The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Review: Bride of the Century

34 Comments

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A light(ish) melodrama that’s high on the cute and low on the logic, Bride of the Century is the kind of show that would crumble under too harsh a lens. Given the right lens, though, it’s a fun watch that even gets pretty cracky in stretches.

The good news is, that lens isn’t a hard one to put on.

Yes, the show is so full of drama cliches that it feels like someone took every drama cliche that ever existed, put ‘em all into a box, and the writers of this show then played a game where they took turns drawing out random cliches from the box and had to find a way to work ‘em all into the show. In the order in which they were drawn. Yep. Sometimes plot logic took a beating; I cannot lie. But think of Cliche City as a game, and that ups the fun by a whole lot.

The shining jewel in this rather haphazard crown, is that this show has enough cute to mitigate almost the entire weight of the excessive drama tropes. Who can say no to this show, when you’ve got this cute of a puppy on your screen, right?

Bride of the Century OST – 들어와

THE LONG VERDICT:

There are only 3 things that you need to know in order to enjoy this show. Yep. 3 things. That’s all you need, and I’m here to tell you all about them. What can I say? I’m helpful that way. ;)

1. Lee Hong Ki is a Puppy

I’m gonna have to agree with everyone else; Lee Hong Ki is all kinds of adorable as Choi Kang Ju, our leading man.

If you’ve seen You’re Beautiful (2009), you’d already be familiar with Lee Hong Ki’s cute, little-boy charm as the effervescent, lovable Jeremy.

He’s cleaned up nicely for Bride of the Century, wearing with ease the dark hair, smart suits and suave smirk which Jeremy didn’t get to wear. At the same time, Lee Hong Ki really just can’t get away from his Core Cute. It shines through, even when he’s being all manly and debonaire.

So even as this new, manned-up version of Lee Hong Ki strutted his stuff on my screen, at the heart of it, I saw Puppy.

Basically, when Lee Hong Ki was being Fierce Kang Ju, like so:

I saw Fierce Puppy, like so:

And when Lee Hong Ki was being Sad Kang Ju, like so:

I saw Sad Puppy, like so:

And when Lee Hong Ki was being Nurturing Kang Ju, like so:

I saw Nurturing Puppy, like so:

To which, one’s response can only be, “Eeeeee!! Cutieeeee!! Can I squish you now??”

Right?

I found it endlessly entertaining to watch Lee Hong Ki wear his best manly air and strut his hero stuff. Not to be disrespectful or anything, it just felt like I was watching the cutest, littlest puppy ever, put on his best I’m-a-big-guard-dog shoes. ADORABLE.

Here’s more Adorable Cute Puppy for ya:

Isn’t he just the cutest lil puppy?

On a side note, I thought it was equal parts cute and sexy that Lee Hong Ki’s got such hairy legs. Cute, coz that’s so in character – after all, puppies have hairy legs too, right? Hee. And sexy, coz that’s such a manly sort of thing, having hairy legs.

Rawr. And, squishes.

2. The OTP is as cute as 2 Puppies

With such a cute leading man, having a cute leading lady (who’s almost as cute as her leading man) is pretty much exactly what we need.

Yang Jin Sung fills that quotient quite nicely, managing to take a pretty cookie-cutter sort of spunky Candy heroine and making her likable and appealing.

Together, our OTP was literally as cute as 2 puppies:

With that kind of cute resulting when the OTP is together, it’s no wonder that the show’s writers basically spend much of their time working out ways for our OTP to share screen time.

A good number of the tropes employed are in service of OTP skinship, and y’know, I just can’t complain about that. Not when these 2 are this cute together.

Mistaken identities, wrist-grabs, falling kisses, plus one Fake Engagement. We’ve got ‘em all.

Although the arc of having an ice prince hero getting his heart melted against his will, by a spunky, warm heroine is nothing new in dramaland, it somehow didn’t feel stale to me, in this drama.

Maybe it’s the cuteness of the OTP that makes it work. Or maybe it’s this precise just-so combination of drama tropes that makes it work. Or maybe it’s the Goong-esque flavor of the fake engagement that gets me. As my first ever drama, Goong has a very special spot in my drama-loving heart. Maybe – probably? – it’s all of the above.

I enjoyed the fake fiancee set-up a whole lot, and looked forward to all the hijinks as they unfolded on my screen.

Plus, who can resist cute lil puppies as they make moony eyes at each other, right?

3. The entire show is a Puppy

Have you ever watched a play that’s written, produced and acted by young kids?

Almost everything about this show reminds me of that sort of an experience.

Despite the plot fails, and the sometimes nonsensical direction of the story, this is a show that seems to take itself seriously. But because this show is basically a puppy, watching it is like watching little kids put on a Very Serious Play that they wrote themselves. They memorize their lines and put their whole effort into the acting, the costumes, everything.

Overall, the acting in this show is really.. earnest. It’s not quite nuanced, and overall, it’s decent, if sometimes stilted. But the earnestness does shine through. Everyone – especially our main cast – tries really hard.

As I got deeper into the show, I realized, too, that beyond the outer shell that was all sparkles and rainbows (and puppies!), there was a nutso fantasy makjang brewing at the center. Curve balls came out of nowhere, and often didn’t actually make a whole lotta sense, especially if you thought about it too hard.

Back to our analogy, to the “kids,” it’s epic, important and Very, Very Serious business. For us watching, though, it’s just impossible to take it too seriously. Even during the angsty parts, it’s basically still a cute puppy, just that it’s trying to bare its teeth and flaunt its claws. So even when it’s trying to be all fierce and serious, all you can think of is, “Aw, Puppyyyy.” Heh.

There are loose ends and logic fails aplenty, and at around episode 10, I started to feel the drag and was even mildly tempted to drop the show.

If/when that happens for you, here’s a little vid to amplify how much fun it can be, to sometimes just let go of your need for plot logic.

Kid Snippets: stories conceived & voiced by kids

Hee.

Sometimes watching the events unfold in Bride of the Century is akin to watching this kid video. If you’re expecting elegance, nuance or robust plot logic, you’d be disappointed. If you can look past all of that, though, you’ll be rewarded with ample amounts of cute.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Fun for when you want to give the ol’ brain a vacation and just indulge in large amounts of Puppy cuteness.

VISUAL TREATS:

For those who haven’t seen the show, here’s a subbed teaser to give you a flavor of the show:

If you’ve seen the show, don’t mind spoilers, or just want to see the Puppy Cute, this is for you:

About these ads

Author: kfangurl

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

34 thoughts on “Review: Bride of the Century

  1. I wasn’t interested in watching this one, But I LOVE your puppy review. It’s so true. I see a puppy in every capture with his soft eyes. Oh my, Kid snippets!!!! I LOVE that series on YT. and my nephews love the salesman one with the penguin and the ‘bank robber!” LOL. The trailer seemed a bit cheesy to me. And I definitely see the crack factor to this. lol. Sweet review!

    • Oh and…woo hoo to the hairy legs!! I love hairy, manly legs. LOL!

    • Tee hee. There really is a puppy in him, isn’t there?? Even at his most glowering, all I see is Puppyyyy XD I wasn’t really planning on watching this one either, but the general positive buzz made me curious. Watching this reminded me all over again of why I fell in love with kdramas. Cute romantic hijinks, served by all kinds of drama tropes, lol. There is a definite cheese factor, so you’re not wrong about the trailer. The cute does mitigate that, so I still think it’s a nice pick for when you’re in the mood for mindless cute fluff ^^

      And yes, them hairy legs! They leaped out of my screen at me, screaming, “Manly man!!” Which made watching the scene really quite dissonant, coz he’s all puppy-like, and then you look at the legs, and you just don’t know whether to rawr or pat him on the head, HAHA.

      You know Kid Snippets?? :D Very cool! I came across this clip on my FB feed, and LOVED this salesman clip. It’s so ridiculous that it’s good! XD

      • Sometimes it’s great to get ‘back to basics’ with K-dramas, particularly when the K-Fatigue sets in and you don’t know what to watch. When that happens to me, I go for the oldies (Well, from the last decade or so).

        Haha! Rawr or pat him. Both!

        Kid snippets is extremely hilarious, you have to check out the longer ones. This one has me crying laughing. “Robert’s Party: Episode 10.” And for more snippets, Chores, Too sick for school, cooking show, and fast food are hysterical. :D

        • You and I are alike in that way too, Lady G! I recently took a good look at the recent dramas just to see if there was something that I might like that had flown under my radar, and came up with not very much at all. And so I started watching a super old oldie.. Feelings, circa 1994. I’ve heard so many drama veterans refer to this show that I just had to check it out. I’m just 4 eps in, and I’m having fun with the retro-awesome. It’s a little bit like AM1994, except this isn’t a reconstruction of the times, but the Real Thing! :D

          One of the awesome things about Kid Snippets is how absolutely serious the parents are, acting out their kids’ stories. It must be hard to keep a straight face while acting and lip-syncing some of the ridiculous stuff the kids are spouting! XD

  2. I don’t know if I’ll watch this but I get it: puppies! And I’m a huge dog lover! Seems like Jeremy has come a long way?

    • Jeremy got a makeover and grew up a little, but he’s essentially still a cute lil guy. At least, that was my experience of the show. I know some people genuinely swooned over LHK in this. I, on the other hand, was all amused and giggly over the Puppy Cute instead. I’m guessing you might have a similar experience to mine, since your taste in men tends to be more manly man than cutie-pie? ^^

      • Heh, true dat. I lean towards manly men but I like some cute pie in there ala you-know-who *wink*. I hv residual fondness for Jeremy, in what little I saw of YaB! So yes, I can see myself turning to this drama in times of need XD. And I heard the skinship wasn’t too bad either ;P

        • The skinship was indeed not too shabby, especially in the early stretch of the drama. There’s more skinship there than is usual for a 16-ep kdrama, so that’s definitely a plus point. The skinship does dwindle somewhat in the later eps, but overall, there’s a nice amount of it, and it – and the cute – was enough to keep me happy :)

          And definitely, residual fondness for Jeremy is very helpful in enjoying this show. It just magnifies the cute, if you know what I mean :) Good for a rainy day when you just want some mindless fluff ^^

      • Its actually all about listenng to his songs especially the last few japaneese ones…though he has the image of an hyperactive overgrown puppy he has a very unique and manly voice and the way he can hold himself on stage when he wants to be emotional and serious is wayyy too scary:D

        • Thanks for the tip, Eda! I am quite the kpop noob, so I’d actually never seen Hong Ki sing on stage. On your advice, I went on YouTube and just typed in Lee Hong Ki and clicked on the first video that popped up. He does the emotional ballad thing for a good half of the vid, and I hafta say, he is quite dreamy. :D

  3. Bravo on the under-1300-word review! Enjoyed the read immensely! Happy Easter!

    • Hee. Thankies, Grace! Glad you enjoyed the read! And yes, I’m pretty excited about actually managing to post a short review. Not sure if this will actually become a norm, but it’s great to know that it can actually be done ;) Happy Easter to you too – hope you had a lovely one!

  4. It’s funny how TPTB sometimes manage to make a drama work even if they’ve thrown in every drama cliche known to man. I’ve watched and enjoyed a few along the way too. I’m throughly spoled with this one as I followed it through Koala’s re-caps. ;) I’ve still got it saved for a rainy day, when I’m in a mood for something fluffy that doesn’t need much brainpower. *g* It sounds very cute (yes, I so can do cute too! ^^) and I have a soft spot for Hong Ki.

    At the moment SLA is spoiling every other kdrama for me so it’s been pretty neigh impossible to watch even ‘Wonderful Season’, which I’ve quite liked so far. Instead I’ve dug up a slew of western shows and couple of j-dramas. Sigh. I’ll try ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ (a tw-drama) next, I’ve heard many good things about it.

    • Oh my. Since you hardly go for the fluff, I’m impressed that you’re even saving this for a rainy day, Timescout! XD But absolutely, this is a good one to have on hand when you need something mindless and fun, especially if you’ve already got a soft spot for LHK. ^^ He is adorable in this. I found myself grinning at him on my screen a whole lot, just from the LHK cute :)

      That seems to be the trend with SLA.. everyone I know who’s watching it just can’t seem to watch anything else. It really does seem to be the kind of drama that consumes you and sucks you in and won’t let you go. Which is why I’m now patting myself on the back for deciding to let this one run its course before diving in. That way, I still get to watch dramas now, heh. Of course, I can’t join in the SLA discussions or read SLA posts, but that’s the price I pay for a strategy to manage & contain the SLA Effect ;)

      • Oh, cute fluff has it’s moments but I do have to be in a proper mood for it, otherwise I just get bored out of my skull. ;) I’ve had a soft spot for LHK since almost the beginning of my dramawatching days as FT Island was one of the first k-pop groups I ‘discovered’. It still amazes me how strong and unique his singing voice is. It fair bowled me over when I first matched the voice to the face, LOL!

        SLA… it really does seem to slay just about everyone watching it. You know, I’m actually quite happy to be watching it as it airs, as the wait for the epis gives me time cool off and catch my breath. I’d probably be totally done in (á la Karei Naru) if I marathoned it. So, just a word of warning, space it when you finally do start watching. Seriously. :)

        ‘The Pursuit of Happines’ is proving to be just what the doctor ordered. I’m loving it!

        • Oh yes, mood is critical in picking a drama that will hit the spot. It’s also why I’ve got a good number of purportedly excellent dramas languishing on my watch list – a number which you’ve recommended, btw! – just coz the right mood hasn’t struck yet. I’d rather wait to enjoy the dramas properly, than dive in without the right mood and be disappointed in an otherwise good show :)

          Thanks for the SLA advice, Timescout!! I’ll be sure to space it out a little. In fact, I’m pretty sure I will. I’ve become more and more instinctual about my drama watching. I allow my mood to lead me a lot more now than before, and that now extends to how many episodes I feel I’m able to stomach on any given day. The only reason I was able to finish Bride of the Century in 3 days was coz I was tired and really in the mood for some mindless fluff ^^

          I don’t follow TW dramas, but I read the synopsis of Pursuit of Happiness and it does sound like a fun little show. Glad you’re enjoying it! :D

  5. Yeah, I didn’t love this one but the puppy analogy works. How did you get the screenshots?

    • Y’know, I think if I’d had any other lens on other than the Puppy one, I probably wouldn’t have loved this show either. I think it takes that Puppy lens to make it an enjoyable watch, coz then every other fail is mitigated.

      As for the screenshots, I’m not sure I understand the question.. I did the screenshotting like I do for every other drama I watch. I use the screenshot function of VLC, which is the player I use. And the puppy pix I found on Google. Did that answer your question? :P

  6. This drama worked on the basis of the adorable leads, a stellar cast, the puppy effect you effectively covered, and a plot that was silly but did not go too off the course with continuity issues or plot bunnies. The biggest problem was that the couple went all in pretty early and they had no where to go but in circles to cause conflict to keep them apart, which severely effected the end separation and pushed it slightly toward wtf land. The other problem was the personality transplants mid run; Kang ju totally dropped the I have trust issues on account of childhood drama and Doo-rim completely forgot she was part gangsta martial arts woman and could kick everyone’s butt, which left us scratching our heads in the damsel in distress scenes. That’s the part that lost me the most. The beginning was great, the middle wobble, but they pulled it together for a slightly shaky but two footed dismount. The only real loose ends for me were the childhood trauma and what happened to the cat? Not a fan of redeeming not one but ALL of the homicidal women in this drama, that was almost as bad as the murderous sister redemption in Rooftop Prince. My favorite wtf moment however was that they went to bed fully dressed which cracked me up.

    I however did enjoy the cute and the message that love and commitment is not about traditions or a piece of paper.

    And it was totally worth the watch just for the Jjimjibang fabulous hairy legs and the head rest pillow he held in front of his crotch for the entire scene.

    • HAHA! I love how so many of us zoomed in on LHK’s fabulously hairy legs!! XD I’m pretty sure that’s not what they intended, but seriously, when those hairy legs made their appearance, I couldn’t look away! XD And yes, he was clinging to that head rest a fair bit, though I can’t say I remember him shielding his crotch with it. I’m gonna hafta look out for that when I next check out that scene!

      I can’t say I think the cast was stellar, in that I found the acting mostly serviceable at best, but I do wholeheartedly agree that the leads were adorable. The plot had its problems, as you so rightly pointed out. I noticed a number of logic fails along the way, such as why Doo Rim suddenly had the use of a cute car when she was tailing Kang Ju, and also, the plotting of Evil Mother, which never really made a whole lot of sense to me, in that her actions didn’t actually help Doo Rim to arrive at the conclusion that Evil Mother desired.

      By the time all of these problems really gathered momentum, however, I’d already decided on that “Serious Play By Kids” lens that I mentioned. I basically overlooked all pacing slumps, logic leaps and other failings in the name of the show’s earnestness. Coz I realized that if I really wanted to pick the show apart – and there really is SO much to pick apart – that it would rob me of whatever enjoyment the show could give me.

      TOTALLY agree that they should’ve retained a lot more of Doo Rim’s kickass gangsta side as the show progressed. I freaking LOVED that facet of her character, that she could basically kill you with her little finger if she so desired. I would’ve loved to have seen her use that against the baddies. That would’ve be SO. AWESOME. :D

  7. Will not watching this but loving your review. And the kid’s video is hilariously cute, so gonna post that to FB.

    And for a side note, I love Lee Hong Ki for 2 things. 1: His voice, 2: Jeremy.

    • You love LHK for his voice and for Jeremy?? Then I actually think you’d enjoy this, Ahjussi Fan! Coz not only does the Jeremy Cute shine through, LHK lends his vocals to the OST as well. Maybe for one of those I-need-mindless-fluff days? :)

      YAY that you enjoyed the Kid Snippets video! Isn’t it hilarious??? I’ve watched that one more than a few times now, and I giggle every time XD

      • Yes, I started out as an Ft Island fan and then stumbled upon Jeremy with his cute antics and ridiculous hairstyle during second half of you’re beautiful, but still cute in my eyes.

        But that was like several years back and right now my taste in drama have change and BOTC is seriously not even close to it. And btw, he resembled T.O.P in several of photos you posted above. I have to look at it twice. Hahah.

        • What? LHK looks like TOP? WHERE??? Coz that’s something that never even crossed my mind before, seriously! Show meeee~~

          Also, I get what you mean about evolving drama tastes. My drama taste has changed a lot over time, actually. Recently I’ve become a lot pickier about my dramas. Ordinarily, BotC isn’t something that I would’ve even considered checking out. It’s just the positive buzz that made me curious. And then the right mood hit when I was physically and mentally tired out from a couple of work trips. Enter BotC and lots of cute to remind me all over again of one of the things I loved about kdramas from the very beginning: rom-com cuteness overload ;)

          • I can’t find TOP’s photo that can back up my statement, or maybe it was only just me, but these three photos *in my eyes* really do looks like the hot Choi Seung Hyun.

            • These ones? Really? Hmm.. I guess it’s subjective then. I’m lookin’ at these and I’m only seeing LHK Puppy. Maybe my eyes are just completely zooming in on LHK’s puppyness and therefore just incapable of seeing the TOP resemblance! ;)

  8. …seriously you’re marathoning the drama reviews?…..what has gotten to you Kfangirl Jjang?…..you must be super inspired or probably the sugar rush did give a kick for spontaneous review writing?….what a girl!….you really amazed me….tbh, i haven’t watch any single episode of BoTC though i love Lee Hong Ki so MUCH!…this cute dude for me has a lot to offer…..who would have thought that LHK has a voice that can rock your world?…..i promise to find a copy of this drama be it was logically poor as you said….i am shallow fangirl..hahahahaha!… ;)….the moment i saw my k-love on screen logical things aren’t important any more..and i need to be happy as of this time…. so i guess, i need to resume streaming and browse my various accounts on the netz for some entertainment…i guess my mom wherever she is now would somehow understand….though i am terribly MISSING HER SO MUCH!!!…<3<3<3

    • Aw. I can imagine how hard it is to get back into your usual routine, dear evez. I would say, don’t rush yourself. Sometimes, it’s good to cry. Although I do think you’d enjoy BotC for the Hong Ki cute, might I perhaps recommend Life is Beautiful as a possible alternative at this time in your life? Life is Beautiful is one of my favorite family dramas, and my favorite character of all, in the show, is the Mom. She’s just great and all kinds of awesome. It might be a great way to remember your mom.. Sure, there may be tears as you watch, but I’d say they would be cathartic, healing tears. ❤

      And then later, when you’re really in the mood for fluffy cute, you can always come back to BotC :)

      Also, you’re right, I’ve been managing to get more drama on my screen in the last month, which explains the surge in posts. I’m not sure how long this spurt will last, but I’m happy to bring more posts to you guys, at least for now ^^

  9. ….and LHK has the resemblance of TOP?…i guess it’s the hair?…TOP has that hair before…though Lee Hong Ki is in the cuter side while TOP is strikingly mannish on looks…an d i love them both…. <3 ;)

    • Is it really coz of the hair? *tilts head* *still fails to see the resemblance* But yes, totally agree, LHK is definitely on the cuter side, while TOP has more macho about him ^^

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  11. Hi, Thank you for your wonderful review. This was the first ever KDrama I’ve watched and I fell in love with it! I was wondering if you had any recommendations for what I should watch next. Personally I think a light(ish) melodrama like this is perfect for me, can you think of any others with similar qualities. Thank you.

    • Hi there, PJ! Welcome to the wonderful world of kdrama! :D

      In my review, I mention Goong (also known as Princess Hours), which I think actually sort of falls into the same category of light-ish melodrama. Goong has more of a youthful vibe, since it’s about a fantasy world where South Korea still has a royal family, and its leads are technically still in high school. It’s very cute, and while some people found the palace politics a bit of a drag, I think it fits your request for lightish melodrama quite nicely :) Goong was my first kdrama ever, so I have a huge soft spot for it.

      Another show you might like is My Girlfriend is a Gumiho. It’s got lots of cute too, and yet, at its heart, has a pretty epic treatment of romance. It literally made me tear up at certain parts. Most people would classify this as a rom-com, but I think it’s got enough of a melo touch at parts to appeal to your current mood. :)

      You might also like The King 2 Hearts. This is a romance that has enough lightness in it, and enough melodrama in it, to possibly qualify for your current drama criteria. I really enjoyed this one as well.

      On a slight tangent, I just realized that all 3 of these suggestions have a slight fantasy twist to them. Goong with its fictitious royal family, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, with its fantasy element of the nine-tailed fox, and The King 2 Hearts, with its fictitious royal family as well :) Since Bride of the Century also deals with a fantasy element, maybe these suggestions fit better than I originally thought? ;)

      If you’d like more suggestions, let me know – I’m always happy to throw a few ideas out there, in the hope that something will fit, and that you’ll find a drama to love :)

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