The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Review: Master’s Sun

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THE SHORT VERDICT:

Not one of the best outings by the Hong sisters, but not one of the worst either, Master’s Sun delivers what it promises: rom-com hijinks of the somewhat ghostly variety.

Driven mostly by sparky OTP chemistry and a lovely OST, which together made up for lapses in the storytelling, this drama is more mood than substance. And it’s a slow burn too, at that.

Essentially, a pretty fun, easy, unchallenging watch if you don’t think about it too hard. And I’ve just found a way to level that up in a serious fashion, which I’ll tell you more about in the review.

And no, the ghosts aren’t that scary. 

Master’s Sun OST – Touch Love

THE LONG VERDICT:

A Lie To Me Tangent

Have you ever had one of those experiences where you were feeling pretty meh about a drama, and then something came along that completely changed the game?

This happened to me once before, when I was watching Lie To Me (2011). I know, I totally sound like I’m going off on a crazy tangent. Stay with me.. I’ve got a point, I promise.

I remember feeling completely underwhelmed and quite horrified, even, at the lack of cohesion in Lie To Me’s narrative. Nothing really made proper sense, and plot points were strung together with the flimsiest of excuses. Character motivations were similarly bemusing and felt almost random. Like, one moment our male lead Kang Ji Hwan really, really dislikes our female lead Yoon Eun Hye, and the next minute, he’s kissing her. One could objectively say that it was a mess of a drama.

I was on the verge of dropping Lie To Me when I chanced on a whole lot of fandom squee over the chemistry between Kang Ji Hwan and Yoon Eun Hye. And yes, I’d noticed that they had excellent onscreen chemistry too.

The game-changer for me was the new knowledge that the two of them had basically ad-libbed a good number of the swooniest couple moments on the show. Woah. Well then. That put a whole different spin on things.

I changed my mind about dropping the show, and proceeded to enjoy the rest of the episodes. Just with a different lens on.

I didn’t bother any more with the story, coz I’d already determined that that wasn’t going to make much sense. I was  glued to the chemistry that Kang Ji Hwan and Yoon Eun Hye brought to the screen though. If you asked me now what the story in Lie To Me was about, I’d be hard-pressed to tell you, beyond the barest of details. But I remember with HD clarity the crackling, through-the-roof chemistry those two shared, and the super-hot, ad-libbed kisses they gave us.

It was context and perspective that totally changed the game, coz now I had something to tickle my fancy beyond the flimsy, almost non-existent story.

So what does that have to do with Master’s Sun?

See, in a nutshell, Master’s Sun didn’t really do it for me, as a drama. Much as I heard that many viewers enjoyed this a lot (like, really-really-loved-it a lot), I actually only sorta liked it.

There were a number things that I didn’t like so much, and felt could’ve been better. I did think So Ji Sub and Gong Hyo Jin had good onscreen chemistry though.

And I was all poised to write a review detailing everything that I liked and didn’t like so much in this drama.

And then, the game changed.

Just as I was gathering my thoughts for this review, DDee posted this interview that she did with mywebfoot, who had written a fanfic, not for the drama’s lead characters Joo Joong Won and Tae Gong Sil, but for the drama’s lead actors, So Ji Sub and Gong Hyo Jin.

I was intrigued.

Long story short, I’ve now read the fanfic, and that has changed everything for me. And now that I’ve found a way to enjoy Master’s Sun, all my original thoughts have been, well, sorta over-ruled.

I’m still going to give a quick overview on my thoughts regarding Master’s Sun as a drama, but really, I highly recommend you check out my review of the fanfic, and consider reading it for yourself.

If you already love Master’s Sun, you’ll probably love it more as a result. And if like me, you didn’t quite love Master’s Sun, this fanfic might change the game for you, too. ;)

FINALLY, MY OVERVIEW REVIEW

So, first things first. These comments don’t take the fanfic into account. I’m only looking at the drama as it stands on its own.

When the drama’s consumed together with the fanfic, though, they go together like strawberries and cream, or peanut butter and jelly, or Kim Woo Bin and Lee Jong Suk, or Song Seung Hun and abs, or.. (you get the idea). You could have one without the other, but having them together just takes everything to a whole new level. Amiright?

Anyhoo. Back to the review.

I am not a fan of horror / ghosts, and make it a general rule to wuss out of watching those kinds of shows. (Yes, wussing out can be planned.) They’re just not my thing, y’know?

Which means when I say that the ghosts in Master’s Sun aren’t scary, you can so take my word for it. On occasion, they can be a touch creepy, but it’s nothing you won’t be able to handle. If I can take it, anyone can. Yes, that is the extent to which I wuss out on horror shows, heh.

How did I end up watching this, then? It was the show’s general reputation for sizzling OTP chemistry that drew me in. Great OTP chemistry is pretty high up there for me, so when I heard that So Ji Sub and Gong Hyo Jin had off-the-charts chemistry and together were burning up screens across dramaland, I just had to see it for myself, ghostly show or no. Plus, I love Gong Hyo Jin and I was intrigued by the idea of So Ji Sub doing comedy. And despite the disappointment of Big, I still had residual regard for the Hong sisters, having enjoyed many of their earlier works.

I start most of my reviews talking about the stuff I like, coz that’s where my journey usually starts. Many shows tend to start out with varying degrees of promise only to end up disappointing me.

While there were a number of things that I didn’t care for too much in Master’s Sun, there were enough goodies to keep me going till the finish line. And over time, this show did eventually grow on me, in spite of itself. And in spite of myself.

To mirror that journey (sort of), I’m going to start by talking about the stuff that I didn’t like so much in this show.

THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE

1. Gong Sil getting treated like garbage

Basically, Gong Sil (Gong Hyo Jin) got treated like garbage a lot. Joong Won (So Ji Sub) was often shown treating her roughly, swatting her away as if she was a pesky insect. Or an object. And that so did not sit well with me. Ugh.

While many kdrama hours have conditioned me to accept ungentlemanly behavior in my kdrama leads, at least in the beginning when they’re as-yet-unreformed jerks, I did take issue with the extent to which Joong Won is ungentlemanly. I mean, he pushes and shoves Gong Sil a whole lot, which is bad enough. To make matters even worse, Joong Won grabs Gong Sil by the hair in episode 1. By the hair.

Halfway through the episode, we see Gong Sil attempt to make contact with a man getting into an elevator as part of her ghost-related mission, and Joong Won stops her in her tracks, with a painful-looking hair-grab. Which, in my opinion, is sooo much worse than a wrist-grab. I think my scalp hurt just watching this scene.

First of all, Joong Won unceremoniously holds Gong Sil in place by her hair, not unlike how one might hold a cat by the scruff of its neck. Although I’m told this doesn’t hurt for cats (I’m uncertain how the experts managed to ascertain this. Like, did they interview a talking cat? *ponders*), I’m very sure it does hurt for humans, as anyone who’s fought with a sibling would know.

Second of all, to make this scene even worse than it already is, Gong Sil’s reaction is not to screech in pain or be in any way upset. Instead, she smiles sheepishly and shyly up at Joong Won. Like, WHUT. Argh.

That is just so wrong on so many levels.

I totally get the kdrama trope of giving us a jerky chaebol. And I get the desire to push the envelope when making dramas. But really, Joong Won’s rough treatment of Gong Sil went way beyond what I feel is acceptable. His treatment of her was.. violent. In my mind, that’s not being a jerky chaebol. That’s a crime. A crime that can get the cops called on you.

And having Joong Won engage in this type of behavior with Gong Sil made him – and the drama as a whole – unsavory. Which means the show had to work that much harder (and longer) to creep into my good books.

2. Too much time spent on ghost of the day

From the beginning of the show, we get a ghost-of-the-day format, where we spend a good chunk of the episode watching Gong Sil solve the problems of that episode’s ghost.

While I understand the storytelling device, I felt the story itself was off-kilter. By episode 3, I already felt like we were spending way too much time on the episodes’ ghosts, and the overall pay-off in relation to the overarching story felt weak and unsatisfying.

Sure, there were times that the ghost-of-the-day actually felt rather poignant, like the dog-ghost in episode 6. (Coz, doggie. *sniff*) And yes, there were times that these ghosts-of-the-day were used to demonstrate character movement too. Again, the dog-ghost in episode 6 applies.

Too often, though, I felt like I was paying my dues by enduring the ghost-of-the-day stuff. Like, if I sat through the ghost-of-the-day stuff, I’d get rewarded with some overarching development in terms of plot &/or character. Maybe.

I didn’t like that, and would’ve preferred a more balanced approach with greater overarching pay-offs.

3. Patchy Plot Logic

There’s a good chunk of stuff that doesn’t quite make sense in the show, and the effect that that had on me, was that I felt less invested in the story that the writers were trying to tell.

[SPOILER ALERT]

While a relatively minor thing, the random (very, very badly spoken) Mandarin in relation to the Ghost Matchmaker (above) niggled at me. I rationalized that the show was trying to make the point that it’s a Chinese practice, but in episode 5, we see the ladies converse in (very unconvincing, stilted) Mandarin for a short while, then switch to speaking (still to each other) in Korean. That just comes off as odd, really. It’s almost as if they found it too hard to keep talking to each other in Mandarin and so switched to Korean.

But ok. Putting aside my personal cringing, this really wasn’t that big a deal, in the larger scheme of things.

What was a bigger deal for me, were the larger plot points that got completely and conveniently glossed over. In that respect, episode 15 comes to mind as a significant offender.

The whole plot revolving around Ha Na/Hee Joo’s ghost gets tied up (and not a moment too soon), with Dead Twin (Han Bo Reum) desperate to borrow Gong Sil’s body in order to stop Live Twin (Hwang Sun Hee), and there are tears and good-byes and it’s all supposed to be pretty moving.

As I watched, though, I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the Ha Na/Hee Joo who insisted she needed to protect the perpetrator? All series long, Ghost Girl insists that she cannot and will not reveal the truth, because she has to protect the perpetrator. And then, when we need the arc to wrap up, heretofore reluctant Ghost Girl now wants to uphold justice. Did she change her mind? I guess she must’ve, for the plot to develop this way. But, how convenient, wouldn’t you say?

Really, there are so many things glossed over in this episode. Joong Won buying out Gong Sil’s contract with the ghost matchmaker, Joong Won’s regained memory, and the body-stealing. And I’m genuinely curious, how did Secretary Kim (Choi Jung Woo) know about the necklace inside the figurine?

Given that this Hee Joo/Ha Na arc is presented as a major plot-line in our story, and that we’re strung from episode to episode on the basis of this overarching mystery, I consider this final glossing over in its resolution a Big-Time Offender. I felt cheated and tricked, coz there never was a robust answer to reward me for the episodes of mystery I endured followed. Frustrating, to say the least.

[END SPOILER]

Master’s Sun OST - In Memories

TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN

Besides the good and the bad, there was this middle ground that, for me, represented two sides of the same coin. Sometimes I liked it, and sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes it got old, and sometimes it got better. Dya see where I’m going with this? Me neither. Ha.

1. Skinship

I know that a lot of viewers took delight in the excessive skinship that Gong Sil and Joong Won have, right from the beginning of the show. Because of the fact that Joong Won is Gong Sil’s ghost-buster, she finds every opportunity to touch him. And the show uses those opportunities to turn the save-me touching into her feeling him up, on more than several occasions.

In principle, I don’t think I have a problem with that. I mean, I love skinship as much as the next drama viewer. But when it’s in the dual context of (1) him regularly recoiling from her and (2) him treating her like garbage and her accepting that treatment as deserved, it.. grates, after a while. I like when skinship is mutually appreciated, and when a girl is treated like a lady.

On the other hand, it is amusing when we know that Joong Won actually likes the proximity and is just putting up a huffy front. So in this sense, I think the skinship grated on me mostly in the beginning when Joong Won genuinely hated to be touched and really disliked having Gong Sil around. That just tasted bad, to me.

But in the later episodes when Joong Won starts to develop care and affection for Gong Sil in spite of himself, the huffiness becomes a mere smokescreen, and we know that he actually does care for Gong Sil, in spite of himself. That, for me, is when the skinship started becoming fun. Coz it started to actually mean something more to our OTP, other than making ghosts disappear.

2. Sexual innuenndo jokes

Along with the right-off-the-bat touchy-feely stuff in the show, we get lots of jokes with sexual references and innuendo.

Like episode 3, where Gong Sil and her sister (Park Hee Bon) have a conversation about sucking a man’s energy. Which, really, isn’t even innuendo, since it’s outright talk about sleeping with a man.

Through much of the show, we get regular doses of wordplay, about touching, energy, size, etc.

I found it amusing at first, but it got old really fast. Maybe it’s coz there was so much of it. And/or maybe it’s coz it was in the context of Joong Won treating Gong Sil with disdain. By episode 4, I felt myself getting bored with the sexual references that just didn’t seem to want to stop.

[MINOR FANFIC SPOILER]

On the other hand, in the context of That Far Gone, mywebfoot provided a spin that changed the game for me with respect to the sexual innuendo. Basically, she paints Gong Hyo Jin as ad-libbing at least some of the innuendo, for giggles, as well as  to rib So Ji Sub, who in turn gets suitably huffy but fights not to show it. Ha. Now that is cute.

That put things in a different light for me, and perhaps with this particular lens on, I might’ve felt differently about all the innuendo that Show served up.

See, that’s why I say that reading the fanfic is a big game-changer where this show is concerned. It just levels up your experience of Master’s Sun. It takes you either from meh-to-fun, or from love-to-more-love.

[END SPOILER]

THINGS I LIKED

There are a couple of things that I really liked about this show, and even though they may seem few in number, for me, these were solid things that were hefty enough to keep me watching this show, in spite of its flaws.

1. The OST

Maybe it’s coz I’ve always liked music, but this show’s OST played an unexpectedly major role in keeping me happy.

Polished, well-mastered and well-applied, the OST contained tracks that ranged from breezy and laid-back to hauntingly wistful. And as the music swelled in the background, it soothed away many of the frayed edges of this show in my mind.

I honestly had a moment where I’d left off watching the show for a while, and had sort of forgotten what I liked about it. I was a little half-hearted about starting on it again, but my completist streak reared its head and I dug back in to try to get into this show.

As I watched, the strains of the OST soon came on, and I remember thinking with a start, “Wow. This show has a really nice OST.” And somehow, in my mind, that elevated the show to a higher level.

The show wouldn’t have been the same without the OST, and that’s a fact. In my world, anyway.

Master’s Sun OST - 미치게 만들어 (Driving Me Crazy)

2. So Ji Sub and Gong Hyo Jin – Individually and Together

In spite of the various things that niggled at me in this show, there were enough goodies to keep me hanging in there until this show actually grew on me. And I’ll admit upfront that those goodies had a lot to do with our leads.

I honestly was more drawn to So Ji Sub and Gong Hyo Jin – as characters, as actors and as our OTP – than the details of the storytelling. There were times when the storytelling was patchy, and times when it was more solid. In the shifting sand of the storytelling, these two remained major constants, and they were a large part of what kept me coming back, episode after episode, even when the storytelling cards weren’t stacking up all that well for me.

[SPOILERS THROUGH THE END OF THE REVIEW]

So Ji Sub

From only having seen So Ji Sub in melo I’m Sorry, I Love You, Master’s Sun was certainly a significant change in terms of my So Ji Sub experience.

Instead of being a broody, angsty hero, So Ji Sub had to draw on comedic chops that had heretofore remained hidden from sight. And to his credit, he was often amusing and endearing. Y’know, once we moved past that consternation-inducing initial stage where Joong Won was genuinely disdainful of Gong Sil and treated her like garbage.

I liked that there wasn’t any vanity about his performance, and that So Ji Sub seemed to blithely embrace the campy, even when it meant he had to look undignified and ridiculous. And I really liked that over the course of the show, his Joong Won really did seem to grow a heart. Or, rather, rediscover the one that he already had.

From the defiant, profit-driven businessman who couldn’t believe in what he couldn’t see and would challenge the heavens to strike him with lightning if he was wrong:

Joong Won becomes the kind of guy who sits and chats with Trashcan Ghost on what appears to be a regular basis:

Aw. I just found that super endearing that he would do that, given that he couldn’t actually see or hear Trashcan Ghost.

Through it all, I was very much taken with So Ji Sub’s eyes. They spoke volumes, especially during the quiet moments.

In particular, I really liked So Ji Sub’s laughing eyes. They made him look so attractive, and got me, every time.

Like here:

And here:

Ummph. I love his smiley eyes.

So Ji Sub should totally smile more, dontcha think?

Even more than his laughing eyes, I loved his swoony eyes. I mean, just look at this:

So intent. So meaningful. So tender.

Swoon.

Guess I’ll have to watch Ghost after all. Heh.

Gong Hyo Jin

I have a lot of affection for Gong Hyo Jin as an actress, coz she’s just so likable. She has a great earthy warmth that she brings into every character that she plays. And yes, maybe that’s sorta limited acting in some sense, but I just can’t help but like her, so I’m not complaining.

Like her co-star, Gong Hyo Jin attacks the role of Gong Sil with gusto and not a shred of vanity.

Sometimes, this didn’t work for me, like here, when she goes OTT with the crazy eyes:

But otherwise, Gong Hyo Jin really shows her comedic and dramatic range, like she does here, where she eyes Joong Won like a wolf eyeing a piece of choice meat:

Ha.

Or the many personas that she portrays during Gong Sil’s various bizarre visitations while drunk. My personal favorite is this bit, where Gong Sil takes on the persona of a cat.

All she does is sit there and look at Joong Won, and I can totally see the cat personality in her.

Very nice job indeed.

Perhaps the moment that struck me the most, was the scene where Gong Sil cries in the hospital after Joong Won’s ghost visits her.

Gong Sil sinks to the ground and cries with deep-reaching, guttural, heaving sobs; her grief feels so raw and her disbelief, dismay and regret so honest that my heart couldn’t help but break for her.

Kudos to Gong Hyo Jin for such an believable and poignant delivery.

Together

While it was widespread squee over the OTP chemistry that drew me to this show, I had also heard that it was a bit of a slow burn, and for me, this held true.

It took about 6 episodes for me to begin to warm to our OTP and their purported chemistry.

Even though there were some good moments in those first stretch of episodes, it was in episode 9 that I encountered the definitive moment where I actually felt the chemistry that everyone had been talking about.

It’s the moment when Joong Won kisses Gong Sil and the ghost who had been possessing her leaves her body. 

It’s partly the husky, wistful OST swelling in the background to create such an immersive mood. And it’s partly the context of Joong Won, determined and anxious to save Gong Sil. And it’s in the way he looks at her and handles her, with heroic care and loving tenderness.

It all comes together to create this electric moment where the proximity between them is quite sizzling and laden with sexual tension.

Very nice. With this, I was fully on board the chemistry train.

In terms of really feeling this OTP, though, my moment was in episode 12.

After Joong Won gets stabbed while saving Gong Sil, Gong Sil waits nervously in the hallway of the hospital as Joong Won undergoes surgery, when he appears in front of her. 

It’s like she feels him before she sees him, and looking up, Gong Sil sees Joong Won standing before her, unhurt. With nervous fear in her eyes, Gong Sil stands to her feet to face him.

Joong Won looks intently at her with some wonder and remarks thoughtfully, “It’s true. You really are as bright as the sun.”

Gong Sil shakes her head in denial, and Joong Won continues quietly and matter-of-factly, “Have I died? I feel extremely wronged, but since my woman can see me, I can tell you this before going. Tae Gong Sil. I love you.”

And then he disappears.

Woah. And oof.

What a twist. And delivered with such pathos. This is when I finally felt it; this OTP.

This was the point where I felt that Show had bitten me good.

Unfortunately, as I’ve alluded to above, the storytelling didn’t hold up all that well all the way to the end. But through it all, it was the well-being and happy-ever-after of our OTP that kept me going.

In that respect, Show kept up its end of the bargain; we got a happy-ever-after for our OTP, and a healthy serving of cuteness and kisses along the way.

The chemistry between Gong Hyo Jin and So Ji Sub as they talk and giggle in the final scene is what carries us to the end of the drama, and I found that extremely apt, coz that had always been one of the main draws of this show.

And just coz I can, here’s a screencap spasm of our OTP, in some of their more memorable moments.

Enjoy:

FINAL THOUGHTS

While I enjoyed Seo In Guk as our second lead Kang Woo,

Like seriously, how cute is he??

I really, really liked Lee Chun Hee in his extended cameo, and wondered if Lee Chun Hee’s character would have made a more compelling second lead than Kang Woo.

So, so fine. Cuteness-wise, it’s a hard fight.

After all, Lee Chun Hee’s character has a whole 3-year backstory with Gong Sil, where her spirit stayed with him while she was in a coma following her accident. I would think that that’s great fodder for a story, and makes a much more compelling love triangle.

Even with Lee Chun Hee’s limited appearance in the show, I felt like Gong Sil should go back to him.

It’s the way he looks at her, with tears burgeoning, which says to me that the 3 years they spent together were special. And who better to understand her, but someone who sees the same ghosts that she does? And if she’d stayed with him before, during her coma, she must’ve reciprocated his feelings.

Can you imagine the meaty awesome if the Hong sisters had decided to use this as the love conflict instead of Kang Woo’s unreciprocated crush on Gong Sil? I think that alternative arc would’ve been really intriguing. With that kind of dramatic tension, we might not even have needed to spend much time at all on the Hee Joo/Ha Na arc.

Oh, what could’ve been. Sigh.

On a different note, I actually really liked the finale episode.

Unlike many other dramas where finale episodes rush through a (hopefully) happy ending, this finale episode was filled to the brim with sweet and cute.

I don’t mind the drawn-out happy ending coz it’s not just about Gong Sil being with Joong Won.

It’s about Gong Sil feeling like she can be with Joong Won on her terms, not just coz she needs him as a shield. And that’s growth and progress for our heroine, who not that many episodes ago, had described herself as shameless. So I do like that touch in the final episode.

I also liked Joong Won talking to Trashcan Ghost and the eventual telling of Trashcan Ghost’s story. I especially liked the bit where Joong Won leaps to refer to Trashcan Ghost as his friend. Aw. What a long way he’s come since we first met him.

And Joong Won holding himself in check, so that Gong Sil can feel like she’s coming to him on her terms, is sweet, considering how he used to bulldoze his way through everything in the past.

Also, the time given to Yi Ryung (Kim Yoo Ri) and Kang Woo is just enough to make it sweet and satisfying, without detracting from our OTP. And likewise for Gong Sil’s sister and her Blabbermouth (Lee Jae Won).

It’s happy endings and warm fuzzies all around, and I really liked that I got to savor that for a bit, together with our characters.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

An easy-breezy, unchallenging watch, for when you simply want a light rom-com without having to think too much.

For a leveled-up experience, go check out the fanfic. You’ll thank me later. ;)

VISUAL TREATS:

For those who haven’t seen the show

Here’s the official trailer:

And here’s an alternative, subbed, fan-made, stylized trailer for the show that contains only (very) minor spoilers yet gives a fairly good flavor of the show:

For those who’ve seen the show

Here’re a couple of MVs featuring some of my favorite tracks off the OST:

Bonus!

In honor of the OTP’s excellent chemistry, here’s a little collection of cute NGs – you can totally tell how much fun these two are having. Aw!

About these ads

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

47 thoughts on “Review: Master’s Sun

  1. Ah aha! Agree with your review completely, as usual your insight is amazing and spot on. It started out with them being quite pathetic, they both needed love and just went about it in these strange ways, one desperate to touch and the other avoiding it completely. It gave them a barrier to overcome. Not having to write a review, I ignored the storyline and tried not to think about his blatant meanness, totally unacceptable and she kind of knew it, but she was soooo pathetic at the time! Also ignored as possible the excessive ghost usage and Horrible Mandarin injection in order to focus on the chemistry. Agree about Lee Chun Hee’s role, it looked so promising but didn’t pan out… Seo In Guk in this had a limited role, an extra antagonist and reluctant relationship with the not-so-stable friend. My favorites in the OST are Yoon Mirae’s Touch Love and Hong Dae Kwang’s You and I. Still on my playlists :) I knew you’d like them :D thanks for the great rewind, really superbly done. You’ve captured the most touching moments of the show… Beautiful.

    • Aw, thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed the review, lyricalpeach! :D

      Oh yes, I found the pathetic way Gong Sil was portrayed quite disturbing, actually. Even close to the end, she keeps saying she’s shameless etc, and over and over and over again too! I wanted to shake her and tell her, “STOP SAYING THAT!” Seriously. I wanted the show to give Gong Sil’s worth more overt appreciation than what we got.

      It’s good that you managed to ignore so much of the bad stuff, coz that means you got a much more enjoyable ride out of this drama! XD And yes, that OST.. Really lovely. Every time the OST came on, my frayed drama nerves would feel smoothed and soothed. Ha.

  2. Whee!!! Nicely done chingu! And I totally agree with your take and I so get where you’re coming from. I watched it live and when I hopped on board the RL shipping train, it became hard to tell whether I was invested in the pairing as actors or them as characters in the show! It was one and the same, and that helped power me through the rough patches. But started to get excited earlier than you though, around ep 7 I believe? That lovely poolside quasi date with the fireworks? And SJS does one of his fleeting but oh-so-meaningful looks at her? *swoon*.

    It was only closer to the end (after there was so little pay off frm that epic Ep 12 cliffhanger) when the shine started wearing off a little, when seeing the two of them in the behind the scenes clips became more satisfying than the drama itself. So for me, the experience of watching it ended up being more memorable than the actual drama itself–it was the drama outside the drama heh.

    Joong Won’s violence in the beginning really was off putting to me too, really disturbing even, and I had very low expectations for him actually. That hair-grab was infuriating. So I was really surprised that he had endeared himself so much to me and I think that had a lot to do with SJS’s acting. His character growth was so much more complete that Gong Shil got short-changed really. Like you said, Chun Hee was such a wasted opportunity, and exploring their relationship would’ve allowed for us to actually learn more about her. I felt sorry for her for much of the drama, and I didn’t like that kiss in ep 9 because she was not present for it, and for alot of the drama she has so little control over her body, which is a terrifying prospect but played for laughs. A tad cruel IMO.

    Have you seen the MV that the shippers made for a Soompi contest??! It’s fantastic! It’s got all the best clips of them on set :)

    • that pool side scene also made me fall in love with the two and the drama….the way they looked so intensely at each other and that lovely background song ‘driving me crazy…wow :)

    • Aw, THANKS, chingu!! Smooches ❤ I’m so glad you enjoyed the review! :D

      Ah yes, I did rather like that poolside scene too.. Very sweet, as they sat there quietly and watched the fireworks. Well, she watched the fireworks, and he watched her. Heh. Maybe it’s coz there was a ghost lady crashing their date.. somehow I liked that scene, but it was that kiss in E9 that said “electricity” to me.

      You make an excellent point, though, that Gong Sil wasn’t even present for the kiss. Which made me think. And I conclude that why this scene was pivotal for me is coz it was an overt expression of Joong Won’s care and love for Gong Sil. As you pointed out, Joong Won’s development arc was more complete, and therefore more central for me (although I’m only realizing this on hindsight).. And this was such a clear expression of his desire to protect Gong Sil, and a declaration of his feelings too, since he could’ve exorcised the ghost without kissing Gong Sil. That context, plus his hands holding her, just came together to make the moment for me. It was his big, defiant declaration to the (ghost) world: this is my woman. Lay off.

      Yes, that hair grab disturbed me greatly – it’s good to know I’ve got company in finding it too violent. And I do agree that JJW’s turnaround feeling so authentic, despite the violent set-up, had a lot to do with SJS’s delivery. I do think his character was harder to deliver than it appeared.. It all looks campy from where we’re sitting, but SJS had to do a lot to make it land in a believable manner, despite the camp.

      GAH. I would’ve LOVED the Lee Chun Hee arc to have been explored as a main angle of the love triangle. SO much more compelling that the Kang Woo arc, I felt, much as I love Seo In Guk. And you’re so right, we could’ve learned so much about Gong Sil by exploring that angle. Which would’ve balanced out the show quite nicely, imo.

      Hee. I can totally see how the shipping could’ve taken the TMS experience to a whole other level. I mean, reading the fanfic has done the same for me, so I can only imagine being part of that potent fandom as the show was airing live! I guess ANY way to enjoy a show is better than NOT enjoying it? ;)

      I’m not sure if I’ve seen the Soompi MV. Linky? :D

      • How on earth do you manage to write such articulate coherent responses so late at night?? Assuming you are still on Singapore time?! Teach me!!

        Yeah I see where you’re coming frm. As far as one-sided kisses go in dramaland, this one though is gentle and sweet. What bugged me was the set-up. It was very creepy i.e. she was drugged in order for her body to be taken advantage of, and it leans so close to real life that it took me out of the story. It disturbed me and took the shine off Joong Won’s hero moment. But I did enjoy watching the BTS of that kiss though…so that helped heh.

        One other point about the imbalance of arcs what that his wrapped up much earlier while she goes off to find herself only in the last 3 (?) episodes. So I was twiddling my thumbs and feeling not a little impatient, as much I understood why she she left.

        Here, I wrote a post about the MV! It’s such a treat to watch and captures the best BTS scenes: http://ocdramadee.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/so-ji-sub-gong-hyo-jin-the-masters-sun-bts-mv/

        • Tee hee. I don’t often stay up so late answering comments, that for sure! XD That day, I’d started answering comments fairly late in the day, and I didn’t want to stop before finishing them all, coz otherwise I get lost in the maze of comments when I leave it halfway and others stack up. So I was on a comment-replying roll, and I guess my brain just rose to the occasion ^^ Thankfully, I don’t do that to myself very often. See, this is being posted at a much more earthly hour! ;)

          Oh, great point about Joong Won’s arc finishing much earlier than Gong Sil’s! Her going off to find herself really did feel draggy, and definitely messed (further) with the pacing of the story. I guess in real life, things don’t happen neatly either, and sometimes one side of an equation is left waiting for the other side to reach a needed conclusion before they can progress together. I guess this is an instance where being truer to life didn’t serve the story.

          And definitely, the BTS helps lots to up the appreciation of this show. In fact, the BTS/fanfic stuff is way more compelling than the show itself, in my own experience. The fanfic lingered with me so much more than the drama itself, which is great for the fanfic, not so much for the drama. Thanks for the link – that MV is daebak. Excellent even for non-shippers like me, coz it just brings back all the fanfic awesome :)

  3. Nothing to add, really. You said it all. :)

    It is rather odd the way I can sit through fluff like Master’s Sun and actually enjoy it too when ligher than air romcoms generally are SO not my thing. I can thank SJS and GHJ for this, they made a very compelling OTP.

    You should totally watch ‘Ghost’. *g* It’s much better than it’s made out to be, imho. But then, I’m kinda biased as I loved it, warts and all.

    • Oh my. YOU sat through Master’s Sun and enjoyed it?? :D That’s a rare thing indeed, Timescout! I’m happy that you found a show to like! Even if you were mostly pulled along mainly by OTP chemistry. ^^

      I do think I will check out Ghost – it’s been on my List for a while now. Along with a huge bunch of other dramas, lol. I need to speed up on the watching, I’m beginning to worry I’ll never actually get to watch all these dramas on my list..! :P

      • :D I do have my fluff-de-jours from time to time. That said, I doubt I would have finished Master’s Sun without SJS and GHJ. They were such a winning combo and I have a soft spot for both of them.

        Ghost – I used to write these squee filled reaction posts after almost every epi, ha. I was SO happy it stayed the course till the end as I hated how Sign (the previous drama by the same team) ended. Overall Ghost was better put together than Sign, even if you do have to take a few things with a pinch of salt.

        That’s why it’s called The List of Doom. XD

        • PWAHAHA!! The List of Doom?!?? XD That made me laugh! I suppose it is a list of doom, coz it’s a list that we’ll never actually finish, but it’s still a happy list, coz it’s dramas we want to see? Although, a happy list of doom sounds.. twisted. Heh.

          Oh yes, only the OTP and the OST were keeping me in there, really. Without the OTP, I doubt the OST could’ve kept me on board all by its lonesome self. XD Which is why I’m really pleased that the fanfic changed the game for me. It made it feel like watching the drama was worth my while after all, coz I could understand the context of the story. It’s backwards, but really, anything that makes me feel I didn’t just waste hours and hours of my life is a welcome bonus! ;)

          Oh I heard how the end of Sign got seriously messed up. That’s why I still haven’t gotten around to watching it, even though there were raves when it was airing. Good to hear that Ghost managed to stay the course. I can handle pinches of salt. I mean, I watch kdrama, don’t I? HAHA XD

  4. I agree on some things, disagree on others, but overall I think I have a similar perception. I do like ghost stories, but here, that wasn’t the best part of the show. I liked the resident ghosts, like the garbage pail one, but not all the ghosts of the days stores “worked”. If I were to write a short review it would be “This was like the Ghost Wishperer, were the ghosts start scary and end cheesy” I started watching this for the ghosts and because I had watched Gong Hyo Jin on Thank You and loved her and had watched So Ji Sub in I’m Sorry I Love You and loved him. I liked the atmosphere of the drama, it had that ghostly vibe, without being proper horror, but I enjoyed it, it made it different and intriguing. I felt attracted by Gong Hyo Jin’s character, and it fact it was her character and performance that kept me watching. I felt it was a demanding role for her, and loved to see her change so much when she was possessed. I was a bit underwhelmed with So Ji Sub’s character, and now that I read your review I realize it has do be because I do have a low tolerance for jerk male leads. He was a jerk too long for my taste, so by the time he changed, I liked it, but it was a bit late for me to fall in love. I do agree that he was amusing on the later part of the show. I did warm up to him, but never fell head over heels. I guess I’m on the “liked it but not loved it” club.

    • Ah, if you came to this show for the ghosts, I can see why you’d be disappointed, DF! It’s not actual horror (to my relief, but your disappointment!), and yes, most of the ghost arcs ended on cheesy notes. Like you, I carried on watching in spite of the cheesy ghosts, not because of. I hafta agree that Gong Hyo Jin had to portray a wide range of emotion and characters. The possessions were particularly challenging, with her having to take on such bizarre personas sometimes! And I love that she threw herself into it with abandon. I was impressed. ^^

      THANK YOU. You are one of the few people who actually agrees with me about finding JJW’s jerkwad behavior disturbing. It really did bother me, and it hampered my ability to like him. It took longer than usual, for me to warm to him than I usually do with my male leads. Even the jerkwad ones. I blame the hair grab. And the pushing and shoving. If he’d stuck to wrist-grabs I might’ve found him easier to like ^^

  5. THANK YOU for the review. I liked reading it. From the beginning, I was drawn to this show because of the Hong Sisters. Probably because I completely missed the disaster that was Big, despite having a thing for Gong Yoo hotness too. I had enjoyed the shenanigans in Best Love, and I wanted more shenanigans. Until TMS, So Ji Sub was just a name for me, someone whose fangirls I put down as being somewhat delusional. No lie.

    Then like you I discovered THOSE EYES. Frankly I still don’t think he’s classically handsome, but THOSE EYES.

    GHJ really did a good job – especially in those scenes you pointed out. I found that love confession and her subsequent mourning so unforgettable.

    One thing about this show – for all it’s shortcomings it was beautifully shot, with a lot of storytelling scenes, the most iconic one being the topshot of them sleeping in bed. For that, I think PD Jin Hyuk deserves mad props, and I would watch give any show with him at the helm a chance.

    The JJW jerkwad behavior didn’t raise red flags for me. Firstly because this is k-drama land and secondly because he was reacting quite normally to essentially what was a destitute, schizophrenic, hallucinating woman who would throw herself at him. I kinda excused him for that. Until he got her backstory and saw some proof for himself, he basically thought she was crazy and money grubbing, so I got the disdain.
    You could argue that a nicer, more heroic hero wouldn’t behave that way to any woman, which is true, but that would give him no space to reform himself. :P
    Generally the JJW character was written as quite an empathetic person, and the weekly ghost stories did help bring out that aspect of the person. Other than that, as you say, there were times where the ghost of the week was a tiresome plot device. I wonder if the Hong sisters set out to attract the horror fans but got stuck in having to maintain the format to keep them there.

    Re: the horror – to this day there are scenes that I have not seen. I just skipped them, or left the sound on but scrolled the video out of view during those scenes. So I can outwuss you any day. :P

    re: the FF and the show – I am flattered. So thank you for the kind words. I never saw it that way before, but I get the tangent about Lie To Me. I also did the crazy thing of following that show with no regard for the storyline (calling it a story line is generous), simply because the OTP was fizzy cracky goodness.

    • Omo! Really?!?? You felt like SJS fangirls were delusional? My my.. how far you’ve come, eh? ;) Giggle. Now you’re leading the delusional pack, with your fanfic & all! XD I hafta agree that it’s taken me a while to see his appeal, but he’s definitely grown on me. He’s a fine, fine man indeed. When he’s not sporting wacky fashion and hair, that is ;)

      I actually didn’t love Best Love when it aired, even though I know the show enjoyed a healthy fandom too. Maybe it was a mood thing, I’m not sure. I just wasn’t feeling it. I’ve enjoyed a lot of the older Hong sisters dramas better though, so I do have an affection for them, for having previously brought me awesome ^^

      And yes, the show was beautifully shot. The aerial shot of them on the bed, bathed in morning sunlight, is particularly pretty. It gives off such a cozy feel, and uses a pretty unconventional camera angle too. Backed by that lovely, lovely OST, Master’s Sun was quite lovely on the senses. I mean, when it wasn’t being ghostly, HAHA. Some of that ghost makeup was more well-done that I would’ve liked, but thankfully the ghosts weren’t as scary as I’d first imagined. Lol at you being able to outwuss me any day, mywebfoot! XD I’m pretty hard to outwuss, so that makes you.. a champ? Lol ;D

      I’m resigned to the fact that lots and lots of other viewers didn’t feel the same way about JJW’s jerkwad behavior.. I guess it’s a question of threshold? I totally understand the room-for-reformation angle for the early jerkwad chaebol.. It’s just, he yanks her by the hair. I just can’t stomach that, somehow. I wish they’d found a less extreme way to communicate JJW’s disdain. Coz I can understand disdain.. just not violence. And to me, yanking a girl by the hair is pretty violent. :P

      Y’know, you could be right about the Hong sisters setting out to attract the horror fans, then getting stuck with the ghost-of-the-day. I feel like they sometimes lost sight of their main story, in their efforts to deal with the ghost-of-the-day. Which, for me, was one of the most frustrating things, coz I was there for the main story, and felt like I had to sit through a lot of random ghosts in order to get to the main stuff. And since I don’t employ my FF button unless I’m in excruciating pain (Dream High 2 dance sequence, for example!), I sat through all the ghost-of-the-day stuff. Only to feel like the story wasn’t worth the effort.

      I do think your approach (similar to my Lie To Me approach) was much better – ignore the story, ride the chemistry. Heck, that even sounds like an effective mantra for the fandom, HAHA! XD And your fanfic rawks, so all comments were thoroughly deserved! ^^

  6. I have not intention of watching this one. I really avoid Supernatural genres as much as I can now, even if it’s ‘not scary’ I’ve seen enough during my younger years! lol) But I was curious to see your take on the whole thing. I love your writing. Just a few quick points –

    “Second of all, to make this scene even worse than it already is, Gong Sil’s reaction is not to screech in pain or be in any way upset. Instead, she smiles sheepishly and shyly up at Joong Won. Like, WHUT. Argh.”

    See, that weird little masochist smile! That’s what I meant about Gong Hyo Jin in Pasta! LOL I think drama land loves to put her with ‘abusive’ men. This, Pasta, Greatest Love, even ‘Thank you.’ Even Biscuit teacher and Star Candy, Gong Yoo as her mean student (almost unbelievable since he’s a year older than her!) I guess because she has this little puffy, ‘I’m an adorable victim face’ that they want to utilize. My favorite drama with her is Greatest Love and Thank You. (More for Jang Hyuk in that though! lol)

    So Ji Sub should definitely smile more! I think he’s uniquely gorgeous, as you noticed, the eyes have it. So deep and brooding, but then they light up and get all crinkly when he does smile. If you want to see more brooding, dreamy eyes, definitely watch ‘Ghost.’ It was a techie, action drama, no romance, but his performance was riveting to me. I was able to see him in a different capacity than in I’m Sorry I love you. (My first SJS drama.)

    And without knowing much about it, I think you’re absolutely right about the Lee Chun Hee angle, (love him!) That would have made quite a fascinating love rivalry! Imagine how crazy it would have driven SJS because he couldn’t be part of their little world or see what they saw. How many more wrist (or hair grabs) would you see, because he jealously pulls her towards him to counteract the effect and sticks it to LCH. Showing off that he’s the real protector? I think the Hong Sisters missed the mark there. I’m not always particularly impressed with any of their dramas. Though my favorites were older ones like ‘My Girl’ Couple or Trouble’ and then later Greatest Love. I enjoyed Big too. (More for the male leads than anything!) But there’s something that always falls by the wayside in each drama, where such and such could be better if it were done differently.

    So that’s all I really have to add this time. Great writing as always!

    • Aw! Thanks Lady G! I’m so glad you enjoyed the read, even though you haven’t seen the show, nor have any intention to! Thanks for the encouragement on the writing – it means a lot coming from you, coz you write. Smooches ❤

      And now that you mention it, dramaland DOES seem to like pairing Gong Hyo Jin with ‘abusive’ men.. Chef in Pasta was terribly shouty too, though I didn’t hold it against him as much, coz we met him first in a context where he was nice and helpful (goldfish in his palms! So! Cute!). He only turned into a shouty monster in the kitchen, and even then, he was only shouty and demanding, which isn’t half as abusive as Joong Won in the beginning of Master’s Sun. The hair grab – I just can’t understand how they could put that in there, and how most viewers didn’t bat an eye at it. I guess my threshold is just different..? :P

      I’m Sorry I Love You was my first SJS drama too!! Angsty broody bad-boy pretty much summed up my impression of him there, lol. This was a rather refreshing change, coz he had to do campy. I do think I will check out Ghost. Seeing him be a crime-buster should be pretty cool! And yes, the eyes have it. I think that was my favorite thing about him.. the smiley eyes. And the melty romantic eyes. Lovely.

      YES YES YES!!! Lady G, you totally read my mind! That’s EXACTLY the sort of meaty goodness that came to my mind when Lee Chun Hee’s character showed up! LCH’s character being part of and knowing the ghostly world that she sees, being able to identify with her and guide her in that world, but SJS’s character not being able to see it, and being completely aggravated by it, coz it makes him feel disadvantaged. The potential dramatic tension! Guh. I would’ve been SO much more interested in an arc like that, than the whodunnit kidnapping story that formed the main overarching mystery. And which didn’t even get tied up satisfactorily in the end. Boo.

      I agree that the older dramas by the Hong sisters are better. I mean, I enjoyed Big only for GY (no illusions there!), but I genuinely liked You’re Beautiful, and Delightful Girl Choon Hyang. And My Girl was fun too. Greatest Love was just ok for me. So it’s been a little disappointing for me on the Hong sisters front in the last few years.

  7. Yay! A review from Kfangurl! :D And… you’ve totally hit on one of the ways I can enjoy something that, in all honesty, isn’t that good. ;) Focusing on the skill of the actor, or the beauty of the set and costumes, or just trying to figure out what the story is trying to be can all bring their own level of enjoyment. Not the same as a genuinely good drama, but it can be intriguing in its own way.

    • Yeah, no, it’s not the same at all as a genuinely good drama for sure. THOSE seem like rare beasts, especially these days when dramaland is just churning them out like a factory line. There are some genuinely awful dramas out there! XD

      I was all prepared to shelve this drama in my mind as just another underwhelming drama, until I read the fanfic. That completely changed up the game for me, and made me actually glad to have watched the drama, if only to appreciate the fanfic better. Yes, it’s backwards and it’s twisted, but it’s so true. The fanfic made it worth my while(!!!). So if you’re looking to make your time on Master’s Sun worth your while, maybe check out the fanfic? Especially since you are/going to be a writer yourself? :)

      • I’ve had fanfic do that for me before. A gifted writer can find the gold hiding in the dross and make something shine unexpectedly. Which is always awesome. :)

        (Actually, I think fanfic generally works better with otherwise flawed work, because if the primary source was already awesome to begin with it’s more dangerous to mess with it.)

        I did peek in on the Master’s Sun fanfic — with both you and DDee reccing it, how could I not? ;) — and the bit I read was good. I just have such limited reading time. But I’ve got it tucked away in the back of my mind. :)

        • You’re so right – from what I can tell, fanfic does work better with flawed work, coz we can see the glaring flaws and therefore know exactly what we do want to see happen. Which gives the fanfic momentum and interest right off the bat. Although, it probably is possible in the hands of a skilled writer to extend the awesome in an already awesome work ^^

          Aw, I hope you find some time to read the Master’s Sun fanfic – it’s so well-written, and so cleverly done, in the way it uses the context of the drama, to work in story and plot points. Kudos to mywebfoot, seriously. :)

  8. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog – Thanks for your review!

    I’m less sensitive about the male leads being jerk-wads (I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not) maybe because, subconsciously, I know they are supposed to change later in the story? Now, if the male lead did not change and stayed the jerk-wad then I would have problem with that. So I didn’t even think twice when Joong Won grabbed Gong Shil’s hair. Also, what mywebfoot said – I couldn’t have put it any better.

    I think more focus could’ve been put on their burgeoning love though, once the OTP had been established. The ghosts could’ve been put in every two or three episodes and it would have probably made for an even more satisfying drama. Also, there were some story arcs that seemed quite intriguing but then left hanging – Beauty Ghost.

    I loved the little boys in her apartment building, particularly Seung Mo who looked out for his little brother. I liked that there was less wrist grabbing and more hand grabbing. I liked Joong Won’s honesty. When he was scared, he said it. Once he’d made his calculations and decided that he probably likes her he told her – great moment there.

    Don’t know if I agree about the Lee Chun Hee character. One of the things that frustrates me about kdramas (among other things) is these crazy curve-balls they sometimes throw at you – for dramatic tension/effect, I guess (also, noble idiocy – hate, hate, HATE that). I was thinking that the whole thing would be ruined by bringing his character in. But, hey, that’s what keeps us hooked, wot?

    But, what the heck, I have to confess, I love rom-com fluff so I’m on the bandwagon with those who really, really liked this drama. I’m completely in love with it – flaws and all. I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction between SJS & GHJ – they made the show and that’s what got me. I think I will keep going back to it. Maybe after a 3rd or 4th watching the flaws will become glaring and I will hate it – hah hah!

    I third SJS’s eyes – kind of bedroom-y, kind of draw-you-in-y. Also, did anyone notice he has the most beautiful hands – long and elegant. And shoulders…😊

    PS
    I too totally get the ‘Lie to Me’ thing and I actually enjoyed it solely because of said chemistry between the leads. Same with ‘A Gentleman’s Dignity’ – although that had more to do with the interactions between the four best friends than the OTP.

    • Hi Byeol! Welcome to the blog! :D Always happy to have more drama lovers to chat with around here! ^^

      Y’know, after watching more than 150 kdramas chock-full of chaebols and wrist-grabs, I would say I don’t generally have a problem with jerkwad male leads in the beginning of most dramas either. Coz like you said, they will reform and change in the name of True Love. I guess our tolerance levels are different is all.. coz while I can take disdain and insults and some measure of rough handling from our male leads, the hair-grab was just way out of my comfort zone. It looked and felt violent and demeaning, and I found it pretty disturbing that Gong Sil was written such that she wouldn’t have any kind of negative reaction after being treated in such a violent manner.

      Totally agree that we could’ve done with fewer ghost-of-the-day arcs once the love story was established, and yes, I did love that moment where Joong Won calculated Gong Sil’s “worth” and realized she was worth, well, A LOT. That made me feel happy for Gong Sil, that her worth was being appreciated.

      Oh, and about Lee Chun Hee’s character – I didn’t mean to have him come in on a curve ball. Rather, I was wondering whether his character could have been built as our 2nd lead right from the beginning, instead of having Kang Woo’s crush on Gong Sil be the 3rd leg of the love triangle. I mean, Seo In Guk is lovely and all, but I never really found his angle of the love triangle compelling. But if Lee Chun Hee’s character had been written as the 2nd lead from the beginning, I’m thinking we could’ve had a much meatier love triangle.

      Yes, SJS has very nice hands and shoulders – and other various body parts *cough* Which we shall take a moment to admire, just coz we can:

      Rawr.

  9. “or Song Seung Hun and abs, or.. (you get the idea). You could have one without the other, but having them together just takes everything to a whole new level. Amiright?”
    You are soooooooo right ! Ah Song Seung Hun… Too bad his talent doesn’t measure up his bodyliciousness. Could we still hope for a KLove Confession post, just for the photoshoots that only you can dig up ?

    Another great extensive review (keep them coming). I think I’ll skip this drama though. Neither the story nor the actors are appealing to me but the over abusive behavior of the male lead only would have totally turn me off if I had the lightest interest.
    I totally get your point about the hair grabbing scene but like 200%. I watched various dramas lately, different stories, different periods of time and there is not a single one where the female leads did not have to face degrading situations, abusive behaviors coming from the male leads AND/OR other female characters (!!!!) Not a single one. That would not be that disturbing if they really cope with those behaviors, stand up somehow to say it is definitely not right but most of the time (if it’s not always) they just let it slide, almost asking for the next bashing.
    The fact that the guy will change (if he does!) is definitely not a consolation for me. In fact, it is just the opposite. This let the audience think that it is ok for a female, or worse, that she MUST put up with all sorts of crap, cuz, at the end, you see, there is some great chance she’ll be “rewarded” for that and if not, well that’s her lot in life. WTH ? Is there any of us who would willingly pursue interaction (let alone fall in love) with someone who belittled /assaulted us ? So why fictional characters ?
    As for the so-called chemistry, I am completely oblivious to it as soon as humiliation comes. There is no chemistry that could make me swallow this kind of pill.
    Watching KDramas, one could conclude that Korean women are pure masochists. And what is also surprising is that female directors/writers do not seem to want to change that image (The Hong sisters are women, no ?)…

    I mean, just yesterday I was watching the first episode of Secret Love Affair and Oh Hye-Won got slapped by her (female) superior who was herself grabbed by the hair and had her head flushed into the toilet by another (female) superior. In the very first episode. I thought I signed for a torrid noona romance but no, it’s a lecture about food chain… KDrama Land is just super violent to women, I wonder why they don’t migrate asap.
    That’s one of the reasons why I will never go on a full KDrama diet : Westerners are also misogynists but their fictions are still more balanced when it comes to woman characterization ( and also the kisses are real :op ) and I need this to keep the sanity : how could I enjoy watching Cheon Song Yi rapping , song, song, song if I continuously punch my screen out of frustration on female lead denigration? :o)))

    Is Evez ok ? I don’t read her anymore….

    • Asotss!! Thanks to your comment, I was inspired to start a new Pure Pretty series on the blog, and in honor of your request, first up was Song Seung Hun!! (It’s here, for your easy access) Hope you enjoy it!! :D

      You’re so right about so many kdrama male leads displaying offensive behavior, and how too many female leads just take it as if it’s ok, when it’s so clearly not ok. When I first started watching kdrama, I didn’t really notice these things too much, but lately, they’ve become more and more glaring to me, and I’m pretty sure that if I went back now to rewatch some dramas, that I would no longer find them as dreamy or romantic. Secret Garden being a prime contender, since Hyun Bin’s Joo Won was quite the jerky chaebol. At the time, though, I just lapped it up coz of Hyun Bin’s hotness.

      Thinking over it, though, dramas with strong female leads do exist, though they aren’t as common as we’d like. Have you tried I Hear Your Voice? Or Answer Me 1997? King of Dramas is good too, our female lead is feisty and has a mind of her own, and doesn’t take bad treatment sitting down. History of a Salaryman is good too, and there, it’s our female lead who cusses up a storm and terrorizes everyone. Hopefully at least one of these will appeal to you :)

      Ah! Evez is fine! :D She’s just busy with work and at a computer much less frequently. She hasn’t visited this review yet coz she hasn’t finished the drama yet. But she recently shared a few things over on the GY and KWB threads. And the new Pure Pretty posts too ;)

  10. Pingback: Pure Pretty: Song Seung Hun | The Fangirl Verdict

  11. I agree a lot with this review. I don’t clearly remember the hair grabbing part but I think it’s because I watched this at one go and maybe, just maybe I’m slowly becoming desensitised to the ill-treatment of female characters which is a little sad. Actually speaking on the manhandling of females on dramas I’m watching God’s Gift-14 Days and LBY has chosen an awesome female character who is willing to be rough and get down and dirty at costs. I love the character Kim Soo Hyun for that however, there was a scene in ep. 2 where she ends up physically fighting with a man on a platform at a subway station and at one point she’s left of floor grabbing his legs and he kicks her while she is down on the floor and nobody, despite the fact that there is a big crowd gathering around, tried to intervene. I was like what the fudge?? Anyway…

    The narrative of TMS wasn’t the best for my preferences but when I chose to focus only on the OTP together and individually I really understood the buzz around the drama. SJS and GHJ made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside. Another thing I noticed with the two Hong Sisters’ dramas I’ve watched is they do a fairly sweet job with the first half of a drama and that’s just directly attributed the romantic leads building their relationship together but once the 2nd half begins I really dislike their soap opera tendencies used to deter development between the OTP’s relationship. It’s so cheesy…twins swapping their identities and twins who were born in different years because the younger twin was just born to save the other and each twin doesn’t know that they are a twin. It sounds like something my gran would watch.

    Despite the flaws I loved the OTP especially in the closing scene.

    • Yes, I get what you mean about it being sad that we get desensitized to ill-treatment of our female characters. Especially since we most often identify ourselves with our female leads. That said, I think I’m becoming less tolerant of it now, versus when I first started watching drama and used to sweep everything else under the carpet in the interest of the main romance. Good on LBY for choosing another strong female character to play. I liked her in IHYV, and thought it was a great step in the right direction for her. Before that I was really rather underwhelmed by her as an actress. So I was really pleasantly surprised to realize that she was pretty great playing a strong female character :)

      Oh yes, the OTP chemistry is one of the few things that kept me hanging in there for this drama. So much sparky goodness. If you haven’t checked out the fanfic, I highly recommend it. It will send those existing OTP sparks into overdrive, I guarantee it! :D

      I so agree with you on the narrative habits of the Hong sisters. That twin thing made me scratch my head in this drama AND in Big too. Their older dramas were better-constructed, I thought. Hopefully they get inspired to do better next round, coz my affection for their work is wearing a little thin :P

      • It is refreshing to see strong and realistic female characters. I am guessing from the competition with cable dramas that female characters are kinda slowly becoming more stronger and having more depth as humans.

        Then I will certainly read the fanfic because I normally don’t read them.

        I hope so too because I really enjoy the banter and cuteness that they use in their stories.

        • Yes, competition from cable is a good thing. More drama choices for us too, again another good thing. Even though we will never be able to keep up, lol. Did you watch AM1994? I’m almost done with it, and we do get refreshingly strong female characters in that one. It’s a little draggy at parts, but overall I’m enjoying the watch.

          Oh, I don’t usually read fanfics myself, but I totally lapped up this one! Maybe check out my review and the available excerpts to get a feel for it first? So far everyone I’ve recommended the fanfic to has loved it :)

          • Sigh, the never ending list. Just when I finish one drama another 3 grab my attention. Yes I did watch R1994. I too found it a bit draggy, I started it 2 weeks before YFAS and I finished it sometime after YFAS ended. I adored Na Jung and Si Won from R1997. They are so direct and not at all bashful! It was a nostalgic ride watching the Answer Me series, even though it’s set in Korea. Overall I enjoyed the wholesomeness of it all.

            Okay I’ll give the excerpts a look :)

            • Oh yes, nostalgic and wholesome! Those are 2 of the things I really enjoyed about AM1994 too! I’ve still got 2 more eps left, and am barring myself from finishing those 2 eps until I’ve posted my YFAS review. It’s the only way I can think of, to manage my desire to watch more drama, vs the stack of reviews piling up..! XD

              I hope you enjoy the excerpts enough to give the book a go – the ebook totally captured my imagination, and I thought it was really well-written! ^^

              • I really would love someone to do another drama with a nostalgic vibe, though I did hear that Miss Korea’s set in the 90s… mmmm. Haha aww you can do it Kfangurl!!

                I will do, I haven’t read in a very long time, it’s so embarrassing. I will make to a goal this week to start reading it. I trust your judgment.

                • Y’know, I recently started watching Feelings, which aired in 1994, and it’s nostalgic goodness. It’s sort of like AM1994, except this really WAS 1994, and not a reconstruct of 1994. It’s pretty awesome, seeing the actors in their younger days, rocking the awful hair and fashion! If you’re hungry for some 90s nostalgia, maybe you could try out some of the real stuff instead? ;)

                  Thanks for the encouragement, Muffin! I’m hoping to make some meaningful progress on the YFAS review before the week is over.. Fighting, me! And I really hope you enjoy the fanfic read.. Just start. And I’m pretty sure it’ll suck you in enough that you’ll find it an easy thing to do, to read it! Fighting, you! :D

                  • I think I’ve heard of Feelings, is Lee Jung Jae in it? You’re right nothing’s better than the original… Actually I’ve been wanting to watch Sandglass since it was mentioned in AM1994 but I forgot about it. I’m really interested to see why it had such high viewership and the story alone sounds interesting. Though… it’s set in the 70s and 80s which ki~nda defeats the point of watching something 90s based. Oh well… :D

                    It’s a pleasure. I’m glad that you managed to finish and post the YFAS review… and now I’m off to go and post my comment. ;)

                    • Yes, Lee Jung Jae is in Feelings, and it’s amusingly dissonant, coz I’m so used to seeing him as a suave big movie star, and in Feelings, he’s the dumb jock maknae brother who’s all impulsive brawn. Lol. The gloriously retro baggy fashion of the times just adds to the entertainment value ;)

                      I haven’t seen Sandglass myself, but I’ve been told that I should totally check it out. If you’re looking for something retro set in the 90s, another one to consider is Last Match (also known as The Final Match).. That’s classic Jang Dong Gun, and should be fun. I plan to check that out sometime too.

                    • (I’m not sure why but I can’t directly reply to your comment?)
                      Ha, that’s a quite a contrast… especially since I convinced myself to watch The Housemaid the other day and LJJ was… interesting in that movie-to say the least…

                      I’ll keep Last Match in mind. It will be fun to watch these retro dramas since it’s getting colder down here, so that will help keep me warm. It’s also quite nice to see what made all these current A-list actors so respected.

                    • Ah, there’s a limit that WordPress places on the number of replies on a comment. I’ve maxed out that setting, so that most conversations don’t get interrupted, but sometimes when chats go beyond that limit, readers do end up in similar situations to yours, finding themselves without a Reply link. What you did as a workaround works fine though, and that’s what most readers do too :)

                      I haven’t seen The Housemaid.. Melo thriller is a genre that I don’t dip into very often. Remember, I make a rule of wussing out of horror shows ;) Would you recommend it?

                      And yes, if you’re in the mood for some retro, Feelings or Last Match are good ones to keep in mind. I saw a couple of snippets of Last Match, and Jang Dong Gun is such a cutie as a jock! XD

                    • It wasn’t really scary but more suspenseful, so you should be fine because I also can’t watch horror movies because of my over active imagination. It does have some mature scenes though. As for the movie it’s a straightforward story but the theme and the characters were interesting. So I think it’s a movie for when you have nothing better to do.

                    • Sounds like I’d need a very specific mood to appreciate The Housemaid :P I’ll keep what you said in mind – thanks Muffin! ❤

                    • Ha, yep haha.

  12. Pingback: Review: That Far Gone [Master's Sun Fanfic] | The Fangirl Verdict

  13. Pingback: Pure Pretty: So Ji Sub | The Fangirl Verdict

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