the show has shades of the movie Grease….

    I’m so excited to know all the relationships between our characters and their stories….

    I want to ship Kim Woo Bin with Rachel…but…if their parents get married….THAT will be weird…..But I’m not liking KWB’s hairstyle 😦

    • I feel like I’ve been seeing that actor around a lot — generally playing characters that cuddle kittens and brightens the world with his smile. So it’ll be interesting if they take him the, “gone mad with rage,” direction.

      hahahaha @ that pic of both moms

      Hah! I was so flabbergasted by the lack of a bottom half! Why? Who started that look? And how did it catch on?!?

      There’s a lot of delicious dysfunction going on, mixed into a steaming cauldron of, “we all know each other,” so I’m hoping for a lot of fun story lines. (So many possibilities! I hope I’m pleased with the direction the drama actually takes…)

      KWB’s hairstyle… hmm… Actually, I like it. It’s cold, in that it’s impeccably groomed and neat. But I like that early ’60’s private-school, future master of the universe, thing it has going on. However… that’s just me. And I’ve liked less than popular hairstyles before. 😉 (Park Ki-woong’s orange hair springs to mind.)

        • If he does show up again (and I’m thinking he will) I suspect it will be for dark reasons — either as cause or as tragic effect. So I both want and dread seeing him. If that makes sense.

      • I know! What kind of person beats on Arang?!? (Obviously, one with a deep-seated pain that will need some careful TLC to make it all better. I… may have been unduly influenced by a certain shirtless scene. I’m not sure though. Will have to examine further.)

  3. Yeah, I like what you said about Won as well. It’s possible that out of all of the characters, he’ll change the most throughout the drama. He needs to break first, and then rebuild.

    • I’m worried that he’ll just break. And then become a kind of object lesson for the other characters. That’s my worst-case-scenario that I’m scaring myself with while hoping it doesn’t happen. Here’s for Won rebuilding! 😀

  4. I finally watched both episodes, with my finger firmly in the ff-button. ;P It wasn’t too bad, just not all that interesting either. Surprisingly the OTP did not start out as irritating, guess that’s a plus. As for the characters… not really feeling any of them and the only ones I liked as per the few glimpses we got, were Chan Young and Myung Soo (yay! for two cutiepie idols^^). And what have we got here… an a-hole as the 2nd lead. Going back to them roots are we, drama? XD

    I doubt I’ll continue watching Heirs. Took me forever to get on with even these two epis as I kept finding excuses not to watch, LOL! Rather telling that. I quite liked the first episodes of Medical Top Team and then there’s Mirae’s Choice next week and that one looks way more entertaining than Heirs. Each to their own, eh? 🙂

    • Yeeaaah… I have to say Heirs did not strike me as your cup-o-tea. 😉 It’s got a soapy, not really makjang, but skirting close to that edge, feel to it that I’m pretty sure is guaranteed to set your teeth on edge. And, of course, is the kind of thing I can eat up with a spoon. 😀

      I did love that Eun-sang is a grumpy and resentful Candy, and that Tan is a lazy but kindhearted Chaebol. Gives a nice twist to the standard. (Which, I thought having the second lead be the mean one was also a twist. But I take it it’s a classic trope I’ve missed out on? New to me but not to dramas?)

      I’m definitely intrigued by Mirae’s Choice — but I’m bound by my oath to only live-watch one show (I remind myself ;)) so that’ll be a future marathon if it holds out. Ditto Answer Me: 1994 and Basketball. (I tend to get squicked by medical shows. For some odd reason I can take violence blood-spray, but surgery blood-spray is a bridge too far. The realism, maybe? So the show will have to be very, very good to get me to dip in a toe. …it’s got such good actors, though! I’ll have to keep an eye on it.)

      • Yeah, I sorta guessed Heirs wouldn’t make the cut but I decided to give it a go anyway. 🙂 I’ll probably keep on reading recaps every now and then to keep tabs on how it’s shaping up.

        Nasty 2nd leads were almost a staple in a lot of dramas pre ca. 2009 and quite a few of them fell in the category of “crazy secondary guy/girl who just don’t get it”. These nutjobs were willing to go the distance to break the OTP apart, resorting to lies, blackmail, framing up, threats, killing people…. LOL! This trope is still alive and well in the true makjang dramas but it was quite common in your garden variety ones as well. Can’t say I miss it.^^

        • Ahh… Like Joo Won’s Ma-joon in Baker King, Kim Tak-goo — which just dripped with makjang but in a delightfully gleeful way, and introduced me to Joo Won… Yeah, I could see Young-do falling into that category. Though, I’m suspecting a redemption storyline in the making. We’ll see.

          • Ma Joon was pretty wussy compared to some of the loonies I’ve encountered during my travels through the drama landscape. *g* Winter Sonata 2nd lead is a better example I’d say or lead guy’s Brother Dearest @ Daemang (the sagauk with Jang Hyuk). He was quite entertaining though.^^

  5. The “dreamcatcher of meaningfulness” Ahh and I thought I was the only one who caught that… “subtlety.” Hehe

    I’m pleasantly enjoying this – horrid stereotypes of foreigners aside. Although, even some of that was at the very least, comic.

    • You know, purple is the subtlest color… 😉

      Ah, yes… the “Americans.” It was either laugh or continue to stare in horror, so laugh it was! 😀 I’ll admit I have an odd interest in seeing what stereotypes other countries have about the US — seeing what to me is familiar through another’s eyes, if that makes sense. But why not better acting? That’s what really bugged me.

  6. Really liked your thoughts on the first episodes. Especially what you said about the main couple.. I think they are and will be one of the strongest elements of this drama.
    Eun Sang character I think she hides that fierce personality and we can see glimpses of it. Like when she delivered the food, and the fact that she went in the US trying to find a better tomorrow.
    They will understand each other and I feel like they will urge each other to go after theirs dreams and I like relationships that are based in these things and not just in attraction.
    And Chan Young was adorable. It feels like he is the only normal and happy kid among them.
    I’m definitely looking forward to the next episodes.. 🙂

    • Hi, Brightfotini! Glad you liked it! 😀

      I’m adoring Eun-sang and her grumpiness (complaining about going to work, sending out self-pitying, sad-face messages) and also her gumption (heading off to the US with just a one-way ticket and her dreamcatcher). I love that she apparently loves math (I really, really hope that gets brought into play). And then there’s philosophical, language-loving, lazy (because, I suspect, caring would hurt too much) Tan.

      I think there’s a good setup for their being an incredible force once they’re brought together. I’m eager to see how they shake up each other’s worlds.

      I’m thinking both Chan-young and his daddy are going to be the voices of reason throughout. Certainly seems like voices of reason will be needed! 😀

      • How great would it be if they play up her affinity for math and his for writing and language when they get back to school?! Oooh this show has so many possibilities for going places that I find I’m getting more and more excited with each episode! Unlike a great many others who find themselves losing interest now it seems. *shrugs*

        • It’s like they have different energies, and I’m waiting to see what will happen when they get back in Korea and in high school..
          Ohh and a girl who likes math.. You don’t find it very often in dramas, series etc.. I so love it! 🙂

          • I like that idea of Eun-sang and Tan having different energies! He slows her down so she can take in the scenery, she speeds him up so he can start taking action.

        • It’s definitely revving up for me, too. 😀 I’m having to talk myself down from the edge so I don’t get too giddy and undo all my hard-won low expectations. 😛

  7. I like your thoughts on Won. Although we haven’t seen much of his character and when we do see him he’s all grumpy, I actually find him interesting (or maybe, it’s my Choi Jin Hyuk fascination that’s speaking). Like you said, there’s somethign fragile about him. I hope the show has a good story arc in store for him.
    But what I want even more is for him to have a loveline with Im Joo Eun’s character. I dunno when she’s going to show up, but I love the actress and it would be a dream come true if she’d be paired up with Choi Jin Hyuk.

    • There is definitely the Choi Jin-hyuk influence to consider. 😉 But I do think he’s giving Won some depth that I hope will end up going somewhere…

      Ooh, I didn’t realize Im Joo Eun was in Heirs! (I’m sure it was announced, but those announcements began to blur for me.) It would be awesome if her character had a romance with Won! A happily ending one! I’ve seen her in What’s Up and Arang and the Magistrate and in both cases her romances ended… badly. So she’s totally due a happy ending! 😉

      • Well, nobody has confirmed that Choi Jin Hyuk and Im Joo Eun will be a romantic pairing in the show, but all the other characters already seem paired up in some or another way. It’s only poor Won who doesn’t have a good girlfriend material around yet (and he needs one, I’m telling you) and since Joo Eun will be playing a teacher then she is more age-appropriate for Jin Hyuk’s character. So maybe there will be something there to anticipate. I sure hope so.

  8. Rachel as Mai!?!! OMO I see it!! Zuko I adored, but I’m not prepared to do the same for Young Do…yet.

    See, I think that Young Do’s throwaway “She’s just my type” at the dinner scene wasn’t throwaway, or a ploy to get under her skin, that he could’ve had feelings for her before Kim Tan came along. I don’t think she was the reason for their falling out but it could’ve added to the conflict.

  9. Pingback: The Heirs | Ep 3&4 | Thoughts | bright little world

  10. Finally watched it! 😀 With Guineabee (my long suffering sister!)
    Which doubles the fun, because it’s the perfect drama-type to watch with your sis, trying not to choke on the popcorn. Ok, I exaggerate, a bit.

    Verdict: I … have reservations (har) but my sister enjoys it and is already shipping Tan-Sang.
    And wants to know when ep 5 will be out. heh.

    You say you enjoyed the structure, but the very thing annoyed me. Too much jumping around scenes between new characters every 5 mins! *headache* Thematic connection’s fine and all, still headache. 🙂

    I don’t like Young-do either. Mweheheh, Sorry kfangurl. He’s a Bully with a big B. A crappy ass of a dad’s not reason enough to punch people, eh?

    “I should dislike her, I know. When she dumped Eun-sang’s suitcase I did dislike her. But…
    Maybe it’s the hair…”

    This is why I like you, BetsyHp. ‘Cause the character has reason to be bitchy. How come no one calls out on Tan for ditching his so-called fiance to go frolic with a girl, granted that girl’s our heroine? But Tan makes up for it later. I liked how he reminded Rachel of who she used to be and to not change because of him. They’ll end up friends, one can hope.

    I too like the actress who plays Rachel, maybe it’s the hair? Mwahahha. Throwing the suitcase was totally uncalled for though.

    Aaand that surfer dude choking on the bean powder made my day. 😀 😀 😀

    Okay I’ll go ramble in your 2nd post.

    • Yay! This is definitely the kind of drama to watch with company. *is jealous*

      I liked the quick back and forth of scenes with the dialogue carrying through… but, that’s just me. 😉 I liked the snappy pace of it. Plus, I figured if the characters were important, we’d see them again and again and get to know them. So I wasn’t worrying too hard over who was connected to whom in the beginning. If I needed to know, the writers would remind me. (Or they wouldn’t, in which case it’s a badly written drama unworthy of my precious brain-power. :P)

      How come no one calls out on Tan for ditching his so-called fiance to go frolic with a girl, granted that girl’s our heroine?

      Hah! I believe the callout comes later when Tan stone-cold leave Rachel hanging to go get Eun-sang’s number. Which was a bitchy move on his part. But… The boy could not be clearer he’s not into Rachel and she does show up at his house uninvited and is rude to his guest for no reason. (If she was truly trying to show herself as Tan’s partner she should have asked Eun-sang questions, commiserated, gotten her a sandwich, etc. You know, been a tiny bit more classy. But, our Rachel is hanging on a fraying rope with Tan and she knows it and is panicking.)

      • “Gotten her a sandwich” … haha. You have a point, but the view from Rachel’s side of things ain’t that pretty, either.

        I like the dreamcatcher, btw. Corny it may be, but there’s a whimsy to it. But they’ll keep hammering its significance, I guess, and then you start rolling your eyes.

        • I don’t have much sympathy for Rachel in that scene. Her view is only ugly because she’s a big ball of jealousy and resentment. And her view of Eun-sang was completely wrong because of her chosen blinders.

          Part of my view is shaped, though, by my seeing her and Tan’s engagement as a ridiculous joke rather than something real that needs to be respected. They’re far too young and it was apparently done against Tan’s will and he’s apparently told her as much. That she’s still clinging to him… Girl needs to let him go and figure her own self out. I see her as not even a girlfriend. More an ex, or maybe even just a girl with a crush, who doesn’t know how to let go. (This is me crashing up against a cultural wall, I suspect. ;))

          • Oh, I didn’t sympathise with Rachel tormenting the hapless heroine, either. I’m not a monster. 😉 You have a point about the engagement being a hollow arrangement, still we got to see how Rachel was hurt by Tan’s nonchalance.

            But, yes, they are 18 after all. And yes, girl needs to let the uninterested guy go and figure her self out. Totally agree on that. But I do see her as the guy’s fiance. Like he owes her some emotional honesty? Maybe a cultural wall, indeed.

            I bet she ends up with Young-do. ‘Cause everyone needs a love-line. hah!

          • Total agreement about Rachel and Young-do! I’ll be more surprised if they don’t end up together. Because yes, everyone does indeed need a love-line. 😉

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