The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Review: Dream High 2

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DH2.1

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This was bad. As much as Dream High was DA BOMB, this was simply, A BOMB.

Dream High 2 was comprised of a lackluster script, poorly drawn characters, a cast who could manage only very, very average acting, and random musical numbers which went on.. & on.. & on..

The only bright(ish) spot was Jung Jin Woon, who ironically delivered a better performance than the only actor-actor of the bunch, Kang So Ra.

A very strong contender for worst drama I have ever seen. And I have seen a LOT of dramas.

DH2.2

THE LONG VERDICT:

I checked this out due to my love for Dream High. I’d loved the first season both times that I watched it, and despite rumblings in the drama-verse about how bad this was, I decided to check it out anyway. Plus, I’d found Park Jin Young awesomely hilarious in Dream High, and was curious to see what he did with his character in DH2.

Sadly, it was a resounding let-down on all fronts. Even without comparing it to Shut Up (which is daebak!) or the first Dream High (which is very good), or even What’s Up (which is pretty good) it’s not a good drama. At all.

I rarely employ my Fast Forward button the first time I watch a drama. It’s my way of giving the show a fair chance. And I usually stick to that self-imposed rule in a pretty stubborn way. All in the name of fairness, y’know.

DH2 managed to convince stubborn me to employ my Fast Forward button almost right away, in episode 2. Shocking.

So what was it that broke my resolve? The unending musical song & dance numbers that just. would. not. end.

DH2.3

The worst thing about the musical numbers was, they weren’t very good to begin with. And they seemed randomly shoved in to fill up screen time. They didn’t seem to serve a real narrative purpose. But I’m like, ok, this is a musical drama, let’s see where they go with this.

And then, just as the musical number seemed like it was going to end, they changed it up, and it carried on. And on. And on. It was like a cockroach that refused to die.

DH2.4After my trusty Fast Forward button saved me from watching the entire number, I did a calculation to figure out just how long that number was, and I was stunned to find that it was almost 8 minutes long. EIGHT WHOLE MINUTES. That may not look like much written down, but it felt like f-o-r-e-v-e-r to watch.

To make things worse, this wasn’t the only out-of-place, random musical number in the show. There were more. Shudder.

DH2.5So what was it that kept me from dropping this show? Jung Jin Woon.

DH2.6First of all, the boy has drool appeal.

Yes, I was rather taken with his shirtless scene, which the show served up almost immediately, to y’know, draw the fangirls in. And like any bona fide fangirl, I appreciated the pretty. He showed excellent definition, nice bulk and some wonderful pecs.

Plus, Javabeans pointed out that he has a Park Shi Hoo-ian appeal, which I dig. I do love me some Park Shi Hoo, and having a mini Park Shi Hoo on screen was definitely not a bad thing.

[MINOR SPOILER ALERT]

I found it amusing and rather adorable that his character had a penchant for sleeping shirtless, never mind that he was crashing at his teacher’s place. Unannounced.

And yes, this shirtless sleeping habit of his does offer us fairly regular glimpses of his pecs, at least for the first few episodes. 1 point in Jung Jin Woon’s favor 😉

[END MINOR SPOILER]

DH2.7

Besides the shirtless eye candy, though, I also found him to be the most interesting character and actor of the bunch.

He has a number of scenes within the first few episodes where he sings and plays the guitar, and he’s really quite good. Out of curiosity I looked him up on wiki and he’s listed as being able to play quite a few instruments. I like talent when I see it, especially music talent.

That’s 2 more points for Jung Jin Woon: one for singing, and the other for playing.

DH2.8Interestingly, even though this is his first real acting role, he’s pretty good. He’s not brilliant, so he’s nowhere near Kim Soo Hyun in Dream High.

I found him interesting to watch, and he wasn’t a dead fish like JB, the other male lead. He was fairly natural (though that is really relative), and had a nice range of expression. 1 more point.

All in all, Dream High 2 scored 4 points with me, and they’re all from Jung Jin Woon.

DH2.9What about JYP then? He was a big reason that I checked out DH2 to begin with.

Sadly, JYP’s character Yang Jin Man is written as too one-dimensional, and all we get from him is pretty much slapstick comedy. I was hopeful that he would get to show more range as the show progressed, but that didn’t happen.

In Dream High, JYP’s Jin Man was awesome, ridiculous and OTT in the best ways.

In DH2, though, he somehow comes off as rather pathetic and desperate instead, and that just wasn’t any fun to watch.

DH2.10

The actor-actor of the bunch, Kang Sora, is alright, but nothing to shout about. I’d expected more from the only real actor among the ensemble cast, since everyone else is basically an idol-actor.

DH2.11In Dream High, Kim Soo Hyun blew it out of the water as the only real actor among his peers. Kang Sora, on the other hand, was too exaggerated in her role. She’s not very natural at all, and if I had to pick the one character that I most prefer to watch, I’d have to say Jung Jin Woon, and that’s not counting his shirtless scenes.

Considering that she’s the only actor-actor of the bunch, I’d have expected her to at least do a decent job of the acting. I was really disappointed with her performance here.

DH2.12

To be honest, the idols among the cast are quite bad at acting, with the exception of Jung Jin Woon, who is serviceable. I found them to be generally quite a bit worse than the idols in Dream High. It almost feels like they went back and got all those who didn’t make the cut in Dream High to make Dream High 2.

Still, I usually cut idol-actors some slack, since acting isn’t their primary skill, and most of them are trying it for the very first time.

The bigger culprit of DH2 was actually the writing.

[SPOILER ALERT]

There is no consistency in this drama. Also, there are very few explanations for things. They just are. Like, why is Kang Sora’s character so determined to be a star even though she has no talent? She just is. Why does Jung Jin Woon’s character like hers? He just does.

The connections from plot point to plot point are flimsy at best, and at other times, non-existent.

Why do they suddenly want to do a street performance? Because Jung Jin Woon’s character wants to raise $7000. That’s just ridiculous and unrealistic. Even if they say they are going to charge for tickets. And seriously, how do you charge for tickets to a street performance?

Even more unrealistic is the fact that he ropes in his classmates, who mostly haven’t shown much musical talent. And why do they take to the streets earlier than planned? Because there’s no time to spare, and this will be considered a rehearsal.

Not. Making. Sense. At. All.

[END SPOILER]

To top it off, all this ridiculous stuff was laced with dramatic music to cue me in to the fact that I was supposed to care.

Well. It didn’t work. I didn’t give two hoots what happened to the characters, and I was more keenly aware of the suffering I was putting myself through by continuing to watch this show.

I couldn’t buy into the conflict that DH2 set up, and in the end, DH2 never even resolved its own conflicts in a satisfying manner. The ending seemed strange and hollow, and left a bad taste in my mouth.

I can totally see why people who watched this concurrently with Shut Up could not tolerate this drama’s nonsensical approach and dropped it like a hot potato. It’s like putting a gold standard next to a dud and expecting them to perform equally. To make it worse, DH2 had an earlier time slot on network on the exact same day that Shut Up showed later in the night on cable. So people who were following both shows live would be comparing them episode for episode, with DH2 followed by Shut Up on the same night. Way to magnify all the good in Shut Up, and all the bad in DH2 😛

THE FINAL VERDICT:

A couple of bright spots, but mostly, just really terrible.

FINAL GRADE: D+

DH2.13

POST-SCRIPT:

For a musical drama, I had expected – ok, hoped, anyway – that the music would at least be good. But I honestly don’t really like any of the songs from the drama, except for this performance by (who else?) Jung Jin Woon in episode 15. Besides the fact that he has good stage presence, this performance has added meaning because this is his character’s apology to his long-estranged mother. It’s pretty heartfelt and charged with emotion. This was the only performance in the entire drama that resonated with me on any level.

Check it out here:

Author: kfangurl

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

33 thoughts on “Review: Dream High 2

  1. I have never hated a drama as much as this one. I made it through the whole series and then the ending of the show didn’t even make sense (though why I am complaining about the writing making sense when it never did…) Seriously, the end of the show required no previous watching. Nothing was resolved. So annoying. You could not even get the satisfaction of seeing people happily married or something. Just a horrible show. Seriously people, stay away!

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  2. hehe, I started this after enjoying Dream High fairly well and after finishing Moon Embracing the Sun (very nice). I’m also watching JinWoon’s WGM and liking it – didn’t even know he’d done DH2 until now. (late to kdrama scene, was busy with Taiwan dramas for many years) Thank you for the review – I’ll probably watch just to see JinWoon. It may be lame but I will probably finish it and grumble, rather than miss out on seeing JinWoon’s acting.

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    • Aw.. the things we fangirls do for love! ❤ Yes, I completely understand that decision to watch a bad show which just happens to feature the object of your k-affections. Heck, I even re-watched One Fine Day (bad drama!) to get more Gong Yoo on my screen!

      I think you'd enjoy DH2 more than I did, in the sense that you ALREADY know it's bad & aren't really holding out hopes that it'll be any good. And you already have a focus. So you can fast-forward any parts that you just can't stand, to get to more Jin Woon. And he really IS the one bright spark in this show. I finished it only for him.

      Also, thanks to your comment, I realized that the YouTube vid I'd embedded wasn't working anymore. I've fixed that now, in case you want to get a peek of Jin Woon being kinda awesome in E15.

      I'm curious to know how you find the show, after you're done! 🙂

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      • I’ll post back when I’ve finished it 😉 I’m just glad to know JinWoon made it worthwhile, because I already was like whatttt when I saw the welcome party dance stuff. I’ll read some more of your reviews, you can check out my Pinterest /lyricalpeach to see what I’ve seen. I pin dramas there.

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        • LOL! Yeah, that welcome party dance thing is quite ridiculous, isn’t it?? I couldn’t believe my eyes either. If Jin Woon hadn’t caught my eye by then, I would’ve been so outta there! That must be why they put Jin Woon’s shirtless scenes so early in the show – to capture our interest against all odds! XD

          I checked out your Pinterest page! You’ve watched some lovely ones! I love Pasta, and I LOVE School 2013! ❤ ❤ And there're so many good ones, among the ones that you plan to check out! I love My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, & You're Beautiful, and I LOVE Arang. And Goong's my first ever kdrama, so I've got a huge soft spot for it. Wow. Looks like you've got lots of happy drama hours ahead of ya!! 😀

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  3. Just finished DH2 and back as promised… Hmm. Well. *sigh* I wouldn’t watch it again… I really found myself yearning because it didn’t grab my emotions the way DH did. There were some nice moments in it, but overall it felt very disconnected, spread out, forced, and overly comical. Some of the slapstick humor was good but there was too much of it and overdone as well. I think they could have played more into the Yoojin/mom storyline – at the end she even came into the picture behind Hyesung’s dad and Rian’s mom, but whatever scene Jinwoon had with his mom after that must have been cut. They really didn’t have much with Jinwoon even though he and Sora were sort of marked as headliners based on the posters. There were too many stories without enough development, too many characters, too little focus on talent, and JYP really went too far in making a fool of himself. I think Jiyeon did a nice job in showing her character’s growth – Rian really was the most well done character overall. I found Sora’s acting to be a bit misplaced – at times I expected her to show more emotion, she showed less. I don’t think it’s just a cultural thing either, because she cried at other times and comparatively it felt over the top. I understand the desire to show that everyone can dream… but it’s an art school for the performing arts focused on pop music. They never showed that SoonDong had any talent. The actress is cute, I saw her in Panda and Hedgehog, but they didn’t give her much to work with here. There was insufficent connection to the prior drama as well – it was tossed in as a bunch of cameos and a handful of references. The closing sequence was really weird (poor scene choices, making it seem even more disconnected, if that’s possible!) and they had some sound on them so you could hear it behind the music and speaking… what?? Anyways 🙂 You’re right, I probably enjoyed it more since I had a heads up – and the fact that Jinwoon’s role decreased so much was only curtailed by Jiyeon’s performance. Pretty good 🙂

    Thanks for checking out my Pinterest! It’s a good reference for myself 😉 and interesting that some people do follow to see what I watch next 🙂

    Usually I flow from one to the next based on a moving performance or to follow an idol, and I find new people to follow, new music (OST as well as new idols), but sometimes I run out of a thread and just try a few. Happy watching to you, too! 🙂

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    • Right?? After the awesomeness of Dream High, the blah and sheer bad of Dream High 2 is all the harder to stomach. I feel like this was made up of all the writers and actors and idols that didn’t quite make the cut for the first Dream High! XD

      Jung Jin Woon was what kept me going, despite all the terrible writing and acting. I loved his performance in E15, but yes, I wish they’d written his arc better too. He was the most watchable actor for me. I also found Kang So Ra’s acting very underwhelming. You’re spot-on, about the disconnectedness in this show. So many things just didn’t make any sense whatsoever!

      I found myself gritting my teeth through so many other parts of the show. And some of the songs were so bad. When they sang that “I am a B” song, I cringed so much! Shudder. >.<

      I like so many of the dramas on your list of shows you plan to check out, I'm really curious as to how you'll enjoy them! What are you planning to check out next? ^^

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  4. That song set the tone for the whole show. The whole show is a B that wants to be an A!!! way lame. and really, this is the performance that WON? Uhhh… school was failing, I understand the students won’t be A class but STILL. I am a girl. I am a boy. I am the B. ew. Not fond of JinWoon’s hair at the end either :p waste of someone who actually had composing talent. I suppose when he’s hitting his mid-life crisis he’ll then go back to do rock? Thank goodness his being an idol now in real life has allowed him some leeway in doing his rock music. I like this one: http://pinterest.com/pin/464715255269863014/ It’s not the greatest song ever but it’s nice. bit of smexy in the voice 🙂 Do you watch We Got Married?

    I think I’ll probably go ahead with City Hunter – since the first five minutes were ok then there’s hope 🙂 With several positive reviews, I’m going in with good expectations, also. After that, I’ll probably be ready for a romantic comedy before I hit the next drama… a sageuk if you can recommend a good one 😉

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    • Ooh, nice vid! I like how he plays and sings.. and at the end, when he did it shirtless, BONUS! XD And Jung Jin Woon was an idol first then an actor, so he’s got heaps of room to explore his music talents! ^^ I do think he has more acting ability than the average idol, so I wouldn’t mind him trying on more acting projects to stretch his acting muscles a bit!

      No, I don’t watch a whole lot of k-variety, but I’ve caught some snippets of WGM here and there. I hear he’s very cute in it! I’m mildly curious to check it out, but there are just sooo many shows I want to check out, that I feel like I’ll never get to them all!

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  5. He is very cute in WGM!! 🙂 I think I relate to his innocence a lot and his personality, I was a lot like he is. Grew up in a happy, protective family, very smart, warm, generous and affectionate, even touchy-feely, but sometimes kind of ignorant of other’s feelings, just a great big kid. He does have his very manly moments, he’s confident and not afraid to either make a fool of himself or get out there and just enjoy himself. I was the sort of person who would just get out on the dance floor by myself and enjoy myself at school dances, I didn’t need anyone else, I was unique and hadn’t yet developed that lack of self-confidence or the feeling of self-consciousness about doing stuff. I did what I wanted. I didn’t feel guilty. I think now time, maturity and responsibility has made me more practical, but I still have this side of me inside somewhere 🙂

    It doesn’t take a lot of time to watch WGM either, you can pick out the cuts when it’s by section. It’s on Wonderful Generation. http://www.wonderfulgeneration.net/2013/02/jinwoon-and-junhee-we-got-married.html

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    • Oh! Thanks for the link! I’d been wondering about whether it’d be possible to check out just the cuts of the couples I was more interested in.. This actually looks quite perfect for a quick spot of cute if I’m in the mood for variety! I’ve saved the link as a bookmark for later ^^

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  6. 😀 glad to share. The site breaks it out by couple, but there are not always cuts. The episodes are usually in thirds, but some episodes are get-togethers where the couples interact, so those you can’t divide. For Jinwoon and Junhee, you can see which third they’re in and just watch that section. It helps to have reasonable speed so you can find the starting point amongst the clips. I also watch Taemin and Naeun (sooo innocent!!) and the international version.. annoying in some ways, sweet in some 🙂 It’s about the awkwardness, sweetness, affection and some tension 🙂

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    • I’ve been meaning to check out the international version coz I think Taecyeon’s a cutie. I like his brand of dorky buff, heh. I’ll poke around and check it out when I have some time!

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  7. When you get to it, ping me for some couch critic conversation 😉 I’ll wait until then so I don’t spoil you, since I’m current on it. 😉

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  9. Hm… after your review I’m wary to start DH 2, which I was ironically going to check out because I love Kang Sora’s acting. I think she’s completely badass in Doctor Stranger and Sunny… nevertheless I shall try the first episode and see what I think of it.

    I actually didn’t like Dream High so on both accounts I think I’m the minority here.^-^

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    • I didn’t think much of Kang Sora’s acting in DH2, as you’ve gathered.. I did like her performance a lot better in Ugly Alert, so it’s not that I have a thing against her. Somehow, DH2 just managed to feel like it was hitting all the wrong notes for me. Well, except for Jung Jin Woon, who was the silver lining for me.

      Many moons later, I still feel like DH2 is possibly the worst drama I’ve ever sat through to the very end. 😛 But then again, to each his (or her!) own, right? I really liked Operation Proposal, while the rest of the viewers in the dramaverse hated it with a passion. Given that you didn’t enjoy DH, I’m curious to see how you respond to DH2! 🙂

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  13. I absolutely agree with your article. I kept watching because of jyj and also because I had hopes it would get better…and it did not. I also believe that th e characters in season 1 were also better looking, more talented and just overall more interesting. I did not like that jyp was so terrible. I mean the kids had basically no respect for the guy. If they were going to make him this kind of character they shouldn’t have put him in the season 2 anyway. I like Dream High 1.

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    • Oh my, Dream High 2. What a train-wreck. I can hardly believe I sat through the whole thing! XD It absolutely felt like all the people who didn’t manage to get cast in DH got offered DH2. And it was SO SAD, to see JYP acting such a pathetic character, especially after he was so awesome in DH. I would wipe this drama from my memory if I could! XD Maybe a rewatch of DH is just the ticket, haha!

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  16. Seriously this drama I thought was okay at first. Even though sometimes it is very cringeworthy I dealt with it. The like 3 last episodes literally made me hate this drama. I personally hate unsolved/ unclear endings. I mean like if u gonna make it happy, make it happy, sad make it sad, not like half and half. The last 3 episodes where very rushed and very cliche scenes were put into place that usually happens in middle of dramas and later resolved. This is not resolved at all and just jump to 8 years later which got things more confusing. The characters are poorly written and the plot is very weird. And adding cast that are not that good at acting made this the worse and most unsatisfying drama ever

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    • Man, I feel ya, Angelica! I was so frustrated with this drama as well. It was just bad, in almost every way – I wish I hadn’t sat through the whole thing, and I’m sorry you did too! 😛 At least the silver lining is, there are better dramas out there? Did you watch the original Dream High? I liked that one a lot. 🙂

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  17. I completely agree. I just discovered Dream High, which I loved, but could not even get past three episodes of Dream High 2.

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  18. What about Jiyeon?

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